A closer look at digital displays

There are many tools in the retailer’s digital kit. Between apps, beacons, kiosks, wifi, smart lighting and tablet-wielding associates, brands have more ways than ever to engage with and influence customers while they’re in stores. Today though, we're all about digital displays.

With 63% of people saying they’ve noticed digital signs in store, the tech is obviously getting the necessary attention. The results from using digital signage to connect with customers are likewise compelling.

More than simply acting as a glorified TV, digital signage should work with the rest of a store’s connected tech to actually respond to customers – and yes, influence them – when they’re nearby. This is moving beyond playing a simple loop of static or video ads regardless of who’s viewing them, to offering optimized content in response to customer data from a range of sources.  Sensors can detect phones and wearables, RFID tags on products, even faces or voices. Scanners and touch screens allow customers to find product information, browse store directories or place online orders for an endless aisle experience.

As well as responding automagically to customers in proximity, digital signs can also be co-opted by associates, for that all important - albeit tech-assisted - human touch. In a fashion store for example, an associate could help customers build an outfit by displaying different colours of a particular style, related items and matching accessories. Any items not currently in stock can be ordered on the spot for in-store pickup or home delivery, and the order placed and paid for with no queuing required.

This isn’t just about the large-format signs you’ll pass on any given day at any given mall. Digital displays are equal opportunity – adding responsiveness and interactivity to everything from dressing room mirrors to on-shelf displays. The screens themselves can also return important (anonymized!) data on traffic and dwell time, enabling more detailed analytics of not just the display’s content, but on customer movement and behavior in the store.

And, as anyone who’s had to catch a bus or train can probably attest to, watching digital screens shortens perceived wait time: as much as 35% less where digital signage is present. This can potentially help retailers combat the main complaints for in-store shopping vs online: long lines and general inconvenience.


Just a few cool uses of digital displays in real-world retail

The Coca Cola Company installed digital end-caps in a 250 store pilot that not only resulted in a one month ROI, but boosted sales across the category. The signs are integrated with store and consumer tech (beacons and phones) so the possibilities for advertising are massively greater than a print display.

Fashion brand Reformation is going all in on digital displays; swapping out merchandise and checkouts for touch screens. In its San Francisco store, customers use touch screens to build virtual wardrobes that associates transform into physical fitting rooms by retrieving the items curated. The fitting rooms themselves are touch-enabled so customers can continue to construct their wardrobes while trying items on.

Coop Italia’s ‘supermarket of the future’ concept has opened in Milan, combining digital tables and shelves that respond to customer and product interactions with a wall of screens displaying additional advertising, inspiration and information.