Why Digital Signage is the Future of Retail
Digital signage, also known as electronic signage, consists of any Digital displays use technologies such as LCD, LED, projection and e-paper to display digital images, video, web pages, weather data, restaurant menus, or text. They can be found in public spaces, transportation systems, museums, stadiums, retail stores, hotels, restaurants, and corporate buildings etc, to provide wayfinding, exhibitions, marketing and outdoor advertising.
Many different retail stores are turning to digital signage to, among other things, increase their sales, better communicate safety procedures to customers, give customers information about the business, update customers on upcoming or current deals, and advertise events. With so many potential uses and benefits of digital signage, many are justifiably saying that digital signage is the future of retail.
We agree with this assessment and below we delve into the reasons why digital signage is tied to the success of retail.
The Nuts and Bolts of Digital Signage
There are many components to a digital signage set up, but these can be covered in broad categories:
1. Hardware: the physical components: screens (digital displays), media players (if necessary), network components, mounts, etc.
2. Software: the content and/or device management system(s) and playback software on media players.
3. Connectivity: the ways in which digital displays connect back to the content management system, whether using hard line, Wi-Fi or mobile technologies
4. Installation: the entire installation process, from site surveys through the final installation.
5. Content: The continuous creation of or subscription to fresh content to keep the network current and relevant. Typically the the biggest ongoing cost of the network, unless you go with a free on-site digital signage device like that offered by loop.
The Uses and Benefits of Digital Signage in Retail
1. Digital Signs in Stores and Shops Help Inform and Educate
People want to know more about the stores that they choose to shop at. On one level, digital signs can inform their customers about specific deals, promotions or events. On another level, the information displayed at a store can help reinforce brand identity and increase customer loyalty. For example, a store can educate their customers about their company ethos, can broadcaster their slogans, can tell them about what kinds of efforts they engaged in to promote environmental issues or any other kind of project that would bring company good will.
We see that education is so much more than just learning things. People become attached to the things that they know. Its hard to become attached to something that you know nothing about. So, with digital signage, retail stores can “break the ice” so to speak and open up a channel of communication between the brand and its customers.
2. Digital Signage Content is Rich and Eye-catching
One of the biggest goals for a retail store is to get people to enter their doors. The first impression that a customer has of your store can have a huge influence over whether they are going to buy something. In past times, companies like Abercrombie and Fitch would actually use live models to stand outside their stores to attract customers. More typical of most retail stores, there might be some mannequins or posters placed inside the shop’s windows to try to entice those who are walking by.
Nowadays, these methods simply won’t cut it if you want to stand out from the competition. Digital signage offers a rich array of eye-catching opportunities for your store. No longer are you tied to the static image of the poster. With digital signage you can have flashy words, videos, animations, and really whatever your creative imagination desires. There is no question that when it comes to making a first impression on your customers, digital signage surpasses the traditional methods by leaps and bounds.
3. Enhance and Increase Purchasing Decisions
The benefits of digital signage do not stop with getting the customer to go into the door. Once the customer is in the store, there is a world of marketing opportunities that make it more likely for the customer to leave the store with some of your store’s items in their bags.
Sure, having one of your items attractively placed on a shelf or one of your pieces of clothing on a mannequin might catch your customer’s attention, but oftentimes this is not enough. The customer might get distracted and move on without making a purchase.
Here is a way that digital signage could make a difference in a similar type of situation. The customer comes across the tank top. Beside the tank top is a digital wall with pictures of an influencer wearing the same tank top. The image changes to an animation showing how the tanktop moves with your body as you move, and text comes up to to describe the material that the tank top is made of and all the potential benefits of that particular material.
To seal the deal, the next image on the screen is a social media wall with tweets from satisfied customers who have also purchased the tank top. Of course, there are many different options when it comes to how you use digital signage to market your goods inside the store, and the above example is just to show you some of the incredible potential digital signage has for increasing your in-store sales.
4. Create a Seamless Experience Between Your Online Store and Your Brick and Mortar Shop
When it comes to building your retail presence, it is important to establish omnichannel consistency between your physical presence and your online presence, especially for younger shoppers who spend a lot of time shopping and browsing online.
The goal is to get all of your marketing channels to work together seamlessly to provide a consistent user experience. A customer should be able to experience the same feel or vibe between your online store and your brick and mortar store.
One way to do thos is by integrating your social media content into your brick-and-mortar locations. If your social media platforms already have good, user-generated content and engagement, bringing that connection into your physical stores will enhance the entire process..
Engaging, real-time content makes the shopping experience that much more fun for customers. Consider adding elements like social media walls, which could feature live Tweets, a gallery of your brand’s latest posts, a social dashboard, or even results filtered with campaign hashtags. Posting influencer videos with popular new items or trending products could be incredibly effective with the right audience.
5. Digital Signage Can Combine Both National and Local Content
Often, marketers need to send a mix of both national and local information to each of several locations. A well-equipped display network will allow you to narrowcast screens that contain some information that is seen by all, and some that is specific to each branch or region of your network.
6. Digital Signage Can Reduce Perceived Wait Time
One thing that customers hate is waiting in line in order to speak with staff at retail stores. People often come into a store with a purpose, and anything that makes it more difficult for them to achieve that purpose can irritate the customer. That is why it is important to reduce the wait time before a customer can be helped, and since it is not always possible to eliminate wait time altogether, to at least reduce perceived wait time.
Luckily, digital signage can help with this problem. By providing queue-management information such as calling customers forward, displaying directions to till points and estimated waiting times, digital signage is reducing the perceived wait time at checkouts by as much as 35 percent.
Additionally, Retailers are using digital signage to draw attention away from the wait itself and minimize boredom, offering a more professional treatment for customers. By strategically placing digital signage around hotspots where dwell times are longest, relevant messaging can be displayed to entertain and inform customers.
Video walls and large digital displays located at till points provide endless possibilities for retailers to capture the attention of customers waiting in line. Integrating news updates, weather reports and sports events keep customers interested, whilst key business information reinforces brand engagement and company culture.
7. Convey COVID-19 Safety Information
In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, safety is still on the top of many people’s minds when they choose to go shopping in physical stores instead of from the safety of online shopping. Much of the confusion arises because people do not know the shifting CDC guidelines and what the specific policies of various stores are.
By using digital signage stores can clearly and effectively inform their customers of their COVID regulations and safety measures and change this information with ease when the CDC guidelines or the store policy shifts. Customers will greatly appreciate clear information regarding the store’s policies since it will allow them to assess the risk of going into the store and, at the same time, inform customers on how they should act when it comes to things like wearing a mask or social distancing.
In addition to health and safety information, stores can use digital signage to inform their customers about other policies or the correct courses of action to take to achieve their purpose of coming to the store. For example, there could be a “frequently asked questions” section, which might answer customer’s questions before they even knew they had them and would make it so they need not waste time hunting down a staff member to answer their question.
8. Streamline the Shopping Process
It's hard to make retail shopping as simple and streamlined as most online shopping is. It's much easier to find the items you are looking for by typing keywords into a website’s search bar or clicking on the tab that accurately identifies the type of good that you are looking for. But one of the main reasons that digital signage is truly the future of retail is that it can take many of the best aspects of online shopping into the physical space of the retail store while still maintaining all the things that people love about shopping in person.
Let's take the example of the search bar. Well, some innovative stores have enstalled their own physical search stations. You can go to a screen, type in the type of product you are looking for, and the screen will direct you to the location of the item in the store. Moreover, instead of wandering blindly through a store hoping to find the correct items, digital signage with its flashy eye-catching displays can be seen and understood much more easily than normal paper or cardboard signs making it much easier for customers to navigate around the store.
Get Ready to Move Your Retail Store into the Future with Digital Signage
There are so many reasons why forward-thinking companies and businesses are choosing to utilize digital signage for their retail stores. With digital signage, you can keep your customers informed, reinforce brand identity, and help boost customer loyalty.
You can create eye-catching visuals that make a great first impression on potential customers, and once they are in the door, you can use digital signage to enhance and increase purchasing decisions. Importantly, you can also use digital signage to create a seamless and consistent brand “feel” between both your online website and your retail store, which is really important (in a world with so many brands, it is essential that your brand have a coherent and noticeable feel).
Finally, you can streamline the whole shopping process with FAQ screens, search bars, and bright signs making it easy for customers to navigate your store. With all of these benefits, you are going to want to make sure that your business takes advantage of digital signage so that you can stand out from your competitors now and not get left behind in the future.