Arguing the necessity of a web presence is so 2001; by now, even old-school retailers have surrendered to the World Wide Web. But what does web technology have to do with the in-store experience? More than you might think. Customer preferences are evolving. They expect rich, multi-media in-store experiences. This kind of experience is being delivered by digital signage.
Digital signage has crossed the proverbial CHASM of a technology’s adoption life cycle and is in the midst of “hockey stick growth.”
A recent Aberdeen Group report sponsored by HP revealed that retailers that provide customers with interactive digital signage activities (for example, the ability to place web or catalog orders in the store) are 1.4 times more likely to see higher than 80 percent customer satisfaction in stores, compared to retailers that do not provide cross-channel order capabilities in stores.
"To remain competitive and profitable in today's connected society, retailers must be able to engage with consumers at all points of service throughout the shopping experience with real-time, personalized information," said Ray Carlin, vice president, Retail Solutions Global Business Unit, HP.
This means the definition of “highly personalized sales strategy” is likely to focus less on sales staff and more on interactive solutions located throughout a store.
The report found that 40% of retailers reported plans to adopt digital signage. The idea being to deliver the right message at the right time. While 27% of retailers will look to deploy interactive solutions that enhance audio and video communication, helping shoppers find products more easily while offering retailers another way to interact with consumers.
While the consumer experience is in the forefront of the digital signage discussion, the equation also includes long-term time and money savings for the retailer. Since a single central source sends immediate updates to all displays,content changes are quick and easy. The time and effort behind printing, distributing, and installing new static signs is no longer a variable.
According to Aberdeen, one-third of retailers surveyed also are likely to invest in kiosks designed for customers who want to experience web commerce and check inventory from the store.
The kiosk plays a large role in digital signage, one that continues to grow. The amount of assistance one expects to find at a kiosk is likely to change drastically over the next few years. Consider The mybestfit kiosk, designed by Unique Solutions. The customer enters the kiosk booth and their body is scanned for measurements, the kiosk then matches those results to the sizing specifications of specific apparel brands listed in the kiosk's database. The shopper is rewarded for their effort with a printout of wardrobe choices available in that retail site that will best fit their body. Maybe not a traditional shopping experience, but far more efficient than randomly selecting 15 pairs of jeans to try-on.
Digital signage covers a range of product categories:
1. POS solutions
2. Kiosk components and touchscreens
3. Interactive Large Format Touchscreens
4. Close proximity, personalized in-store marketing tools- iSign Media
5. Bundled digital signage hardware, software, connectivity products
6. Video walls, hi-brite window displays, specialty BTO products
7. Mobile marketing tools and initiatives
Currently, BlueStar Inc., is the only channel distributor that offers all of these digital signage product categories. BlueStar is a leading global distributor of ADC, Mobility, Point-of-Sale, RFID, Digital Signage, and ID & Security technology solutions, known for complete solutions, award-winning technical support and unequaled expertise. The company recently signed a distribution agreement with BrightSign, a top worldwide supplier of solid-state digital sign and kiosk controller products for the commercial market. As an innovator in digital signage controller technology, BrightSign will provide BlueStar's VARs with a new portfolio of cutting-edge options for commercial signage customers across the globe.
According to 100 senior retail executives surveyed from industries such as apparel, grocery and department stores, 76% of retailers do not possess the technology tools or the business processes for executing web, catalog or special orders from stores.
As consumer expectations rise, so does the bar for retailers. The old academic adage “publish or perish” comes to mind. In this case, more aptly, “digitize or disappear.” Luckily, companies like BlueStar are ahead of the curve; perfectly positioned to respond to rising retailer needs.
Technology is pervading every aspect of our culture; causing a shift in the way we work, live... and shop. This is not speculation, but fact. This shift is changing consumer behaviors. Logic demads that as consumer behavior changes, so must the store.
If you liked this article, also try reading: Smartphone Shoppers Have Higher Expectations