Digitally Connected Display Screens Are a Sign of the Times
Consumers are accustomed to seeing large display screens in retail stores, but those screens are rapidly evolving to not only provide supplemental information on products but also to predict what products a particular shopper might want to buy.
In North America, retailers are taking advantage of the benefits of Internet of Things technology by implementing solutions that help them monitor and interpret their shoppers’ behavior. In-store contextual marketing is gaining popularity as retailers aim to capture continuous, real-time streams of data. That information comes from mobile devices, online customer activity, in-store Wi-Fi routers/beacons as well as video cameras. Acting on the intelligence that information provides can result in an omnichannel experience for customers in which e-commerce and traditional retailers are interested.
Digital signage initially was a one-way street: Stores pushed out information on merchandise to all shoppers. Today’s technology lets retailers be far more discriminating: Content can be tailored and can change depending on the customer viewing the display. The display itself can be equipped with sensors that can detect the height or even facial characteristics of a passerby, and deliver customized information. Such real-time adaptation can maximize a retailer’s potential profit.
According to the International Data Corp., the use of digital signage in retail outlets will increase to $27.5 billion in 2018 from $6 billion in 2013. That’s a 35.7 percent five-year compound annual growth rate. And it underscores the important role digital screens can play in the customer experience.
No longer are screens glorified televisions, relegated to keeping customers entertained while standing on checkout lines. Today’s screens can be programmed with content selected and even created by the retailer. Grocers wanting to beef up sales of steak can program content showing barbecue recipes. But even more than that, beacon technology can be integrated into an IoT signage system, providing retailers the means of offering customers discounts and product information that can be displayed. Signage can even tell what areas are “hot” in a particular store and through the use of heat-mapping technology, can upsell items based on those identified high-traffic areas.
In addition, signage is becoming more interactive. Touchscreen navigation can provide customers with relevant and personalized content, the ability to check inventory, or speak with an associate using video conferencing. Connecting to social networks and displaying customer’s posts is another way of connecting with customers, particularly Millennials.
Digital Signage Today reported that, according to InfoTrends, digital signage has increased brand awareness by 47.7 percent, purchase amount by 29.5 percent, sales volumes by 31.8 percent, repeat buyers by 32.8 percent, and in-store traffic by 32.8 percent. Around the world, retailers are discovering the many uses of digital signage, and the advantage of connecting the technology to the Internet of Things. The content fills a void in situations in which salespeople are unavailable. Signage is a piece of the IoT puzzle for retailers, and it can be used as a helpful tool to provide the service and extraordinary experience customers crave.
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