The shopping habits of today’s consumers have changed; retailers must be able to provide the product information they want through one or more of the marketing channels they may frequent — and all of those communications must be consistent with the physical in-store experience. That means new merchandising tactics are being embraced by industry leaders who are turning to digital signage to enhance the shopper experience and achieve competitive differentiation.
For many brands and retailers, the way to do this is through increased use of digital signage. Simply put, it allows retailers to create a sense of relevance and personal connection within physical retail environments by leveraging online, mobile and social capabilities, while providing a flexible format for messaging, which can be changed to showcase promotional or seasonal specials. Digital signage, literally digital communications networks employed throughout the physical store, enable retailers to create more personalized experiences, transcend physical store design limitations and connect shoppers’ channel journey.
Nowhere is this more evident than in the United Kingdom where several brand and retailer initiatives stand out as examples of digital signage done right.
Create a more personalize experience
Topman, which has 175 stores worldwide, and as a subsidiary of Topshop, offers men’s clothing exclusively, recently collaborated with YrStore to create an innovative approach to designing your own T-shirt. Within Topman’s Oxford Street store customers can design their own one-off t-shirt and have it digitally printed in-store. Located in the store are a series of interactive “touch-pods” that provide the customer with tools allowing them to select from a variety of artistic elements to create a unique shirt in only a few minutes.
Transcend physical store design limitations
There are limitations to the physical environment and those restraints tend to stifle the imagination of most retail designers. How do you create the illusion of a larger store or at the very least deliver a dynamic visual experience? Recently Adidas launched a new store concept inside the Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent, U.K., that features a dynamic digital experience. The sights and sounds of a sports stadium inspired the design behind the retail store. As customers enter the store through a stadium like tunnel they are greeted by an array of football jerseys from around the world and surround sound audio of fans cheering. One of the key features of the store is the Adidas Shoebase, which is designed to help the customers find the right fit and design of a sports shoe for them. Within the space are a series of interactive display tables integrated within a bar, which allows the visitor to quickly browse Adidas apparel. The store combines the attributes of using digital signage to emphasize the visual of a sports arena and helps to deliver the ability to showcase product that the store may not have in inventory at the moment.
Connect the “channel” journey
Retailers tend to either be great at delivering an innovative on-line shopping or an unforgettable in-store experience but never both. It has always been a challenge amongst retailers to create a seamless shopping experience that leads the consumer to the store. In late 2013 Argos, a U.K.-based home and general merchandise retailer unveiled their first of six digital concept stores at Old Street in London. The store includes a 60-second Fast Track collection service for items ordered and paid for online or via mobile, a series of self-service iPads for shoppers to browse products and a series of dynamic digital displays which are used to replace static point of purchase merchandising. The store concept reinforces the premise of using digital signage to create a fast and digitally enabled shopping journey as well as creating a universally appealing environment.
Temporally mind the gap between digital experience and physical design, as it will be only a matter of time before the two are commonly combined in future stores. According to a recent study (published online via I Am OmniChannel) 73% of customers prefer personalized shopping experiences and interestingly enough most store associate have two minutes to engage a customer or half of them will leave the store. As new generations of shoppers emerge and retailers learn more about digital signage and it’s limitless impact on the store experience you will start to see more digital experiences emerge to satisfy the personal attention many consumers ask for.
Digital engagement should be memorable
Thomson, a U.K.-based holiday services agency developed a next generation store that provides a memorable customer experience by fusing together technology and design. The concept store, located in the Bluewater Shopping center in Kent welcomes their customer via an interactive map at the entrance as well as a series of interactive tables to help them research their plans. The new concept is helping to enhance the store by allowing the customer to control the planning behind their next holiday and delivering rich imagery that plays on their senses to make a decision.