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31 Jan - 03 Feb 2023

The retail evolution is set to continue

Offline and online activity combine to create a single user experience

As shoppers return to malls and high streets retailers look to provide unique, interactive, and frictionless experiences that tie in with digital offerings to attract customers back into their stores.

Scott Pickus, marketing manager at display manufacturer DynaScan Technology, says, “We see a sustained demand for window displays in retail. The aim has not changed – it is still about getting the customer inside the store – but the pressure to have live displays in widows is increasing post-Covid.”

To entice people into stores, retailers are choosing to offer multiple interactions and touchpoints to enhance the customer journey, with digital signage and eye-catching displays playing a prominent role for many.

Small Signage in a big way

Small Signage in a big way

Pickus adds: “Window-facing digital signage is one of the most effective and economical ways to bring visitors back inside stores by enabling retailers to communicate and update the public instantly on new promotions, sales and trends. This is exceptionally helpful in industries such as fast fashion, where styles are being changed out continuously, and restaurants, where new menu additions and daily specials can be visually displayed.”

One example of this in action is furniture retailer Ikea’s Vienna downtown concept. The store features extensive digital signage, kiosk terminals, full app integration, a hotel, restaurant, and roof terrace to provide a completely new shopping experience.
Of particular interest is the digitisation of the customer journey and the role of digital touchpoints in the store. Well over 100 displays have been installed across the store’s five floors to bridge stationary retail on limited space with ecommerce. The majority of the touchpoints are digital posters designed to provide both product inspiration and product information. The restaurants now feature self-order kiosks similar to QSR restaurant chains. Relatively new to Ikea are shop windows and check-out zones on all floors, all designed to engage, entertain, and inform customers.

Displays bring dynamism to product presentation

Displays bring dynamism to product presentation

Creating a consistent and personalised shopper experience across physical and digital stores continues to be a challenge, but AV is providing a solution. Toni Viñals, CEO at nsign.tv adds: “AV systems are being used for a wide variety of functions that allow consumers to experiment with products and obtain personalised information as well as access to promotions and products with special prices in a visually powerful way. From ‘click and collect’ screens to ‘lift and learn’ experiences or interaction with touchscreens to navigate the retailer’s website and choose the desired product for immediate purchase at the stores, all are positive experiences facilitated by AV systems.”

Pickus agrees: “A digital medium allows retailers to match the speed of their in-store advertisements with those of their online shopping platform. Data collected from online engagement can even be applied to tailor in-store messaging and content based on online trends and demand.

“From lift-and-learn POP displays to interactive mirrors to digital mannequins, AV is providing retailers with powerful new tools to engage customers and augment the traditional in-store shopping experience with digital elements to bridge the gap with online storefronts and give shoppers an incentive to shop in-store.”

Looking ahead and the future looks positive for this sector, as Viñals explains: “We keep seeing an increase of digitalisation processes from small to large retailers. In 5 to 10 years each store and business will have screens to inform, communicate or interact with its customers, employees, and visitors. We have an amazing future in front of us.

“The coexistence of in-store digital systems (brands and retailers) will continue to be market trends with the aim that the offline and online experience of consumers are co-ordinated as a single user experience.”

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