Retailers may have differing opinions on how to survive a pandemic, but one point is not up for debate: the customer remains the end-all, be-all. Shoppers still have a bevy of retail options to choose from, so why would they frequent your store or restaurant?
Smart retailers leave little room for critique. Even in the midst of the pandemic, our State of Consumer Behavior 2021report found that consumers felt over 30% of brands had improved their in-store customer experience over the past 12 months.
These retailers are finding ways to entice the passer-by into their store or restaurant, and they keep a firm grasp on the customer’s attention that leaves the customer relishing their return to the business.
When deployed intelligently, digital signage can be a key piece of a retailer’s in-location experience strategy. Effective digital signage is not a gimmick, and unlike sales that can give off vibes of desperation, effective digital signage can enhance the perception of a brand rather than diminish it.
The ultimate goal of digital signage is to make the most of the in-location customer experience.
Digital signage creates connections with customers
So much of what is plaguing individuals during the pandemic stems from a lack of connection. People have been disconnected from their normal routines, their social groups, and communities. To re-establish a greater feeling of connectedness is to give Americans something that they have been dearly missing.
Even the smallest connection matters. If something displayed on a digital sign sparks some sort of emotional or logical connection in a customer, it matters.
Certain features of digital signage work to create connections with customers beyond what can be imparted through the products being sold or services being rendered in a given retail location. These connections may play a significant role in customers returning to the in-store experience rather than ordering items or arranging services online.
1. Digital signage is interactive
Acknowledgment is key to connection. By acknowledging someone, you recognize their existence and impart a level of importance on them.
With its potential for interactivity, digital signage allows retailers to acknowledge that their customer is unique. Customers can touch and interact with a screen, view personalized content, and be informed in ways that reflect their preferences. This is a connection between retailer and customer, with the digital sign as the intermediary.
Ask yourself: how much more memorable is the experience of seeing, touching, and interacting with a sign rather than simply peering at a static sign for a few seconds?
Retailers who can customize their digital signage to foster greater customer engagement necessarily create a more memorable customer experience.
2. Digital signage allows retailers to better serve their customers
A static sign does not tell a true story. A store or restaurant owner can put up a billboard or new static sign, but it is difficult to gauge the true impact that the sign has on customer acquisition and retention.
Digital signage doesn’t lie. Retailers can understand how customers are interacting with a digital sign, and glean information from those interactions. It may indicate which items regularly catch customers’ eyes, and which tend to be skipped over as customers browse.
McKinsey explains that organizations that are able to use customer-provided insights outperform their competitors by 85% in terms of sales growth. In-store retailers can learn more about their customers through digital, interactive signage than through less cutting-edge signage. They can use what they learn from customer interactions to better serve their customer base—effective digital signage is a win-win for retailers and customers.
3. Digital signage can make it easier to buy
The retail experience is not limited to aesthetics. Feeling is important, but the ability for a customer to find something they want and purchase that good or service is arguably the most important aspect of any retail operation.
Digital signage can make it easier for customers to navigate a store, find what they are looking for (even if they didn’t know they were looking for it), and checkout. Making this process as seamless as possible can only increase the odds that a customer leaves the store happy, the retailer secures a sale, and that the customer returns in the future.
Retailers can integrate digital signage into their conversion strategy by:
– Directing customers to the location of items within a store.
– Providing details about specific items
– Alerting customers to special deals
– Allowing customers to self-checkout if they so desire
Retailers must never give customers an excuse to walk out of the store frustrated, and without making a purchase that they would have if only the process was easier. Digital signage can be an invaluable addendum to human employees, particularly during a time when staffing shortages could lead to lost sales.
Take the time to maximize digital signage
The value of digital signage can vary from one business to another. The way that a high-end clothing store deploys its digital signage may not mirror the way that a taco shop or animal grooming service uses theirs.
There is no doubt that digital signage has a place in every business. Figuring out the way to make the most of digital signage may be a matter of time and data. The more time that a retailer has to fine-tune their digital signage, the more data they will have about how customers interact with their signage. In time, they will figure out how to provide the most value to their customers through their digital signage.
Whether it is providing an alternate means of checking out, displaying deals, or coming up with a completely new way to use digital signage, retailers can use digital signage to connect more deeply with those who frequent their stores.
Bobby is the CEO of Raydiant, a digital signage provider that helps businesses turn their TVs into interactive signs that drive sales, improve the in-store experience, and reinforce brand messaging. Prior to joining Raydiant, Bobby served as the COO of Revel Systems where he worked on the front lines with over 25,000 brick and mortar retailers.
Bobby has held leadership positions including CEO, CRO, and VP of Sales at companies such as Highfive, Limos.com, EVO2, Verizon Wireless, LookSmart, ServerPlex Networks, and Sprint/Nextel. When Bobby’s not spending his time thinking about the future of brick and mortar retail, you can find him traveling, reading, or tending to his vegetable garden.