In a world where online shopping is fast, easy and convenient, why would anyone still go to a store?
The answer is simple. People “love going out, shopping with people and touching stuff. Everybody likes going shopping,” says Mike Moriarty, a partner in the retail practice of consultant A.T. Kearney and an author of the firm’s recent omnichannel commerce study.1
95% of all retail sales are captured by retailers that have a brick-and-mortar presence, the study says. But – and this is a big caveat – only 35% of product purchases actually begin and end in-store. The ways we reach, sell and service customers are multiplying, and the technology behind them is exploding
Some customers gather information online before visiting a store. Others shop and purchase exclusively online. Some purchase online and pick up at the store. Others may visit a store to check out products and then order something with the help of a sales person utilizing the larger online inventory. The choice isn’t between physical or digital: it’s about offering both and integrating them effectively.
What those shopping habits mean to retail marketers is that the in-store customer experience has never been more important. “Consumers visit stores for more than just a purchase, and their expectations of retailers are higher than before. They’re looking for an informative, customized experience,” says research on shopping habits recently sponsored by Google.2
Effective digital signage creates just that experience. And it does so by delivering captivating and compelling information through the shopper’s entire journey – outside the store, inside the store, at the product and with store associates.
Consider a typical American 15-year-old – who, incidentally, prefers a physical store to shopping online, according to the Kearney study, and might have $5,000 or more to spend each year.3 Today, he’s looking for a new pair of straight-legged jeans.
Capturing attention outside
The shop window is the first opportunity to get that teenager to look up from his smartphone and enter the store. Outward-facing digital media can increase foot traffic, but content needs to be well-choreographed. Here, bold, brief spots (under 7 seconds) work best. Get it right, catch his eye with your latest slim-fit offering and in he walks.
Captivating the shopper inside
Once inside, he sees a large video wall with show-stopping photographs of young adults hanging out wearing the jeans he’s looking for. It makes an unforgettable first impression, delivering a “wow” experience and immersing our shopper in the brand. The more interesting and engaging the experience, the longer shoppers are in the store and the more likely they are to make a purchase. And traffic attracts traffic.
Providing information at the product
Thanks to the video wall setting the tone, our teenager imagines the fun he will have hanging with his friends this evening, quickly finds the jeans and tries them on. They fit great. He’s thinking, “Cool . . . I want two pairs, but different washes.” But they only have one kind in stock. So he finds a nearby touchscreen to see what else is available.
Touchscreens strategically located on the sales floor put the customer in control and help him decide what he wants to buy. For the retailer, they are an opportunity to deliver informative and compelling content personalized for the intended audience, at the intended moment, to drive sales.
Engaging with store associates – and making the sale
Arming associates with their own technology is becoming a critical component to dealing with informed consumers. Sales assist tablets turn associates into product experts who can convincingly talk with customers on the spot or display items the store doesn’t have space to carry. The sales process is faster and more convenient for customers, and retailers can increase conversion rates and build brand loyalty.
In this case, the sales associate sees our teenage shopper using the touchscreen. He has a question about the second pair of jeans, and she uses her tablet to answer it. He gives her the first pair to ring up and finishes buying the second pair right at the touchscreen. They’re shipped to his home before the weekend.
The results? The retailer has made not one, but two sales. Our shopper got what he wanted. And best of all, he leaves the store thinking he’ll come back the next time he needs new clothes.
With e-commerce the fastest-growing sector in retail, today’s brick-and-mortar stores can feel antiquated, especially for younger shoppers who grew up in the digital age. Savvy retailers understand that in-store digital tools offer an elevated experience that complements online purchasing.
But the ultimate goal of digital signage isn’t just to look and feel cool to your customers. Yes, great content, amazing interactivity and engaging technology are important. But you want customers to come back for another experience. You want to build relationships with your brand.
The point is to create results – which, in retail, mean sales. If the signage looks good and feels good, then the assumption is it must be working. As we said in a previous blog, that assumption is wrong. Digital signage needs to drive sales, and measuring and obtaining results is key. When that happens, digital signage moves from being a novelty to a critical value-add for the shopper and an indispensable tool for the retailer.
Interested in other ways digital signage can enhance the retail shopper’s experience?
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