Digital Signage: advertising becomes interactive

MANUEL ENRICO
16/04/2020
In brief
From led walls to intelligent stations, digital signage has moved beyond its initial status of window into the shop life, where it had an almost choreographic and purely informative role. The introduction of touch screens and advanced sensors have made digital signage an integral part of smart retailing.

Digital signage is an ever-present element of our daily lives, from road signs to advertising. This new communication modality is an offspring of the Internet of Things, an interconnected reality that allows to expand our perception of the physical world through the interaction with the digital counterpart of our existence.

By its nature, in fact, digital signage lends itself to being an ideal informative and communication tool. After abandoning the old paper media notions, the advent of new smart interactive technologies has proved to be a primary growth engine for digital signage, allowing moving beyond passive content and creating store areas which attract customers with targeted and dynamic personalised communication.

Digital Signage & Communication

Digital signage has become a driver and consequence of digital communication. With the transition from physical to digital management, and the possibility of managing content schedules offering customers a variety of services, digital signage becomes a key asset, part of the ongoing enhancement of the customer experience. Through a good content management strategy, the retailer can provide his customers with tailor-made information and increase the level of engagement directly at the point of sale. Due to its nature, digital signage lends itself to being much more than a simple advertising platform.

From led walls to intelligent stations, digital signage has moved beyond its initial status of window into the shop life, where it had an almost choreographic and purely informative role. The introduction of touch screens and advanced sensors have made digital signage an integral part of smart retailing.

DIGITAL SIGNAGE APPLICATIONS

Restricting digital signage to a simple promotional tool, means underestimating its incredible potentialities. Digital signage must be viewed as an element to be synergistically integrated within a seamless and modern costumer experience.

The first impact of digital signage is emotional. Through a carefully planned content management system, it is possible to attract customers, offering dynamic and effective communication, designed to stimulate curiosity and enable customer/retailer interaction.

In a digital age, digital signage represents an important communication channel between customer and retailer, becoming an active front-line player within the new dynamics of interpretation of commercial data. In fact, starting from what is an advertising approach, it is possible to take advantage of new findings that increase the interaction between customer and retailer.

DIGITAL SIGNAGE AND CUSTOMER ENGAGEMENT

Using dedicated devices, such as interactive totems or kiosk stands, digital signage offers the opportunity to develop new customer engagement strategies, thanks to a content offering that stimulates attention and build interaction with potential customers. The creation of custom-tailored content is one of the great challenges of the future of retail, given the need to provide stimuli that will prompt the customer to interact and generate, with his own responses, important feedbacks enabling retailers to detect and monitor the satisfaction of their target audience.

 TOWARDS A NEW SHOPPING EXPERIENCE

The interaction between customer and digital signage is an essential step towards an independent shopping experience. Through its integration with other systems (such as self-scanning and self-checkout), it is possible for the retailer to create a smart circuit in which the customer can live the shopping experience in a totally independent way, without the need of staff support. A potential that improves customer satisfaction and speeds up customer flow at the point of sale, with resultant increased efficiency and lower costs for the retailer.

This implies the need to have an intelligent content management that knows how to combine the informative intent with an entertainment base, capable of arousing the customer’s interest by making it part of an immersive interactive experience.

The central role of the Content Management System

How to take full advantage of digital signage? As mentioned, the ideal is to have a varied and attractive content schedule, capable of drawing the attention of the widest possible target audience. The creation of contents responding to this need requires a careful content management system, where the content is constructed in relation to the signage device on which it will be displayed.

The introduction of touch screens and the implementation of advanced technologies, such as proximity and facial recognition sensors, point to the need for contents that benefit from this greater interaction, converting the customer’s response into meaningful data that can be used by the retailer for advanced analysis.

In this sphere, marketers can consider digital signage as a valid asset. The old concept of passive signage has in fact given way to a more modern, interactive approach, in which the customer, through his own interactions, provides immediate feedbacks which can be converted into data to be analyzed for marketing purposes.

Digital Signage: What will the future hold?

The impact of digital signage in the next few years will be considerable, as confirmed by a study according to which the digital signage market is expected to soar to 31.71 billion USD by 2025 (source:ResearchAndMarket – “Digital Signage Market Size Analysis Report By Type, By Component, By Technology (LCD, LED, Projection), By Application, By Location, By Content Category, By Size, By Region, And Segment Forecasts, 2019 – 2025”). And one of the sectors most affected by this growth is the retail industry.

This growth is combined with a rapid and previously inconceivabletechnological progress. Functions such as adaptive AI and machine learning represent the future of the customer/digital signage interaction, giving rise to a more interactive dialogue, in which the software can interpret customer feedbacks and rapidly and precisely generate new stimuli and suggestions.

STORYTELLING AND DIGITAL SIGNAGE

This digital signage evolution does not just rely on technical, but also extends to the storytelling. Starting from the use of different surfaces offering different approaches, up to the creation of creative paths in which the customer is guided in his shopping journey, the digital signage of the future is an interactive experience which, based on a careful analysis of customer reactions, develops new sensory stimuli to attract and engage, adding an element of entertainment to the information function, with a strong emotional appeal for the customer

The future of retail is linked to the evolution of digital signage, no longer a simple shop window but a door through which inspire and invite the customer to experience your store in a new and interactive way.

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