What are you looking at?

Michele Caprini
16/07/2021
In brief
Tracking the customer journey allows real-time visual communication updates, which in turn change the customer journey and create new shopping experiences. Basically, nothing very different from the typical behaviours that are engaged in an e-commerce site. The convergence between web communication, cloud schedules and social media with local communication will govern digital signage systems in stores.

I’m going shopping, let me look at the flyer.” A fact taken for granted by large-scale retail chains, to the point that the flyer was for a long time the most classic of digital signage representations inside a supermarket. We have passed the time when digital signage was isolated to static screens hanging from a ceiling or attached to a wall plugged into a power supply, and kiosks which in turn served as an attractive form of passive communication. Today’s distribution companies aim at increasingly sophisticated and personalized content, as an integral part of a customer experience that differentiates in today’s digital world.

The phenomenon is already too big to ignore as it provides the dynamic, immersive experience customers are seeking today. The global market for interactive kiosks will be worth $33 billion by 2025, compared to $24 billion in 2019, and retail will be the sector that will most resort to this technology.

Nowadays customers interact with technology on a daily basis, and this is where digital signage comes in. According to Digital Signage Market estimates, the value of the global market is expected to reach $16 billion as early as 2021 and to grow to $28 billion by 2026, with a CAGR of 11.2%.

Immediacy

The ultimate goal for those involved in the promotion in the store is to have consumers ready to receive messages and act accordingly. It is therefore necessary to use more personalized and relevant content capable of capturing the immediate interest of a potential customer.

Signage at the point of sale also has in itself a huge potential for interactive mobile communication, useful for obtaining relevant information that can be used immediately by the visitor in his purchase journey while this happens.

Deploying digital displays, which involve a much greater emotional contact than static media, in strategic locations of a supermarket is part of a customer experience that encourages impulse purchases that have always been typical of food sales. Large retail chains like Walgreens, for example, have chosen coolers that include digital displays instead of ordinary clear glass doors. The new devices show promotions, automatically exclude the option of goods out of stock, convey commercial messages and publish information consistent with the sales and communication models adopted on the website and on social media.

Diversity

The adoption of digital signage systems meets three simple and fundamental needs: capture the attention of customers, effectively publicize products and promotions and, of course, maximize sales.

For the most innovative brands, the availability of bright, high-definition digital displays and a robust network infrastructure are the physical preconditions for delivering relevant content. However, the management and dissemination of such content can achieve different goals, depending on the point of sale concerned, and consequently the communication to the customer needs to be applied in different ways.

In order to distribute any content in the manner and in the time desired and build a constant flow of ad revenues, the most important means to have available is a system of programming the schedule in a simple, fast and intuitive way. What console is required for managing these activities? Any fixed or mobile device which can be used with the same immediacy of a post on Facebook or Instagram.

Interactivity

The content which the customer can look at is the factor that determines the actual advantage obtainable from digital signage, produced independently for a typically local proposal or, at the same time, externally for new and broader orientations that the own audience can look at. Cloud-based digital signage solutions, for example, are an effective way to achieve the desired results, saving time and resources. This eliminates part of the production costs, and maintenance and updates are not borne by the user but by the service provider.

In an advanced digital signage system it is possible to obtain valuable inputs from customers, process them and accordingly define the most appropriate communications, at the most appropriate time. Tracking the customer journey facilitates timely communication, which in turn changes the customer journey and the overall customer experience at the point of sale. Thinking about it, nothing very different from the typical behaviours on an e-commerce site.

Convergence

Ultimately, the most important aspect to look at is precisely the convergence of web communication and local communication conveyed by digital signage systems. Social media will be the most relevant aspect of this convergence by transferring the content produced for advertising and communication by brands and retailers into the specific promotion of the store and its offerings. The goal remains always the same: entertain and inform its audience with promotions, instant messaging, advertising, interactive catalogues, feeds, streaming videos and any other similar formats. In short, the digital signage of experience to be done while this is already being done.

Thus, digital signage will be characterized by the progressive evolution of communication, from the different channels used up to now towards new, coherent and flexible proposals, in an online context and in a participatory manner on the part of the customer. This is one of the steps envisaged and required for removing the barriers between physical and digital experiences.