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Go Digital!

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Digital merchandising and signage are becoming the cornerstones for viable retail operations. And in 2015, digital representation became more and more prevalent.

“In human DNA, we are engineered to react to motion,” says Kevin Goldsmith, communication director at Ping HD, a company that provides digital strategies for industries ranging from sports and entertainment to retail and health care. “So to move from a static printed poster to something digital with movement is going to capture people’s attention.”

And this digital technology is creating a unique and favorable in-store experience, which is engaging customers at a new and important level.

Digital screens provide timely information that not only entertain, but also inform and educate. They can help consumers decide to buy a product they’re unfamiliar with, based on how they’re used and the benefits derived from their use.

Digital can evoke emotion and ambience by telling a story. It can connect products to shoppers’ own memories or desires, for instance by placing a screen in a furniture store that plays a video of a family sitting by a fireplace. Many stores already carry Christmas trees and holiday decorations—this would just expand the possibilities to include videos of people with whom a buyer might identify.

When a product is new or deals with something complicated—like, perhaps home repair—digital displays can provide valuable, onsite content marketing.

For example, Home Depot uses a digital display in the appliance section, which features a 46-inch screen as an extension of HomeDepot.com. Customers can explore thousands of products in different materials and sizes that the store can’t stock, through this kind of big imagery and immersive touch and drag interface.

Because of this store “extension,” Home Depot can create transactions, from credit card validation and receipt, to delivery. This is more than just mobile or laptop devices that captures orders; this is a complete in-store digital experience that draws people in, instills confidence in buying, and builds excitement around product offerings. Additionally, the experience salvages sales, as it can cut down on the number of people exiting the store because it didn’t stock the item they were looking for.

Whole Foods is starting to use digital signage to help shoppers discover food, beer and wine that matches their tastes, but which they may never have tried before. They’re not just offering food; they’re actively helping shoppers expand their horizons and choose food or wine for parties as part of the shopping experience.

There are other digital applications, which focus on shopper behavior. In a shopping mall, for example, in-venue digital can augment a large physical map with a digital experience that not only resolves navigation issues for customers, but can also manifest itself in potential sales for the mall.  When a digital display delivers targeted messaging to a passing shopper about a sale at a store they hadn’t planned on visiting, that shopper receives an enhanced experience and valuable message. The value of this experience grows for the mall/store as the customer is now more likely to return since they got something extra that day.

Other ways digital experiences can increase your sales and ROI:

* Use your online sales to create an in-store digital catalog that takes elements from your website, and makes them relevant to your store environment.

* Know your customer, so you can provide a personally relevant experience.

* Maximize sales in-store and offer upsells.

* Entertain your customers to encourage them to stay in the store.

* Promote new products.

* Use day-parting to reflect and focus on the changing mood and demographics that occur in your store during the course of the day.

With the holidays approaching, retailers need to get smarter about how to maximize sales and turn one-time Christmas shoppers into life-long customers. With online sales eating into brick-and-mortar’s bottom line, the holiday shopping period isn’t just about short-term sales. With an abundance of digital choices, retailers have the resources to deliver a content-rich “only-here shopping experience” vs. a fragmented, untargeted amorphous experience.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers, omni-channel,
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