By Alan C. Brawn CTS, DSCE, ISF, ISF-C
Suffice it to say, we live in the digital age… and the window to the world of digital is a display screen. A recent newspaper article pointed out that we spend an average of 8 hours per day in front of one type of screen or another per day! Digital Signage Magazine points out that over 70% of the population of the country is exposed to digital signage in one form or another every day. What we see has a profound effect on what we do. Nowhere is this better illustrated than in retail stores during the holiday buying experience.
Some will be quick to comment that the brick and mortar retail stores are waning, being supplanted with online buying… and as such, will have less influence on us. Not so fast! According to a recent Pew Research study, online buying is growing at 17% per year. It also shows that 80% of Americans do some online buying and 15% shop online weekly… but 94% of retail sales still take place in stores, and over 65% prefer the tactile feel of traditional in-store shopping.
While it is certainly convenient to jump on your laptop or smartphone and order online, there are things that cannot be conveyed with an online transaction. Surveys taken in shopping malls across the country show that the reasons people like the brick and mortar experience are common among the majority of the respondents. To the first order, it was the ability to “try and buy” that stood out the most. Buyers want to see, touch and feel the quality of the goods for themselves. Secondly, the research showed that the instant gratification of being able to walk out of the store with an item contributed to the positive buying experience. Next was the ability to speak directly to a human being. It was more personal. There was a human connection. The online buying equivalent of this is the little pop up that says, “Let’s chat!” but it is not nearly the same. What stood out in the surveys under the “additional comments to share” section was the social aspect of shopping in a store or a mall. In simple terms, it was the overall experience that drove them to the store or mall, and not just order online
The experience is where digital signage comes into play. All the standard benefits apply. You can manage an entire network and change ads at the drop of a hat. You can day-part your messages to meet and greet the viewer at the proper time of day. The list could go on and on, but the biggest benefit of digital signage (especially in retail) is enhancing the experience to draw in the customer. Advertising is based on impressions, begging the question as to whether the sign was noticed or not. Impressions alone don’t go nearly far enough. Digital signage, properly deployed with creative content, engages the viewer and their buying sense in a unique way and makes the message memorable. When you turn your head or walk down the aisle, you will recall what was being presented. If the call to action was strong enough, you will act upon it. The buyer has been converted from a viewer to a participant.
Digital signage allows you to not only capture the attention of your customers but most importantly, interact with them. Understand that it is the onset of movement in a digital sign that commands attention. Running multiple in-store advertisements can help build a brand and encourages customers to purchase more products. By adding interactivity to your signs, you can engage directly with a customer, but you can also use the information to analyze the responses to your advertising. You can even add social media participation by having customers post a picture of them doing something in your store. By thinking outside the box, you can generate exciting structures to further engage with your customers at your store using digital signage.
According to a FedEx “What’s Your Sign?” survey, 76% of consumers have visited a store because of its signage while 68% purchased a product because a sign caught their eye. With numbers like that, it’s obvious that digital signage can convert potential customers into paying customers. With impressive engagement statistics like this, there’s no denying that digital signage is the future of retail marketing.