We asked Sarah Allen, Senior Marketing Executive from Aquire Digital, a few questions about digital signage in the retail sector and how they are providing innovative digital displays.
1) What types of digital display do you typically supply to the retail industry?
We develop and supply solutions such as, digital menu boards, digital point of sale, interactive kiosks, Wayfinder solutions, and virtual receptionists which are commonly used on digital displays such as touch-screens, kiosks, flat screens or video walls.
2) What are the new technologies that you feel will be used in retail in 2013?
Over the last few years we have witnessed a huge increase in the demand for more innovative and interactive solutions for retail environments. This can be attributed to the advances in technology and the ever growing competition with online retailers. More and more consumers are shopping on-line where queues are thing of the past, so a lot of retailers are implementing a queue management system which helps entertain waiting customers as well as manage queues through the ‘Call forward’ system. Customers take a ticket and then wait until the next cashier becomes available.
Because consumers are very tech-savvy these days, many customers have almost come to expect a certain element of digital in their shopping experience. for example accessing product information on a touch screen or seeing promotions being displayed on digital boards. Many retailers have started to implement this and it is proving to be successful at increasing dwell time in shops and increasing engagement between brands and customers.
The latest technologies that we have started to use is Near Field Communication (NFC), Interactivity, audience recognition and GPS location based advertising in a bid to maximise interaction between retail brands and their consumers.
3) How do you measure ROI on digital signage?
Many digital solutions that we design and implement grow from a desire to increase interactivity and engagement or to add value to the in-store customer experience. It is therefore difficult to report on tangible, monetary ROI in relation to these objectives. However, it is important to highlight the benefits of providing a service to customers that is unique, memorable and one that adds to the unrivalled experience of dealing with your business.
There is also the investment element of installation in digital systems. The messaging and campaigns on digital displays can be changed at any time remotely so the cost associated with printing posters, distributing them and installation is reduced. Instead, digital allows you to update artwork/content and deploy in to an unlimited amount of stores world-wide in a push of button.
Our software will also measure how many views it has received which can also record audience age and gender for those who require specific monetary return on investment.
Many organisations have reported that the installation of self-service kiosks or digital displays has helped to save staff’s valuable time and therefore money. Kiosks and displays that help customers locate places and products, or allow them to book onto activities in a leisure park, for example, eliminate the need for staff to be on hand to do this for them.
4) How does the interactiveness of an application impact on sales?
Interaction between brands and consumers is hugely important and cannot be underestimated. Consumers are tech-savvy these days and hand held devices such as tablets and iPhones means that retail outlets are competing against the online world, where prices comparisons can be made easily, orders can be made instantly and customers generally serve themselves.
Interaction provides this autonomy whether it is serving yourself, locating things for yourself or just generally browsing at leisure. Interaction is still regarding by most as being innovative and consumers like to see brands align themselves with innovation and technology as it means that they are cutting-edge and forward thinking.
5) What typically is the life cycle of a digital project?
Hardware, such as TVs, monitors, computers will eventually become obsolete and can break so we always advise to check the manufacture warranty. However, software or the Content Management systems that we build are a little different. We continually assess and develop the technology that we provide so that our solutions remain cutting-edge, fresh and innovative. All of our software packages are continually being upgrades and upgrades can be made automatically over the internet. The great thing about working with digital is that changes can be made remotely and as often as you like meaning that solutions don’t really have a life-cycle because tweaks, or even larger developments can be made remotely.
Software as a whole is an invaluable investment for advertisers and communication managers due to the ease of making future up-grades and the adaptability of software. Software unlike anything else is virtually future proof and can be continually developed to satisfy client needs and objectives without the potential risks of a lengthy and expensive overhaul of existing software systems.
6) In your opinion what will the next big thing in digital signage for retailers?
Near field Communication is definitely one to look out for but I personally think that NFC is a bit of fad, much like the QR code scanning. What I think will really become big is the ability to integrate social media profiles into the real world. For example, retailers that have a twitter account could allow customers to Tweet to that account, to generally send comments, recommendations and feedback. Shops can actually display their ‘Tweets’ in store to allow their customers to see their ‘Tweets’ on the big screen.
To view an article recently written by Sarah Allen called 'Bringing the Online Experience Instore' please click here: http://www.acquiredigital.com/NewsStory/onlineinstore