McKinsey’s post-GFC advice to retailers has stood the test of time: “Retailers should bear in mind that the least effective thing to do during a downturn is to simply ‘hunker down’ and ‘weather the storm.” (The McKinsey Quarterly, September 2008).
Taking decisive action to improve store performance is surely even more a necessity in these times of retail turmoil. Whilst many retailers’ first reaction is simply to cut spending, periods during which consumers are actively altering their purchasing behaviours actually provide opportunities for savvy retailers to influence new decisions being made about what to buy and when.
This is the time to identify investments that can deliver business improvements by retaining customers, acquiring customers or maximizing basket size. If cost reduction can be achieved in addition to these aims, even better.
With so much technology now at our disposal, it’s almost a universal truth that there is always a better way to do things. Retailers must look for performance-enhancing investments in technology that’s been proven ROI effective for other retailers….in other words find out what works and then apply it.
A good example is digital signage, which is a now inappropriate description for in-store screen-based media; offering the magic combination of increasing sales conversions and reducing operating expense whilst being built on proven technology that is simple to deploy, this is a classic case of technology maturing to the point where it’s becomes a no-brainer. Improvements in content management and distribution technology, as well as reductions in hardware costs make the case for digital signage more compelling daily.
Yes, there are capital requirements in deploying a digital signage network but the upsides are many so let’s have a look at nine benefits:
1. Wham bam, the shopping experience comes alive. New shoppers are afflicted with ADD – analogue deficit disorder. They use screens for information, for education, for entertainment. They live for video. They love music. They demand experience. And you’re still laser printing little A4 product descriptions and slipping them into perspex stands? Here’s a secret: Toyota dealers are!
2. Increasing basket size. There’s now mountains of data now which shows the effectiveness of in-store signage. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, after all think of the billions that have been spent on point-of-sale material over the last century…well this is just better PoS with the added benefit that screen-fed customers like it and respond to it. In a Nielsen survey of 1,000 shoppers, amongst those who had seen digital signage at retail, 42% said they would rather shop at a store with video displays, 68% of respondents said in-store messages would sway their purchasing decisions and 77% said it was a useful way to learn about products. Another report by Arbitron Research found that of those shoppers who have seen in-store TV, almost 30% made an unplanned purchase as a result. Retail case studies showing sales uplift of 10% on promoted products are common and major deployment stores have recorded average sales increases as high as 25% across advertised products (eg Sainsbury’s Convenience Stores, UK).
3. Maximizing average transaction. In-store digital media provides a dynamic way to highlight product stories, upselling and suggesting add-on sales. If sales staff are hard to find, providing compelling information might make the difference between a sale and a walk-out.
4. More efficient PoS at reduced cost. It seems crazy in this age to be cutting down trees, shipping the paper around the world, printing toxic inks onto it, road freighting it to all the stores, hoping the staff displays it correctly, then hoping they remove it at the appropriate time, paying them for their time to do both and finally throwing it in the bin! A screen doesn’t just replace a poster, it provides multiple messages along with movement and if you want sound. Digital signage content management provides real-time control of in-store marketing on a site-by-site or hour-by-hour basis if required. It allows retailers to react to market conditions, competitor offers, day parts, stock levels and more, changing messaging on a dime without waiting for printed material to be produced and delivered or worrying about store compliance. It makes localised offers, information and pricing easy.
5. Improved yield from major media campaigns. So you spent millions getting into people’s homes via TVCs, online banners and video… only to have them arrive at the store with – and this is well established through research – no purchase preferences in mind! In order to maximize your marketing spend it’s critical that you support it in-store, and what better way to drive those video-based ad campaigns right through to point-of-purchase than by using…a video-based medium. No, you shouldn’t simply play your TVC in store, but you should most certainly repurpose the same key images and concepts to reinforce them and drive them home…to the cash register.
6. Promoting new forms of engagement. Got a shopping app? Looking for Facebook engagement? Tell people about it in-store using the appropriate technology medium – screens.
7. Increasing ROI from ‘soft’ marketing initiatives. Sponsorships, Corporate Social Responsibility programs, community support initiatives – these are all great to strengthen the bond with customers but in times when few can afford to promote such initiatives in the broader media, how do customers get to hear about them? In-store digital media provides an engaging platform to convey this sort of information especially where dwell time is longer.
8. Revenue from 3rd parties. Even if you prefer not to open up your environment to third party messages of questionable relevance to your own offering, you may still be prepared to display messaging by the brands you carry, and to maintain relevance to your own brand the medium could be used for joint promotions. You could leverage supplier terms of trade or co-op funds by offering screen time. Get creative.
9. Interactive platform extension. Here’s where digital signage technology has gotten sexy in recent years…in some cases the same content management system that runs the screens is now also driving touchscreen information and ordering kiosks, offering social media checkins and sharing tools, managing PoS displays, capturing customer data, counting traffic, intersecting with mobiles and more.
Digital signage has come of age. Hardware costs are down and retailers can deploy reliable in-store digital media to more effectively engage with digitally savvy, screen-fed customers in their language AND make the store a more interesting, dynamic place.
Permission has deep experience in developing content and strategy for digital signage deployments, and can bring a range of technology partners to your table.
If you are interested in digital signage for your business contact us on 1800 737 266 or [email protected] to see how we can help you achieve your goals.