The way that companies present themselves to their customers has undergone a dramatic revolution in recent years. In addition to building online identities and interacting directly with customers through social media, many retailers have taken advantage of digital signage to change the way that they interact with their customers in the real world. The in-store experience remains an essential part of retail despite the growing importance of online sales, and digital signs have enabled businesses to make the most of this interaction.
Conventional retail signage helped retailers to build a recognizable brand identity and to provide information to their customers. People could be directed into and around the shop, or given information about products and promotions. However, traditional static signs were limited in what they could say and how often they could be changed. Digital signs offer a more flexible, adaptable alternative. When digital signs were first introduced, businesses tended to use them in a conservative manner, simply as replacements for more traditional signs. Digital signs were simply replicating what printed signs could do and were not living up to their full potential. Some retailers did make use of the fact that digital signs could be updated more frequently, or even adapted to the location and time of day, but this was hardly revolutionary.
The real revolution of signage has occurred in the last few years, as the cost of digital signs has dropped and companies have become more adventurous. Interactive digital signs can be incorporated into retail and exhibition designs in a range of different ways in order to engage passers by through mobile devices, social media and direct interaction. The impact of digital signs can hit the customer as soon as they walk past or enter the store and a welcome greeting is offered. It continues as they browse through the store, with screens providing help finding particular items and ideas about what else might be of interest. Digital signs can be used to display products that can’t be seen in the shop. They can provide targeted recommendations to customers who engage by scanning their customer loyalty card or interacting through their mobile device. The screens can also make it easier for customers to find the items, sizes, and colours that they want, and to help them to make their purchase quickly. Endless aisle kiosks can showcase the whole range, while digital endcaps or shelf-edge displays can be used to highlight particular items and entice customers to look around the store. The customer can access additional information, or be connected to expert advice, through a screen, or be entertained while they are queuing or waiting for a service to be performed.
Creating a personalised experience and building a strong bond between the brand and its customers have become important goals when companies work with a retail design agency. The value of a customer who becomes a fan of the brand is huge. Happy, loyal fans will write good reviews online, spread the word about their favourite products and shops through their social media accounts, and keep returning to buy more. The way to create these types of fans is to provide targeted messages, personalized and exclusive experiences, and a relationship that shows the customer how much they are valued. Digital signage can be used to accomplish all this, while also helping make it easier for customers to find and buy what they want.
About the Author
Reno Macri is a founder and director of Enigma Visual Solutions Ltd, a leading exhibition design company in the UK. It specialises in providing exhibition services like stand design & build, conference set design, event branding, retail signage design, pop up shop, office branding, graphic production and much more. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends.