With advancements in technology, retailers are increasingly looking to utilise state-of-the-art digital signage to create an omnichannel experience for consumers. But what are the secrets to effective digital signage?
While digital signage has been an essential part of retailing for more than a decade, it’s over the past 6 years that retailers have really shifted their focus to going digital in-store, according to Cameron Hanns, founder of Entwined Solutions.
As the uptake of digital technology snowballs, retailers are increasingly looking for ways to use innovations in digital signage to improve the user experience, he says.
From product information to wayfinding, click and collect kiosks, interactive video walls and more, digital signage is being used in new and experimental ways by retailers to give shoppers a positive experience, according to Mr Hanns.
“Retailers are increasingly focused on how they re- engage customers instore. The interest in digital signage hasn’t happened overnight; retailers have been moving toward digital in an effort to keep customers engaged through unique experiences that reflect the flexibility of online,” he says.
And as competitors fine-tune their digital strategies, creating seamless signage is increasingly important for retailers to stand our from their competitors, Mr Hanns says.
“Retailers not considering an omni channel digital strategy alongside brick and mortar is likely to be left behind the competition.”
So what should retailers be thinking about when planning to implement digital signage?
Hacks for standout digital signage
- Think customer first
Putting the customer first is the most fundamental aspect of an effective digital signage strategy, Mr Hanns says.
“The first step in selecting the right DS for your business is to know what the experiences, expectations and opportunities for creating exceptional customer experiences,” he says.
This means conducting a customer touchpoint audit across all media channels to help generate an understanding of the customer journey and how consumers interact with your brand.
Undertaking a similar analysis of competitor brands is also helpful, Mr Hanns says.
- Getting the mix right
Selecting the right mix of omnichannel avenues is also important, according to Mr Hanns.
This means understanding your brand’s proposition and vision – and how digital signage can serve this purpose.
“DS touchpoints can be used to build brand equity, reinforce membership value, promote company values, or educate, entertain and delight,” he says.
“It’s important to remember your digital signage isn’t just an attractive tech piece – it’s a communication tool.”
- The fit out
Partnering with the right signage company is also critical to ensure that your vision becomes a reality.
“Remember that your chosen signage company will become a partner in your business. Look for someone who: understands your communication strategy and can contribute ideas and advice; understands your customer and wants to provide the best experience for them; understands your industry, and sees a way for you to excel within it, and has the experience to support you as you enter the next level of retail,” he says.
And retro fitting a store will require a different approach to fitting a new store, Mr Hanns says.
“If you’re opening a new store for example, engage with your digital signage company early. A good signage company will work with your interior designers, fitters, body corporate and contractors to get the best outcomes from your customer experience.”
- Getting the technology right
Ensuring that the technology you’re utilising aligns with your strategy can “make or break” the success of your strategy, Mr Hanns says, so ensuring you partner with a company that knows tech is crucial.
And crucial to this, is “always on” and reliable network connectivity and remote management, Mr Hanns says.
- The content
Retailers also need to make sure that their digital signage is backed by a flexible an easy to use Content Management System.
“Consider ease of use; level of control; automating content; and linking to social media accounts and feeds or your website or blog,” he says.
“Remember, your digital signage is a communication tool, and just like a website or app it communicates best when the content is visually on point. No matter how great your screen is, bad content will be ineffective. ”
- Ongoing support
But retailers also need to make sure that they’ve got effective support mechanisms to ensure that signage is operating seamlessly.
“Support and maintenance are key to realising your investment. Be sure to know for example what level of support you can expect and for how long; where the support team is located and whether you’ll need on-site tech support or trouble shoot the system yourself,” according to Mr Hanns.