The first time I walked into a department store that had thrown their clunky cash register out the window and replaced it with an iPad, I thought, “Wow. Look at this advancement.” I now think the same thing when I see companies utilizing digital signage for retail.

Now that we’ve moved successfully into the Information Age (or Digital Age), it’s safe to say that the technological advancements we experience every day will only improve.

And with the Internet of Things (IoT) leading those advancements, there is no doubt that each and every industry that uses digital signage has the potential to be at the forefront.

This includes the ever-evolving, fast growing retail industry. Digital signage is the “new” platform in retail.

Here’s how it can up the ante for your business. 

1. It Attracts and Keeps Customers

We live in a world of instant gratification.

We want what we want, when we want it.

That’s why when Best Buy was fighting to keep their heads above water financially after Amazon amped up their online shopping experience, Best Buy recognized that moving to a space of digital retail advancement within their stores was the only answer.

By installing in-store kiosks that could respond to questions and provide value, consumers began to move back through the doors with excitement.

Keeping those customers informed with mobile sales alerts and emails also helped the retail giant move out of the red.

Using an innovative, omnichannel strategy, the big box store was able to bring to their customers a whole new buying experience.

These kinds of changes attracted new customers and brought back old ones.

By using different strategies with digital signage, the store moved into the wave of the future and remains at the forefront as one of the leading electronics retailers today.

2. It Jives with Technological Savvy Shoppers

Would you be a bit surprised if I told you that 70% of consumers use a mobile phone in retail stores to research products they’re considering buying?

Yeah, it’s a hefty number.

Maybe it doesn’t surprise you, but it certainly puts the use of smartphones during the shopping experience into perspective.

It also shows us what customers are looking for during their shopping experience: interaction and answers.

If you’ve ever passed by a make-up counter in a high-end department store, you’ve probably seen an employee in a white coat painting the face of a potential cosmetic buyer.

It’s not an unusual sight.

But that doesn’t happen at Sephora in Milan.

At least not anymore.

In 2014, the leading beauty specialty retailer introduced the world’s first augmented reality mirror.

Instead of buying make-up online or suffering the wrath of a pushy employee in a white coat, consumers can use a mirror that simulates cosmetics on their face in real-time and in 3D.

Knowing that this kind of experience exists can help brick and mortar retailers survive.

And it has.

Despite the rise of e-commerce, a recent study revealed that 85 percent of shoppers prefer traditional shopping in brick in mortar stores to purchasing online.

Digital signs, kiosks, and omnichannel experiences contribute to those shopping experiences. This alone speaks to the fact that digital signage is fast becoming the new platform in retail.

3. It Changes Retail Strategies

Remember how you used to pick out a few shirts or a pair of shoes and head to the register?

Remember that?

Yes, I know, you still can still do that in many places.

But the retail strategy of selling has changed in many more ways.

Today employees are armed with handheld devices that cash out customers on the spot.

Not only does this save the customer from standing in a line they don’t want to stand in, but it also enables the store employee to find a product for a customer that might not be on the floor.

When a consumer doesn’t see the item they want, they can summon an employee who instead of calling the store, can access companywide inventory on his or her handheld device.

Still not innovative enough for you?

Okay…consider what one department store is doing to keep buyers out of the dressing room and in the thick of the retail experience.

At Nordstrom in Chicago, a touchscreen dubbed the ‘Digital Denim Doctor’ allows buyers to enter their body shape, type of preferred fabric, and other key points to create an algorithm that displays a 360-degree view of how the jeans will look on the user’s body.

That is simply magnificent.

To say this changes Nordstrom’s retail strategy is an understatement.

It not only transforms it, it revolutionizes it.

Keeping the customer engaged and nestled around other products and sales gives them the opportunity to explore even more merchandise in the store. Sales increase, buyers are happy, and brick and mortar establishments continue to thrive.

4. It Increases Brand Awareness

Customers come and go. Some are loyal to your brand once, others are forever. When you can transition a shopper from a customer to a fan, you’ve successfully implemented a forever brand that creates long-lasting and loyal relationships.

For example, big box stores like Wal-Mart and The Home Depot maintain a loyal customer base through the ability to meet consumers’ needs with visual recognition. By sharing brand logos and jingles, these retailers are able to capture and hold the attention of millions.

And because our brains process images much faster than text, they’ve been able to do it with powerful digital strategies.

Home Depot in Mexico did this with an in-store digital sign to further anchor it’s branding around its “Do More” do-it-yourself campaign that assists shoppers that want to pursue more at home projects.

Kinda makes you think of their infamous tagline, “You can do it, we can help,” doesn’t it? Which is exactly what a good branding campaign does: Anchors visuals and taglines in your brain so you think of them when you need a new faucet.

With a branding campaign that increases awareness, your tagline can become a household jingle in no time.

5. It Allows Interactive Advertisements

Imagine walking through a store that sells cookware. You stop at an area that displays various pans and utensils needed to create an amazing meal of spaghetti with garlic bread.

And then you smell that spaghetti and garlic bread.

Is it your imagination? No. Not at all. It’s the digital sign above the display, emitting the aroma of that spectacular meal.

Thanks to a company in Japan called Aromajoin, retailers can incorporate distinctive smells to entice consumers to buy.

This form of interactive advertising is so cutting-edge, it’s sure to bring customers in. And because smell is so strongly connected to memory, this feature can evoke the emotions of consumers like no other advertising tactic can.

Does that not take the cake?

And it helps that the cake smells good, too.

6. It Can Modify Store Promotions

Those that shop at the grocery store in the early a.m. aren’t the same demographic as those that shop in the afternoon or evening.

Having said this, changing promotions and sales based on demographics can make a huge difference in your bottom line.

If an older demographic shops early morning, retailers need to be prepared for this. Based on inventory, it can be determined what this demographic buys the most of. Creating a promotion around those items creates loyalty and brings them back.

Demographics aren’t the only factor in modifying promotions. Weather can also alter the behaviors of consumers. This is especially true for clothing retailers.

When the weather changes unexpectedly, stores that are prepared with raincoats or umbrellas is something consumers won’t forget. Alerting them with an omnichannel approach or in-store digital sign impresses a customer.

That impression brings them back for more.

Knowing what your market needs when they need it is key. If retailers don’t have the manpower to create, distribute, and then change traditional signage to meet consumer demand, they lose out.

Having the ability to modify or update a sale or promotional item within seconds can only improve your sales.

Conclusion

Retail digital signage is not a passing trend. It’s the future. It’s the new normal.

With different retailers coming up with innovative ways to grab the consumers’ attention, there is no telling what’s next.

Retailers are boosting their brands, changing their retail strategies, and attracting more customers to their store front with digital signage.
It is showing up as the new platform in retail. This is the Information Age. How will you deliver your information digitally?

Is your retail store ready for digital innovation? If so, in what ways can you use the digital platform to increase sales and attract more customers?