If you know anything about marketing, you know the primary goal is to advertise, attract, and sell. Over the years we’ve seen marketing change in ways we never thought possible. Even more incredible is the ways that digital signage and precision marketing can come together.

In the 50’s, it was pen and ink drawings in magazines. In the 70’s, photos took over. In the 90’s, video, radio, and television reigned supreme. Today, Internet advertising and digital marketing are calling the shots.

And not just because this is the Digital Age and everyone and everything seems to exist on the Internet, no, but because marketers today are using big data to create precision marketing trends that target specific customers to increase sales, turning the retail shopping experience upside down on its head.

Precision marketing is a marketing process aimed at existing customers to motivate them to buy and further encourage the spread of brand awareness. Whereas traditional marketing tends to blanket its customers with ads and banners, precision marketing focuses on offering deals and promotions that appeal directly to any given customer base.

Big data plays partner in that it can collect and segment various pieces of data based on demographics like buying history, age, gender, and need. Some segments can be very broad, some very narrow.

For example, a precision marketing strategy can be created to focus solely on children between the ages of 5 and 12. A second segment can be narrower, focusing on girls between the ages of 5 and 12. A third segment can go even deeper, focusing on girls between the ages of 5 and 12 who have dolls and dollhouses.

So how is all of this done?

Thanks to intelligent digital signage, data collection and precision marketing can happen from one screen in one location. It’s that simple.

Here are four ways digital signage and precision marketing can increase sales in the retail sector:

 1) With Facial Recognition Software

Welcome to the era of the Jetsons, an era where using a digital signage player and integrating it with facial recognition software is a growing trend.

Facial recognition software can present potential customers with buying options based on their gender. For example, if a woman walks past a digital sign in a retail store, the sign can adjust to present her with fashion items and clothes for women.

Moments later, a man pauses in front of the sign. Only this time he is presented with watches and suits on sale.

The UK is experiencing this kind of technology at 450 Tesco petrol stations with digital vendor, Amscreen. The intelligent system is able to determine a shopper’s gender, age, and other demographics in order to deliver on-screen marketing campaigns that target each customer directly.

The screens capture and organize the data so that it can project further customer insight at the point of sale. Based on demographics, the screens will offer what it has determined the customer might also need before he or she drives away with a full tank of gas.

Simon Sugar, CEO of Amscreen, told Retail Innovation, “We’re extremely excited to call Tesco a screen network partner. We believe it’s our flexibility, reliability, and measurability that has helped us secure this partnership. For potential advertisers, this means we can now offer various digital advertising solutions to reach the sought after Tesco shopper.” (Quote courtesy of: RetailInnovation.com)

2) With Beacons

Beacons are another way precision marketers can capture data and transfer information from one place to another in an effort to increase sales.

Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacons can transmit targeted messages and information to the mobile devices of shoppers as they move through specific areas of a store.

I bet you didn’t even realize that.

Beacons are invisible, of course, unlike digital signs, but they deploy the same results.

The drug store chain Rite Aid recently incorporated the use of proximity beacons in 4,500 of its U.S. stores, making it the largest retail deployment of beacons to date.

If a shopper walks through the make-up department, for example, the beacon can send a notification to their phone to alert them of a special or sale.

Rite Aid is in partnership with a mobile shopper marketing firm called inMarket, which manufactures beacons for iOS and Android.

“Beacons on their own require apps to listen for them, otherwise they don’t do anything,” inMarket communications director Dave Heinzinger told ZDNet. “Our strategy has been to build out relationships with apps that people already use, rather than try to reinvent the wheel and get people to download something new.” (Quote courtesy of: ZDNet.com)

Beacons are being used in other retail stores as well. There’s something to be said about a Bluetooth connection that can trigger an action on a mobile phone or tablet so that consumers can be targeted with a personalized marketing experience.

Sounds a lot like a Jetsons episode to me.

3) With Interactive Digital Signage

As digital signage continues to transform, retailers are taking advantage of interactive signs to become BFF’s with the consumer.

Interactive signs are almost irresistible. They draw the viewer in, encouraging them to play and interact. Beneful, a dog food brand, understands this, and used a 64-foot digital wall in a New York City subway to bring forth potential buyers.

That’s right. In a subway.

At the Columbus Circle subway station, the colorful wall boasted a commercial for dog food and snacks from the dog’s point of view. To get people to interact, the campaign used 3D cameras and gesture recognition technology.

This allowed passer-bys to play fetch with a dog and a tennis ball. The dogs on the digital screen have artificial intelligence, which allows them to respond with different emotions as they play.

From pawing at the screen to rolling around in the grass, man’s best friend becomes man’s digital best friend, becomes the reason we run out and by Beneful by the bagful.

4) With Digital Dressing Rooms

If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to experience a virtual dressing room, find one and go play.

Stores like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom are using what are called Smart Mirrors in their dressing rooms. Smart mirrors are like digital signs turned inside out. Instead of you seeing video of something else, you see yourself, with options on the mirror of different clothing or jewelry to try on with your new dress.

With the touch of a finger, you can change your skirt, your shoes, your pants. Doesn’t matter.

Japan is hopping on the digital dressing room bandwagon now, only it’s taking it out of the store and online.

Japan’s biggest e-commerce company Rakuten, Japan’s version of Amazon, has bought a start-up called Fits.me that creates virtual fitting rooms online. This incredible technology helps online shoppers visualize how a shirt or blouse might look after he or she enters their body measurements.

Big data steps in and stores this information so that the next time the shopper enters the dressing room, they are greeted with possible matches or items, even bringing up what they tried on last time, but didn’t buy.

Conclusion

Now that digital signage and big data can be merged to create precision marketing, retailers can take advantage of this highly advanced, highly intelligent technology to provide the most personalized shopping experiences for their customers.

Facial recognition software is on the cusp of this merger, bring in demographics like age, gender, and buyer history to offer return customers the opportunity to purchase items that appeal to them.

Bluetooth beacons are a close second when it comes to recognition, only this technology opens up the space on iPhones and Androids to listen for signals from nearby beacons and respond accordingly with special offers and sales.

Interactive digital signage is also showing up loud and proud in various places and spaces around the world, giving users the opportunity to become intimately involved with the product or service being offered.

And smart dressing rooms are bringing precision marketing full circle, both online and in the dressing room. From handbags, to jewelry, to suits and shorts, consumers can try on dozens of outfits and accessories without ever leaving their home or the store dressing room. (Although you really should go home at some point.)

It is almost impossible to not gather data and analytics with digital signage as a marketing tool. Different digital signage software offers options that not only allow you to share video or showcase sale items, but to gather and store information to use in future marketing campaigns.

Those campaigns can be created to reach a broad audience, like 5 to 12-year-old children. Or they can be narrowed down to target only 5 to 12-year-old girls.

The marketing options are endless. Theoretically, one consumer can experience several different precision targeting campaigns in different areas of the store.

As a shopper passes through the kitchen and bath area, digital signs may share a promotion based on the buyer’s last purchase. As she moves on toward the luggage area, she may be hit with a special that could save her 30 percent off if she acts now.

So there you have it. Digital signage and precision marketing all rolled up in one. It’s a match made in digital heaven.

Have you experienced any of these marketing strategies? If so, which one impressed you the most?