Gone are the days when consumers relied solely on well-trained, highly knowledgeable store associates to learn more about a particular product. Today’s consumers are savvier than ever thanks to tools that allow them to comparison shop, download coupons and negotiate for discounts on-the-fly.
In fact, analytics firm ForeSee Results reported that approximately 70% of consumers use a mobile phone in a retail store to research and accompany their shopping experiences. And Deloitte Digital reported that smartphones influenced $159 billion in U.S. store sales over the course of 2012, or 5% of the total, and will influence $689 billion by 2016. As mobile devices continue to enable showrooming — examining merchandise in-store but then purchasing it online — retailers are challenged to entice consumers to make in-store purchases, or to at least take advantage of offerings from the retailer’s own online offerings. Yet there are many opportunities for retailers to educate and empower shoppers so that they feel more in control of the purchasing process.
Today’s in-store digital tools can empower consumers with the knowledge and research they demand to make better buying decisions. Take, for example, a leading multinational financial services provider. Eager to educate its customers, the organization deployed a multiscreen display system that focused on new product information and bank messaging, along with three other display systems that centered on corporate values messaging and specific product information. By taking advantage of digital media technology to inform its customers about new products and services, the financial services institution was able to increase communication and dialogue with its customers regarding the products that are promoted on the screens.
In retail, the use of in-store digital media technology can assist customers with product pairings. Retailers can easily show the customer a smartphone, a cradle, a case and other accessories. Couple that with way-finding capabilities on a touch screen to show the locations for those items within the store, and you can start to see how the customer experience has changed dramatically. From the retailer or CPG brand’s perspective, suggested product pairings can help significantly in moving inventory without discounting. In-store digital media also enables retailers to increase inventory turn rates for trendier, high-fashion merchandise that goes out of style, enabling quicker sales to make room on shelves for the latest designs.
But these efforts can go beyond products and services found within the four walls of a brick-and-mortar location. Savvy organizations know how to leverage digital media technologies so that they educate customers on opportunities that exist beyond the store. For example, an in-store digital signage display may promote extended-aisle options from the web or content from social media. Whatever the medium, the right digital media solution can bridge the omnichannel divide to educate consumers and drive sales both in-store and beyond. The trick, however, is ensuring that the messaging and brand story created for one medium remains consistent across multiple channels, and provides timely and relevant value to the customer.