Two women using interactive screen in retail
December 11, 2019

To ignite consumer experience, do I need interactive touchscreens?

A differentiated customer experience is critical for retailers today. It gets people into stores, increases sales, and strengthens loyalty. Research proves that digital signage enriches the experience for in-store shoppers. With today’s heightened competition in the online and offline worlds, it’s a basic survival tool. Retailers today are not necessarily contemplating whether digital signage can help them meet their business objectives, but there are questions around when to use interactive and passive experiences. Let’s explore both.

What’s the difference?

Passive Experiences

Louis Vuitton passive LED digital signage

Passive experiences are those where retail shoppers cannot affect the content programming. They are a great vehicle for “push marketing” where retailers push information like promotions and special events. Let’s say you’re a retailer with a Fall line of sweaters that are 40% off. It’s a one-day hot deal. If you promote this on a passive screen, you can expect to get a 15% sales lift on the product. Other uses of passive content include things like fashion show announcements — Intimate apparel, 2nd floor, 2:00 today — and financing offers — Sign up for our credit card and get 10% off your first purchase.

James Avery Artisan Jewelry needed digital signage to communicate to shoppers that their jewelry was hand-crafted by their artisans. The passive experience, focused on brand storytelling, led to a 30% sales lift for the jeweler as well as a significant increase in store traffic.

More and more, passive digital screens are not only being used to attract shoppers and drive sales lift, but they’re also functioning as an additional revenue stream for retailers. Brands want to promote their products to shoppers in the store, at the moment of truth, and they’re willing to pay for that meaningful exposure.

Imagine you’re walking through a big box retailer, and you see a passive experience promoting a new high-def TV or a sale on a certain brand of coffee maker. More brands are paying retailers for the valuable ad space on screens. Big box retailers that sell multiple brands capitalize on this type of passive content experience. They sell more products and enjoy ROI on the advertising revenue. It’s a win-win-win for shoppers, brands, and retailers.

Interactive Experiences:

Woman using retail digital signage touchscreen

The uses of interactive experiences are endless. The technology is sophisticated today, ranging from touchscreens, to gesture-based interactivity, to phone-to-screen interactions.

Interactive screens are a great way to assist in the selling process. Think about consumers who build the car of their dreams with all the hottest add-ons. Or how about designing a refrigerator: the shelving, height and depth, the ice maker and special storage features? Interactive platforms can replace the one-on-one dialog with a salesperson. Consumers simply design what they want, download a code and punch in the code at the dealership or retail location and “voila,” your personalized product is ready to take home.

Other uses include:

  • Interactive wayfinding displays for retail, museums, transportation facilities and tradeshows
  • Personalization touchscreens and connected experiences with brands
  • Sales assistance for special products that improve the buying experience

Content creation for passive and interactive experiences

With retail working overtime to combat the increasing competition from online competitors, digital signage can be a significant ally. Here are some pointers on how to leverage passive and interactive content:

Passive content is typically composted of a variety of videos and still images with motion graphics. Given its focus on guest experience, brand storytelling, and sales lift, retailers can start creating their content playlist from optimized traditional marketing assets.  

Interactive content typically requires longer lead times and a larger upfront cost with the development of a purpose-built-in store application. Retailers can use MVP or a website during the pilot phase to analyze results and get customer insights. To make the content changes to the application dynamic, the experience needs to be integrated into your business systems. This should be vetted in collaboration with your IT team.  

Article originally published on VMSD.com. Authored by Mason Page, EVP, Strategy.