By Valérie Besnard, Brand & Content Manager at Cenareo. Specialized in brand image and content strategy, Valérie Besnard knows the strategic importance of omnicanality for brands and especially for retailers.
After years of fearing the end of bricks and mortar shopping, it is clear that nothing yet totally replaces the in-store experience. Seeing, touching, smelling, trying on and trying out are all feelings that cannot be reproduced. The store remains the authentic place of the shopper experience, especially as it has been able to adapt to new consumer habits. In fact, the shopper no longer simply goes to a store to buy, but also to enjoy the experience of the brand and immerse themselves in its world and stories. And in this new set-up, digital signage has a key role to play.
Full “glocal” management
For the shopper, each contact with the brand and each visit to the store is a new stage in building their relationship with the brand.
For retailer networks, the issue of maintaining consistency in the messages and interactions with the brand is of particular importance. The brand is overseen at the global level and the franchises are local relay points of its identity. In order to guarantee the consistency of the messages and the levels of in-store customer experience, digital signage is a primary tool. Simultaneously a tool for centralising communication (allowing marketing campaigns to be coordinated and guaranteeing they are updated over the entire network), it is also a collaborative tool which gives the managers the freedom to keep control over their communications and cater for their specific local circumstances.
The “Internet of Screens” for a standardised experience
To be fully successful, this in-store experience must be coordinated between the various channels promoting the brand (Internet, apps, social media, stores, etc.), in order to remain consistent all along the line.
Each being complementary to the other, the communication channels, between the brands and consumers must be managed as part of a global strategy to ensure a smooth transition from one to the other, or even simultaneous use of several channels (using a brands mobile app when in the store for example).
This need makes the new generations of digital signage very attractive, since they can be used to creates gateways between the digital and physical worlds by linking data and broadcasting digital content on in-store screens.
Removing in-store areas of frustration and more...
To alleviate in-store areas of frustration - an endless queue, a desperate search for an item on the shelves or the unavailability of a product-, digital signage is once again, a valuable friend.
Through the real-time analysis of the data of various sensors installed in the store, for example, digital signage will make it possible to redirect customers to less busy check-outs. The retailer can also choose to use its screens to entertain (launch a prize competition, offer behind-the-scenes reports about the brand, etc.), in order to reduce the shopper’s perception of waiting, while sharing with them its world and its values.
Connected to the special offers catalogue, to the stock management software or weather data, digital signage is transformed into a formidable sales medium. The combination of these digital technologies allows the communications to be permanently updated (no special offers for out-of-stock products) and contextualises the offers according to the weather conditions, thereby giving them a greater impact. Shoppers regain confidence in the screens that actually inform them and increase their engagement with the brand.
Far from simply limited to broadcasting static content or video clips, digital signage is a true practical tool for managing the in-store brand experience.
Enriching the experience
Narrative retailing or a staging of the point of sale, now has a preponderant role to play. Decoration, light, music, smell: everything is designed to transport shoppers into the brand world. To see the extent of the phenomenon, one needs simply to look at the success of Apple Stores: the sensory signals are designed to be an extension of the products, with spectacular sizes of the stores, staff attire, lights. Each detail is controlled and has a role in creating a unique experience for the visitor (whether or not they are a customer of the brand).
More than simply a communications media, digital signage forms a central part of these new concepts. The space is becoming digitised and modernised, with the screens fusing into a journey focused on emotion and enriching the concepts of the stores.
Today, the store is still the most successful place for ensuring a shopper lives a brand experience since it is so suited to stimulating the senses and emotions. The retail sector must ensure the French continue to maintain their love of it by making their interactions special moments.
The advantages of digital signage in terms of dynamism and contextualisation are so strong that the impact of the messages on your audience will have a snowball effect on your ROI. In retail, the customer journey will be improved and the advertising offers will be more highlighted for an increased average shopping cart.