The retail sector has always been an early adopter of digital signage, so as signage evolves, it’s no surprise that retailers are ready to experiment with its new capabilities. As signage displays have got bigger, thinner and easier to install, signage solutions have also got smarter; for example, retailers can now use signage not only to broadcast a message, but also to get customer insights. Here we look at a few of the trends and issues that are shaping retail signage in 2019, from new form factors to voice interaction.
1/ Growth in digital signage in retail
The digital signage market is growing (IHS Markit predicted almost 25% growth globally in 2018) and retail is no exception. In Digital Signage Today’s Future Trends 2019 survey, 60% of retailers who didn’t yet have digital signage in their stores planned to invest in it in within the next two years.
For retailers who want to try signage for the first time there are lots of options available. Basic professional displays have come down in price and simple-to-use cloud-based content management systems make it easy to get engaging content onto screens quickly. And for those who now want to go beyond using signage to advertise or entertain, there are solutions that make signage part of a business’ data-gathering process, so they can use signage to find out more about their customers.
2/ Smarter analysis
New technologies are making digital signage smarter. Adding sensors and cameras to retail signage solutions means that retailers can show engaging content at the right times and get information back.
- Proximity sensors on a display can measure when someone is near to it – and therefore footfall in that area of the store – and the display can be programmed to change content accordingly.
- Facial recognition technology can also analyse customers and trigger a change in content depending on their demographics.
- It’s possible to use this technology to also measure individual reactions to see how certain campaigns are performing.
3/ Voice interaction
With voice control and AI assistants now an everyday part of people’s home lives, retailers are looking at how they can use voice control in-store.
A digital signage display might be the perfect point of interaction, with customers able to go up to a display and search for the information they need.
For example, taking a shirt up to a screen and asking to see what other colours it comes in, asking where it was made, or to be shown a runway video.
By 2020, 50% of all searches are predicted to be voice, and we will only become more comfortable with the technology. There’s huge potential for retailers to create engaging installations that mix signage with voice.
4/ New types of display
Innovative OLED displays have only recently become mainstream (for example, LG’s Curved Tiling OLED Displays) and already there are two new display technologies making headlines: Micro-LED and Mini-LED. Both are essentially OLED technology with smaller pixels, which consume less energy and offer higher pixel density.
Samsung introduced The Wall, a prototype Micro-LED TV at CES 2018 and a professional version in 2019. With low energy consumption, high brightness and the ability to create pure black, this new type of light emitting display has huge potential. Samsung says that “The Wall’s slim, bezel-less infinity design and modular build allow the display to blend subtly into its surroundings,” ideal for high-end retail.
With most display innovation focusing on LED, rather than LCD, does LCD still have a place in 2019? For some retail applications and for many retailers yes; LCD displays are the least expensive and, in many cases, still better for shorter viewing distances.