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Making Beautiful Connections

In retail environments, there is no question that digital signage is the go-to vehicle to create visibility, abruption, and stopping power. But what happens when technology is required to co-exist as a natural element of a store’s design language and ecosystem, in a way that complements the journey–versus competing with it?

A 20-foot Nanolumens direct view LED screen greets customers in Manhattan’s Innisfree store.

(Image credit: Creative Realities)

This technology tension point was key challenge for the Innisfree Korean Beauty Store Design Team, in partnership with Creative Realities, in launching its flagship store in Manhattan. The team’s mission was to leverage tech to establish the Innisfree brand in a hyper-competitive location next to Sephora and opposite Bloomindales. The brand wanted to improve the journey for all consumers, and specifically to connect authentically with Gen Z and Millennials with the creative use of technology.

Innisfree is a naturalism-oriented cosmetics brand created by Amore Pacific in 2000. It’s already a leader in several global markets, including its homeland Korea, but it was not introduced into North America until fall 2018 with its flagship store in New York City. The brand story is rooted in nature, so the technology could in no way disrupt that important narrative.

In this context, choice of technology elements had to solve spatial challenges of the physical location and deliver with just enough storytelling to inspire, educate, and fill the basket. This juxtaposition of fusing state-of-art tech with natural design language is what makes this in-store experience both fascinating and effective.

Though the retail square footage was limited, the team chose a large and bold video centerpiece as the 20-foot center stage signature element to call attention from the street.  With this being such a focal point, the Creative Realities team chose a direct view LED from Nanolumens because of it was high-quality, seamless, color smart, and CMS agnostic.

"We are proud to be a part of the U.S. launch of this ambitious beauty brand, our technology provides an ‘intstagrammable’ space, as well as a cornerstone of digital signage that is both long-lasting and flexible enough to fit the roll out of multiple locations across the country,” said Joe' Lloyd, vice president of global marketing and business development, NanoLumens.

NEC displays are used to lure shoppers to explore a “make your own cosmetic palette” color wall in the back of the store.

NEC displays are used to lure shoppers to explore a “make your own cosmetic palette” color wall in the back of the store.

(Image credit: Creative Realities)

To open up the back of the store, mirrors frame an LCD band digital display by NEC to create a powerful reflective visual effect designed to lure shoppers to explore the “make your own cosmetic palette” color wall. The result brings drama to this distinctive part of the brand’s cosmetic offering.

"NEC takes pride in our ability to provide a great variety of options for integrators to choose from, so that ultimately they can select the right product for any application," said Keith Yanke, director of product marketing, NEC Display Solutions. "In this case, our large format LCD displays, with their crisp, vibrant colors, brighten the space and provide a striking match to the makeup below."

The smaller 3D storybook moments are delivered with iPads that support the product ingredient story in a way that is simple, clear, and solution-forward—and allows for flexibility in position and messaging for product launches and promotional news.

The projection technology at the mezzanine level—also using NEC products—features audio controls, making it ideal for local events and training. Finally, iPads strategically placed at the cash registers allow for easy profile set up so customers can experience the generous sampling and loyalty program that allows them to continue on their journey with the brand long after they’ve left the store.

All of the content is carefully designed with a color palette and lighting levels that enhance the store’s natural features. The signage is also designed with the same look and feel as the website, so consumers who order online will recognize the brand continuity when in the store, and vice versa.

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After considering a number of options, the Creative Realities team chose the BrightSign CMS software platform. This platform ties the visual display elements together using a simple dashboard to make content change out easy and geo-specific. 

“We are pleased BrightAuthor was the chosen software to help the Creative Realities NOC team effectively manage this fleet of BrightSign players,” said Jeff Hastings, CEO of BrightSign. “Player maintenance and monitoring is as important as the hardware itself, and something we continue to focus on as a development team and with our partners.”

This SaaS model also provides the Creative Realities NOC Team with a technical connection to each endpoint for ease of device control and ease of monitoring and maintenance of the experiences. The Innisfree team can then focus on store growth from the scale and metrics Creative Realities provides.

“The Innisfree project demanded us to push the role of technology to meet a trifecta of requirements: design code adherence, a way to resolve extreme spatial realities, and as a meaningful set of shopping experiences that conventional visual merchandising tools just cannot deliver alone,” concluded Beth Warren, SVP retail experience, strategy, Creative Realities.

With ambitious plans to open 10 more stores in the near future, the brand plans on establishing strong connectivity protocols between the stores, its Korean headquarters, and with critical partners to ensure cohesive communication. So, on the front end, consumers see gorgeous nature-based signage that tells a story, conveys information, and is geo-targeted. On the back end, executive are using essential metrics and data to map out both customer journeys and expansion plans. In the year since Innisfree’s opening, it has worked beautifully.

For more stories like this, download the latest edition of Digital Signage Magazine.