Kicking off the Digital Signage Event on Thursday, March 4, Beth Warren, senior vice president of marketing and strategy at Creative Realities, delivered a keynote address that explored the way our consumer landscape has shifted over the past year and the opportunities that lie ahead for creative digital signage.
Titled “Potent, Powerful, Purposeful: How Digital Signage Can Increase Your Bottom Line,” the presentation began with a sobering statistic: only 13 percent of decision makers who invest in digital out of home (DOOH) installations are happy with their returns. “I found this really concerning…. Why haven’t we made better associations between our screens and what I’m calling ‘yield?’” Warren said. “We face this question about how do we future-proof and bulletproof the digital signage work that we do?”
Beth Warren's presentation, "Potent, Powerful, Purposeful: How Digital Signage Can Increase Your Bottom Line," is available on demand at thedigitalsignageevent.vfairs.com. Log in to watch this presentation and all the others that took place during The Digital Signage Expo.
The good news is that there’s plenty of potential, with the pandemic catalyzing digital trends that have been long in the making. “The first half of 2020 saw an increase in ecommerce equivalent to that of the previous 10 years,” Warren said. “So this opens so many new doors for us and our industry to be of value, and to serve digital signage experiences that connect people with one another much more so on their terms than ever before.”
Warren covered the emergence of transformative technologies that are shaping the way retailers connect with consumers. Examples like augmented and virtual reality, user-generated content, near-field technology, programmatic content, and voice and gesture activation are being used to enrich physical spaces and imbue them with elements of the online realm in which today’s shoppers are growing increasingly comfortable. By incorporating these features into a brick-and-mortar environment, companies can boost acquisition of new customers, help retain existing clientele, and expand the size of their purchases.
“Marketplace results no doubt are driven by consumer behavior,” Warren said. “If our displays are not intentional, then digital is simply just part of the wallpaper. We want it to be more than that.”
Warren then highlighted some of the most prominent retail trends over the past year and how digital signage can capitalize on them to bolster the experience for consumers.
One of the leading trends is BOPIS (buy online pickup in store), a service that 65 percent of retailers are now offering. While these curbside pickup services are streamlining commerce, Warren pointed out that there’s a lack of digital signage in these areas that could be used to direct shoppers and engage them as they wait.
Another opportunity Warren showcased is the lack of social integration in stores. Citing studies that found that 87 percent of consumers use social media to make decisions and that sales are lifted 20 percent by positive reviews, Warren urged companies to consider implementing social feeds into their signage displays.
Finally, the ability to personalize the in-store experience figures to be a key differentiator in driving value for physical retailers. Warren offered the example of menswear company Knot Standard’s deployment of “style wall” screens that show content tailored to customers’ order history and preferences, as well as personalized suggestions. In addition, the stores feature AI voice assistants that allow the wall to respond to more than 200 commands for a comprehensive custom shopping experience.
“Not only are these idea starters, but they’re actually real commercial opportunities that we should pursue as an industry, where I’m observing there’s not a lot of activity or where digital is underrepresented.”
Wrapping up, Warren reiterated the importance of personalization in the success of inventive digital signage deployments. “Technology trends that are fit to drive marketplace results are those that really help us engage our customers in new and innovative ways,” she said. “Making all experiences as personal as they can be will better ensure that the metrics will be in our favor and work to justify further investment.”