Using Digital Signage to Build a Better In-Store Experience

December 2022
Sagenet Blog Digital In Store Experience

Over the past two decades, digital signage has gradually changed the way retail operations connect with their customers. In the process, the technology has fundamentally reshaped the entire shopping experience.

Signage was originally meant to advertise products and inform customers, and it has met that objective beautifully. More than three-quarters of retailers say signage has helped them improve customer service and boost sales. At the same, the technology has contributed to an entirely new customer experience that blends the best of digital commerce and brick-and-mortar shopping.

Studies show that more than half of U.S. consumers would rather shop in-store than by any other method, and physical stores still account for nearly 85 percent of retail sales. At the same time, however, consumers have become much more comfortable with all types of online experiences and have made it clear they expect some of the same conveniences when shopping in a store.

Recent surveys find that shoppers essentially want in-store shopping to be an omnichannel experience. They want to be able to purchase items that aren’t currently in stock and have them shipped to their homes. They want to be notified via mobile messaging of ongoing promotions and sales. They want to be able to compare prices with other online and physical stores. And they want the option to make purchases electronically without waiting in line at a cash register.

These capabilities and more are becoming more common in retail locations — and digital signage often plays a key role. Here are some of the ways signage technology is impacting the in-store experience:

The Personal Touch

More stores are using signage to give customers the ability visualize their potential purchases before buying. For example, Nordstrom stores feature a touchscreen known as the “Digital Denim Doctor” which lets buyers enter information about their body shape, preferred fabric and other factors to produce a 360-degree visual of how a pair of jeans will look on the user’s body. In a similar way, PPG Paints showrooms have a paint color visualizer that allows customers to virtually paint rooms to see how colors will look in their homes.

Efficient Searching

We’ve all had the experience of wandering up and down store aisles looking for a specific product. Customers today want the ability to search store inventory to find what products are available and where they are located. When signage systems are connected to a retailer’s online resources, customers can use touchscreen signs to view product information, the latest sales, their purchase history and more.

Sensory Interactions

Displays featuring a variety of embedded sensors enable several types of customer interactions. Proximity sensors detect when someone is nearby and trigger targeted messaging. “Lift-and-learn” sensors are designed to play specific content when an associated product is lifted from a shelf. Signs with integrated scent diffusers enable “olfactory marketing” campaigns designed to  attract customers with enticing smells. Abercrombie & Fitch is a long-time practitioner, using displays to deliver whiffs of one of its trademark fragrances.

The Waiting Game

Waiting in line at checkout can be an annoyance. Studies show that digital signage can reduce perceived wait time by as much as 35 percent with messaging that engages customers. Signs can deliver a variety of messaging such as entertaining video clips, news reports, community events, upcoming sales, new product releases and more. Signage systems can also be integrated with queue management software that directs customers to the shortest lines, displays estimated wait times and offers paging options for those who don’t want to stand in line.

E-commerce has changed the face of the retail industry. However, emerging use cases for digital signage make it possible for brick-and-mortar stores to blur the lines between the online and physical worlds. Contact SageNet to learn new ways to use signage to create exciting new customer experiences.

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