Screen dreams at Bedshed

Bedshed, a bedding and bedroom furniture specialist with bed, mattress & bedroom furniture stores in Australia, is one retailer keen to ride the new technology wave of digital in-store communications.

Bedshed wanted to deliver an even greater in-store experience, driving sales as well as learning more about its customers. Therefore the company started to look for a technology driven solution to reinforce their multichannel marketing communications strategy online and offline in-store.

After extensive consultation, a solution was designed to run on internet-enabled touch screen kiosks provided by AOPEN using the OpenSign platform. The project took just six months from sign off to implementation, with all parties collaborating closely on the set up and design.

The resulting kiosks provide shoppers with everything from product catalogues to a virtual wishlist, enabling them to develop customised PDF brochures of their desired products.

Digital retail revolution

Gavin Culmsee COO at Bedshed says the aim was to create a "new dimension" for shopping.

"There was a two-fold benefit. The new technology elevates our already superior level of customer service and, as a business, we also capture important analytics which gives us a much deeper understanding of our customers' requirements. For example, we know how many people have interacted with the kiosk, for how long, the products searched and to which specials they responded to," Culmsee explains.

Based on Bedshed's experience early results reveal that customers spent an average seven minutes on screen, a good level of interaction with the technology. It was also ideal for customers who prefer to shop by themselves, rather than be approached immediately by a salesperson. Using the screens, they can always summon help at any time.

Creating a wishlist turns out to be the most popular activity. This is followed by the "Mattress Assist" function which lets customers browse by brand, mattress size, which room the bed is for, and the reason for the new purchase such as partner disturbance or improvement in health and wellbeing.

One interesting challenge Bedshed had encountered was that many customers were delaying purchase decisions because their partner wasn't in the store with them. Again, technology stepped in to fix the issue.

"The touchscreen kiosks enable customers to create a personalised brochure of their preferred products and email it to their partner for an immediate and collaborative purchasing decision. What we're seeing now is a faster conversion to sales in the two stores that offer the digital kiosks," Culmsee says.

Bright future

Bedshed's Gavin Culmsee is convinced that in-store digital communications technology is the future. Bedshed is so happy with the technology's success so far that it intends to roll out the OpenSign solution to support digital communications in-store across its national network of thirty stores. It will give franchisees assistance to upgrade their stores, with each store able to tailor information that's relevant to their market or their target audience.

Above all, the system is affordable, and quick to show a return on investment.

"Both stores are performing strongly with high customer conversion rates, so when you equate this to the low monthly fees for the system this is a strong return," Culmsee says.

"The in-store kiosks have added another dimension to the way we do business. The financial investment, along with the time involved to train our store teams has been well worth the effort. We're embracing this technology because it complements our in-store service and delivers important and previously unavailable metrics to our business."

Light years ahead

The future holds even more excitement for in-store communications. Retailers will be able to take the experience much further by hooking the digital content in with the physical space.

The US and Europe are already seeing digital wallets and POS systems appear, and mobile commerce has enjoyed significant adoption globally with further growth predicted for the coming years.

Gavin Culmsee is eager about the potential these next generation technologies hold.

"Bedshed remains focused on innovation. We like to push the technological boundaries and lead the industry and that's why we are looking at how we can take the technology to the next level in the future."

Stephen Borg, Director Global Strategy & Market Development at AOPEN concludes: "It has been a tough few years for traditional retailers. With the right strategy and solutions, from visionary partners such as AOPEN, retailers can harness the digital dimension, gain vital insights and drive sales and customer satisfaction. With advanced screens delivering beautiful, dynamic, compelling content, the future is literally bright."

The OpenSign Platform

OpenSign is an interactive digital marketing and signage platform built for retailers to tackle the frustrations and costs of operating and maintaining a digital signage network. The combination of online with offline digital communications in-store strengthens the multichannel retail strategy to encourage interaction with the customer. It enables retailers to extend the online conversation to in-store by unifying the web, mobile assets and the retail floor to create new highly targeted experiences for shoppers.

The OpenSign platform is available at AOPEN.

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