6 Benefits the Connected Retail Space Will Provide to Consumers

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This article is brought to you by Retail Technology Review: 6 Benefits the Connected Retail Space Will Provide to Consumers.

By Brian Gillespie, freelance writer.

A “Connected Retail Space” is a bit of a buzzword; pushed by people who want to sell business optimisation services. Nevertheless, slathering your business with technology like rich butter over warm toast does have its benefits. Here are 6 retail benefits that having a “Connected” space will provide.

1 - Keep People Informed With Cleverly Scheduled Content

Take something like the Apple TV signage by Kitcast. It allows you to use Apple software to stream live or rendered feeds into your digital signs. Using the scheduling functions, you can keep your retail customers informed in very clever ways. You can schedule content to run as the kids come out of school, you can schedule content that is elderly-friendly in the early hours of the morning, and you can schedule business-related content for when people pour out of their office jobs and pay a visit before they come home. There are even some outdoors, clothing and utility-wear companies that schedule their content based on the seasons and weather outside.

2 - Branding Exercises Help The Consumer Understand the Company

How does this benefit the consumer? Because branding exercises can have direct and indirect benefits to the consumer. For example, making a buying decision with regards to a safe car rather than a fast or rugged one is all part of the Volvo branding experience and has been for many years. Plus, in the case of Burger King, they promoted their “Free without purchase” Whopper offer on their digital signs both inside and outside their buildings. Also, just like McDonalds, there are now Burger King locations that allow you to pay at the digital sign menu or with the in-store tablets rather than going to checkout, which is an obvious benefit for customers because it means they don't need to queue up to pay for their food.

Though, branding exercises with visual aides are not always a good idea if they are done wrong. For example, when Burger King released all those posters and digital sign (content) of the moldy Whopper with the tagline that they were preservative free. Even today, there are people who won’t eat a Burger King burger because the image of the moldy Whopper is still etched into their brain.

3 - Navigate a Location More Easily

You have probably seen those malls that have turned their regular map kiosks into digital sign kiosks where you can see an active location marker that also shows you the routes to the places you want to go. These days they have become even more connected by allowing people to connect to the maps through their phone so that they can sat-nav their way around the mall and visit each location in turn. There are also digital mall maps that give people directions to a place, and then give them a QR code to scan that allows them to transfer the information to their web browser.

4 - Bringing The Online Experience Offline

What if you see the perfect pair of shoes in a store, but they don't have your size? What if you find the perfect set of bandannas for your biker group, but the store doesn't accept money with blood on it? On a similar note, what if you find a great set of shin guards for your soccer team, but the shop doesn't have enough in stock? You can go online and try to find similar versions, or you can connect to the store’s database and order the items so that they are delivered to your house. If you are on vacation, the items may arrive back at your house the same time you do.

5 - Improved Convenience and Service

There are quite a few ways that this has benefited customers. There were the days when people would walk in, they would use the tablet devices or digital kiosks to check stock and make orders, but now you can make your orders from home and have them waiting for you when you get to the store (click and collect shopping). There are also integrated systems where people buy things online and have them delivered to lockers outside of stores. Having customers use in-store electronics to buy is also an easy way for merchants to track user interactions and behavior when inside the store.

6 - Entertainment and Information

Perhaps the best examples of these are in vet’s waiting rooms. They have their waiting areas where pets can feel comfortable, as well as retail areas where people can buy anything from bird seed bells to de-flea pills and shampoos. The digital signs are placed around the waiting room, giving people something to watch. They learn fun facts about their pets, about how their dogs can smell the garlic coming out of your pores three days after you ate it, and they give information about how to keep your pets comfortable during thunderstorms. They also slip adverts for their own products and services (like vaccinations) in between the informational and entertaining content. This way, the people waiting have something else to look at besides their phones, and the vet’s clinic gets another way to sell its products and services.

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