Ask the Board – August 8, 2016 | MANOLO ALMAGRO


How is your company addressing or circumventing smartphone obsession?

I work for a retail marketing agency. From our point of view, the symbiotic relationship between humans and smartphone devices has long been the primary behavior that we use as the baseline for creating connected retail experiences.

When it comes to engineering customer experiences for retail, taking the “mobile first” approach are table stakes. Any brand or retailer that even considers circumventing mobile will fail. As it relates to the digital signage industry, mobile and digital in-store signage have a more “frenemy” like relationship. The smartphone will always compete for consumers attention, especially when they shop. 

Over 75 percent of people use their phones when in a store to look up prices, product information and get reviews on products.  Similarly, in-store interactive kiosks can provide the same services that can be found on a phone. When it comes down to it, however, the smartphone wins as the “go-to” device when shopping since there is easy access and it sits in the consumer’s pocket. 

Alternatively, there are ways to integrate mobile into the in-store digital signage experience that are both convenient and make the shopping experience better for the consumer. That’s when it works well.  

However, in our industry, there are many retail executions that I’ve seen that do the opposite. The digital sign is forced into an experience as a replacement for what people would normally have done on their phone, albeit more efficiently or with less friction. This is why it’s important to have a strong understanding of how to build Cx (customer experiences) that address the way people shop, not how the retailer “wants” them to shop. 

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Senior Managing Director, Innovation + Technology

Advertising & Brands Council

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