The Emerging Engagement Toolbox for the Customer Experience


The upcoming Digital Experience (DX) Forum will be one of the more comprehensive educational experiences offered at the Digital Signage Expo this year. This is, in large part, due to its lineup of dynamic speakers and panels that offer insider knowledge to attendees seeking to stay on top of rapidly evolving trends and technologies for a competitive edge.

This year’s inaugural DX Forum’s focus is the broader customer experience, with presenters that live in the digital experience trenches and understand how to create unique value in the marketplace. The unifying takeaway through all these sessions is learning how to speak the language of outcomes: While technology will serve as an important theme, presenters will deliver a more holistic approach that will rise above commodity.


Nikki Baird, a longtime managing partner at RSR Research who was just named VP of Retail Innovation at Aptos Retail, is just one of several insightful presenters who will take this approach. Nikki’s 45-minute presentation, The Emerging Engagement Toolbox, will help attendees learn how to identify and weave the right technology tools into the broader customer experience, with key insights on the evolving role of digital signage.        

Nikki’s work at RSR Research over many years has been instrumental to communicating trends and intelligence beyond technology adoption in retail, with an emphasis on the pain points that influence these technology investments. The data behind their research helps retailers make more strategic investment decisions to support next-gen customer experiences.        

“The customer experience has not really evolved since the advent of escalators,” said Baird. “Technology plays such an impactful role in our everyday lives, yet retailers still struggle with how to bring digital into the story and create compelling in-store, customer experiences.”       

Baird has been covering digital signage in retail for 15 years, and believes the industry is just reaching a point where technology solutions are flexible enough to make a difference. The real challenge now, as she sees it, is to look beyond the obvious.         

“Too many retailers look at the in-store experience as a push medium,” she said. “It’s not about putting a digital ad or a five-second YouTube spot on a screen, and it’s not about bringing your website into the store. The reality is that retailers must be proactive in making their stores more exciting, and learning how technology contributes.”         

Her presentation will provide specifics on which technologies to adopt, and which to avoid, as businesses navigate a deepening pool of options on the market. However, she teases that the future of the industry will increasingly tap into the mobile devices of consumers inside the store, and leverage cameras and sensors to develop more interactive experiences with shoppers.

These and other technologies will continue to evolve as part of a customer experience ecosystem that also makes more effective use of digital signage. From Baird’s perspective, it’s time to move the industry forward instead of continuing to stagnate.           

“We have reached a point where it’s very affordable to install and maintain screens and technology in stores, and the architecture to support customer engagement from a technology perspective has gotten so much better,” said Baird. “We have the ability to make better use of software, content, analytics, behavioral tracking and more, and tie all of these elements into the point of sale. There is a call to action through engagement that the industry is failing to capture, and ultimately, it is right in front of us for the taking.”           

Baird adds that a noticeable shift in perspective from C-level executives provides further evidence that now is the time to strike.           

“The store is the last bastion of healthy margins in retail, so long as you have the traffic to keep it profitable,” she said. “Executives are finally reading the writing on the wall as these margins are increasingly threatened by declining traffic. 2018 is the year that something has to giving with customer engagement inside the store. This year’s Forum will certainly offer value to anyone with a responsibility for customer engagement.”           

This year’s Digital Experience Forum, produced and moderated by the expert practitioners at HighStreet Collective, takes place Tuesday, March 27 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Las Vegas Convention Center (Room S225). The complete schedule and registration information can be viewed at

For more info on the speaking tour, click here

About Author

Brian Galante is President of Dimension PR, based outside of Portland, Maine. A former editor and journalist turned public relations specialist, Galante is active in the broadcast, AV, digital signage, retail and security industries, and continues to write and report for publications worldwide in addition to his chief focus across media and supplier relations.

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