As retailers reopen and attempt to woo customers back into their stores, the in-store experience — already on its way to dethroning prices and products as the top driver of traffic — will become the most essential component of retail success.
In-Store Experiences Drive More Business
People can buy anything online today. Protective masks, Teslas, home decorations, medical supplies, and everything in between is just a click away. Despite that, people still shop more offline than they do online. The most commonly purchased item online, financial services, isn’t a retail good at all.
At Raydiant, we conducted a study in early 2020 and found people prefer to shop in person when they want something specific. Ask them about general shopping, and they may talk about the ease and convenience of online ordering. Ask them where they would prefer to buy electronics, household goods, clothing, accessories, or personal care items, though, and they vastly prefer brick-and-mortar stores.
Why is that? People understand the appeal of online shopping, but when they can picture the goods they want, they recognize the value that physical stores provide. They want to examine different bottles of personal care products and talk to salespeople about the differences between this TV and another one. The experience of visiting the store and seeing the products in real life matters.
Reopening adds immense pressure to already strained retailers. Many stores will struggle to provide any experience at all, much less a differentiated one that encourages repeat visitors and makes customers feel comfortable. With so much on the line, stores should look to digital signage as a way to bridge the gap.
What Digital Signage Contributes to In-Store Experiences
Customers want to get out of their homes and enjoy trips to their favorite stores, but they don’t want to touch things, get too close to others, or give up the conveniences to which they have grown accustomed to during quarantine. Retailers should consider using digital signage in a variety of ways to deliver better in-store experiences.
Communicate Cleaning Policies
People want to feel safe on both sides of the register. Use digital signage to help employees follow cleaning procedures before opening and after closing. Then, change content during the day to remind customers of the steps the store takes to ensure their safety. As a bonus, employees can change sign content with the touch of a button, limiting touches to surfaces and reducing disease transmission opportunities.
Make it Easy for Customers to Maintain Social Distance
Static paper signs can only communicate one thing, and they don’t offer the visual pop that digital signs do so well. Rather than allow people to crowd around menus or other sources of important information, use digital signs to stand out with bright, dynamic images and content. People may not realize what’s happening, but they will feel grateful that they do not have to get shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers just to see what the store has on offer. Digital signs can also make curbside pickup communications a breeze.
Integrate with Tech
People love when technology makes their lives easier or provides a cool experience they can’t get anywhere else. Look into the different uses of digital signage to see how different businesses create unique experiences for customers. Clothing stores can use AR to provide dressing-room-free try-ons while home improvement and furniture stores can help shoppers visualize their homes with new additions.
Create and Deliver Personalized Content
Artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things combine to create some impressively deep engagement. With digital signage, customers who walk by with their smartphones can receive different messages based on their shopping history and personal interests. Make loyalists feel special by greeting them as old friends, or welcome new shoppers by informing them about special deals if they sign up for the mailing list.
Much like the pandemic itself, the reopening of retail will be a long process filled with uncertainties. Retailers cannot afford to sit tight and see how things play out though. Use this opportunity to invest in better experiences for shoppers. As the world gradually discovers its “new normal,” the stores with the best experiences — and with digital signage at the center — will rise above the rubble.