The Industry’s First “Living Retail Lab” Releases Results


Digital Menu Board Tests Result in an 809% Sales Increase of Featured Product

Atlanta, GA — HighStreet Collective, a ‘roll-up-your-sleeves’ retail innovation consultancy, has concluded the first of its Living Retail Lab™ series of experiments, and the results do not disappoint.

“Technology now allows us the ability to test and refine in physical spaces – inspired by what online merchants have been doing for years,” says Laura Davis-Taylor, co-creator of the Living Retail Lab. “Thanks to partners like NEC and their Analytics Learning Platform, we’re able to test different type of content on digital menu boards, and see the answers pretty quickly to questions like, does this description or image work? What if we moved the product on the screen? What if we added a teaser headline? Does a 20% off coupon work? How about 30% off?”

The results span the spectrum, from the surprising and unexpected to the downright gaudy.

The 15-week, real-world test demonstrated how imagery and movement on digital menu boards had an influence on customer behavior and bar sales. By testing three different types of content, and by delivering different promotional content based on gender triggers, the ecosystem of Living Retail Lab™ partners were able to see what types of content increased throughput (by lowering dwell times), which ones increased sales (overall, and sales of certain products), and which types increased check average.

“The brain is always looking for ways to limit its cognitive resources” says Ed King, co-creator of the Lab. “So, we wanted to run a series of content tests to quantify the power of suggestion when it comes to digital menu boards. Text makes the brain work harder than necessary. Images and movement give the brain valuable cognitive shortcuts to making decisions. And our tests paid off this hypothesis in spades.”

One test that included content triggered by the gender of the person watching the screen resulted in an 809% increase in sales of one featured product. (see image) While this result certainly seems like an outlier, it wasn’t the only pleasant surprise of the 15-week test. An unexpected outcome of the project has been the advent of a new metric — Unrealized Dormant Revenue (UDR).

“Because we measured sales impact before, during and after our series of experiments, and isolated the variables as much as possible, we were able to assign a financial value to — and shine a light on — previously hidden revenue at the bar. It’s something we named Unrealized Dormant Revenue,” continues King.

“NEC’s ALP platform served up all the data we needed to help us identify UDR – and by applying those learning and best practices moving forward, the bar expects to optimize revenue of every single customer who walks in the door,” says Davis-Taylor.

“The results of this sprint demonstrates how NEC ALP goes beyond hardware and harnesses the power of business intelligence, ushering digital signage into a new era, changing the way the industry views digital signage,” says Kelly Harlin, Analytics Platform Strategist and business lead for the NEC ALP platform.

Needless to say, Phil Sanders, owner of Citizen Supply and Likewise Bar, is thrilled with the results.

“We didn’t realize how much money we were leaving on the table each month,” says Sanders. He continues, “I’m a big believer in data and in enhancing the shopping experience, and the HighStreet and NEC teams have been instrumental in helping us grow.”

Sanders, the HighStreet team, and NEC are already planning future sprints – which will run into Q2 of 2020.

For free access to the complete results, visit For more information, or to become a technology sponsor for future sprints or the creation of a customized ‘closed case study’, contact Laura Davis-Taylor directly at

About HighStreet Collective

HighStreet Collective are retail experience designers for the demands of 21st century shoppers and the speed needs of 21st century retailers, brands and suppliers. As “consultant practitioners” they work with retailers and brands to help them assess their in-store experiences, craft innovation strategies for shopper needs, create unique experience signature concepts to bring the store to life, build working prototypes, and measure the impact of store experiences.

Sales of Old-Fashioneds before, during and after Living Retail Lab’s testing period

Sales of Old-Fashioneds before, during and after Living Retail Lab’s testing period

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