Posts Tagged ‘retail’

Visual Vitality for Retail Locations

August 18, 2016

Anti-boring store

B-o-r-i-n-g ! While some may say it and others are thinking it about a retail location, you can bet that consumers will be voting with their feet and not just their wallets on a possible future visit. Without the visit the conversion opportunity is lost, and so for lack of customer experience, the kingdom is lost.

March 28-30, 2016 in Las Vegas will be an interesting time for retailers. GlobalShop will feature education sessions and the show floor will include about 800 providers of design services, flooring, lighting and fixtures, all intended to make the retail location interesting enough earn a patron visits. Layout and fixtures will be planned, purchased and installed, and the store will be locked into that design and experience for many, many months to come.

From season to season, calendar event to calendar event, little will change until the brand that year-over-year traffic is declining, the shopper loop is more shallow and dwell time is shortening. Staff turnover may even become an increasing cost factor as associates become complacent or even leave for places that offer more income potential and fun.

Meanwhile, at the same time at the Las Vegas convention center at the other end of the strip, the 13th annual Digital Signage Expo (DSE) will be in full swing presenting solutions to the problem of how to make retail locations better, and at minimal investment.

Vendors, including LG (which many claimed “stole the DSE16 show”) will show how vitality, ambiance and positive energy can dramatically escalate the customer experience with compelling, relevant, better targeted in-store visuals.

GlobalShop delegates who care most about their brand identity and cost-effective retail design will likely make their way to DSE to visit LG and others of the almost 200 providers, many of which partner with LG. Perhaps they’ll hit the high points of GlobalShop on March 28-29 and visit the DSE show floor on March 29-30.

Organic Light Emitting Diode (OLED) displays were unveiled last year and will be on full display again this year at DSE by LG.

The vibrant colors of images presented, the Wow-factor in fashion, outdoor, destination, action and lifestyle media that can make the store a destination and the ultra-thin, modern form factor that can fit into any store design or architecture makes OLED from LG a digital display that can attract traffic, increase dwell time and amplify the brands like no other retail device.

The inherent ability of digital signage to present images that are most suited to day and time, and the major calendar events of consumer’s lives, mean that store refreshment and messaging relevance are as simple as posting new media materials through an easy to use media management desktop.

When attracting attention matters, nothing suits retail vitality, brand alignment and conversion messaging like digital signage. And no digital signage display is as compelling to consumers as OLEDs from LG.


Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator providing digital place based media subject matter expertise. He has assisted hundreds of organizations, published more than 350 articles, whitepapers and guides and helped to train more than 10,000 professionals. Lyle is a member of the Consultant Advisory Counsel of Digital Signage Expo and serves as a “BrainTrust” commentator of RetailWire.


Retail Stores in crisis.

August 1, 2016


Retail has not known its crisis of current proportion since the introduction of department stores, big box or discount retailing. While these brought big changes to the retail landscape, the perfect storm of online, mobile and the Millennials demographic are placing physical retail in a daily fight for survival.

Retailers have reacted to the onslaught of online with multi-channel strategies that quickly morphed into omni channel in order to harmonize the various consumer touch points. Most are now struggling to advance quickly into opti-channel and unified communications.

These macro-strategies are all in the name of flexibility of the consumer’s path to purchase while serving brand interests. The access options available to consumers are the melting pot of commerce that cause neatly linear path to purchase map into what looks more like a plate of spaghetti. The marketers’ arsenal of inventory visibility, product comparisons, cross-selling, ship to home or store, purchase fulfillment and loyalty achievement and being tested, while technology investment by North American retailers has surpassed $125 billion annually.

“Customer experience” (CX) is the battle cry of retail on the shifting sands of consumer preference as empowered consumers led by Millennials not only vote with their wallet, but amplify or denounce brands based on their perception of value. Boomers, zoomers and savvy seniors are echoing Millennials’ attitudes.

Retail foot traffic has declining sharply. The Wall Street Journal reported ShopperTrak data that the 33 billion store visits in November and December 2010 declined to just over 17 billion for the same 2 months in 2013. A 50% decline in store traffic in just 3 years.

Meanwhile, Statista reports that in August 2015 the top 10 online shopping sites had 667 million monthly visits including 188 million for Amazon and 98 million for second-ranked eBay. Amazon accounted for 24% of all retail revenue growth in 2015.

Retail stores must succeed. They offer discovery and the tactile experiences of product look, feel and fit. Stores offer a social experience and for some, even exercise as patrons fulfill their needs and aspire to a bettered life.

Proven in-store strategies are neutralizing “show-rooming”, born of online options, and can reduce product returns. “Returns” has become the largest “supplier” for many retailers, imposing extraordinary costs on the business and challenging customer satisfaction.

Digital signage is part of the solution. It offers the simultaneously achieved benefits of branding and merchandising while bringing improved ambiance and vitality and reducing perceived dwell times at a location. Digital signage can inspire, focus and support sales associate success and express the business partnership of the retailer and its merchants.

So what is a retailer to do? This 5-point plan will be useful.Look around. See the digital signage applications in retail, food services, hospitality, transportation, entertainment and other locations that your target customers see and your competitors use.

  1. Look around. See the digital signage applications in retail, food services, hospitality, transportation, entertainment and other locations that your target customers see and your competitors use.
  2. Ask for input. Often a short telephone call can get you heading in the right direction and focused on elements of high return on time and investment.
  3. Designate a project leader to coordinate actions while creating consensus among departments.
  4. Go for the quick wins while planning for broader benefits.
  5. Allocate resources to your priorities in making store locations a more attractive destination, that attracts, holds and converts consumers to maximize your margin per visit and business value overall.

During the National Retail Federation conference in January 2016, it was declared that “bricks are the new black”. As the bricks welcome the clicks to the customer experience family, the bricks are called to mature yet again in serving consumer needs and wants.

More on Customer Experience and digital media in retail here and here.

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator related to digital place-based signage. He has assisted hundreds of organizations, published over 325 articles, whitepapers and guidebooks and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals.

Digital Signage Addresses Customer Experience Problems

August 1, 2016

Cust Loyalty wordal

Customer experience (CX) drives revenues in retail, food services and consumer service locations. The benefits of branding, merchandising and improvement to the ambiance, vitality and staff communications that are provided simultaneously at locations by digital signage serves CX goals.

As North American retailers invest over $125 billion in technologies annually to manage operations, cut costs and improve customer experience, digital signage is one of the high growth elements of this investment.

In a Temkin Group survey, 55% of brands indicated their intentions to improve CX because satisfied customers purchase more, forgive the brand for breakdowns more readily, have greater trust for the brand and are more willing to recommend the brand.

Gartner, Inc., the world’s leading information technology research provider noted that 47% of the 4,000 CX Executives worldwide currently use digital and e-commerce strategies to support goal achievement. Digital media is one of the 50 CX projects that billion dollar companies are currently focused on noted said Ed Thompson, Garner VP and Distinguished Analyst. He added that $100 million firms typically have a dozen major CX projects moving forward at any one time.

According to Gartner research, 31% of projects are funded by Marketing and 15% by the Customer Experience function.

CX is heavily focused on metrics and analysis since in creating strategies, knowledge is powerful.

If “power” is defined as the abilty to effect outcomes, the power of consumers to impact the success of brands and retailers has never been greater. It is on his basis that Voice of the Customer programs within the marketing function have such importance.

But beyond their ABC of attention, browse and comments, consumers provide feedback by their actions, interactions and transactions. The “big data” that describes the brand engagement experience holds the key to brand success. It is the 1-2 punch of analysis followed by actions that makes data useful to validating investment.

“Not all people matter equally to the business” says Paul Pacheco, SVP, Customer Strategies, TNS Canada in describing that an occasional patron is less important to the business than a loyal, high volume patron. TNS recommends that brands focus on the optimizing and improving the touch points for the people that matter most. See other Customer experiences resources here.

Change Management is the Key to Digital Media Success

August 1, 2016

Change magic cartoon

Some banking sector case studies of digital signage use offer useful insights to maximizing the return on digital signage investment.

The Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) was named Global Retail Bank of the Year in 2014 and 2015 by Retail Banker International and offers its services in 37 countries. RBC was one of the first banks to use dynamic place-based digital media in branches and their way of applying it offers important insights to all customer-facing organizations as provided by Alan Depencier, VP Marketing of RBC to delegates of the Interactive Customer Experience (ICX) Summit in Dallas.

Depencier summarized that “Digital is as much a cultural change as it is a communications paradigm” in describing the changes that forward-thinking consumer-facing organizations are making in applying branch/store/restaurant digital place-based media.

He added, “One of the key challenges of digital on-location media, as part of an integrated client experience, is in its change management requirement in interior design, technology and merchandising. The elements of investment validation, budgeting, layout of the customer environment, design of the engagement experience including adapting the customer interaction and adding new skills all contribute to maximizing the value.

“What makes a bank most different from other retailers, and we are a retailer”, said Depencier, “is that we do not have any physical products. This makes our marketing in this highly competitive sector of particular challenge”.

“A key to our success” he described “has been in holding up the brand value proposition against the physical location. When you do this, improvements are readily indicated and these are the foundation for improved customer experience.”

“Lead with strategy and client experience intentions, and then select technologies to enable these in a way that delivers value “in the now” while enabling economies of operations and future proofing,” Depencier advised.

“Change management is the journey of learning how to do it well. Marketers learned how to do mass communications and today are targeting messages better than ever before, but all customer-focused communications is on the path toward intuitive engagement in which customer awareness and business goals are merged to meet the needs and wants of all stakeholders. Dynamic, technology-based engagement is one of the most effective ways of achieving this” said Depencier.

Visitors to RBC branches can see many examples of tactical engagement. For example, patrons could place the coins from their pocket or purse on a digital table, which when detected illustrates how saving the amount of the coins could result in savings growth over time.

Other gamification that inform, inspires and engages customers include presenting true/false or multiple choice questions as a way to provide information about product features and benefits.

Digital place-based media should enable staff success and move the brand forward in “conversational commerce”. Depencier noted, “RBC advisors are inclined to learn what customers are learning and asking about through the on-location messaging”.

Bank of America has also been a long-standing user of in-branch digital signage. In 2014, the marketing division launched a concerted effort to further exploit the benefits of their system that had been installed in over 2000 branches.

The bank provided an in-depth briefing of the six major creative and ad agencies it used for video production, marketing campaigns, outdoor advertising, online promotion and static poster programs to rally agency efforts toward improved in-branch content. Not only did the Chief Marketing Officer want to better harmonize communications along the customer’s path to purchase/service, but also the “transmedia” opportunity was clear. Content created for use in other communications was to be re-purposed where suitable for in-branch displays that spoke to patrons as they were in the branch.

This process was very successful as the Bank Of America was recognized with an APEX Award during Digital Signage Expo in March 2015. Change management to better take advantage of the digital signage investment was focused on better engaging marketing communications suppliers so that their contributions could also benefit in-branch communications.

While creative production for the online experience made significant contributions, it was the agency that produced static posters that had the most to offer. Chicago-based based TPN (which had nominated Bank of America for the APEX Award), leveraged its capabilities to craft simple, core messaging by adding animations so the combination of the medium and the messaging maximized marketing spending.

In summary, change management in support of the brand objectives is the key to the success of the in branch, store and restaurant digital signage program success. When the current brand objectives are considered against the current on-location experience for patrons, the ways in which in which the medium can serve the enterprise become quickly evident.

Digital signage is one of the brands most influential communications tools for customers that express and want alignment with the brand, and the products and services that are promoted on digital signage help both the brand and the customer benefit from the brand-product-customer interaction.  

Lyle Bunn is an independent analyst, advisor and educator related to digital place-based signage who has assisted hundreds of organizations, published over 350 articles, whitepapers and guidebooks and helped to train over 10,000 end user and supply professionals.