By Dan Smith
Retail is in the midst of a technological renaissance. New software and audiovisual technologies are offering retailers greater customer insights and more engaging marketing platforms while simultaneously providing guests with more personalized, streamlined shopping experiences. By combining various types of digital displays with technologies such as touchscreens, facial recognition, machine learning, and mobile device integration, retailers can gather data and make decisions faster and more effectively than ever before. This anonymous customer data can then be used to personalize the shopping experience, engage customers with interactive displays, and turn stores into destinations.
Big data and personalization
It is difficult to find a piece of modern technology that is not collecting data to personalize the user experience. For retailers, collecting and analyzing data on customer behaviours can influence decisions on store design, staffing, sales promotions, and the design and placement of in-store advertisements. The more actionable data a store can generate, the more opportunity it gains to improve return on investment (ROI) from its digital infrastructure.
Recent advances in display and camera technologies have made data collection a passive process that does not require consumer action. For instance, data captured by new camera and motion-sensing solutions can help retailers determine how long shoppers take to make decisions, which advertisements are most effective, and even which floor plans best enable customers to find their desired items.
When paired with digital signage displays and touchscreen kiosks, these cameras and software can be used to answer questions such as “How do customers feel about this advertisement?”, “How many people saw this ad today?”, and “How long do people spend searching for their desired items?” This enables retailers to design their floor plans and digital marketing more effectively. If certain campaigns or times of day exhibit low traffic, managers can adjust messaging and work schedules to optimize operations.
Personalized information can also be used to create an omnichannel sales funnel, with relevant marketing messages delivered not only in-store, but also through ‘push’ alerts on branded mobile apps promoting in-store-only discounts or products. At-home reminders have been a boon for prescription retail customers, for instance, with timely messages about the need for refills leading to a jump in prescription sales. This ability to reach customers at any time and in any place brings with it a plethora of opportunities to share promotions and encourage in-person visits.
Stores can also offer in-person experiences that leverage information about past purchases, seasonal trends, and even which available in-store ads are most relevant for specific customers. This can be achieved through advanced digital signage displays, which interface with smartphones in order to alert a store’s network to the fact this particular customer is looking at this particular display and would be best served with certain information or advertisements.