Changing the retail experience with digital displays

However, retail experts note brands should be careful not to introduce distractions to the in-person shopping experience while customers are onsite. Digital experiences in a physical store should use engaging displays or interactivity to connect the customer to the store and create a memorable experience that does not rely on a mobile device.

The power of interactivity

According to the Nielsen Total Audience Report, adults in the United States spend an average of 11 hours each day listening to, watching, reading, or generally interacting with media. As this trend has grown, especially with the explosive popularity of touchscreen mobile devices, people have come to expect digital screens and interactivity to be part of more and more experiences. Whether a store is selling clothing or video games, interactive digital displays and systems can provide zero-labour customer engagement, encouraging purchases and providing hands-on service online shopping cannot match.

One of the world’s largest technology retailers consistently introduces new product displays and in-store marketing campaigns. In one of this retailer’s latest product-specific campaigns, eight locations each received three custom-designed liquid crystal display (LCD) kiosks, which present motion-activated ads, tutorials, and demos for Microsoft’s Xbox, Windows, and Office products. To maximize their value, the kiosks include proximity sensors able to activate call-to-action ads and promotional videos when people walk near them, as well as refreshing content based on engagement time so shoppers are prompted to move through information or a demo in a timely manner.

The Office kiosks feature a 1397-mm (55-in.) display on each side, with the backside displaying ads and the front showing tutorials. These tutorials interact directly with two laptops, which visitors can use to follow along with the demo. The Xbox kiosk is similar, with a front display offering two Xbox controllers on which guests can play a predetermined game, as well as a rear-facing 1397-mm display that can be seen from throughout the store, highlighting gameplay from top titles.

The last kiosk is focused on Windows’ Cortana, Ink, and Hello features. It utilizes a 2- x 3-panel video wall connected to three Microsoft laptops and tablets, which allow for multiple simultaneous users. The video wall can show a single stream across all six panels. When two or three people want to use the kiosk at the same time, the PC that controls the video feeds automatically separates the displays into three separate feeds so each guest can have a personal experience and explore products at his or her own speed.

Retail as a destination

Brands are leveraging interactive and large-scale display technologies to create retail destinations offering experiences consumers cannot get online. For Razer, a brand in the gaming industry, this idea of retail as a destination led to the installation of several video walls and standalone displays across multiple locations in five countries, including a new Razer store in San Francisco and the Razer USA office in Irvine, Calif.

Razer outfitted its Irvine office lobby with two 1- x 6-panel video wall galleries composed of 1092-mm (43-in.) displays to communicate essential information to employees, business partners, and visitors. Meanwhile, at the more public-facing Razer store in San Francisco, the team used 16 ultra-thin bezel 1397-mm (55-in.) panels to build a large 4- x 4-panel video wall with a total screen size of 5588 mm (220 in.) diagonal to offer shoppers a unique, immersive gaming experience.

Unique display designs can be leveraged in flagship stores to reflect the brand in an engaging way.

Unique display designs can be leveraged in flagship stores to reflect the brand in an engaging way.

To meet the need for wayfinding and promotional purposes, the team also installed standalone 1397-mm (55-in.) displays throughout the store. These displays make use of content management and editing software, which allows Razer to quickly manage content not only across the two U.S. locations, but also worldwide, bringing convenience and a positive user experience to the company’s global team.

Designing outside the box

Designers and content creators are looking beyond the rectangular, wall-mounted screen to make an impact with visual merchandising. It is now feasible to put pixels on surfaces of all shapes, sizes, and locations, and these non-traditional display arrangements can be employed to present single images or a variety of content.

With modern content management solutions, displays can be arranged and hung in any orientation, with content produced specifically for each display. For example, one might imagine a multi-panel video wall that, instead of being a standard rectangle, is turned 45 degrees and mounted as a diamond. Content can be created to fit the diamond screen, resulting in an attractive, distinctive video solution. Content can even play across disparate displays, allowing designers to deliver artistic expressions such as moving images from one screen to another several feet away.

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