Shopping for leisure: when shopping is more than the purchase.
For many, ‘going shopping’ is a social and leisure activity. Meeting friends and enjoying a coffee or lunch is all part of the experience. The extended lockdown period saw on-line purchases soar by necessity – when you know what you want, and you just need it, this will continue to provide a convenient option – but ‘shopping’ is so much more than the purchase.
With the strictest Covid restrictions now, hopefully, behind us, providing that much yearned for shopping experience is what’s needed to keep people coming back to the High Street. Nils Karsten, Business Segment Lead for Retail at Sharp/NEC looks at the current trends and how retailers are preparing for the future.
From the street to the mall, to the store; there are limitless opportunities for digital advertising to enrich the journey. The public are open to a constant feed of media – which young person is without their airpods or smart phone? There is an expectation that your senses will be stimulated, with engaging audio and visual experiences. DooH and in-store digital signage plays a key part in generating a multi-dimensional shopping experience, arousing the senses, and exposing opportunities to inspire and influence behaviour.
Strong growth predicted
Despite universal challenges within the supply chain and component shortages impacting every sector, demand remains high and large capital projects are ongoing.
Product availability has impacted the market over the last year, but the outlook is encouraging with a predicted strong growth in digital and retail signage.
The global digital signage market size is expected to reach USD 35.94 billion by 2026, a growth rate of 7.8%, according to Globe Newswire.
Today’s tech-savvy shoppers have high expectations
Innovation in display technology has advanced considerably over the last 5 to 10 years. Where a single Large Format Display was once sufficient adoption of digital communication, today’s tech-savvy shoppers are expecting more razzmatazz!
Large scale videowalls for high impact
Gone are the days of thick framed LCD Displays arranged to create a larger image. Surfaces of 86”, 98” or even 120” can now be achieved with a single LCD display; or multiple 55” Large Format Displays with ultra-narrow bezels can be configured creating barely discernible image gaps of <1mm. But for areas of high ambient light, typical in stores and malls, where high brightness or even larger surfaces are required, dvLED is the aspirational technology which is getting more affordable. With its impressively long life cycle, it meets the demands of sustainability targets yet delivers more in terms of visual impact. With almost no reflection and deep contrasts, seamlessly scalable to fit the available space, dvLED offers a compelling alternative to LCD videowalls.
Fashion brand Walbusch chose dvLED technology to modernise its window and in-store offering. The small format modules enabled the retailer to configure a large bezel-free digital surface in an unusual 3:4 portrait format. Long-life, and easy to maintain, shoppers are treated to high-resolution dynamic images with deep contrasts which convey the quality of the brand.
The powerful potential of projection
Also bezel-free, and scalable to any size, laser projection offers incredible versatility for highly cost-effective signage. Any surface can be projected onto, whilst the projector itself remains unobtrusive. This opens many creative opportunities to utilise surfaces which may not be suitable for flat screen technology. Professional installation features further enhance the possibilities: edge blending allows larger, brighter images with added redundancy; geometric correction enables uneven surfaces to be projected upon; and pixel mapping techniques bring products to life.
The ‘rug sizer’ provides IKEA customers with an engaging and highly visual tool to help them to make the right purchase to enhance their home. This innovative solution is just one example of how laser projection is opening exciting opportunities to surprise and excite customers as retailers seek ways to enhance the shopping experience and forge a greater connection with their audience.
Even ‘small format’ gets noticed for its creative positioning
Small Format LCD Displays from 17”, and ultra-stretched format displays offer creative positioning opportunities along shelf fronts or above arms-reach to utilise non-usable retail space. Shoppers are targeted with up close viewing for powerful POS promotions.
Large Format LCD Displays in sizes from 32” up to 98”, or even 120”, integrate seamlessly into the retail environment. NEC’s unique thermal management and heat-dissipating metal chassis allows the screens to be fitted inside totems, housings and shop fittings for the most unobtrusive installation, yet the most eye-catching content delivery.
Enriching the journey through data-driven usage
Augmenting the visual experience through data-driven usage takes digital signage to a new level of potency. The integration of sensors and interactivity enables retailers to create complex experiences for their customers, building loyalty and increasing dwell time. In combination with audience measurement techniques, retailers can capture valuable data about their customers. This enables them to better understand their buying behaviour and therefore present more relevant communications.
Increased awareness of privacy and the impact of GDPR need not be a hindrance to retailers. Retail signage using integrated sensors to monitor the movement of an individual, for instance, is not registering any personal characteristics and is entirely anonymous.
From a simple ‘human presence’ sensor (similar to a PIR floodlight in a backyard), to face or body motion recognition, content can be tailored according to the audience. Recognising the approximate age of the viewer or distinguishing between a mainly male or female audience and adapting the content to present appropriate promotions can hone campaigns and boost sales.
Your partner for retail digitisation
Sharp/NEC’s mission is to provide much more than reliable, long lasting digital signage hardware. As a trusted solutions provider, we work with our customers to ensure they achieve their aspirations, fully supported along the journey to generate a positive ROI.
We partner and communicate regularly with the World’s leading CMS providers, guaranteeing full compatibility and a total retail signage solution from a single source. Easescreen, Intuiface, YCD Multimedia, Grassfish, Dise, 22 Miles, Yodeck, Brightsign, Tripleplay, Wallsign, and a.m.m; these are just a small selection of our retail focused partners.
Choice and flexibility
We provide choice and flexibility to our customers through our open and modular approach. Upgradable with customisable performance levels, in contrast to competitive offerings, NEC’s Open Modular Intelligence (OMi) is future-proof and supports a broad range of operating systems from Windows, Linux, Raspbian or Android, as well as many hardware platforms like Intel or the ARM based RaspberryPi. Embedded into our displays, open modular slot-in options offer an interchangeable selection of solutions including computing technology, media playback and signal distribution (e.g. AVoverIP) for unlimited versatility.
Large or small operations
We can tailor our offering for any size of retail operation. For hassle-free, out-of-the-box-ready signage, our special retail bundles with pre-configured MediaPlayer offers a simple, very easy to operate solution. The internal memory of 32GB even allows for large content to be stored directly within the display, to avoid the use of external USB storage.
For larger estates, any system integrator can benefit from a one click installation and set-up of CMS software, as the NEC MediaPlayer lists all compatible CMS Systems in a menu for easy installation and smooth deployment.
The integrated, slot-in computing can even be pre-configured prior to installation, whilst our free NaViSet Administrator remote management and control software reduces the costs associated with maintaining a large network of displays.
For more information about our retail signage solutions, visit our dedicated microsite.
Look out for part 2 in this series of retail focused blogs, addressing the sustainability of retail signage solutions.