Digital Signage

A Window On Retail

Window displays are best used to attract shoppers who may not be familiar with the brand, as well as inspiring loyal customers to visit the store.

Branding ramps up for holiday season.

Keen competition, sluggish sales and changes in consumer purchase behavior are pushing retailers to promote their brand and products on all possible fronts. As marketing-driven activity ramps up toward the holiday season, digital signage pros should see the emergence of many new opportunities and prospects.

The retail rainbow represents many different markets, from luxury boutiques and chain stores to QSRs and grocery stores. Every one of these environments has unique business goals, marketing objectives and operational processes. Knowledge of your client’s specific business and marketing goals, and the technologies that can help achieve them, are essential to a successful signage partnership.

Digital signage is an excellent platform for creating brand awareness and promoting a brand’s products. Campaigns are typically short messages with high-impact content displayed on highly visible screens placed at strategic locations. Whether in-store or on a DOOH network, these campaigns run for shorter durations of time than those on other marketing media. Recently, Chanel’s brand marketers concocted “No. 5 In A New Light,” an exhibition capturing various aspects of the legendary fragrance. The exhibit was on display for only 11 days inside a rented event space on the far West Side of lower Manhattan, in New York City. Designers also used numerous large-format LCD screens at street level along two sides of the building to extend the brand’s presence to passers-by.

Another iconic brand took a different approach—installing videowalls in windows on each side of the main entrance at its 57th Street and SOHO stores—in two of New York City’s busiest shopping areas. Although the campaign will run for only three months, after which the videowalls will be dismantled, the company decided to purchase the displays for future use.

The use of digital signage for branding may be initiated from within the company or by the advertising agency. “At one company, our longtime client is the Store Development team, who, in turn, recommended us to the Visual Merchandizing team,” said Linda Brisco, Project Manager at Dru Whitacre Media Services, a systems integrator specializing in retail. Brisco cautions that installs for branding campaigns are often intense because of their high visibility and time-oriented nature. “Even if the schedule and extra handholding pull at all of your company’s resources, it is important to ensure that your other projects are not short changed,” she advised.

Discussing a recent high-profile signage project in Manhattan, Brisco noted that the custom-build and testing were done in the SI’s warehouse in Brooklyn, and then there was “babysitting the project” during the entire period the signage was live at the client’s store. But she was quick to list the advantages of short-term installation projects, mentioning that some clients that see the cost savings in purchasing the displays often do not have storage space for them when not in use. Systems integrators can read that potential scenario as a possible “additional revenue stream” from rental, resale or warehousing the product for the client.

Window displays are best used to attract shoppers who may not be familiar with the brand, as well as inspiring loyal customers to visit the store. A selection of products from a brand’s latest introductions is typically displayed in store windows, but in recent years, digital signage has been used to herald the coming season’s lineup instead.

“Window displays are one of the most important marketing points for any store; therefore, digital displays for this space must be carefully selected,” said Eric Donnelly, Vice President of Operations at MagicInk Interactive. “Brightness and surface area of the LCD, as well as proper setup, are keys to success,” Donnelly said. He noted, “Combating glare is critical, and the size of the display will add visual impact. Clients need to understand selection criteria, such as the bare minimum acceptable 700 nits brightness [which he does not recommend] and display size of 65-inch or larger, if possible.” MagicInk also expands its clients’ understanding of tech design considerations by blogging on digital display specifications, branding essentials and other topics of interest.

Mobile, sensor, data analytics and other tech solutions are now in widespread use in retail, but which ones will help meet your client’s marketing and sales objectives? The Journal of Retail Analytics from Platt Retail Institute is an excellent source of information about the available technologies and successful applications.

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