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The “retailtainment” is upon us and retail digital signage solutions are fueling the growth. Today, the experiences come first in the shopping menus. People don’t want boring product displays, dull stores, and lame wayfinding. They want to be amazed as they enter the retail space. That’s why we’re here to talk about the digital transformation trends in the retail industry.
Retail digital signage solutions of today
How did we get here? Well, there are two major factors that contributed to the drastic transformation of retail space as we know it.
First of all, it’s COVID-19. The impact of the lockdowns on the largely physical retail industry was absolutely devastating. Many went out of business, for some it was a cold shower and an incentive to change, for others it was a perfect opportunity. One way or the other, the market tried to adapt and survive in times of uncertainty. That led to a frantic search for tools that could save the struggling retail space. Digital signage proved to be such a tool, it brought digital transformation in the retail industry.
Secondly, apart from the trials and tribulations caused by the lockdowns, the technology itself wasn’t standing in one place. VR and AR became meatier and more serious. The AI sent shock waves across the globe. The existing visual technologies were adapted and ameliorated. The crisis brought in more creativity and innovation along with the focus on tools that could help retailers get out of the physical space limitations and bridge the digital divide better.
That’s the current environment that the retail industry finds itself in. We would like to share 5 ways digital signage is revolutionizing the retail industry for you to get a better understanding of what’s hot at the moment.
1. Embracing the 3D avatars
What substantial gains can a 3D avatar bring to the table? Can retail use this technology to be better and more entertaining? Absolutely yes! The change is happening right now and it’s exciting.
A 3D avatar is a digital personification of a person. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be real. Retailers can utilize 3D personalities to provide a more sophisticated customer experience, to diversify the way the interaction is done with the people who visit the physical store.
But where is digital signage in this process? The screens are the portals that “give life” to the 3D avatars in the retail space. The customer interacts with the digital personality with the help of a display. Even more interactivity can be achieved by adding voice and touch control.
For example, a clothing store can create a certain 3D avatar personality. Let’s call it “Lisa”. Lisa would be a trademark of the store and she will directly talk to the visitors through the screen technology. That’s how this awesome retail digital signage solution works.
Also, another way 3D avatars are used at the moment is in the online shopping realm. Meta has introduced an Avatars Store with branded clothes from Balenciaga and Prada. Here the VR intersects with 3D and beautiful things happen. It still retails but in digital space.
2. Going spectacular with VR technology
The experience is everything in “retailtainment”. VR allows companies to broaden the horizons of what a physical store can be. Digital signage serves as a link that enables the smooth execution of new technologies. Retail digital signage solutions are destined to make everything feel better.
Coronavirus catalyzed the transformation of the classic retail space and made brands around the world look for new creative ways to lure e-commerce-obsessed customers back into the stores.
Nike has shown a perfect example of implementing VR by introducing updated immersive stores. The screens were orchestrating a new kind of experience where visitors could see how the Nike products are made and witness the supply chain through VR technology.
3. Selling better with immersive AR
Augmented reality. Just the sound of this dominating trend evokes creativity and unlimited possibilities. Retailers embraced the technology with open arms and we’ve seen lots of fantastic applications of AR throughout recent years.
What makes AR such a great feature? It’s all in the versatility. Sky is the limit when you’re designing an AR retail experience. While not all of them require screens to function, digital signage is still an essential part of the circuit and can drastically improve the overall experience.
As with any digital tool, AR can be hit-and-miss. But recent years have shown that this technology is far from a flashy short-lasting thing. It has proved itself to be a full-fledged innovative approach to marketing and engagement. Numerous companies have embraced it and the AR has become a golden standard for brands who want to go further in terms of customer interaction.
Here are several awesome applications of AR in retail space:
- Toms transported people to Peru
- Asos AR-powered clothes try-on
- Shanghai Metro virtual trying screens
4. Smart AI integration
In a span of just several months, ChatGPT turned from yet another IRobot wannabe to the headliner of every tech-related discussion and a menace of almost every human-powered job in the world. That showed the rise (and rise) of AI technology and its smooth transition to the mainstream.
Retailers have been taking notice. Many have started implementing various aspects of AI for more effective data management, boosting logistics, and leveling up human resources. Yet, the most promising application of AI in retail still lies in the domain of customer experience and in in-store interaction in particular. And it’s here that the digital signage shines.
New AI solutions allow brands to recognize the emotional response of the customers, understand the mindset, analyze the mimics, distinguish customer profiles, and perform biometric recognition. That data, in turn, can be used to sell better. Much better.
The screens are the “eyes and voice” of the AI in this process. Brands interact through the displays and digital signage serves as a physical portal for AI to do its job right.
Companies can deploy AI-powered chats on the screens, show personalized propositions, cater offers and deals according to the customer profile, and influence emotions through the screens.
5. Better bridging of the online and offline
E-commerce dominates the retail industry in 2023. The stats speak for themselves. Here are some eye-opening numbers:
- 20.8% of retail purchases are expected to take place online in 2023
- The global e-commerce market is expected to total $6.3 trillion in 2023
- By 2026, 24% of retail purchases are expected to take place online
It is growing, it’s a force to be reckoned with and it’s here to stay. In other words, if you’re not selling online (or selling but not giving it serious treatment) you risk losing money much faster in the coming years.
No, the physical stores are not going anywhere just yet. And considering the boost that they are given by all the aforementioned technologies like AR, VR, AI, and digital signage, the future there is quite bright. However, that does mean that the stores should adapt to survive. And implementing digital signage is a great way to be flexible.
The displays are great at connecting the offline to the online, that’s a purpose they are glad to fulfill. Use it to the full force at your retail store. Utilize digital signage technology to highlight e-commerce propositions, announce special deals, facilitate the purchase right in the store, boost your social media, and run ads.