Nov 21 2019

8 Considerations for Retailers Switching to Interactive Signage

Touch screens can yield big benefits in retail, but stores must deploy them thoughtfully and strategically.

Interactive digital signage can both encourage customers to linger longer at store displays and make them feel as though their wait at the checkout line is shorter. But making the switch from static, passive screens to interactive digital displays comes with challenges. 

A report from Digital Signage Today examines eight things that retailers should consider as they make the switch. 

MORE FROM BIZTECH: Find out how video walls affect the customer experience.

Work to Find Locations That Shield User Privacy

First, is interactive signage the correct solution? Just because you can replace a traditional sign with an interactive one doesn’t mean you should. 

“In some cases, a project might benefit from interactivity, but in other cases it might not,” Digital Signage Today notes. “An exit sign won’t benefit from interactivity, for example.” 

Second, consider location and demographics. Before making a significant investment in digital signage, retailers should have a clear idea about where their interactive signs will be placed, who the audience will be and what issues may arise in the location they’ve chosen. 

For instance, signs with an audio component may be a poor fit in noisy locations where shoppers will struggle to hear them, such as near the checkout lanes. 

Third, the size of the screen should fit the use case — and should take customers’ privacy into account.

“If users will be inputting personal or payment information, they’ll need to be able to do so away from prying eyes,” the report notes. “Chances are good that users won’t be comfortable typing in their email, home address and/or credit card information on a 64-inch screen in front of a crowd.

“On the other hand,” the report continues, “there may be situations where the content displayed on the screen will act as a form of advertising, drawing others into the experience. In those cases, bigger is better.” 

Content and Design Are Critical in Attracting Customers

A fourth consideration: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that 26 percent of the U.S. population copes with some form of disability, a figure that is likely to grow as the population ages. Failing to consider accessibility issues can result in fines and negative publicity, Digital Signage Today states, and can effectively shut out a large portion of customers from engagement efforts. 

Design is the fifth consideration. Interactive signs come with as many, if not more ways to be used as do traditional signs. Before deploying digital signage, retailers must decide whether they want a single- or multiple-screen display; whether to mount displays on the wall or give customers access to mobile tablets; and even whether to incorporate displays into tables that allow groups to gather and interact. 

Sixth, it’s important for retailers to think through how they will use analytics derived from interactive displays, and what objectives they hope to achieve through their analytics efforts. 

A seventh consideration is the implementation approach. Retailers must also consider their plan to develop content for their interactive signage, as well as how to potentially incorporate technologies such as RFID, near-field communication, speech recognition and Internet of Things sensors.

Glean Data from Interactions with Signs and Kiosks

Finally, interactive displays can incorporate data derived from the interaction itself (such as scanning a bar code), from user identification (via a loyalty card, manual login or mobile beacons) or from environmental factors (such as the weather).

“Combining those classes of data and taking things to their full potential, a retail kiosk might accept input via a touch-screen interface, identify the user and access a purchase history database to present offers based on those purchases,” Digital Signage Today notes. 

“Using that information, the display might suggest gloves or a pair of boots to match a coat the individual bought last week.”

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