Retail marketing can be basically divided into two subgroups: external marketing and internal marketing. External marketing is everything dealing with the external communications of the company, such as TV and press advertising, targeted campaigns with large advertising rollouts and OOH (out of home) ads. All these tools make the store chain visible to a wider audience, as well as increase brand awareness and strength of loyalty. This ultimately yields an increase in traffic and a proportional increase in sales.
No less important is internal in-store marketing, which combines many elements such as comfortable parking with easy navigation, an internal system distribution of product categories, proper placement of islands with special offers, a sufficient number of cash registers, proper distribution of staff members, readable and informative price tags and much more. This creates a comfortable atmosphere for the customer. Internal marketing is made up of many components that are interconnected, like gears of a complex mechanism, to ensure smooth operations. One of the most important components is digital signage.
Digital signage is an integral part of effective customer communication in retail outlets, whether it's a small neighbourhood store or a huge supermarket with several hundreds of parking spaces. If a retail chain decides to use digital signage, it is necessary to first create a clear strategy and to assess the qualitative and quantitative criteria of such system's effectiveness. That, in turn, leads to a detailed positioning of components depending on the location and purpose.
The store starts with the parking lot and the use of specialized screens; from the first seconds, this immerses the visitor in the store’s atmosphere. Whether it's in an underground parking lot or an outdoor parking pad, specialized displays can show information about available spaces, direct visitors by the shortest route to the entrance and accompany them at the exit by broadcasting the best route. Such systems eliminate jams, waiting and the long search for a free parking space, which ultimately creates a positive mood among customers. Navigation displays, in addition to their intended purpose, play promotional content about current special offers in different product categories, loyalty programs, etc., which potentially expands the shopping list of visitors while encouraging spontaneous purchases.
Navigation isn't just important in the parking lot, it's crucial in the store itself. For internal departmental navigation, printed signs are used more often. However, they do not carry any additional functional load. It is much more effective to use media screens and broadcast not only information, but also advertising content. For example, one can emphasize the department, or promote products related to neighbouring departments. This approach will draw the visitor's attention to other in-store offerings.
Of course, the main task of in-store digital signage is to support current promotions and marketing programs, to advertise products and highlight suppliers. To achieve the best results, we place media carriers in the store's corridors, the checkout areas, directly in departments with a particular product and sometimes integrated directly in the trading shelf. Such placements focus customers’ attention on making a purchase decision or choosing a particular manufacturer. Proper utilization of digital signage, in combination with quality content, significantly increases the share of situational sales (which can reach 30%, according to statistics). High-quality content, optimally chosen algorithms of media placement and content playback accompany the visitor during their stay in the store, leading to a purchase. To do this, when preparing playlist broadcasts, we consider placement of media carriers as well as the sequence of content. The advertised products should be linked in a logical playlist with the correct delivery of information to the viewer.
Special attention should be given to the checkout area; often it is the most loaded part of the store, especially during peak hours. Near the checkout are always a lot of small, high-margin goods in a wide range. Several screens of different sizes and purposes can be installed here. For instance, you can have a big screen broadcasting commercials, services and loyalty programs together with promotional content about the goods at the checkout counter; or, you can install a small touch panel with interactive content. You can use the touch panel to poll visitors about the quality of service and the range of products and services. Or, you can conduct one-time promotions by randomly drawing a client who can get a discount on their current purchase by entering their loyalty card number. Such polls allow getting useful information in real time and increase customers’ loyalty and trust.
Summing up, I would like to note that digital signage systems in the store can effectively accompany ongoing marketing activities and productively advertise products as well as create a comfortable environment for visitors. With the right strategy of digital signage usage, the effectiveness of internal marketing and sales increases significantly. A good strategy should combine all aspects, such as:
● Quality and quantity of content
● Content relevance
● Connect an assortment of shelves
● Spatial distribution of media throughout the sales floor
Content should not be intrusive; it should not be too much, so as not to overload the visitor with information. Sometimes, if the number of promotional offers exceeds the planned number, it makes sense to pay attention to the store load by hours in the context of the target audience, and thereby distribute the content by time. The content should be of high quality and not monotonous.
The content should always be relevant. Even if the promotion is still relevant but the product is physically no longer available on the shelf, it is necessary to exclude content about that product from the playlist.
Media carriers should be placed logically along the retail space in accordance with the planned load on the departments and the main routes within the store. Content should be distributed according to the planned strategy.
After the digital signage system is implemented, you should constantly monitor and analyze the intermediate results. If results do not correspond to the planned figures, you may correct the algorithm; for example, extend advertising of certain goods to other departments or increase the intervals of the display in the checkout area.
Digital signage systems can work as a separate element of marketing communication, but the most effective solution is to integrate digital signage with the retail chain's database. Such integration allows you to automate content broadcasting, to control its relevance and to collect and analyze obtained data.
A well-defined strategy, high-quality content and optimal placement of media carriers – in combination with care about the buyer – will lead to the desired results and figures.
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