The latest retail screen innovations

The physical retail store sector is a competitive one. Especially now that people have become so used to shopping online. It is estimated that by the time 2021 finishes, 2.14 billion people would have bought something online. That compares to just 1.92 billion people in 2019,which is the best comparison year because these statistics were not affected by CoVid lockdowns.

This means that physical retailers are now chasing an increasingly shrinking slice of the pie. But they are fighting back. Primarily by using the latest digital technology to create a shop floor environment, which appeals to modern consumers. In particular, to those that like to shop digitally.
Using more digital displays in-store is one of the main ways they are doing that.

How digital screens were first used by the retail sector
Before we dive into how they are doing this, let’s first look at how digital screens have been traditionally used by the retail sector. Doing so provides context, which will help you to see just how radical the changes retailers are making are.

Digital screens for the checkout
In most stores, the first shop floor screens appeared when manual and electronic tills started to be replaced by digital ones. This new style of till usually included a tablet-style screen, which made it easier for the cashier and customer to see what had been rung up.

In-store advertising
From there digital signs for retail evolved very quickly. The fact that what was being displayed on their checkout screens could easily be changed made retailers realize that digital display screens had a lot of potential uses. Especially when it came to advertising.

They could go from using posters and banners, which were static and could not easily be changed, to using large screens instead. Something that also enabled them to cut costs and free up staff time.
At the time, large display screens were not as cheap as they are now. As a result, initially, it was only the large chains that used digital advertising in-store. Often, the short videos, slide shows, and display ads that were used on them were produced by head office. Usually, they also mandated what should be played and when. Then, provided each store with a copy of the necessary files for them to download to their in-store display player.

Real-time targeted advertising for every retail store
To some extent, this still happens, but now screen prices have dropped and the majority of small stores also use them. Most digital store screen suppliers also now provide software packages that include templates and relevant images as part of the package. Something that enables any store owner to create their own advertising material and do so extremely quickly.

So, if they are having lunch and notice while browsing online that several popular celebrities are wearing the same style of jacket, they can browse their collection for something similar. Then, model it and get a staff member to take a few photos. That image can then be turned into in-store advertising. Something that can be done in minutes by simply changing the image and wording of a template.

Stores that change their advertising in real-time always have something new to bring to a customer’s attention. They soon get a reputation for having something interesting to offer, which increases footfall, improves brand identity, and increases customer loyalty.

The sky’s the limit
This approach is quite radical and innovative. But when it comes to in-store retail screens the sky’s the limit.
The fact that you can show absolutely anything on them at any time combined with innovations such as heat mapping, interactive touch screens, 3D and ghost image projections makes them extremely powerful tools. The innovations are coming thick and fast. Here are just a few examples:

Apple´s screen wall
The Memphis Apple store has wall-sized screens that display edge-to-edge images. Providing clients with a new immersive experience.

In-store browsing
It sounds counterintuitive to let customers browse online in a physical store. But many retailers who have tried it are finding that it boosts sales. Customers like the fact that they can very quickly pick out the items of clothing in which they are interested. Then, armed with this information, select them from the racks and try them on. Many retailers use assistants to do this for them, which enables them to make a one-on-one connection with the customer. From there they can offer further suggestions and advice. Something that often results in a higher-priced purchase, as well as greatly improving brand loyalty.

Digital display tables
In Amsterdam, Tommy Hilfiger has set up a store that consists of digital display tablets that are linked to a video wall. The client uses touch to navigate their way through the collection while viewing them in a life-size format on the video wall. Ordering the items that they like just requires them to touch a few buttons on the screen.

Many more retail digital display concepts are currently in development. So, it is definitely an area of retail technology that is worth keeping track of.

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