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  • 3 steps to the retail sale this holiday season

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Every retail sale consists of three simple steps: Engage your customer; promote the items you want to sell; convince the customer to buy from you, here, now.

Retailers who have invested in digital signage will be more successful during the key Christmas holiday season than their non-digital counterparts in making the sale.

Why? Because Digital Signage can cost effectively contribute at each of these three stages.

Shoppers — especially during the holiday season — are looking for an experience. They expect to enjoy their hours at the mall and be entertained with visuals, sounds, interactive demonstrations and more. Retailers who use digital signage to its fullest potential by investing in high-end content development and creatively executing a signage installation will win the customer's mind-share. Another key component of engagement is keeping it fresh. Retailers will see a higher frequency of the same customer during the holidays, so refreshing that signage content is important. For maximum customer engagement, the experience should never feel stale. Surprise and delight the customer, and the customer will provide a delightful sale to the retailer.

The Christmas season is a unique time for merchandising, because a very high percentage of purchases are gifts for someone else. Rather than letting the customer wander unassisted, successful retailers will promote specific items and expertly highlight the features of those products that will make them the perfect gifts. There are so many choices, so retailers must focus on what makes their products the right choice. Digital signage can do the job well. Retailers can effectively use signage to display the reasons why their products are the best gifts — no need to go next door — look no further. These gifts will make your loved-ones smile.

Having successfully engaged the customer and promoted a specific item, the "bricks-and-mortar" retailer faces a challenge that in 2012 is bigger than ever. The customer needs to be persuaded to buy here and now rather than go home and find it on the Web. Digital signage should be enlisted to promote the retailer's value proposition and close the deal. Does the store offer easy returns and exchanges? Is there free technical support or customer service? An extended warranty? Do customers receive future discounts or loyalty programs once they buy? Some retailers even offer live price comparisons with leading websites — or a price-match guarantee. Communicate the value of buying right now, in the store, and more sales will be made.

These three marketing objectives have been addressed by different retailers in different environments in countless ways over the years. Certainly window displays, store layout, well-presented and -stocked shelves and service are as important as ever. But in 2012 Digital Signage is what will truly give retailers the leg-up.

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