The path to purchase evolution: digital in-store

Nov. 22, 2011 | by Ben Stagg

As the path to purchase continues to evolve, information and informational transactions are the catalyst to purchase. Shoppers are better informed than ever, thanks in large part to well-executed multichannel marketing strategies. Despite the near constant state of flux surrounding the "mediums" through which brand messaging is delivered, the end goal remains the same: demonstrating to the customer why Option A is a better purchasing choice than Option B.

While the significant components of the path to purchase remain the same, the stops along the way are evolving, with significant and growing influence from digital mediums:

  • Sixty-five percent of consumers report a digital brand experience has changed their opinion of the brand. Ninety-seven percent report a digital experience influenced their purchasing decision. (Razorfish Digital Brand Experience Study, 2009)
  • Mobile devices are used by 32 percent of consumers to browse or research products or services at least once a month. (ATG, March 2010)
  • In a study conducted by myYearbook, a social networking site, 81 percent of respondents said they'd received advice from friends and followers relating to a product purchase through a social site; 74 percent of those who received such advice found it to be influential in their decision. (Click Z, January 2010)
  • People think digital signage is more attention-grabbing (63 percent) and more entertaining (48 percent) than most other mediums. (OXT Study, 2007)
  • Seventy-four percent of respondents noticed the monitors at the point of sale (POS). The awareness rate for digital in-store is thus 23 percent higher than the average benchmark of other POS media analyses. (Nielsen, 2009)

Digital in-store programs attract shopper attention by combining divergent information channels to initiate relevant, engaging and influential communication with shoppers at POP.

So how does digital in-store do this? Technology makes it possible. Today's computing and playback devices are smarter, faster, cheaper, greener and better built than ever. As confidence grows and risk shrinks regarding the viability of the digital in-store concept, adoption will naturally increase and give us even more component options in the future. And that's just hardware.

Where the real magic happens is in the software, where we are able to integrate with inventory databases, and adjust content based on geography, weather, time of day, day of the week, you name it. It's where we can offer control of a digital device's content to shoppers via their mobile device, allow them to tie in their social persona and really capitalize on the inroads to those three critical functions: relevance, engagement and influence.

As technological advances continue to push the most capable devices closer to commodity, developers, designers and integrators of retail applications are witnessing the creation of a very unique opportunity. Utilizing current technology and the modern trend of "self publishing" (such as Facebook and Twitter), brands have more access to the attitudinal, anecdotal and factual sales conversion and marketing effectiveness intelligence than ever before. Two-way communication between digital devices has changed the way those informational transactions are delivered and received. As the customer side of the informational ecosystem drives faster response times, nearly instant transfer of information constructs the framework for businesses to be on the receiving end of these transactions as well as the distribution – making the path to purchase more interactive and information-rich than ever before.

Topics: Assisted Selling , Assisted Selling/Point-of-Decision , Content , Customer Experience , Retail

Ben Stagg / Digital Signage Certified Expert Ben Stagg, director of R&D for Vital Media Inc., is responsible for the technology solutions and deployment infrastructure for Vital Media’s digital signage solutions. Stagg started his own digital signage company in 2004, before selling it in 2007 and joining Vital Media.
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