Why you need to put digital signage at the top of your Christmas list
A. Jay, Senior Director of Business Relations, Mvix
The National Retail Federation is predicting a big holiday shopping season: The organization forecasts a 3.7 percent increase in November and December sales, which is more than 1 percent over the average for the past decade.
Leading sectors for the enormous shopping season are expected to include jewelry, clothing, building and gardening, electronics, appliances, food and beverage, home furnishings, books and music, and hobbies. While online sales account for a growing number of seasonal shoppers, local stores and restaurants are still full during holiday months. In fact, outings during the last months of the year put people in the holiday spirit, according to a survey from the NDP Group.
With so many stores and events competing for consumer attention during the holidays, however, retailers, restaurants and others have to be innovative and interactive to attract attention and convert browsers to spenders. Digital signage is a great way to capture shopper attention, and it also lets organizations make outings more entertaining and efficient.
Digital displays — especially videos — catch their attention
Décor, food, music and festival events fill retail, downtown and other local areas beginning in early fall. With the smells, sounds and sights of the season barraging consumer senses, shoppers might miss out on relevant retail or restaurant displays. Entering a shouting match with neighboring stores or events is sometimes futile, but well-placed digital displays might get your message through the chaos. According to an Arbitron digital place-based video study, videos displayed in public catch the attention of around 70 percent of consumers.
Retailers can use digital signage to full effect by incorporating holiday-themed videos, music and product messaging. Digital signs closer to entrances might entice holiday spirit seekers with sights and sounds that are exciting or comforting to many during the season. Further inside, establishments might display information about sales, promotions or products.
Digital signs reduce stress at checkout
Consumers might seek the holiday spirit by shopping or dining, but the holidays usually come with a certain amount of stress. Most consumers are probably dealing with some combination of financial worry and over-extended schedules — not to mention the sore feet, hunger and exhaustion that can accompany a day full of shopping. A PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey illustrates how important efficiency is to these shoppers: The top technology concern for consumers for the 2015 holiday season is the ease with which they can check out.
When crowds hit stores and malls, checkout lines are unavoidable. Retailers can reduce the stress of the experience by using digital signage to inform and entertain consumers while they wait. Digital signs are great for instructing crowds that change in size throughout the day and season. Because messaging on such signs can be changed on the fly, retailers can provide instructions at checkout stands that fit the size and nature of the crowd. Stores can also provide family-friendly entertainment or information to keep consumers occupied, which reduces the perception of wait times in checkout lines.
Begin holiday marketing in style
Fundivo reports that 49 percent of stores begin marketing for Christmas as early as October, but retailers are aware of consumer perceptions of such tactics. Many consumers feel that a hard push of holiday wares early in the season is tacky. At the same time, retailers who wait until later in the season miss out on important revenue from early shoppers.
Digital signage, which can incorporate numerous content and advertising types, lets retailers introduce holiday marketing throughout the year without taking up valuable aisle real estate or putting off some shoppers. For example, pumpkin flavors hit dining establishments fast and furious around September or October of each year, but a coffee shop with a digital display might incorporate a slide about upcoming pumpkin flavors in the summer. Since the slide rotates with numerous other information, it doesn't overwhelm those consumers with a distaste for seasonal market. Still, the message is slowly incorporated into the minds of regular customers, who are more likely to show up in the fall for a pumpkin-flavored treat. The same tactic can be used in a variety of businesses.
Incorporate the Internet
The NDP Group reports that more people will be conducting online research during the 2015 holiday shopping season than in 2014. Over 70 percent of shoppers plan to review information online, and over 40 percent will read consumer reviews. Retailers can minimize the loss of sales to online venues by keeping shoppers offline and in their own store — and one way to do that is to give consumers the online research they want via digital signage.
Digital displays can incorporate social media feeds, Yelp pages and even information from online retailers. Retailers such as H.H. Gregg offer interactive digital kiosks that let customers look up prices from other stores, and the retailer in question usually matches those prices. Retailers run a slight risk by providing this information in such an open format, but the benefits often outweigh the disadvantages, especially during holiday rushes. Holiday shoppers don't always have time to find the best deal, and they are often very interested in crossing the next gift to-do off their lists. Retailers that make it easy for shoppers to feel they've done their homework can make same-day sales.
Turn holiday customers into year-round customers
It's no secret that holiday shopping and spending accounts for the bulk of revenue for most retailers. While relying on that holiday bubble is a common strategy for retailers and some restaurants, turning holiday consumers into regular shoppers increases business stability year round. Retailers can use digital signage to let shoppers know about deals in other seasons or to promote loyalty and rewards programs. A large percentage of holiday shoppers are interested in deals, so retailers who offer coupons or savings with rewards programs can sign up new consumers during holiday events. The right time to convert consumers is when they're in a store, which means proven digital displays are critical through the holiday shopping season and the return season that follows.
A. Jay is the senior director of business relations at Mvix, a Virginia-based digital signage company providing end-to-end digital signage solutions, including a free cloud-based CMS. An industry veteran, Jay has more than 10 years of experience in digital entertainment and communication solutions.