Retail Marketing

Is this the year in-store digital signage takes over?

Times Square, New York.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind?

If vibrant flashes of advertising flooded your mind, you already understand just how impactful digital signage can be.

In-store retail media is the next generation of digital signage, and it’s being harnessed by brands worldwide, making the supplier/brand relationship more valuable to retailers than ever before. In-store media differs from traditional in-store digital signage in that it’s giving brands access to advertising channels right at the point of sale, in a new innovative way. This new revenue stream is estimated to be worth £1.7b annually for UK retailers and £11bn across EMEA.  

When consumers are browsing online, some of the most vital touchpoints for brands are at the bottom of the sales funnel. Whether it’s retargeting an individual after they engage with a website, or offering a discount to avoid them abandoning their purchase – the opportunities to convert are abundant.

As customers flock back to physical stores, brands are now partnering with retailers to create digital ‘bottom of funnel’ touchpoints through in-store retail media. And it may well be the future of in-store retail.

The challenges of in-store retail media

The initial investment is high

Without future-proofed execution, the physical retail store can be a difficult and costly channel for customer experience. But as suppliers and advertisers wake up to the engagement and personalisation opportunities available through digital signage, the long-term return on investment will soon outweigh any initial teething problems.

Creating a desirable offering

Many respected retail publications are predicting a sharp rise in this use of technology. But with so many options available to advertisers and brands, they are likely to be selective about which retailers they enter into partnerships with. Retailers need to have a strong offering, partner with the right technology vendors and be agile enough to react to brand needs.

This could mean offering promotional packages that extend outside of the physical store, onto websites or in joint, physical out-of-home marketing. Or it might be in relation to how stores capture and share data with their partners.

Adding value to the customer experience

While the additional revenue stream for retailers is desirable, there’s a risk that this new concept could interrupt or even irritate shoppers. That’s why it’s important the in-store retail media offers different ways to add to the shopping experience.

It might be ad-hoc promotions, touch screen shopping advice, or even technology that connects with the brand’s specific app to offer a more personalised service. Likewise, the placement of this digital signage at each point of the customer journey will be key.

What’s driving brands to take in-store retail media seriously?

Data can be a brand’s biggest commodity, but information collected based on in-store shoppers provides a rare insight into what influences their purchase at the point of purchase. This increased need for data and new ways to get in front of audiences who crave physical experiences makes in-store retail media a new and exciting opportunity.

While the challenges mentioned earlier will prove to be a barrier, at least initially, retailers that don’t start putting plans in place now could miss the boat. Playing catch-up to a competitor that started implementation even a month earlier could be detrimental to earnings.

The technology and the way retailers use it will also adapt fast, so every passing day will bring new learnings and new ways to engage more brands. Keeping ahead of the curve is paramount.

Innovations in digital signage happening right now

The innovation…

Irish company Musgrave has implemented an ESL (Electronic Shelf Label) solution from Pricer so they can dynamically and quickly change prices in a synchronised way.

Why is it significant?

As the cost of living rises, employers are paying more to secure staff and automating time-intensive manual tasks where possible. The return on investment on ESLs will eventually be high, as prices can be updated centrally in real-time, ensuring complete accuracy and allowing employees to be reallocated to more high-value tasks.

Likewise, this technology will pave the way for on-shelf digital promotions that inform and engage buyers during their shopping experience.

The innovation…

Walmart has introduced a new strategy called “Time Well Spent” in its incubator store. The aim is to keep customers engaged for longer and ultimately increase their cart spend. It uses big screens displays and other technology to provide customers with information in interesting ways.

Why is it significant?

While Walmart innovations are largely contained to North America, they usually set the precedent for large grocery stores and retailers around the world. Some of their digital signage is being used in ways previously unheard of, such as showing customers reviews of a product on screen when they pick it up from the shelf (lift-and-learn technology), right through to QR codes cross-selling Walmart’s own pet insurance in the pet section of the store.

The innovation…

The introduction of 5G was overshadowed by the pandemic in 2021, and was somewhat quietly rolled out across certain parts of the world. With so much more additional network power, retailers finally have the chance to embrace it and use it in situ, introducing more interconnected technology without having to worry about network reliance or interruption as much.

Why is it significant?

With so much technology available to enhance the customer experience and convert them, 5G will allow for a much more reliable introduction of screens throughout stores – in the form of return kiosks, signage, promotions and more.

How retailers can effectively harness digital signage technology

Advertisers are going to want to procure in-store media with as simple implementation and minimal manual work as possible. The offering is also going to need to be unique and competitive. Essentially, the brands you’re working with, and for, will have the upper hand, but once you become operationally sharp and develop a solid offering, you will soon start to understand why all the hard work was worth it.

Brand Activation Management technology such as BAM by Papirfly™ can help make complex workflows simple, and limit the amount of tech knowledge that’s needed in-store to make updating digital signage quick and accurate. As well as being a digital, print, social, video and email creation platform, that requires zero design skills to use, it offers specific features so that retail teams can benefit from all of this and more:

Learn more about BAM by Papirfly™ for retailers now.