Innovative Retail Technologies

MAR 2013

Innovative Retail Technologies (formerly Integrated Solutions For Retailers) is the premier source for innovative yet pragmatic technology solutions in the retail industry.

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Q&A Omni-Channel Retailing Digital Displays Bring E-Commerce To The Store The relevance of the store in a cross-channel retail environment is bolstered by digital interaction. Trent Waterhouse, CMO, Elo Touch Solutions by Matt Pillar M arkets & Markets reports $3.95 billion in global digital signage sales in 2011, a figure that's expected to grow to $13.2 billion by 2016 at a nearly 28% CAGR. That growth is fueled by the realization that the majority of purchase decisions — some sources peg it as high as 70% — are made in the store. At this year's NRF Show, we caught up with Trent Waterhouse, CMO at Elo Touch Solutions, and asked him a few questions about the role digital signs play in the cross-channel retailing environment. What applications should retailers deploy via in-store kiosks and other interactive digital technologies to help bridge the gap between brick-and-mortar and online channels? Waterhouse: We've seen some great examples of how interactive digital signs are helping retailers and the brands they sell extend both their brand messaging and their product lines in physical stores. For example, athletics retailers and shoe manufacturers are working collaboratively on highly interactive applications which bring the look and feel of the brand and social experience into stores. Through the implementation of dedicated digital displays, the same interactive campaigns consumers find online are extended to the retail store in a realtime application that's constantly updated and fresh. This allows manufacturers to push the latest product information and even real-time social media buzz to every retail location nationwide. The application allows consumer access to the entire portfolio of basketball shoes, even beyond the sizes and styles in stock at the physical location. Through the integration of NFC (near field communication), the interactive displays enable payment processing for additional points of purchase in stores. The displays also feature RFID integration. When a shopper approaches the display with an RFID-tagged shoe in hand, a built-in RFID reader recognizes the tag, prompting information that's specific to that product to pop up on the screen. This enhances the consumer's knowledge and in-store experience. The bigger trend this application and others like it address is the 24 RetailSolutionsOnline.com ● March 2013 desire to bring "clicks" to "bricks." The online channel is increasingly present in the store, and the displays themselves are providing more information about the merchandise within the store. We're also seeing more interest in the use of integrated cameras that assess consumer demographics and determine what consumers are interested in as they peruse store shelves. We'll see this ability enabling the signage to respond with relevant messaging that directs specific merchandise information to specific consumers. On the back end, these technologies enable interaction with consumers and produce valuable analytics from usage of the content, which feeds more effective marketing efforts. When we can analyze what's happening at the sign, we can drive granular marketing content that responds to that by displaying content that's relevant to the consumer who's standing there. How are retailers integrating mobile devices with kiosk and digital signage solutions to further "connect the dots" between channels? Waterhouse: The next step is to extend interactive technology to consumers' personal mobile devices. We're working on projects that integrate location-based services for proactive in-store promotions and couponing when consumers "check in" to a store with their mobile device. Integration with smartphones will enable not only targeted in-store promotions, but also the ability to tie together cross-channel shopping cart data. By recognizing shopping carts that began online or on the phone, we can allow consumers to complete those transactions on their phones or in the store. The mobile part of this interaction is typically in the consumer's control. When the shoppers discover merchandise they're presented on the large screen, they want the freedom to close the transaction at their discretion on the small screen. Or, what the consumer learns about and engages on the display is transferred to the POS to consummate the sale. In this way, we see mobile devices, digital signs, and POS units — both fixed and mobile — as complementary, not adversarial. ■

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