by Sarah Moseley. Although in-store purchases continue to make up the bulk of retail sales, a tightening economic situation means it’s essential to maximise every opportunity to make a sale once a customer reaches your door.
A digital signage solution powered by edge computing uses real-time decision-making to attract, convert and retain retail customers. Digital signage is a growing market, projected to reach USD 27.8 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 11.2% from now until then.
Grasp a competitive edge
Edge computing is transforming retail, one store chain at a time. Effectively, it keeps data processing closer to where the data is generated, and this reduces latency and delivers almost instantaneous results. This means that stores can respond to customers in the moment – tailoring experiences, building loyalty, reducing friction and proactively trouble shooting. Digital signage is flexible enough to support a customer who wants to be in and out quickly, as well as one who wants to browse and enjoy.
Edge computing turns digital signage into a vibrant, responsive tool that makes central management and control easy, with the ability to change displays across the chain at the touch of a button. It also refines how you engage with customers, unlocking service capabilities that depend on rapid responses. This is crucial in an ultra-competitive environment where customer expectations are sky high. We know that 41% of consumers have stopped using at least two brands due to poor experience in the last year. And we also know that brick and mortar stores remain the heartland of retail sales with 69.1% of global sales taking place in physical stores – so it’s important to extract maximum value from every store visit (source: Edge by Ascential, Retail Insight May 2021).
Use edge computing technology to attract customers’ attention
Digital signage powered by edge computing is an effective way to create an impact. Imagine a striking video wall of moving images in your window enticing customers in off the street. And why not bring video cameras into your edge computing solution so your displays can change to reflect the demographic profile of passers-by? Or respond to weather variations so, if it’s pouring with rain, you showcase raincoats, and if it’s a sunny day you feature beachwear.
Once inside the store, digital signage can take on a guiding role, drawing customers towards displays and then providing interactive information as they touch the items. It’s an opportunity to educate and influence by sharing product features, providing comparisons to cross-sell and up-sell, and telling your brand story. This can be critical, considering that 49% of customers have left a store because an item was out of stock.
Interestingly, the screens don’t have to be large to be effective. Tablet-sized screens positioned strategically at key point of sale positions are equally as capable of moving a customer closer to a purchase – whether it’s planned or not. All retailers want to increase basket size and this last-minute messaging can inspire people to buy products they may not have considered unless they saw certain signage.
Edge computing empowers retail customers
Digital signage boosts customers’ control over their in-store experience, removing the need to get a sales associate’s attention. With the rapid flexibility that local processing provides, edge-based signage can signpost key areas like pay and information points – and react to real-time fluctuations in availability, highlighting the shortest queue, for example. Digital signage can position the store as knowledgeable – an important point considering that 58% of customers believe they have better access to information than most in-store staff2.
Backed by edge computing, digital signage can also support self-service functions, like check-ins for loyalty coupons and promotions, requesting order pick-ups or finding out the store’s policies. Plus, empowering customers is a proven way of building brand loyalty and a willingness to visit again. Digital signage lets you promote offers and discounts, capture customer feedback, and share relationship-building messages such as thanking them for their custom. Bringing real-time decision-making to the edge in retail is transformative, and many customers find that digital signage is just the beginning.
Main image credit: Pixabay.com.
Sarah Moseley, Head of vertical solutions and business development, retail and consumer goods, BT.
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