As we enter the post-pandemic era, we’re seeing a steady rise of consumers returning to in-person shopping experiences. But as eCommerce numbers continue to dominate, retailers will need digital on-demand display experiences and content to attract wary consumers and differentiate themselves from the fray. While we all can’t be Netflix (for better or worse), fortune has always favored those that provide immersive experiences and on-demand digital content presentations.
Post Pandemic Retail Landscape Preparation
The pandemic has had a devastating impact on brick and mortar, but the saving grace for many retailers has been eCommerce, which has never been stronger. US retail eCommerce sales grew 33.6% in 2020, reaching $799.18 billion, and it’s expected to grow 13.7% this year, reaching $908.73 billion, according to a recent Insider Intelligence eMarketer Retail Report.
As a development director or marketing/merchandising manager, you know the retail environment will continue to change. Increasing vaccination numbers and new variants will have an unknowable impact on shopper behavior across the country.
But for now, shoppers are returning to the streets and retail environments in droves with qualified hesitancy and precautions. Ecommerce-driven services like curbside pickup and Buy Online, Pick up In-Store (BOPIS) have soared.
Retailers will continue to use BOPIS and curbside pickup as vaccinations and retail traffic increase. But to compete for those returning consumers, retailers will need to implement and improve digital technology tools like digital signage displays and systems. The goal is to create retail customer experiences (CX) that entice and support buyer journeys while accommodating their newfound health and safety concerns.
Implement and Improve Digital Signage for Post-Pandemic Retail Growth
The right digital signage strategy can deliver CX that converts to sales in a more competitive post-pandemic retail world. That’s true if you’re planning implementation or improving existing systems and strategies.
This investment saves a lot of money, time, and energy over constant investments in static print signage that can’t keep up with changing customer experience demands and needs. The constantly recurring costs and human power in limited print longevity cannot compete with the ROI and limitless marketing, branding and message agility, and adaptability of digital signage in terms of ROI.
Every retailer needs to make the best investment in digital signage displays, store integration/mounting hardware, and software that is supported by a strong content plan and retail digital signage strategy. This strategy will need to be geared to specific metrics that identify both return on investment (ROI) and return on application (ROA) where:
We measure ROI in increasing tracked sales and more abstract measurements of brand loyalty, foot traffic, and direct inquiries that support sales.
We measure ROA in how the right digital signage system and support choices can broaden and lengthen the number of different applications of use over longer periods of time as needs and customer demands change.
If done correctly, both can deliver the perpetual top and bottom-line results. This post-pandemic era will continue to change and challenge retailers. But it’s certain they will need to straddle both pandemic safety messaging needs with a renewed digital signage strategy that spurs personalized sales connections.
Shifting Digital Signage Design from Safety to Personalized Sales Connections
A significant portion of consumers returning to retail environments will always embrace pandemic era health and safety protocols. Retailers will need to accommodate these needs connected to avoidance of touching all in-store digital technology from checkout keypads to digital displays and kiosks for interactive CX.
Enhancing brand experience through interactive retail technology is your ideal approach to competing with digital signage in our ‘new normal’ of retail. Current digital signage systems and new implementations should take advantage of integrating mobile device interaction that bypasses touching displays and kiosks. There are many retrofitting and integrated digital signage software platforms that currently support this type of interactivity.
The ability to complete touchless searches to purchases will happen via mobile devices and QR codes integrated into digital displays. (More on that later). Your focus is on meeting post-pandemic customer needs to get sales and traffic up through retail digital signage.
That will always hinge on digital signage design, implementation, and placement. But to see true success, it must be integrated with authentic and targeted content planning and execution to make the customer connection. Keep in mind that even Netflix stumbles with that part sometimes.
To see the importance of developing a content strategy and plan, read part two of this blog entitled, Post-Pandemic Content Planning for Customer Connections.