by Bob Rosenberry
Manager, Visual Solutions, HP
The use of digital signage enabled with the newest touch capabilities to attract and then engage customers is growing business for many retailers. Here are five things retailers should keep in mind to get the most out of their systems:
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1. Location is Key – The real estate mantra, "Location, location, location," is true for digital signage too. Don't place digital signage in a location where customers have to search to find it; rather, place it in a prominent position that allows even the hesitant to engage with it. Speaking of hesitant customers, while many customers will zoom right to a screen and begin interacting, others may feel a need for "permission" to approach. Make sure customers know that they are invited to step up and use the screen. Although it seems basic, a simple "touch the screen to get started" message should not be overlooked.
2. Familiar Multitouch Control – Gestural controls such as "pinching," "zooming" and "swiping" have become so ubiquitous on smartphones that customers expect this same functionality on larger touchscreens as well. The latest touchscreens provide advanced levels of multitouch and gestural controls that provide customers with a richer experience and more intuitive user interface.
3. Content that customers can personalize – Thanks to the Internet, today's consumer is an active seeker of information, not a passive recipient. Customers view interactive digital signage as a natural extension of that online interactive experience, and retailers need to incorporate content and functions to ensure that's the case. For example, software that lets a car buyer build their "dream car" inside an auto dealership or a demo of a new food processor inside a kitchen store. Clothing retailers can offer a display with a touchscreen that lets users scroll though selections and narrow their search to find that particular item in the store without wasting time. Incorporating an in-store virtual search function means that a customer can actually find the item and take it home that same day — a win for brick-and-mortar retailers.
4. Temperature management – Interactive signage in stores is often built into custom-made or off-the-shelf enclosures. Be certain that these enclosures provide ventilation to keep the equipment cool enough to function well. Even well-ventilated enclosures can reach high internal temperatures. Make sure to use retail-hardened equipment that can take the heat!
5. Central Management – If you have several store locations, digital signage makes content updates easy. With content management software that comes with digital signage solutions, retailers can make nearly instant changes to the content customers see. Interactive in-store experiences have traditionally been "one-off" development efforts, making remote management and updates of interactive content across a network more difficult to manage. Many content management software solutions have built-in authoring tools for interactive apps or extend existing features for media management to also work with custom-designed interactive applications.
Bob Rosenberry is manager of visual solutions at HP. He works in the Retail Solutions Business Unit in HP's Personal Systems Group.
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