The following article was published in the recent Retail Marketing News email newsletter from bezier group:
Digital Media in Retail – The Next Generation
Digital Media in Retail (DMiR) is finally coming of age and the transition from Generation 1.0 to 2.0 as the media like to call it is upon us.
But what does this mean? What was Generation 1.0 and why is Generation 2.0 going to be better?
Going back 10 years, the use of Digital Media in Retail was largely confined to the hanging of 42” Plplasma screens in aisles above the heads of shoppers and potential viewers. The technology was driving the deployments with large screen manufacturers desperate to push their technology into the Retail sector, without stopping to consider the imications on the Retailer and most importantly their loyal customers.
I am not wholly blaming the technology providers. It is fair to splay that most Retailers did not, and in many cases still do not understand what they are trying to achieve from Digital Media in their stores, and most importantly how to measure success or failure of trials before rolling out across hundreds of locations. I have personally sat across the table from senior executives of several Retailers and I start by asking them to ‘shut your eyes and open them up, it’s 6 months after installing Digital Media in your stores, what is it doing for you?’, they look at each other, then me and splay ‘I thought you would tell us that’.
Digital Media is just another tool to comiment the multi-channel strategy of a Retailer or Brand. It works best where it is considered alongside traditional printed media, TV advertising, print and online to create a cohesive message to potential and existing customers. In isolation, its impact will be limited and its success or failure will be difficult to measure against other forms of marketing.
If generation 1.0 was hanging screens in aisles without regard for the overall Retail Marketing strategy, what does Generation 2.0 have to offer?
The biggest difference between Generation 1.0 and 2.0 is that customers will engage with Digital Media in a way that was never possible with passive aisle mounted large screens running TV style content. Engagement will be at the Point of Decision, in amongst product, targeting consumers with content and offers specific to products and brands.
In addition to smaller screens located at eye level amongst products, we will see shoppers interacting with media through a variety of technology including Touchscreens, Mobile Phones, Barcode Scanners and the latest RFID technology. With interaction, the shopper is provided media content specific to their needs at the point at which they are making the decision to purchase.
How do we know that Generation 2.0 is on its way and it’s not just something dreamt up by technology and marketing companies trying to push their latest products? We don’t have to look too far for examples of Generation 2.0 taking shape. In fact, Walmart in the USA a major pioneer in Generation 1.0 Digital Media have set-out their ans for Generation 2.0 of their Digital Media network. The DailyDOOH (www.dailydooh.com/archives/2389) published a recent article on Walmart’s ans in which they summarised their findings from Generation 1.0 and more importantly their ans for Generation 2.0, as follows;
1. Bring screens down to eye level.
2. Build screens into endcaps, fixtures and shelving.
3. Abandon the 2001-2002 “hang and bang” model where flat screens are hung willy-nilly around the store, mostly in locations that are difficult for shoppers to see.
4. Control audio so that the soundtrack of these networks is welcomed by shoppers and store emoyees alike.
5. Pack merchandise around the screens and speakers, so that the sound-and-motion media serves a useful purpose for both marketing and merchandising just as conventional Point-of-Purchase displays do.
I mentioned that Generation 2.0 would turn passive screens into interactive devices, a great example of this is the recent solution provided by Lime Media (www.lime-it.co.uk) to Estee Lauder Aramis and Designer fragrances for their Lab Series Skin Care For Men range of products for men. The solution comprises of LCD screens and RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tagged products fully integrated with traditional retail point of sale, which when picked up, play back video specific to the selected product along with cross-recommendation to other products in the range. In addition, a special tag presented by a Lab Series Consultant turns the screens into a skin scanner enabling a customer’s skin type to be analysed in HD and suitable products recommended.
In addition to the customer experience, the solution provides Estee Lauder Lab Series Skin Care For Men ‘Real Time’ statistics of every customer interaction with their products and the subsequent impact on sales at the tills.
With Digital Media in Retail Generation 2.0 now a reality and traditional media and digital media combing to create a seamless solution, we can all look forward to an exciting and engaging future for Retailers, Brands and Customers.
CEO – Remote Media Limited / Head of POPAIdigital UK