Technology constantly disrupts the retail space, forcing it to evolve. E-commerce raised the stakes for brick-and-mortar stores, while mobile devices changed the expectations and relationship between shoppers and stores. Technology is beginning to do that again with interactive screens. This post will give you an overview of what this technology is and the way interactive screens in retail may impact your approach to marketing and the customer experience.
What Is an Interactive Screen?
Interactive screens are an innovative application of touch screens deployed in a retail environment. Some brands focus on messaging, using large screens to easily attract attention and convey ideas. Others leverage it to directly influence sales. For example, self-service sales kiosks at liquor stores increased the sale of hard-to-pronounce products by 8.4%; it’s theorized that customers were afraid of being misunderstood or seen as unsophisticated by employees.
Overall, these screens provide new functionality to retailers and allow them to change their approach on store layout and inventory management. An interactive screen can enhance customer service while collecting key data about the customers themselves. The screens also provide a wow factor that can create the kind of shopping experience worth slowing down for, helping stores stand out.
Which Industries Could Benefit
There’s really no limit to what kind of retailers would be able to leverage interactive screens to their benefit. It’s a matter of strategic deployment that blends digital outreach with the brick-and-mortar store, and creativity and usefulness are key. If a store is big enough that its employees may be spread a little thin, an interactive screen may be able to take over parts of customer service, like finding where products should be in the store and whether something is in stock, no matter what the industry is.
These screens can also be powerful for industries that are already fairly visual. Jewelry, cosmetics, and apparel, for example, can leverage AR to help a shopper visualize the style they want. Professional services could use them to help customers understand complex ideas and subtly work in cross-sales or up-sells. However, screens can also be leveraged by big box retailers to turn the store experience on its head, especially in combination with technology like robotics.
Real World Examples
Some retailers already have interactive screens in their stores. While they may leverage them for different reasons, the impact on the shopping experience is much the same. Here’s a snapshot of where you may encounter an interactive screen:
- Rebecca Minkoff’s Interactive Dressing Room: In its SoHo store, Rebecca Minkoff piloted smart mirrors in its dressing rooms that could double as a shopping assistant. The mirror is connected to the stock room, and so will display products that are available without a person needing to check, and is capable of suggesting colors or patterns to suit customer tastes.
- Samsung’s Virtual Fitting Room: Leveraging 3D cameras to accurately gauge a customer’s position and size, Samsung’s screen allows passers-by to virtually try on a host of products for client retailers, including jewelry, to combine ultimate convenience and personalization.
- Bloomingdale’s Clothing To Go Window: Bloomingdale’s featured six window displays intended to engage passers-by and convert them into paying customers. The windows would allow them to see a selection of men’s products in colors of their choosing for Father’s Day. If they decided to make a purchase, they texted a code to receive checkout information and the sale was completed on their mobile device.
- Best Buy’s Chloe: Chloe is a robot designed to help customers find and purchase electronics products 24/7. Customers use the interactive screen to search for titles and make their selection, triggering the gigantic yellow industrial arm into a sweep of eye-catching movements.
Even CPG manufacturers can find immense value in these types of screens when looking to expand brand awareness or lift brand perception. Coca-Cola has leveraged them in experiential marketing campaigns. In 2016, the company used screens throughout Singapore to make passers-by part of the brand story. The screen acted as a virtual photo booth, taking GIF images of the customers with an overlaid image of a bottle of coke; the customers could then receive the photo and a coupon through the use of a QR code. In 2015, Coca-Cola used screens in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane Australia to engage passers-by in a puzzle game; if they beat the game and shared the results on social media, they immediately received a free can of soda on-site.
Interactive screens in retail provide a seamless way to fully incorporate physical stores into an omnichannel experience through digital means. By blending the digital and physical aspects of a business, stores can elevate convenience, emphasize personalization, boost customer service, and ultimately improve revenue. Brands are already deploying the technology in-store to share brand messages and provide an enticing reason for customers to stop and take a peek inside.