Guest Post: Tim Strähle, Adversign Media
This is part 1 of a three-part series about retail detail signage and the Internet of Things. It’s based on excerpts from a broader white paper by the digital signage CMS firm Adversign Media, which markets Viewneo. It is available here.
We’re now in a world in which technology, consumption habits and the internet all converge, interacting and communicating with one another. This phenomenon is opening completely new doors for our everyday lives, for businesses and, most of all, for marketing. Everything is changing.
Retailers, in particular, must see this as an opportunity, not as a threat.
The online and offline worlds no longer exist as discrete entities: instead, the internet is ubiquitous. Online and offline channels exist in a symbiotic relationship with one another, and add completely new dimensions to our ways of communicating. Businesses that continue to turn away from the internet will no longer be able to meet their customers’ growing expectations.
The Internet of Things is driving it all – with connected sensors and microprocessors attached to everyday objects, able to report data, and in many cases interoperate and remotely control.
So, what does that mean for us and our everyday lives, and above all: what does that mean for retailers, for businesses, entrepreneurs and marketing professionals?
Recognize that online and offline worlds are growing closer together
The internet is setting new standards. When viewed from this perspective, it is clear that it is achieving something that retailers have been attempting to create for years: ultra-personal, data-driven, targeted communications.
When browsing online, Google provides us with all the information that we need about a product, and we can buy it with a few clicks. Same thing happens on Amazon, and on millions of e-commerce and social sites. As such, the major drivers behind changing purchasing behaviors are the big players of the internet.
It doesn’t work like that in the offline world.
Traditional, brick-and-mortar retailers are lagging behind, in terms of technology, data and communications, and the inadequate customer experiences that they provide. Why shouldn’t the customer experience be the unique selling point that sets traditional retailers apart from the e-commerce sector? Why shouldn’t we buy things online if there is no added value from buying in store?
One thing is clear: anyone who continues to advertise a business solely with traditional posters simply isn’t meeting today’s expectations and needs, let alone those of tomorrow. Instead, the choice is stark: “change or become obsolete.”
The technology is already available to address this challenge – digital signage. Now it is the turn of businesses to view digitalization as a vital opportunity to win customers and, even more crucially, to build customer loyalty — and to grasp that opportunity.
Businesses must consolidate today’s flood of information and make information available to customers that is actually relevant to them. It’s high time to create a unique shopping experience.
Here’s how bricks and mortar retail works now, in most cases:
- Too much irrelevant information
- Too much choice and too wide a selection
- A constant onslaught of new product launches
This is where it will go:
- The right information
- At the right time
- At the right place
- And in the right context
- Information-dense and entertaining
- Memorable and interesting
Hostilities between online and offline retailers have ended. The walls are being broken down and each channel is enhancing the other, leading to convergence. As soon as the last retail entrepreneurs allow hostility to be replaced by cooperation, individual retailers will show great potential by combining the benefits of traditional stores and online shopping at the point of sale.
Part 2 – When IoT Meets Digital Signage