There’s always some other place with more, but in my travels, I’ve just come back from the most digital signage-rich store I’ve seen to date.
The Best Buy at Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga, a city part of the greater Toronto metropolis, has screens everywhere. I wouldn’t say it was incredibly well done. Or cohesive. It’s just that there’s lots and lots and lots of it.
As someone who has now been in this business for coming on 18 years, I can tell you a lot of those years were spent looking around stores looking for ANY digital displays. This place is quite the opposite.
I’ve not found any press release that suggests this is a special location, other than it is one of a dozen or so “experience stores” in the country. It certainly has a lot more going on than in the one 30 minutes down the road, in my area. One distinction the store does have is that it is home to one of four Google shops in Canadian Best Buys.
The Google area is front and centre in the store. I’m not entirely sure why it exists and what’s it for – other than Google branding and to make Apple and Microsoft, at the back of the store, seem small. But I did like the digital art thingie they’ve designed in with a bunch of live smart phones. I played with the Google Earth thing, which is very smooth in allowing shoppers to use a steering knob to navigate the planet on a larger than life video wall. Again, purpose unclear other than Wow Factor … but as Wow factor goes, it’s a pretty good, lasting Wow.
What struck me is the dozens of product displays functioning in many cases as feature stations and end-caps. I think we’re all conditioned to seeing a few here and there – usually in sporting hoods, electronics or cosmetics stores. Here, they’re standard kit and when digital isn’t used, the backdrops are lightboxes instead of screens.
I suspect design people would have all kinds of quibbles with the look and feel, but Best Buy has had to compromise to allow numerous brands to create their own modest to minimal store within a store efforts.
The broader point – this is the sort of store folks in the industry expected would be common one day. This is not common, but that sort of stores is now here.