MicroSigns does first US deal for digital signage displays

January 6, 2011 by Dave Haynes

My friends (and clients) up in Montreal who have steadily built up European business for MicroSigns‘ cool little interactive screens for wireless retail now have a toe-hold in the US, albeit waaaay west in Alaska.

The company’s digital merchandising displays – small interactive LCDs that replace paper fact sheets on the display counters in wireless stores – are now operating at Alaska Communications’ new flagship retail store in Anchorage.

Says the release:

The regional wireless carrier will equip additional stores with MicroPlayer displays in 2011.   The networked displays are set on demo counters immediately beside featured phone handsets. Customers use integrated touch buttons to page through extensive detail – in text, images and video – about each device’s key features and technical specifications.

The MicroPlayers also carry accurate pricing, service plans and accessories information. Each is tied securely through the MicroSigns management network platform into the Alaska Communications “back-office” system that manages the steadily fluctuating SKUs, rates and promotions typical in wireless retailing.

Our technology is much more than just screens,” says Mike Palmer, co-founder and CEO. “There is a whole system behind it that really pays off for retailers and their staff.”

“For those of us who are updating information from the corporate office, within five minutes we can add new information and have it seen in the retail space,” says Angela Cummings, marketing manager for Alaska Communications.   When sales associates are engaged with other customers, shoppers can spend that waiting time using MicroSigns displays to independently research handsets and service plans, and filter their choices. That speeds up the product education and transaction process for both buyers and sellers.

Developed and manufactured in Canada, MicroSigns’ bundled hardware and software platform is specifically designed to improve  the buying experience and add efficiency, accuracy and far more engaging shopper marketing for wireless retailers and their manufacturing partners.   MicroSigns has active retail installations with wireless retailers and carriers in Europe, but this marks the first use of MicroSigns with a U.S. retailer,” notes Palmer. “One of the things I like most about this project is how our technology fits so nicely into the clean lines of the store design. I also appreciate the determination our client had to give its customers a streamlined, information-rich experience.”

The 4,000-square-foot flagship store is the first Alaska Communications store to feature signature architecture branding and interactive service experiences.   “This store is a significant milestone for us.  We worked with our partners at Anchorage-based kpb architects to incorporate an innovative design that reflects our new brand,” says Marla Thompson, Alaska Communications’ vice president of consumer sales & service.  “It represents our ongoing commitment to expand our retail presence in Alaska and provide our customers with a unique, hands-on retail experience.  We want it to be a place for people to shop, learn and be inspired.”

Low-wattage MicroPlayers also contribute to Alaska Communications’ eco-friendly business practices, by minimizing energy consumption and reducing the paper waste of “fact tags” at each featured handset station.   MicroPlayers are 3.5- inch color LCD screens with built-in media players.

MicroPlayers support video, animations, images and text, allowing marketing efforts from broadcast, online and print to be extended all the way to the shelf-edge in stores. Running on the networked MicroSigns management platform, featured devices, promotions and pricing can all be managed remotely from a web browser – delivering dramatic improvements in efficiency and accuracy for retailers.

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