Microsoft Invests Big In Retail Interactive At Canadian Best Buys

May 1, 2018 by Dave Haynes

Microsoft has bankrolled and installed a series of high-profile product demo stations at eight Best Buys across Canada – presumably their primo, high-traffic stores.

Each of the stores has the same installation of three kiosks, which use proximity sensors to activate marketing spots and adjust how the demo experiences operate based on the number of participants and their engagement time.

The kiosks highlight the latest features and benefits of Microsoft Office, Microsoft XBOX and the Windows experience, with each kiosk operating in a slightly different manner.

The Office kiosks feature a 55” LG display on each side, with the backside displaying ads and the front showing tutorials and interacting directly with the two laptops visitors can use to try the software and follow along with the demo.

The XBOX kiosk is similar, with a rear 55” LG display highlighting gameplay from top titles, and the front display connected to an XBOX with two controllers where guests can play a predetermined game. It also includes a second LG display on the rear of the kiosk that highlights gameplay from multiple games and entices shoppers to make their way to the front of the kiosk to play a game right in store.

The biggest features is a 2 by 3 LG video wall that is focused on Windows’ Cortana, Ink and Hello features. The setup is connected to three Microsoft devices (laptops and tablets) that allow for multiple simultaneous users. Like the other kiosks, the Windows version uses proximity sensors to activate call-to-action ads and promotional videos when people walk near it, but it also uses the sensors to manage its multiple devices capabilities.

The videowall can show a single stream across all six panels, then when two or three people want to use the kiosk at the same time, the PC that controls the video feeds automatically separates the displays into three separate feeds so each guest can have a personal experience and explore products at their own speed.

“Creating a reliable system that can automatically perform under multiple scenarios is key to maintaining a positive experience for both the potential customer and the store owner and staff,” says Mark McPherson, EVP for Advanced, the solutions provider on the job. “We built a full demo kiosk at our facility, an exact mock experience, and worked with the retail designer to fine tune the sensors’ reaction time and multi-user protocols to maximize effectiveness. For tech products, these types of forward-thinking sales environments allow consumers to try before they buy, and are much more memorable and meaningful than simple ads or stand-alone demo products.”

The proximity sensors are used to change content based on engagement time, so guests can be prompted to move through a product’s features or to explore peripherals in a timely manner.

It’s a nice looking job. and Best Buy – at least with its A stores in Canada – has really embraced signage as central to its store design. I assume this set-up is at the Mississauga store I’ve been in, which was about the most “digital sign’d” store I’ve yet seen, anywhere.

  1. Seeing Microsoft investing its such big debts into the display boards that too in retail shops shows how much is a need for customer satisfaction & Microsoft choose digital signage for that.

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