How Digital Signage Helps Build The Future Of Personalized Shopping Experiences

April 5, 2022 by guest author, Farah Thalji

Guest Post: Farah Thalji, Simon-Kucher & Partners

According to research by MIT neuroscientists, the brain can identify images seen for as little as 13 milliseconds. In that same time frame, let’s throw in the distraction provided by deliciously addictive smartphones, plus the hustle and bustle of a big city, and you’ll see that grabbing the attention of people walking by a store has never been harder. That’s why digital signage has become essential to the survival and success of in-store retail.

The retail space has never faced higher standards when it comes to customer expectations: today, digitally engaged consumers make up 86% of the regional population and they have come to expect unprecedented levels of transparency, as well as accountability, from brands. In turn, this has significantly altered the way retailers need to present themselves, and globally shifted that perception towards a more sustainable, socially conscious, and personalized one.

Current purchasing behavior analysis has stressed the importance of sustainability and brand loyalty versus other drivers. Simon-Kucher & Partners’ 2021 Global Sustainability Study reports that 80% of global consumers aspire to leading more sustainable lives and seeing this reflected around them, which tells us that mission-driven companies who effectively communicate their ethics and values are expected to continue to thrive.

How can brands leverage this knowledge to innovate their practices and survive the shift? They must connect to consumers on an emotional level, provide experiences that will increase brand awareness and inspire loyalty. As brands engage in their efforts to innovate their sustainability practices and strengthen their loyalty programs, digital displays are an essential asset to targeted marketing strategies reflecting consumer demands.

Consumers see themselves as active actors of change, and have been vocal in their demand for companies to follow in their footsteps for years now: still according to that same  Simon-Kucher & Partners’ study, 50% of consumers rank sustainability as a top five value driver, which makes it a key differentiator when it comes to offering and communicating new value propositions.

Across the generational divide, there is a remarkable difference in how sustainability drives purchase decisions: Millennials and Gen Z are more likely than Gen X and Baby Boomers to care about environmentally friendly offerings and alternatives, with 32% of Gen Z and 31% of Millennials willing to pay over twice as large of a sustainability premium compared to Baby Boomers (14%) and a third more relative to Gen X (21%).

The study also highlights the importance of leveraging and enhancing customer loyalty, as tailored communication and personalized touchpoints such as product recommendations, promotions, and direct messaging make customers feel valued and understood. The study shows that in the UAE, 72% of connected consumers are part of at least one loyalty program and 40% report being part of multiple ones.

Digital signage solutions can deliver a personalized shopping experience and help create loyal customers by tracking data and feedback, updating messaging in real time, and encouraging customers to sign up for loyalty programs and download rewards apps. Interactive screens also allow shoppers to go a step further and access an immersive experience complete with personalized touchpoints, different content options, the ability to search for and select offerings, and much more – when it comes to the intersection of retail and digital screens, the sky’s really the limit.

In the future, brands might be able to have screens act as personal shoppers or assistants, offering customers advice and providing AI-generated projections of what a product would look like on them, or what it would look like when paired with another. Retailers can ensure digital signage solutions are functional and valuable to the consumer experience by considering options such as entertainment and trivia, tips about complementary products, video demonstrations, product guides and instructions, store information and instant connection with a store associate.

Taking social media into account, digital screens are a fantastic way of integrating social media content into physical stores: omnichannel consistency is a key factor to consider, and a powerful tool aimed at younger consumers who are so used to spending time online. We know shoppers often put together mood-boards and inspiration folders before making a purchase, and they check up on brands’ social media content before researching anything else. Brands are already creating content for their social presence, so one way of making that effort work smarter, not harder, is to incorporate it into screens and displays.

Digital signage can be an incredibly effective asset in complementing the consumer journey, adding value and increasing brand awareness while adapting to ever-changing demand.

About The Writer

Farah Thalji is a Director at the Dubai offices of the global consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners. She is a member of Simon-Kucher’s Consumer Goods & Retail Practice as well as Leisure, Transport and Tourism Practice. Her areas of expertise include development of commercial strategies, pricing excellence, go-to-market and deals transaction advisory.

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