Published June 29, 2020 | Last Updated December 2, 2023
The retail world is blurring. The absolute reign of brick-and-mortar stores may be over, but online shopping hasn't taken over completely—not yet. As online continues to gain, physical retailers must retain their share of the market by providing a customer experience beyond low prices and great customer service. They need to provide an interactive customer experience that compels shoppers to forego the convenience of online shopping.
These efforts are made easier with new technologies that will make more dynamic interactive digital signage possible. New advances in wireless technology, specifically the implementation of 5G wireless networks, has the potential to make digital signage networks much more dynamic.With increases in bandwidth, 5G wireless is likely to lead to retailers creating more interactive digital experiences.
In this post and another to follow, we will look at some specific examples of the kinds of interactive digital signage we expect to see in the coming months and years.
A Richer, More Interactive Digital Experience
Most often, our image of digital signage is a screen attached to a wall. However, that's only the beginning of what we're going to be able to do. In areas where 5G wireless technology is available, retailers will be free to place pop-up experiences anywhere they desire. No longer will digital signage be mostly confined to a store’s margins or places where wired network connections can be placed.
This allows retailers to think differently about the interactive customer experience and the role digital signage can play in it. For example, in addition to the large map and product finder that’s already at the store entrance, there can be smaller displays in the store to continue directing customers and answer questions. Additional screens with product information can be scattered around the store. You can add an interactive display that lets customers customize and order a product and have it shipped to either the store or to the customer’s home.
Customers are used to this kind of experience online or when using a mobile device.Offering them this capability while they are in the store helps to close the gap between the physical and online worlds. But it’s not just more interactive menus and maps controlled by touch that will be possible. Kiosks with voice-enabled commands—especially applicable in this post-COVID, post-touch world—can provide information and customer support. Even things like gaming content integrated into the interactive digital signage can encourage shoppers to make the store a destination.
On the employee side, your team can benefit from having real-time sales and inventory information available, allowing them to help customers and improve customer service.
Customers have enjoyed live streaming at home and on their smart phones for many years now. They’re used to watching live feeds virtually everywhere. With 5G, live streaming will be able to be part of the experience provided by digital signage.
With the previous limitations on bandwidth, retailers couldn’t leverage the capability of streaming media.Retailers had to rely on content loaded onto the signage system, play content as scheduled, and swap it out. But new technologies and increased bandwidth now give them the option to provide a more interactive customer experience,not just product information and the latest promotions. Stores can provide customers with live streaming content relevant to the product or the brand, including the delivery of live events right in the store and location-specific content.
A New Age in Digital Experiences
Digital experiences were important to retailers before, but the bandwidth needed to provide them was limited. Now with new technologies, like 5G connectivity, retailers are able to provide more interactive digital experiences at a reasonable cost and enhance the in-store experience for their customers so they will continue to come back for more.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post for more examples of the interactive digital signage retailers are starting to adopt.
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