Digital signage , examples of which include on screen queuing systems in the UK retailer Argos and many high street banks is an increasingly popular technology used in the offline world. A carefully planned digital environment can provide users with a richer and more efficient experience when they are shopping, seeking information or interacting with brands and businesses.
Today Mat Sloan, a Consultant in our UK MSS Practice explores more about the benefits of interactive digital signage and explain how it can both impact and improve the overall customer experience.
More demanding than ever before
Customers increasingly demand more from their retail experiences, expecting companies to stimulate them intellectually (make it quicker and easier for me) and emotionally (make it memorable for me). With the ubiquity of smartphones and apps customers’ are interacting with retailers on their terms and are increasingly able to interact with multiples brands simultaneously.
Technology continues to shape experiences and there are numerous examples of how digital tools and signage is evolving the face to face delivery mechanism and improving the overall customer experience. The main ways it is impacting customers positively include perception of time, navigation of the environment and personalisation of services.
To me there are three main benefits of adopting digital signage at physical touchpoints, which, in many cases can turn a potentially negative experience into a positive one through:
1. MAKING IT QUICKER
- Automation of services in banks including paying in at branches, queuing and self-service
- Self-service kiosks in Post Offices and queue systems that show a shopper where they are in line and when they can expect to be served
- Pre-booking and ticket collection in cinemas, train stations and airports
- Royal Carribean cruises who include self-service kiosks where customers can book additional services at their destination whilst travelling on board
2. MAKING IT INTERACTIVE
- Digital advertising screens on the London Underground that enables adverts to be changed quickly offering richer and more relevant brand experiences
- Big format touch screens allow users interact with the content and have a more playful brand experience, such as Westfield shopping centre where 32 interactive screens were installed to help guide customers through their shopping experiences enabling them to shop more efficiently
3. MAKING IT MORE MEMORABLE
- An interactive restaurant in Soho that I recently visited where customers can order the entire menu using a touchpad that is part of your table rather than speaking with a waiter (you can even pay using the touchpad too!)
- Claridges, a restaurant in London where the wine menus are on iPads.
Of course digital signs are only as good at the technology that displays them. Digital signage Exco makes the point that that: “If the content is timely, compelling, relevant to the customer and linked to the specific venue’s surroundings, it can be very effective in improving customer experience”
For me though an interactive digital sign must be intuitive and easy to use.
Without a customer service agent to assist, services and signage should be designed so that they are easy to use whilst being informative and engaging – depending on their purpose. Digital signage can be a real differentiator in a service offering, making services faster, more personalised and – if successful – more memorable.
A memorable experience is so powerful because of the impact on word of mouth and sharing. This can often provide ‘delighters’ to a customer and go beyond their expectations.
Digital signs can show customers the most efficient way to go and exactly how to get there but poor navigation systems can lead to increased frustration. Digital touchpoints enable customers to connect with brands wherever they are: at home, in the store, by the shelf and hence digital signage should be used to support the end to end digital experience as a whole.