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The retail sector has come a long way from the days of the cheesy cardboard cutout display standing near a pile of products or welcoming customers to a new store selection. The same challenges of where, how, when and why to use today’s sophisticated digital displays present hurdles to retailers striving to strike the right balance between engaging consumers without alienating them.

One common mistake retailers make is installing and deploying a display but then leaving it live on its own, said David Anzia, senior VP, sales, at Frank Mayer and Associates.

“A common misstep retailers make is building too much modularity and updatability in their display strategy,” he told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview. “Rarely do the displays receive the updates they were built for, and therefore the increased costs associated with the modularity are magnified.”

Another mistake is a lack of planning and not building out a specific digital display strategy, involving how long a display should be in place to actual display materials.

“There are a lot of potential traps out there for a retailer looking to get the most out of their in-store digital, but I believe the most common misstep is not thinking through objectives and goals,” Nate Remmes, VP of corporate development at NanoLumens, told Retail Customer Experience in an email interview.

“What are we trying to achieve, what does success look like, how do we measure, and who is responsible for making necessary changes to make sure goals are being met. We find the overall strategy is often lacking as retailers feel the need to go digital or follow the competition,” said Remmes, adding that since there are a number of challenges surrounding the technology retailers must start with the “why” before getting into the “how.”

Tips for success

Anzia said retailers must determine a time-frame for the store display plan and should build the complete model around a well-thought-out strategy.

“This process will assist to determine materials, finishes and graphic elements to meet the plan objectives. This will also assist in building like-objectives for each display being designed and built,” he said.

Part of the process, said Remmes, is defining ownership of the display strategy and establishing a coordinated work focus on the strategy.

“I find retailers who have teams dedicated to the entire digital signage process are the ones who have successful implementations,” he said. “There are a lot of moving pieces within digital signage; there are also a lot of departments which may need involvement: IT, store design, marketing (omnichannel), etc. Having a team responsible for the success of the project is needed to navigate the complexity, both internally and externally.”

The ultimate goal, said Anzia, is to let digital display technology allow products to stand out within the retail environment. He shared his view on what’s been the biggest game changer in the display evolution.

“For me, the biggest game changer has been the move toward category management, where the brands’ individual essence has been muted to fit into the greater good of the environment,” he said. “I see brands pushing back against this practice, and finding methods to make certain their products stand out in the category. This is the very essence of the shopping experience in 2016. Standing out and providing a beacon for the consumers to be drawn to. Blending in only mutes the experience of the brand.”

Standing out is easier these days, Remmes said, thanks to the advances that the digital display industry has made over the past few years.

“The two that standout are content experiences and direct view LED displays,” he said, as interaction as  led the way in engagement, describing the level of experiences that can be created, and delivered from modern day content management systems as “truly amazing.”

“Today’s direct view LED displays, boasting better than ever resolution, are allowing for displays to be created in any shape, size and curvature,” he said. “With this evolution of display technology retailers can create more unique experiences by integrating displays or any shape (size or curvature) more accurately into the store design.”

Reprinted with permission from

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