Enriching engagement with customers as they shop

Employing innovative mobile and beacon technologies to connect the in-store and online shopping experiences will ultimately help retailers better engage with their customers. We spoke with Tom Nix of Scala to find out more

Rebecca Lambert
Rebecca Lambert
By Rebecca Lambert on 07 May 2015
Enriching engagement with customers as they shop

This article was first published in the Spring 2015 issue of OnWindows

Did you know that the average mobile user checks their phone around 150 times a day? At least that’s what’s been reported in the annual TomiAhonen Almanac, which means that when we’re not sleeping, we’re looking at our phones roughly every six minutes.

For retailers, getting us to look up from our devices and interact with their brand is becoming more of a challenge. Of course, we may actually be on their website browsing their catalogue, or even making a purchase, but reports show that consumers still tend to be more profligate with their money when they’re in store – conversion rates in-store typically average around 20% compared to just 4.8% online, according to a 2013 report by ShopVisible.

“Retailers need to encourage the consumer to look up from their device and engage,” says Tom Nix, CEO of digital signage solutions provider Scala. “They can achieve that with anything from an incredible store design to interactive digital signage, but most importantly they need to connect that mobile experience with the in-store experience.”

Nix notes that automotive companies in particular are already doing this well. “Recognising that many customers start the car buying process online, auto manufacturers are upgrading their dealership formats to provide a greater level of continuity in that shopping journey – think 3D configurators and video walls,” he says.

At the beginning of this year, during the National Retail Federation’s annual show, Scala showcased a variety of solutions to help retailers revolutionise the in-store experience and better connect with consumers.

On display was Lift and Learn, which uses a combination of LCD screens and RFID technology to enable customers to compare and find out more information about products in store. They simply pick up a product and the embedded RFID technology automatically triggers the nearby screen to show associated information.

“With this solution, we’ve taken an experience consumers have come to love online – the ability to compare prices and spec – and brought it into the store environment in a fun and interactive way,” says Nix.

Scala’s mobile info application called Fling is also designed to drive in-store engagement. By holding a smartphone near a beacon tagged product, the article information of that product shows up on the smartphone. The shopper can then swipe that information up onto a large playback screen. Importantly, all of their activity is being recorded in the back-end so that retailers can learn more about what they’re interested in.

“The future has been written for us online,” says Nix. “Today, after three clicks on an airline website I can have tickets to Shanghai. I don’t mind sharing personal information for that type of seamless experience. As long as they’re operating within the bounds of trust, it’s the retailers that connect my information with the shopping journey that will win, providing me with a truly valuable experience – both online and in-store.”

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