Industry figures show that online retail sales are growing in the UK, with 27% of retail purchases made online last year – equating to around £114bn of sales. As online sales continue to increase, the value of a customer’s experience at the physical retail store has never been more important. Retailers are constantly seeking for new ways to engage with their customers and understand and analyse the customer journey and digital technology offers just one way of doing so. Big brands are clamouring to invest in digital marketing. High street retailer GAME became the latest brand to announce it will invest in digital signage to help engage with its customers. It will roll out the technology in 50 of its stores over the next twelve months.

Digital screens have the ability to deliver more personalised content based on demographics with the aim of offering a more engaging, tailored message – but just how engaging are they and do today’s tech savvy customers really take note of the messages they convey? Understanding how customers interact with the store environment is crucial and APS Group’s retail team has been working with a high street retail bank on a piece of research to uncover some of the mysteries of customer’s interaction with store signage. By using eye-tracking technology to measure the reaction of more than 1.6m shoppers, we found that almost double the number of people looked at and engaged with shop window displays if the retailer used animated, digital content instead of traditional print.

The four month research project, surveyed the viewing habits of 1,636,935 people as they walked past the windows of a well-known UK retail bank at two locations. The results show that not only are digital screens more appealing and eye catching, but they also enable brands to tailor their messages to the local market and personalise their offering to fulfil a particular need for customers at a particular time.

Digital Signage Infographic (770)

Digital technology enabled us to determine the age and gender of customers and adjust the messages on screen accordingly allowing for a more personal, targeted customer experience. These tailored messages not only increased engagement between customers and the physical store but also increased online engagement too. We discovered that online search activity for a particular product, spiked between one and two hours after its corresponding message was displayed on the digital screens. Analysis of our results reveals how digital marketing has the ability to drive branch conversations and increase online activity and engagement. Its traceability and flexibility means retailers can test different designs, content and messaging, at little cost to work out which messages resonate most with the customer at different times of the day, week, year.

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