A new survey by marketing solutions company APS Group has shown that the high street can have a brighter future by embracing digital technology.

By using eye-tracking technology to measure the reaction of more than 1.6m shoppers, APS Group found that 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 carried out by APS Group 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 survey found that approximately:

• 6.6% of shoppers glanced at traditional print

• 9.9% of shoppers looked at a digital screen showing static content – an increase of 50%.

• 11.7% of shoppers engaged with a digital screen showing animated content – an increase of 77% on the static poster

The research was also able to show how the viewing data varied according to age and gender, which allowed APS Group to adjust the on screen messages accordingly based on local trends and the retailer’s above the line campaigns, allowing for a more personal, targeted customer experience.

Analysis of the results enabled APS Group to determine how display messages affected footfall, customer appointments and online searches.

APS Group 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.

As UK online sales grow, accounting for 27% of all retail purchases last year, retail footfall appears to be declining.* Therefore, the way in which retailers communicate with their customers is changing.

In 2016, retailers will need to explore new ways of engaging with customers to maximise in-store opportunities.

Darren Jackson, retail solutions director at APS Group, believes the research demonstrates that digital signage plays a key role in a retailer’s ability to engage with potential high street customers and offer an enhanced customer experience.

He said: “The results of this comprehensive 16-week survey were enlightening for us and our client.

“As with all of our retail projects it’s critical we include analysis and look at trends via tracking, proving ROI of marketing campaigns.

“Industry figures show that online retail sales are growing, with 27% of retail purchases made online last year – which equates 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.

“Not only are digital signs more appealing and eye catching, but they also enable brands to tailor messages to the local market and personalise offerings which fulfil a particular need for customers, at a particular time. Their traceability and flexibility allows us to test different designs, content and messaging, with no risk to brand perception and little cost.

“It helps retailers better understand their customers and arms them with proven data to help to create a truly engaging omni-channel approach to their marketing campaigns, and most importantly drive instore sales.

“It plays an integral part in making sure a customer’s online and offline experience is replicated. There is also scope to use digital technologies to read customers’ emotions and alter messages based on real-time feelings.

“With this in mind, digital signage becomes a powerful investment for retailers, when it comes to engaging with customers instore.”

A full report detailing the findings of the research can be found here

APS Group is an international marketing and communications company providing solutions in retail, technology, data, payments and print.

*Figures taken from the, IMRG Capgemini e-Retail Sales Index





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