Getting graphic: how video walls are enhancing the shopping experience

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If you’ve stopped in the street to watch the huge screens in the window of your local Sports Direct then you’ve seen large format graphics in action. The huge screens – which often stretch from floor to ceiling, or even beyond – are hard to ignore, with the bright lights and fast-paced graphics forming a backdrop to the shopping experience.

Growing in popularity across the high street, video wall technology is an increasingly engaging and beneficial tool for retail as it continues to evolve. In fact, Grand View Research predicts that the value of the in-store digital signage market is expected to reach £23.3 bn ($31.7bn) by 2028.

It is no secret that bricks and mortar retail has struggled in recent years, having been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent global ecommerce boom. Developments in technology have significantly improved the ecommerce experience and video walls can enhance the in-store experience too.

As the global accounts director of digital signage company Mood Media, Rim Posthumus believes video walls allow brands to “showcase innovation, products and brand values.”

He defines the technology as “multiple screens with extra small bezels, which can be daisy-chained together to create a large display”. These are then able to show content “horizontally, vertically, or diagonally” and are generally connected to a media player which “stores content locally on the device for seamless playback.”

READ MORE: Shoppers crave in-store technology that mimics their online experience, report reveals

Research from Screen Cloud reveals that 80% of customers admit to entering a store because of digital signage catching their interest. In addition, 40% of shoppers say that digital displays can change what they buy because of information displayed close to the point of purchase.

As retailers are increasingly looking to create stand-out experiences that go beyond the purchase, “experiential retail and phygital experiences are the way brands can stand out from competitors and lure people in-store and make the experience more immersive once they are inside,” Posthumus states.

There are a number of exciting technological developments happening in the video wall space right now. Posthumus outlines upcoming trends, which include content-triggered sensors, which work by using motion sensors to detect when a customer approaches a particular location in-store show, which then triggers specific content to show on the video wall.

Content-on-demand is also a popular new feature, where a touchscreen tablet is used by a customer or sales assistant to control the content playback on a video wall.

With limitless application possibilities and constantly evolving technology, video walls are a highly effective tool for and retail brand looking to bring an edge to its in-store offering. Here are three of the best.

READ MORE: Why retailers should focus on ‘bricks-and-portal’ instead of the metaverse

Dior

In 2016, a new Christian Dior flagship store opened in San Francisco, featuring an elaborate two-level video wall created by artist Oyoram. The design is bisected by a set of stairs and surrounded by large wall mirrors, which work to amplify the visuals.

The striking video wall not only makes a powerful first impression but is in line with Dior’s brand identity. While it does not advertise a particular product, it creates a unique shopping experience, an important factor for millennials – who FutureCast president Jeff Fromm describes as “the generation that equates value to memories and experiences; brands can no longer sell them a product but rather create an experience with them”.

As a high-end fashion brand, Dior is associated with exclusivity and luxury, both of which are reinforced by the digital art.

Sephora

In an exciting move for the cosmetics retailer, Sephora teamed up with AR technology provider ModiFace, using a digital screen which allows customers to try on make-up digitally.

The technology simulates make-up products on a customer’s face in real-time and the interface tracks the precise location of a user’s facial features.

Customers can sample numerous eyeshadow shades instantaneously by simply tapping on different shades.

The technology makes the selection process quicker, as customers do not have to rely on sales assistants for their assistance. It also allows customers to trial many different products before purchasing anything, decreasing the likelihood of returns.

“Digital and innovation have always been part of our DNA at Sephora,” said Mary Beth Laughton, Sephora’s executive vice president of omniretail.

“We are very focused on our customers, and we know that her life is increasingly reliant on digital. So we know to be successful as a retailer, we’ve got to be where our clients are, and give her tools and experiences that meet her needs.”

British Airways

British Airway’s classic advertisement #lookup is a powerful example of how digital signage can engage consumers. The interactive ad features a child pointing up to the sky as a plane flies above him. As the plane looms over, the sign instantly displays the specific flight destination and number, in real time.

Through the digital display, British Airways created an interactive, simple yet highly engaging experience.

“This is a first, not just for British Airways but for UK advertising,” said British Airways head of marketing Abigail Comber.

“We all know from conversations with friends and family that we wonder where the planes are going and dream of an amazing holiday or warm destination.

“The clever technology allows this advert to engage people there and then and answer that question for them. We hope it will create a real ‘wow’ and people will be reminded how amazing flying is and how accessible the world can be.”




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