Digital Signage in Retail

Q&A with Florian Rotberg: DSS Chairman and invidis consulting’s Managing Director

1/.  What is Digital Signage Summit (DSS) ISE?

DSS ISE is a half-day conference optimised to deliver the exclusive market intelligence and unparalleled networking opportunities while leaving you enough time to discover the ISE exhibition.

2/. What will be the main themes of the conference?

DSS ISE will focus on the shift in the digital signage retail value chain as well as fundamental changes in demand taking place in the retail industry. Key questions will include: What is the future role of systems integrators, software suppliers, display vendors and other eco systems partners?  The conference will also explore best practice digital retail concepts and the challenges of designing and managing omni-channel projects across various digital touch points.

The main topics of discussion will be:

  • Content / Complementing: Beyond pure technology how added services like content, scent and sound can complement digital signage as part of the 360° customer experience.
  • Connecting: Systems Integrators: Consolidating the Market. A view from the US to see how Stratacache and Diversified are changing the market and what effects this has on EMEA.
  • Content: Software: Commodity vs. Specialist: Are Adobe and Google taking over the market? How do established digital signage software players need to adapt to the changes of an increasingly commoditised market?
  • Computing: The Future of Media Players: – Built-in SoC-media players have been in the marketplace for more than five years, but they haven’t really moved the needle. What can we expect from the likes of Samsung and LG; which PC-based platforms have a role and what are the alternatives?

3/. A lot is said about 360° retail experiences. What does this actually mean?

360° retail experiences demand holistic and fully connected digital solutions. From the shopping window to the shelf, from the fitting room to check-out, the customer journey needs to be seamless across various IT and retail systems. Digital Signage, Electronic Shelf Labels need to connect with back-office systems for an omni-channel offering.

Retailers as well as the industry are in a process of adapting their organisations to the changing environment. In ‘Brick and Mortar’ retail outlets the architects, visual merchandising, IT and marketing professionals need to coordinate their requirements. Adding online and other retail channels doesn’t make creating real omni-channel concepts less challenging. The customer journey becomes the focus of digital retail concepts, accompanying the consumer on all media platforms throughout the day.

4/. What of the systems integrators?

Changing demand also brings changes to the established role of digital retail systems integrators. Who is the main driver in the future and who is taking the lead? IT solution providers and multinational IT consultants like Accenture and Cap Gemini have (re)discovered the market. Large creative and digital agencies also claim a larger chunk of the market. On one side it is great news as the market is now large enough for the big players. On the other hand, established integrators are facing new competition. These are exciting times which is leading to many new market entries as well as wide-scale consolidation.

5/. What other new technologies are impacting on retail?

Seamless user experience has always been a challenge. With additional ‘trending’ technologies entering the market this challenge has just become greater. ISE and DSS ISE will be full of solutions enabled by AI, AR and Voice Control. The top three technologies dominating new retail concepts are:

Artificial Intelligence: The biggest hyped technology is AI which promises the biggest disruption for retail technology. AI powered smart and self-learning solutions enable retailers to offer personalised services at the PoS with commoditised platforms

Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality: AR is the obvious favourite for retail as it adds a virtual information layer to the brick and mortar experiences. VR on the other hand is a closed experience with no relevance to the immediate retail surrounding.

Voice Control: Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are the dominating solutions for retail installations. Apple Siri and Microsoft Cortona are still lagging but obviously are part of domination eco systems with substantial upside potential.

6/. How do these technologies enable 360 degree retail experiences?

Fitting Rooms are one of the most relevant decision zones in fashion retail. Unfortunately, most fitting rooms are uninviting, small places with miserable lighting, no ambience and no service. Magic mirror concepts have failed as finger prints on the mirror displays ruin the ambience. Voice control, commoditised by Amazon and Google, enables control of digital content on screens as well as selection of various light scenarios with voice.

Artificial Intelligence enables various degrees of retail analytics with standard sensors and tools. Extensive, almost unlimited, analytics are one of the key benefits of online retail. Retailers expect more of these online analytics also for ‘brick and mortar’. This is a prerequisite for seamless omni-channel concepts.

7/. What are the latest technology trends in digital signage for retail applications?

Contrary to the last year, size is not everything in the display market. Electronic Shelf Labels are one of the major trends of 2018. While ESL has been popular in food retail for a few years, more and more retailers in other categories are looking at deploying ESL. This is not necessarily driven by dynamic pricing but more in adding additional experiences to the shelf. Shoe retailers display available sizes and colours on the small tags next to the merchandise, consumer electronics retailers show technical features while sporting goods retailer love the possibility of dynamic packaging of skis and bindings based on instore available products.

LED is gaining traction instore and replacing display based video walls as prices drop considerably and more super fine pitch LEDs become affordable. In addition, retail architects love the growing flexibility of installation of curved LEDs to wrap pillars or other ways of adapting to architectural form.

8/.What about ISE?

In order to explore all of the latest technologies, a visit to Integrated Systems Europe will provide the ideal opportunity to make your own judgements and see what leading manufacturers have been developing.

ISE 2018 is, once again, the key event for digital signage.

Digital Signage Summit (DSS) is Europe’s leading digital signage and DooH strategy conference. DSS is a joint venture between invidis consulting and Integrated Systems Events. DSS ISE is taking place during Integrated Systems Europe (ISE). The half day conference will take place at the  RAI Amsterdam on 7 February 2018.

Early birds tickets providing a 35% discount on the standard price of admission are available here until 8 January 2018.