Audience Sufficiency

Customer Intelligence

The triumph of the in-store sign (& how to get it right)

Move over, banner ads and paid search. Digital signage and interactive kiosks are the latest frontier of retail media network (RMN) advertising. Why? The emergence of the “connected store” and the interactive modalities it adds to the in-store shopping experience give brands more opportunities to connect with shoppers and drive incremental sales with their retail media investments. 

But before any of the signage magic can happen, retailers must shore up their first-party data insights to implement these technologies strategically and effectively within the physical store. 

Why the clamor for signs & such?

Elements like digital signs help translate the more seamless elements of ecommerce to a physical store experience. In fact, both digital and physical stores should ideally rub off on one another. “The digital store needs to be more like the physical store, and the physical store needs to become like the digital store in order to engage shoppers,” said Kristina Kovar, President of Barrows NA.

The no-contact ease of online shopping now has an in-store counterpart in self-service stations and checkout options. In-store signs and kiosks also offer the always-enticing opportunity to further personalize the shopping experience for in-store customers. For brands, these touchpoints also highlight products as close as possible to the physical point of purchase, one of the fundamental drivers of RMN investment.

A sign-first approach is already paying off

According to Merkel, only 9% of U.S. RMNs offer in-store digital media for brand campaigns, but that number could quickly be on the rise. Walmart, for example, now operates 50 LED connected stores, which include interactive media displays with QR codes, connected mobile content, touchscreens, video ads to promote discovery and engage shoppers, and more. Kroger has introduced new digital signage at EV charging stations, and we’re also seeing digital endcap partnerships emerge between brands and retailers like Unilever and Giant Foods.

For retailers who have passed the pilot stage, the results are enticing. Wakefern Food Corp, parent company of ShopRite, Price Chopper and The Fresh Grocer, has expanded sampling kiosks to 95 ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer stores. The kiosks are meant to encourage the discovery of new products and categories and include large touchscreens for digital media. So far, so good: Freeosk campaigns have generated a 50% sales lift, with 70% of buyers new to the brand and 20% repeating purchases after the campaign ends.

But first, some data strategy

Like any other RMN play, the effectiveness of in-store displays and kiosks depends greatly on the strategy driving their design, functionality and placement—which comes down to the shopper insights at the retailer’s disposal. These new digital elements need to connect with shoppers with as much meaning and relevance as a targeted ad online might.

It’s easy enough to add a sign, but how do you optimize placement? Can you incorporate insights on preferred items, daypart, price sensitivity and more? You can maximize your strategic approach to signage with insight on in-store purchases. In that sense, sign strategy will depend on the scale of first-party data at the retailer’s disposal.

What compounds the data challenge here is the in-store element. Many retailers especially struggle to gather reliable insights on their in-store shoppers because they don’t have a way to identify the individual behind the transaction. Using offline identity resolution, retailers can identify these shoppers in a privacy-safe way. 

Additional attributes can also help enhance your targeting capabilities. For example, you can use verified shopper insights like purchase history to determine whether segments of your audience might be interested in a new product based on past purchases. SKU-level purchase history can also help you determine layout decisions like sign and kiosk placement.

Start today with Bridg

Signs are on the rise—and the proper scale of verified shopper insights can help you introduce impactful new in-store elements in partnership with brands. 

We help retailers strengthen the first-party foundation of their RMN offerings through our industry-leading offline identity resolution capability and proprietary database. Our data and audience platform delivers privacy-safe profiles with SKU-level purchase data and enriched with demographic, socioeconomic and lifestyle attributes. Contact us today to learn more.

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