In-shop videos, point-of-sale display, video walls, holograms (no really) … does this all point to an unstoppable digital revolution in big retail outlets, whether department store or shopping centre?
Video has in fact been used for a considerable time in a lot of bigger shops.
One of Mendip Media’s first commissions was to film the girl-band Bond at Westfield promoting the launch of a new Peugeot. The film was then re-run on big screens across the centre and at point of sale in franchises.
Nowadays fashionable capital city centres are alive with shop fronts integrating video into their campaign display.
The little tellie screen in the corner of the garden centre still plugs the latest plant gizmo with grim determination.
Screens in toilets and by the tills are regularly seen in stores.
And in Korea, there are shops that have only video walls of product demos with QR codes allowing for a swipe and order system.
But in terms of making video content (as well as the technology it’s distributed by) a truly valuable part of the shopping experience there’s still a way to go. It’s early days. Shop designers are only just beginning to assess and understand the interplay of video, design, product and theatre within the store environment.
As the online space demonstrates, video has a very robust role in the consumer journey and is now being well integrated into ecommerce sites (if not always from the UX side at least technologically).
This can be replicated in-store, but the screens and their siting need careful planning with high quality content that matches product display and shop promotions.
No doubt digital technology can enhance a visit to a favourite department store but really the best experience involves human interaction.
A highly knowledgeable and helpful store assistant will always be of the greatest help to a customer who wants detailed product information.
Video is only useful if it complements the overall experience, but it can work spectacularly well and create cost efficiencies which is why WHSmith has recently announced it’s introducing digital screens to a hundred store fronts.