Customer

DSE 2019: Transforming Customer Experiences with Innovation and Disruption

There is no better show to attend to check the pulse of the digital signage industry than the Digital Signage Expo––the world’s only international industry dedicated show. This immersive experience offers attendees a full-scale introduction to every aspect of digital and interactive signage. Transforming Every Experience This year’s theme at DSE is “Transform the _________ experience,” which includes traveler, customer, shopper, restaurant, guest, campus, healthcare, visitor and much more. Digital signage enables brands to create memorable experiences in just about any application you can imagine. There are really no limits to what can be done to transform a user’s experience. With over 4,000 users, system integrators, distributors, installers, and professionals, attendees will have the opportunity to better understand how their industry can use digital signage to communicate and connect with their audiences. Digital signage originated as a simple way to pass along information, often taking the place of static signage. Now, with the innovations of AI, social media, analytics, and mobile technology, digital signage is capable of doing much more. You’ll learn how these areas can merge with digital signage and more throughout the course of the week. Attendees will have the chance to attend 75 unique education sessions, workshops, and panel discussions. Design and Technology: Rethinking Digital Communications in the 21st Century For successful digital comm implementations, both design and technology are necessary. Each is equally important and will continue to be in the future. Digital signage, always a sector committed to innovation, is on the cusp of offering new opportunities to brands. Rethinking the way that digital signage creates experiences is in order. First, digital signage is becoming more affordable. Today, you can purchase a 4K LED TV for about the same price as a color acrylic print. Digital signage adoption, with screens that play animated content, have a much more powerful presence that a static sign, and now it’s no longer cost prohibitive for companies to be all in. Digital signage also doesn’t have to be in a box, literally. New sizes and shapes will soon be the norm allowing you to construct a display wall based on more complex designs. This flexibility is now possible because of new manufacturing processes that allow screens to be cut like paper for any size or shape. Couple this with short-throw laser projections, projection mapping techniques, and electronic ink, and you have the ability to create digital signage on any surface. This could transform signage in general from endcaps at retail stores to large-scale productions in a variety of spaces. Next, is the significant trend of interactivity. Screens can now respond to users and other screens. Voice, gestures, and facial expressions can all be “read” by digital signage, offering haptic communication in response. This technology will become more prevalent as a new way to tell a story—one that the user is a part of. Engaging Audiences with Customized Experiences Engaging audiences with any type of content isn’t easy but making it more dynamic and customized is a start. For a brand to be able to pull this off requires a lot of moving pieces. The message of the brand should remain clear and consistent as well as allow for self-updating content to be included. Your audience will also appreciate real-time, relevant local information, not just the time and weather. For example, Apple stores have a concept called “Today at Apple.” This content is meant to inform and interest viewers without being overly salesy. It gives the customer time to explore the environment and spend more time at the store. This helps creates an emotional connection to the brand and message. To do this right, as Apple has, you have to consider who your audience is and what matters to them in that moment. Digital Signage Disruption: VR and Visual Effects Virtual reality is primed to be a new disruptor to digital signage. There are many ways in which VR and digital signage can completely revolutionize certain situations. When paired with digital signage, it has the capacity to create some of the most immersive experiences ever. Digital signage is actually an extension of VR. Consider some of these possibilities. A real estate agent could take a buyer on a home tour without leaving the office. Museums can use them to create an experience that’s a real game changer, bringing art or displays to life and more accessible to visitors. In retail, using VR and digital signage could be the next step of letting buyers try before they buy. These are just a few examples of the opportunities for these two technologies to work together. Omnivex, a leading software provider for all aspects of digital communications, looks forward to exploring these exciting topics and more at this year’s DSE. We’ll be looking at all the latest trends and inspirations to transform customer experiences across industries. To learn more about digital signage and modern marketing, check out our eBook.

Friction Points Diminish the Customer Buying Experience

Global retail ecommerce sales will reach $4.5 trillion by 2021. It’s an amazing, even eye-popping number. Yet without a user-friendly business approach, your company’s sales will not reflect the forecasted industry growth. Businesses devote an exorbitant amount of time reviewing every angle of their business model, from the overall product to their social media presence. Leaders know that consumers want to shop both online and at brick-and-mortar retail locations quickly and flawlessly; however, they may not realize where friction points are limiting completed sales transactions. Friction is any factor, whether it is online or in a store, that impedes or halts the completion of a sale. The next evolution in the shopping experience is the elimination of friction points. Understanding Friction Points Friction can be almost anything—from a confusing website layout to a hard-to-read font color or a slow page load. The largest friction elimination opportunity in retail sits at the juncture of digital and physical storefronts. In order to give customers the ability to research and browse on their own terms, businesses must bridge the gap between their physical and online marketplaces. By connecting digital and physical storefronts, business can link their inventories and enable data-sharing between various sales channels. Allowing customers to research and shop across multiple platforms is important. Customers want to make their purchases whenever and however they want. Friction points aren’t just limited to the online buying experience, either. Long lines and outdated POS systems are  in store friction points that impact sales and create an unnecessarily cumbersome sales experience. Eliminating Friction Points Start with a site that is generally optimized and functional. An easily accessible site makes purchases swift and removes customer confusion. A site’s SEO is critical in attracting potential customers and must be in order, ensuring there are zero hurdles for entry. Site usability is a major feature in a successful operation. Sites should be easy to navigate, with a natural, logical, and inviting sales funnel. Information such as available inventory, reviews, accessories or complimentary products should all be easily accessible. The main goal is to encourage the user to interact and inform them of potential opportunities to buy. Create a site that gives users the choices they desire, without obstacles. In store friction points such as checkout lines are also getting attention from companies like Loblaws who are testing alternatives, including customers ordering online and picking up in store or having it delivered. Driving Positive Sales Experiences Customers like to shop across multiple channels flawlessly. Whether it is providing real-time information, or improving wayfinding across facilities to reducing perceived wait times, digital communications from Omnivex can help get the right information to customers, where and when they need it. Streamlining the shopping journey will eliminate potential friction points and have a positive impact on sales.

Digital Customer Experience

Why Digital Customer Experience Is Driving The Shift From Multichannel To Omnichannel  In 1955, milkshake salesman Ray Kroc entered into a partnership with a small California hamburger restaurant named McDonald’s. Over the next few decades, the golden arches would experience an almost unprecedented rise that would shift the landscape of the entire food service industry. What often goes overlooked when discussing the historical significance of McDonald’s, though, is that apart from their streamlined business model, a key driver of growth was the integrated approach to the customer experience. The consistency of McDonald’s messaging allowed them to reach and retain a diverse set of customers. This variety of high-quality consumer communication increased brand loyalty and created opportunities for long term revenue growth. In the not-too-distant-past, sales and marketing professionals looking to emulate the success of a McDonald’s-type organization would refer to this as a “multichannel” marketing strategy. This multichannel strategy involved the simultaneous deployment of messages and offers across a tiered system of channels. The approach, however, is flawed as it lacks a critical cohesiveness.    An omnichannel marketing strategy, on the other hand, is an integrated cross-channel communication strategy that leverages the dispersion of platforms and screens to create powerful and targeted impressions. Omnichannel marketing takes an IOT-like approach to marketing by combining data and analysis with real-time updates and messaging. This omnichannel approach is much better suited for today’s rapidly shifting technological environment. The rewards of a highly optimized customer onboarding, payment, and appreciation process can be tremendous. The Starbucks App, for example, currently has 17 million users and allows customers to place their order, pay before they even enter a store, and collect reward points. Mobile technology is allowing this coffee retailer to drive in-store sales and reduce bottle necks. The next evolution in the digital customer experience strategy is the linking of digital displays and communications. Digital signage is quickly replacing the static variety because it offers organizations such as retailers the opportunity to engage and interact with customers on an entirely new level. Due to digital displays doubling as smart solutions, they can do so much more than project menu boards! By utilizing the proper software, businesses are able to display optimized content, creating a better customer experience, while offering retailers additional advertising opportunities. One exciting digital communications asset available today is multi-screen displays. Dozens of different displays can be synced together to promote attention-grabbing content. VOX Cinema recently completed a refurbishment of its theatres that was designed to create a compelling and integrated digital customer experience. The new VOX cinemas also make use of Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and social media to make customers a part of the conversation, with a dedicated six-screen video wall displaying live feeds from Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Dubai’s City Centre-Deira location synchronized over 135 separate screens to create a world class environment for its customers. Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment uses Omnivex Moxie digital communications platform to create an immersive fan experience, by connecting hundreds of screens throughout their flagship Air Canada Centre, home of the Toronto Maple Leafs and Toronto Raptors. This Digital Customer Experience can make quantifiable differences in a company’s P&L as well. A recent survey found that on average, over 80% of consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience.[1] The same study also found that 1 in 5 customers stopped purchasing after a poor experience. Businesses not employing an omnichannel marketing strategy are not only missing out on potential revenue, they are potentially turning away customers for life. With better and easier access to pricing information and quality reports than ever before, consumers today are exceedingly savvy. This means that competitive businesses must utilize all the tools at their disposal to make the customer experience a seamless thing of beauty.     [1] https://www.capgemini.com/resource-file-access/resource/pdf/the_disconnected_customer-what_digital_customer_experience_leaders_teach_us_about_reconnecting_with_customers.pdf

Digital Transformation Of Business And Communications - Part 3

  As a business owner and communications industry veteran, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, President of Shikatani Lacroix, a Toronto-based branding and design agency, has seen a massive evolution in technology and customer/employee expectations over the last two decades. In part 3 of this multi-part executive Q&A series I will chat with Jean-Pierre about what industries are at the forefront of digital transformation. Doug: Do you see particular industries or areas where digital transformation has more of an impact, more of a benefit? Jean-Pierre: That's a great question. I would say there is a balancing act happening between being disrupted and leveraging digital technology. Industries that are the most prone to being disrupted, who are vulnerable to new technologies or new business models are also the firms that need to, but not necessarily have, embrace digital more effectively. I'll use banking as a great example. Talk to any banker today, it's not about omnichannel -- that's 10 years old. They were one of the first to develop banking platforms to create a digital online experience for their customers because they knew customers liked doing banking online. Now Fintech start-ups have developed technologies that allow you to transfer money and bypass filling out forms, eliminating friction for the customer in the banking industry. I think the banking industry is awake. They're not going to let themselves be disrupted by Fintech, instead they are embracing Fintech technology and it has a huge play in what happens in the branches. Less and less consumers are going into the branches. Those branches need to change their meaning and their value to their customers. It's not about transactions; it's about knowledge and empowerment. You are seeing the banks, the smart ones, slowly shifting their attention from transaction to knowledge and to empowerment. Where the teller now is enabled and empowered to talk about retirement plans, investment plans, and the financial security of the customer. This is a great example of an industry that has embraced digital, not because it's a nice thing to have but because it's a necessity for avoiding being disrupted. I would say general merchandise retailers, such as Canadian Tire and Walmart, that are selling commoditized items is another industry that needs to wake up when it comes to digital technology since they are all about the transaction. They are about selling to the consumer. It's about basket size and increasing the amount of products customers buy when they visit their stores. Digital can play a really important role at reminding them about things. "Miss Consumer, you know you bought toilet paper the last time you were here. That was a month ago. You may want to replenish." "I didn't think of it." Most consumers who go to a supermarket don't have a shopping list, so there's a great opportunity to drive in pull sales for stores like Walmart and Canadian Tire, but they are not there. If you go to those stores that shelf activation using digital technology is still not there. They still haven't figured out that basket size value, but the smart ones will. Now, it's all about big screens. It's not about shelf. It's about big screens creating a lot of excitement, which is great as it reinforces the brand is relevant. However, at the end of the day in that split second purchase decision -- digital plays a very minimal role, and it shouldn't. Doug: So, what you're talking about is a move from the large screens down to almost a personal experience at the shelf. Shelf displays can drive personalizing things and making things relevant to a particular consumer. Jean-Pierre: I'm back to my reference to advertising. You can spend trillions of dollars building an image of the consumer, and then in the last split second the consumer switches to another brand. To me, the model's upside down and the money needs to be spent in the store experience. It needs to be spent when the consumer is making their buying decision. Not online, not on the radio. Those are great to build brand awareness but when most consumers can be switched at the shelf level, that's where the real battleground is and that's where the money should be spent. That's where big data plays an important role: the connection between mobile devices and all shelf communication. This is where the real battle can be won and where the smart retailers are going to invest their money. It reminds me of a little story from about four years ago. We were hired to do the reinvention of OfficeMax. Online sales had huge impact on the performance of the stores. The stores were an average 25 to 27 thousand square feet. Our mandate was to create urban microstores, stores that were 17 to 20 thousand, even smaller than that. When we looked at digital signage, shelf signage, and we looked at the electronic ink -- sign elements -- and we costed it out. The client was very interested in having digital signage because it allowed them to change their pricing by zone, and then move very quickly at a competitive response. It was going to cost $300,000 for that in one store, so, imagine the multiple. The challenge still remains today and it is a huge nut financially for retailers to embrace digital. Those platforms today would be $100,000. I think it's more of a mindset by retailers. To say that flyers are their most effective marketing vehicle when, really, it is their stores that are the most effective marketing vehicle. Effectively communicating to the consumer at the shelf level is going to drive more revenue and more sales for them than advertising, radio, promotions and billboards. It's just a mindset. I think what digital has done is force organizations to rethink their business model. The business model before was "build it and they will come." What digital is providing is a platform for people to re-evaluate their business model. So, you look at Loblaws, a market leader in the supermarket category in Canada. They're smart. They're digital. They spent their money on a loyalty program that rewards behaviour. Not just purchase, but behaviour -- that is very smart. They're now exploring order on your phone and pickup at a drive through. They're exploring eliminating these anxiety points. I think most organizations now are being challenged through digital to re-evaluate their business model. If you're not re-evaluating your business based on digital and you're a retailer or a packaged goods company or a corporation, the odds are you're not going to be around long-term.

The Self-Service Movement of Interactive Kiosks

Consumers today are more self-directed than ever. Few are bothered by self-checkout lanes in supermarkets or fast food restaurants, and the trial and adoption of these self-serve kiosks is growing rapidly. The growth in popularity and usage is partly due to companies getting better at implementing self-service technologies but is also due to the average consumer being more technologically savvy. Kiosks with Interactive Displays Prompt In-Store Purchases Self-service kiosks are becoming increasingly common in retail stores and fast food chains. They provide shoppers with the opportunity to direct their own experience, which makes it more enjoyable and efficient. These self-service kiosks are powered by interactive touch screens and are often combined with additional digital signs which provides businesses with an opportunity to cross-sell and upsell their products and services. A recent survey by InReality on the Reality of Retail found that 69% of customers would be more likely to make in-store purchases if they had access to kiosks or interactive displays. As well, the survey found 78% would be more likely to visit a store that offered self-service for finding products or brands and a self-service solution for product or price comparison would increase the likelihood of 75% of customers making a purchase. The online shopping experience has changed the in-store experience for customers, and to remain competitive, bricks-and-mortar retailers are having to become smarter, more data-driven, and more technology-forward. Self-service kiosks can be an important aspect of technological sophistication. Self-Service Ticketing Can Be a New Profit Center Self-service kiosks for ticketing are proving to be valuable profit generators for many businesses. Not only can most of the headaches of paper-based ticketing systems be avoided with these self-service solutions, they generate profits due to the fact they reduce the amount of staff required and often can process business faster. For example, a sports or entertainment venue, or a transportation hub can use self-service kiosks to quickly and easily dispense tickets and process payments, as well as promote complimentary products, services or events. Integration with sales and inventory systems and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies also provides numerous opportunities for making self-serve kiosks even more valuable to both businesses and customers. Putting the Customer in Charge When a customer interacts with a well-implemented self-service kiosk, they feel as if they have more control over their shopping experience. Advertising delivered through interactive digital signage that is part of the self-service kiosk can find a receptive audience as long as kiosk users have that feeling of contentment with the technology and control of the event. Self-service options that are consistent from location to location offer customers a sense of familiarity that can reduce the anxiety of shopping in a new setting and set the stage for successfully presenting offers and discounts.    

Interactive Customer Experience Summit (ICX)

Event description 

Explore many of the technologies available to businesses – retail, hospitality, travel, restaurants, healthcare and more – for engaging customers. Interactive Customer Experience Summit will cover the landscape from kiosks to digital signage to mobile and beyond to give attendees insights they can put in action now to deliver outstanding interactive customer experiences. Booth #5

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