Linda Ralph, international VP business development at Mood Media, discusses some of the challenges and hot themes currently in retail.
What are some of the main challenges of working on retail projects?
Working with retailers today is challenging. Time and space are at a premium, every square metre must be used to its maximum potential, and each project must be deployed seamlessly over the fastest installation programme to limit lost sales time.
Perhaps our biggest challenge is to break the perception among some retailers that a ‘show stopper’ deployment can be expensive and complicated. By exploring innovative alternatives we can help them take their customer experience to the next level.
What are the products that you find are most important to know about in depth in the retail market?
Rather than focusing on product, we look at more complete solutions that help retailers achieve and deliver their objectives. These usually aim to improve the customer experience, in order for them to feel more brand-loyal, spend longer in the retail space and ultimately increase sales.
As an example, the solutions chosen will depend on the particular application – for certain types of retailer this might be about a very visible deployment of the latest technologies or using interactivity and gamification to enhance their ‘tech savvy’ brand values and store environment. Other retail markets which are more traditional and sophisticated in their brand essence will opt for understated quality deployments featuring the very best in acoustic reproduction and digital design.
Which technologies are you seeing an increased demand for in retail environments?
As every solution we design is largely unique to the brand and the desired application perhaps it’s easier for me to discuss the themes where we see increased interest. The first is around solutions that can give tangible and proven results. Research has been done to prove the results of sensorial solutions and we, among others, continue to invest in it to make sure we provide our clients with the best return on investment.
We know that four out of five customers make purchase decisions in-aisle, which means that a lot can be made on site. Additionally, recent research confirmed that more than a third of marketers using digital signage see better brand recall and interaction, and 40% of marketers experience higher loyalty and retention. It’s all a fine balance between understanding client objectives and providing consumers with relevant and topical content, information and, last but not least, mood.
The other popular theme is personalisation, retailers today continue to seek out seamless “phydigital” ways to better engage consumers and deliver a personalised experience. There was much expectation, for example, around the potential impact beacons could have on the retail store, however so far there has been limited success around delivering this in a meaningful and cohesive way. We have taken a different approach to personalisation with the launch of Social Mix and Shazam In-Store, both of which are smartphone-based solutions designed to place a brand experience in the palm of a consumer’s hand, directly when they are in the in-store space.
What advice would you give AV integrators looking to work on retail installations?
My advice would be to always start with understanding the brand position and the brand strategy. In order to select the right AV and then build the platform to deliver it, you have to clearly understand the retailer’s objectives and business outcome. If you keep front of mind the end result for the consumer and how the deployment is going to make them react, then all of the planning that goes into the designing of how the solution will look, how it is going to behave, how it will operate, and how it will be operationalised and maintained after installation will be much easier for integrators to deliver.
Tell us about a recent installation project that highlights Mood Media’s expertise in the retail sector.
We’re particularly proud of our collaboration with Renault. Working together we approached the challenge of trying to develop a more engaging and interesting experience of the brand for those who want to purchase a car.
When buying a car, potential customers have already researched heavily their choice of brand online with access to ever more impressive configuration software allowing them to visualise and dream their new purchase from the comfort of their own home. The result of this buying behaviour means that the showroom has to deliver against very high customer expectations on the brand experience to stand any chance of translating this interest to a sale.
The finished solutions we delivered employ a combination of display screens, videowalls, brand discovery configuration tools, iPad exploration bars and other interactive and custom designed features. The result is a ‘wow’ experience aimed to take the customers through a consistent journey from the moment they walk into the showroom through to purchase and beyond. With focus given to every touchpoint, from entering the store to designing your car, the ‘reveal’ of your new purchase and after-sales service, it has been a great project and a good example of a brand embracing change and adapting to meet consumer demand.