Digital Merchandising: Static is so yesterday

Graphic: Buyers touching screens; ©


The eyes lust for more and technology makes it happen: digital signage provides an almost infinite pool of presentation types for advertising managers. In a time when multichannel retailing has become the workhorse, these types of advertising can also be linked and contents updated at the touch of a button.
Whether it’s LCD monitors in the elevator, electronic shelf labels or interactive kiosks – the scope of digital presentation keeps growing. At this point, more and more retailers use a sophisticated system of technologies to provide customers with current, precise and appealing information.

The clear advantage is that digital signage for instance is proven to have a more intense effect on customers than posters, because moving images evoke emotions and make people curious. Static content on the other hand no longer gets through to the customer. The chance to illustrate content in moving images but also interactivity are big advantages.

And the application doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple tablet right next to the product on the sales floor can take all of the positive characteristics of e-commerce to the POS at the touch of a button, by the customer being able to call up all of the product information and availability and look at similar products at the same time.

Visual merchandisers need to get ready

Visual merchandisers gain brand-new design possibilities. It is a challenge to load four-meter video screens, which appeal to many senses simultaneously, with content for instance or take contents to all distribution channels. To meet these demands however, merchandisers have to expand their expertise in the IT area. This is why the new Bachelor degree program "Retail Design" was created, which is a joint project of the European Visual Marketing Merchandising Association (VMM) and the University of Applied Sciences Düsseldorf.

"At the interface between store design, visual marketing and communications strategy, graduates can hold a key position in retail in the future,” explains Klaus Lach, Vice President of the VMM. He believes in the potential of the new digital display formats: "Digital marketing provides them with unusual marketing strategies in unusual spaces. This livens up entire shopping districts and turns them into entertaining attractions. Impulse buys are strongly promoted through this high information and entertainment factor."

Utilizing existing spaces and gaining new ones

Until recently, display windows were downright “points of contention” after hours. Of course, it was possible to look at the products behind the windows, but there was no further information, much less the chance to purchase what you want right then and there. The solution: a terminal behind the window, which can show videos, images or literature. When the added QR code then links customers directly to the online store of the retailer via a tablet or Smartphone, nothing stands in the way of shopping even when the store is closed. QR technology thus creates another advertising space that also doesn’t cost too much.

There is even more sales floor hiding behind the display window: blinds can be equipped with moving LED add-ons for instance that display current sales and special offers and address customers. Contents can be added via simple software.

Flexible content is extremely important

One of the main demands retailers make on digital technologies is to be able to flexibly manage content at any time. Electronic shelf labels (ESL) are one example. Just one computer is able to adjust product prices in all stores simultaneously. To make this user-friendly, the right software is an important element that should not be underestimated.

When advertising is generated via digital spaces, it first produces acquisition costs to establish the technical foundations. However, display media like LCD and plasma screens have become much more affordable and pay off much quicker – even more so, since costs for print and logistics of other types of advertising are decreasing or being eliminated entirely.

What’s more, experts note that devices have improved so much in terms of technology that systems can be used in a much simpler and safer fashion. The used devices last much longer and fail less than they did even a few short years ago – even if they are being used around the clock.

The customer readily accepts the new display formats: he/she is already used to fast information sources, especially due to the increasing market for tablets and Smartphones. A great time to jump on the digital signage bandwagon and use it in a positive way.  zu nutzen.

Author: Natascha Mörs; EuroShop
First publication at