How digital displays are helping physical retail bounce back

While e-commerce may have been the name of the game two years ago at the peak of Covid-19 restrictions, as we’ve emerged from lockdowns, it’s clear that physical retail is not going anywhere. 

“Overall, the return to retail has made it clear how important the customer experience is in drawing people back. Throughout Covid lockdowns, customers missed the immersive, physical aspect of retail. The ability to touch and feel products in-person, and converse with experienced retail staff has always been invaluable,” said Phil Gaut, senior director of display and brand memory, Samsung Electronics Australia. 

But now that customers are more tech-savvy and accustomed to online retail than ever before, brick-and-mortar retailers need to up their game and provide excellent in-store experiences if they want to lure people in and continue to engage them in-store. Here are a handful of ways that physical stores need to evolve in this new environment. 

The convenience factor

Consumer behaviour has evolved in the past couple of years and now it’s all about catering to how and when they want to shop, whether they want to shop purely online, browse in-store – or do a mix of both and take advantage of click-and-collect. 

Meanwhile drive-through is also becoming increasingly popular, with major brands like Guzman y Gomez embracing the model. Even Woolworths is interested in launching a standalone drive-through store. In April, the supermarket giant submitted a development application for its first standalone, contactless drive-through grocery site in Rose Bay, Sydney.

A return to entertainment and events

Savvy brands know that retail goes beyond just selling products on a shelf – it’s about engaging and entertaining customers. Whether you’re a health-and-wellness brand that offers yoga classes to VIP members, a homewares retailer offering gardening workshops, or a bookstore hosting author meet-and-greets, these are all great ways of creating your community of customers and building loyalty. LED and digital displays are increasingly being incorporated to bring retail environments to life with high resolution, high-impact content that can be updated as required to suit the mood, product, promotion, or bespoke requirements of the day.  

Contactless self-service

Once seen as a novelty just a few years ago, then as an essential part of the shopping experience at the peak of Covid, contactless self-service via interactive terminals is now just part and parcel of the physical retail experience in many stores. From shorter queues for customers to increased staff productivity, the benefits are clear for both customers and retailers 

Clear Covid Safety communication

The world may be emerging from lockdowns, but as we all know, mandates are constantly changing, and businesses learnt quickly that clear communication and clear signage around health and safety requirements such as masks, social distancing and hand sanitising are a necessity, even in this current climate. Where static signage can be slow and costly to update, digital signage has made these regular updates quick, simple and even environmentally conscious without all the reprinting.  

Display screens: The secret sauce in modern retail

In order for businesses to successfully implement the initiatives above, effective technology, such as digital displays, is now an important part of your in-store retail strategy. 

“Post-Covid lockdowns, it has become clear that the most successful retailers are the ones that integrate technology – engaging and delighting customers with an omnichannel, end-to-end experience that often now includes digital displays,” explained Gaut. 

“Displays that draw customers in from the street, that tell the brand story, that highlight latest promotions and that can adapt to relevant content in real-time.”

International giant Lotte Duty Free recently opened a huge store in the heart of the Sydney CBD, featuring Samsung Dual-Sided Window Displays, whose high-bright screens capture the attention of shoppers as they walk past, regardless of lighting conditions – driving footfall. Once inside, they are met with store-facing screens, highlighting key content such as store promotions and product information in real time. 

Traditional static signage is often only capable of promoting one message for businesses, which can be quite generic and remains in place for a long time, quickly becoming boring and stale. On the other hand, digital signage has the ability to show immersive campaigns and tell the story of your brand to customers. It can also easily and frequently change and even rotate through multiple pieces of content, with a remote content management solution.

According to Gaut, it’s important that physical retailers “close the loop from attraction through to purchase”. 

“Brands need to consider how they can stand out and attract customers to take that first step inside. Then it’s about how you can maintain that engagement, educate and showcase your range of products to these same customers on their journey through your store,” Gaut said. 

“This then finishes with purchase, where technology should enhance the journey at each step, creating efficiencies and improving the customer experience.” 

To find out how to reinvent your retail experience, visit Samsung: