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The role of in-store TV, Enhancing the Customer Experience

Retailers are increasingly being called upon to deliver new ways to maximise their performance. This requires innovative and creative means to grow sales revenue and customer loyalty, whilst being mindful of operating costs. The use of digital media for in-store TV is an emerging application that, when properly implemented, offers significant business benefits for a wide range of retailers.

The Business Case
There are typically three main reasons for deploying in-store TV: increasing sales; increasing customer satisfaction and generating media income. In-store TV offers retailers the opportunity to drive revenue growth by delivering targeted information and advertising to the customer at the point of sale. If the solution is implemented at lowest cost, it also provides the retailer’s suppliers with an attractive, costeffective advertising medium with a lower cost per thousand rate of audience delivery.

To maximise the potential of in-store TV, organisations need to bring together their creative, commercial and IT teams. Content, programming and integration with brand strategy are critical to the success of this communication channel.

In-store Integration
A truly integrated approach to in-store digital media is preferable to increase incremental product sales by association and awareness. Complementary in-store technologies, such as shelf-edge labelling, hand-held devices, EPoS and interactive kiosks should operate seamlessly to provide a consistent customer shopping experience. For example, a special offer on washing powder can be communicated to customers using in-store TV screens and interactive kiosks, the promotional price can be automatically altered and displayed on the shelf and will also be carried through to the tills. If a product is out of stock, the advert will not play in-store and price changes at the till will be reflected in the advert displayed on-screen.

This level of information, provided in real-time on the shop floor, can enhance customer satisfaction and loyalty, leading to increased and more frequent footfall and dwell times.

The Benefits
Benefits to the retailer are far-reaching. The flexibility of instore TV allows retailers to develop the right content to be delivered to the right audience at the right place and at the right time. This means adverts can be tailored to the time of day to reflect average customer profiles, or different adverts can be run on different screens simultaneously in the store.

This innovative communication medium helps retailers to capture and retain customer interest and increase average customer spend by creating an exciting and dynamic shopping experience. Also, the advertiser is able to influence customer buying decisions where it matters most: in-store and at the point of sale. This is where an estimated 70% of purchase decisions are made. Feedback from early adopters shows effectiveness in terms of product recall, persuasion, footfall and sales.

In-store media also offers retailers greater control over the promotional activity taking place. This can be scheduled and managed at head office and changes made locally or centrally in real-time, improving response rates to changing customer and market requirements. They also offer an additional channel to inform and train staff.

The Issues
It isn’t all plain sailing with in-store TV though, as examples in the marketplace have already shown us. Positioning of screens in stores is critical to the effectiveness of the messages conveyed: too high and customers will simply not notice them. Conflicting messages are also an area of potential downfall. Messages in-store should be complementary; they need to fit with the overall marketing messages being conveyed by the brand through alternative means, such as packaging, pricing and TV advertising. This ensures the customer is presented with a consistent image of the product.

In addition, the financial benefits of the media network to the retailer must be greater than its cost. ROI should take into account all commercial factors, including revenue from third party advertising as well as increased sales, lower printing costs, reduced wastage and lower staff training costs.

The Future
Clearly, in-store media is an area with significant future growth potential. Figures from Analysis, a research and consultancy group, estimate that the potential advertising revenue from digital media networks is around £200 million a year. Only around £20 million is currently being generated.

Judging by its potential impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty, and its revenue-generating appeal, it would seem that in-store TV will be increasingly employed by retailers to communicate with the customer and differentiate them from the competition by creating a unique shopping experience.

However, retailers must learn the lessons from the marketplace and ensure they take a holistic view to the implementation of in-store media in order to fully exploit its many benefits.