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Non-Obvious Benefits of Wayfinding Signage in Retail

We all know that digital screens are big business. But do we know why they matter so much in retail? Here, we share the wisdom.

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We all know that digital signage and advertising on a TV screen is having a moment. Everywhere you look, paper signs are being taken down with shiny screens appearing in their place. A list of obvious benefits in retail are the ways in which it makes the customer experience better. How it makes your store easier to navigate, less confusing and as a result, more successful. But what about the non-obvious ways signage wayfinding makes retail better? Let’s take a look.

The importance of familiarity

Studies find that habit and familiarity drive the in store relationship. We may think that the uniformity of stores is in violation of the individuality modern consumers pine for, but there’s a reason why stores sporting identical experiences, like Walmart, Target and even McDonalds, are so successful. An interesting study, led by behavioral scientists at the University of Virginia, found that so much of our lives are subject to change, where we live, move to etc. that familiarity combats the anxiety we face in times of mobility.

For stores to balance this need for personalization with familiarity, digital signage wayfinding can help. For example, using a directory app to show where each department is in a store, even if the location of each has changed, helps give a feeling of familiarity. It also allows consistent messaging to be carried throughout the store, starting from a digital store front. The same brand colors, layouts and directories of each level or area, ensures reassuring familiarity throughout.

Self-service stores

Many customers like to self-serve when in store. If you look around many modern stores, coffee shops and even grocery stores, some customers will be plugged into headphones, physically in company yet mentally in their own worlds. Effective in-store wayfinding digital signage helps them to navigate independently. It also means customers aren’t seeking staff to ask something simple like where the shoe department is. This adds to the feeling of “self-serve” stores, mimicking the online shopping environment where “add to cart” comes without having to interact with anything but the products in the basket.

A full canvas

Digital signage generally is a great way to pull all aspects of your brand into one, very viewable screen. Signage holds together the store identity, the online identity, the brand values and even its personality. When so many consumers may choose to shop, or at least research, online prior to entering a physical store, this keeps the journey consistent.

Digital signs are a portal to navigating the store itself, learning where each department and experience is, and creating a view of things available outside of the physical store. Online member’s clubs, events and even up and coming products which aren’t yet available. All of which, can be served on screen, alongside more practical information like wayfinding and safety notices.

Better merchandising

Planning a physical space can be hard, but using signage as part of a bigger store design can quickly help flag any problems with the layout.

If your digital floorplan isn’t working, when you can view it on one single screen, the actual floorplan definitely isn’t. With digital signage wayfinding you can easily play around with layouts, areas and even names of different sections. This helps you to quickly get a feel for the entire store experience, which will streamline how you present this to customers later down the line.

More staff opportunities

When you look at any online inbound marketing model, you have four areas of the customer journey. Just like you can see in the diagram from Hubspot, this goes from attracting strangers, right through to closing a sale. Then you have the fourth element, the “delight” aspect.

In retail, much of the emphasis is placed on the first three areas. Yet the fourth, “delight” aspect is what leads to people actually recommending your store. Studies show that recommendations from friends are the no.1 most credible form of advertising for consumers. After all, we always remember that one example of really amazing service we received from someone working in a store.

Trouble is, most store staff are overworked and rarely have time to serve basic customer enquiries, let alone go the extra mile. This is where digital signage wayfinding helps. So much staff time is taken up answering questions, directing customers and trying to get sales through the checkpoint. When that part is taken care of by digital signage, staff get to do the extra 10% - the delight aspect which keeps customers happy and coming back for more.

Summary: Big benefits of your retail signage wayfinding system

  • Familiarity: digital signage wayfinding helps customers to feel familiar with your store, improving wellbeing levels.
  • Self-service: ensuring that clear information is available, helps customers to be self-sufficient.
  • Brand identity: digital signage ties together an online and physical presence and helps breed consistency throughout.
  • Staff freedom: wayfinding frees up staff from helping with directions so they can concentrate on the important stuff.

If you’d like a simple app to help you setup digital signage wayfinding for your store check out Building Directory app, as part of our free 14-day trial of ScreenCloud.

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