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FEATURE: RETAIL


Tiles, such as these from eyevis, lend themselves to a broad array of creative deployments in the retail environment


[KEY POINTS]


If digital signage is about delivering information, AV in retail is increasingly about delivering an experience


Innovations such as tiled images, holograms, transparent displays, touch tables and interactive walls are building on the success of digital signage


Atmosphere and ambience – both video and audio – are what high-end retailers and brands are looking to create in their stores


While AV technology is being used to lure people away from internet shopping, for many retailers and brands, bricks and mortar and the web are complementary


Rising to the challenge


THOSE WHO trace the threat to ‘bricks and mortar’ retailing to the ubiquity of internet access are perhaps mistaken. There is a case for saying that the threat first emerged in 1977, when a US talk radio show host sold 112 can openers to his listeners in an hour. The radio station owner sensed an opportunity, going on to found the Home Shopping Network – which in turn spawned an entire industry. What bricks and mortar jeweller could compete with diamonds as big as a TV screen? Which high street store could present a set of saucepans in such excruciating detail? There is, though, little doubt that the internet is proving a much more significant threat. Retailers and shopping centres are, however, fighting back.


‘Bricks and mortar’ retailers are using AV technology to help stem the flow of consumers towards web-based shopping. Ian McMurray finds out how they’re doing it “The growth in multimedia,


web and mobile technologies in recent years has made it almost compulsory for many retailers to venture into this arena,” says Richard Edwards, senior consultant at retail design consultancy Javelin Group. “So many more customers now have a wide choice in the ways in which they can engage with a retailer that not to offer that choice may leave them soon lagging behind the competition.”


TREMENDOUS GROWTH “A recent review of high street and out-of-town stores has shown a tremendous growth in the amount of multichannel hardware visible in-store,” he continues. “There needs to be a


reason to enter the physical store and AV technology can


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certainly support that effort,” notes Steve Seminario, senior product marketing manager for Planar Systems. “The use of digital displays in retail is typically designed to attract traffic, communicate brand, create ambiance, engage shoppers, articulate an offer. Implemented successfully, any of those five uses enhances the physical store experience.”


‘I think we will see a big growth of intelligent control


solutions within AV in retail for 2013’


Steve Scorse, Prysm


It’s important to understand: AV technology in retail is more – much more – than digital signage. Digital signage is – mostly – about communicating factual information. “The focus of in-store


signage is no longer just functional for directing or advertising,” says Steve Scorse, vice president EMEA for Prysm, whose installation at Burberry’s flagship store in


London is widely recognised as being a key element in a store that has done more than most to leverage AV technology (see case study, page 18). “Branding is now seen as a separate function to digital signage. It helps to create the experience, giving a sense of arrival and reinforcing brand values to consumers when they are in the retail space. We now need to create experiences which give something extra and create a talking point which can spread through word of mouth, social media and PR.”


“Some of the most


innovative uses of AV technology in retail centre around the use of displays as integral parts of the space – almost as a building material,” continues Seminario. “Other innovative uses take


February 2013 17


AV technology can – almost uniquely – deliver the in-store interactivity that allows retailers and brands to create one-to- one relationships with consumers


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