Maintaining Interactive Displays in Experience-Driven Retail Environments
With the Internet of Things (IoT) trend taking hold as a mainstay in consumers’ lives over the past five years, it was only a matter of time before retail stores transformed from static environments to ever changing, digitally driven experiences. With this shift, we have seen a proliferation of interactive and highly technical, digital displays that enhance the experience for customers in stores. However, maintaining these interactive displays across thousands of retail locations nationwide can be challenging to keep up with.
Many brands mistakenly believe that retailers will maintain their interactive displays for them. The reality is that retail associates are there to service customers, not to maintain displays. To avoid a non-functioning display situation, brands must rely on third-party partners to ensure their interactive displays are functioning properly at all times to deliver on the brand promise to consumers and encourage in-store purchases.
When looking for a third-party partner for interactive display management, there are five key areas of the display lifecycle to keep top of mind:
- Software Refreshes
- Fixture Conversion
- Component Installations
- Parts Management & Fulfillment
- Support Center
Let’s take a look at how each of these aspects has the potential to influence brand reputation in a retail environment:
1. Software Refreshes
What’s the point of showcasing your brand’s latest tech gadget if it’s not equipped with up-to-date software to guarantee optimal performance? For example, if a smartphone company is displaying its newest model to perspective buyers, but a “Software Update Needed” warning pops up when they try to test out the phone’s capabilities, what kind of brand impression does that leave?
Consumer tech brands need to make sure that all their interactive technology displays go through regular software refreshes so that customers can get a true understanding of what they’re buying. Additionally, these software refreshes should happen outside of normal business hours as to not disrupt the shopping experience.
According to Retail Dive, “more than 55% of consumers visit stores before buying online, emphasizing the idea that high-touch physical and seamless omnichannel experiences are critical for modern retailing.” If your interactive displays aren’t functioning properly, customers will not benefit from shopping in-store and might even be turned off from your brand moving forward.
2. Fixture Conversion
Apple just released it’s eleventh iPhone model in September of 2019; Samsung Galaxy is currently on its 10th smartphone version. Technology is always evolving and becoming more sophisticated, and consumer electronic brands need to showcase their most recent models to customers who shop in-store. Every time a new product version is released, retailers across the country need to be stocked with updated inventory and convert old product displays to new ones to attract customers and ultimately drive sales.
This process is known as “fixture conversion,” and requires a brand’s team to enter retail locations across the country – sometimes thousands of them! – to update displays and replace inventory. To make matters more complex, this process often needs to happen in a matter of days or weeks. Fixture conversion projects require skilled workers who are adept with technology, as they often require rewiring and parts replacement. An average retail worker or merchandiser will not know how to retrofit interactive displays, so it’s important to invest in a high-quality team that’s trained specifically for the job.
3. Component Installations
For TVs, smartphones, tablets, and even vacuum cleaners, an interactive display lets in-store shoppers see, touch, and experience technology products in action. For brands at retail, this is a great thing since 62% of shoppers list “try it and take it” as the top reason for shopping in physical stores versus online.
That said, a major part of interactive display maintenance is ensuring all components of the display – not just the actual technology products themselves – are in working order. That’s especially important in a high-traffic retail environment where customers are sitting on, or leaning against, a brand’s product displays. Wear and tear is a common challenge in retail, and having a third-party partner who can perform routine maintenance on those display components is essential to overall brand integrity.
4. Parts Management & Fulfillment
When a company needs to update and maintain their interactive displays across thousands of retail locations nationwide, optimal parts management and fulfillment is essential to the success of a brand’s overall campaign. Like most things in life, technology is not fool proof. Wires can fray, smartphones can arrive faulty, and TVs can even break during shipment. To get ahead of these issues and plan for success, a professional third-party agency should have a parts management and fulfillment team on staff who can order, ship, and install new technology parts from the warehouse on a case-by-case basis.
If a brand waits until something breaks to fix it, they’ll inevitably fall behind schedule and sales will suffer. By working with a team who has parts management and fulfillment experience plus reliable contacts within the logistics industry, you can ensure that your interactive display replacement parts will arrive at the correct retail location on time and according to plan. Then, a dedicated display technician can be on-site to sign for the parts and quickly resolve any interactive display issues that same day.
5. Support Center
A high-quality support center can make or break a brand’s interactive display initiatives. By working with a partner that has a dedicated support center, you can have immediate access to parts inventory and collaborate with a dedicated in-house team that’s familiar with all aspects of your digital displays. A support center is always on call to answer questions from third-party field reps so they don’t have to waste time going through a different system for help.
Additionally, having a support center allows retail associates to call for troubleshooting assistance if a field rep isn’t immediately available. While it’s primarily a brand’s responsibility to make sure interactive displays are up-and-running, it’s also beneficial for the retailer since better displays ultimately encourage more sales. Digital displays provide an interactive experience, and they also offer valuable knowledge. With functioning interactive displays in place, store associates are able to continuously demonstrate the specific value of each technology product, which in turn boosts their sales commissions.
Simplify Interactive Display Maintenance with a Third Party Partner
As you may have experienced yourself, the logistics that go into maintaining interactive displays can be very difficult to organize, especially for a consumer technology brand that has products on display in thousands of retail locations nationwide. By partnering with a third-party display management expert, brands can ensure they have the right people in the right place to troubleshoot issues and ensure interactive displays are functioning properly at all times.