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A coffee, bagel and digital signage


My business partner recently sat through a seminar where a speaker from Deloitte was touching on some predictions for the future. I won’t get into the detail of what they were (mainly because it was not I who was in attendance) but suffice to say they were very Deloitte”ish” and impressive. And with their track record of predictive success you have to give them their rightful due. Here is where it got interesting. My business partner asked about the future of digital signage at retail. Since I wasn’t there personally I will paraphrase: it was something along the lines of digital signage at retail will continue to develop but 20 years from now the stores will still be using and have need for paper and cardboard signs as they do today.

As an outspoken supporter of digital I have been on the record as saying “the next three to five years will see digital signage in every major grocery and drug chain in the country….” I stand by this but also tend to agree with this speaker’s statement by saying “…but I will not guarantee it will be effective, done well or replace the need for static communications in the store.”

What’s the problem with Digital Signage and grocery? In my mind it is very simple: it’s developed for the purpose of retailer revenue generation via vendor advertising as opposed to being a tool to intrigue and make a shopper’s journey easier and more interesting. But we all know this so let's not dwell here, rather let’s point out who is doing it well and figure out how we can apply the learnings.

So who is doing it the best in the country? Sorry grocery industry it’s the same company who is stealing a huge portion of your “sourced from home” eating opportunities: Canada’s finest purveyors of Coffee and Bagels,  Tim Hortons.

Tim’s has begun a transformation of their existing static menu boards to digital screens. They look fantastic and serve multiple purposes without serving multiple masters.

  1. They clearly display feature items with price points

  2. They don’t utilize commercials but rather high quality “made for digital” messages

  3. They can instantaneously change pricing or implement promotion in 100 per cent of their system

  4. They are designed to sell more product at the point of purchase

The point is, the system has the shopper (guest) in mind and makes their experience more enjoyable while helping to contribute to increased store sales.

Crazy idea here folks, what if the grocery industry did the same? Digital screens on end aisles to highlight product features that are actually on display, content controlled by head office so that speed of implementation of features would happen in a tenth of the time it does currently, a digital program vendors actually want to participate in……you get the picture. I’m not saying to disallow revenue generation, I’m simply saying to generate revenue by giving vendors a digital retail solution that actually makes sense. 'Nuff said.

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