The independent retail sector in cities across the UK is stagnating, according to the Office for National Statistics, with only 34,000 new independent retailers opening for business in 2015 – a mere 117 more than the previous year. However, things are changing as digital signage is helping independent retailers succeed by unifying online and offline offerings.
From cafes to micro-breweries; bespoke clothing retailers to luxury stationers, independent retailers have utilised social media to drive self-promotion. And digital signage is beginning to play an increasing role in luring shoppers away from high street chains. The low-cost of entry, coupled with its ability to deliver expert, specialist information, makes digital signage a worthy investment for independent retailers.
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Unifying online and offline systems is an area in which digital signage excels. With so many independent retailers reliant on social media marketing to drive brand awareness, the ability to repeat and reinforce offers in-store can drive increased sales by more than 20 per cent, according to SimpyBusiness’ High Street Tracker .
Customers value well-targeted offers landing in their inbox, and this, coupled with the huge success of click-and-collect services is something independent retailers can capitalise on. According to Internet Retailing click-and-collect services grew by more than 60 per cent year-on-year. Software manufacturers including DigitalDM and Scala offer click-and-collect solutions that can run from small form factor PCs powering digital signage – meaning independent retailers can enter the market previously seen as the reserve of large super-chains like Argos and John Lewis.
Expertise on screen
One significant advantage independent retailers have over larger high street chains is the ability to tie sales and discounts together with expert information. Rather than relying on a head office to deliver digital signage content, independents are free to tailor messages that amplify their expertise. Independent wine retailers can, for example, include tasting notes and customer reviews on sale products, while local interiors stores can advertise free consultations and expert advice. Rather than competing with major chains on scale, independents can use digital signage to advertise their individuality and play to their unique strengths.
Real return on investment
The digital signage marketplace is becoming increasingly more affordable to enter. Upfront costs of a large format digital screen, a micro-PC to run the system, and basic installation, is comparable to a year’s worth of printed collateral and in-store livery – and is infinitely more flexible and agile.
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