The Hidden Advantages of Repairing Your Digital Displays

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As digital displays – such as LEDs, LCDs, OLEDs, tablets, and kiosks — become more affordable, swapping them out when they break might seem like a sensible solution. However, in many cases repairing broken units is a smarter option.

VISUAL INTEGRITY
Unless the screen needing repair is a stand-alone unit, you must first confirm a new monitor would blend into your current display environment.

Swapping just one monitor from a video wall or digital menu board can result in a jarring lack of continuity if the make and models don’t match exactly. Variation in bevel, thickness, resolution, or luminosity can undermine display cohesion. If costs allow it’s safer to repair broken screens to protect the visual continuity of the installation.

REPAIR VS. ONLINE SERVICE
Many issues can be fixed on-site by a service technician: cabling, software configuration, or problems rooted in the media player are good examples of this. However, if there is physical damage or the hardware needs to be examined at board-level, mail-in depot repair is usually necessary.

Privileging onsite service over depot repair is tempting. Everyone loves delivery service, and it’s easier to call a repair technician than deal with packing up items for shipment. But few environments in the outside a dedicated repair center–such as a working restaurant or shop–are clean enough to repair delicate screens or circuitry without putting components at risk of environmental damage through moisture or dust.

ADVANCED PLANNING
One of our clients is contracted to deliver digital menu displays for a large chain of convenience stores. When a monitor goes down, we replace it and ship the original to our depot repair center. First, our team confirms it can be repaired and reintegrated at lower than replacement cost. If so, we refurbish and warehouse the original monitor to keep on-hand or use for the next outage. It’s an efficient system: There’s less waste, and the client has a backup cache of monitors and parts.

THE ECO-FRIENDLY CHOICE
Digital displays are more energy efficient than ever, but making electronics is a highly involved industrial process, that uses energy and raw materials. Efficient supply chains require shipping parts all over the globe for final assembly. E-waste is also a growing concern, so instead of tossing out your equipment, send it in for parts, scrap, and recycling.

Ultimately, proper maintenance and repairs extend the life of your technology, which saves money, reduces downtime, and minimizes environmental impact.

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Shoe shopping.

I spend more time looking at shoes than you’d expect from a person with only two feet. If I were outfitting, say, the island of Manhattan or a well-heeled millipede? Sure. Time well spent.

But since I just shop for me, and I can only wear one pair of shoes at a time (alas), it could be argued that I’m a bit of an expert on the subject.

“MAYBE IT’S IN THE BACK…”
This weekend at a popular department store, I asked the attendant about a particularly cute pair, and she dashed off to the back room to check for my size.

It took a long time. A looong time. Long enough that I began to wonder just how far back this back room went.

What could be going on back there? Is she okay? And where the heck are my shoes?

TECHNOLOGY LIGHTS THE WAY
I get it. She was doing her best. With all the styles and sizes, the back room of shoe department must be an impenetrable maze of straps and heels.

But I’m also an expert in retail technology, so I know it’s a maze that can be more easily navigated with the right inventory system. Why couldn’t she do an inventory check on the spot with a tablet? They used scanners at checkout, so couldn’t they be configured to make real-time inventory adjustments on the fly?

Of course, that technology already exists. Many retailers have been improving shopping experiences with it for years.

But unfortunately, all too many still lag behind.

Late tech adoption puts a damper on your customers’ shopping experience, which is the single most important metric for brick-and-mortar retailers competing with the convenience of e-commerce vendors.

EMPOWERED EMPLOYEES AND THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
It hampers employees as well. In an industry with expensive, time-consuming turnover, a simple upgrade can empower employees to deliver a better customer experience, take pride in the quality of their work, and feel a deeper sense of satisfaction on the job.

Like most people, I still shop physical showrooms because I like to see and touch products before making a purchase. According to Retail Drive’s Consumer Survey, 68% of consumers feel the same way, and another 18% shop brick-and-mortar for the social experience it provides.

Retail employees can make or break that experience.

I like interacting with happy salespeople. I also like interacting with technology. Fortunately, we live in a world where both can, should, and do exist together.

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If you’ve ever visited a store to try on or examine a product before buying it online at a lower price, then you’re familiar with Showrooming. According to a Nielson study of 30,000 consumers in 60 countries, the practice is rampant. An Accenture study puts the figure at 73 percent of active shoppers.

The practice goes both ways. Consumers also do significant product research online before eventually purchasing in a brick-and-mortar location. By many estimates, this is even more common than Showrooming.

Regardless, the possibility that people enter your stores, use your resources, and then buy your products online from someone else is a problem that needs to be addressed, macro trends aside.

This is not something that can be completely fixed. Economies of scale give online retailers a cost advantage, and there will always be people determined to shop on price alone. However, there are steps retailers can take to minimize Showrooming’s impact, and redirect consumer dollars back to the checkout where they belong.

INVEST IN TECHNOLOGIES AND INTEGRATE WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Digital displays, augmented reality, facial recognition systems, and other experience-enhancing technologies are essential to stepping up your Customer Experience (CX) game and getting bodies into your stores. But to deter Showrooming you must go a step further and design high-touch shopping experiences that drive conversion.

Targeting, interactivity, and ease-of-use can stimulate demand, but if your goods are available online that demand can be fulfilled anywhere. So, the key is to create not just demand, but urgency.

Social Shopping with Phone
That’s where social media comes in.

In its report Navigating the New Digital Divide: Capitalizing on Digital Influence in Retail Deloitte Digital states that:

  • Shoppers who use social media to help shop either before or during their trip are almost 30% more likely to make a purchase that same day.
  • Over 65% of consumers read product reviews online before making an in-store purchase.
  • Consumers who use social media while shopping are four times more likely to spend more than they otherwise would.
  • Shoppers who say they’re influenced by social media are six times more likely to spend more after a digital interaction.

The trend here is clear. When planning your showroom, make social integration a key part of your IT strategy. Make products easy to refer back to online, and have social feedback and reviews featured prominently. If the technology allows, integrate reviews directly into your displays.

You can take it even further and make it easy for shoppers to post items to Instagram, Snapchat, or Facebook, and ask friends for feedback. If they get real-time feedback they’re statistically more likely to convert, especially on impulse buys. Keep narratives in mind when creating shopping experiences, as Story-type posts have spread from Snapchat to nearly every other social platform.

It might seem counterintuitive to direct your customers back to the digital realms just when you’re closing on a real-world sale, but keeping customers offline entirely just isn’t realistic.

(Unless you’re Amazon, of all companies. They patented a technology that allows them to block in-store customers from making price comparisons on their phones. The nerve.)

GO BESPOKE: OFFER MADE-TO-ORDER ITEMS
Last fall on vacation in Australia I stumbled across Melbourne Central, which is a trendy version of your standard shopping mall. I noticed a crowd gathering at one of the shops, and was surprised to see velvet ropes winding out from the entrance, with people queued around the corner. What could be generating such buzz at a shopping mall? Tesla showroom, I guessed. New iPhone, maybe?

Nope.

KitKats. Yes, that KitKat…the candy bar from the vending machines.You’d be hard pressed to find a more ubiquitous product, but people were lining up to get one.

Why? The store was flush with digital displays where you could create your own version of the classic candy bar using “fiery crushed chili flakes, ground roast almond brittle, dried raspberry pieces, golden honeycomb shards, lightly salted caramel popcorn, fragrant pink rose petals, and many, many more.”

None of these products or services are available online. The message here is obvious. Sell things people can’t buy online. Since people can buy damn near anything online, the best way to do that is to go bespoke (custom-made).

Employing customization tactics like this presents obvious challenges. Not everything is as easy to make as a chocolate bar. Especially on the spot.

However, 3D scanning and printing technologies are improving every year, and are worth researching, if not to fabricate entire products on-site, then to offer customization, upgrades, or adjustments.

DEVELOP A BOND
Creating a sense of urgency is one path to conversion, but if you can create connection with people — or better yet a sense of obligation — you might get even better results. There are several well-established techniques sales and marketing departments have used for years to accomplish this.

1) Do a favor for them. If you’ve ever bought a car, you were probably offered a soda or coffee. If you said yes, the salesperson most likely walked over to the beverage machine, put in money, and got your drink. Seems odd behavior in 2017. Why do salespeople have to pay for drinks when they could just keep a bunch in a fridge under their desk? Well, they don’t.

They want you to see them buying it so you feel a tiny sense of obligation to them. Deep down in your brain you feel like you owe them.

But can a $1 soda substantially affect the odds we’ll make a $35,000 car purchase? Shockingly enough, it can. That’s just how we’re wired.

2) Ask a favor of them. Strangely, the converse works also. Asking a small favor of someone can make them like you move. It’s called the Ben Franklin Effect, and it’s supported by multiple studies. As you can see from the name, it’s an old trick. It’s a well-established phenomenon, and much has been written about it already so I won’t dwell on it here. In Franklin’s words: He that has one done you a kindness will be more ready to do you another than he whom you yourself have obliged.

Bust of Ben Franklin
Applying these suggestions is easy, but the savvy retailer won’t be obvious about it. The favor asked or given can be very small, and the process can be somewhat indirect. So long as the customer is aware that it happened, there’s no reason to be aggressive about it. Once you establish that connection, closing on the sale is easier, and people are less likely to walk.

OFFER PRICE MATCHING
Many large retailers offer Price Matching Guarantees: Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Lowe’s, and Home Depot all offer significant reductions if you can show them a lower price from a reputable retailer. Some even match Amazon. For smaller retailers, the value of price matching is a highly individualized question based on brand, market, margin, and a complex web of other variables that make up a sound business case.

Even with the largest retailers, the price matching programs are complex and vary wildly from company to company. They also change over time. A few are active only during holiday seasons. Some only match nearby brick-and-mortar stores, and others won’t match sale items. It’s complex and confusing for customers. And that’s not an accident. The most profitable Price Matching Guarantee is the one that isn’t used.

Smaller retailers should tread carefully here. Competing on price is rarely advisable, especially for companies that don’t work at scale.

WRAPPING UP
If a shopper is determined to get the lowest possible price, there’s not much anyone can do to stop them. But most of us make purchasing decisions from a matrix of influences of which price is just one. The retailer’s role is not to just sell the product, but to sell the product now. That second layer can be a challenge, but it’s ultimately within reach. If Deloitte Digital’s Digital Divide report made anything abundantly clear, it’s that connections are the central component to driving in-store sales, be they social, technological, or interpersonal.

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If you’ve invested in digital signage, you probably know its pros can go a long way. That being said, if you’re not utilizing your displays correctly, the perks won’t be as noticeable. IST broke down the do’s and don’ts of digital signage to inform you of what you need to do or not do to make the most of your digital signage displays.

DO: FOCUS ON QUALITY
Content is king when it comes to digital signage. It’s important to make sure your content can be understood by all audiences. Your display will not be successful if a portion of its viewers don’t understand what is being said. It’s also smart to test the timing. Make sure to check that the information is displayed long enough for a slow reader to get through. In addition, test the quality of your content to confirm that it looks good on all types of displays.

DON’T: HAVE STILL CONTENT
One of the biggest advantages of digital displays is creating something that can catch people’s attention better than a picture. Still content won’t catch the customer’s attention nearly as much as video or moving objects. Take advantage of the technology and create something that is more than still images or slides.

DO: INCLUDE STRONG DESIGN
Having a display that is satisfying to the eye is extremely important. Keep the design simple and not busy. Make sure it isn’t distracting from what you are trying to convey with your content. A beautiful display is going to attract a customer more than something that doesn’t have a clear focus. That being said, make sure your design is attention-grabbing and not boring.

DON’T: FORGET TO UPDATE
With static posters or signs, the information can become irrelevant or outdated quickly. This is one of digital signage’s biggest perks because it gives you the option to update your content as deals and promotions are always changing. A customer might get bored if the information isn’t changing, so make sure to stay on top of creating new and relevant content.

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