4.28.17 Marketing

From Analytics to Signage: NEC Earns Our Editor’s Retail Choice™ Award for Digital Consumer Engagement Solutions

By: Jon McDonald

The Crunch: When a retailer decides its marketing and merchandising solutions need to be upgraded, it’s typically due to the fact that hardware, software, and processes have become cumbersome or obsolete. By helping companies understand and personalize their expectations and use analytics to define and achieve their marketing technology objectives, NEC Display offers complete solutions for consumer engagement through sister companies and external partnerships. NEC Display Solutions, a leader in the digital signage industry, provides the hardware and analytics to make a retailer’s strategy become a reality. Because of its vast resources and comprehensive offerings for businesses, NEC Display earns our Editor’s Retail Choice™ Award for Digital Consumer Engagement Solutions.

When walking past a digital display in a retail location, a consumer may see an advertisement for a product of interest. That consumer may spend a few moments looking at the screen before ultimately deciding to find the item in the store and purchase it.

This scenario plays out countless times each day, and, to the consumer, it can seem like a moment of serendipity. But retailers understand that such a seemingly simple action can take an enormous amount of effort behind the scenes. While crisp, bright digital displays — from kiosks to entire walls — can drive conversions, they represent the tip of the iceberg in marketing and merchandising. Signage is the consumer-facing culmination of the process, but far more complexity lies beneath the surface.

Analytics and marketing objectives may go unnoticed to a shopper but are imperative to a comprehensive marketing strategy. As an organization, NEC Display understands the importance of bringing every aspect together to help a retailer develop a comprehensive strategy through its analytics, display, and back-office software solutions.

Richard Ventura, a Vice President at NEC Display Solutions, told us how retailers can maximize digital signage.

“As an organization, NEC helps retailers define objectives around digital signage and analytics,” Richard Ventura, Vice President of Business Development and Solutions at NEC Display Solutions of America, told us. “By doing that, we can engage shoppers and gauge real bottom-line outcomes, which leads to a more accurate ROI.”

NEC Display begins with helping retailers understand their objectives, works with them through choosing a signage solution, and gives them the tools to analyze data to reach marketing objectives and see actual ROI. Other companies may focus on an individual product or service that is only one component of a strategy, but NEC Display provides a complete solution.

For its balanced approach to assisting businesses with marketing and merchandising — from digital displays to robust analytics — NEC Display has earned our Editor’s Retail Choice™ Award for Digital Consumer Engagement Solutions.

Helping Retailers Focus on ROI by Defining Objectives First

Often, ROI is a company’s primary concern when it decides to make a significant investment, but NEC Display provides a compelling argument for shifting that approach. Instead of being lured by the tantalizing promises of new technology producing immediate ROI, Richard suggests that companies look at what they want to accomplish first because that focus will lead to better results than chasing an unrealistic — and sometimes misleading — ROI.

“Everyone wants to know about ROI, but that can be a misleading first step,” Richard said. “Retailers need to focus on ROO (Return On Objectives) first, and once objectives are outlined, they can be measured through analytics.”

By focusing on objectives rather than chasing an ROI number, a retailer has reliable benchmarks that it can use to measure its progress. Objectives may include increasing dwell time, boosting traffic, or driving more conversions, but once those goals are defined, a retailer has a clearer picture of what technology is required to achieve them.

And with NEC Display, scaling is not an issue, as it provides comprehensive solutions for one location or 100. Outdoor recreation retailer Cabela’s chose NEC Display to help it roll out digital signage to 45 of its store locations. After conferring about objectives, NEC executed a detailed plan, and Cabela’s was pleased with not only the displays but also with features like remote content management. Now, Cabela’s continues to turn to NEC when it opens a new store or aims to upgrade an older one.

NEC helped outdoor recreation retailer Cabela’s add a variety of digital displays across 45 store locations.

“The goal is understanding what a retailer wants to get out of a technology solution,” Richard told us. “It is important to lay out a long-term plan for digital signage, and having clear objectives allows a company to measure if they are accomplished.”

By putting the objectives before the investment, a business increases its chances of realizing a return on both. And NEC Display has built a vast portfolio of digital display products that can assist retailers in achieving any strategy.

NEC Technologies Designed to Meet Marketing Goals

After a retailer lays out its technology and marketing objectives, NEC Display Solutions provides hardware built to make them successful. Because NEC Display Solutions has such an extensive line of products, retailers can customize selections to meet their needs, and choose from an array of technologies proven to engage consumers.

“We have everything from traditional back-office desktop displays to high-definition, 98-inch screens and components for video walls of any size. Further NEC Display’s integration projection products lead the way for projection mapping and large venue signage solutions,” Richard told us.

Video walls, interactive kiosks, and projectors are among the most popular display products aimed at helping businesses meet objectives because the products are proven to boost consumer engagement with a brand. That boost is enhanced further by new technologies which can be used to provide more relevant and customized content.

NEC Display Solutions has digital signage products that can be deployed at any retail level, including a corporate office.

“Our solutions provide a link between consumer recognition and results,” Richard told us. “A retailer can view a dashboard and see that it ran a targeted advertisement 75 times, and it sold nine of the advertised products within an hour of those ads running. That makes retailers smarter.”

Richard is also familiar with the dramatic effect NEC Display technology can have on small businesses as they begin to adopt methods that were once reserved for larger retailers. As brick-and-mortar stores compete with their online and big box counterparts, signage can be their secret weapon.

“Historically, most high-end solutions were at flagship stores, but we are now seeing that technology being adopted at smaller retail stores,” Richard said. “Smaller stores tend to be more creative when it comes to digital signage, and they can see a higher impact with less technology than would be needed at a larger store.”

Sister company NEC Corporation of America also innovates more advanced technologies to make targeted marketing more accurate, like biometrics, which NEC Display can leverage. The valuable business applications of facial detection include the ability to detect age, gender, and digital signage engagement. The facial detection technology can provide metrics on store flow and even be used to recognize individual customers to personalize shopping journeys or log visits as part of a loyalty program.

By employing these technologies, retailers can also more accurately target ads on digital displays to the specific audience that is viewing them. All of NEC Display’s products are designed as part of a holistic approach to merchandising, and the displays are the consumer-facing result of all of the data and analysis that a retailer puts into its marketing.

Using Analytics for Accurate Delivery and Measurement

Analytics are the engine that drives marketing because they provide proof that objectives have been reached, certify ROI, and help retailers deliver more targeted content. And they all work together.

By using tools and processes to quantify the effectiveness of digital signage solutions — measuring areas such as age, gender, foot traffic, engagement, and dwell time — retailers gain insights into what content to deliver to consumers and when. Certifying those results is also key to solidifying a marketing strategy, especially if a retailer is selling advertising space on its digital signage.

“If a company is selling advertising space, measurement is imperative. When doing outreach to pitch a space, a business needs to be accurate with its numbers,” Richard told us. “Showing that over 5,000 people walk by a screen, 75% of them are female, and 30% are in the advertiser’s demographic leaves no doubt as to what opportunity is being presented.”

Analytics have an important place in the marketing and merchandising process because they can provide answers around why a solution is working. And data is the foundation for determining ROI and delivering value, and NEC Display helps retailers draw correlations between targeted ads and sales through analytics.

NEC Develops Data-Driven Strategies for Engagement

Customer engagement with a digital display that results in a conversion is the culmination of plenty of analysis and preparation by a retailer. A consumer never has to give the experience a second thought, but businesses need to have comprehensive digital and analytic strategies in place to foster those conversions over the long term.

“Displays are the part everyone sees, the center point of the marketing experience,” Richard said. “But the analytics behind them need to be understood by retailers, and at NEC, we embed analytics and ROO into all of our ideas.”

NEC Display provides an end-to-end solution — from analytics to high-definition signage — that helps guide retailers in their quest to grow in a brick-and-mortar landscape that is becoming more digital.

For its commitment to helping businesses better gauge and reach their real marketing and ROI objectives, NEC Display earns our Editor’s Retail Choice™ Award for Digital Consumer Engagement Solutions.

About The Author

Jon McDonald is a contributing editor for DealCrunch with over 15 years of experience editing, writing, and designing at numerous publications. His passions include digging into emerging trends and seeking out the companies making an impact on the retail industry.

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