Some retailers in South Africa seem to be still working on the assumption that shoppers will continue to arrive in droves, even though the market is rapidly changing. Those that fail to adapt their business models are at risk of losing their share of the market, as consumers turn to online shopping to purchase groceries, clothing, appliances and electronics, among other goods and services.

To remain competitive, physical retailers have to adapt, and investing in integrated audiovisual technology to create experiences that customers will perceive as valuable continues to prove one of the more successful global strategies.

Rupert Denoon, regional director at Crestron South Africa, points out five critical factors that retailers should consider when designing stores for the modern customer.

1. Take control of your environment

Retailers need to identify a target market and ensure that the environment that they create in their stores appeals to the identified audience. Elements such as lighting levels and immersive audio that is set the appropriate levels are key to creating an appealing experience for your customers

2. Be consistent

Cloud-based content management, together with state-of-the-art control technology, means that a design team can conceptualise, create, programme and deploy lighting schemes, set audio levels, and manage displayed content across multiple locations in real-time. As a result, retailers can precisely manage their brand identity across multiple locations and ensure a consistent and reliable customer experience for every customer at every store, all of the time.  

3. Present something worth seeing

Deploying digital signage in a store presents an array of opportunities for retailers, including displaying dynamic marketing material for a range of products on offer while creating an engaging and dynamic visual experience for customers in your store. Content can be updated regularly and centrally managed using cloud-based technology, which means that retailers with multiple outlets can create a consistent look and feel throughout their stores.

4. Be dynamic

Immersive environments engage all of the senses and respond to changing conditions.Managing your AV assets using centrally-managed, cloud-based platforms, such as those offered by Crestron, means that lighting, audio and content on your displays can be programmed to cycle through a range of pre-programmable themes. As a result, in-store environments can be set up to respond to the time of day, with brighter cool light in the morning and warm and dim lighting in the evening, and audio levels can adjust automatically in response to ambient noise levels inside the store. Content on digital displays can be updated with the touch of a button, allowing retailers to make last-minute changes to their marketing material and quickly deploy campaigns that are respond to current affairs.

5. Keep it tidy

The only thing that is worse than a bland or unmemorable experience is a bad shopping experience. Malfunctioning displays, poor-quality audio that is offensive to your target audience or lighting that is too harsh, too dim or malfunctioning will likely dissuade customers from ever returning to your store. One of the greatest benefits of investing in integrated technologies is the monitoring and maintenance functionalities that these solutions enable. All of the AV assets within your retail chain can be monitored in real-time, and dysfunctional units can be identified and repaired almost instantly, and often remotely.

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