Data Analytics, Digital Signage and the Smart Store

By Greg Galvin, VP Technology & Solutions at ComQi

data“Data is the new economy”.  “The future of technology is data”.  “The money is in the data”.  “Data is the next industrial revolution”.  How many of us have heard those phrases?  How many truly understand what that means for their business.

The struggle most companies are facing is – how do you leverage the data that is collected to increase revenue?  How can I better leverage my investment in digital signage technologies to increase revenue?   As a leading supplier of digital signage these are questions, we are often asked.

Over the last few years, the digital signage industry has focused on how to leverage data in real-time to dynamically change what is displayed on in-store digital signage.  One of the easiest ways to measure the audience in-store is through the use of visual analytics and video technologies and adjust the content based on that data.  But is this all that we can do?  Is this all that customers and retailers really want from their digital signage investment? [SkyREC] A.I. Platform for In-store Retail_Page_09_Image_0004

The answer is a resounding no. To get more from your digital signage network we need to change the perspective around digital signage.  If you adjust that view and look at digital signage as a tool within the retail eco-system, it can be used to collect data on client behaviour, to influence future sales by leveraging and analyze data across multiple data sources to predict what will happen.

Most people look at digital signage primarily as an in-store advertising medium and a replacement to standard paper signage.  Leveraging video analytics is really just an extension of that.  The first step is to realize the digital signage itself it no longer just “signage” and content is no longer just static posters/videos or digital menu boards.  Digital signage is now an interactive experience. By using interactive kiosk or touch screens, digital signage now acts as a customer engagement tool. And capturing how the clients interact with the system represents a key data collection point that can be leveraged to shape future experiences, content and sales.

Picture1For example, by leveraging ComQi’s EnGage platform our team has developed the Casting application that makes it simple for a sales associate to work one-on-one with a customer through a product catalog tablet or kiosk and then display or ‘cast’ curated products to a video wall. The larger-than-life imagery, product info, options and ‘you might likes’ and/or customer reviews enhance the showroom experience.  With this solution, we can track products that were grouped together and analyze this data to offer product “packages” based on those product grouping or discounts on related items to help drive additional sales.

The second step is to recognize that digital signage is just one piece of the in-store retail eco-system.  The data collected via these interactive displays can be augmented with data from other in-store systems like Point-of-Sales, inventory tracking, loyalty programs and external data sources like competitive pricing analysis, social media feeds etc.  Machine learning algorithms can then analyze all this data for trends and adjust, suggest or prescribe changes to product pricing, packaging as well digital signage content.

data-sourcesThis might seem like a daunting task but ComQi’s EnGage platform is uniquely suited to address this challenge.  Our platform can already support the deployment and execution of interactive HMTL applications. Our media player and server APIs allow applications to easily ingest and collect the data to track customer interaction.  Now, by leveraging data analytics, machine learning and augmenting that data with other retail system data sources we can truly enable the smart store and drive future revenue.