April 19, 2019

This story first appeared in Xperience, the official publication of AVIXA. For more articles, take a look inside.

By Kirsten Nelson

UpFront_Retail_Option2_webLaura Davis-Taylor, Co-Founder of retail experience consultants HighStreet Collective, and Adrian Weidmann, Founder and Principal of StoreStream Metrics, know what technology works and what doesn’t in the battle for shoppers’ attention. They also know that good analytics and scientific insight can help create a retail environment that leads to sales. But how do you build a system that can generate useful analytics? When it comes to digital signage design, they follow the three Cs.


Context starts with where the digital sign will be located physically and what is around it environmentally. Is it busy; is it quiet? Is it in a subway as opposed to a store? Can you feasibly install the proper system or systems to measure behavior around it?
In most cases today, companies are using embedded cameras with their digital signage. And they’re starting to add emotion tracking and increasingly precise facial recognition. They can even detect how a viewer’s eyes are moving, not just their face. From there, context includes factoring in existing security cameras to track the paths people take around a digital sign. Combine that information with gaze-tracking on digital screens and you can begin to figure out how many people saw your digital signage content.


Related to context are questions about the customer. Who is the potential viewer and how is that person behaving? A viewer sitting on a subway might spend more time looking at a screen than someone in a distractive store environment.

Analytics can help a retail client get to know its customer, especially in cases where the retailer might be reluctant to use anything other than long-form video content common in traditional marketing and advertising. Data can help prove that when potential viewers are hurrying past a screen in a busy store aisle, they’re not pausing to watch a 30-second commercial spot. “You have to be able to measure that,” says Davis-Taylor, “so you can go back to those who are relying more on their opinion, as opposed to strategic rigor, and say, ‘This is what people actually did.’”


A good digital signage content playlist matches both context and the customer. For this, Davis-Taylor has a golden rule: “Fast people, slow images. And slow people, fast images.” With point-of-purchase displays, digital signage designers need to make a quick impression. However, if people are sitting for any length of time, like in a subway or waiting room, they may be more open to looking at long-format video content.

Testing for a successful connection with viewers requires measurement of each individual segment within a playlist. Capturing signage views is the first step, but now it’s increasingly common to use emotion-recognition analytics to measure sentiment. “Sentiment drives intent,” Davis-Taylor says. “If someone looks at your digital sign, but the content isn’t useful or perhaps even elicits a frown, you’ve probably lost an opportunity. But positive sentiment opens a new line of questioning: What did they do after they looked at your sign?” If you’ve got all three Cs clicking, maybe they bought something!

Davis-Taylor and Weidmann will present “Optimizing Digital Signage Design with Retail Behavioral Analytics” on the InfoComm 2019 Center Stage.