As a needs-based retailer, many consumers see Batteries Plus as the place to go when they need a repair or battery replacement. However, over the years, the company has layered in additional services and products — but they’ve found it difficult to clearly communicate these new offers to their customer base. The former store layouts discouraged customers from casual browsing, while static signage limited the staff’s ability to relay new offerings, important local information and ongoing deals.
"There is a level of consistency, and we no longer have to worry about turnaround times and shipping costs.” — Richard Epps, Batteries Plus franchise owner
Batteries Plus, founded in 1988 and headquartered in Hartland, Wisconsin, is a leading omnichannel retailer of batteries, specialty light bulbs and phone repair services for the direct-to-consumer and commercial channels. They also offer key programming, replacement and cutting services.
Through a nationwide network of stores, Batteries Plus offers a differentiated value proposition of unrivaled product selection, in-stock availability and customer service. The company is owned by Freeman Spogli, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles and New York City.
Informing clientele of relevant events and upgraded offers
Batteries Plus needed an updated tech stack to bring them into the age of digital signage and data analytics. A 33-year-old enterprise brand with the heart of a small business, they wanted to use technology to solve their customers’ problems while highlighting the personal service and human element they’re known for.
At the time, Batteries Plus store layouts placed registers just a few steps inside the entrance, which limited in-store foot traffic and browsing time — but also left many customers unaware of the other products and services the company offered.
“It put the customer and the cashier so close together they never saw the rest of the store,” says Shawn Budiac, vice president of category management for Batteries Plus. “They only saw an 8-by-8-foot area.”
Store owners depended on static signage to keep customers informed of promotions, sales and service offerings. But not all managers switched out window clings and in-store signage at the same time, resulting in inconsistent messaging that wasn’t always relevant to the store’s location. Customers were often left unaware of sales and promotions, causing stores to miss upselling opportunities.
In order to meet the unique needs of each community, Batteries Plus managers not only needed to keep customers in the store longer, but to engage them with hyperlocal content that could directly benefit their lives. Rich Epps, for example, who owns eight Batteries Plus franchise locations in southwest Florida, had difficulty promoting generator batteries, sump pump batteries and portable power chargers when hurricane season was on the way.
“There was a lack of consistency,” Epps explains. “If you look at all our locations in Florida, some stores did a great job of calling out storm preparation, and some didn’t. We needed to be able to have one-on-one conversations with customers where we could explain categories that were pertinent to that store at that time — and to raise awareness of other products and services they may need in the future.”
Displays and MagicINFO Cloud enhance customer journey
In order to create a more engaging customer journey, Batteries Plus redesigned their stores to place checkout counters at the rear. As customers stroll down the new center aisle, they pass high-impulse products, before arriving at a sleek, low-profile counter flanked by two Samsung 4K UHD LED displays.
“These extra steps don’t impede the customer experience, and they get to see more of our store,” says Budiac.
As customers wait in line or check out with a store associate, they have an up-close view of the displays. One shows certified Batteries Plus technicians performing behind-the-scenes product maintenance, such as replacing a watch battery or repairing a broken phone screen. The second display explains their categories of services, current promotions and national brand messaging, with a local twist.
Using MagicINFO Cloud, a content management solution, franchisees can intuitively push strategic content straight to their displays, with just a few clicks. When hurricanes approach, MagicINFO Cloud allows Epps to display messaging about hurricane batteries, generators and other storm necessities so his customers can prepare well in advance.
“Static signage was a key player in our stores before, but we were missing the engagement point at the counter, where customers were generally standing,” says Epps. “Now, everything is centrally managed; we can flip a switch and be ready to go for storms as well as highlight weather-triggered events. We were never able to do that before.”
MagicINFO Cloud lets Batteries Plus push more timely, relevant content — only what’s most important to local customers at each unique location. Midwesterners, for example, don’t need to prepare for hurricanes, but they do need to be prepared for freezing temperatures and snowstorms.
Batteries Plus also uses their Samsung displays for messaging about their B2B services available to local businesses such as schools, police, fire departments and government offices, aligning with their company mission of community service.
The company also updated its sign packs and added seating in some locations.
“We try to position the displays where customers can see them from the waiting area,” says Budiac. “It’s just one more step to make them comfortable and provide that opportunity to continue to engage.”
Slim, easy-to-install Samsung QBR displays provide 4K UHD picture quality with up to a billion colors for crystal clear, lifelike color and exceptional detail. Samsung’s SMART Signage Platform 6.0 and embedded MagicINFO Player S6 media player allow for easy content management and playback.
MagicINFO Cloud is an all-inclusive digital signage platform that offers seamlessly-integrated software and hardware management tools, now in a cloud-hosted managed solution. Enhanced by data-driven insights, MagicINFO Cloud gives businesses web-accessible control over a variety of displays and a single point platform to create and distribute content.
Timely content boosts sales and dwell time
Since installing the Samsung solutions in more than 200 stores, Batteries Plus has seen increased customer engagement and employee satisfaction. Batteries Plus also has a clear plan to communicate consistent national brand messaging, while allowing local operators the flexibility they need to address customers’ immediate needs and concerns.
“The center aisle completely changed how customers engage with high-impulse items,” says Budiac. “The new layout is much more conducive to walking around with customers and showing them things.”
Operators can now communicate relevant information to customers — such as when a storm is on the way — without the hassle of ordering static signage that then has to be stored and disposed of.
“Now, there is a level of consistency, and we no longer have to worry about turnaround times and shipping costs,” says Epps. “This is invaluable during quick-forming storms.”
The new solution is also a hit with employees. Budiac describes the displays as “silent salespeople” that provide support for the company’s trusted in-store advisors.
“We do so many promotions that it’s hard for employees to remember them all,” says Budiac. “If an associate is busy, the displays can keep shoppers engaged.”
Most importantly, the new solution helps tell the true story of the company’s variety of products and services, which gives customers ideas and opportunities to shop for items they might not have associated with Batteries Plus. By giving customers a look into the work that Batteries Plus does behind the scenes — such as changing a car battery in the parking lot or repairing a watch battery in the back room — the in-store screens are able to communicate the human element that defines the Batteries Plus brand.
“Since I’ve been with the company, we’ve added more services, like phone repair, key fob and smart home solutions, but our stores still looked the same,” says Epps. “Now, we showcase our offerings in a modern way that customers can connect with. Customers love the monitors and how they shout out things that before, customers didn’t know we had.”
Budiac says the Samsung displays are only the beginning of the brand’s digital transformation. Using MagicINFO Cloud’s features, Batteries Plus can delve deep into customer purchasing patterns and learn how to provide even more relevant products and services. After all, the ability to adapt and evolve to meet customers’ demands is in the company’s DNA, whether at the flagship location in Green Bay, Wisconsin, or inside Epps’s string of Florida stores.
“Part of the reason I wanted to own my own business was to be part of the community,” says Epps. “I’m proud of my business and the services we are able to provide. Our Samsung displays are helping us achieve that.”