Shopping has undoubtedly changed in the digital age — and it’s continuing to evolve. With the widespread shift to online shopping, customers have myriad purchasing options that were unavailable a few years ago, like mobile ordering, contactless checkout and buy online, pickup in store (BOPIS). Retailers are getting used to thinking outside the box when it comes to connecting with their customers.

As they anticipate consumer behavior and prepare for the future, retailers are moving away from a reactive approach to a proactive one: not “How do we get customers back?” but “How do we create a shopping experience that’s both smarter and safer?”

Digital solutions allow retailers to present information to customers in new, engaging ways, bringing the power of e-commerce and omnichannel branding into brick-and-mortar stores. At the National Retail Federation (NRF) conference in January 2022, Samsung showcased the latest technology innovations that let retailers futureproof their business for years to come.

Data, AI and sensors personalize the customer experience

There’s no better way to understand consumer trends than to collect and analyze real-time data. In retail, first-party consumer data is the holy grail of brand marketing. With this valuable information, retailers can accurately identify customer preferences and create personalized in-store messaging, similar to the customized messaging and offers they employ online.

Another innovative source of real-time data, heat mapping technology such as FastSensor, lets retailers see how customers move throughout the store — without collecting any personal information about individual people. These sensors document where shoppers linger, and for how long, so retailers can adjust the store layout and promotional displays more effectively. Stores may also add digital signage to attract shoppers to less busy areas of the store, leading to increased sales and improved traffic flow.

The future of retail is digital

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Retailers can also leverage real-time data to create spot offers, delivered with on-shelf digital signage. If a customer lingers in front of a particular product, the display might share a message about a $150 discount. And when the customer walks away from the display, the promotion disappears, so it isn’t automatically shown to the next shopper who’s just passing by. Harnessing the power of social media, on-shelf digital signage can also display image-driven posts with curated user testimonials.

Kiosks and QR codes streamline operations

Today, most people want to be able to shop on their own. These independent shopping experiences should be unique as well as satisfying.

Consider QR codes: The technology wasn’t ubiquitous until 2020, but they provide a simple and effective way to make shopping more immersive and operations more efficient. In home improvement stores, for example, QR codes can show shoppers all of the necessary materials they need for their DIY project, consolidated onto one digital page alongside the location of each of those items. People can shop more efficiently and avoid return trips, dramatically increasing customer satisfaction.

As for managing returns, self-service kiosks allow customers to complete the process themselves, rather than wait in line for a cashier. They simply scan the barcode at the kiosk, drop the item in the return bin and take their return receipt. These same kiosks also help free retail associates to focus on more pressing tasks.

EV charging stations attract in-person customers

As electric vehicles (EVs) continue to gain momentum, store-adjacent charging stations can ease drivers’ anxiety about their car battery. And equipped with state-of-the-art outdoor digital signage, these charging stations are another opportunity to engage with passersby, providing information about promotional sales and limited-time offers (LTOs). To offset the cost of installation, retailers can opt to sell ad space to partner brands. These displays can also be integrated with a retail loyalty app to notify customers when their car is fully charged and ready to roll.

Preparing for what’s ahead

It’s impossible to deny that retailers are still struggling to adapt to all the changes of the past two years, but there’s a silver lining: On the other side of this digital metamorphosis are opportunities to better engage with people, make their lives easier and create more enjoyable shopping experiences. Digital signage offers endless possibilites to communicate with customers in the moment. The stores of the future will be truly immersive, offering customers information and opportunities that are specifically relevant to them.

Discover the full range of Samsung’s retail display solutions, each designed for cost-effective impact and versatility. And get your free guide to growing your retail business by adopting future-proof, e-commerce technology.

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Chris Mertens

Chris Mertens is Vice President of Samsung’s U.S. End User Sales, B2B Displays, and has been with the company since 2013. His team is charged with enabling solutions for partners across industries that will maximize impact for their customers with Samsung's Professional Display and Memory products. Chris has more than 20 years senior leadership experience in the technology space across industries.

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