Jeff Hastings, CEO, BrightSign:
Despite the rise in online sales and digital downloading, bricks and mortar stores will remain vital in 2016 and well beyond. They offer personalised customer interaction and education in a way that it is impossible to create online. Any retailer still trying to communicate competitive leadership using only print in 2016 (and there are some) is hanging an operational millstone around its own neck.
Digital makes stores significantly more compelling as a destination and engaging for the customer. At the entry level it can be quite inexpensive. Digital signage players and HD screens are robust, reliable, and infinitely more flexible as they can be changed and updated for years.
At the top end, 4K players and screens fully match print resolution, allowing even high end fashion retailers to present their luxury products on screen upholding the highest standard of the brand. 2016 will see the emergence of HDR (High Dynamic Range) playback, widening the gamut of on screen colors and further narrowing the gap between print and screen.
In 2016, more and more retailers will go the next step and introduce interactivity. HTML5 is opening up near-limitless possibilities for visitor engagement. It offers smart phone style touch interactivity, including the ability to tap, swipe, pinch and zoom. Retailers will also begin experimenting with BTLE, NFC, audience measurement technology, and more.
I don’t believe that fixed signage will ever go away, but almost everywhere digital is being used alongside it. It is a strategic business tool for retailers and an opportunity to serve their customers better.