Smart Signage: the future of retail?

When it comes to shopping, retailers and consumers have different priorities. For consumers it’s about the digital, mobile experience, with 79% of smartphone owners using their devices to shop. Retailers, on the other hand, need a solution that drives ROI – and for that they need to find a way to attract and engage their consumers.

This is particularly relevant for merchants with physical stores who are competing against online shops. What will make the visit different and exciting enough to compete with the comfort and ease of shopping from home? Traditionally vouchers and promotions have been a great way to drive trade and increase footfall – and it is likely that digital coupons will also play an increasing role in online interaction with connected consumers at the physical store.

From digital display to smart signage

Improving the digital retail experience is something my team and I have been working on recently with ourPromoWall solution. Focusing our efforts on mobility and digital signage – or dynamic digital displays – we discovered that if you want to achieve a true transaction with customers, simply displaying information on a big screen is not enough. You need to transfer the control to the consumer and move beyond pure digital signage to interactive, smart signage, allowing the connected consumers to interact with their mobile devices as well.

There are three core elements when it comes to smart signage:

  • An interactive screen to display information or offers, getting input from digital sources
  • A campaign manager who helps stores create coupons or display elements and publishes them in real-time
  • A mobile device to capture and redeem coupons, either via a branded mobile app, or QR reader

It’s about the interaction through touch and gesture, allowing consumers to scroll through unique and relevant offers and browse shops in their local area. This smart interaction enables customers to scan, collect and redeem their coupons using their mobile device.

PromoWall in action

Earlier this year we saw two pilots of our PromoWall in Barcelona. The first took place in Barcelona airport, which drew a lot of interest and activity. An airport is the perfect place for smart signage thanks to the wide range of stores and potential offers, and high volume of customer traffic. This kind of solution would also work well on commercial high streets or shopping centres by offering a new channel for retailers and helping them to drive traffic to the point of sale and enhance customer experience and engagement.


The hotel industry is already making steps to prepare for the digital revolution and the second PromoWall pilot took place in Eurostars BCN Design Hotel in Barcelona.

Here, an interactive display in the lobby was used to show guests available experiences and promotions from the hotel, the city or different partners.

Future trends to personalize content

More exciting still are the opportunities that smart signage holds for the future, such as audience identification to display personalized offers. For example, it could identify a female in her 20s and target her with offers like luxury beauty products, 2-4-1 cocktails or 20% off at a local restaurant. Facial recognition tech is already being tested out, with an advertising agency in London trialling adverts that change depending on the emotions of the person looking at them.

Personalized experiences can also be enhanced via a Bluetooth beacon, which can recognize individual mobile devices signed up to an associated app and display bespoke offers based on location. Through wearables and other connected devices there is a huge opportunity for businesses to capitalize on this and learn more about their customers – though it’s important to remember that customers will need to opt in to this type of marketing.

Finally, you could even use smart signage to create a real-time, live promotion whereby consumers can interact with a live stream of somebody talking about the product or offer.

Retailers that adopt these smart technologies will reap the benefits in this connected age, attracting and retaining a new wave of consumers.