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Sharp Digital Displays, Helping the High Street Compete with Online

With the launch of the Sharp PN-M and PN-B range of Digital Displays, Birgit Jackson, Sharp commercial director for its Visual Solutions, looks at how Sharp is helping retailers enhance the shopping experience.

The death of the high street at the hands of the internet has been a prediction for many years. However, while it’s true that many ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses have suffered, it is not all doom and gloom.

The high street is increasingly being seen as a leisure destination, a place to experience things you can’t do when shopping online. It is moving away from competing with the internet, to working with it, offering customers a new way of shopping.

The stores that are making the most of this change are those that understand that the internet has limitations, for example, customers want to be able to touch and try items before purchasing, and offer experiences that mix the best of both the online and offline world.

Digital Signage on the High-Street

In order for shops to survive, they need to have a certain attraction to make them appealing, to make people want to walk into the shop, and enjoy the experience once they are in there. An integral part of this new shopping experience is digital signage in all its forms – from simple signage to interactive displays. People want to experience new things and technology can be employed to subtly make the shop more appealing.

When you look at the high street you see a wide range of digital installations. Each one has been designed to help the retailer achieve specific needs, from screens above the tills advertising products or offers, to multi-screen installations comprising screens in interesting and new ways, showing brand videos.

The Retail Equation

We at Sharp believe that digital signage is one important tactic that retailers can use within their store design to attract customers. There are lots of options, and retailers need to consider their overall objectives to be most effective.

Retailers need to look at the space and define where screens would work best – do they want to have an interactive screen at the entrance, so users can find something specific very quickly, or do they want to entice them in with an interesting display?

If the retailer has a strong online presence and wants to duplicate this in-store interactive digital displays can play a central role. For example, it is possible using our BIG PAD displays to create an online browsing experience that’s the same as on a laptop, tablet or smartphone touchscreen. It is about an instant shopping experience, combining the breadth of information available online in-store.

We are increasingly seeing that buying in-store is no longer essential. The store essentially acts as a user experience, allowing customers to touch and feel the products but then make their order online.

In this instance, the shop acts as a brand awareness and loyalty tool. To this end, it is important to get the user experience right, to make customers feel comfortable and make them want to spend more time there.

A variety of displays are needed, from interactive, to video walls ideally in an unusual configuration. That is why Sharp has developed a wide range of displays, each one offering the retailer unique ways to showcase products, and inform customers. Simple examples range from using tilted displays in store corners to create interest, to a ceiling, floor or shop section made entirely from displays to create a certain environment.

Our latest PN-M and PN-B displays are ideal for retail. They can be tilted up to 90 degrees, giving them greater installation flexibility and more freedom both in terms of the locations they can be installed in.

It’s not only the flexibility of installation that appeals with the PN-M series, as the display is also flexible in terms of content, that’s because it has SoC (System on Chip) integrated to make it a smart screen, able to easily handle content via specialised content management applications.

Digital Experiences 

Car showrooms are a great example of how digital displays can enhance the buying experience. While the showroom may carry the standard model, many of the extras, such as wheels, the finish and the interior trim options can be viewed digitally without the need for the actual car showroom to carry all examples.

Digital displays allow retailers to offer a wide range of products, without holding large amounts of stock instore. By offering customers images that are as close to reality as possible, and better than they can get on their own devices, such as with 4K displays, customers can experience goods and order them with ease.

This is what the retail industry is looking for, a digital experience that is very close to reality and as manufacturers our role is to work on delivering displays that offer installation flexibility, higher resolutions, and connectivity that offers greater possibilities. 

Inspiration and Trade Shows

Events and tradeshows are the ideal opportunity for retailers to gain the inspiration they need to keep their stores current, and to talk to manufacturers and solution providers about their needs. We are taking part in the upcoming Digital Signage Summit in Germany, visit us at Booth S-1, to discuss digital signage.

Retail is changing and while the high-street may no longer look or feel like something we once recognised, that is no bad thing. Technology is helping retail meet the needs of a new generation of customers, by delivering experiences and leisure opportunities we only once dreamt of.

If you would like to know more about how Sharp Digital Solutions can help your retail business, Get In Touch.  


European PR Manager