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Digital Screens Transforming Physical Stores in France

60% of stores have installed digital screens

January 9, 2017 | Retail & Ecommerce

Digital technology, in the form of ecommerce, has already revolutionized consumer buying habits in France. eMarketer estimates that 59.5% of residents ages 14 and older will make at least one digital purchase in 2017. But tech is also transforming brick-and-mortar retail operations.

Benefits of Installing Digital Devices* In-Store According to Retailers in France, Nov 2016

Research by Samsung Electronics France and LSA, found that 60% of 301 physical retailers surveyed in France in November 2016 said they already used display screens in-store for various purposes, and a further 15% planned to do so. More than half (53%) of large retailers and 36% of smaller stores offered touch screen displays or interactive kiosks, and 36% had equipped in-store staff with connected tablets to improve customer service.

Despite these impressive numbers, most retailers felt they were just beginning the digital journey. Only 4% said they had reached “digital maturity,” while 43% thought that their understanding and implementation of digital options was weak or very weak.

Most retailers had several reasons for installing digital devices. Chief among these, cited by 54%, was the desire to make a store more attractive and generate more footfall. Some 42% wanted to put a bit of “magic” back into the customer experience. One-third aimed to collect data from customers’ interaction with screens, and a similar share (30%) planned to provide customized offers based on that data.

Among retailers using digital devices at the point of sale, benefits were also clear. For smaller shops—those under 1,000 square meters—an improved brand image was the top result, mentioned by 44%. In addition, 34% had seen better customer engagement and retention, and 30% reported more efficient promotions and flash sales. Nearly one in five saw larger average basket sizes, too.

In bigger stores, the benefits of digital installations at the point of sale were more widespread. Two-thirds of larger retailers reported more efficient promotions and flash sales. Six in 10 saw both higher average basket sizes and higher in-store traffic, and more than half found customers more engaged and loyal.

Lack of financial resources and the inability to see a direct impact on return on investment (ROI) were the main obstacles to implementing digital in-store screens, according to Samsung and LSA. While funding is likely to remain an issue, the positive outcomes documented in this study may soon overcome concerns about ROI.

—Karin von Abrams

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