The retail industry made a tremendous comeback in 2022 after the COVID-19 pandemic, and brick-and-mortar retail stores are here to stay. It was also an innovative year for retail technology, including digital signage. CrownTV worked with several retail brands over the year to add its digital signage solution to their stores, and the results were telling. In this article, we’ll recap the cutting-edge ways CrownTV helped brands in 2022, and our predictions for the ways in which retail brands may use digital signage in 2023.
Displaying digital art
A non-fungible token, or NFT, is a unique digital asset that lives on a cryptocurrency blockchain and can be bought and sold. NFTs are often digital artwork, but can also be photography, music, videos, tweets, memes, or other easily reproducible digital files. In January 2022, CrownTV debuted its NFT app for displaying NFTs on digital signage.
One brand that took advantage of the NFT app was the French Cheese Board, which “always looks for novel ways to communicate about dairy products in a modern way,” according to Operations Manager Charles Duque, who is also Managing Director, Americas for the French Dairy Board. The business made a strategic decision to mint a series of digital pieces, including NFTs, for use on the metaverse and to display on digital signage. CrownTV screens and projectors were placed in the French Cheese Board’s event and gallery space in SoHo, New York City to display the work of collaborating artists. One screen is available for use with a special metaverse headset, which allows customers to view an NFT in a 360-degree experience. The NFTs are displayed in very high 4K definition, crucial for displaying digital art as it allows viewers to see every little detail.
CrownTV’s NFT app is a forward-thinking solution – and it’s only getting started.
Reinvigorating the in-store experience
Despite the pandemic leading to a slowdown in brick-and-mortar retail shopping for a couple of years, 2022 proved there’s still a need and desire for in-person shopping. Digital signage helped to re-enchant shoppers with the in-store experience, and CrownTV’s partnership with L’Occitane was a dazzling example.
L’Occitane en Provence, the French purveyor of body, face, and hair products, had a digital signage solution in its retail stores that wasn’t reflective of the brand’s signature high quality. Issues abounded, like videos not playing, and the IT team was swamped with tickets. When the digital signage wasn’t working, store managers would turn it off, and L’Occitane would miss opportunities to reap the benefits digital signage can offer. Fortunately, CrownTV stepped in and installed its solution in L’Occitane’s 150 stores across the US and Canada.
“We also like to add movement either in our windows or inside our boutiques,” said Thuy Lan Le Viet, Senior Director of Business Transformation and Retail Operations at L’OCCITANE Group. CrownTV added stunning video walls to many of the L’Occitane stores, some utilizing a 3×3 vertical setup and others using a 2×2 horizontal setup. Single screens, both vertical and horizontal, were also added. And on the CrownTV dashboard, various playlists contain content that is specific to the type of screen, the store, or even the location within the store. For instance: vertical or horizontal, video wall or single screen, window display or cash register area, regular store or outlet store, etc. The collaboration was a true testament to the level of variety, specificity and customization CrownTV can offer retail brands – and how digital signage can help customers fall in love with the in-store shopping experience all over again.
Brands are all about sustainability these days, and it’s one of the many benefits of digital signage that deserves more attention. Not only does digital signage allow brands to say more with less – as they can display multiple messages on a single screen, usually taking up less space than printed signage – but it allows them to ditch printed signage altogether. A digital signage solution, which does not require using paper products to print out signage and continuously swap them out when changes are needed, is a much more sustainable alternative to traditional signage.
In fact, when CrownTV worked with men’s clothing and golf apparel brand TravisMathew in 2022, when asked if digital signage helped the brand meet its objectives, Retail Marketing Coordinator Chance Burden said “the screens have helped with our objectives to be more innovative and sustainable.” That’s something we can all get behind – and should.
And in 2023…
More use of NFTs and digital signage
NFTs allow retailers to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical, and for that reason, we foresee a lot of brands leveraging NFTs on digital signage in 2023. In its most extreme form, this would mean more galleries like Superchief Gallery NFT, dedicated entirely to displaying digital art NFTs and selling the works of featured digital artists. In the more traditional retail sphere, we may see more brands creating NFT retail products and using digital signage to display and sell them in their stores. Additionally, some brands may simply display NFTs in their stores to add artistic flair in a modern, innovative way as an alternative to traditional artwork, and to promote digital artists. However retailers choose to use them, don’t let anyone tell you the NFT craze will be over in 2023.
Leveraging QR codes and OCR
Love them or hate them, QR codes have achieved staying power and proven themselves to be incredibly useful. The use of QR code menus throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, despite annoying many, reminded everyone that QR codes are the best solution for making almost anything “clickable” to a URL, and like NFTs, connecting the physical to the digital. It’s simple and easy to display QR codes on digital signage, and in 2023, we predict that retail brands will use the two technologies to lead in-store customers to digital destinations: the store’s website or app, a newsletter sign-up, exclusive in-store promotions, etc. The possibilities are as vast as the internet itself.
A similar technology that came into prominence in 2022 was optical character recognition, or OCR. Although OCR has been around since the 2000s, in 2022 it became easily accessible on native smartphone cameras, allowing a user to take a photo of something and copy/paste any text recognized in the photo. Retailers may begin to leverage OCR more widely in 2023 by displaying text on digital signage and prompting customers to scan the text with their smartphone, be it a promo code, URL, hashtag – or whatever creative uses brands come up with this year.
As more and more eyes are on businesses and their environmental impact, sustainability will only become more important and more of a priority in 2023. Digital signage screens use fewer paper products, take up less space, last longer and do not need to be replaced nearly as often as traditional printed signage. Not to mention, today’s screens are becoming increasingly affordable and energy-efficient, while at the same time being more technologically advanced than ever. The ability to control digital signage content and the screens themselves remotely, across thousands of stores all over the world, also means less of a need to send out personnel to manage the screens, lowering the carbon footprint of retail businesses. In 2023, we anticipate sustainability being a clear-cut objective of using digital signage, rather than simply a byproduct of it.
Find CrownTV at NRF 2023, Booth 517
Want to find out what’s really in store for retail technology this year? NRF 2023, also known as Retail’s Big Show, is happening January 15-17 at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York City. CrownTV will be in attendance at Booth 517 – stop by and say hello, and get a live demo of CrownTV’s digital signage solution. See how it can help your business in 2023 and other ways technology is transforming the retail industry, this year and beyond.
About CrownTV Digital Signage Software
CrownTV digital display software streamlines digital signage management, allowing your team to manage screens anywhere, anytime with smart content scheduling, live content previews and device monitoring. Our software takes the guesswork out of digital displays, giving businesses the ability to focus on what matters: delivering dynamic content that can’t be ignored while sharing consistent marketing messages.