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The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Specialty stores, nationwide

The Waiting Game

The Buzz: Installation Spotlight: Specialty stores, nationwide

Jun 1, 2008 12:00 PM,
Staff Report

The Waiting Game

LG Electronics and Ripple TV are deploying thousands of digital screens in specialty stores across the country, including The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.

In today’s competitive retail climate, specialty stores such as The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Tully’s Coffee, Borders, Robeks, and Jack in the Box were seeking new and innovative ways to position their stores to better serve their customers. Primed for change, these retailers focused specifically on enhancing their customers’ entertainment experience, lowering perceived wait time, fostering a connection to the community, and providing an additional avenue for in-store and community business promotions.

A solution was found in the partnership between LG Electronics, a leader in the digital-signage industry, and Ripple TV, a company that has built a nationwide network of screens in specialty retail locations, featuring informative and entertaining content. Working together, LG Electronics and Ripple TV are deploying thousands of digital screens across the country. Ranging in size from 32in. to 42in., the LG LCD HD monitors selected for this venture (M3201C-BA, M3701C-BA, and M4210C-BA) featured Ripple’s realtime feeds of rich, localized content.

Prior to installation, Ripple studied each individual retailer to determine how LG’s digital-signage displays and Ripple’s content would enhance the consumer experience, reduce the perceived estimated wait time, ensure customers’ return, and improve the interior of each venue. In addition, LG provided Ripple with a sales engineering support team to craft an optimal offering.

To accomplish all of these objectives, LG and Ripple set out to match screen size, aesthetics, and technology with the right premium content. The LG models’ modern, slim black-finish bezels, high contrast ratio of 1600:1, wide 178-degree horizontal and vertical viewing angles, and colorful picture quality offer a superior viewing experience, which immediately enhances the overall feel of the venues in which they are placed. Products are seamlessly integrated in each space via a host of applications and Ripple’s content is geo-targeted to each region with up-to-the minute weather and traffic reports.

“Advanced digital-signage technologies provide a great solution for those in the specialty retail and quick-serve industries looking to improve the overall customer experience,” says Ron Snaidauf, vice president, commercial products, LG Electronics USA. “A recent market study showed that beverage sales increased by 30 percent and food sales by 18 percent in stores with digital signage. Digital-signage applications and corresponding content tend to entertain customers longer and in a more engaging way.”

Placement of monitors is critical, and integrators must take the retailer’s environment into strict consideration. At Tully’s Coffee and The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, displays are placed in seating and dining areas as well as within built-in bookshelves and other custom cabinetry in order to minimize disruption to the customer experience. Customers at establishments such as Jack in the Box and Robeks receive content as they wait in line to check out at the registers.

“Adding Ripple TV to our store has enhanced the environment in a really dynamic way. Our customers are more satisfied and feel like the wait time is shorter,” says Greg Joumas, vice president, marketing for Jack in the Box. “Plus, we’re able to better connect with the community by showcasing such relevant, localized content. It’s a win-win all around, and we’re very pleased with this partnership.”

In addition to providing the monitors, LG also contributed engineering and sales support — a crucial element to the overall success of the project. Ripple uses various devices to distribute AV signals from one media player to multiple LG monitors over long distances within some retail spaces. Ripple addresses these logistical factors by leveraging LG’s built-in RS-232C controls to manage the system without having to dispatch a technician to the site.

“Our partnership with LG has allowed retailers to better connect with the communities around them using dynamic localized content on leading-edge displays,” says Alex Nocifera, founder and president sales and distribution, Ripple Networks. “Even better, customers are more likely to return to watch the content to get updates on weather, traffic, and events in their area.”

For those considering similar venue-improvement projects, here’s what you should keep in mind:

  • Budget. The ROI for a large installation can pay dividends when you consider the ad revenue that Ripple’s content can bring in.
  • Location. Figure out where and when your customers experience down time during their visit, and work from there to find the best placement for your displays.
  • Screen size. Make sure your screen sizes are attention-grabbing, not attention-stealing.
  • Display content. What do you want your customers to remember? What’s important to them?
  • Display technology. How do you want the content to appear? What do you need the content to do?
  • Integration. Work with integrators who are aware of the constraints of your venue and the appropriate technological needs.

These national specialty retail and quick-serve venues, such as Jack in the Box and Borders, successfully used the unique, cost-effective programming and digital displays to connect better with the surrounding community and avoid the stigmatism of a chain. With LG’s sophisticated digital-signage displays and Ripple’s unique realtime streaming content, each venue successfully updated the overall look and feel of their retail space. With combined solutions such as these, patrons were not only treated to relevant community content and national news, but their overall retail experience was enhanced.

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