Serving Digital-first Customers in Public

By Ziver Birg |

Today’s consumers are increasingly becoming “digital-first.” This is a direct result of three trends: the growth of mobile technology, the pervasiveness of social media, and the ever-expanding intelligence of the internet.

In 2014, Nielsen reported that the average consumer now owns four digital devices and a 2014 Bank of America survey found that smartphones fall below only the Internet and personal hygiene when ranked by importance to people’s daily lives. Consumers have become comfortable in a connected world and have grown to expect that everything can (and should) be customized to their personal preferences. They fluidly move between devices to send emails, post social updates, watch media, pay bills, and shop. They have even come to expect that brands will provide the same experience across every device and touch point during each of these interactions.

In response, brands must adapt to the new customer journey and determine the best way to engage with digitally empowered customers. Forrester Research predicted that by the end of 2017, 60 percent of all retail transactions will involve an online interaction at some point along the customer journey. In order to stay relevant, brands must continue to digitize all parts of the customer journey to deliver a seamless experiences across every touch point—especially in physical stores and venues.

Many brands have been investing.They continue to develop and improve robust e-commerce solutions to meet these changing consumer engagement preferences, but they have struggled to deliver the same customer-centric customization experience on-premises. According to Ernst & Young and Forbes, “While a majority of retailers believe that they provide a seamless experience across all channels, they are not always taking the last 1,000 feet into consideration. Shopping is not seamless if it has a breakpoint at the street level. Retailers needs to close the loop with the use of digital technologies.”

That’s where #PublicComputing comes in.

Public Computing is the natural evolution of the kiosk and digital signage industry and with kiosk-generated revenue expected to hit $4.4 billion by 2024, brands are adopting fast. Public computing solutions are typically made up of a set of technologies devoted to offering a controlled, relevant customer experience in a specific location to help visitors engage with the host brand or organization. From healthcare organizations to brick-and-mortar businesses, the ability to create a branded visitor encounter in a distraction-free space is fast becoming an essential component of customer engagement strategy.

When deployed in retail and other public spaces, kiosks and interactive digital signs create a life-sized digital interface to engage customers and provide the same immersive, personalized experience they have come to prefer. These devices deliver value for a number of use cases from providing information to wayfinding to converting sales transactions. Even further than solving for those specific consumer needs, they provide the opportunity to “close the loop” on the last 1,000 feet of the retail experience by engaging that consumer electronically at the point of sale.

For brands interested in consumer data to understand the preferences and behaviors info their fans, public computing solutions provide the opportunity to complete the picture of the customer journey by finally connecting the transaction back to marketing. With that end-to-end understanding these organizations will be empowered to confidently and effectively adjust engagement methods in support of desired behavior and actions.