Christmas is undoubtedly one of the most celebrated yet equally stressful times of the year. And this year it will also be the most connected holiday shopping season ever.

As we know, consumers are more connected than ever before and their expectations are constantly rising. They most likely know more about your product than you do. However, it has been proven that consumers are no longer seeking the lowest price in-store. Instead, they expect an engaging experience that empowers them, allowing them to drive their own in-store experience.

Retailers, you have the opportunity to provide just that, plus stand out in the busy Christmas crowd, with digital signage. In fact, according to Edison Research, digital signage will be a strong influencer on consumer purchases this year: "When respondents were asked about place-based ads, approximately 9 out of 10 people said that they notice the illuminated and digital signage throughout the mall during the holiday season. These consumers are 40 percent more likely than the average holiday shopper to be influenced by the ads they see."

Below are three ways you can accomplish this, no matter what level of technology you currently have in-store:

  • 1. For those who have basic digital signage — good content is key.

The old adage is still true, content is king. If you have poor content on your digital signage (e.g., wrong orientation, stretched, static, etc.) then you might as well have posters.

Good content means:

Moving images and/or video - A vital aspect to good digital signage content, movement catches people's attention, enhances excitement and can drive urgency to buy your products. Having digital signage with static content is like owning a Ferrari and only driving it down to the local shops. There's no point in even having it if you're not going to use it properly.

Relevant content - Consumers don't want to see the same content on your digital signage that has been there all year, let alone a repeat of what you featured around Christmas 2014. Updating your content and keeping it relevant to the 2015 Christmas holiday season promises to enhance engagement with your brand. This doesn't mean you should have Christmas-themed content on your displays, just because. The content still needs to align with your brand and the look and feel of your décor. The great thing about digital signage is that it can take your static or physical displays and bring them to life via animated content.

Seamless presentation - If you have more than one screen, whether that be in the form of a video wall, collage wall or single screens throughout your store — each display should be talking to one another. Don't just stretch your image across the four displays that make up your video wall. Don't just play the same content on each individual screen throughout your store. Instead, work in some Christmas-themed content that can jump from one screen to another. For example, imagine Santa's sleigh flying from screen to screen, or Christmas elves taking consumers on a journey throughout your store.

  • 2. For those who have interactive digital solutions — focus on the interactivity.

With more than 31 million connected mobile devices in Australia, the habit to touch and swipe comes intuitively to most. Interactivity is key to engaging consumers, while making their experience as seamless as possible, and there are many ways you can do so.

Interactive Christmas cards are a great way to engage consumers with your brand in-store. Using your touchscreen display, consumers can create their own Christmas card with a personalized message via augmented reality technology. This is a great way to engage consumers of all ages, while driving foot traffic in-store.

Alternatively, your touchscreen display can provide consumers with the inspiration they desire, by allowing them to search for Christmas gifts via age, gender or even hobbies of the person they are buying for. While browsing, product suggestions can pop up to provide further inspiration for consumers and more opportunities for you to upsell.

  • 3. If you have digital signage with add-ons (e.g., a camera, Kinect, etc.) — take advantage of video analytics.

Video analytics are advanced analytics on consumer demographics and movement, allowing you to display targeted messages on your in-store displays.

Using specialized cameras and software, you can obtain valuable information to better target consumers, improve product placement and display, forecast your merchandising and control your inventory. This advanced technology includes solutions for people counting, audience profiling, crowd density and heat mapping, human traffic flow, audience attention, intrusion detection, perimeter defense and loitering detection.

In layman's terms: You can display targeted messages personalized to whoever is standing in front of your digital display at one time. Imagine the possibilities for upselling with this advanced technology.

If you have digital signage in-store, be sure you're using it to your advantage over the upcoming holiday season. With good content, interactivity and targeted messaging, you'll be sure to engage consumers, stand out from the crowd and drive sales.

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