Millennials Forcing Change in Retail Digital Technology


Imagine walking into any leading retail store, quick-service restaurant (QSR) or banking institution and not being directed, informed or entertained via digital signage? It is a positive reflection of the industry that the days of being communicated with via poster boards and scrolling text displays are quickly becoming a distant memory.

“As we celebrate 20 years of being in this business, it is clear to see that the digital signage industry has changed drastically in the last two decades. It has moved from posters and scrolling displays to digital displays; and it’s worth noting that South Africa’s retailers were at the forefront of change. They were eager to try new technologies and push the boundaries of digital signage in the early days,” says Chris Day, Managing Director of Moving Tactics, South Africa’s leading digital signage solutions company.

In the last five years, the industry has continued to evolve; with momentum pushing industry leaders from installers of LCD screens to digital signage strategists. “Today’s digital communication is weaving together print, mobile and social media to create a unique digital in-store experience that enhances the brand and brings about engagement.”

Rise of Millennials

With the rise of millennials – digital natives – who understand and have an affinity with technology, they want to be associated with brands that talk to and interact with them. According to a 2015 Global Trends Survey, there are 92 million millennials in the US alone and they’re hitting their spending power now; with spend expected to total 30% of sales in the US by 2020. “With figures like this and a similar pattern of millennials in Africa shaping the future of the mobile and digital economy, 50-60% of retail brands are increasing their digital signage spend and the industry is expected to grow by more than 30% annually,” explains Day.

This demand for technology also applies to the restaurant business where diners want a side of tech with their orders. A 2016 National Restaurant Survey found that among 18-34 year olds, 41% felt that technology was an important factor when choosing a restaurant/QSR; and one in four factors technology when deciding where to eat. “Millennials increasingly rely on smartphone apps, tablets and other technology options to make orders faster, easier and more accurate. They want a vibe with technology giving them the option to self-order, make quick requests, access wifi – a seamless experience.”
The South African digital signage industry is on a par with international competitors when it comes to technology and uptake across all sectors.

Personalised In-Store Experience

Digital signage, when used most effectively, has the ability to create a tailored in-store experience for customers. Because millennials seek out content digitally, information must be shared quickly to the exact place where they’ll be looking; with dynamic digital signage systems updating messaging quickly and targeting it effectively.

Millennials also have huge purchasing influence as they’re socially connected and having larger and more powerful networks than other generations. Using the power of social sharing via your digital signage systems creates an opportunity for your customers to influence their network and promote your brand/products.

“Demand is driving the growth of digital signage on the continent and despite the challenges of e-commerce, brick-and-mortar retail is strong and provides an excellent opportunity for retailers and marketers to engage and build relationships with their consumers. Where better to connect with and influence your customer in the best possible way than directly on the shop floor,” adds Day.

Moving Tactics is a leading South African digital signage solutions company that develops customised digital signage technologies and is constantly creating innovative communication solutions.