November 2020 - HMY

Digital Transformation in Retail: 3 key aspects and applications

·         Digital transformation is not a goal, but a means to achieve omnichannel retailing in the point of sale. 
·         Corporate culture, understanding our customers and choosing a partner who knows how to guide us through the implementation of technologies in the Retail field are the key elements required for successful digitalisation.
·         Digital signage is just one of the possibilities of digitalisation in retailing. This tool, if used correctly, gives rise to new possibilities and dimensions to communicate with customers in our shop. 

The State of the Art in the digitalisation in retailing

Digitalisation does not consist in installing screens, even if they are connected to a computer and open a window to a browser within the brand/retailer e-commerce platform.

Adopting this approach is only scratching the surface, which often results in spaces full of screens with generic messages, without storytelling that conveys a global experience for customers or, in the worst-case scenario, switched off.

Is it mandatory to digitalise points of sale?

No, it is not mandatory. There are analogue ways that are perfectly valid, such as lightboxes. However, the problem is that only a few of those who want or need to digitalise their stores are aware of how they can digitalise their point of sale and, especially, how to measure the ROI of such technological integration at the point of sale. 

‘Retailers with extensive experience measure digitalisation based on their ROI (Return on Investment). Any investment made (which can scare those who are unaware of these solutions) must be measurable against objectives. These objectives are not only sales targets, but also conversions of products which are not available at the store, a service improvement (such as self-checkout machines), creating databases, etc.

Annja Mostrup, Sales and Marketing Manager at HMY.

The purpose: achieving omnichannel integration in retail

As everything in the Retail industry, digitalisation starts and ends with consumers

·         For the customer, the experience is more then ever an attraction and plays a part in the purchase decision.
·         Experience means interaction, content, information, and of course: technology Technology as a driver of integration,
·         An integration that leads to omnichannel retailing, which is a reality in consumers’ habits.

We must remember that consumers do not seek to interact with points of sale, but with brands. However, they want to interact with brands capable of turning the purchase into an integrated experience with multiple channels.

There are many tools we can use to achieve this purpose, such as digital signage, which is one of the multiple elements of digitalisation. Although this does not necessarily turn it into a way of omnichannel retailing. Omnichannel retailing does not consist in grouping elements or products, but in ensuring the convergence of experiences and services.

This brings to light the 3 main challenges of digitalisation:

1.- We must define the objectives and possibilities of our business 

In many cases (although fewer and fewer), not being aware of what can be achieved through a correct omnichannel integration in retail, the technologies required and how to outline and implement this strategy, makes some points of sale limited to this basic layer where visual communication is replaced by digital signage.

What are our business goals?
Which type of customer will use the different technologies available?
Which products and families are most suitable to start a pilot?

These and many other questions should be part of the analysis preceding the creation of the strategy, design and implementation of products and technologies.

2.- What is the real degree of digitisation of our consumers? Customers

By digitalising a point of sale, we can:

·         Optimise sale and back-office processes 
·         Obtain real-time data through Retail Analytics
·         And, of course, improve the customer experience. 

This improvement is based, among other factors, on consumers’ interaction with space and with the experiences proposed by the brand. 

No matter how advanced and developed an omnichannel integration strategy may be, it would achieve nothing if customers are not considered as the starting point. 

·         Are they used to technology at the point of sale? 
·         What do they expect from points of sale? 
·         How much effort does it take to interact with the sales space?

Designing an experience that consumers understand, making it accessible without effort or even having to think about it and correctly defining their Customer Journey, is the second step in preparing the digitalisation strategy or designing an omnichannel retailing consulting project.

3.- Who can develop a comprehensive project? The 360º shopfitting supplier

Omnichannel integration requires the support of an expert supplier, not only for the installation, adaptation of standard solutions, scalability, etc., but also to initially develop a retail consulting process needed to define the digitalisation strategy, experience and design of the point of sale.

We must not forget that no matter how important technology is, it is one more factor of the relationship with customers and the brand, but not the only one.

Therefore, it is critical to go beyond a solution installer. If possible, the technology partner should also be an expert in retail, so that they understand retail from all perspectives. The goal is to truly integrate omnichannel retailing into the brand experience, and not just to install technology at the points of sale.

Success cases

For your inspiration: 3 implementations of a correct omnichannel transformation we have carried out in recent years

Success case1: Forum Sport   

Success case2: Vodafone  

Success case 3: Adopt’

Do you have a digitalisation project for your points of sale? We are sure we can help you! Contact link.

Digital signage: the (not so new) way to connect with customers in retail

Main points:


  • What is digital signage and what do you need to implement it successfully, ensuring the maximisation of your ROI.
  • How to outline a digital signage strategy for your points of sale and avoid switched off screens, additional workloads for your store staff or a bad investment.

Digital signage is a content, technology and integration at the point of sale system that allows us to interact with consumers. This definition includes the three elements we must take into account for our investment to be effective and have a positive return.

As we mentioned in our article on the evolution of visual communication towards digital signage, the following key aspects must be taken into account in the projects consisting in the integration of visual communication strategies at the point of sale:

  1.  The ultimate goal is to build a relationship with customers, not to create confusion due to excessive promotion or information. 
  2. The displays we install in our stores will only attract consumers if they positively add to their experience at the point of sale.
  3.  You do not modernize your point of sale just by placing LCD or LED displays. Without a professional strategy behind that defines goals in terms of business and customer experience, the ROI of our digital signage will only be signage. 


What do you need to implement digital signage in your points of sale?

Digital signage is one of the most consolidated aspects of digital transformation in retail. Integrating digital signage in your points of sale requires:

1. Strategy and content

  • Understanding how to merge in-store customer experience with your business goals. 
  • Drawing’ the traffic map for the sales area, the hot spots, the spaces where customers stay longest, where will a display add value and how can this be used in the general strategy of your business
  • Having the capacity to enter valuable content into our system. 

Obviously, placing a display on the shop window helps to attract customers inside, but what about once they get inside the store? As we said, ‘making it look more modern’ is OK, but this is something basic, especially when digital signage could not only ‘modernise’ our environment, but also become a means of communication with direct and remote control.

2. Content management platform

A display with a USB input cannot be considered as digital signage. In most cases where the retailer believes that a USB with 2 or 3 videos is ‘enough’, these displays end up switched off, becoming black boxes in the middle of the store, thus not getting value from the money invested.

Priority should be given to providing the system with ‘autonomy’. This means integrating a content management platform that allows uploading and programming videos, images or dynamic promotions remotely and in just a few clicks, avoiding dependence on store staff, whose main duties are not to remember to ‘turn on and connect USBs’.

If you have more than one point of sale or multiple displays, you will need to have centralised control over the same online platform, to manage offers and messages based on sections and centres.

Platform screenshots

 3. Let’s talk about displays


Displays purchased from a consumer electronics store for private use are unlikely to be switched on all day without suffering a breakdown after a few months, mainly because not all displays are ready for this type of use. 

In a professional digital signage environment, we find a range of displays and technologies that involve a higher initial cost, but offer a higher return over time, since they do not breakdown as a result of their daily use. 

How to choose a digital poster, digital technology and digital signage

The most common variables we must consider are:

  • LED or LCD

The two most established technologies. LED is the most common option if more brightness or large format signage is required. 

LCD allows for greater definition and realism at a lower cost and distance.

  • Brightness and glare

Regardless of whether you use LED or LCD displays, the second aspect thanks to which professional displays stand out, besides the technology of the panel itself, is that they offer MUCH more brightness than private displays. This aspect should be taken into account, not only when thinking about their use outdoors but because the higher the brightness and the better the response to glare (from interior lighting, for instance), the easier it will be to see the content.

  • Touch screens?

This decision will obviously depend on the content available, but if we want users to interact with the point of sale, touch screens will be the best option. We will need guaranteed lifespans and facilitated integrations.

  • Time of continuous use

‘Commercial’ or professional displays must guarantee a minimum of 12 hours of continuous use with no risk of breakdown. 24 hours of continuous use is also a standard.

  • Low power consumption

With sustainability at the point of sale and retail and energy efficiency as a hallmark, there are more and more options for commercial displays that consume less energy than those for private use.

One of the best digital signage integration success stories we have developed at HMY is that of Clapés. Check this link to find out more about it.

 Can digital signage be an option to increase revenue at your points of sale? 

We are sure we can help you! Contact link.

Lightboxes: Why is an analogue format succeeding in Retail in the digital age?

  • What is a lightbox and what is it for?
  • Faced with the challenge of attracting customers, lightboxes are one of the most profitable communication formats. Why?
  • 4 uses or strategies where lightboxes shine with their light due to their effectiveness. 

What is a lightbox?

Lightboxes are one of the visual communication formats that have taken over retail in all sectors thanks to their impact-cost ratio: they are a type of device that allows a printed PET (PET is a type of polyethene) canvas or panel to be backlit with LEDs.

 The aim is to ensure that the signage or signboards create a space of high visual impact and appeal that also gives rise to endless creative possibilities.

      They are technically made up of: 

  • An aluminium framework. 
  • A network of light points (usually LED) with different shapes and in different quantities depending on their size, the type of canvas and printing.
  • The canvas or polyethene panel which, together with the printing quality, determines the quality perceived. 


What are lightboxes used for and where are they used?

Lightboxes, as any other visual communication element, are used to interact with consumers. However, as they emit light, they can be used in a wider range of areas that go beyond a simple eye-catching printed banner, like neon or LED signs to stand out from those that are not illuminated.

 Our expert in lightboxes recommends:

 “If the lightbox is more illuminated than its environment and it is printed with a high resolution, it will seem even more real than the environment itself, since it will be easier to better appreciate its textures, the hair, the brightness, etc. This will always help to give more credibility to the message. The larger and brighter the lightbox, within reasonable limits, the better. Also, their price is very reasonable, so the ROI will be very high. Consumers will see them without trying because they will be attracted by the light.”

Germán Marín. Head of electrical and lighting systems at HMY.

As lightboxes stand out above the environment where they are placed, they are used in points of sale:

At shop windows

Their brightness, from 800 to 2,000 Cd/m2, easily counteracts the effect of the glare of the sun in the shop window, making our store stand out in the middle of the day. Moreover, they are a great advertising claim at night. They are a very subtle way of attracting those who were not originally interested. 


To stand out from competitors in a multi-brand environment

This is the case of stands, pop-up stores or shop-in-shops. These environments are especially saturated with impacts, options, elements, products, etc. The light emitted by the lightbox helps the point of sale to catch consumers’ attention over the rest of the visual stimuli. 

As ambient lighting

The amount of light each of the led points emits, twice as much as a domestic light bulb, distributed along the printed surface, can be used as a background for an exhibition or to decorate the ceiling.

For example, a lightbox where a sky with clouds is printed to create a sense of natural light coming from the ceiling. Thus, the message, which can be of nature or a feeling of fresh air, for instance in an organic food area, or introducing a summer collection, is much more direct thanks to the image. This message reaches consumers in a non-explicit way and can be more credible as they get to the conclusion by themselves, through signals.

To delimit sections within our point of sale

They are very useful when we have multiple sections with a distribution that does not vary visually.

For example, a multi-brand sports shop: some lightboxes can be used as a title for each section and replace or complement the classic signs. Lightboxes are very useful for customers: as they catch their attention immediately, customers will know how to move throughout the exhibition area. 


Do lightboxes replace digital screens?

Light or led lightboxes do not replace screens. They fulfil different purposes, needs, operations and budgets.

 When does HMY recommend using this type of elements instead of a digital screen?

  • The content does not need to be (or cannot be) dynamic.
  • The printing quality and design are more important than dynamic content.
  • There is a need for high-format and low-cost communication.
  • Decoration elements are not intended to saturate consumers with messages.

Are you thinking of renewing the visual communication of your retail spaces? Let’s talk! Contact link.

How has visual communication in retail evolved? From photography to digitalisation

  • How we should understand signage and how printing, backlighting and digital signage are related to each other.
  • When should we choose one format over another, and what we can achieve with each one.


In the beginning, there was a sign…

This is not the beginning of a drawn-out story. Rather, we want to focus on the most important thing about this article: the purpose of audiovisual communication.

 The answer is that visual communication is what guides customers through a space such as a store. And unlike what multiple examples might lead us to believe, it is not just about advertising promotions and discounts. Visual communication is an important part of the relationship with customers in retail.

 The need to establish relationships with customers in-store has guided the evolution of visual communication both in terms of materials and platforms. This has led us to the digital signage and commercial LED screens that we can see at sales points but, do “old” formats have a place in modern retail or do they need to be updated?

 The iconographic sign

 The relationship between businesses and customers did not start with text signs. Literacy was not the norm in the early days of commerce. So, how would a smithy advertise their presence, for example? By hanging a horseshoe at the entrance to the business, and a big one if possible so that it could be seen from afar.

 This explains the evolution of visual communication and the path that it has followed ever since: creating images that will catch the eye of customers.


From materials to the use of illuminated signs

Intending to increase the level of spectacle, visual communication became more and more elaborate. The higher the quality of materials and technique (ornamentation, engraving, wood, metal, mechanical constructions, etc.), the greater the prestige of the business. Its purpose? To attract customers with the promise of novelty and quality.

These decisions have shaped the design of visual communication today. There are great specialists and entire departments dedicated to merchandising for retail, the different formats that are used to catch the attention of consumers, selecting materials according to the message that people want to communicate, etc.

“At HMY, the Consultancy and Design department works on these variables, in collaboration with Estudios Durero, helping and guiding clients design visual communication, select materials, and produce and install them”.

Ángel Manrique, Visual Communication Manager at HMY.

 The limits of how spectacular a sign, advertisement, or image can be are limited by whether it is intended to be static, and how dependent it is on external light.

 LED signage and lightboxes

 Attempts to push the envelope started with adding light. This led to the birth of signs with LED lights or neon lights to increase visibility, as well as the widely known lightboxes. 

These formats make images or signs more eye-catching, emitting more light to draw customer’s attention regardless of ambient light. 

 Two basic concepts which are important to know to understand how and when to use these formats:

  • In shop windows, to balance the daylight or in cities where legislation limits the installation of street-facing screens.
  • In interiors to indicate different sections (guiding consumers) and delimit specific areas or points.


Digital signage, why, when, and how?

Digital signage was born of the need for a level of spectacle that visual communication (lightboxes included) could not meet: moving images, changing environments, action.

But does dynamism mean it is always “better”?

 Even though this article explains the key points for correct digital signage in retail strategy, it is important to understand when and how to integrate digital signage at sales points to make it a profitable investment. 

 This objective can be used to create a checklist:

  1. How often will the content change? Creating audiovisual content is more expensive than still images (even though there are ways to make it cheaper).
  2. Is VIDEO content updated regularly enough so that it is not out of date?
  3. Is there a content management system for commercial screens, or can it be updated with a USB storage device managed by employees?
  4. Where do we want to install it? Will it detract from other sections or products in its surrounding or would it go unnoticed because there are too many other competing visual elements nearby?
  5. And most important of all: what value does it add for the consumer? Because as we already explained, digital signage at the sales point is not about constant bombardment of offers, but about establishing a relationship with the consumer.

 Are you working on the digitalisation of your sales spaces? We can help you! Contact link