How Retailers Can Increase Consumer Engagement

Time to Read: 3 min
25 March 2021

Retailers are increasingly investing in digital technology to enhance the consumer experience in stores. However, to maximize the ROI on that investment, it is essential to ensure that consumers actually engage with those in-store devices. We have been working with leading brands around the world, including fashion, grocery, and home decor, and have identified three important factors that increase consumer engagement.


Context and location are one of the single biggest factors in determining whether consumers will engage with digital devices. The usage data gathered by the ITAB Cloud platform from installations we’ve done in stores all over the world shows that just 20% of devices account for over 80% of consumer engagements.

However, there isn’t a simple formula for determining the best placement for a device. You can’t, for example, simply say that devices near the entrance of a store will get more usage than those at the back. It depends on what the device is intended to achieve.

For each individual device, you need to consider its specific purpose. Are you trying to entice shoppers into the store? Do you want to promote specific items or deals? To allow consumers to find product information or locate items within the store? Or is this a way for them to make or complete a purchase?

Once you have defined the purpose of the device, you can determine where the consumer is most likely to be at that time – and that’s where you want to place the device. Just changing the location of a device can double the engagement.

Placing interactive devices in windows can be remarkably effective, as we found with our Customer Remotes. They engage passersby and can entice them into the store. In addition to providing promotional material, they can be used for real-time queue management and occupancy control, and can also allow consumers to make purchases or check-in for curbside pickups without having to enter the premises.


Idle Screens

Consumers often don’t realize that they can interact with a digital device. If the default content being shown on the idle screen is just a loop of images or video content, they’ll assume it’s just a normal display. They’ll walk right by it.

To get a consumer’s attention, you need to tell them explicitly what the device can do, and what they have to do to make it work. In one major retailer in Australia, we changed the idle screen on a digital Wayfinder from displaying standard marketing material to a layout like this. As a result, we doubled the number of people who engaged with it.

To make these devices even more effective, we added a camera that detects when someone is near the screen. When a consumer comes close to the device, the colors invert, so it goes from white text on a black background to black on white. It’s a simple trick, but it catches people’s eye and gets them to engage with the device.

Surprise and Delight

Lastly, make every device fun to use. The user experience is all-important. Shoppers don’t want to feel like they’re interacting with a desktop PC or a mobile app. You need to give them something they can’t get at home – and better still, something they didn’t expect.

Consider things like voice-based interaction, or allow them to download content from the device onto their mobile phone so that you can continue engaging with them after they leave the screen. Be innovative and creative, get your customers excited, bring a smile to their faces, and get them talking about you!