Bring the Magic Back to Stores this Holiday Season with Projection Technology

Retailers have an opportunity to lure shoppers out of their homes and back into stores this year.
Retailers have an opportunity to lure shoppers out of their homes and back into stores this year.

During last year’s holiday season, retailers were forced to put restrictions in place for in-store customers, reduce marketing spending for their brick-and-mortar stores, and increase online commerce or curbside pickup capabilities. This year, we are expected to return to a holiday season similar to what we knew prior to the pandemic, one filled with family, food, events and celebrations, and lots of holiday shopping.

When retailers pushed their in-store marketing efforts to the back burner in 2020, malls, storefronts and window shopping became somewhat obsolete. This year, retailers have an opportunity to lure shoppers out of their homes and back into stores, reeling them in not only with the latest and greatest products, but also with the brightest and most engaging window and store displays to elevate their brand.

While online shopping may allow customers to make purchases from their home with the click of a button, this year, shoppers are craving in-person experiences and the ability to interact, which weren’t possible last year.

[Related: 2021 Holiday Retail Forecasts and Predictions]

With the right technology and displays this holiday season, indoor malls and businesses with a storefront on a busy street have an opportunity to grab the attention of passersby before a customer even steps foot inside the store. There are a number of digital signage options that enable retail stores to create immersive and engaging displays, but projection technology might just be the most efficient of them all.

For example, our new technology that utilizes a projector inside the store can project onto the storefront window to be seen from the street or inside the mall. If setting up a display inside a mall, we can easily control the lighting and maximize the brightness and clarity of the imagery being projected.

While we can’t control the natural light that hits the glass in an outdoor setting, we can control our technology and when and how it appears on the window. Projection can’t compete with sunlight, but the long winter nights during the holiday season can be an ideal time for storefronts to light up the night with ever-changing, bright, and vibrant imagery showcasing their products or brand messaging in action.

This sort of setup, where a projector is installed inside a store, but projects outward, can transform static, product-filled, store windows into a dynamic marketing tool. After the branding video or message is finished, the window can become clear again, providing a direct view into the store with the click of a button or a voice command to a smart device.

Rather than solely placing a fixed object in a store window, retailers might use this sort of technology in order to showcase a product in action via a digital moving picture or video, and then make the imagery disappear as the window reverts back into clear glass and the product is showcased in real life in front of the customer’s eyes.

With projection and other digital signage, such as large format displays, content manipulation is easy. Retailers can have new content ready to be deployed at any moment with the option to create content on the fly, have it queued up, or even rotating content from week to week depending on sales or inventory.

Another opportunity is using it to display content for a specific demographic, such as family-oriented products while a holiday parades marches down the street outside their windows or perhaps a Santa welcoming kids inside.

[Related: Retaining the New Consumer Through the Power of Technology]

Projection technology, which may not have traditionally been used in store windows, has made great strides due to its laser light source. On the contrary to projectors that utilize a lamp, laser projectors offer a more brilliant, clearer image that displays evenly across the screen or window, without any brightness fallout near the edges. Today’s laser projectors provide retailers the ability to run the projector for longer hours without the worry of cost or effort of maintenance that there once was.

This holiday season, retailers should feel empowered to bring their customer back into their stores with new digital signage solutions and technology that create vibrant and memorable experiences. Dynamic window and retail displays begin with clear content and messaging, and the use of projection technology can accomplish just that – all at an affordable price point.

Rich McPherson is senior product manager at Sharp NEC Display Solutions of America.

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