In-store TVs, when used properly, can be powerful tools for marketing & sales

The next time a customer is in your store, why not invite them to watch television?

We’re not suggesting you mount a TV to binge-play Game of Thrones. Rather, televisions strategically installed throughout stores can play content that educates and interests people in products, increasing the odds that they buy. The key is to use this tech in a way that naturally compliments the store, rather than distracts or irritates customers.

Content and Education

Total Wine & More equipped a handful of stores with the technology several years ago. The response was positive, so the company began building televisions into new stores. Finally, they expanded the program to all 130 locations.

“It’s like a silent sales associate,” says John Jordan, SVP/CCO at Total Wine & More. “And it’s a jumping-off point. When our sales associates see a customer watching a video about a product, it’s a good way to engage them by talking about what’s on the screen.”

Total Wine & More leverages televisions in a number of ways. And employees are trained to use the technology to help drive sales.

Initial content highlighted in-store specials. TVs stationed at wine tastings elaborated on the terroir and vineyards that produced the products. Customers walking past would stop to watch, become interested, try the wine, and then possibly buy.

“It allows stores to deliver unique content,” says Ricardo Belmar, Director of Solutions and Product Marketing for Hughes Network Systems, which installed Total Wine & More’s TVs and media players, and helps manages the videos. “Otherwise, these stores would not have mechanisms to deliver this content and info.”

Total Wine & More also uses televisions in stores’ educational areas. These classroom-like settings host events and classes where customers can learn more about alcohol categories and products. Including educational video content was a natural fit.

Hughes Network Systems helped Total Wine & More develop its content, and stores videos on a cloud-based system. Total Wine & More can upload content, and digitally refresh it by region, state, or even globally. There are multiple paths for customer support, Belmar says, including a program manager assigned to each account.

The content is purposely shorter in length. Most customers will not stop and watch a full five-minute clip, Belmar says.

Instead, videos usually run between 30 seconds and two minutes, depending on how richly educational they are. And they play on loop. (Videos in the educational rooms are obviously longer, as customers there know they’ll be sitting and watching something deeply educational.)

The video loops can vary in length and frequency, depending on the time of day or different promotions the loop is supporting.

Next Tech

Total Wine & More recently launched a new web platform that allows the business to further integrate their videos. “We had had more videos in our stores than online,” Jordan laughs.

Now the two video-mediums, digital and physical, and can be in concert with their content. The same videos that play in stores are also available online. “It’s all about the omni-channel experience,” Jordan says. “They’re synergistic for each other.”

This makes sense in the Digital Age, when so much of our days involves looking at and working with screens.

To the latter, Total Wine & More is already experimenting with in-store touchscreens. Customers could chose which content they want to watch, or press a button onscreen that summons employees for help.

“We have so much rich content and we want to build that into an interactive experience,” Belmar says. “One example of this interface could be wine regions of the world. Customers could use the touchscreen to drill into sub-regions, specific varietals and producers.”

The interactive content would then direct customers to where these wine varietals and producers are located within the store.

The whole setup — videos, tastings, interactive learning, knowledgeable staff — should help fight competition from online retailers. It’s a more richly educational experience than buying something online based on user reviews or website-provided tasting notes.

“What I see in retailers now is a movement back towards putting a lot of time and effort into how the handle the customer,” Belmar says. “It used to be that you wanted a customer to come in and leave as quickly as possible. Now you have to do more to get that customer to make a purchase.”

He continues, “Now your assets are going to be knowledgeable staff. They’re the face of your brand, and the customer expectation is that those people can help them. And that’s what staff are really going to be able to do by correctly leveraging technology.”

***Article originally featured in Beverage Dynamics Magazine. Authored by Kyle Swartz.***

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