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Delivering the unexpected can be a successful marketing strategy when executed well. But the art of surprising consumers goes beyond traditional creative methods like standard digital signage and video. Sometimes the winning twist can be a clever way to achieve them.
In the entire retail landscape, the largest block of unused marketing real estate is right under your feet. Wovenmedia, a San Francisco-based digital signage company, in partnership with projection specialists Sharp/NEC, is now bringing dynamic marketing and messaging to retail environments with laser floor projection systems.
“Part of the strategy behind floor graphics is trying to use retail space that isn’t currently or hasn’t been used in the past to engage shoppers in a new way from an advertising standpoint,” said Drew Walls, a strategic account manager at Wovenmedia , which specializes in big-box retail. Large retailers are now using floor space for promotional purposes as consumers return to their aisles in large numbers.
Impact on the in-store experience
“As we went through the pandemic, the first thing that really suffered from a retail perspective was the in-store experience,” Walls explained. “It has completely changed the way people shop. As we look forward to bringing people back into a retail environment and continuing their customer journey within a retail environment, I think there’s a desire to re-evaluate how engaging them and how that in-store experience can be enriched.”
A clear benefit of floor projection over other in-store marketing methods is that it disrupts the retail shopping experience and diverts shoppers’ attention. “When you’re pushing your cart, you can’t really help but stop and pay attention,” Walls said. “I think it’s also a case study of how we can effectively disrupt this journey. They try to get them used to seeing information and receiving advertising in a new way.”
Today’s consumers are used to looking for display monitors to find useful information in public environments such as: B. an arrival and departure schedule at an airport or an electronic menu board in a delicatessen. These limitations are not a problem with floor projection.
“What you will typically see as an electronic display is a large format flat panel display with your typical 16:9 aspect ratio – the familiar rectangle you see,” said John Moezzi, national account manager at Sharp/NEC. “We can do all sorts of things with this technology. We don’t have to project a rectangle onto the floor.”
Through projection mapping techniques, static images or dynamic videos projected onto the floor appear in their own shapes and sizes, essentially removing the negative space from the visual assets. In a retail environment, the result could be a specific branded sales message for that particular location, or a general branded commercial.
“By using the content creatively, you can do all sorts of things that look totally out of the ordinary,” Moezzi said. “Let’s say you’re using a black background – if you shoot black on the ground, nothing will show up. So if you imagine having a video with bubbles running across the screen, all you see on the floor is bubbles. You can be very creative with the content with this projection mapping, which is completely different than what you could do with a large format display, your typical flat panel.”
Moezzi credits the advent of widespread laser projection with enabling floor projection in retail. Although the concept of floor projection using incandescent bulb projectors had proven itself, he said scaling to multiple locations – 300 stores to date in the case of a large retailer – required the serviceability of laser projectors.
“The laser light source never needs to be changed, unlike a lamp that you have to change after so many hours,” explains Moezzi. “It is also very important that the optics block is sealed. With lamp based technology you would have a filter that would need to be cleaned after so many hours to prevent dust from causing problems viewing the images. Given that there is no lamp to replace or filter to clean, these laser projectors are essentially maintenance free.”
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This level of hands-free operation is critical to performing a successful floor projection installation, Moezzi said. Because the projectors are mounted on ceiling beams high above the retail floor, a motorized elevator is required to reach them for maintenance (or replacement in the case of laser projectors). Breaking the shopping spree to regularly service overhead projectors isn’t high on retailers’ wish lists.
“We had to think through every possible scenario to try to mitigate every risk,” Moezzi said. “They want to do whatever it takes to troubleshoot any issues remotely and proactively take the necessary action to prevent issues from occurring in the first place.”
read the room
Environmental challenges can dictate where to place the ground projection, narrowing the field of possible locations. Installed overhead lighting, as well as ambient sources such as skylights, can create problems for the designers and installers behind ground projection installations.
“Technically, physical location is pretty important when you’re trying to run these projectors, simply because you have lighting considerations in different retail environments,” Walls said. “Each store will have different lighting conditions. There will only be adjustments you need to make such as: B. the brightness [and] Finding the best mix for maximum visibility in an environment that may already have ambient light.”
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Floor projection assets can be uploaded, planned and implemented on-site at the retail store or at a corporate headquarters – in this case using WovenManager CMS with Projector Control Application in conjunction with NEC NP-P605UL laser projectors.
“Where are we going to place these as these are high traffic items that are the most profitable [and whose] Ads are most relevant?” asked Walls. “I think looking ahead, location will really be a driving factor for adding more projectors or specifically how these will serve more of a wayfinding and human purpose. And that depends entirely on the strategy from a retail perspective.”
Wayfinding could be a natural use of floor projection once marketers have established it as an information source. Currently, however, retailers are mainly using the technology to increase product sales in their stores.
“Retailers have been interested in this type of application for a long time, but the technology just wasn’t there,” Moezzi said. “This is an example of the technology filling a need that retailers already had, so they’re very receptive to the idea of trying an application like this.”