The Digital Divide

Time for a reality check.


Searching and buying on-line can be cheaper, provide more information and offer greater variety. It does, however, tend to be slower for consumers taking possession of the product, service or apps, and can be disappointing – reflected in the 300% differential in product returns, compared to those bought in-store.


Above all, many consumers perceive and report the on-line shopping experience to be hollow – devoid of emotion and fun.


Purchases made in bricks ‘n mortar premises are typically faster and more emotionally fulfilling.


However, the line between the two categories is becoming blurred.


The fastest-growing component of on-line sales is “click and collect”, in which the transaction is undertaken on-line and the consumer chooses to collect the product in-store.


Thus, convenience and price advantage meet positive, emotional shopping ambience and experience.


The in-store buying scenario is increasingly involving use of a smart phone for price-checks, brand preference selection and scanning available offers. Information is power.


Modern, contemporary consumers are connected, informed, discerning, price-aware and demanding.




Consumer traffic, sales and satisfaction can be leveraged and optimised with the astute use of digital marketing initiatives.


Video walls, with dynamic changing graphics are replacing posters. As a result, there tend to be less signage and clutter, fewer displayed products and greater focus, impact, energy and a sense of urgency – all reflected in greater productivity.


Interactivity introduces a new dimension of the visual merchandising. Touch-screens enable intending buyers to find more information, to correlate and integrate differing products, colours and concepts and to customise those to best fit and suit house designs, personal needs and preferences.




A palpable consequence of professionally applied in-store digital marketing initiatives is up-beat attitudes, behaviour and movement of both customers and staff members.


The positive emotions are infectious.


They stand in stark contrast to ambience of neighbouring stores which retain “tired” dated and dog-eared posters, and point-of-purchase signage.


Real-time updates, high definition content and the integration of omni-channel displays resonate, often subconsciously, with consumers.


Encouragingly, use is not limited to telecommunications retail premises, to electronics, fashion, furniture or flooring outlets. It is equally effective in enhancing the ambience, store traffic, sales and customer satisfaction in coffee lounges, medical practices and motor vehicle sales centres.




Static displays are passé. Therefore, upgrading to digital marketing requires a budget, allocation of resources to constantly update and change presentations and the retention of people who are skilled and committed to the concepts the outcomes and benefits.


This is the new face of modern retail entertainment. Much of the customers' experience is centred on and determined by the ambience, settings and contexts.


Illuminated signs brighten up premises, product displays, and above all, customers.


These can be literally alive – with movement, colour and action. That mosaic attracts attention, consumers and results in sales.


The digital divide is palpable on several dimensions. Static displays tend to be associated with static sales and performance levels.




Location, established consumer traffic flows, natural ambience, lighting and quality premises, products, services, apps and people remain important.


The essence of great digital signage is creative content, interactive options supported by an appropriate, liberal budget and a recognition and tolerance by senior management. It is often difficult to quantify and monitor the actual financial returns on investment. Dividends from investments in digital marketing transcend multiple disciplines including, branding, image, competitiveness, relevance, attractiveness and overall appeal – in short, intermediate and long-term returns.


It's enough to brighten up your day .....- and that of your existing and prospective customers and clients.





Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus is an internationally recognised and respected conference keynote speaker, consumer behaviour analyst and marketing strategist.


Barry Urquhart

Marketing Strategist and Analyst

Marketing Focus

M:   041 983 5555