Digital Visual Merchandising  – Q & A with John Liberatore

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Digital Visual Merchandising

It’s no surprise to see how digital technology is moving quickly, especially in the area of  window displays.

Digital signage in Toronto, New York, and throughout Asia are quickly embracing digital signage as a widely accepted medium.

Digital Visual Merchandising on a Store Front

What’s even more exciting is the evolution of this medium.

Higher and brighter resolution screens lends itself to new opportunities using this technology.

One of these new applications is digital visual merchandising for storefront windows.

Digital displays are truly bringing window dressing into the new era.

To gain further insights on this new technology, I conducted a Q & A with John Liberatore, President and Owner of MyMedia Inc.

John’s been working with digital media for over a decade, and uses the latest technology for all his digital display solutions across Canada and the US.

Q – What’s new and exciting with MyMedia these days?

A – Right now, I’d have to say it’s our focus on Rear Projection Film and High Bright LCD Displays Solutions that can be placed right on the window.

One of the biggest opportunities that I see in merchandising and advertising are with storefront windows.

Today, they’re just being under-utilized.

In the past, retailers were dressing their windows to lure customers to come in and shop, which was time-consuming and costly.

What exactly did you have to do to get the attention of passersby to come inside your store?

There might be too many things and with window dressing, it was going to be a hit and miss situation.

Alternatively, if you’re offering micro promotions, then you’re offering truly limited promotions that only last a few hours.

The retail industry thrives on scarcity, and savvy shoppers love the opportunity of getting a great deal.

Q – What exactly is a “Rear Projection Film Solution?” It sounds pretty complicated.

A – In fact, I have a video that explains the whole process.  It’s pretty simple but you can make it more complex if you want.

It starts with a special type of film that you stick onto your storefront window, and then a projector, hanging from a ceiling, pushes an image onto that film.

As people walk by your window, they’re going to see moving images and video, which will then get them interested enough to walk inside and find products that they want to buy.

I want to point out here that the film that you use can be cut into whatever shape or size that you want – you can really get creative

Q – Can you make it interactive?

A – Absolutely!  This is what makes this kind of technology so exciting – there are always ways to make it bigger and better.

All you need is a special kind of foil to go on top of the film and now you’ve turned your window display into a touch screen.

Digital Visual Merchandising is a big bonus for industries like Real Estate, where consumers can touch the display like they do an iPad, and get additional details on the house listings they’re interested in.

Q – How do High Bright displays work for Digital Visual Merchandising and how do they differ?

A – For starters, they’re much brighter than your usual display.

Typical displays are usually 250 to 300 nits but these window displays are 2500 nits and over.

When you look at it, they’re much brighter than the standard poster and more compelling than a backlit sign because it’s animated.

If the storefront merchandiser is looking for a more traditional and framed area and prefers to have everything under one box, as opposed to having a projector hanging from ceiling as required with rear projection film, High Bright display will be a more appropriate solution.

There are benefits to both.

Digital advertising or window displays can have movement, so that it catches your eye.

Digital Visual Merchandising is also a lot more creative and fun.

You can super-impose images onto static forms that keep changing, for example, to highlight different clothing options available in various colours, or even different condiments on your hamburger.

You can also have a sales promotion everyday if you want, instead of weekly or monthly.

If you sell out of your product, you can take that sign down immediately just by the click of a mouse, and promote something else.

You’re going to go through a lot of Scotch tape if you have to do that every day with a static poster!

Q – So if I’m a retailer, thinking about using these Digital Window Display Solutions, what do you think one of the key benefits will be?

A – Without a doubt, it’s going to be about getting that foot traffic to go through your door.

To do that, you want to give as much information as possible, with as much innovation as you possibly can.

Let’s face it, window space is limited nowadays, and nobody wants to stand in front of a poster, squinting their eyes to read tiny text just to get all the details on their favourite products.

Realtors in particular are faced with the challenge of keeping their customers up-to-date with hot listings, which come up very quickly.

For all retailers, it gives you more of an area to feature things that may not be possible with static signs.

An innovative retailer once said “Keep changing it up.”  He was very good at what he did and by using this philosophy, left a legacy that enabled his company to grow to 11,545 stores and clubs in 28 countries.

I’m talking about Sam Walton, founder of Wal-Mart.

Q – What about potential issues that may arise – what are they and what can you do about them?

A – Sunlight in the past was a problem and on a bright day for digital visual merchandising where screens are not very visible.

But there have been huge improvements with screens that output over 25000 nits of brightness, which is the minimum of what you need to make it worthwhile.

We experienced this in the past with a retailer in North Toronto but we managed to find just the right equipment that they needed to solve this problem.

I cannot stress how important it is to use the right projector and display.

We learned this through years of experience in researching various products in our lab.

Unless you find the right screen and projector that is bright enough to be seen on a sunny day, then your images won’t be seen properly and people will just keep walking by.

It’s a missed opportunity.

Q – So it sounds like Digital Visual Merchandising Solutions are the way of the future.  Any last thoughts you’d like to share?

A – For all retailers out there who are looking for a competitive edge, I suggest you look at your storefront windows as free real estate to advertise, as well as an opportunity for growth.

This is your space to communicate something really special, like a painter uses a blank canvass for his next masterpiece.

The technology is already here, so why not use it and make your storefront window display really stand out?

The rewards are as limitless with digital visual merchandising, as your imagination.

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