3 min read

Every year, the digital signage industry battles to incorporate new hardware and more affordable options for retailers big and small. Digital signage is one of the most effective ways to engage with prospective and long-standing customers. In fact, according to a recent survey by Boomtown, more than two-fifths (44%) of shoppers said that a positive experience with digital signage technology displayed in-store encouraged them to shop and visit the store more regularly.

Subsequently, 2019 looks like being another big year for digital signage. The industry is finding new ways of integrating ground-breaking hardware and technology to intrigue and delight shoppers in equal measure. With that in mind, what are the likely trends for retailers to watch out for to attract and excite consumers?

Artificial intelligence

Digital signage is going to prove a hugely effective platform for artificial intelligence (AI). The integration of AI within digital signs will help retailers gather real-time data about their customers. They’ll then be able to optimise the information and offers that shoppers see based on their customer profile and habits. Using integrated technologies within digital signage such as cameras and sensors, stores will be able to understand the digital signage content that most interests visitors to their shops.

Virtual assistants 

As a means of adding personality and colour to a brand, virtual assistants are going to be a hugely cost-effective form of digital signage for retailers in the months – and years – ahead. The ability to solve customers’ problems in real-time, whilst optimising employee workloads, could potentially revolutionise the shopping experience.

Virtual assistants will be able to help ‘gamify’ the shopping experience, making it fun and immersive; something which will be warmly welcomed by the millennial generation. Check out the voice assistant, Halo, developed by Beabloo to get a taste of things to come.

Automatic commerce

Arguably the most significant step for the digital signage industry to take in 2019 will be towards the concept of automatic commerce, known as a-commerce. This will prove most effective for stores when dealing with their loyal, regular customers. Stores can blend offline and online commercial worlds by using a-commerce to automate the purchase process for their customers.

With personalisation, stores are increasingly getting a good handle on the kind of products that regular shoppers are interested in. A-commerce allows consumers to be guided to these products in-store. The payment process can even automated, with no need to wait in line at the tills. It’s possible that a-commerce will eventually be able to predict a customer’s next purchase based on their long-term buying patterns.

Are you looking to innovate the digital signage industry this year?

Any research project your signage company undertakes must be directly linked to your trade – either an existing one or one you plan on setting up following the outcome of your project. To claim R&D relief with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), you must be able to explain the following about your project:

  • How you’ve sought an advance in technology or science
  • The ways in which you overcame an element of uncertainty
  • How the project could not be undertaken easily by a fellow professional

If you can prove this, you will be eligible for either of the following R&D tax reliefs, based on the size of your business:

  • SME R&D Relief

Available to companies with less than 500 employees and a turnover of less than €100m – or a balance sheet total of less than €86m. 130% of all qualifying costs of any R&D digital signage project can be deducted. If your business is loss-making, it is still possible to claim back up to 14.5% of any surrenderable loss.

  • Research and Development Expenditure Credit (RDEC)

Available to companies with more than 500 employees, RDEC equates to 11% tax relief for all qualifying expenditure. RDEC can also be claimed by subcontractors that are sourced to undertake an R&D project on behalf of a large company.

75% of Kene Partners’ clients were unaware R&D tax credits existed before working with us. We’ve helped dozens of innovative companies in the signage industry access thousands of pounds of Government money that’s been set aside to reward those prepared to invest time and effort in pushing the boundaries of their industry.