Technology giant, Intel Corporation, will be addressing some of the most important issues facing bricks and mortar retailers at Retail Digital Signage Expo 2017, where the group will be sponsoring the RDSE Conference and presenting a number of workshops with retail clients.

Intel global visual retail director Jose Avalos, from Intel’s Internet of Things Group, says there are key challenges and opportunities stores must face if they are to compete on a level playing field with online brands. The ultimate purpose is to improve the customer experience, making it easier and more enjoyable to shop in-store.

"What we are seeing in bricks and mortar retail is that there is a lot less traffic in stores, but the intent to purchase is much higher. So that creates opportunities and challenges," says Avalos. "And when a consumer goes to the store and finds the product they want to purchase, they actually spend another 40%."

Modern consumers – especially millennials – are also keen to actively engage with brands, to help shape products and services that suit them, says Avalos. These and other trends make it essential for retailers to communicate with their customers more effectively, he says: "One of the most effective ways of doing that is through technology. Collecting the data and putting it into business intelligence, and using that intelligence to deliver a more intelligent and engaging experience to the consumer."

There are two key issues that retailers should address at RDSE 2017, says Avalos.

Allowing digital signage networks to offer a viable alternative to traditional advertising is at the heart of the first. "It’s still very difficult for brands to buy advertising on a digital network," says Avalos. "In the US, if you want to send a message and you want to use television, you [have to] spend a lot of money, but you buy a Superbowl ad and then everybody can see it. But if you want to buy a campaign over digital signage networks you have to make 50 different phone calls. You have all these fragmented networks. If we can solve this issue… then we would see a lot more dollars flowing into digital signage."

The second issue is one that has always been a stumbling block for new advertising media: measurement. "They [advertisers] don’t want to be broad any more. They want to be really targeted with the people they… send their messages to," says Avalos, adding that, with the latest in-store technology, retailers are in a prime position to prove just how effective digital signage is at delivering messages and driving sales.

However, he cautions that data alone is not the solution to any problems. "Five years ago everybody was talking about big data. When you speak to retailers some of them say ‘I’ve had big data since 1965. I’ve been storing all the POS transactions for the last 40 or 50 years… The challenge is how do I take that data now and turn it into business intelligence,’" says Avalos.

Sharing and using data gives the information a far greater value. "The bricks and mortar guys don’t really know you. The biggest challenge with bricks and mortar today is that they haven’t really integrated technology well… if you are coming into a store to engage with a digital sign – why isn’t that digital sign sharing that intelligence on you with the POS? Or with another digital device in the store?" asks Avalos.

The latest connected and intelligent devices could be the key to unlocking those challenges.

Intel will be exhibiting on stand A52 at Retail Digital Signage Expo 2017 and sponsoring the RDSE Conference