Asda planning more digital screen deployment in 2019

Asda is continuing to explore ways of using digital signage to strengthen the ties between its grocery and George clothing businesses, using the in-store technology to try and convert supermarket visitors into fashion shoppers.

Last year saw three Asda superstores – those at Bristol Patchway, Derby and Blackpool – introduce digital marketing screens for the first time, with the retailer using them to promote the George clothing brand, website and additional services.

Talking at RetailEXPO 2019 in London, on 2 May, the creative design manager for George at Asda revealed there is likely to be more of this technology to come at Asda in the second half of the year.

Stephanie Platts said: “This is our first step into digital in George.”

She added that by working with design and creative partners, which include Linney and Quantum 4, the retailer has got to a point where it knows what works and what doesn’t with digital signage, while continuing to speak to customers and colleagues to refine its techniques.

“We’re working through the finer detail but in the second half of this year we will be rolling this out to more stores,” she said.

So far, the installations at Asda George include what Linney describes as “the halo” construction, which takes advantage of the high ceilings in supermarkets by placing attention-grabbing screens above merchandise at the front of the store. This particular deployment focuses on new styles, latest trends, and current brand messaging, as well as promoting web exclusives, and click & collect options.

“When you walk into a supermarket foyer there’s always a lot going on,” noted Platts.

“It doesn’t take any space but it was very eye catching for our customers to support with driving conversion on to George.”

The George departments have also introduced high level video walls to raise brand awareness and talk about the brand’s special events.

All the content used on the digital screens came from existing Asda assets, Platts revealed. Working with Linney, which boasts a team of 2D and 3D designers and animators, as well as its own filming studios, existing George marketing material, adverts and photographs were morphed into digital-friendly assets.

Some of the techniques used by Linney included converting still photography into what resembles live video footage, through cinematographic processes that bring to life certain aspects of a static image when displayed on screens.

Dan Outram, Linney’s head of digital screens, who was on stage at RetailEXPO alongside Platts, explained: “We know customers shop with their peripheral vision through all the insights analysis we’ve done, so this subtle movement catches the eye and drives the awareness.

“We can apply the technique to the product itself, [for a gown or robe, for example] it looks like it’s moving.”

Content for the digital screens can be controlled centrally by the George and Linney teams, and Platts argued this has multiple benefits over printed POS marketing material that needs to be manually implemented and updated on a regular basis. Aside from these perceived operational gains, digital screens present further opportunities for the retailer going forward too.

Explaining her vision, Platts said: “Interactive screens and omnichannel are massive things for every retail businesses right now – how do you unlock mobile devices and link all of that together.

“We’re looking at directional sound and how that could be used in our stores, too.”

She added: “One thing we benefited from is the ability to talk on different platforms, and it’s given us the full flexibility to talk about .com and also drive customer footfall to .com.

“Social media is massively growing and we can start to use a lot of that content in our bricks and mortar stores."