SOLUTIONS DELIVER 4G LTE NETWORK CONNECTIVITY TO DIGITAL DISPLAY SCREENS LOCATED INSIDE MAJOR RETAIL LOCATIONS
The NFL Super Bowl comes but once a year and when it does, retailers have the perfect hook to hang their sales campaigns on. For Super Bowl XLVIII in New York City, major retail locations leveraged two innovative technologies to reach consumers and maximize sales. GridBox Media provided retailers with a digital screen platform that enabled them to create customer engagement programs inside stores. Cradlepoint provided the network connectivity and the management tools that made GridBox’s platform easy to install and manage during the big game.
GridBox Media is a cloud-based, enterprise-grade platform for supporting and controlling digital screen networks. The GridBox platform manages and verifies content delivery and constantly monitors screen health. Its retail solutions include product feature screens, navigation to additional products and information, product clarification, and even direct customer service from directly inside the retail store.
Digital signage is rapidly becoming a “must-have” retail marketing tool as consumers expect to be able to watch and interact with digital advertising in stores just as they can online. The signage now must not only show beautiful video content, but must also support omni-channel marketing, enabling consumers to access in-depth product information, reviews, product comparisons, and recommendations while strolling through the store.
Using the retail store’s connectivity to power the GridBox solution was not a scalable or secure option for both GridBox and Retailers’ IT Departments.
"Our goal,” says GridBox Media COO Duane Casey, “was to be able to bring in our whole network solution in such a way that these deployments could be done without having to engage with these retailers’ IT Department — without having to go through the hassle of asking if they could, say, open a firewall for us. By installing Cradlepoint devices with 4G LTE, we’re able to create our own networks without having to involve the IT departments at all.”
Once the network is up and running, GridBox can then begin to work its magic. The technology that was used in these stores for the Super Bowl campaign was truly stunning. Located throughout the stores were digital screens that look like mirrors, but mirrors that have Super Bowl-related advertisements running below the surface. The magic happened when a shopper approached the mirror with an item that contains a bar coded sales tag.
Let’s say a shopper walks up to a mirror to see how they look in a Seahawks hat. An IR reader embedded in the screen senses the person, who can then scan the label on the hat. The mirror instantly becomes a digital sign that displays the hat price. Then GridBox retrieves and displays images of products that might also interest the shopper, maybe Seahawk-themed sweatshirts or ear muffs. Shopper can still use the screen as a mirror, but as they do, they are getting these product suggestions that help drive store sales by attachment rates.
At the same time the GridBox solution is helping consumers choose the right Super Bowl memorabilia, it is also helping the retailer with key consumer metrics. GridBox technology keeps track of what items are being scanned and in which parts of the store. By being able to identify the hot products, the retailer is able to adapt their merchandising strategy to further increase sales. The key to GridBox’s ability to provide these services to retailers is its ability to manage its screens remotely using Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager, which enables GridBox to remotely deploy and dynamically manage numerous digital screen networks at geographically distributed store locations.
"We had 42 screens deployed in these retail locations. All of them were connected through Cradlepoint’s NetCloud Manager so that we can manage every screen from our Portland [Oregon] headquarters. From this central location we could also look at what items are being scanned — not just, say, the hats, but all of those other 'suggested' items too. We could see what part of the store is getting the most traffic, so we could help the marketing and product merchandisers decide what products should be displayed where.”
Central Device Management: Cradlepoint NetCloud Manager enables GridBox to monitor device status in real-time and set proactive alerts for optimized 4G LTE data, monitor data usage and device-level signal strength/quality over time, and update firmware with just a few clicks.
"Right off the bat, NetCloud Manager has been awesome. With Cradlepoint’s enhanced WAN analytics we can see how much data we’re using in real time and how much bandwidth is moving. This enabled us to create another up-sell to our customer where we could charge them for how much data they’re actually using.”
Access to Customer Data: Efficient operation of digital screen networks is just one side of the coin. The other side is capturing data that can help retailers maximize sales. The ability to acquire this data helps GridBox position itself not as just another vendor, but as a critical member of the team.
"We’re actually part of the merchandising group at these retailers, rounding them out and helping them increase their sales on the Super Bowl memorabilia stuff, creating that fan experience when they come into a store, suggesting items they might not have thought about. At the same time, we’re looking at the actual behavior of consumers once they come into the store. By being able to track what part of the store they are going to and what items they are scanning, we provide the merchandising team with insight into what the consumer is actually doing while they’re in the store.”
Right-Sized Capability and Complexity: While Cradlepoint devices provide the high-end, advanced capability of more expensive devices, they are optimally designed to be used by non-IT people such as retail store employees at the edge.
"The routers themselves have a small footprint, so it’s really an advantage when you’re trying to find a place to stick things. Whether you put the device at the cash wrap or in the ceiling, it’s just kind of small and out of the way. I really like that about the product.”
Small Footprint: In a retail environment where space is at a premium, GridBox likes the trim configuration of Cradlepoint devices.
“Cradlepoint’s client support has been phenomenal. The technical support is topnotch. Plus we feel like they’re making strides to develop new products that could present new opportunities to service our customers in more innovative ways. We have a strong working relationship with Cradlepoint, one that I’m sure will continue for many, many years.”
Future Proofing: GridBox Media is getting in on the ground floor of the move to digital retail engagement, but to ride the elevator all the way to the top, it needs a technology partner that has a firm understanding of wireless connectivity in general and 4G LTE networks in particular.
"We’ve followed Cradlepoint’s growth for a long time and feel confident that it has the brainpower to stay ahead of the market in terms of how best to provide connectivity as we enter this age of the Internet of All Things.”