How Dixons Travel uses digital signage to engage airport shoppers

 In Digital Signage, Retail

Customers shopping at airports have a very different shopper journey to regular in-store and online consumers. Travelling through an airport terminal you have both holidaymakers and business travellers, those who have a very short window before their flight departs as well as those on delayed flights with time to waste.

It’s this distinct difference in shopping behaviour which makes Dixons Travel a separate entity of the Dixons Carphone group – “it’s own little bubble”, as Dixons Travel MD, Heidi Woodhouse describes it, with control over operations and marketing.

Thanks to this sovereignty, Dixons Travel has been keen to try the latest digital solutions in its 31 stores (one of which is on a cruise ship). A re-fitting programme is underway, with Terminal 3 in Heathrow being the first to get technology makeover.

Tech includes smart signage connected to shelf sensors – so if a customer picks up a camera, the screen will instantly relay specifications about that particular make and model. The retailer is also about to trial electronic shelf labelling (ESL) later this year to help it deliver on its price promise policy in real-time rather than changing labels once a day.

Meanwhile, store colleagues all wear Fitbit activity trackers which are also linked to digital signage throughout the store showing how many steps they have taken. And due to the increased popularity of smart home products, Dixons Travel has worked with airports to increase its Wi-Fi bandwidth so colleagues can demonstrate how to adjust Philips Hue lighting from their phones and use voice devices such as Google Home.

“When you’re in there it feels like an Aladdin’s cave,” Woodhouse tells Essential Retail.

Digital signage is a key tool for engaging customers who are walking through the terminal, but Woodhouse says the retailer is not using the technology as a replacement for store colleagues when the shop gets busy at peak periods. Instead, Dixons Travel is able to predict footfall peaks using a tool it has built in-house, which identifies the time flights are departing the terminal.

“This tells us what flights are coming in and when and how many colleagues we need to have on the shop floor, so we will always have enough colleagues.”

While this system has been used for planning peak shifts over the past couple of years, it has only been since the re-fit and the introduction of large-scale digital signage where Dixons Travel has been able to really leverage the data it has at its fingertips.

“We’re also utilising new digital screens we are putting into our new stores which send specific messages to consumers, because we know exactly who is buying what, at what time,” describes Woodhouse

“We know that on the American flight out of T3 at 10am on a Tuesday most people like to buy Apple products, so we will send messages about our price promise and the latest products during that hour window. And we’ll change it an hour later to imaging because we know that’s when people are going to Kenya on safari and might be wanting to buy cameras.”

Woodhouse says this messaging helps customers get excited about products or confirms their decision on a big-ticket purchase they might have been considering.

She describes how Dixons Travel has a very premium customer, with business travellers passing through the terminal up to 11 times a year.

“We have a lot of credit card data, boarding passes, which flights are going out and who is buying what and we put all of that information together to work out what products these people will like. What we’re trying to do is get a really tailored experience for our customers.”

The solution is being rolled out to all Dixon Travel stores as part of the re-fit programme, with the retailer’s flagship at Heathrow’s T5 terminal to be upgraded in September.

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