THE STORE IS THE MESSAGE

The methods employed today in reaching consumers in-store are nearly as varied as the products and services being promoted. In-store video monitors, interactive kiosks and tying Internet opportunities to in-store systems are just a few of the new methods being employed by retailers to reach consumers. In the new store environment, all the space within the store, from floor to ceiling, works hard to

The methods employed today in reaching consumers in-store are nearly as varied as the products and services being promoted. In-store video monitors, interactive kiosks and tying Internet opportunities to in-store systems are just a few of the new methods being employed by retailers to reach consumers. In the new store environment, all the space within the store, from floor to ceiling, works hard to reach consumers and spur greater impulse sales.

In-store signage: This method can range from product-identifying tags and specially priced items to floor graphics. Signs are being updated and stylized with Web-based information, in-store printing capabilities and new systems. Most industry observers agree, however, that electronic shelf tags remain too costly for most operators.

Shopping-cart ads: The days of the simple placard may give way to technological advancements. One device in testing, attached to the cart, receives and displays messages send from wireless units mounted in the shelves. As a customer comes to a specific area in the store, a display on the cart is activated and presents a message.

In-store audio and video: Considered a nuisance by some consumers, successful systems nevertheless have been put in place by retailers such as Sears and Wal-Mart. Entire walls of television sets display targeted messages or offer customers the ability to sample music and home video products. Digital systems give retailers the ability to change or adjust messages by unit location.

Point of sale: Targeting communications at checkout based on purchase behavior allows retailers to cater to individual customers. Many POS programs are tied in with frequent-shopper programs, but others simply respond to the current shopping cartload of selections.

Kiosks and interactive terminals: Some kiosks today are linked to the POS while others are freestanding. Most tie in to retailer's frequent-shopper card. The Internet is being used to pre-order items, with fulfillment occurring at the in-store terminal.