Digital Signage at Kohl's

It's difficult to find a good example of digital signage in the retail world. Even in the most digital retail environments (like Best Buy, for example), they're not taking full advantage of the efficiencies that digital signage can bring. Oddly enough, I did find a decent example of at Kohl's. Now, by no means is this sexiest example out there. It is however, one of the best use cases. You see Kohl's tends to change their pricing often; and by often, I don't mean a couple of times a week ... they sometimes change their prices multiple times during the day with the offer of early bird pricing.

Digital signage makes the job of their sales staff much easier and much more accurate. By using digital signage, there's no need for the staff to go back and change pricing; as long as the display still contains the same merchandise, the pricing will update according to the pricing in their POS database.

Here's how it works: The sales staff scans the bar code on the display monitor and then scans one of the SKUs that live within the display unit. A look-up is then done on the Kohl's merchandising database that knows what merchandise is to be included in the display unit. All the corresponding prices then show for the entire display unit.

Scanable bar code on the display monitor.

Single SKU display monitor.

Multi-SKU display monitor.

With each price change in Kohl's POS system, the corresponding price is then dynamically updated across the display monitor. This ROI for digital signage was likely easy to build for Kohl's it must cost the retailer a ton of labor cost to update all the in-store signage within their stores.

Some of the downsides: Each display monitor is wireless ... someone has to keep up with all those batteries; the store must have a robust WiFi network in order to push all the pricing out to the signage on a regular basis; someone at the home office has to build an additional piece of signage for the digital monitors (in addition to the print signage that's produced for the non-digital stores) and maintain the merchandising database.

The system looks to be working really well. The only thing I'd like to see is better graphics behind the digital sign. I'm sure with time, we'll see these and more advanced versions of these types of signs more prevalent in the market. My hat's off to Kohl's to stepping out and trying something new.

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