Reflections on the Retail Technology Show
Calorie Labeling to Community Enabling
Blog written by Darren Cremins
This week in the UK the Calorie Labeling (Out of Home Sector) Regulations come into force, meaning that many hospitality businesses in England, including restaurants, QSRs, cafes, pubs and supermarkets, will need to display the calories present in their meals and food-to-go options. UK hospitality and retail have experienced a lot of changes recently, even without the pandemic. Natasha’s Law has seen brands be a lot more proactive and transparent on allergy identification and allergen labeling while, come October, High Fat Salt and Sugar (HFSS) food promotions are set to be restricted in UK stores. This leaves grocers looking at how they can be more creative on the shelf ends that used to feature promotions for confectionary or meal deals.
For me, these changes in labeling and legislation really highlight what an essential tool digital signage can be for brands. With digital signage, labeling requirements can be more easily incorporated and amended by retailers with minimum waste and drain on staff time. With digital signage, retailers also have the opportunity to go a step further. Digital menu boards can be configured, as well as updated in real time, to show only items free of certain allergens or those meals that are below (or possibly above) a certain calorie count, depending on the preference of the user. For those retailers looking at how best to manage gondola ends that previously displayed sweets or crisps, digital offers a wealth of opportunities, including assisted selling opportunities for a bit of retail theater, or interactive large format or tablets that give shoppers the opportunity to build a personalized and economical shopping list. With digital, grocery can also transform the lucrative end of aisle space into income by offering digital brand takeovers from third party promotional partners, or offer the space to local community groups or national charities as part of their CSR commitments. The best bit is that with digital, all of these activities can take place at the same time, with screens cycling between campaigns as often as required.
But digital signage doesn’t just offer brands the flexibility to more easily stay on the right side of legislation. Used well, digitals signs can convey the story of a brand. I was impressed by the recent work of BBH and Tesco who used a large digital billboard for a Ramadan campaign that showed empty serving plates during daytime which transformed into full dishes after the sun went down. Creative executions such as this show the strength of digital in being able to offer an experience that, if not impossible if provided by static signage, would certainly be a lot of hassle and incredibly expensive.
Even on a much smaller scale, digital can do a lot for a brand and how they represent themselves, create inclusive spaces and communicate their point of difference. With digital, brands can communicate to customers in a variety of languages and take into account the preferences of their customers, showing products and promotions accordingly. Small touches like this elevate a customer interaction and make that retail experience remarkable in the best way. We know from research that 76% of customers get frustrated when retailers fail to personalize their services (McKinsey, November 2021) and that 95% of us that enjoy a very good customer experience are very likely to purchase more (Qualtrics, 2020). They don’t call it the experience economy for nothing, and at Scala we are here to help businesses make the most of the opportunities to connect with customers, as well as ensure they can adhere to changes in legislation as easily as possible.
To find out more about how Scala solutions have helped brands of all types, take a look at our case studies. You can gain first hand experience of our technology this month at The Retail Technology Show taking place at London Olympia 26-27 April. You can book a tour of our booth, featuring some of the concepts described in this blog, here.
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