Shoppers on the high street “really are being penalised” proclaims an article that appeared on Daily Mail Online last week. The report is something of a shopper survey revealing the discrepancies that exist between the prices of items in many high street stores and the prices on those stores’ ecommerce sites. The journalist visits a variety of high street brands and notes the aligned pricing in some stores or, if there is a discrepancy, highlights those stores that adjust the prices at the point of sale.

In one instance, when confronted with the price difference, the store associate is unable to offer the discount at the tills, instead suggesting that the customer buys the item online and requests for it to be delivered to the store for click and collect the next day — hardly a convenient customer experience. The article mentions the many reasons for why the difference in prices might exist but the overall message of the article is clear: price discrepancies between online and in store are at best frustrating for customers and at worst, a serious threat to the future of the high street.

I agree. Feeling like you’re being treated unfairly is a sure fire way to erode any sense of brand loyalty that you may have. From working with retailers, we know that the in-store experience is essential to brands with shoppers keen to be back in retail premises and retailers keen to invest in their in-store offering. I believe that the most successful brands are those that offer a truly omnichannel experience — with the online and in-store interactions working in a complementary way to give their customers the convenience they demand and a consistent brand experience. Reliable pricing is a key component of that.

When we worked with Argos on updating their premises, ensuring competitive and consistent pricing across all branches and channels was a key goal. With our integration partner, Pixel Inspiration, we created a system so that all of the digital signage displays within the Argos stores worked with the brand’s API. The integration meant that digital signage could be updated from a central location ensuring that Argos could remain competitive and communicate promotions clearly (and consistently) to their customers.

Shelf-edge displays are another key tool open to retailers to ensure consistent pricing and clear customer communication. As pointed out in the Mail Online article, it is great that so many of the brick and mortar retailers were willing and able to offer price matching with the prices listed online, but the incorrect prices being listed in store can often dissuade customers from picking an item off the rack or potentially even entering the shop at all. Digital signage displays, including larger-format screens in the storefront and smaller scale shelf-edge displays using a robust Saas and linked to a centralised POS, can communicate price changes and special offers. Promotions running on outdoor digital signage and digital window displays can entice customers into the store while smaller-format signage can inform shoppers of reduced prices as they browse the aisles. Being digital, the in-store digital signage can display a wealth of information and can be equipped to act as a portal for customers to be shown reviews, product information or other complementary items via their own phone. The single shelf-edge displays can also be deployed to run altogether to create a store-wide promotional opportunity and, being digital, the ways in which these signs can be used can be switched in an instant with minimal wastage (of staff time or materials).

If brands feel that attracting customers back into their stores is important to their business (and 91% of European retailers that we spoke to said that it was) then they will need to ensure that there is a reason for customers to choose the store over online. Higher prices on the high street will only encourage thumb swipes, not footfall. Scala can help brands by ensuring that the in-store experience is truly optimised, whether it’s digital signage displays, synchronised pricing, strategic staff deployment, a smart fitting room or more clever click and collect options, Scala works with brands to make sure that they connect with their customers in a way that builds trust, loyalty and business. Talk to us to find out more.

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