In today’s modern, fast-paced world, it is no longer enough for retailers to simply expect consumers to walk in off the high street and begin spending money. Stores need to have some sort of appeal to draw in passers-by and offer them a memorable shopping experience that will leave them wanting more.

We see plenty examples of innovation in every issue of Retail Focus, with retailers around the world coming up with many clever ways of making their stores more attractive to the consumer. One of the most common methods is making use of surfaces; areas that were previously not utilised and were rather bland are now serving as interaction hot spots to improve the overall experience of shopping.

Be it installing QR codes for shoppers to scan and access more content or making use of integrated digital screens for consumers to use while browsing the store, surfaces offer all manner of opportunities when it comes to interaction. Here, Retail Focus picks out some of the best examples of surface interaction within the retail market.


Digital journey 

Kicking off with digital technologies and MeinBodenbelag, a 160-year-old floor covering retailer in Germany, has enhanced its showroom experience by implementing a digital signage network powered by the software platform. 

The system includes 20 displays, ranging from 55” to 98”, strategically placed throughout the store, providing customers with what it described as an “engaging experience”, contributing to extended visitor stays. 

Screens were placed on surfaces that were previously unused, with each display interacting with customers while they are in store, offering more insight into the company’s products. Content includes daily price promotions, details of MeinBodenbelag’s social media channels, introductions to staff, directional signage, cool videos for relaxing in the customer lounge and even cartoons in a designated corner for children.

Toni Grimmeisen, managing director of MeinBodenbelag, said the response from customers has been exceptionally positive. Many have praised the refreshed, modern appearance of the showroom, as well as the ease of navigating the space independently.

“Customers give us feedback on how easy it is for them to find their way around our store on their own without an advisor,” Grimmeisen said. “Since we also open the showroom every Sunday, without staff, the displays are used even more to obtain information and place orders. This encourages people to spend longer in the store.

“We are extremely satisfied with the platform. It’s super easy to use, it runs stably, and you don’t need much previous knowledge. The program is practically self-explanatory, and if you still don’t get to grips with it, the support from and (IT integrator) Kutzschbach is outstanding. 

“The biggest strength, however, is that you can play different videos on the displays so quickly and easily. And it does so on time and completely automatically. This saves us a huge amount of time and allows us to concentrate completely on everyday business.”

New solutions 

As demonstrated by MeinBodenbelag, interaction does not necessarily require consumers to actually touch surfaces; digital technology can connect them with the brand through the sole use of content.

At the recent ISE 2024 digital tech event in Barcelona, PPDS, the exclusive global provider of Philips professional displays, launched the new Philips Unite LED All In One Series of screens for use in retail environments. Comprising the 4000, 4200, 5000 and 7000 Series, the screens are suitable for customers looking to replace smaller LCD displays and existing videowalls, or introduce new solutions, with 4K and 8K seamless displays. 

Each model is available in sizes ranging from 110” – 165” at resolutions full high definition, 4K and 8K, offering solutions for both permanent and semi-permanent installations in retail settings.

PPDS said the new screens also offer sustainable benefits. Using fewer pixels, the four-in-one mini-LED technology within the 4000 Series delivers a significant reduction in energy consumption compared to other LED offerings in the market, Meanwhile, the Philips Unite 5000 Series benefits from dynamic and black screen power saving, with the ability to automatically and intelligently power down when not in use.

Jeroen Brants, global product director for Philips LED displays at PPDS, said: “There are many all-in-one LED solutions in the market today, each with their own pros and cons. When we enter any market, it is at a time when we can bring products that our customers truly need, innovating around their requirements, rather than simply following what has been done before. That’s how the Philips Unite LED AIO range was born.

“This launch marks the culmination of many months of research, hard work, and commitment from our teams to design and develop a complete AIO offering. The Philips Unite 4000, 4200, 5000, and 7000 LED Series bring outstanding new opportunities, whether for permanent, semi-permanent or temporary installations that demand to be seen.”

Golden ticket

Of course, it is not all about digital; printed media also offers retailers the opportunity to interact with consumers, and vice versa. Drytac products are used by print companies all over the world for use in retail-focused projects, aimed at drawing the interests of passers-by.

For the recent release of the new ‘Wonka’ film, Ontario-based print business Global Printing Enterprises (GPE) used several products from Drytac to produce an immersive display to help promote the movie. ‘Wonka’s Sweet Escape’ at Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto offered visitors the chance to walk around inside Wonka’s candy shop and take advantage of photo opportunities.

Working with Reignite Marketing, GPE carried out all printing and installation for the project, which included a series of wall murals, displays, backdrops and floor graphics, making use of surfaces below and around the special area. Highlights included a vibrant carpet floor graphic measuring 32ft x 70ft, plus a cobblestone path adorned with a 35ft tall cherry blossom tree.

For the project, GPE used Polar Grip Air, a white polymeric self-adhesive vinyl with air release technology, and Polar Premium Air, a self-adhesive vinyl also with air egress technology. Additionally, GPE used ReTac Smooth 150 polymeric PVC film and FloorTac, a matte white polymeric PVC film, paired with Interlam Pro Emerytex. 

Dennis Leblanc, senior business development manager for North America at Drytac, was full of praise for the project. He said: “Reignite Marketing achieved remarkable success by teaming up with GPE to execute an experiential marketing campaign that surpassed all expectations.

“The captivating displays they created provided an immersive brand experience, generating a tremendous amount of excitement and significantly increasing brand recognition. As a result, foot traffic to Yorkdale Mall skyrocketed, leading to a substantial surge in movie ticket sales.”

Game, set and match

Also in Canada and another Drytac customer, Print Three Calgary, worked with the Calgary National Bank Challenger professional tennis event and the Core Shopping Centre to create some clever floor graphics.

Print Three Calgary has worked with the event on several occasions, including in 2022 when it produced a range of colourful floor graphics. Organisers, partnering with event sponsor Holt Renfrew, contacted the printing specialist again for the 2023 competition, requesting another set of floor graphics for a promotional event at the nearby Core Shopping Centre.

The idea was to create a temporary, indoor tennis court at the mall where shoppers could take part in tennis challenges to win free tickets to the Calgary National Bank Challenger and other prizes. 

Print Three Calgary used Drytac SpotOn Floor 200 for the job, producing 18 panels in total and piecing them together to create an eye-catching application measuring 11m x 8m.

Be it digital, print or another form of technology, there are plenty of ways for retailers to interact with customers using new or existing surfaces. Connection is key in what is a very competitive market and improving the overall shopping experience with interaction will go a long way to creating loyal and returning customers.