When in-store digital displays drive sales—and when they don't

February 22, 2016

Consumers shop at different size stores for different reasons, and retailers may well wonder whether in-store digital displays for their establishments are worth the investment. New data from a study of Swedish stores can provide valuable guidance.

In "Do Digital Displays Enhance Sales? Role of Retail Format and Message Content," Marketing Professors Anne L. Roggeveen and Dhruv Grewal, of Babson College, and Jens Nordfält, of the Stockholm School of Economics, investigated the impact of digital displays showing different messages and placed in hypermarkets, supercenters, supermarkets, and small stores. They found that displays that advertised price promotions in hypermarkets increased , the time spent shopping, and the number of items purchased. However, the displays had minimal effect in supercenters and supermarkets, and actually decreased sales in small convenience-type stores. Displays showing content unrelated to price had no effect in the hypermarkets and supercenter where they were tested.

The researchers gathered data from field experiments conducted in the four retail formats of a large Swedish grocery conglomerate. Digital displays were installed and then manipulated with various messages and on/off periods. Sales in hypermarkets experienced an immediate 17 percent bounce after the displays were installed, but after five months the novelty wore off and the increase had plateaued at 3 percent. Still, the authors say, "This increase may seem low, but in a low margin, high volume business such as grocery retailing, a 3 percent gain is critical to retailers' profitability."

The authors argue that digital displays are not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Their use is well suited to retailers that maintain larger, more browsing-oriented stores such as hypermarkets, but for smaller stores where consumers are more task-oriented and arrive with a shorter shopping list, the investment may not be wise. Moreover, the proven lack of impact of non-price-related content highlights the importance of displaying visually relevant information.

Explore further: House bill would limit some calorie labels

Related Stories

House bill would limit some calorie labels

November 18, 2015

Supermarkets and pizza chains would get some relief from government calorie labeling rules under legislation approved by a House committee Wednesday.

Good things in store for retailers

May 1, 2015

Shopping online or in catalogs is great for many reasons: to while away time on a snowy day; to avoid the holiday crush at the local mall; to do ultra-efficient comparison shopping; to enjoy a world of choice at your fingertips. ...

Recommended for you

Ancient parrot fossil found in Siberia

October 26, 2016

(Phys.org)—A Russian paleontologist has discovered a parrot fossil uncovered in Siberia several years ago—the first evidence of parrots living in Asia. In his paper published in Biology Letters, Nikita Zelenkov describes ...

Ancient burials suggestive of blood feuds

October 24, 2016

There is significant variation in how different cultures over time have dealt with the dead. Yet, at a very basic level, funerals in the Sonoran Desert thousands of years ago were similar to what they are today. Bodies of ...

Meet Savannasaurus, Australia's newest titanosaur

October 21, 2016

The outback region around Winton in central Queensland is arguably Australia's ground zero for giant dinosaur fossils. Here, graziers occasionally stumble across petrified bones on their paddocks, amid the stubbly grass and ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.