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How Wayfinding Signs Are Reinventing the Customer Experience!

Due to its positive impact on experience, digital wayfinding is now pervasive across a number of verticals: travel, healthcare, recreation, education, and retail. For a business considering a wayfinding program, it can be a bit of a struggle deciding between place-based digital wayfinding signs (like physical kiosks), mobile wayfinding, or some combination of both.

But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Like just about any other problem, it’s all about picking the right tool for the job.  Let’s take a look at a few approaches and their pros and cons.

PLACE-BASED DIGITAL WAYFINDING
PROS:
  • GREAT FOR EXPLORATION: Helpful for first-time customers. Kiosks are easy to use for discovery and exploration, especially in larger-scale venues like amusement parks, outdoor developments, and big-box retail.
  • HIGH USER EXPERIENCE EXPECTATIONS: Users expect a rich level of features and functionality: multiple levels of detail, 3D mapping, and zooming with multi-touch. Give them a polished and thoughtful experience or nothing at all.
  • LOW BARRIER: Walk up, touch, and explore. No other steps are required. A kid could (and will) do it.
  • HIGH AWARENESS: Well-positioned physical kiosks are easy to spot and can include an eye-catching branded fixture.
CONS:
  • INFO ACCESS: Users want directions in the palms of their hands, no muss and no fuss. In order to send directions to a phone, they’ll have to take additional actions and sometimes provide personal info. For some of them, that’s a deal-breaker.
  • HIGH INVESTMENT: Costs can be significant as touchscreens, fixtures, networking, and installation are required for each instance. Unlike the software, as the program scales, there aren’t significant hardware cost efficiencies.

WAYFINDING WITHIN NATIVE MOBILE APPS
PROS:
  • COMPLEMENTS NATURAL BEHAVIOR: We use our phones as a navigation tool all the time, and now customers can intuitively use them while inside your location.
  • TURN-BY-TURN EVENTS: Don't make your customers remember the route. This option gives real-time directions, even to a specific piece of merchandise.
  • EASY ACCESS: If your app is already on the customer's phone, wayfinding is accessible with the touch of a button.
  • PERSONALIZED: Deploy personalized special offers based on the user's location. "35% off, just for me? Don't mind if I do."
CONS:
  • HIGH BARRIER: Do you think the customer will stop and download a new app to their phone? There better be a free Wi-Fi connection available. Just sayin'...
  • ACCURACY IS CRITICAL: Since the user is on the move while using wayfinding, it's critical to track and report their location accurately. Mapping needs to be highly detailed if they're searching for a specific piece of merchandise.
  • LOW AWARENESS: How will you promote that you have a great app available for download? You'll need to drive awareness.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE COSTS: Costs are moderate. Since customers want their shopping experience to be personalized and seamless, there needs to be an investment in infrastructure in order to execute a program (i.e., beacons and database integration).
  • REDUCED IMPULSIVENESS: If shoppers are head-down and on a mission, they may miss opportunities to browse merchandise and make impulsive purchases.

MOBILE AND PLACE-BASED INTEGRATION
HAVING BOTH TOOLS CAN SIGNIFICANTLY IMPROVE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.
BUT IT'S EVEN MORE POWERFUL WHEN THE TOUCHPOINTS ARE INTEGRATED - WHEN ONE CAN TALK TO THE OTHER.
  • Enhanced Personalization: Content on the screens is tailored to user preferences and is relevant based on previous behavior.
  • Heightened Awareness: Kiosks can drive awareness of an app available for download.
  • Program Efficiencies: When these tools are used in conjunction, efficiencies can be gained as some of the app architecture and development can be repurposed across touchpoints.
80% of customers prefer to receive assistance in navigating to an item using either their own mobile device or a kiosk. Having both tools not only helps you connect with a larger customer base, it also gives them a memorable and personalized experience. Give them that, and they'll always come back for more.

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