The retail industry has seen a number of significant changes over the past few years. In 2020, retail businesses became exponentially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most stores were forced to close—entire companies even closed their doors permanently as a result. The companies that were able to remain functional faced a shift in many aspects. Some of these included audiovisual elements as well as video conferencing.
Video Conferencing Changes & Benefits
The use of video conferencing prior to the pandemic was seldom as most businesses preferred to hold meetings in person. Travel and safety restrictions prevented this and companies turned to video conferencing more. However, during this transition, they discovered the ease of access holding virtual meetings could present:
- Necessary attendees could all be present at the same time
- Money and time spent on travelling was eliminated
- Visual presentations were easier to share
- Allowed training courses to be given during the pandemic
- Meeting summaries weren’t needed
Benefits that the retail industry experienced as a result of video conferencing extended to the handling of internal and external problems. The ability to hold meetings in an emergency improved companies’ crisis management skills. It also increased communication and productivity within businesses themselves.
The Use and Improvements of Audio Visual Displays
Since its invention, businesses have used audio visual displays to enhance buyer experiences. They were generally set up near the front of the store such as in shop windows or accompanying a display stand at the entrance. However, the pandemic occasionally kept customers from entering stores due to lockdown restrictions. Those unexpected situations allowed companies to re-evaluate their uses of AV systems. As AV technology made advancements, more options were presented for re-openings. A few of these are:
- Decrease the use and cost of printed displays
- Adds more creative freedom for marketing
- Clearly presents important information for customers
- Creates a flow within the stores
Effects of AV Displays & Video Conferencing on the Industry
One business that has benefited immensely from using AVs is ASDA from the United Kingdom. With a few hundred supermarkets running, the company claims the improvements made to up their AV display system has contributed to their business’s overall success.
Another UK franchise, SPAR, has over 2,000 stores open. The business reports that video conferencing has allowed them to stay in contact and work closely with each of their stores. Additionally, it has saved a significant amount of money from the elimination of travel costs.
AV displays and video conferencing are only two aspects of the retail industry that have seen a positive reaction over the past year. The lifting of restrictions in countries all over the world, as well as the administration of vaccines, will likely lead to more shifting elements in businesses. Normalcy is slowly beginning to return but advancements have already been made in numerous economic areas. How businesses handle it could determine whether they will see a financial increase or face a decline.