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Dixons Travel managing director Heidi Woodhouse on using digital signage to engage airport shoppers

Customers shopping at airports have a very different shopper journey to regular in-store or online consumers. Airport stores must cater for both holidaymakers and business travellers, those who have a very short window before their flight departs, and those on delayed flights with time to waste.

It’s this distinct difference in shopping behaviour that makes Dixons Travel a separate entity to the Dixons Carphone group – “It’s own little bubble”, as Dixons Travel managing director Heidi Woodhouse describes it - with control over its own operations and marketing.

Thanks to this sovereignty, and to its unique customer profile, Dixons Travel has been keen to try the latest digital solutions in its 31 stores (one of which is on a cruise ship). A re-fitting programme is underway, with Terminal 3 in Heathrow being the first to get technology makeover.

Tech includes smart signage connected to shelf sensors – so if a customer picks up a camera, for example, the screen will instantly relay specifications of that particular make and model. The retailer is also about to trial electronic shelf labelling (ESL) later this year to help it deliver on its price promise policy in real-time rather than changing labels once a day.

Meanwhile, store colleagues wear Fitbit activity trackers, which are also linked to digital signage throughout the store, showing how many steps they have taken. And due to the increased popularity of smart home products, Dixons Travel has worked with airports to increase its Wi-Fi bandwidth so colleagues can demonstrate how to adjust Philips Hue lighting from their phones and use voice devices such as Google Home.

“When you’re in there it feels like an Aladdin’s cave,” says Woodhouse.

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