Retail design giant gets involved

Don Watt has a well-earned reputation as one of the great minds in retail design and strategy.

He's the guy originally behind the President's Choice strategy that Loblaw's has grown and grown over the last couple of decades.

Watt is still active, and through his Toronto firm DW+ Partners has started a digital signage strategy offshoot, called Innovus. Led by Graeme Spicer, Innovus pretty much parks the software and gadgets and instead provides a technology-neutral consultancy on the real issue – the strategy and efficacy of these networks in retail.  

Watt told The Wise Marketer recently that "the message conveyed to the captive audience of customers in the store is often not beneficial, either to the customer or to the retailer."

He notes, correctly, that a lot of what's out there to date was put in by technology-centric companies who've treated the message as secondary.

"Retailers, marketers and brand managers should start, Watt suggests, by meeting known consumer needs, and by using digital signage to actually enhance their shopping experience rather than force-feeding them with irrelevant messages."

I have spent a little time with Watt, his business partner Geoff Belchetz, and Spicer. They're extremely bright and experienced, and will add a lot of credibility to this space. They'll also go a long way in ensuring that when a client retailer takes the digital signage plunge, it'll get done right.

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