Data-driven insight and a passion for retail industry success help drive the creation of personalized digital content
By Sean Tarry
Digitization of the world around us has provided a means to global interconnectivity and ever-increasing accessibility to a wealth of information. Our new digital world has also quickened the pace with which we do things, raising our expectations to extraordinary heights while decreasing the shelf-life of what we as individuals consider relevant and meaningful. As a result, the challenges facing retailers in their quest to continuously understand the evolving tastes and preferences of their customers has never been greater. Along with these challenges, however, come even bigger opportunities to engage today’s consumer and develop meaningful connections to support their needs and enrich their retail shopping experience. And, according to Fab Stanghieri, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director at Cineplex Digital Media (CDM), it’s what the business of retail is all about.
“The retail landscape is in a state of constant evolution,” he says. “Retailers are consistently tasked with the need to be agile and flexible in their approach in order to respond to the change that’s constantly happening around them, all the while continuing to provide a great experience for their customers. This need is becoming increasingly apparent as shopping trends and behaviour continue to evolve and impact the way consumers interact with brands. By leveraging the power and capabilities of digital, retailers can develop a better understanding of their customers’ journey across all touchpoints, inform smarter marketing that provides shoppers with the right content at the right time, while acting on intelligent data and insights to continuously enhance the retail experience and bring it to life.”
End-to-end digital solutions
With more than 20 years of acquired knowledge and experience working with some of the world’s leading brands, the company offers a strong repertoire of digital tools. From ideation and design to the installation of digital signage, and everything in between, CDM’s end-to-end solutions are enabling physical retail spaces to thrive in a new digital age.
“What differentiates us is the fact that, in addition to being a digital media business, we’re also a retailer,” he says proudly. “We operate over 7 million square feet of retail space in 164 locations across the country. We intimately understand the challenges faced by retailers today and the change that is happening within the industry. We’re better able to recognize the impacts on their businesses and introduce technologies that will support their efforts and contribute toward their growth and success.”
An experience-first approach
Leveraging its retail experience, the CDM team works through strategy with clients, conducting store audits and research to determine the digital signage needs that are specific to the brand and the experience it wants to create. CDM works to design an implementation that will most effectively support the message of the brand and drive the desired customer experience. And, through ongoing testing and optimization of the entire digital media build, CDM’s data scientists leverage first, second and third-party data to continuously inform ways to further improve the experience for customers.
It’s a strategic approach that Stanghieri describes as being “experience-first” in which the company keeps the customer at the heart of every decision it makes for clients. And it’s an approach that’s recently been bolstered by the launch of CDM’s new machine-learning software platform – FLEX SmartEngine. Simply put, the data-driven platform allows CDM and its retail partners to analyze the effectiveness of their digital campaigns and make decisions based on real-time in-store information, enabling them to provide personalized content to customers, creating deeper, more meaningful connections with them.
FLEX SmartEngine seems set to revolutionize the way marketing campaigns are built, executed, and managed, informing every aspect of the build with intelligent business insights throughout the entirety of the campaign. Most importantly, however, it’s providing CDM and its retail clients with the edge required to continue thriving in an increasingly digital environment in which the timing and placement of messaging is everything.
“Our FLEX SmartEngine is an incredibly powerful tool that allows them to leverage the insights that matter most and use them to put the right promotion in front of the right audience at the right time, Stanghieri asserts. The machine learning engine continuously evolves based on inputs, supporting the efforts of marketers to optimize the content displayed on digital end-points, resulting in more impressions, increased traffic, a more meaningful connection with the customer and, ultimately, stronger sales.”
Continued ingenuity and innovation
Stanghieri explains that the impacts of COVID-19 have simply highlighted the need for retailers and brands to effectively communicate and engage with customers, emphasizing the vital role a tool like SmartEngine can play in helping to fulfill those needs. It seems, too, that the pandemic has also helped to underscore CDM’s ingenuity and its escalation of the impressive work that it continues to execute for its clients, highlighting how a business can leverage its creativity and passionate belief to pivot during challenging times. But, more so, according to Stanghieri, it is representative of the successful culmination of Cineplex’s decades-long diversification efforts, as well as a signal of intention of further growth and innovation from the company.
“We’ve been in the business of putting images on screens for almost 110 years. We understand the art and science involved in connecting people with content. And we also understand the art and science of retail and the importance of the customer and guest experience. By broadening our scope and leveraging our century of knowledge and expertise, we’re able to help those within the industry overcome the challenges we all face today and grow for the future. As we continue to evolve, our focus will remain fixed on realizing these opportunities to better understand individual shoppers and curate relevant content that connects with them as they’re on the path to purchase. We’ll continue to invest in the technologies that will most effectively help retailers achieve this, taking their data to the next level to consistently improve attribution, basket size and conversion. In the end, we understand that retail success is all about the customer experience. And we want to continue assisting retailers in harnessing the capabilities of technology and data to drive those best in class experiences that keep customers coming back.”