Five predicted Digital Signage trends for retail in 2021

The next four years are expected to be explosive for the digital signage industry. It has been hailed as one of the fastest-growing AV solutions according to AVIXA’s 2020 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis (IOTA), with expected growth of over 38% by 2025.  

This is largely being driven by the increasing demand for on-premise and out-of-home communications, especially to support new security and health protocols. 

With a bright future ahead, Rene de Jong, Director of Sales and Marketing for ZetaDisplay Netherlands, shares his predictions of the top technology trends for retail that will help you stand out against your competition in 2021: 

Digital transformation of shop windows

A much bigger focus is being placed on capturing the attention of passers-by and drawing them into stores through showstopping window designs. We have followed this trend for several years and have witnessed the transition from posters to screens and now to interactive displays. 

These can be in the form of gesture-based interactivity with content mirroring or reacting to the movements of people walking past, or incorporate second screen devices like phones and use Augmented Reality engagements to bring products to life or start interactive, competitive games. 

led-light saying this is the sign you have been waiting for, on a brick wall.

The rise of VLC 

VLC (or Visible Light Communications) technologies bring the power of GPS indoors to create a frictionless shopping experience when connected with Digital Signage platforms and wayfinding.  

Increasingly during the Covid pandemic, we have seen shopping habits change, with less browsing and more focus on wanting to quickly find the items required and leave. VLC can facilitate this through the integration of signage and mobile phones; highlighting the best path through the store to the items on a shopping list through the mobile platform, with the digital signage reflecting key trending items and promoting upsells of popular product combinations. 

Bringing the online, instore

The world has been forced into a predominantly online shopping medium this year and these accelerated trends will definitely continue. I think we will see an increase of shop-in-shop concepts where digital signage customized kiosks will increase the visibility of brands that customers have seen online in luxury department stores with recognisable messaging that they can easily gravitate towards.   

In addition, we will see a rise of apps that allow the customer journey to start at home, continue instore and continue again when they leave, creating a continuous cycle for repeat custom and loyalty.  

Further integration with Beacon Technology can personalise Digital Signage messaging when they are in proximity instore, helping to guide them towards products they have viewed online

Click, collect and customise 

There has been a huge surge in popularity of these platforms in 2020, with customers ordering items online and collecting them from conveniently located locker destinations.  

There is an increasing demand to buy high-end luxury consumer goods, which would traditionally have been reserved for an in-store purchase, using this method. I think there is a great opportunity for brands to capitalise on this, placing the lockers for their products near their stores, so customers can still shop online but are prompted through the signage displays to bring their purchase in-store for additional services, like fittings and adjustments for watches and jewellery, for example. 

Combining this with facial recognition platforms means that customers can be personally greeted on their arrival and the shop assistant will already know which product they have and what additional services they might be looking for, enhancing the luxury feel and turning it into a shopping experience. 


Being able to give someone a personalised experience in a busy retail environment has a significant impact on loyalty and purchase ratio. The connection with apps, Beacon Technology, real-time and changeable AR experiences, VLC and identification methods such as facial recognition all add to this heightened customer experience where they believe it is all about them, and the brand truly knows what they need. 

Smaller and more flexible displays, like electronic shelf labels, present and excellent opportunity for creative campaign messaging that can be activated in real-time, in line with changing market conditions, the time or day or shopper loyalty programmes to display individual content. 

Let’s embrace these new technological trends and make 2021 the most interactive year yet!