For some retailers, a sign is simply a static holder of practical information. For centuries, what else could a retail sign really do? But now, smart signage with sensing technology offers an opportunity to enhance business operations and provide much more value than just listing prices or product info. Smart signs can yield critical insights into customer preferences and behavior.
The Hero series by Firebolt features smart signs specifically designed for the cannabis industry. The newest product in the line is the Hero XR, which stands for extended range. “We have embedded proximity and lift sensors within a lighted fixture that captures and relays engagement data to a real-time dashboard for business intelligence,” Firebolt Chief Growth Officer Scott Hauman said. “Paired with our super-thin Krystal-LED technology, the Hero XR offers brands and retailers a brilliant presence and real-time engagement data never before seen in a quick-turnaround, custom-built retail display solution.”
The Hero XR provides detailed dwell data and can measure how many customers interacted with a product display and for how long. It also can determine when a customer picks up a product from a shelf and examines it—even if they do not purchase the item—and extract key data from the interaction. For instance, the sense technology that helps power Hero XR may be able to determine shopper appeal and help influence future sales and marketing strategies. After extracting raw customer data, the embedded technology transmits the information to a base station, where it is uploaded to a cloud server for easy retrieval.
The data cultivated by the Hero XR takes the guesswork out of retail strategy. Great product displays can have a positive impact on sales, but figuring out the merchandising plan that will generate the most sales is still a bit of an art form. Firebolt can help operators determine exactly which displays are worth their valuable retail space.
“Retail brands and display companies spend a lot of money creating eye-catching product displays that make consumers want to purchase more of a product,” Hauman said. “The challenge here is, it is difficult to actually measure the monetary impact those product displays have had on overall sales and brand performance. Sense technology can be used on product displays to measure the [return on investment] and optimize future displays for higher returns.”
This information can be critical in developing the visual appeal and vibe of a brand. Digital marketing remains important, but Hauman believes fully leveraging the power of a physical space is a bigger driver of sales.
“Shoppers act in the moment,” Hauman said. “Approximately 73 percent of adult purchases tend to be spontaneous. On average, shoppers now spend close to $300 a month on impulse buys. A great sign, point-of-sale display, or in-store activation is usually the instigator of consumer purchases.”
Firebolt’s Hero XR also taps into the psychology of consumer behavior and is easier to update than a traditional sign. “It’s all about brightness, color, and the capability to add motion and engagement hooks,” Hauman said. “Static signage ‘hides’ in most retail environments. It gets lost due to clutter and poor lighting. Technology-enabled illuminated signage simply pops off on any wall, aisle, or environment. Customization is also very simple and easy.”
Another technology deployed by Firebolt, appropriately named Glimpse, can turn a standard security camera into a potential revenue-generator by capturing shopper journey and staff interaction insights. Think of it like a manager with a keen eye who takes detailed notes, never requires a break, and won’t ask for a paycheck.
“Glimpse recognizes key zones within a store or event space and captures visitor movements, customer demographics, and budtender interactions,” Hauman explained. “It also enables customized real-time notifications, so you can be the first to know if something happens or is about to happen.”
Glimpse integrates with any closed-circuit TV camera, which most dispensaries already employ, so additional hardware installation is not required. That saves resources—not only the dispensary’s, but also the planet’s.
“One of our core brand tenets is respecting, preserving, and conserving the precious natural resources around us,” Hauman said. “We believe in safely recycling our past innovations, because it helps us reduce air and water pollution, [decrease] greenhouse gas emissions, and conserve natural resources. Each product has a QR code on the back or bottom you can scan to learn how to recycle our signs, promotional gear, and night tools properly.”
Firebolt has helped companies across many industries shine light on their brands for more than twenty-five years. One simple motto guides the company: Great customer experiences require illumination and inspiration.
“We believe no one sparks moments of awe better than Firebolt,” Hauman said. “This is our daily drive. It serves as an articulation of our marketplace-challenging point of view and promise.”