The Best Lift-and-Learn Retail Display and Sensor Technologies (2021)

At Perch by Raydiant, we believe that “lift-and-learn” experiences are transformative because finally retailers and brands can bring in digital content for every product on the shelf. 87% of shoppers start their product journeys online because that’s where the product content we need is - ratings and reviews, videos, how-to’s, product descriptions, promotions, recommended accessories - all of it. How can we expect shoppers to make product decisions in-store without the product-level information they so clearly need? If you can bring that content in-store, shoppers will start more product journeys there, make more purchasing decisions in-store (we typically see 30-130% sales lifts), and make more return trips.

Evaluating Lift-and-Learn Display Sensor Technologies

Lift-and-learn technologies are relatively new, and many still immature or unproven. We are seeing exponential growth of our lift-and-learn product engagement platform at Perch by Raydiant as retailers and brands find the best technologies that both drive results and are ready to be deployed at scale. The key factors we use to evaluate lift-and-learn technologies are:

  • Accuracy - how sensitive can the sensors be and how often are sensing events accurate? Are errors false positives or false negatives?

  • Reliability - How reliable are the sensors and technology over time?

  • Flexibility - How many different products, categories and displays can the technology support

  • Initial Cost - How much does the solution cost to deploy

  • Ongoing Maintenance - What is the ongoing maintenance effort and cost

  • Design - How does the solution affect the design experience of the display and the shopper journey

  • Data Gathering - What types of additional data can be collected and leveraged

  • Improvement Velocity - How quickly is the technology improving with the ability to update and improve it without replacing the sensors

Along these dimensions we evaluate sensing technologies to plug-in to our comprehensive lift-and-learn marketing platform.

Visualizing The Lift-and-Learn Evaluation Matrix Scores

Raydiant Lift-And-Learn Technology

Computer Vision for Lift-and-Learn - Best-In-Class

Based on the evaluation criteria in the comparison table, you can see why we at Perch by Raydiant have invested so deeply into computer vision for our lift-and-learn platform.

Raydiant Lift-and-Learn Computer Vision
  • A single camera is less expensive than multiple needed sensors for other technologies

  • Computer vision is highly accurate and flexible

  • You can collect additional data such as demographics and dwell times

  • Computer vision is advancing rapidly, and can be updated remotely without the need for hardware upgrades

The downside to computer vision is that the camera has to be able to view the shelf, which means it needs to protrude or be mounted from above. Depending on the angle, for most applications, it is not used for inventory management in its current use for Perch by Raydiant - but will in the future.

Infrared For Lift-and-Learn - Mature Technology But Limited Data and Retail Display Types

Perch by Raydiant uses Infrared for Jo Malone’s Clio Award winning Fragrance Combining Cabinet to embed sensing seamlessly into their beautiful millwork.

We use Infrared Frames in closed cabinets and cases, and to make jewelry and case display glass interactive. In fact, we have the patent on using infrared frames in retail displays for product sensing. Infrared frames are:

  • Extraordinarily reliable

  • Simple to fabricate seamlessly into retail displays that are enclosed.

  • Can have issues with reflective or translucent items

  • Limited in the more basic data they gather, X/Y coordinates of objects, and thus imited in their insights and segmentation.

Raydiant Lift-and-Learn Infrared Sensors

RFID for Lift-and-Learn - Suitable For Small Show Displays

For Lift-and-Learn marketing in-store, RFID tags and stickers have a lot of promise but also a lot of downsides. First and foremost, all products on the display need RFID tags. If you have a general RFID strategy with considerably penetration (Lululemon, Zara, Macy’s) that is easier, but requires integration into your RFID management software to translate tags to products which can be costly. Otherwise, you can tag just the items on or in the display, which requires each store manager to manage technology and tag mapping, which is likely to be onerous. Because of the issues around reliability and operational integration, Perch by Raydiant has rarely used RFID such as the above virtual try-on display for Sephora.

Raydiant Lift-and-Learn RFID
  • RFID sensors can be seamless integrated into most displays

  • RFID stickers cost $0.05-$0.25 per product, which eliminates them for many categories

  • RFID stickers need to be mapped to products through costly system integration or manually via store operations

  • Reliability is an issue as RFID stickers peel off products and generate radio frequency noise at scale

  • RFID sensing with multiple products requires multiple expensive sensors or require the customer to learn to tap the item against a sensor

  • A considerable amount is being invested in RFID, mostly driven by inventory management and supply chain.

Weight Sensors For Lift-and-Learn - Accurate, But Limited And Expensive

EasyMat is an example of a weight sensor based Lift-and-Learn system and is limited to one sensor per product.

Weight sensors are an established technology that are accurate, if maintained. This is why they are a key part of cashier-less checkout solutions like Amazon Go, which uses them to verify activity in coordination with computer vision. However, they are limited in their application to upright shelves and the fabrications complexity is quite high because you need weight sensors in every area of the display, which is why:

  • Weight sensors have the ability to measure inventory and availability on the shelf, which is quite valuable for operations.

  • Costs are quite high for more than simple displays

  • Ongoing maintenance is onerous with many wires and mechanical sensors, which are difficult to access and maintain.

Raydiant Lift-and-Learn+Weight+Sensors

Light Sensors For Lift-and-Learn - Limited and Expensive

Light sensors enable lift-and-learn detection but very limited numbers of items and use cases.

Light sensors are similar to weight sensors, although they tend to be more binary - either the object is there or not. It can not identify objects by weight.

Raydiant Lift-and-Learn+Light+Sensors
  • Their flexibility is limited because of the ways you will want to hide the light emitted

  • Cost is similarly high to weight sensors in that you need to embed as many of them as products placed on the shelf.

  • The data they gather is limited, but they can be used for out-of-stock.

  • Maintenance can be an ongoing issue from cleaning, obstruction and complexity of wiring.

Bluetooth Accelerometers For Lift-and-Learn - Bulky, Expensive & High-Maintenance

This example of Bluetooth Lift-and-Learn highlights many of the limitations, including the bulky sensor attached to the product and the need to keep it charged.

Bluetooth accelerometers are interesting because if you put one in or on a product, the moment it moves you can tell a customer is picking it up. This is great for free from merchandizing on a wall, like a sneaker wall but the downsides of having to attach them to products are plentiful.

Raydiant Lift-and-Learn+Bluetooth+Accelerometers
  • Detects product pickup but not touch

  • You have to put an accelerometer in each product, which you can’t do for most product categories.

  • Much more costly than RFID per product

  • The accelerometer affects the interactions with the product, changes its weight, and they are bulkier RFID - about the size of five silver dollars stacked together.

  • The devices need to be managed and charged. Depending on usage and battery size, this could be measured in weeks or months.

Picking The Right Lift-and-Learn Digital Signage Technology

Perch by Raydiant has more experience with Lift-and-Learn digital signage solutions than anyone. Check out these real world retail results.

Clearly picking the right Lift-and-Learn technology can have a great impact on both your initial success and the ability to scale the solution. Too often agencies or non-technology oriented firms pick technologies that can work in limited situations and with limited scale. It’s critical to work with a partner who has the flexibility to use the right technology for your specific retail environment and category and shopper need. We highly recommend on working with leaders in the space. Perch by Raydiant has the patent on using sensing to detect which products are being touched and responding with Lift-and-Learn media. We were the originators and those who have more deployments than anyone else and greater scale of the technology than anyone else.

Book a demo to learn more.