The PAI Group is delighted to have delivered an integrated display and digital media scheme for DFS’ first high street store, which recently opened on Tottenham Court Road in central London. The retail space marks the debut of the sofa brand’s new design concept that has been developed to complement the company’s latest advertising campaign.
DFS appointed leading design consultants 20.20 to devise the in-store experience, with the overall aim to appeal to the urban demographic. The furniture retailer had aspirations for technology that could be easily incorporated within the shop fit to display their digital media content, devised by advertising agency Krow Communications.
Following previous project successes with 20.20, the PAI Group was asked to realise the technical visions of the design team, successfully harnessing technology to deliver a multi-channel user experience. PAI’s Technical Director Andy Bonehill consulted on the project from day one, developing technical solutions to complement the in-store aesthetics and meet the needs of the designers. The devised scheme featured four main elements, with customer interaction and engagement at the heart of the setup.
With the shop situated in such a prime location, both 20.20 and DFS expressed the need for a vibrant front of store visual display that would actively encourage customers into the retail space. Following product demonstrations with the excellent assistance of screen specialists Paradigm, four high contrast dnp projection screens and Panasonic projectors were specified and installed in the shop window. The dynamic displays relay media throughout the day, providing an instant and impactful interaction with passers-by.
For the main entrance, the design team and client envisaged an exciting video wall feature. The PAI Group recognised the need for a high profile large format display and collaborated with Samsung, who provided outstanding support throughout the project, hosting product demonstrations for project stakeholders.
PAI’s initial recommendation, the Samsung UE55A screen, was subsequently selected to greet customers upon entering the store. Featuring a sleek and slimline design, the LED back lit unit is also energy-efficient and eco-friendly, an environmental factor that was of great importance to DFS.
To accompany the focal features at the front of store, the sofa brand was keen to incorporate a number of displays throughout the two-level space that would act as pause and reflect points for customers. Samsung’s MD40B model was specified for its cost-efficiency, low power consumption and narrow bezel design, and was strategically installed across the two floors.
Pivotal to the project was the inclusion of a highly configurable and networkable content management system that could capably control the in-store integrated display technology. With the client clear that each screen should display different media, the need for a system that could easily network and monitor content playback and also be managed remotely was imperative.
Having previously worked with a global media brand and devised networked signage schemes for 21 of their merchandise stores, the PAI Group had the perfect solution. The team specified a flexible and robust system by Videro, utilising Apple’s Mac Minis as media players with content management and network operation facilitated through the Cloud.
Speaking on the product selection, Bonehill comments: “From the outset, it was evident that a hardened and reliable solution was required.
“The design team were clear that content would need to be frequently changed to match seasonal promotions, but with minimal additional content creation.
“With such a large number of existing assets available, Videro was an obvious choice as it can render multi-layer/multi-timeline content in real time.
“It boasts an industry leading Network Operations tool, available in the Cloud, allowing access to a real time dashboard detailing the current state of the entire network, player management and support tools, and content management/deployment,” he concludes.
Working alongside the client’s other contractors, the dedicated team, overseen by Project Manager Stuart Williams, successfully completed the installation to a tight time scale, ahead of the store’s launch date. Integral to the project from the outset, the PAI Group now provides 24-hour post-contract support and preventative maintenance to DFS, as well as remote system monitoring, network operations and content management.
Tim Stacey, DFS’ Online and Business Development Director adds: “We are delighted with the results and this is largely down to [PAI’s] initial advice and counsel on the possibilities regarding in store digital activity.
“This was new territory for our business and we are delighted to have great partners such as PAI to work with.”
DFS are now testing the new store concept in their existing out-of-town branches.