DFS is the leading retailer of upholstered furniture in the United Kingdom, with half a century of operating history and millions of happy customers.
The company prides itself on its British heritage, manufacture and service, with the popular brand heavily reliant on the craftsmanship of employees at workshops in Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire.
Now boasting over 100 stores across the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Spain, the majority of its initial portfolio were situated in out-of-town retail parks.
DFS subsequently placed a focus on centralised high street spaces to ensure the company is accessible and available to a wider audience.
Having acquired their first high street store on Tottenham Court Road in central London, DFS wanted to create a new design concept that would appeal to the urban demographic and complement their latest advertising campaign.
The sofa brand had aspirations for audio-visual technology that could be easily incorporated within the shop fit to display their digital media content.
Design consultants 20.20 were appointed to devise the in-store experience and following previous project successes recommended PAI to realise the team’s technical visions and harness technology to deliver a multi-channel user strategy.
PAI’s Technical Director, Andy Bonehill consulted on the project from day one, offering multiple integration ideas and expert advice.
The devised scheme featured four main elements, with customer interaction and engagement at the heart of the digital display technology setup.
With the store situated in such a prime location, both 20.20 and DFS expressed the need for a vibrant visual display for the façade, that would actively encourage customers into the retail space.
Following product demonstrations, four high contrast projection screens and projectors were specified and installed in the store’s windows. The displays relay digital media throughout the day, aligned with current campaign content, providing an instant and impactful interaction with passers-by.
For the main entrance, the design team envisaged an exciting video wall feature. Recognising the need for a high-profile large format display, PAI selected a striking 3×3 landscape screen to greet customers upon entering the store. Featuring a sleek design, the LED unit is energy-efficient, 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 displays throughout the two-level space that would act as ‘pause and reflect points’ for customers. The appointed narrow bezel screens were strategically installed across the two floors and were specified for their cost-efficiency and low power consumption.
Pivotal to the project was the inclusion of a highly configurable and networkable content management system that could capably control the in-store digital 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 devised networked digital signage schemes, PAI had the perfect solution for DFS. The team specified a flexible and robust system, utilising media players with content management and network operation facilitated through the Cloud.
Working alongside the client’s other contractors, our dedicated team, overseen by Project Manager Stuart Williams, successfully completed the installation to a tight timescale, ahead of the flagship store’s launch date.
Integral to the project from the outset, PAI has since provided long-term 24-hour post-contract support and preventative maintenance to DFS, as well as remote system monitoring, network operations and content management services for its entire estate across the UK and mainland Europe.
This initial store concept was subsequently rolled out and upgraded across DFS’ portfolio, with further new stores added in key locations.
PAI continues to enhance the retailer’s offering through the ongoing replacement and update of audio-visual hardware, alongside our daily management of the brand’s digital display technology.
“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.” – Tim Stacey, Chief Executive Officer, DFS
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