Lift&Learn technology in retail

Elevating Retail Experiences: The Power and Challenges of Lift&Learn Technology

Explore the potential and challenges of Lift&Learn technology in retail. Understand how this innovative tool enhances customer engagement, the complexities involved in its implementation, and its impact on operational costs. Discover how it can transform your retail experience.
Yuri Garmider
Yuri Garmider
Marketing Manager
March 15, 2024
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In the ever-evolving landscape of retail, businesses continually seek innovative ways to captivate and engage their customers. Among the myriad of technologies transforming the shopping experience, Lift&Learn (L&L) stands out for its unique ability to merge physical and digital interaction. This technology allows customers to lift a product from a shelf to trigger the display of customized content on digital screens, enriching the shopping experience with valuable product information, comparisons, and immersive stories. However, the wow factor generated by Lift&Learn does not come without its set of complexities and considerations. From the niche appeal and intricate mechanics to the significant investment required, this technology represents a balancing act between creating memorable customer experiences and managing operational challenges.

The niche appeal of Lift&Learn

Lift&Learn technology caters to a specific niche in the retail sector, where the emphasis on interactive customer engagement is important for the sales process. This solution finds its place predominantly in environments where demo samples are showcased, allowing customers to engage directly with products. The magic of Lift & Learn lies in its ability to transform passive browsing into an active exploration session, providing customers with targeted information that enhances the product's appeal.

Another significant advantage of Lift & Learn technology is its self-service nature. This solution often eliminates the need for sales assistants as customers can independently learn about the products on display. By interacting with the products themselves, customers can gather detailed information, compare features, and make informed decisions without the direct involvement of a salesperson. This self-service approach not only empowers the customers by allowing them to explore at their own pace but also reduces the need for additional staff, leading to cost savings for businesses.

However, the deployment of such technology is far from plug-and-play. Each installation demands meticulous manual setup, customization, and continuous tuning to ensure the content is displayed correctly and helps the intended audience. This labor-intensive process complicates Lift&Learn implementation, making it a distinctive choice for retailers looking to differentiate their in-store experience.

The complexity and costs

Implementing Lift&Learn technology is a complex undertaking that goes beyond the installation of hardware and software. The real challenge lies in the orchestration of seamless interactions between physical products and digital content. Each product or SKU requires its own triggering mechanism, content creation, and testing to ensure that when lifted, the corresponding digital signage delivers content that is engaging, informative, and timely. This complexity is compounded by the costs associated with developing bespoke content, not to mention the hardware investment in sensors, screens, and the underlying platform that powers the experience.

Given these considerations, Lift&Learn technology can be justified in locations where either the foot traffic is high enough so that self-learning experience will be more beneficial than adding salespeople or the product value is high enough to justify additional marketing expenses. As such, retailers must weigh the initial and ongoing investments against the potential to create a differentiated brand experience that captivates customers.

Creating a wow factor

At its core, the goal of Lift&Learn technology is to transcend conventional marketing tactics by creating an immersive experience that leaves a lasting impression on the customer. The immediate feedback and personalized content provided when a product is lifted off the shelf can significantly enhance the shopping experience, generating a 'wow factor' that today’s consumers increasingly seek.

However, the translation of this engagement into direct sales uplift can be nebulous. While the enhanced interaction undoubtedly enriches the customer's journey, the technology's primary value may lie more in brand differentiation and customer satisfaction rather than immediate sales conversion. Retailers must consider this dynamic as they evaluate the role of Lift&Learn within their broader marketing and sales strategies.

Challenges in scaling

One of the significant hurdles in broadening the adoption of Lift&Learn technology across various retail formats is its scalability. The bespoke nature of each installation, tailored to specific products and store layouts, makes standardization and scaling (almost) impossible task. For each new product introduced to the Lift & Learn system, a unique set of content must be developed and tested, a process that demands time and resources.

Furthermore, the physical setup, including the placement of sensors and digital screens, needs to be adapted to the spatial dynamics of each retail environment. These factors collectively contribute to the difficulty of scaling the solution across a diverse range of products and store formats. Retailers considering Lift&Learn must account for these challenges, evaluating the technology's viability against the backdrop of their operational and marketing strategies.

Diving into trigger mechanisms

The interactive experience facilitated by Lift&Learn technology is made possible through various triggering mechanisms, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Understanding these triggers is essential for retailers looking to implement this technology effectively.

RFID tags

RFID tags attached to products serve as a popular trigger for Lift&Learn systems. When a product is lifted, the RFID reader detects this event, prompting the display of relevant content. The precision of RFID technology make it an attractive option, allowing for quick and reliable operation.

The main downside of this option is need for specialized equipment, including RFID tags and readers for every promoted product. This can significantly increase project costs for retailers.

Anti-theft sensors

Utilizing existing anti-theft sensors as triggers for Lift&Learn experiences can be a cost-effective solution. However, this approach is viable only for consumer electronics retailers, for example for showcasing smartphones, tablets or headphones. This approach doesn't require specialized equipment, but the setup of L&L mechanics will still be time-consuming.

Take a look at the use case for promotion of Xiaomi smartphones carried out by one of our partners using anti-theft sensors that send API signals to the digital signage player.

There are more specialized mechanics that can be implemented and tweaked on a case by case basis. The key requirement is having a powerful digital signage CMS that supports various triggers and external data integrations. If you are considering one, take a closer look at DISPL. We are happy to use our already powerful software and technological expertise to find solutions for your business.

Each triggering mechanism presents a unique set of logistical and financial considerations. Retailers must carefully assess these factors in light of their specific needs, customer expectations, and compliance obligations.

A viable alternative: remote content management

In the context of digital engagement, while Lift&Learn provides an on-site interactive experience, there is an alternative method to captivate visitors through remote content management using smartphones or tablets. This approach empowers sales associates to change content on digital signage in real-time, directly from their handheld devices. Sales associates can quickly choose promotional material, for example, showing more product characteristics or different colors of the product. The advantage here is the agility with which content can be managed.

Final thoughts: a balancing act

Lift&Learn technology undoubtedly offers the potential to create memorable and engaging retail experiences. However, its effective implementation is a complex endeavor, characterized by high costs, scalability challenges, and the need for continuous content development and system tuning. Retailers must weigh these considerations against the benefits of enhanced customer engagement and the differentiation such technology can bring to their brand.

In conclusion, while Lift&Learn can significantly amplify the impact of personal selling efforts and enhance the in-store experience, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution. Its adoption should be strategically aligned with a retailer's overall business objectives, customer engagement strategies, and technological infrastructure.

If you are still determined to research and implement Lift&Learn technology, leave a request on our website to contact our experts and find out more. With careful planning and execution, Lift&Learn can become a valuable component of a retailer's digital transformation journey.


Question 1: What is Lift&Learn technology and how does it enhance the retail experience?

Answer: Lift&Learn technology allows customers to lift a product from a shelf, triggering the display of customized content on digital screens. This provides valuable product information, comparisons, and immersive stories, transforming passive browsing into an active exploration session. It's a self-service approach that empowers customers to explore at their own pace, reducing the need for additional staff.

Question 2: What are the challenges involved in implementing Lift&Learn technology?

Answer: Implementing Lift&Learn technology involves meticulous manual setup, customization, and continuous tuning. Each product requires its own triggering mechanism, content creation, and testing. The complexity is increased by the costs associated with developing bespoke content and hardware investment. Retailers must weigh these considerations against the potential to create a differentiated brand experience.

Question 3: What are some of the triggering mechanisms used in Lift&Learn technology?

Answer: Lift&Learn technology uses various triggering mechanisms, including RFID tags and anti-theft sensors. RFID tags attached to products prompt the display of relevant content when lifted. Anti-theft sensors can also be used as triggers, particularly for showcasing consumer electronics. Each triggering mechanism presents unique logistical and financial considerations.

Question 4: What is a viable alternative to Lift&Learn technology for digital engagement?

Answer: A viable alternative to Lift&Learn technology is remote content management using smartphones or tablets. This method allows sales associates to change content on digital signage in real-time from their handheld devices. It offers agility in content management and can be a cost-effective solution for retailers.

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