The strategic use of digital signage can unquestionably lead to increased sales, a boosted impact of the sales floor, a new shopping experience, and a stronger brand image. However, emphasis is too often placed merely on technical innovations that go beyond current needs.
That’s why retailers and digital signage users always benefit from asking the key, fundamental questions: When and how does digital signage pay off for me? What should I consider when choosing the best digital signage solution? What should I show on my in-store TV screens and how does this all work? In other words, it’s meaningful content that makes digital signage useful. After all, the technology is only a part of digital signage, albeit an important one.
What role does digital signage play?
Sales areas can be upgraded and energized thanks to the use of displays, display column configurations or video walls. However, it is crucial not to take things too far. Many stores already expose customers to too many stimuli. While this may be exciting for some shoppers, it means sensory overload for others.
Your own personalized advertising and information network in front of the store, in window displays, in the entrance area and at the checkout allows you to showcase products, services, special promotions and much more to influence your target audience. In turn, this visual merchandising might prompt an opportunity for customer service or support the buying decision process. This also refutes the argument against the use of digital signage: Those who maintain that digital signage is only effective if customers are already inside the store overlook the fact that the conditions for successful advertising are far better in this setting compared to the use of radio spots or newspaper ads. Like I said, customers make most purchasing decisions at the POS. It should also be noted that the store layout and retail design or the personal appearance of sales staff make an advertising statement as well. Anyone who feels comfortable as a customer in a store thanks to the “total package" will likely recommend a venue to friends and family versus someone who is reluctant to remember the experience or has quickly forgotten it.
Show more than just your product selection
Those who only push advertising content on their network run the risk of losing attentive viewers. You can get your audience’s attention with the right mix of advertising, information, and entertainment. While it is possible to create your own advertising content or obtain it from content creators, it makes sense to use contents of renowned news sources like Tagesschau (German news program) or dpa (German press agency) to display up-to-date information. Several providers of digital signage solutions provide these types of content. This is where retailers should research in the run-up whether these contents are part of the solution package or whether they are only available at an additional cost.
Weather updates – for many still a hot topic they like to talk about - and information from the entertainment world are also contents that lend themselves for in-store networks. This includes celebrity news, entertaining knowledge, general knowledge quiz questions, practical tips for everyday life, horoscopes, etc.
Having said that, the primary goal of digital signage is to boost sales. That’s why advertising their own products and company is the most important aspect from a retailer’s perspective. However, it should be noted that from the customer's point of view, advertising messages are more accepted if they are embedded in information and entertainment. Advertisements can also feature information by displaying detailed product information that customers can call up on interactive touch screens. The fact that this appeals to our play instinct also makes it easier for advertising content to reach the mind of today’s consumer.
Your own custom digital signage content versus ready-made contents
Depending on the digital signage solution, there are two ways to create your own advertising and information: you can either use ready-made contents or create your own. You should follow certain simple guidelines if you choose to create your own content. The most important rule: Don’t just gear the contents to your own objectives but aim to primarily meet the expectations of your target audience. The old advertising slogan that the bait has to taste good to the fish, not the fisherman still rings true today. If you don’t speak the language your target audience values and resonates with - and that doesn’t just refer to texts but also themes, figurative language, and imagery – you are not effectively communicating with them.
Anyone who addresses multiple target audiences and knows when they frequent the retail outlet can display contents that are up-to-the-minute relevant with the right digital signage solutions. What’s more, this also allows users to distribute and centrally manage different, custom presentations for specific screens and store locations. In addition to using this aspect of digital signage to their advantage, retailers can also benefit from the timeliness of content: While printed marketing materials such as posters have to be reprinted every time there is an update, digital signage enables users to do this with no more than a few clicks. That’s why retailers must never present outdated content.
Another don’t is too much text and it should be avoided. Depending on the situation, consumer attention span tends to be short and lengthy messages can quickly leave people bored. That’s why retailers should focus on key information and present it in short, concise, legible large font texts – product details can be hashed out in customer service. Having said that, the content presentation should not be too short either and have too little information. Transitions that are too fast seem hectic and don’t allow viewers to process the information. If you like colors, don’t use the full color wheel, but take your cues from corporate design and the store concept instead. Moving images tend to grab the audience’s attention more than static content, which is why you should include videos but in balanced proportion to all other content. You should always remember that “it's all in the mix.”
Hiring a digital signage agency gets professional results but this quality comes at a price. However, great digital signage solutions make it easy even for first-time users to craft a compelling advertising and information package. They also allow users to progressively adopt the new technology and gradually increase its use. There is no question that the introduction of digital signage pays off big for retailers - provided that this implementation follows a strong game plan.