By Ajay Joshi, firstname.lastname@example.org
It doesn't take much to understand the intrinsic value of today’s next-gen digital signage. No longer limited to flat panel screens—digital signage has made the leap to multiple form factors—from crystal clear displays to the very latest in projected imaging and audio-visual technology that creates the illusion of a real person. Digital Signage’s engaging messages and overall allure fall well within any retailers’ dreams. The actual value of digital signage is the retailers’ dreams come true as it impacts the most important aspect of business—the bottom line. Perceptive retailers understand the ever-increasing need for engaging consumers at all brand touch points. This is especially true as today’s brand messages are expected to seamlessly cross platforms while exceeding consumer expectations and building awareness.
Next–gen digital signage is a key consideration when marketing powerful brands that have dynamic messages. The global digital signage systems market is expected to reach $13.8 billion by 2017—a marked increase despite stagnant growth from 2008-2009, according to a recent report from Global Industry Analysts. It’s no wonder; digitally displayed messages elicit higher rates of recall and retention among consumers. While the reasons to believe in the revenue generation potential of digital signage are vast, retailers should base their ignition with this medium with sound strategic planning.
Planning is key
Digital signage implementation is a worthy investment for brands looking to bridge the digital in-store divide. And while declining hardware costs have been the catalyst for more affordable LCD displays, media systems and components, hardware and software costs are not the only considerations. Platt Retail Institute recently recognized “undefined management responsibilities” and “lack of content planning” as common mistakes retailers make when venturing into the realm of digital signage for the first time. Through strategic planning, retailers can position themselves to expand their marketing arsenal to include digital signage. Many have enlisted the expertise of independent companies that provide complete digital signage solutions, covering all facets from installation to content creation and support.
Some industry experts recommend a “pilot deployment” prior to launching a full-fledged digital signage initiative. This will ultimately allow retailers to test and measure deployment, as well as secure corporate backing following successful trials.
Content is king
Unlike traditional signage options, next-gen digital signage provides retailers with much-needed and amazing content flexibility. Messages can remain relevant, fresh and be as dynamic as the brand they represent. It is imperative that retailers strategically plan their content to maximize the full potential of digital signage. Digital signage displays should feature messages that are clearly aligned with the overall brand positioning, yet tailored for the medium.
One way some retailers are beginning to take advantage of digital signage is through unique promotions that integrate multiple communication platforms. Digital signage content that carries the brand’s message from the sign to the consumer’s mobile device enhances the consumer’s experience and ultimately purchase consideration. Given the rapid pace at which retail promotions turnover, digital signage also puts content control more easily in the retailer’s hands. It ensures the consistency of brand messaging and ultimately the salience of the consumer’s personalized brand experience from touch point to touch point. This is especially key during times like product launches or store openings as savvy consumers are more likely to do preliminary product research online prior to visiting retail establishments. Consistent online content that is reinforced with in store content offers potential buyers a seamless path to purchase.
Be mindful of metrics
The bottom line should remain top of mind for retailers looking to implement digital signage. The proliferation of digital signage has spawned the development of new analytical tools that go beyond the world of traditional reach, frequency and awareness. Some digital signage solutions feature software that uses transactional data to create customer and product profiles, which further aids retailers in targeting the right message to specific audiences at the right time.
Know your audience
In a recent market research survey from BrandSpark/Better Homes and Gardens American Shopper, in-store signage was ranked second by consumers as the most useful way to learn about new product information. Research such as this further solidifies the importance for retailers to rely on a platform that can capture the consumer’s attention quickly and deliver the brand message consistently and effectively. Digital signage is an especially effective for medium for brands looking to target younger consumers, according to Global Industry Analysts. Coupled with staggering data that 98 percent of adults 18-24 use social media, retailers have even more compelling reasons for fully integrating in-store and online marketing initiatives.
Overall, it is important that retailers consider digital signage as one component of a multi-faceted marketing approach to improving the overall customer journey. This approach should be founded in solid brand messaging and positioning that is reflected at every consumer touch point. Implementing digital signage allows brands to remain nimble and more engaged than ever before with consumers who are more likely to respond to consistent and reinforced messages across all platforms. Retailers must consider how a next gen digital signage solution can enhance their overall brand and, most importantly impact their bottom-line.
Ajay Joshi, is head of Tensamedia Solutions, Tensator, a leading provider of queue management solutions. He can be reached at email@example.com.