. has offered five tips for retailers that are looking to get started with digital signage systems to educate consumers about available products and services, cross-promote products and improve the customer experience.
A recent retail sector technology adoption study from CompTIA found that one in three U.S. retailers currently uses digital signage with another 22 percent planning to implement soon. Among the top ways retailers use digital signage are for sales or promotional announcements; photo displays including images of customers using products; and custom videos such as tutorials, advice and customer testimonials.
“A growing number of retailers are adopting digital signage because they see it can help them alter the usual shopping patterns of consumers,” said Marcy Patzer, senior director of retail strategies, Scala. “By enabling this change even for a split second, retailers entice customers to stop their routines and direct their attention to something new. That split second can truly transform consumer shopping activities and buying cycles.”
Scala offers retailers the following five tips as they look to get started with digital signage:
1) Start with Goals and Metrics. Retailers need to understand why they are using digital media by setting goals and linking them to measurements. Begin with a pilot installation, which is essential for learning, and be sure to have metrics in place to determine project success. Goals and metrics can be based on a mix of business – such as improving brand awareness and boosting sales of targeted products – and operations – such as system uptime and failover capabilities.
2) Employ a Cross-functional Team. Successful digital signage deployments require a team effort. Marketing, communications, IT and visual merchandising all need to be part of your team. Having multiple departments involved up-front can help prevent an eleventh hour halt of the project. Taking this approach also supports how in a multi-channel world all aspects of an organization need to provide their insights – perhaps learned through their respective channel – as well as share resources and digital assets. Keep in mind, your physical environment has its own persona and digital displays need to enhance the environment versus detract from it. You spend too much time and money on your stores for displays to be situated haphazardly. Also, pull in your digital media vendors. They have domain expertise, and can share best practices and project management skills.
3) Develop a Content Strategy. Retailers need to continually have fresh, bold content that commands attention of consumers. Digital signage should be part of an omnichannel strategy that addresses content across in-store, mobile, print and web channels to provide a consistent brand promise. Also link your content with advanced analytics capabilities to generate meaningful messages that address exactly what shoppers are looking for in the store. The result is content that can be used to announce targeted price changes, generate in-store promotions, create up-sale offers and more.
4) Review Connectivity Options. Digital signage systems are network based. Do you want to maintain a content management server in store or deploy Software as a Service (SaaS)? Will you utilize the Internet or a private networking infrastructure – inside or outside your firewall? These issues provide a great example why having IT on your digital signage team is a real benefit. For multi-store installations, not all stores may have the same connectivity options so select a hardware solution set that works in multiple environments.
5) Determine Customer Engagement Level. Examine how you want your customers to engage with digital signage. Will they just see it? Touch it? Use other technology – like mobile devices – to engage with digital signage? Will the digital signage engage all of their senses? Digital signage can be part of an interactive store environment that engages today’s connected consumers and enhances the customer experience. Also, don’t forget to add some future-proofing for how your digital displays may evolve in a year or two. For example, you may want to start simple to build experience and add touchscreens or multi-screen displays down the road – so plan in that flexibility from the start.