Digital Signage: A New Way to Engage

Maximize Your Message

Jennifer Ramstrom

In an age when customers expect instant communication and entertainment, retailers are rapidly flocking to digital signs.

One of the strongest benefits of digital signage is that it allows retailers to communicate and interact in real time – to grab the attention of potential customers and broadcast information throughout stores. With today’s technology, store managers can also send nearby customers personalized special offers and capture valuable demographic information.

Big and Growing

Retail digital signage was a $6 billion market in 2013 and is projected to reach $23 billion in 2018, according to market research firm MRRSE. Improved user interfaces and decreasing prices are speeding adoption – and so are customer preferences.

“We’re visual creatures, and we experience our world by sight and touch,” said Allen Farnham, Senior Business Development Specialist at Connection’s digital signage technology solutions group.

Signs are hugely important to retail businesses. A FedEx study found that 76% consumers enter a store they have never visited before based on its signs, and 75% have told others about a store solely because of its signage. Sixty-eight percent have purchased a product or service because a sign caught their eye.

Digital signs do much a better job of capturing customers’ attention than their static cousins, and studies have shown that they’re 34% more effective at promoting items.

Digital signs also reduce frustration in businesses like grocery stores and banks, where customers wait in line. In a survey, 84% of shoppers said that watching digital displays helps the wait time pass more quickly, and 85% said screens are entertaining and pleasant to watch.

A Host of Options

Businesses have many choices for deploying digital signs. Here are some of the innovative ways stores are using them today:

Targeted Content Via Beacons – Digital signs can be embedded with tiny radio transmitters called beacons, which search for nearby customers who have the store’s app on their phones and send them ads and discounts. If the customer has filled out a profile, offers can be tailored to their preferences and buying history.

Customer Intelligence – Digital signs can also be equipped with tiny video cameras that record customers as they view content. Eye-tracking software reveals which products they’re interested in. Software anonymizes the information while tracking dwell time and noting the gender and approximate age of viewers. This information helps stores identify high-traffic areas and target their messaging to the right demographic.

“Endless Aisle” Kiosks – With limited showroom capacity, stores often can’t display all their merchandise. Digital kiosks let customers see multiple images of products that aren’t on the shelf, as well as detailed product descriptions, dimensions, and even customer reviews.

Smart Endcaps – Signs are traditionally used at the end of aisles to display promotions. But it’s tough for staff to keep up with the latest deals, and replacing print signs is expensive. In addition, customers have gotten so used to the signs that they don’t always “see” them. Digital signs not only attract customer eyeballs, they let retailers update information with the click of a mouse.

Virtual Chats – In specialty stores where clerks are busy with other customers, shoppers can use a touchscreen to set up a video chat with a “virtual expert” at a call center.

Digital signs give retailers powerful new ways to engage and communicate with customers. Easy to manage, they encourage storeowners to experiment with creative campaigns – pointing the way to a brighter future for on-site advertising.