Digital signage: The perfect tool for in-store visual communication

Digital signage: The perfect tool for in-store visual communicationIn the ’70s, marketing pundits believed digital signage was the future of in-store visual communication. That future is here, and it is as bright as they believed. So useful is the technology that many big-name brands around the world, including Nike, Lenovo, and Soletrader, have incorporated it into their informational and promotional ecosystems.

Digital signage gives brands an easy way of communicating to – and even with – shoppers who visit their stores. The technology also allows businesses to augment or improve the in-store experience for their customers. Some retailers use the technology to differentiate themselves from the competition.

Despite its considerable utility, an appreciable number of retailers have yet to jump into the digital signage bandwagon, mainly because they are unsure if it is worth the cost. Installing digital signage systems can, admittedly, cost a pretty penny; you may have to pay £1000 ($1300) or more per screen, depending on the vendor and the specific nature of your needs. However, the right way of looking at this cost is not as an expense, but as an investment. Here’s why.

It attracts greater attention and boosts sales

You are far likelier to catch the attention of in-store shoppers with digital signage than with printed media. According to a 2012 Intel report dubbed ‘Engaging Bank Customers with Interactive Digital Signage,’ digital displays capture 400 percent more views than static images. This has a very positive effect on sales, as you can imagine; digital signage boosts the purchase amount and decrease dwell time by nearly 30 percent, according to a report by DataTrend.

It allows you to leverage video

Video is a powerful communication format. According to research by Databox, videos drive nearly 60 percent of ad clicks on Facebook, about twice the rate for static images – a stunning testament to the power of the format. In fact, video has become such a natural part of our day-to-day life that you can use it to engage in-store shoppers as if it was content, they specifically sought out. Digital signage lets you take advantage of this powerful format to attain your informational and promotional objectives.

Improves interactivity

Digital signage makes possible novel forms of interactivity. For instance, your business can run a campaign encouraging customers waiting in checkout lines to sign up to get email newsletters, concert tickets or other virtual goodies in exchange for in-store discounts.

It can help you create the omni-channel marketing experience

Research shows that repetition boosts recall. You can use digital signage to take advantage of this principle. For instance, your business can conduct an advertising campaign that runs the same content on your website, social media pages, and in-store digital displays. Not only does this kind of approach create a seamless marketing experience, it also helps in-store customers quickly recall the product or service you are promoting. The value of this approach is easy to see when you consider that 68 percent of consumers report purchasing a product because a sign caught their eye.

It lets you quickly test, iterate and localize your marketing messages

Digital signage software possibilities allow you to quickly test your marketing messages to find out which is the most effective. And because the digital ads have a short lead time, you can test several messages at the same time. With time, you can hone your marketing approach as your knowledge grows. Digital signage also makes it possible to localize your marketing messages or even run particular ads during certain times of the day or week. This flexibility means you can quickly respond to changes in audience preference in ways that would not be possible with print media.

It can reduce perceived waiting time

For customers who are concerned about time – who isn’t? – perceived waiting time is a better predictor of satisfaction than actual waiting time. This is according to a 1998 study titled ‘How disconfirmation, perception and actual waiting times impact customer satisfaction’ by Mark M. Davis and Janelle Heineke published in the International Journal of Service Industry Management. What does this have to do with digital signage? Where waiting is unavoidable, you can reduce perceived waiting times and boost customer satisfaction by running entertaining content to keep buyers engaged.

It can help you reduce some business costs

Digital signage systems can cost a pretty penny to install, but they save your business a considerable amount of money in the long run by reducing some business costs. For instance, you may qualify for a form of tax relief known as a capital allowance because payments for digital signage hardware are considered a capital expenditure.

Digital signage can also cut down your administration and marketing costs. One person can oversee an entire system from a single location. If you have a 50-screen system in 15 franchises, for example, you can update content in all of them at once. In essence, having a digital signage system frees you from worrying about content delivery, allowing you to focus on creating engaging material for your audience.

Closing thoughts

If you have been looking for the perfect way to reach your in-store audience, digital signage for retail should be at the top of your list, if not the only thing on it. These systems are, admittedly, expensive to install, but they are worth every penny. They provide unparalleled flexibility, allowing you to test your marketing messages, run ads that are relevant to the time of day, and take advantage of video, one of the most effective marketing formats available. Digital signage can even help you improve your customer experience by easing the frustration of waiting in line. The technology also makes creating and managing marketing campaigns much easier, which can save you a significant amount of cash. Digital signage is not an expense, but an investment – one that pays rich dividends.