The digital signage industry is flourishing, with its global value forecast to reach $31.71 billion by 2025. But are retailers seeing a return on their investment?
It’s easy to be seduced by technology. Digital screens are the public-facing element of an often bewildering world that includes AI, facial recognition, and big data.
But behind every successful digital sign is a good old-fashioned content strategy. It brings together the different technological elements to create content that deepens engagement with customers, strengthens brand loyalty, increases footfall and ultimately, drives sales.
Your content strategy
Digital screens aren’t magic: they can only achieve so much. You need to decide what those objectives should be and how you’ll measure them – for example, downloads or sales. Then you can design content to match.
But remember: less can be more. Carefully positioned screens showing well-chosen content will engage your customers far better than bombarding them with messages on multiple displays.
Increasingly, the aim is to create an ambient experience where screens add value across all stages of the customer journey.
Tailor your message
At its simplest level, digital signage can simply be connected to a playlist of great images stored either locally or in the cloud. But there’s so much more you can do to make it resonate with your audience.
There’s the potential to incorporate AI facial recognition technology to customise content according to the age and gender of the viewer. If integrated with data collection, such as loyalty cards, signs can display messages tailored to each customer, like special offers for clothes similar to those they’ve previously purchased.
Provide local information
Of course, you want to inform your customers about your products. But don’t limit yourself to advertising: you can provide up-to-date stock information local to that store, encouraging customers to buy.
You can also provide relevant local information such as weather reports or traffic updates: a recent survey found that 48% of respondents would appreciate the former, while 38% would find the latter helpful. Those aged 55+ were likely to value this type of information, making it a possible route to increasing brand loyalty among an older demographic.
Make it interactive
Automotive sales are one area where digital signage is really speeding ahead. Digital screens can be used not only to display car adverts but also to enable customers to explore customisation options using touchscreens. That inspires customers and saves valuable showroom space.
Downloadable content is another area of interest, particularly among younger consumers. A recent survey found that 43% of those aged 18-34 would download a retail voucher from a website accessed via a digital poster, while 29% of 18-24-year-olds would download a clip of a movie, a game or music.
Above all, interactivity should enable people to buy direct – perhaps even through voice-assisted technology such as Alexa.
Make it real-time and dynamic
Ever see shop assistants stickering up reduced produce at the end of the day? Digital displays could soon replace static pricing information on the edge of shelves.
These digital displays would be controlled centrally, able to drop prices on produce nearing its sell-by date or to match those of competitors. They could also feature customer reviews or recommend complementary products.
Digital displays might also pull content from other sources such as a Twitter feed, enabling viewers to follow – or even join – a conversation about the brand.
Digital signage – the future
As technology develops, the possibilities for digital signage seem endless. But what really counts is the thinking behind the screens, and the integration with other strategies and systems, such as customer relationship management and loyalty schemes.