A powerful statement in the current business environment, digital signs are a common sight among established retailers like Walmart, Carrefour and Tesco. In retail shopping environments, digital displays have almost become a mandated tool for communicating with customers.

There are definitely new challenges that retailers are facing due to COVID-19 and the rapidly changing physical retail environment. However, the digital signage market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.3% from 2020 to 2027, reaching $19.44 billion by 2027. The increasing popularity of digital signage is bolstered by the needs and wants of digitally native and mobile-friendly audiences who seek and demand a superior experience at all times.

Types of digital signage

Digital signage uses technologies like LED, LCD and projections to display videos, digital images, information and media. Common formats and types include:

● Single-screen, automated content with real-time updating, including news, sports, flight information display systems (FIDS), weather
● Public-facing digital signage
● Digital menu boards
● Wayfinding displays and kiosks
● Large-format video display screens and walls
● Interactive digital signs

What makes digital signs more impactful than conventional signs?

Improved attention
Digital displays are hard to overlook when it comes to capturing the attention of customers. According to a recent survey, eight out of ten first-time customers are pulled into stores because of digital signage. Anyone who knows their ‘ABCs’ of marketing can vouch for the effects of an impressive digital display, where both the size and scale of a digital sign can deliver an unparalleled experience for customers that far supersedes any small screen static or video experience.

Improved sales
Many studies showed that digital displays can influence sales in retail environments, especially in larger stores. In the case of hypermarkets (also known as supercentres or big box stores), three field experiments revealed that in addition to increasing time spent in-store by three minutes (from 33.16 to 36.58 minutes), the presence of live digital displays also saw customers purchase, on average, five additional items during their visit. This uptick in sales in large stores was stable and continued for five months post-installation.

Enhanced in-store ambience
Digital displays improve the shopping experience by increasing vividness in stores, creating a dynamic ambience and eliminating dullness.

Spotlight on important items and messages
Digital displays allow business owners to place the focus on important information and deliver it in an impactful way to ensure it gets noticed. Special promotions can be highlighted at the point of sale and sales associates are able to ensure that only in-stock or high value products are shown.

Better product recall and increased likelihood of purchase
Numerous studies have shown that messages backed by visuals last longer in the customer’s memory. Even if a customer does not buy a product right away, strong visuals delivered through digital means can improve recall for the product and make it more likely the customer will purchase in the future.

Easy to revise and modify the content
By their very nature, digital displays make it easy to revise or update content, eliminating the need for investment in new signs. This flexibility helps retail business owners deliver regularly updated, fresh and relevant content that would be otherwise difficult to incorporate in other types of displays.

Best practices for retail digital signage

Digital signage does not become effective on its own, but should be backed by a crisp, well-refined strategy. Here are our top three tips to ensure your digital signage system is as effective as possible.

1. Implement a content strategy
A well-defined content strategy is essential to ensure maximum effectiveness.
First, your strategy needs to consider the end results you hope to achieve with your signage. For example, are you hoping to inform and educate, drive sales, assist your customers in quick decision-making, or a combination of all of those things?

Second, your content needs to be specific, addressing the needs of your customers and having a clear call to action or directly appealing to shoppers’ needs. Digital signage can easily be used to display content and pricing or offers specific to the location or outlet. The more personalised and localised your content, the more likely customers will be attracted to it and inspired to indulge, resulting in more purchases.

Studies show that shoppers respond the most to messages that are tailored, addressing their current needs compared to conventional and general brand messages.

2. Focus on price in your message
Research shows that to be effective in increasing sales, digital signage is most effective whenprice is included, and is even more effective when showing an offer or promotion. Signage without price and/or offer may not be as effective in inspiring customers to take action.

3. Carefully consider location and placement of your signage
Consider areas where customers spend the most time and identify how placing the signage there will improve customer experience. In outdoor locations, digital signage has the capability to turn a casual onlooker into your loyal customer. Place it where the sign gets maximum visibility and impact. Our recent banking study measured the placement of digital displays in a retail finance environment, and the importance this plays in reaching your customers. There are direct parallels with the in-branch banking and in-store shopping experience.

How much does digital signage cost?

Once the domain of large-scale retailers, today’s digital signage solutions are much more potent and scalable, allowing retail brands of all sizes and budgets to take advantage of this technology revolution.

However, it is important to consider that digital signage systems have transcended beyond being a set of hardware, to a complex ecosystem including content, software, network, analytics, interactive displays.
The two largest areas of investment in digital signage tend to be network management and content creation. The cost of content creation is based on the quality, frequency of screen changes and the purpose of the signage. If planned well, retail businesses can save substantial time and budget here.

Things to consider before investing in digital signage

Though digital displays benefit businesses on many levels, their suitability must be evaluated beforehand. Before deciding on a solution, ask the following questions:

● How many digital displays are required?
● What is your budget?
● What content are you going to display?
● What timeline do you have available for installation?

And, most importantly:

● Which specific shopper pain point/s do you intend to address?
(This could link directly to one of your sales/revenue or profitability goals)

When retailers fail to consider these key questions many can end up feeling as though they aren’t seeing a strong ROI on their digital display investment, receive a lukewarm customer response or failing to capture enough actionable insights to improve their network and content.

Scala can be your reliable partner in helping you make the right digital signage choices for your retail business.

Check out how Carrefour is leveraging digital signage across its stores in this case study.

Sources:
https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2020/06/09/2045481/0/en/Digital-Signage-Market-to-Grow-at-a-CAGR-of-4-3-from-2020-to-2027-to-reach-19-44-Billion-by-2027-Pre-and-Post-COVID-19-Estimates-by-Meticulous-Research.html
https://www.digitalsignageconnection.com/the-growing-impact-of-digital-signage-in-retail
https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesagencycouncil/2018/04/27/visuals-are-the-key-to-creating-great-customer-brand-connections/#1e2eb1574163
https://www.brickmeetsclick.com/stuff/contentmgr/files/0/fcbc35b91e0e58a552acd1d578aa1127/files/world_according_to_shoppers_2004.pdf?