Omnichannel retail has transformed traditional ways of shopping, and ways of reaching consumers. Digital signage has been a major factor in that transformation, becoming central to marketing strategies for most bricks-and-mortar retailers. Yet despite the important role it plays in reaching consumers at a pivotal moment in their journey to purchase, some retailers are failing to get a good ROI from their digital signage network.
We sat down with our Enterprise Account Manager Matt Crawford to get his take on some of the common mistakes he sees, and how you can avoid them.
“It’s not as simple as putting up screens and removing all the posters in-store,” he said. “That approach misses what digital signage really has to offer. It’s not a stand-alone solution. It’s an important part of a strategy that connects the online presence and extends all the way to the physical stores”.
But what works online isn’t necessarily going to work in stores. Matt believes that you need to tailor creative as part of an overarching communication strategy. The messaging could be uniform, or it might be specific to every retail touch point from digital signage to touch screen kiosks or tablets like a Chrometab used by frontline workers. You’ll need a robust, carefully planned network to achieve that outcome.
Here are four of Matt’s pet peeves, mistakes made by those who haven’t thought very hard about their digital signage strategy.
1: The screen is an endpoint, not a starting point Don’t start with the screen, start with the strategy. It is important, obviously, but it comes much later in the list of decisions to be made. “Before you carve out budget for equipment,” said Matt, “ask how will the ROI be measured? Will it be by sales-uplift, brand awareness, by enhancing customer or employee experience, or all of these? It’s important to work out who’ll be doing the creative and the scheduling and who will take ownership for digital signage for the organisation. Once that and many other things have been established, then and only then is it time to start thinking about the types of screens you want, and where they’re going to be located.”
Once you’re at that point you’ll need to think about size, brightness, visibility and rotation (landscape or portrait). If you have a mix of rotations, it will make your creative and scheduling processes more complicated. Is that ok, have you budgeted for the extra cost that may incur?
“When thinking about what your digital signage network will finally look like, put yourself in your customers shoes. Is it attractive, is it engaging, would it add value to your experience? If ‘No’ is the answer to any of these questions, then the strategy needs a bit more work”.
2: Location, Location ”That’s a mistake I see time and time again. It’s not good enough to put a screen in a window facing a busy road, run some ads and hope people will respond. What if the window doesn’t get enough foot traffic, or it’s not bright enough when flooded by afternoon sun? If the audience can’t read what’s on the screen, the whole thing ends up being a waste of time and money.”
You need to think about customer dwell time. The most sensible location might be the window, but it might actually be near the counter, or the sale items, or the dressing room (if you have one). If you can only afford one screen, make that location count. If you can afford more, make them all count as well.
3: Let’s Get Creative “Get creative with the creative,” says Matt, “and always tailor for the moment the consumer is engaged with it. What works online may not work in-store. And what works on one screen may not work on another. External facing messages should encourage a visit to the store, while an indoor screen should help guide customers along their path to purchase”
Many retailers forget about how digital signage can be used for all kinds of messaging: informing shoppers about promotional offers, payment options, social distancing, and loyalty programmes. If you have tablets or kiosks, those messages can be even more targeted as these interactions tend to be personalised.
“Above all, the creative needs to be constantly adding value.” said Matt. “If not, what’s the point? If the screen content is static and just showing one image – not displaying engaging video, thought provoking ideas, or helpful messaging – you’re better off with a lightbox.”.
4. Content With Your Content? The content management system (CMS) that runs your digital signage network is the most powerful tool in your marketing strategy. A good system such as Laqorr allows you to place your creative exactly where you need it, exactly when you want it.
“I often refer to one of our clients who has a chain of stores that, among other things, sells umbrellas. Near train stations, stores push a bucket of brollies to the front when the trains arrive and they quickly run an umbrella promo on their screen. Not every store does it (there’s no point trying to sell an umbrella when the sun’s shining), just where it’s raining. And when the weather clears, they’d turn off that promotion. They almost always sell out of umbrellas. That’s the power of targeted, personalised digital marketing”.
Make sure you use all the power that the CMS offers, and a good CMS will make that easy for you. Complex scheduling requirements don’t have to be difficult to manage, but you do have set them up thoughtfully and you do have to manage them. Assigning resources to create the right content and implement a marketing strategy is crucial. And as the umbrella shop knows, the effort pays dividends.
“Digital signage works,” said Matt. “Whether that’s an internal display, a video wall, a kiosk, a tablet. Because you get to decide what plays where and when, you shape the conversation of your marketing in a very specific, very targeted way. When it’s done well, it connects online and physical environments, enhances customer experiences and helps drive sales.”
Learn more about how datmedia can help your business utilise digital signage. Contact us now, and ask for Matt.