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Be Prepared When Adding A Digital Signage Display

There’s no doubt that a digital signage display can ignite sales and branding power. According to a study by VAGlobal, more than 40 percent of consumers prefer to shop at stores with digital displays. An Eclipse Digital Media study determined that about 30 percent of consumers consider digital menus an influential part of purchase decisions. And a Lavi study revealed the power of digital displays in perceived checkout waiting times, cutting them up to 35 percent. We could go on and on, but the idea is clear – digital messaging has quickly proven itself and is here to stay. But like with any technology, it’s just a tool. In the right hands, it’s an incredible tool. In the wrong hands, it’s a waste of money. So, how can a business be sure it has the right hands for digital signage displays? As long as business leaders know what the potential pitfalls are in digital signage, they can overcome them.

Display Difficulties

In the world of A/V technology, digital signage comes with one of the gentler learning curves around. With hundreds of hardware and software providers in the market, digital signage has been polished to a great degree. Still, before jumping into the digital signage deep end, it’s smart to forecast potential difficulties and mitigate them in advance. Some of those difficulties may include:

1. Not enough planning – Proper planning prevents poor performance. And when it comes to digital signage, truer words have never been spoken. Before committing anything financially to a digital signage installation, it is absolutely critical that the company’s decision-makers get together and hash out the important details.

Chief among these details is “why?” As in, why is the business even considering digital signage in the first place? The answer has to be something beyond improving sales or branding. There has to be a need that the signage can overcome. Perhaps customers are complaining about products not being in stock. Perhaps customers are annoyed by waiting times. Maybe the company has a hotshot social media guru on hand and wants to take full advantage of them. These are strong reasons to adopt digital signage, and each reason will steer software decisions down the road, so details are important.

2. Not enough dedicated manpower – This is something that should also be figured out before spending a dime on technology. Many companies make the commitment to the hardware, choose their software options carefully, set their vision and then don’t supply the requisite expertise to ensure that vision happens.

Purchasing and installing the digital signage is just the first step. The signage requires ongoing support, maintenance and content production to provide a true return on investment. Make sure there are enough content creators ready to generate layouts and engaging content. Make sure there are A/V integrators involved in the entire process, including training people on signage software and to respond when there is a failure. And make sure someone is responsible for overseeing the signage in its entirety.

It may make sense to assign content production on a regional or location-by-location basis. By dividing up content production duties, each location can target their messaging for better engagement and more effective advertising. For example, in a major city with multiple locations, one location may be in a Spanish-speaking part of town, while another may be in an area where Mandarin or Vietnamese is spoken. The goal is to speak directly to potential customers, and targeted messaging does that. Of course, with many content producers, results will be uneven, but with tight management, it can be done.

3. Not enough integration – Full integration is a tough thing to tackle right out of the gate, and most companies will probably need to adjust to it over time. However, complete integration should be the eventual goal, no matter how intimidating that goal is.

This is where having a knowledgeable A/V integrator and signage expert can make all the difference. Complete integration means unifying every aspect of the company’s operations and targeting areas that can be enhanced by signage.

There’s nothing worse for a customer than driving to a store only to find that the thing they were looking for is out of stock. Digital signage tied to the store’s inventory can be used by customers to search for the item they want. If it’s in, the store can use the opportunity to suggest companion items or accessories, making for an ideal time to upsell. If the item is not in, then the store might offer a discount on something similar to make up for it. In either case, the customer is more likely to walk away happier.

The trick to integration is knowing where it’s possible. This is something that an A/V expert can assist with.

4. CMS confusion – CMS software is the signage’s control center, where content is organized, planned and executed. Some CMS options are rife with features, but with a confusing interface to match, while others are barebones. The perfect middle ground will depend on the company’s needs and personnel. If a tech-savvy content maker is in charge, then a feature heavy CMS might prove to be quite valuable. If the signage is under the purview of someone who just wants it to work, then interface simplicity will be a must.

This is, again, something that A/V integrators can help with. And if need be, an integrator can also train company personnel on the CMS so that they are confident with using it.

5. Bad bandwidth – This is probably the easiest issue to correct, but it must be corrected before adopting digital signage. Signage draws a lot of bandwidth, particularly if that signage will be relied on for high definition media. Without a bandwidth upgrade, the signage may be reduced to choppy, amateurish performance, or may be cut off from the ISP altogether. The obvious solution is to contact the ISP and ask about something like a private leased line connection. This ensures data stability and allows admins to track and allocate data usage between links.

Alternatively, a business could invest in media players that offer local playback. Local playback means that the player downloads the media and caches it, instead of streaming it from a remote location. This can reduce bandwidth usage dramatically, and media players can be assigned to download media during off-business hours so that there is no interruption in signage performance.

Digital signage is a marvel when planned and executed properly. Its capacity for engaging customers, building brands and streamlining operations is unmatched, but it has to be set up and managed properly. Doing so will ensure that a company gets their full return on investment.