Ideas and activation, extended – why retail digital signage is a rapidly growing sector

This week’s news that Amscreen have started the much-anticipated roll out of their convenience store digital signage network puts the spotlight firmly on the growth of this area of digital signage, and the reasons for this.

Expected to comprise 1000 venues at the start of 2011, the convenience store network will take digital screen advertising into the heart of communities across Britain. It will deliver a compelling ‘win win’ opportunity for retailers and advertisers, as well as for consumers. For retailers, it’s a communication channel to deliver information to customers in a straightforward way, adding value to their in-store experience. For advertisers, with screens installed at the ‘moment of truth’ when people are poised to purchase, it is a proven effective way to drive brand consideration and activation in front of a huge shopping, impulse-purchasing audience. Consumers win because of the more obvious communication of special offers, new products and additional information.

So why, right now, is it attracting big name companies, whether their role is as a retailer, a network developer or an advertiser? Put simply, retail digital signage fits in with today’s value driven climate when ROI is a constant watchword and advertisers need to see proof of value and engagement from their media choices.

Advertisers will invest in it because it is measurable – both on the ‘way in’, in terms of audience numbers reached by a campaign, which are measured by unimpeachable transaction data; and on the ‘way out’, through EPOS data showing sales uplifts, especially using test and control methodology where the only variable between store groups is the screen media.

This EPOS data has shown double-digit sales uplifts time and again, proving that the screen provides purchasing ideas that effectively prompt activation, arguably a combination that equals the ‘Holy Grail’ for an advertiser. And on the other side of the coin, retailers like it because it gives them another way to talk to their customers and provide them with something above and beyond that delivered by other competitors in the retail sector, encouraging people to visit their store over another, and of course, its proven ability to drive activation benefits them as well as advertisers.

However, it isn’t the case that putting screens in a venue will automatically prove a cash cow. The screen proposition – placement, customer mindset and the value of what is shown on the screen – must be carefully defined to ensure that it adds tangible value to the store visit experience. If this groundwork isn’t carried out then it won’t work, and that’s a mistake that’s been made, sometimes in high-profile cases, in the past. However, these are mistakes that have definitely proven to be learning experiences as the ‘new generation’ of screen media prove. Networks installed now are fit for purpose in terms of placement, content and activation capabilities, and as such prove time and again their value.

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  • Retail Signage

    I agree that retail signage is heading digital, although I think the process will take time. The best retail sign designers know that the process will be a long one. Standard retail sign design has got a long way to go yet. All retail signage is limited by costs too and going digital still isn’t cheap enough.