February 2012 Question of the Month

February 29, 2012

"Beyond large video walls and digital displays, what are some examples you’ve seen of small digital screens used effectively in stores, healthcare facilities, corporate campuses and other venues? How do these small screens make more of an impact than larger displays, and in what circumstances do you see them as more effective?"

Answers:

Gary Halpin, Agency 225

This is something we have been exploring more lately, although some technical hurdles still make it somewhat tough in a retail environment (where w

Jeremy Gavin, ScreenFeed

The future for small screens is big. I've personally been excited about the capabilities of small screens for a number of years.

Allen Marks, Marks Consulting

For any commercially deployed Dig Sign, there are two major classes of customers: The Content Sponsor, and the content consumer. 

Dave Matera, OOH Pitch, Inc.

As has been proven by the proliferation and success of smart phones and iPads in consumer adoption and communication, small digital screens can be

Dan Alpern, Alpern Media

I've recently seen small digital screens as a greeter/process-helper in a military housing office.

Vernon West, Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Some of the more compelling executions of small screens I’ve seen include the JC Penney FindMore Jewelry App being rolled out to in-store associate

Peter Vrettas, EDR Media, LLC

Small screens can excel where space is tight or the environment is highly personal.

Randy Dearborn, MGM Resorts International

For our industry, the small 8.5” screen that reside on our table games have become a great way to target messaging to a captive audience.

Amy Vollet, The Integer Group - Dallas

Small screen formats work best in intimate environments.  The size of the unit makes it less imposing and in the right circumstances, more effectiv

Daniel Wilkins, N2

I think anytime an advertiser takes advantage of the opportunity to interact with a potential customer by using the technology available to them it

Anne White, PRN

Smaller screens can offer flexibility, mobility and a more personal consumer experience.

Chet Patel, Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

As uncanny as this sounds, but in men’s urinals, I see the adds that seem to be quite attractive.

Mark Zwicker, DW+P | St. Joseph Content

Large displays are great for the “wow” and small displays are perfect for the “how”.

Jack Sullivan, Starcom

I believe that many of the smaller screens work best in a more personal and intimate environment.  Generally, the bigger screens have a "one screen

Matthew Brown, Servus Credit Union

I have seen everything from iPads and other tablets or slates, and small-form screens specifically for digital signage used in stores, hotels, rest

Patricia Mitrano, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

I enjoy the hotel countertop digital displays that feature their attractions and services.

Gary Halpin

President, Agency 225

This is something we have been exploring more lately, although some technical hurdles still make it somewhat tough in a retail environment (where we focus most of our sales-lift work).  Power to the monitors are the key stumbling block for these, but I see them as being extremely effective, especially when tied with some sort of trigger (e.g. RFID) on a product that is close.  For instance, the monitor could be playing a passive content schedule, but when a particular item near the monitor is picked up, then the content switches to information about that product.  I see that as being very effective, yet have only seen it once, and I'm guessing because of the power requirements at the different sections.  As everyone should know by now, it's not always the biggest monitor that is the most effective, but ones that are seen, and seen for an extended length of time.  For one of our networks, we have a long dwell time area and always emphasize the importance of a monitor here, even if there isn't sound and even if it's not 60" or larger.  These get noticed big time in the locations we provide service to.

Jeremy Gavin

Head Content Chief
ScreenFeed

The future for small screens is big. I've personally been excited about the capabilities of small screens for a number of years. In fact, when we launched the Screenfeed content service back in 2007 we supported deliver to Wifi photo frames since day 1.  With the Haivision/Coolsign and Kodak partnership last year and iAdea's players working with a number of software solutions including Scala and Signagelive, networks have more and more options to take advantage of the ability to place screens on counter tops, table tops and provide unique messages based on the location in a store with such an easy deployment.

Allen Marks

Principal, Marks Consulting

For any commercially deployed Dig Sign, there are two major classes of customers: The Content Sponsor, and the content consumer. 

The motivation is different for these two Audiences:

The first group is concerned with content placement, advertisement, marketing and informational display that aides the creator. 

The second group is concerned with content that is relevant to the. Consumer at the time and place the sign is. Viewed.  Therefore, understanding the needs of the "transient" consumer are most important when designing and displaying content.  The effectiveness of these displays is based on  relevant content; "directed" to the consumer at the time and place needed. Where to go?, what to buy?, where to buy? what time is the event?,...
The more relevant the content, the more valuable.

The key is knowing; no, for-seeing "What is  relevant!"
Hospitals, Hotels, Public Venues, Point of Sales, "proper" Product Placement are all valuable instances!

Dave Matera

President, OOH Pitch, Inc.

As has been proven by the proliferation and success of smart phones and iPads in consumer adoption and communication, small digital screens can be very powerful. 

As far as digital signage, small screens have been implemented in venues such as taxis, elevators, fitness machines, ATM’s and airplane seatbacks.  These small-scale screens can be very effective, so we investigated what common factors make them successful.

1. Proximity
2. Sound
3. Space

First, for each of these types of small signage, the viewer is forced to be in close proximity because of the nature of the space in which the signage exists and/or the activity in which the consumer is engaged.  For example, the consumer must interact with the ATM screen in order complete his/her financial transaction.

Secondly, most of these types of signage have personalized sound.  Either speakers play within a controlled, enclosed space (taxi) or the sound comes through headphones for a truly personal interaction (fitness, in-flight).  (Would in-elevator and ATMs be more effective if they also had sound?)

Finally, as mentioned above, there is an element of space.  The viewer is either in a confined space in which a larger screen would be too intrusive (taxi, elevator), or the consumer must be close to the screen even if in a larger general space (fitness machine, in-flight seatback screen, ATM).

Overall, larger screens are not always appropriate.  The screen must fit the space for maximum effectiveness.  Smaller screens sometimes are a necessity—and can prove to be very effective despite their seeming restrictions.

Lucas Peltonen, Digital OOH Director, OOH Pitch, Inc., also contributed to this response.

Dan Alpern

Marketing Director, Alpern Media

I've recently seen small digital screens as a greeter/process-helper in a military housing office. In an environment cluttered with posters, permanent signage, and bulletins; the digital signage stood out and helped end-users understand what was expected of them by the service-counter staff. The digital signage was added in response to poor customer acknowledgement and service feedback. Post digital signage feedback from customers was overwhelmingly positive; many were able to help themselves, and the remainder came to staff with forms filled out correctly. This has dramatically reduced the amount of time per customer, and increased satisfaction on both sides of the counter. A well thought out process that includes information for common variables and/or questions, in a short cycle, is crucial for this type of digital signage to be effective.

Vernon West

Project Manager, Transformational Customer Experiences
Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Some of the more compelling executions of small screens I’ve seen include the JC Penney FindMore Jewelry App being rolled out to in-store associates nationwide.  Associates will sit with customers and show them the whole assortment of ring styles available through the store.  The new Coke vending machines are intriguing in that they offer customers over 200 varieties of soda using a simple touchscreen.  Finally, I have to give a nod to Ethan Allen who has installed screens in their showrooms to allow customers to browse their collections by style.  It’s a very intuitive, beautiful, approach.  These examples all point to the need for a tailored and personalized experience to resonate with customers.

Peter Vrettas

CEO, EDR Media, LLC

Small screens can excel where space is tight or the environment is highly personal. One well-received retail example is a small shelf talker that displays product information. A highly successful hospitality application is interactive slots signage. Casinos are using 3x4-inch, full-color touchscreens embedded in their slot machines to personalize the casino experience and encourage continuous play.  Their messaging is triggered by a patron’s player club card, displaying personalized greetings, promotional offers, and points accrued. And even though these screens are small, they still reinforce the casino marketing strategy with branded design elements.  Finally, a word of caution: Think carefully about implementing small screens.  When deployed in areas such as elevators and restrooms, there’s a good chance that consumers will think they are overly intrusive.

Randy Dearborn

VP Multimedia @Guest Technology, MGM Resorts International

For our industry, the small 8.5” screen that reside on our table games have become a great way to target messaging to a captive audience.

Amy Vollet

VP, Director of Media
The Integer Group - Dallas

Small screen formats work best in intimate environments.  The size of the unit makes it less imposing and in the right circumstances, more effective in delivering detailed information.  The content driven format is engaging for consumers and therefore, able to hold longer attention time.  Elevators, gas pumps and check out screens are mainstays and use in taxis and tabletops are gaining popularity.  As the cost structure for small screens improves, digital screens will continue to replace static/paper formats.  Retail media vendors and retailers are working to harness this capability to aid shoppers all the way to the shelf.  Providing valuable information on demand will fuel the shoppers digital journey from laptops/tablets, to mobile phones and now increasingly through digital signage.

Daniel Wilkins

President, N2

I think anytime an advertiser takes advantage of the opportunity to interact with a potential customer by using the technology available to them it is an affective use of their medium.  Where the smaller screen has the inherent disadvantage of size, it have the potential advantage of being able to communicate in a more intimate and direct way.  Advertisers are beginning to integrate mobile, digital place-based and social media strategies that are creating more impactful impressions.  Digital place-based media is in a tremendously advantageous spot of having the scale to make campaigns utilizing these strategies successful.  The larger format screens, while possessing the ability to support integrated programs, typically lack the scale and/or appropriate environment for these type of programs. 

Anne White

SVP, Content Strategy & Creative, PRN

Smaller screens can offer flexibility, mobility and a more personal consumer experience. A great example is the Kohl’s pricing signage… a smart use of small format digital signage to solve a common operational challenge and provide a better consumer experience (although not the most beautiful graphics solution). I’ve seen the increasingly prevalent use of iPads and tablets, particularly at smaller, local retailers using them at shelf and register to communicate specials. They are easily re-located and the graphics are only limited by the creativity of the user. Small screens, when well implemented, can draw the consumer in and provide a more intimate experience. At the launch of Make Up Forever in Sephora, tablets were set up within an extensive merchandising display that included larger screens. The tablets presented attract programming that drew you in to touch-screen interactivity for personalized exploration of the Make Up Forever brand and products… immersive, addictive!

Chet Patel

Director of Information Technology
Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

As uncanny as this sounds, but in men’s urinals, I see the adds that seem to be quite attractive. Effective, as this is the last place you might go before leaving the establishment. You also have no other option but to look and read as the digital reader boards are up close and personal.

I have started seeing reader boards on dining tables as well. In my restaurant, we have mounted IPADs to showcase more information on Wines, Beers and other menu items.

I feel digital reader boards will fare well in places where long lines and wait times are common. It has become human nature to constantly be occupied.

Mark Zwicker

V.P. and General Manager
DW+P | St. Joseph Content

Large displays are great for the “wow” and small displays are perfect for the “how”. Or to put it in different terms, large for inspiration and small for information. While this is not an absolute, I think this general rule works well.

Two real world examples come to mind.

First, the new Walgreens flagship store in Chicago. This newly opened store has created a lot of buzz in the retail world and understandably so. It delivers far more then you would expect from a drugstore, such as sushi being freshly prepared, healthy salads to go, a great selection of wines and even some fine cognac is available. As far as digital communications, large screens are used for mass messaging, primarily promoting the many unique services offered by the pharmacy. On the flip side, through out the store, smaller, touch screens, are used for more one on one communication. Three examples being; an interactive screen that provides specific information and advice for those wishing to quit smoking, a virtual sommelier that helps you select the perfect wine pairing for an upcoming meal, and an interactive experience that allows you to up load a photo and then “try on” different make-up looks. Depending on how a consumer shops the store and which screens they engage with, each shopper can create a different experience.

The second example is one of our client’s, Metro, a major Canadian-based grocer. We partnered with ShopToCook, to create a unique, recipe based, digital kiosk. A large, prominently located screen displayed 30-second, HD video spots of recipes being prepared. This screen provided the inspiration and also created a call to action. Shoppers were prompted to interact with a small touch screen, which they then used to navigate to recipes of their choice based on main ingredient, time of preparation or dietary preference. Recipes could then be printed instantly, listing all the ingredients, including specifically where to find them within the store. By offering so many options, 3,000 recipes, nutritional information, how to select produce and a variety of search options, the solution encouraged repeat visits.

Retailers and brands should look for opportunities to inspire shoppers, with visually rich, dynamic content. Then provide informational and unique experiences through the use of small, interactive screens.

Jack Sullivan

SVP, OOH Activation Director
Starcom

I believe that many of the smaller screens work best in a more personal and intimate environment.  Generally, the bigger screens have a "one screen to many consumers" type model but the smaller screens play specifically to the one consumer directly in front of the screen.  When the environment is more personal then the message is interrupted more specific to the one consumer.  In these cases the content and ad message should be more informational in nature rather than entertaining.  It's my feeling that consumers, especially in very non general venues are in search of specific information or details.  Screens can provide and be the source of the information that they are searching for. 

Eventually as screens become either more touch screen friendly or connected to your mobile/tablet device you'll see the attraction and attention become greater by consumers visiting that particular venue.  The impact that they create is one of simplicity, speed and convenience for the consumer.  It's not there yet but consumers will quickly see how they can turn the screens into a benefit for them that makes their every day life more manageable.

Matthew Brown

Manager, Digital Experience, Marketing, Transit
Servus Credit Union

I have seen everything from iPads and other tablets or slates, and small-form screens specifically for digital signage used in stores, hotels, restaurants, and other retail locations.  Overall I would say that these small screen set-ups are very effective.  The immediate impact is the engagement with the viewer – the person seeing the screen is immediately drawn to it.  That is good news for retailers and operators.  Merchandising retailers that use the technology to promote in-store make for a particularly interesting use story, as the endless purposes for this make it a very compelling platform.  I have seen locations use this to demonstrate how clothing would fit or look on, promotions or discounts currently offered, other items that go well with a specific article, and even offering alternatives that are perhaps not available in that location.  All of these help to engage the customer in a passive way that fits well with the new thinking on customer engagement and the shopping experience.  In many cases the application of this type of device replaces an existing solution in a way that doesn’t overly improve the experience or the usability - way finding in hotels for example - but it certainly does engage the customer in a whole new way and get them to look at something that they are used to seeing delivered one way in a whole new light.  We would like to start using this technology in branches to deliver different experiences – demonstrations, education, and marketing messages.  The experience is more personal and self-paced; it can be intimate in a way that a large display can’t deliver.  It is easier to connect one-to-one with the user and get them to engage in a way that can be difficult to deliver through a large display.  That can be very important for the operator, especially when you couple the experience with a good tracking or analytics system that allows you to see the result of the experience and adjust and update based on how it accomplishes the intended result.

Patricia Mitrano

Director of Visual Communications
Newark Beth Israel Medical Center

I enjoy the hotel countertop digital displays that feature their attractions and services. As an enhancement, if this information could be delivered earlier in the process (as a stanchion kiosk that doubles as a directional tool in case there is a line) the distraction of reading the screen messages while at the check-in counter would be avoided.

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