Size Matters in Digital Signage: An Executive Summary

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Another in the series of white papers produced by ComQi, Size Matters in Digital Signage addresses one of the most critically important aspects of digital signage in retail: how various screen locations and sizes matter. Simply stated, the size of each screen should be based on the purpose of the screen and the overall business objectives. These objectives may include increasing store traffic, driving conversion rates, improving brand loyalty, assisting or educating customers and reducing perceived wait time.

The white paper explores various use cases where screen location, orientation and size come into play. For example:

  • Endless Aisle: Touchscreen, product-selector stations at shelves or logical way-points in stores allow shoppers to look up the full variety of what is available in stock and what can be ordered for store pickup or home delivery.
  • Assisted Selling: Screens used as assisted-selling tools enable associates to tap into features, specifications and pricing, especially for products like electronics, which require associates to maintain high levels of product knowledge.
  • Self-guided Shopping: During busy periods in stores, sales associates and managers are using touchscreens to balance multiple customers and getting shoppers started on product research and selection using the screens while the associates finish with other customers. These tools can speed transactions and prevent walk-outs by keeping shoppers engaged.
  • Configurators: Small- to medium-sized screens are being used to enable customers to create custom shoes, visualize living room furnishings or configure a dream car. Some gesture-based tools are even allowing shoppers to use screens and augmented reality software to try on clothing virtually.
  • Interactive Communications: When a shopper lifts up a product, content on a screen immediately behind or above that product switches to product-specific information and calls to action. A variety of triggers are used. They can be anything from switches on security tethers to RFID tags on the products.
  • Reinvented Experiences: Wall-mounted displays and digital mirrors with embedded LCDs in fitting rooms can be used to contact sales associates to ask them to bring a different size. Tied to store systems, these screens are also being used to show other color options, put together full outfits, suggest accessories and even accelerate the checkout process.
  • Contextual Messaging and Smart Displays: Displays tied to point-of-sale and inventory systems can already have content “rules” in place that interrogate those systems and show content based on data reports. That means out-of-stock items drop out of promotional rotations and underperforming items get more presence on screens.

Size Matters in Digital Signage also explores how screens’ size and placement should be relevant to the shopper journey and should be able to influence shopper behaviors. Many retailers use large screens and video walls as signature design features in stores to reinforce their brand and make statements that ideally connect emotionally with shoppers. Smaller screens are used for transactional purposes where people are asked for personal information. Smaller screens with limited viewing angles provide privacy.

Another topic that the paper discusses is the difference between commercial touchscreens and consumer tablets. It is important to remember that consumer tablets like the iPad look great, but they were designed for the loving touch of their owners and not the endless pounding of hundreds of consumers.

white paper diagramHere are some important points to remember about consumer-grade tablets:

  • They are not designed for the bumps, scrapes, power spikes and general abuse that just happens when made available for frequent public use.
  • Product life cycles and specs can be short and unpredictable. If you plan to phase in tablets over several months or years, each shipment may be a little different in terms of dimensions, connectors, controls and the operating software. These changes may increase costs and complications.
  • Important connectors – such as Local Area Network jacks – are not available.
  • Updating software and managing operating systems is a big challenge with consumer displays. Software developers have far deeper, better access to commercial tablet operating systems because the vendors offer proper, published programming interfaces and controls.
  • And perhaps the biggest downside is that consumer tablets are not designed to be remotely monitored and managed. Commercial tablets paired with a solid content management system can do that. Device management – the ability to monitor screens in the field and remotely manage and fix them – is critical.

In the full white paper, you will read about interactions and interactive screens. If retailers want customers to interact with screens, they have to show people how to use them and make sure the screens bring value to the customers. In a retail environment, touchscreen displays work best when store associates recognize these screens as powerful information and selling tools. If a touchscreen makes it easier to find, explain, and sell things, associates will be strong advocates and bring their customers to the screens when it makes sense to assist them on the path to purchase.

Lastly, the white paper recommends that retailers should figure out the challenges they are facing and find a technological solution that fits that challenge (not the other way around). Tune the messages to the shopper moments and fit the screens to that purpose. Digital signage has steadily shown its value in retail settings when it is properly planned and executed. The best digital signage projects are really tuned into the shopper journey – making an impression or offering services that make things faster, easier and generally relevant – at the right moments.

This article was published originally in the 2Q 2016 Platt Retail Institute Journal of Retail Analytics. Read the entire Comqi white paper, Size Matters.

Copyright © PLATT RETAIL INSTITUTE, LLC 2016. All rights reserved.

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