Ask the Board – August 29, 2016 | MANOLO ALMAGRO


What does the future of advertising look like in terms of using microsignage?

Depending on what your ‘standard’ definition for “Microsignage” is, the future of advertising in terms of this category of digital signage has two very different paths. In the general sense, Microsignage can be defined as a small form-factor, connected, digital screen-based platform that provides product information @retail. I see these as (ESL) or electronic shelf labels. If you narrow down the general definition to only small form factor – interactive tablet-based or shelf-edge displays – then there’s a very different future. 

I don’t see a long-term future for ESL platforms. In today’s world, the mobile device is the primary extension of a consumer/shopper’s way to get information. It will be very difficult for retailers to justify the expense of installing and operating an enterprise network of ESL when there are much more dynamic, cost-effective and engaging ways to provide real-time product information, reviews and pricing.

The proliferation of Wi-Fi-based, RFID, BLE Beacons and other proximity-based retail tech have already usurped ESL at scale in today’s fast-moving connected retail experience race. The most cost-effective versions of ESL/microsignage have very limited capabilities as it relates to dynamic displays and video support. They also fall far short of meeting today’s consumer expectations on multi-sensory engagement with streaming, dynamic content representation.

That said, if we look at microsignage as “shelf-edge” proximity-based technology, then I see a future where there will be a race to create better technology that will help brands differentiate themselves from the others on the shelf. Smaller, high-quality displays that support interactivity, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, analytics and e-commerce transactions are what my clients are interested in. 

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Senior Managing Director, Innovation + Technology

Advertising & Brands Council

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