The Growing Impact of Digital Signage in Retail


Digital signage continues to make a powerful statement in retail as we are starting to see more digital displays, including interactive displays, across retailers throughout the country.

Eight out of 10 customers entered a store for the first time due to a digital sign catching their eye, according to a recent survey.

Moreover, the digital signage hardware and software markets are growing quite quickly. Digital signage revenue in the United States today, in terms of equipment, software, and services plus digital signage media revenue, is about a $20 billion market opportunity using estimates based on publicly available data. This number is likely to rise to just over $25 billion by 2019.

That $20 billion includes about $7 billion of media revenue. Taking the media revenue out of the equation leaves roughly $13 billion for equipment, software and services.

Expanding Reach and Falling Costs

More broadly, digital media on screens in public venues reaches more customers than videos on the Internet. It is a powerful statement of the size and scale of digital billboards and digital screens.

Furthermore, the cost of rolling out a digital signage network continues to fall annually by more than 10 percent, and signage penetration across physical locations increases.

In addition to costs coming down, the number of use cases has increased.

Digital menu boards in physical locations, such as quick-service restaurants or coffee shops, are all being converted to digital screens. Menu boards are becoming digital menu boards. Even buffet table displays or paper tags at café food stations are becoming digital screens.

Cruise ships and hotel buffet displays are well positioned for digital, which are huge market opportunities.

Many coffee shops and retail stores want to roll out massive screens right in the entry of their stores to create experiences and shopping environments in the store that level the playing field with online shopping.

This is why more spectacular displays are being rolled out, especially as technology costs to deploy digital signage and retail tech in general are going down.

Many big cities will one day look just like Times Square.

Changing Customer Behavior

What is starting to happen in most retail stores, especially with young people, is that they are tuning out non-digital screens. They are so used to the digital screen in their pocket, and the ability to interact with those screens, that if they do not find that screen experience in a public store, they may not even walk in or feel comfortable shopping there.

This dynamic is dramatically influencing how shopping malls and stores think and react.

Within retail stores now, whether their products are clothes hanging on the wall or displays of food, there are typically digital screens around or above them. These digital screens showcase products, provide information, provide interactivity and can even take the place of a salesperson to provide supplementary information.

With interactive digital screens, you can determine if retailers have your size, the color you want, and/or make a request to have your choice brought to you.

Contextually Relevant Content to Drive Sales

Digital signage is driving sales and engaging customers, and the more you can engage with somebody at the point of sale and provide them with an improved shopping experience, the more likely you are to see increased brand awareness, as well as growth in sales.

More retail stores are deciding to spend money to roll out networks because it is no longer cost-prohibitive for them to do so. They also realize that networks are critical to create the experiential environment in the store necessary to provide a competitive advantage.

It is imperative to remember that digital signage must deliver more than just content; it must also deliver context.

From a consumer’s first impression at a store entrance through the entire retail experience, digital signage has the ability to turn the person who is merely browsing into your newest customer.

About Author

Mark Boidman is a Managing Director and Head of Media Services at PJ SOLOMON, a private M&A investment banking firm. He works with companies across digital media and tech, marketing services, mobile and out of home media.  He has advised on numerous transactions worldwide, including Europe and Asia, and has executed more than $40 billion in completed transactions during his career.  In 2015, Mark was named Dealmaker of the Year by Business Worldwide Magazine and a “40 Under Forty” honoree by the National Association of Certified Valuators and Analysts and the Consultants’ Training Institute.  Mark sits on the Board of Directors of the Digital Signage Federation, the trade association supporting the business interests of the interactive technologies, digital signage and digital out-of-home network industries.  He is a member of the Advisory Board of Gimbal, a location and proximity-based mobile engagement company, as well as the Advisory Committee for The Deal, a leading financial information provider.   

To read more of Mark’s thoughts, check out his new book, Times Square Everywhere: The Next Wave in the Fast-Changing Media Landscape, now available on Amazon.

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  1. Our outdoor smart solution would ideal for Times Square. A more personalize experience that we believe will persuade consumers to the point-of-sale right from the digital signage and mobile phone.

  2. It is crucial for any business to know about digital signage if they are looking to adopt this new technology. The blog excellently explains how digital signage works, how it can help businesses boost their sales and how easy it is to operate. Thank you for sharing this useful article.

  3. It feels so good that digital signage is growing and helping people in every field. Truly said that & when retailer combined their marketing tactics with digital signage, it can go to some other levels of success. We will wait for such things to come soon.

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