I have been seeing a number of digital signage implementations in various public places like railway stations, malls and the like. While I see the number of screens and video walls going up, we are only scratching the surface when it comes to leveraging the opportunities that digital signage offers.
Does it help achieve the objectives of the brands? I really doubt it. Most implementations in railway stations lack the basic clarity that audio doesn’t work in such a noisy environment. Take the case of malls – I saw in one of the malls, a video wall showing an episode of Mr. Bean and nobody was looking at the screen, except perhaps me.
Ideally, the screen and the walls need to showcase content that is relevant to the location and the environment in which it is played.
1. Set Objectives
Every implementation should clearly have an objective defined and there should be a way to measure the success. There is fair amount of technology that is available in terms of content management, interactivity, IoT, displays, video walls, and controllers and how effectively they need to be integrated to achieve the objectives should be the top priority of the implementation.
As an example, if you want to increase the footfalls in outlets in the malls, the content in the screens have to be relevant to that, enticing visitors to the store. Keep changing the promotions and see what works best.
2. Measure. Measure. Measure
Capture metrics related to the number of people watching the screens at any point in time, the demography of the people watching it, and their attention span. Make informed decisions based on what works and what doesn’t.
Provide this data to the brands and help them structure their promotions in such a way that they are able to attract their intended audience.
3. Content that is relevant and actionable
Nobody walks into a place wanting to see ads and promotions. Hence, your screens should not be populated with just ads. Instead, focus on providing content that is relevant and intersperse them with advertisements. It naturally happens in a railway station or an airport setting, where people keep looking at the screens for arrival/departure status and schedules and including promotional content in between works well for that audience.
However, what do you do in other public spaces? You got to understand the demography of the audience and include entertainment and information content relevant to them. For example, in a mall setting, this can even be a wayfinding app to different sections or stores, you can even announce the number of visitors in the mall at that point in time, announce an offer that is on for the next 60 minutes. This has to dynamically keep changing to keep the interest levels up.
4. Capture customer data
Offer WiFi connectivity for visitors in your place and capture their basic information and map your WiFi either with their Mac ID or the mobile number. This would provide inputs in terms of their demography, their purchase history and help you promote your offerings.
When a customer walks in and your WiFi recognizes the customer and displays on the signage, ‘Welcome Mr. Vicky to our store and our floor manager will be with you shortly to help with your purchase.’ In addition, if it displays, ‘some of our recommendations for you today would be…’. Just imagine the kind of experience that it would provide Vicky and that is what would be differentiator.
5. Provide an integrated experience
Ensure that everything works together, for that is what would determine the success of your implementation. For instance, if your provider only has content management and distribution capabilities, you still have to get them to provide content creation; metrics measurement; interactivity through QR codes, SMS integration or beacons; right media players; video wall controllers; WiFi enablement and capturing of customer data; integration with other best-of-breed systems like POS and CRM for you to provide the desired expereince.
Your primary provider will need to work on their partner ecosystem to assist you with your use cases and innovation that you seek