By Dominic Feik

The five golden rules for maximising return from digital signage – clearly define your business objectives; choose the right package; incorporate into your store design; content is king; and measure & refine.

The critical first step in obtaining benefits from digital signage is to clearly define business objectives. This guides decisions in terms of equipment, design, support, content, and how you measure ROI. For instance, if used for directional signage the benefits may primarily be in operating costs and simplification; point of sale displays deliver sales or margin growth; while a video wall delivers brand and customer experience benefits.

Objectives and benefits broadly fall in three categories – start with a clear view of which of these is most important:

1) Sales Benefits include increasing sales through more enticing product promotions, better information to enable purchase, or promoting bundles; improving margin through point-of-sale upsell, differentiation of high margin offers, and increased relevance through time-of-day communication (e.g. after school) or short run (e.g. grand final day) promotions; or increasing customer numbers through in-window displays or omni-channel strategies.

2) Customer Experience Benefits through powerful brand and ambience displays utilising video and animation. Digital signage allows differentiation, and better engagement with a younger demographic. Customer empowerment can be achieved through technical or nutritional product information or product ‘back story’. Customer loyalty can be enhanced through engaging programs on touch screens or with mobile interaction.

3) Operational Benefits include savings in print and distribution, but greater benefits may derive from new capabilities based on speed and flexibility – such as reduced time to market/cycle times through electronic deployment and improved ability to trial and measure campaigns; support for time of day operations e.g. lunchtime, or weekends; centralised management offers operational simplification and greater consistency across networks.

Measuring ROI needs to be informed by your objectives. Performance improvements of 20% relative to static promotions on specific offers are not unusual, while 2-3% increase in total sales is the reported norm in food categories. We have seen retailers measuring positive results in customers attracted in and time spent in-store, and enrolments in loyalty programs. For some users payback purely from cost savings has been achieved in under a year, while where customer experience benefits were the main reason for the install, costs savings may take longer to cover the capital investment.

Dominic Feik is General Manager, Digital of Sumo Visual Group, one of Australia’s leading visual display and digital signage providers. He brings to digital signage extensive experience in applying emerging technologies to innovative business strategies, and large-scale IT service delivery.