Getting people to pay attention, in a world full of distractions, is the secret to success. This is especially true for retail stores. Get your customer’s attention long enough and they’ll definitely be easier to convert.
Now, I know what you’re thinking-” It’s easier said than done”, right? But the thing is, it doesn’t always have to be that way. Sometime’s all it takes is a single black screen to turn passers-by into paying customers. That is the power of digital signage.
Are you looking to set up a digital signage system for your store? If yes, then keep on reading. We’ll show you how it’s done in 12 steps.
Suggested Read: If you want to learn more about other retail trends, check this post on retail technology.
But before getting to the implementation part, let me tell you some points you need to remember. Though through digital signage, you might plan to achieve your goals, there are certain problems with it. Sometimes digital signage might be considered to have,
- A lot of Activity: Some people find digital signs difficult to check out or pay attention to, especially the changing screens.
- Huge Initial Cost: As said, the initial cost is substantially expensive than all other options.
But fret not, with some minute adjustments digital signage can be of great help to your retail firm.
Before you start:
Step 1 – Make a plan with your content contributors:
Before you begin to publish your content, make it the best you can give out. Though nobody wants too many cooks in the kitchen, it is always better to get everyone’s input now than later. Since most times, digital signage purchases are given to the IT department, the chances of missing out on best content are most likely to happen. Regardless of how skilled your IT staff is, they aren’t the ones going to be using it. So make sure to include all of your content contributors during the creation your plan. This might consist of the marketing team, communications, human resources, administration, and even department managers. Involving everyone early will give you insights you may not have considered. It might also give you an entirely different perspective on the whole system.
Step 2 – Prepare a checklist of goals:
Before you research retail technologies, you need to decide what you want to achieve. List all your objectives in as much detail as possible. Imagine how you will use the system. Once you have proper goals in mind, make a plan on how the system will work within your organization.
Whip up a project plan that best explains the critical action items, timeframes, and resources required. Don’t forget to include things like:
- The location of displays.
- Content showed on each screen.
- Usage of audio on screens where it won’t be intrusive.
- IT issues such as connectivity, bandwidth, and network security policies.
- Outsourced services such as paid data subscriptions, etc.
- Crisis communications plans
Step 3 – Conduct a networking survey:
This is a very important step. Appoint the highly skilled and qualified IT guy for this project. Make sure you involve him early on and have them do a survey of power, network connectivity, and IT security policies for each and every location you plan to have digital signage. There’s nothing worse than hanging up a new good screen but not being able to show anything on it just because you didn’t know about some firewall issue.
Step 4 – Spend your money wisely:
Make sure that your estimated budget doesn’t just cover the initial system costs, but also the software upgrades. This enables you to stay on the market, and get new features. And don’t forget about the hardware cost- no PC or screen lasts forever.
Other budget items might be training – not just at the start, but also ongoing training as you add new features or users. Run the system in correspondence to agile methods. Don’t forget technical support. Try to offer support for every 18-24 months if you can.
But if you are one of those retailers with only a single store, then there’s a better alternative to your problem. Rather than spending on digital signage system, you can try placing a Television and run your content manually. And also if you’re a retailer with many stores but doesn’t want to spend on a digital signage system now, then try using USB sticks. Using USB sticks to run your campaigns manually will cost you nothing compared to an actual digital signage system. So think about what you want to achieve and plan your budget very carefully.
Choosing your digital signage system:
Step 5 – Software before Hardware:
Now that you’ve planned everything, you would’ve started gathering the materials required. Now if somebody is offering you a big discount on media players or flat-screen TVs don’t go for it. At least not until you know what content management system (CMS) you’ll be using. Remember, it’s the UI that people will interact with, so make your priority that the hardware should support the software.
If you buy digital signage software that sits on a single computer, you will only have one person who cares about it. So, try purchasing a licensing agreement so that more can people participate. An ideal CMS should:
- Be easy to learn, use and update
- Have user-friendly, high-quality content creation tools with a simple importing option.
- Meet the hierarchy that you’ve outlined in your project plan.
- Meet the technical requirements for the content file types and data feeds you’ve mentioned.
- Include alert notification capability.
An important consideration in choosing your software is the vendor. So, ask yourself these questions first. Is this their main business? Are they familiar with digital signage deployments for organizational communications? Do they offer ongoing support and services to help you achieve goals? Always ask for references from your friends who are on the same field. Now, if you need more insights on how an ideal digital signage system should be, always check CASA.
Step 6 – Avoid skimping on your hardware:
When I said software comes first, that doesn’t mean buying of cheaper hardware. Do not skimp on the hardware or it will cost you in the long run of your business. Since you’re reading this, you probably might’ve narrowed down your CMS. So ask your software vendor for suggestions. He would be able to provide you with industry-standard hardware or give you the specs at least. Always keep in mind that all hardware has a finite life that depreciates. So be sure your machines have the flexibility to grow and adapt to future updates or that you have enough budget to replace hardware as required.
Step 7 – Do a pilot before the launch:
A pilot allows you to launch and test digital signage in an isolated environment before rolling it out across your whole firm. This gives you an effective way to evaluate the software and hardware you’ve just purchased. Pilot programmes can also be used to evaluate your workflows, processes, and even how your content is being received.
Pilots can be used to see which designs work best for you. It is recommended that a pilot launch for 30 days should be conducted before sitting down with your digital signage vendor. While your pilot is running, be sure to obtain feedback from all stakeholders. We also recommend test environments to complement production environments. This is very useful when you have a large system in place and are constantly updating software or hardware. Rather than launching the update across the whole system, test it in a localized setting. This will save you a lot of time and resources.
Step 8 – Make a fuss about your system:
Since you’ve run your pilot already, it is time to roll out the system across the organization and make a splash. Make sure you advertise your purpose and what you hope to achieve. Make sure your intended audience understands that how you’re trying to meet their requirements and how they can provide feedback to you.
Step 9 – Keep it nice and simple:
Now comes the difficult part. Once your system is up and running, you need to constantly monitor it. Keep it simple when it comes to content creation. Always have templates for quick message design, especially for repetitive tasks to avoid unwanted confusions.
Make sure every stakeholder of the system gets proper training. Though they might be comfortable when the system is launched, new features can need an extra bit of training to get the results. Hand out a list of resources that people can follow. Publishing policies can also be used to streamline workflows, and improve the content: You can,
- Discuss the appropriate and inappropriate content to your team.
- Include standards for playlists, and content
- Include identity guidelines.
- Outline acceptable file formats
- Define the submission and approval process in the system.
- Explain the distribution channels and endpoints.
- Publish IT security policies.
Step 10 – Content is the king:
No matter how great your service is or how best your technology works if your content is bad, you will lose your customers. Engage your audience with content relevant to them. Take advantage of news, weather reports, and date and time to draw attention to other announcements on the screen.
A lot of firms set their system up with branded layouts and matching message backgrounds to try to control the look of their screens. This is often considered a great idea and highly recommended in the industry. But the important thing is the personalization since not every piece of content will come from a template.
Your software comes with a lot of options, but it is best not to show everything at once. Remember that your goal is to deliver information. And sometimes your messages can get lost too. Especially if your screen is packed with so much that viewers can’t pick out the different things on it. It is always recommended that using different features at different times to keep drawing people in and keeping them interested is actually a better practice.
Step 11 – Keep the content updated:
Don’t let content or layouts get stacked up. If you’ve left something on your playlist too long, there’s a great chance that your audience has forgotten about it. Keep the content fresh by showing new stuff every day. The best thing one can do here is to show things more often for a shorter time rather running a single thing all day long: You can,
- have 8-10 Items in a playlist
- Schedule messages for 10-12 seconds
- Repeat messages at least 10x daily
It’s easy to get into a rut by using the same formulaic backgrounds, fonts, and graphics for messages. But without periodic updates, your content can get a bit stale. Set aside time to take stock of your digital signage strategy and redirect your efforts to it. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do your messages communicate information succinctly and stylishly?
- Are you using good visual rules when designing our content?
- Is there an appropriate variety of the content to grab audience attention?
- Are audiences paying regular attention to the digital signs put up?
- Are they responding by taking the requested action noted?
If you answer “no” to any of these questions, your content may need a refresh. Keep in mind that acquiring your customer’s attention is just the first step. Keeping their attention is the greatest constant challenge that only constant efforts can meet.
Step 12 – Measure your success:
We’re talking about the ROI here. It is considered the direct measure of how good your digital signage system is working. A lot of firms don’t think about measurement when planning their content. But that’s just terribly wrong. If you are ready to invest time and money to create content, you should be caring about ROI too.
The biggest factor in measuring ROI is including a call to action (CTA) in your content. If you just put out a message without even asking the audience to do something that you want or something that acknowledged that they saw the message, you have no way of knowing whether it worked. Everything you publish should prompt the viewer to do something. It could be even simple as,
- visiting a URL,
- scan a QR tag, or
- at least present a coupon. Now these are some forms of tangible action that you can measure.
However, you choose to measure your ROI, make it a long-term, continuous process. This will help you fine-tune your methods eventually leading you to achieve better results.
A digital signage is a nice way to market and promote products to customers who are already in-store. It’s easy to set up and quite effective too. But remember, change your content regularly to keep it fresh and exciting. This even allows you to test different content and narrow down on the ones that work best.
The content you choose has to be attractive and exciting to keep your customers hooked. The longer they stay the better it is for you.
If you feel we missed any key information about setting up your digital signage, let us know in the comments. Over to you!