The recent advent of new technologies is transforming the way retailers communicate with their customers. These customers are bombarded daily with thousands of images and messages. The need to promote, inform, educate and receive feedback is being transformed. This is all clearly seen and made use of by digital signage networks (DSN). Banks, airports, movie theaters, casinos, sports stadiums, and other public spaces are all using this exciting technology.
There is a huge amount of overlap between terms such as digital signage, narrowcasting, captive audience networks, interactive kiosks, self-service terminals, and many others closely related terms. Slightly different connotations given to these terms by different companies makes it difficult to figure out what to look for when doing online research or talking to an expert in the field. These articles serve to differentiate or more succinctly describe specific terms. There will, quite naturally, be degrees of overlap.
Digital signage is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of different applications and technologies. In a general sense, the term refers to electronically controlled signs that can be updated without changing the physical sign itself. No more climbing up on a ladder and putting individual letters into place. Changes can be made quickly and cost-effectively. Digital signage is usually seen as a form of digital advertising that is displayed on an electronic or digital screen. Digital signage delivers targeted messages to specific locations at specific times. Messages can be remotely changed and controlled. The digital sign itself could be a scrolling message board, LCD or plasma display panel, electronic billboards, projection screens or other displays such as an Organic LED screen.
The term, “digital signage” is used throughout North America and most of Europe but the terms “narrowcasting,” digital merchandising, screen-media, place-based media, digital media network, or captive audience network are also used.
Digital signage content can range from simple text and still images to full-motion video. Some retailers treat their digital signage almost like a television station that displays entertaining or informational content interspersed with targeted advertising.
With rapidly dropping prices for large plasma or LED screens, digital signage is increasing in popularity. You will now see digital signage everywhere– from retail outlets to doctors’ offices. With the recent introduction of free digital signage software, this technology or tool is becoming attractive to smaller businesses and nonprofits such as schools and churches. The creative use of display technologies even allows for high-contrast images to be projected directly onto store windows or displays that appear to hang in mid-air.
Digital Signage Usage
* Information such as flight information in airports.
* Advertising for third parties: retailers sell commercial space on their digital signage.
* Enhanced customer experience– such as recipe demonstrations in food stores.
* Influencing customer behavior– directing customers to different parts of a store to increase “dwell time.”
* Brand building– digital signage in video form could be used as part of the décor.
Electronic signs and dynamic digital signage can also up-sell customers and encourage them to purchase high margin products.