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Digital Signage, More than a Screen

Thought Leadership Series - Guided by Trust Systems

Digital Signage, More than a Screen

An effective Digital Signage strategy is more than simply putting a screen up. Digital signage provides an opportunity to enhance the customer experience and drive return on investment by increasing customer loyalty, sales, levels of customer understanding and much more.

We believe to deliver high grade digital content on-time and within business SLA’s you need a collaborative approach to your solution. Here we share 6 key components we believe are necessary to consider when adopting a digital signage strategy.

  1. Objectives and locations
  2. Best of Breed screens
  3. Housing
  4. Content Management System
  5. Collaboration
  6. Managed Service to support and maintain

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Below we explore these factors in more detail.

1 – OBJECTIVES AND LOCATIONS

Your journey to digital signage must have very clearly agreed objectives. There are many misconceptions around the potential ROI for the investment, however if you ensure that all parts of your business are engaged then the outcomes will be clear and demonstrable. In some cases there is a very easy way to forecast a return such as a menu and pricing display which is fundamental to the operation of a food and beverage outlet. However, simply moving from printed media to digital requires a lot more thought and planning. A fundamental component to success is not just about the representation of the old to the new, but and crucially how you exploit the opportunity to build your brand image. The display of product and pricing is invariably the driver for the consideration to invest however we believe your brand has more value and is more important than a tin of beans or a pair of socks. Now more than ever you need to be able to reinforce your company values and react immediately to opportunities and challenges within a very short timescale. The power of a hosted digital platform is the ability to have a window to your business that can be managed from a single portal. By utilising the digital platforms capabilities you will be able to get creative, use animation, video and guarantee valid content on time and in real-time.

The deployment of digital assets does not mean anywhere and everywhere. Thoughtful planning to the positioning of digital displays is essential in the journey to a great customer experience and the achievement of your business goals.

2 – BEST OF BREED SCREEN

There is a lot of choice on the market and picking the right display is important. So what are the core elements to consider in a consumer environment:

  • The diversity of the portfolio in order to obtain the right mixture of screens e.g. LED panels, high bright window, video walls, touch, standalone. The screen needs to be fit for purpose considering factors such as brightness, weight, response times. For example brightness is a paramount consideration in a store environment where digital displays are subject to numerous light sources, both natural and man-made. Here the display and its management platform must have the ability to manage adjustments intelligently and if necessary remotely.
  • The manufacturers approach to innovation, you need leading technology. Rolling-out a digital display solution is putting your brand out there, therefore you want your displays to be the best. Compromise is not a consideration.
  • Understand the level of security of the manufacturers operating system and the network security of your own platform. The display cannot be left open to compromise.
  • Consider geographical reach. Is this strategy for the UK only or will it be adopted in other regions. Any manufacturer you choose needs to be able to facilitate deployment and support to the areas you operate.
  • What are the commercial ownership options available. For example finance options for capital purchases, leased, rental or even fully managed contracts.

3 – HOUSING

Part of the journey to implement digital content displays require consideration for enclosures and housings. In some user cases the housing provides the necessary health and safety and security required. However the housing also forms an essential part of reinforcing your brand image. Thoughtful  consideration to the way in which displays are either installed in a new build or, more often the case, a retro fit, is fundamental to ensuring success. The end point should always look like it was part of the original design concept. Getting this right will also ensure that your valuable assets are also easy to access and maintain.

To get the right outcome you need to feed the right information into the design and deployment stage of your digital display solution. A store survey is crucial to ascertain the variants and dimensions. Even if two locations look the same they invariably are not. Housing design considerations are:

  • Versatility – can it be adapted to your store estate.
  • Weight – the materials used contribute to the weight.
  • Aesthetics – it needs to look good!
  • Health & Safety – screens are usually deployed in high traffic areas and therefore the materials used cannot be flimsy and need to take into account health and safety considerations.

4 – CONTENT MANAGEMENT

How will the content be managed on the display? We recommend when selecting a digital solution provider that they understand the importance of a powerful and intuitive content management solution. The content management solution equips administrators with the ability to create, monitor, manage and schedule fabulous media content.

The objective is to choose a digital signage solution which enables businesses to conveniently create, schedule and play content across a signage network. Any content management solution needs to consider:

  • Creation – providing tools to easily navigate and create content
  • Hosting – a gateway for scheduling and arranging playlists and distributing content to connected displays. You may hear this
    described as a CMS or Content Management Server
  • A system on chip Player – this feature which is a component of the display enables you to showcase content without needing any
    external media player. As it is integrated you will need fewer power, cabling and maintenance requirements,

Working with digital signage we are advocates of an integrated device and content management solution. This is where users can manage both the content and device on a single platform.

5 – COLLABORATION

The content will be being produced by an in-house or external design/advertising agency. Therefore any service provider of a digital signage solution needs to work in partnership with this team. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Establish a working relationship early on in the process
  • Devise a Content Management process
    together to ensure you work effectively
  • Collaborate on the best content types and standards of digital files to ensure world class output
  • Ensure regular contact to enable best practice for content creation and sharing

 

6 – MANAGED SERVICE

Working with a service provider who can design, deploy and manage a digital signage solution enables you to maximise the advantages of digital technology quickly and effectively. Any managed service should include:

  • Remote and on-site management/ maintenance
  • 24/7 Service desk
  • Monitoring performance and hardware issues
  • Embedded relationships with the solutions manufacturer including the displays, networks and enclosures
  • Strong data security skills and background (your brand and digital assets are valuable)

Digital signage is undoubtedly more than a screen and having the right strategy will deliver multiple benefits. In a time where there is a need to seamlessly blend the physical and digital environment digital signage provides an enormous opportunity to improve customer experience and engagement. This coupled with harnessing data to improve the store experience can impact the bottom line by offering targeted communications and promotions to influence customers and ensuring they keep coming back.

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