One of the most common questions we field from people new to ScreenScape and digital signage in general is simply this: how can I use it to make money?
Digital signage is a powerful, multi-faceted communications tool and it can be used for a whole range of applications that aren’t directly related to boosting sales or selling advertising.
That said, the common sense nature of digital signage is indeed what separates it from other less targeted forms of marketing. It’s no wonder digital signage is emerging as the sales enablement tool of choice for so many retailers. The physical presence of a digital sign on location acting as a silent salesman in a retail store, or in every retail store across the country, means that your marketing efforts are, by definition, going be well aligned with your real world sales activity. Your customers are making important buying decisions in retail stores, right this moment, where your products or services are on sale. Obviously this is an important moment, one where you’d like to be in a position to control mindshare inside the venue, to engage your customer and position your brand.
- “Flip the funnel” and turn loyal customers into raving fans.
The customers that are making buying decisions in your store at this moment represent more than a singular revenue opportunity. To the extent that they like your product, they might also become your vocal advocates. The question is, if they like your product, do they know how to share a positive review with their friends? Do they have any incentive to promote your brand? Are they aware of the big event you have planned for next week? This is where digital signage comes in. A key reminder while on location in your store might be all they need to tell a friend, or even make a post on social media.
- The timely, hyper-relevant promotion
If you owned a grocery store and you had some produce, maybe a head of lettuce, or some tomatoes, that were getting a little old and coming up to their best-before-dates, what do you do? Naturally, you post a sign that announces a sale on those items. Even if you sell them at a deep discount, at least you’ve got something them….after all in a couple of days you’d likely have to dispose of them entirely. This is an example of a timely promotion…..one of many different kinds you can use to optimize sales at retail. Where does digital signage come in? Well that sign that announces that your produce is on sale can be even more powerful if it’s a rich digital promotion. If it’s done well a digital ad can be more engaging, more professional, and better for the environment.
- Educate, educate, educate
We know that the retail environment is becoming more experiential. Increasingly, the goals of running an effective retail establishment extend beyond simply selling stuff. Today’s savvy retailers try to create a purchase destination that offers a range of value added services, or experiences that make for a more satisfactory feeling before, during and after the transaction. This is where an informative and educational digital sign comes in. A printed flyer or a well placed printed sign advertising mosquito repellant is ok…but it pales in comparison to a two minute video showing how mosquitos spread the Zika virus.
Now, If you were the manager of a pharmacy offering travel health services, which medium would you say is more effective? In educating the public on the risks to pregnant women while traveling in Central and South America? In selling mosquito repellant? The digital sign wins hands down as a selling tool, and oh, by the way, it’s more hygienic and less wasteful than that printed flyer.
One of the easier ways to boost sales using digital signage is to focus on increasing and expanding basket size. For instance, you may visit a car dealership with the simple intent of getting your car’s oil changed. If a digital sign reminds you that you should rotate your tires every 10,000 miles, or that it’s time to start thinking of putting on your winter tires, there’s a better chance you’re leaving that store having acquired more services and having spent more money than you had planned for originally.
The upsell is stock-in-trade of the retail industry. You know all those convenience items they like to place up by the checkout? They’re there to try to convince you to buy on impulse, just one more thing before you go. Well digital signs do that too and they do it very well, not just at the checkout counter….but everywhere you place them in the store. If you’re buying a stainless steel frying pan, don’t forget the stainless steel cleaner, if you’re buying new skates, don’t forget the fancy laces, if you’re buying some new electronics equipment did you know you can also buy the extended warranty? I think you get the picture.
Progressive retailers understand their role in the marketing process. If it is your goal to maximize the revenue potential of participating in a digital signage network it pays to understand the dynamics involved between and among the various kinds of participants. Digital signage networks have gatekeepers, played by the party that is paying the bills, that owns title to the underlying technology platform that governs the flow of information across the network. The power of any given digital signage network to influence purchase behaviour can be used as a currency by those who control it using the golden rule: (s)he who owns the network, makes the rules. This means the gatekeeper of a digital signage network is also in a position to monetize their screens by requiring some form of consideration from their partners in exchange for the privilege of gaining access to the network and engaging with customers in their store.
More participants vying for the supply of advertising placement opportunities on offer will eventually increase the utilization and value of any network. Growing your roster of 3rd-party advertisers, convincing an advertiser to buy incrementally more placements, and to deepen their investment in the network by using it to promote an ever broader set of product categories, will naturally lead to higher network utilization rates. This will generate more ad dollars per venue and, as more of the available ad space is consumed, in turn it will lead to a scarcity of supply. If you have more demand for your limited supply of ad placement opportunities then you can satisfy, you may eventually be able to increase the price of those ad spots while maintaining full utilization. This is a straightforward supply and demand equation. The game is to drive up demand for your network, so much so that your ad partners will compete with one another and, over the long run, bid up the price of each new ad spot. In summary, increasing demand among 3rd-party advertisers leads to higher network utilization, and higher prices both of which translate directly into increased revenues.