By Lee Gannon
Before we discuss how your small business can generate more revenue, we should address a preliminary question – what is digital signage?
The technology refers to a range of products which include digital information screens, digital posters, video walls, billboards, touch-screens and freestanding kiosks. On a budget, digital signage can be achieved with a consumer-grade TV screen and a media player. For a small investment, businesses can open up a new communication channel to their customers.
In the past, digital signage was reserved for only large retailers with enormous marketing budgets. Today the cost of hardware has fallen dramatically, finally making it accessible for small business. Within and beyond retail, anyone can leverage the platform as a way of directly increasing sales. Here are five creative ideas for utilizing a digital screen.
1. Showcase Key Products & Services
Studies have shown that digital signage in retail can increase sales by up to 29.5%, with as many as one in five consumers making unplanned purchases following visual triggers.
With more choice than ever before, shoppers today need a helping hand when it comes to reaching that purchasing decision. Strategically positioned digital screens can be used to make purchasing recommendations and highlight specific products and packages. From a business’ perspective, you might want to showcase your higher value or most profitable items, or perhaps those that actually aren’t selling very well, as a way of shifting stock.
Another top tip is to simply add labels such as “most popular,” “bestseller” or “favorite” to your product listings and adverts. This tactic is especially effective in quick-service restaurants where customers don’t have very long to look at your menu. Most people are happy to make purchasing decisions based on the consensus of others.
Digital signage allows you to showcase your key products and services through video, which is far more engaging than static posters. Better still, screens can be positioned in external facing windows, opening up the opportunity to sell to passing footfall.
2. Engage with In-Store Promotions
Moving inside your premises, digital screens offer a range of possibilities for creative promotions, whatever your industry. Deploying these for your small business can create memorable experiences for prospects and clients that will bring them back to your store in the future, and also generate a positive word-of-mouth buzz.
Too often today, shoppers browse on the high-street before making their purchases online where they feel they can save more money. This is a big problem for small businesses.
To overcome this obstacle, digital signage can be used to offer unique in-store promotions, with special discounts only available if purchases are made today. One way the digital platform can enhance traditional signs is through the use of live countdown timers which can be set up to create hype around current and expiring promotions.
Other in-store promotions might include the use of QR code technology which allows shoppers to scan a code on screens with their smart-phones and generate a discount voucher to be shown upon checkout. If you are managing a large department store, you could even turn this into a game, with different checkpoints being required. When used in this way, you can influence the flow of footfall around your premise to boost sales.
3. Create “Wow Factor” Displays
For small businesses to compete with large brands and household names, it’s integral that they are able to leave a lasting impression on their audience and customers.
Going digital on your premises with dynamic screens can be an effective way to create real “wow factor.” Regardless of whether you run a retail store, barbershop, travel agent, car dealership or carpet business, an interactive display can increase your prospects’ engagement, not to mention the time they spend browsing your wares. In turn, this can have a significant uplift on sales.
Digital signage today can be coupled with radio-frequency identification (or RFID technology) to achieve what is often called “tap and read” or “lift and learn” interactivity. A reader placed next to a screen can be scanned with special RFID tags to trigger a specific type of content on the screen. A range of tags might be provided for different types of content, for example, different product videos, testimonials about your service, or information slides.
Alternatively, objects such as products or props can be equipped with these tags and become the trigger themselves once lifted from a reader. This “lift and learn” feature works especially well in luxury markets, where picking up, for instance, a piece of jewelry can impressively trigger its television advertisement on screen.
Your small business can achieve all this with a single TV screen, a digital signage solution and an RFID reader with tags. This is a lot more cost effective than you might have thought and is sure to help you stand out on the high street.
4. Offer an Interactive Catalogue
Along similar lines, introducing touch-screens for your business has been proven to have a positive effect on revenue generation. You can approach integrating this technology in one of two ways. First, tablets can serve as sales tools to be used by your salespeople (this works best in consultative environments like car showrooms and estate agencies). This empowers your staff to better serve customers, able to pull up information easily from your website and other sources. It can also give your small business a high-end feel.
The other option for touch-screens is creating what might be described as an interactive catalogue, to be used by the customers themselves. Having tablets fixed into desks or mounted on walls, allows shoppers to get hands-on and search for the information they are looking for. This creates a personalized and relaxed experience that increases exposure to your wider product offering and services.
Rather than walking into your premises and walking out again (perhaps because your salespeople are pre-occupied), a touch screen gives them a reason to stay and play around. It might even be a case of “playing” if you deploy tablets with games for children. This is a innovative way to keep parents in your store for longer, increasing their chance of a purchase.
5) Leverage Footfall with Advertising
So far we have talked about tactics for improving business sales through the use of digital signage. But there’s another way any small business can generate side revenue using the technology and that’s on-screen advertising.
Around the country, localized screen advertising networks are cropping up, often created by entrepreneurial small business owners who recognize that attention equals opportunity.
If you have a physical location or access to one (even a window on the high street), digital signage introduces the capacity to generate revenue from selling advertisement space. By offering screen time to other local businesses, you can make the most of high footfall and dwell times by generating multiple sponsorship streams.
The great thing about using digital screens over traditional billboards is they can take up far less space and display an unlimited amount of media due to their programmable nature. All you need is a TV screen (or multiple) and a media player. Digital signage software will allow you to deploy and schedule adverts for others, in exchange for recurring revenue.
When used in this way (or combined with the above tactics), digital signage for a relatively small investment has the potential to make your business a lot of money. Whether it’s increasing your brand awareness, the uptake of your promotions, creating memorable experiences in-store that expand dwell time or creating an advertising platform.
An investment in the technology this year could pay out long into the future.