Digital signage is a powerful tool. You've presumably spent a lot of time and money tweaking your hardware to get it just right to fit in your store's atmosphere and ambiance. You might have the basics down, but there's always room for improvement. Use these tips to get the most out of your digital signage and make sure it's really doing the job to the best of its ability.
1. Size Really Does Matter
The size of your digital display matters. A large display can contain a lot of information, but large amounts of text can be overwhelming. It can also be hard to read large amounts of text on a digital sign if it's positioned high up or far away from the customer. A small display is naturally more suited to smaller bits of information, but even then, crowding and readability are issues. Take the size of your display into consideration when designing messages.
Not only does the size of the screen matter, but the size of the text matters, too. A large sign placed near the ceiling of your store will need larger text to be clear to shoppers. A smaller display might be able to use a finer text size, but only if it's accessible to the reader.
2. Pick a Position
Where you place your digital signs is important. Say you want to use a small mobile phone sized display to give fast facts about your newest product. You're not likely to be able to fit all the facts on one screen, but instead need customers to scroll through slides. Your customers has to be able to easily and comfortably touch the sign to interact with it. Optimal placement for that sign would be chest level or higher for an average adult. Conversely, if you want to catch the eye of children and get them to badger their parents into buying the hottest toy of the season, a large screen placed nearer the floor with catchy, bright graphics or video clips is the way to go.
3. Design is No Substitute for Content
You may have been subjected to (or have created) at least one PowerPoint presentation in your life where the author had a little too much fun with the graphics and visual effects – star-wipes and cartoon speech bubbles and Comic Sans MS fonts are the bane of existence for many graphic designers. Even if you opt not to hire a professional to design your digital displays (and you really should), the graphics don’t trump the need for quality content on your displays.
Whether your signs are accompanied by spoken words or the words appear on the screen for viewers to read themselves, the words you use for your displays matter. If your message is riddled with grammatical, spelling and punctuation errors, your customers will be turned off, at best; at worst, they’ll possibly be unable to comprehend what you're trying to say.
Take the time to craft a quality message for your digital displays. Keep it short, keep it friendly (but still business-like) and keep it to the point. If you don't feel like you can craft quality content to back up the designs on your digital displays, enlist the help of a professional.
4. Don't Fear Change
By the very nature of its design, digital signage is perfect for change. Don't allow your displays to stagnate. Update the message regularly and keep the content fresh and engaging. For every new customer who has never set foot inside your store before, you're bound to have one or two who have been there more than once. Don't just design your displays to appeal to new customers, but aim to give returning customers something new to also catch and keep their attention.
For example, you may change your displays seasonally to reflect new products. Or you may offer holiday promotions that change throughout the year and use your digital signage to inform customers.
If nothing else, look for ways to improve your digital signage and use the opportunity to switch things up. If you've got a large display at the store entrance giving customers the low-down on your super awesome return policy, but you still have a dozen customers asking what your policies are when they get to the register – that's an indicator your digital signage isn't living up to its potential. Experiment with placement (such as placing the digital display with the return policy information near the register) or adding new graphics or text to make it more engaging.
5. Integrate Your Digital Displays with Other Aspects of Your Store
Digital displays are great for conveying information, but they can also be interactive. By integrating them with the other marketing and informational aspects of your store, you’ll really get your money's worth.
Let’s say you run a ‘50s-themed diner. Instead of giving clients the option of walking up to a period-appropriate jukebox, you could add a beacon at each table that allows customers to access the store's playlist from their phones. For a small fee (payable on their tab or via an e-commerce system), they can choose any one of the songs available to play over the restaurant's sound system.
Not all integration efforts need to be as high-tech or engaging as that, of course. If nothing else, you can unify your digital signage with your marketing efforts simply by making sure all displays feature similar fonts, color schemes and your corporate logo to bring a unified look to your efforts.
Getting the Most out of Your Digital Signage
Digital signage comes with a bit of a learning curve. You need to learn how to create an effective and engaging digital display and figure out where and how to place the sign to reach the customers you want to reach. You have to ensure the signs are positioned in a way so they're clear and legible. If your customers are asking a lot of questions about material covered by your displays, your display might not be effective. Don't be afraid to enlist the help of professional graphic designers, writers or digital signage experts (like the folks here at Retail Radio) to make the most of your digital displays.