If you're ready to invest time and money into digital signage for your business, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. Unlike the early days when there were only a few options, business owners today have a nearly endless array of choices for digital signage campaigns. These choices - coupled with rapidly changing technology and market needs -- make planning a crucial part of a successful digital signage project.
Have Short and Long-Term Objectives
Don't go into a digital signage rollout blind - have an objective in mind for how you'll use your technology and why you're choosing to go digital. A large display menu in a restaurant, for example, makes all options easy to read from a distance and allows staff to easily update the options. In that example, you might have chosen to go digital to make your menu more accessible to customers who have a hard time reading handwriting or need a high-contrast screen, as is often the case with an aging client base.
You can't just have short term objectives when rolling out a digital signage project, though: how will your investment in technology benefit your business a year from now? Five years from now? Ten years from now? Do you have a plan for upgrading your digital signage or augmenting it with other interactive technology at some point in time or after reaching a certain milestone? These are all things you need to consider when planning your digital signage project.
Do Your Market Research
Large displays work well for some situations, where others benefit from smaller handheld-sized displays. For example, while a restaurant may choose a large display for a menu, a retail store may have multiple signs placed near displays to detail each product.
Screen size, placement, level of interactivity and media type all matter when choosing digital signage for your establishment. And knowing the preferences of your clientele makes a difference. A store with a target customer base aged 18-29, for example, may have more success with highly interactive signage and integrated bluetooth beacons. A business with a client base ranging from 50-75, however, wouldn’t have the same level of success with that type of signage.
Know your clients, and explore your options. If possible, poll clients on the options and their preferences.
Know Your Hardware and Software Options
When it comes to digital signage, there's a dizzying selection of hardware and software options available. When planning your digital signage rollout, you’ll want to research both sides of the technology and find that which will work best for you.
This is the part of a digital signage rollout where most people need some guidance from a professional - and that's more than okay: it's suggested. Knowing what you want is a good thing, but being able to convey those desires to a professional who can help you select the best products for your needs is invaluable.
As an example, monitors intended for consumer use just won't hold up the same as those intended for commercial use. While it can be tempting to think the increase in price between consumer-grade tech and commercial tech is a marketing gimmick, it's not. Consumer-grade tech isn't designed for long hours of operation, which can lead to hardware failure, display issues, lag and other reliability issues.
Similarly, it may be tempting to choose a digital signage interface with a low learning curve. Like hardware, not all software is created equally. In some cases, you may have to sacrifice a certain degree of user-friendliness for security or reliability. Again, don't be afraid to consult with a knowledgeable professional (like those here at Retail Radio) about your options.
Create Engaging Content - And Keep Creating It
It's not enough just to have your digital signage, you’ll also need to have something to put on display. Planning your usage relies heavily on your objectives and target market. If you've done your research, you'll know what your customers want and need to see and how they need to see it.
One of the beauties - and downsides - of a digital signage rollout is that you'll have an easily changeable display. This means you'll need engaging content and lots of it. Plan your signage changes around your seasons, campaigns or stock rotations, at the very least. Have a plan or overview of when you'll need new content and how you'll create it (or which professionals you'll hire to create it).
Try, Fail, Try Again, Fail Better
Behind every successful digital signage rollout is a lot of trial and a lot of error. Consider implementing a test run of your hardware and software. If you're working with multiple locations, introduce the signage at your toughest location to find and resolve any problems before committing to upgrading all locations.
Ask your hardware sales representative about any special trial periods or promotions available for demoing your intended signage and options to trade in if it turns out your campaign falls flat. If you've done your research and planning, there should be few, if any problems, but having a lenient exchange policy on hardware can add an extra layer of insurance to your digital signage rollout.
Planning a Successful Digital Signage Project
A successful digital signage project is all about knowing your clients, knowing their needs and having a plan to meet those needs with new and emerging technology. Not only that, but to reach success you'll have to learn how best to utilize your signs, how to create engaging content and choose (and maintain) the hardware and software for them. Don't be afraid to reach out for professional advice -- it could save you money, time and a lot of headaches and may mean the difference between success and failure for your digital signage rollout.