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    Overhead Music | 3 min read

    What is Digital Signage Zoning?

    And Can I Have Too Many Zones?

    It’s becoming increasingly apparent that brick and mortar store owners have their work cut out for them in order to successfully compete with online shopping – and often, the best way to do this is using  digital signage technology to create a great in-store experience.

    Every solution will be different, based on target customers, but the common advantage over traditional advertising is flexibility. Content can be updated at a moment’s notice, from a variety of sources, and in various locations throughout the store. The latest trend in digital signage is creating even more consumer interest by dividing in-store digital signage into multiple zones.

    three zone digital sign

    Why Multi-zone?

    Most of the necessary technology is probably already in your store. Virtually every type of digital signage software or networked player system can customize the display screen layout, and some can be easily programmed to operate across multiple screens in a synchronized or fragmented configuration. Although multi-zone displays aren’t the best option for every digital display deployment, in the right situation these displays can turn an often tired or static digital display into several powerful tools for engaging consumers.

    Content Considerations

    There’s no “right” way to create a multi-zone digital signage layout, but there are a few basic conventions to keep in mind. As with any display, the best uses for multi-zone displays tend to be informational.

    However, trying to convey a single key message to your target audience doesn’t lend itself to the use of multiple zones. Also, screen size and viewer distance are important considerations. For example, blasting multiple message on 42-inch display screens are only going to cause viewer confusion, especially if consumers are watching from a distance of more than 10 feet.

    Even if the screen is close enough for viewers to clearly see it, too many zones can result in visual overload, meaning the audience loses the entire message. Video or motion-heavy graphics – especially scrolling tickers – should be confined to no more than two areas at the same time.

    In addition, it’s best to only use a single text crawl on each multi-zine display screen. Again, any more creates too much information overload for people to process easily. Keep text crawls focused on one subject, such as local weather – and don’t make viewers wait for the information.

    A basic multi-zone layout for a 42-inch display screen should include a side branding banner of no more than 8 inches wide and the text crawl at the bottom, leaving the remainder of the display area for the main message or feature. It’s simple, engaging and not too busy for the average consumer to quickly process.

    Here’s a short checklist of vital considerations when designing a multi-zone display layout:

    • Content— how much is too much?
    • Viewing distance — the busier the screen, the less consumers can process, especially from a distance
    • Display size
    • Average consumer traffic patterns

    It’s no secret that at least 50 percent of all purchasing decisions are made in-store. Don’t ruin your positive actions and intentions by overloading your customers with advertising clutter.

    The Damage Clutter Causes

    Imagine you’re browsing items in a shop, comparing prices and products, but you’re continuously bombarded by commercials coming at you from everywhere you look. This onslaught of often contradictory messages (about competing products) fight for your concentration, making the entire shopping process a disaster. As a consumer, you’re unhappy, frustrated and suffering from unwanted, unnecessary information overload. As a business owner, you’ve probably just lost a sale.

    Improperly configured multi-zone digital signage can create (and direct) negative attitudes toward both the products and your brand. This can create a serious dent in formerly positive feelings about your store and in general trust levels. In the effort to avoid such over-advertising, consumers will either find other places to shop or will avoid all advertising efforts by developing “message deafness”.  Simply put, if they don’t pay attention to anything, they won’t become overstimulated and confused. While the benefits of in-store digital signage platforms may remain, their effectiveness can quickly be diminished or completely cancelled by featuring too many marketing messages.

    Keeping it Simple Keeps it Effective

    Minimizing clutter on multi-zone displays can actually help you in terms of increased sales and successfully getting messages across. Assess the best time to advertise and the most effective ads in order to determine the ones that need to stay as you’re striving for some very limited resources: your clients’ attention, patience and eventually - money.

    If you’re considering adding one or more multi-zone displays to your store, remember this: don’t make decisions based on what your system can handle – make them based on how best you can serve your customers’ needs.

    It’s easy to make advertising mistakes during your first attempt at multi-zoning your digital signage. But it’s also easy to increase your chance of getting it right the first time by choosing to partner with a company dedicated to expertise and unparalleled customer service. Retail Radio’s specialists will help optimize your multi-zone digital displays while avoiding those first-timer mistakes.

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