Digital Signage gets Closer to the Point of Purchase

A 2011 ABI Research study predicted that the digital signage market will grow from nearly $1.3 billion in 2010 to almost $4.5 billion in 2016. In just two years, the market was ten times bigger, growing to $13.25 billion in 2013.

What’s even more impressive is, the market is not slowing down!

If you’re a digital signage fanatic, you’ve probably come across this Arbitron survey that revealed the power of digital signage. More American teens and adults have seen a digital video screen at a public venue (70%) than have watched online (43%). Nearly 1 in 5 (19%) of those who have seen a digital place-based video ad say they have made an unplanned purchase after seeing an item featured on the screen.

These findings, once thought of as surprising, are gradually becoming the norm as more businesses leverage the aesthetic appeal and flexibility of digital signage systems. Because of the versatile nature and flexibility of the technology numerous industries are using digital signage for communication, wayfinding, advertising and promotion, point of transit (POT), and infotainment.

Retail Leads the Way

Currently retail is the leading industry for digital signage, making up 25% of the sales. This means more and more digital signage displays are finding their way to points at which buyers make purchase decisions.

That this trend is characteristic of large retailers only is an easy assumption to make. The average digital signage sale contains only 1 to 5 displays, which suggests that the trend applies to small and medium-sized businesses just as much as it does to big time players. Smaller systems, priced within reach, mean almost any business can take the technology, personalize it and place it at strategic points where customers make purchase decisions. These include waiting rooms, fitting rooms, product shelves and yes, even the restroom at the local sports bar.


Signage Superiority

Customers with money to burn need a nudge, a little direction. Visitors to your next convention or event want to know where they should go for the afternoon workshop. Employees at a medical facility or manufacturing plant need to be informed of an unsafe situation to avoid.

In these instances—at the point of purchase (POP)—a dynamic display can take control and direct all audiences to the next step. Print displays don’t even come close to competing with this kind of resourcefulness from digital point of purchase signage.

Retailers with effective digital signage messaging can direct customers to more areas of the store, increase the amount of time they spend in the shop and increase sales. A Nielsen study tracked grocery stores and found that many brands saw increased sales, by as much as 33%, when combining digital signage with printed signs. The same study noted that a strong majority of consumers polled said that this form of communication would influence their buying decisions, and even influence them to make unplanned purchases.

Messages can be changed with ease and at almost no additional cost. This positions a business to speak directly with the customer at the right place, time and price.

If the customer stalls near the coffee makers in a store, a digital sign can easily guide them to the premium-priced gourmet coffee beans. Another customer shopping for a cordless drill wouldn’t mind a suggestion to get a backup battery pack located in aisle X.

Customers returning to their favorite restaurant would love to try something new—even with a higher price tag—and with inspiration from a display in the waiting area or bar, they might do just that.

With point of purchase signage, these ideas can be communicated many times over, while in the past retailers would wait for the printer to deliver new posters that would go stale within a short of period of time. Added to that wait time is the lack of guarantee that the posters will be accurate, enough, or even delivered on time.

Fancy or Effective?


Digital point of purchase signage does more than add visual appeal and modernize locations. The technology is also effective in educating, and entertaining customer.

Digital signage at the point of purchase can anticipate the customer’s changing needs and display relevant information. It could be as simple as displaying the weather alongside a message suggesting an umbrella purchase and showing the location when it’s rainy, or sunglasses when it’s sunny.

While a print ad might bring a customer to the store it will not prompt the customer to further action. Most shoppers arrive at the store with a mental shopping list. This means the opportunity to influence their purchases exists. Digital signage holds this power. It will bring a customer into the store, and tell them what to do, where to go, what to buy, why to buy etc.

In this regard, the most popular online retailers can provide an effective lesson for brick-and-mortar. e-Commerce sites work to move visitors to additional purchases of companion products. They recognize buyers and guide them to the right parts of the site. Digital signage, and more specifically sensor-based digital signage, brings this functionality to physical stores. This technology can differentiate between buyers already in the store and those who just entered, and the right message is delivered depending on where a customer stands on the sales floor.

When placed at the right spot and at the right time, the messaging possibilities of digital signage are endless:

  • Displays can provide product demonstrations for the buyer who is intrigued, but not really sure about plopping down the cash
  • Displays in the fitting room can suggest outfits based on the item the customer is trying on
  • A display in a bar placed right next to the one playing a game (guaranteed eyeballs) can drive sales by displaying happy hour specials
  • Displaying your customers’ social media content makes them feel connected to the brand, encouraging loyalty and additional purchases

Profits Plus More

To thrive in today’s hyper-competitive business world, retailers need to provide clients with more value than price cuts. Price cuts win market share short-term by appealing to the customer’s budget. Longer term however, this strategy is unsustainable.

Connecting with customers emotionally is what wins a strong market share. And how do successful retailers make an emotional appeal? By speaking to customers through a subconscious language. It is in simple gestures such as outfitting a fitting room with a digital concierge to provide recommendations; placing a display next to a technical product for a virtual demonstration; placing a display next to a fast moving product, to provide the option of online purchase for sold out sizes/colors.

POP signage eliminates the needs to “look in the back.” Customers can order online via the display, and leave happy!

People buy on emotion then justify their decision with facts, so these gestures made possible by point of purchase signage have a dramatic effect on the bottom line.

Relevant and readily available information at the point of purchase will only serve to drive revenues up. Digital signage guarantees that the right message is reaching the right consumer at the right time.

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