“Isn’t digital signage just an expensive way of replacing printed ads?” – a question that most digital signage newbies struggle with. However, there is an extreme focus on price and not the value of digital signage.
So let’s look at the real value of digital signage, the benefits of digital signage.
We’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but our innate desire to do so is the only reason such a proverb exists. Human decision making is strongly influenced by what we see and perceive. As a business, your signage is the first exposure most people will have to your organization, and like most first impressions, it makes a powerful statement that can be hard to change.
Signage speaks powerfully to your audience. Before you can hope to sell anyone on your product or service, you need to grab their attention. According to the Chamber of Commerce, even a simple, solitary sign outside your business can increase sales by as much as 30%.
But it’s not just about location: quality is also essential. A 2012 survey commissioned by FedEx Office found that 76% of American consumers will enter a store that they’ve never visited before, based solely on the quality and appeal of its signs, and 68 percent have made a purchase because a sign caught their eye. If your signage is particularly unappealing, it can even drive would-be customers away.
So what’s the most effective way to communicate your message?
Most business owners today, including your competition, are aware of the benefits of digital signage, and are employing it to maximize both visual appeal and cost efficiency. Like discussed before, implementing digital signage is not cheap. The investment is not inconsiderable, and it might even scare you away.
But the more pressing question here is, what is the missed opportunity cost of NOT having digital signage?
To understand how NOT having digital signage is hurting you, let’s first explore some of the efficiencies it brings along.
Benefits of Digital Signage
1. Speed and Efficiency
Designing and producing traditional signage is a slow and often painstaking process. The materials for that upcoming campaign or convention must enter development weeks, if not months, before they are actually needed in physical form. And once created, they’re final — outdated information, typos and all.
If you hope to excel in today’s fast-paced marketplace, it’s crucial to update your visual presence in real time. And with digital signage, you maintain control over your message at all times. Want to show multiple items on screen at once? No problem. Need to change your display several times over the course of a day? Easily done.
Your initial investment will continue to pay dividends down the road. Digital displays are reusable resources, as are many aspects of the campaigns that run on them, such as logos and design sheets. The style and motion of your signage, as well as the scalable size of the screens, can attract a much larger crowd than you previously captured. And in some instances, it may even be viable to sell space on your displays to a rotating selection of non-competing advertisers, creating an entirely new income stream.
In your customers’ eyes, efficiency can sometimes be a simple matter of perception. Field studies by the queue management pros at Lavi Industries have found that by offering a distraction in the form of commercials and promotional messages, digital signage in retail lines can reduce perceived wait time by as much as 40%, meaning the customer’s you have already attracted will enjoy a better experience and are more likely to return in the future.
2. “Silent” Endorsement
This is one of the most important benefits of digital signage.
The technology can serve as a stand-in for representatives on the floor, guiding others towards your product or service in a tailored fashion. It’s far easier to grab the attention of potential customers and impress them with your message when you incorporate motion and change. In a marketplace where swapping to online services has never been easier, it’s crucial to design a positive physical experience if you hope to turn that browsing interest into an immediate sale.
Picture how this functions in a field like retail: strategically placed interactive displays will escort your customers through the entire sales process, from endorsing brands and special offers, to informing on the details of each product in an impressively high-tech capacity. It’s like having a virtual sales assistant. This sort of promotion is no longer a mere novelty: it’s what your most sophisticated customers expect when they venture out into the marketplace. For example, Adidas found that after installing digital wall displays in test locations, they increased sales by 40%.
Digital signage also works miracles in a hospitality or convention setting. With displays to attract and guide your potential customers, you’ll require fewer representatives on the floor — a benefit that may more than pay for itself, through reduced expenses in payroll, travel and training.
3. Less Waste
Benefits of digital signage do not include cost savings only. Today’s public is increasingly conscious of environmental concerns. Traditional signage systems often involve a tremendous amount of designing, printing and transporting, as well as produce a great deal of physical waste when your campaign or convention is over.
After all, there’s no realistic way to update your physical signs with new facts, slogans, promotions, or calls-to-action in the way that you can with a computer display. With digital systems, not only can your displays be re-used time and time again, they can also be modified in real-time to highlight different content throughout the day. When information changes, so do your signs, and this keeps a sharp focus on your message without any downtime to replace the display.
Digital screens are built for the long haul, unlike the wood- or cardboard-based solutions that clutter up landfills. They can be reused time and time again, over a period of many years. When they have eventually lived out their lifespan, the interior components (like copper, aluminum, and polycarbonate plastic) are easily recycled – in fact, your signs will often contain already-salvaged materials. And for optimal energy performance, be sure to look to use LED units over their LCD counterparts when possible.
Digital Signage is not Just A Way to Save Money
Making the switch to a digital alternative isn’t just a great way to save money in the long-term, it’s also the right move for the planet – and just might earn the admiration of your “greener” clientele.
With dynamic updates, cost efficiency and reduced waste, it’s not hard to see why most industries have already adopted this visual style en masse.
So what is the Cost of Missed Opportunities?
We’ve seen now the benefits of digital signage, why it should be the cornerstone of any organization’s visual presence, and how handling it properly is fundamental. It’s also been established that digital signage has many considerable advantages over its traditional counterparts.
Even so, you may still be asking, “Is switching to digital signage really worth the time and expense?” After all, you’ve probably been getting at least some sort of response with traditional methods – and besides, the initial investment cost of a simple wooden sign or handful of flyers isn’t exactly prohibitive. Why not stick with what you’ve already got?
It’s a fair question.
But every sign that doesn’t grab a customer’s attention is wasted time and money – and these resources could have secured that business if better spent.
The resources spent on the sign could have secured that business if better spent.
This is what economists refer to as “opportunity cost”, and it’s a safe bet that no matter your industry, the cost of missed opportunities will far outshine the comparatively small investment of digital signage.
Let’s face it: we’ve trained ourselves as humans to ignore print advertising, and we do it quite well. Look no further than the failure of traditional print marketing tactics: Hubspot estimates that as much as 44% of direct mail is never opened. And it’s not that customers are actively avoiding paying attention to your business’ signage in particular. There’s just so much information hitting our eyeballs these days that our minds avoid the least exciting and engrossing bits. This isn’t just conjecture, either: it’s actually the work of physiological mechanism called the “reticular activating system”, which filters out unwanted stimuli to avoid overwhelming the brain.
But TV screens and monitors remain harder to disregard, and can often be quite riveting. How many times have you stopped on the sidewalk or in a storefront to watch a digital display for at least several seconds? Even if customers don’t stay to absorb your entire message, there’s a world of difference between taking some notice and taking no notice. Even noticing some of your message can help impact sales and brand visibility.
An Exercise in Opportunity Cost
Imagine you are a hotel owner, with events, happy hours, and meal specials to promote throughout each month. In days long past, it might have been sufficient to post this information on a large calendar in the lobby. Perhaps you’d even take the extra step of printing off small calendar sheets and placing one on the table in each guest’s room.
Today, however, we are living in an increasingly digital age. You can no longer rely on static cards to attract the attention and sustained interest of a guest who has so much else competing for their attentiveness. What’s more, your competition has already incorporated digital signage in the form of dynamic displays to advertise their own events and promotions. Your customers have become conditioned to focus their limited attention on the things that actually jump out at them. Those calendar sheets may not have cost much to print, but can you justify the miniscule material savings knowing that so many guests have likely paid them no heed at all?
So long as your imagery and campaigns are well designed, the cost of getting your customers’ eyes on them is well worth it. This is just another way that digital signage will more than pay for itself in the long run.
Bottom line? Not Having Digital Signage can be Expensive
Digital signage is a significant investment. However, if done properly, it’s less than the missed opportunity cost of NOT having a messaging medium that your tech-savvy customers are more likely to respond to and engage with, and eventually make a purchase. The benefits of digital signage far outweigh the capital expenditure.