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Digital signage has arguably had one of the most seamless transitions of any technological innovation into urban society. A world that was once populated by stagnant billboards and dull signage is now rampant with video advertisements and electronic signs. This is all due to the fairly recent innovation of digital signage.
There are several benefits to using digital signage over static signage, which is largely why digital signage has begun to replace static signage around the world. These benefits include increased engagement, cost-effectiveness, greater flexibility, and more sales growth.
Digital signage is a fairly simple technological innovation to wrap your head around, but its global reach and variety of uses are significant. Continue reading to learn more about digital signage, the benefits of using digital signage over static signage, and the spectrum of purpose and potential that digital signage possesses.
Benefits of Digital Signage
As mentioned in the preceding section, there are four major benefits to using digital signage over static signage.
- Increased Engagement
- Greater Flexibility
- More Sales Growth
These four byproducts serve as broad groupings for the far more numerous benefits of using digital signage over static signage. In this article, we will take a closer look at each grouping and the specific benefits that are denoted within each grouping.
First, let’s dig into how digital signage works vs. the traditional, static signage that we’re used to seeing.
Digital Signage vs. Static Signage
Digital signage is a way of describing certain objects that we, particularly those in urban environments, encounter on a daily basis. Their prevalence actually tends to make digital signage blend in within major cities, which tends to lead to ignorance regarding not only the physical manifestations of digital signage but regarding the concept of digital signage as well. Traditional signage is what you think of in a sign, just letters and sometimes graphics.
A good place to begin defining digital signage as a concept is to first define signage.
Signage is a broad term, popularized in the mid to late 1970s, that encompasses any signs or symbols used to convey a message. Signage can include road signs, billboards, street name signs, murals, posters, and many more examples. Now, these examples include digital and electronic signs with the invention of digital signage.
Digital signage is a branch of signage that uses LCD, LED, or projection technologies to display content that tends to defy the confines of static signage. These can include displays such as videos, interactive media, weather data, and many more examples that would not exist under the limitations of static signage.
Digital signage is slightly more complex than static signage in regard to its implementation, as there are three distinct aspects of its implementation.
First, stores, advertisers, or whoever is willing and able to implement digital signage must install hardware to display the digital signage. Then, this hardware must be supplemented with the necessary software that enables the hardware to display the images, videos, or other forms of media that are meant to be shown on screen.
Finally, this media must be obtained or produced somewhere and by somebody. This can involve production crews or freelance designers being hired to film or create media to be used for digital signage.
Digital signage is typically used by advertisers and retail stores but can be implemented in a variety of mediums. Here is a list of all of the means for using digital signage in modern society.
- Tourism: This can include interactive maps, information regarding popular tourist destinations, and information regarding the city or country in general.
- Restaurants: This can include self-serving and self-ordering kiosks, digital menus, and digital entertainment within the restaurant.
- Education: This can include interactive and visual demonstrations or lessons taught by the teacher or by a third party.
- Public Services: This can include local information related to weather, news, traffic, and even maps services.
- Museums: This can include self-serving kiosks, digital galleries, interactive museum maps, and even digital tours of the museum.
- Corporate: This can include conference room booking, meeting information, and training modules or assistance.
- Retail: This can include self-serving kiosks, advertisements, visual displays, and interactive displays.
- Advertising: This can include videos, digital images, scrolling pages, or interactive advertisements.
Benefits of Digital Signage
Now that we have adequately defined signage and digital signage, it is time to take a closer look at the many benefits of using digital signage over static signage. First, let’s take a look at how digital signage has increased engagement when compared to static signage.
Digital signage has fairly salient advantages over static signage when it comes to increasing engagement. Digital signage engages roughly 400% more people than static displays do, and about 80% of customers attribute digital signage to be their reason for entering a retail store.
With this in mind, there is still more to digital signage’s ability to increase engagement than is noticeable at first glance.
Digital signage also increases engagement in several other ways that are arguably more lasting than their propensity for initial engagement. These other methods for digital signage are to influence increased engagement are listed below.
- In-Store Engagement
- Social Media Engagement
- Internal Staff Engagement
Let’s take a closer look at each of these methods for digital signage to influence increased engagement to see how they work and what amount of benefit they have on increasing engagement.
First, in-store engagement, which can generally be defined as digital signage within stores that customers can observe and even, occasionally, interact with. This typically includes digital images or videos such as the infinite loop of live Huntington Beach footage that plays in certain Hollister Co. locations.
However, this also includes recent innovations in digital signage, which have allowed for interaction with the signage.
This is evident in places like Nordstrom, which features the “Denim Doctor,” a digital display that uses 360-degree imaging and intelligent programming to recommend jeans depending on the customer’s body type, lifestyle, fabric preferences, and additional information collected during the interaction.
Sephora also features a similar interactable digital display that allows customers to apply makeup to a digital projection of their own face. This display is called ModiFace, and its installation has resulted in a decrease in returns and exchanges at Sephora.
The most futuristic representation of this interactable digital signage is in select Rebecca Minkoff stores, which feature “smart” mirrors. These “smart” mirrors allow customers to order clothes and various sizes and even adjust the ambient lighting within the confines of their fitting room.
Second, digital signage also benefits the engagement levels of a store’s internal staff. Digital signage has been known to have a positive impact on staff engagement, particularly in regard to communication between corporate employees and front-line employees.
For instance, if new information that has been produced from the corporate offices of a company needs to be passed down to every front-line employee of the company, the process can often be arduous and ineffective.
It is difficult to pass on information to such a large amount of people, and even when it is done, it cannot be guaranteed that each employee will even take notice of the information.
Although you still cannot make any guarantees, a simple way to maximize the amount the information gets looked over is to create a digital display containing the information. Therefore, when employees walk-by or are in the vicinity of the digital display, their attention will be drawn to the information on the screen.
This information can be constantly updated and applied to multiple digital displays to increase its effectiveness. Additionally, employees are far more likely to read the information on a digital display than in a pamphlet or staff board notices.
Let’s take a look at the impact that digital signage has had on in-store engagement and internal staff engagement in numerical terms.
|Type of Impact||Little||Moderate||Important||Essential|
This information was compiled from a survey taken by a 2019 Future Stores and HR Retail Report.
Increased Social Media Presence
Finally, digital signage also allows for increased social media engagement. Although static signage is fully capable of marketing a brand’s social media accounts, digital signage takes this marketing to the next level.
Many digital displays feature an infinitely scrolling loop of a brand’s social media accounts so as to entertain the customer while notifying them of the brand’s presence on the social media platform being shown.
Additionally, some digital displays give customers bar codes or URLs to visit these specific social media platforms. Several of these digital displays are even interactable, which allows for additional engagement and simplifies the process even further.
In contrast to digital signage’s advantages in increased engagement over static signage, its advantages in cost-effectiveness over static signage are not instantly apparent. Digital signage does cost more than static signage to implement, and it certainly costs more to run an electric sign than to put up a paper or poster-board sign in your store.
However, there are some benefits that come with digital signage that make it a slightly more cost-effective option than static signage.
One of the most obvious reasons that make digital signage a more cost-effective option than static signage is its increased engagement and sales growth. However, these are both byproducts worth delving into individually. One reason that does not fall under either of these categories has to do with the way digital signage can work with advertisers.
Digital signage, like most forms of signage, can opt to sell its display space to advertisers who are looking for a place with high traffic to market their own products. However, with digital signage’s additional flexibility, which will be detailed in a subsequent section, they can display far more advertisements on the same sign than any form of static signage.
Additionally, these advertisements can be interactable and lead to higher engagement, which would lead to more advertisers seeking out spaces with digital signage over spaces with static signage.
It can also be argued that the cost of digital signage is not much more significant than static signage, especially when taking into account the benefits that come with digital signage.
For instance, a leased digital display is considered a tax-deductible overhaul expense by the IRS, which means there is zero cumulative cost to leasing a digital display.
Furthermore, a University of Cincinnati study found that digital signs can offer a return on investment for companies in as little as three months.
Thus, digital signage ends up appearing to be a safer investment than static signage.
One of the most apparent distinctions between digital signage and static signage is the flexibility of digital signage. The flexibility of digital signage refers to the dynamic nature of this form of signage, as digital displays can contain multiple displays, moving displays, and even displays that can be constantly programmed and adapted.
Multiple Signs in One Space
This allows for a number of consequential benefits, such as the increased advertising potential mentioned in the previous section. This also allows for increased engagement as these displays will be constantly updated to display new, pertinent information.
For instance, during summer or winter sales, the signs can simply be updated to reflect the optimal products for the season.
This can also be used to increase sales as these digital displays can be constantly updated to display new sales that are currently going on.
Some stores even implement artificial intelligence that allows their digital signage to keep track of the most popular selling items and the products that are typically sold together, or complementary products.
These digital displays can then use this information to display products that could use a boost in recognition to spur a boost in sales or to recommend a complementary product that would often be paired with one of the store’s more popular selling items.
It is clear that this increased flexibility helps digital signage immensely, as is evident in the increased engagement statistics that are frequently measured with digital signage. For instance, a Nielsen study found that over 55% of tourists that took notice of a digital sign could later recall the exact message displayed on its screen.
Thus, with digital signage, stores will never have to order replacement signs, and their original signs will still draw in far more attention than static signage ever could.
More Sales Growth
Finally, stores and advertisers that have implemented digital signage have seen an increase in sales that can be attributed to the digital signage. It has been observed that over 83% of retail store owners who have installed new digital signs have observed an increase in sales.
This is due to all of the benefits of digital signage that have been previously mentioned.
In a 2012 Accenture survey, 49% of people surveyed claimed to be influenced by in-store offers. 92% of these people also claimed that real-time product availability would influence where they shop. With its greater flexibility and increased engagement, digital signage is the perfect answer to giving people real-time product availability that may influence their purchases.
Digital Sales Representative
Digital signage essentially serves as its own form of sales representative, as it can be used to inform the customer but also to direct the customer toward optimal sales for the retailer. This can lead to noticeable increases in sales, particularly in comparison to stores that use static signage or other forms of advertising and marketing.
One of these noticeable increases in sales was observed by the SBA, which reported that digital signs have led to over 150% increases in business, particularly for small businesses.
Increased Impulse Buys
The implementation of digital signage has also led businesses to see an increase in impulse purchases. A notable person in the tech community, David Bawarsky, claims that 19% of people who entered a store admitted to making an impulse purchase in response to a digital display within the store.
These increases in sales are not only in regard to impulse purchases. Many stores and brands experience broad increases in sales after implementing digital signage, with as much as 33% increases in sales after its implementation.
Influence Outside of Sales
Even if digital signage does not directly lead to a customer’s purchase, there are other factors, such as the attention-grabbing nature of digital signage, that could lead to additional sales.
If there are more people noticing these signs and there are more people entering these stores as a result of noticing these signs, then there are likely more people making purchases in these stores.
As mentioned in the preceding sections, digital signage can also bring in additional revenue by selling its display space to other advertisers. This only adds to the many areas in which digital signage can increase revenue and sales for a business or brand.
And there you have it, the benefits of digital signage. Now you have a basic understanding of digital signage and its many benefits.
Additionally, you should have a decent understanding as to why digital signage is a more advantageous option than static signage and what kind of benefits digital signage offers that static signage does not.
Ultimately, the best way to understand is to go out right now and see how prevalent digital signage has become.