Maximising the opportunities of retail digital screen media

Digital screens in retail locations are not new, although the number of retailers developing networks is rising rapidly as they identify the value to their consumers and, potentially, the opportunity they deliver to create an additional revenue stream. Such networks can be a ’win win win’ for customers, retailers and suppliers. Chris Forrester, MD of sales & marketing at Digicom explains more.

Chris Forrester
Chris Forrester

What is new however is the development of a ’new generation’ of retail screen media opportunities. These are planned and developed to fulfil clear objectives: delivering information to a retailer’s customers, and prompting purchase of advertised products. The new digital signage generation has taken the lessons learnt from pioneering screen networks such as TescoTV to deliver propositions that are well-researched, well-designed and well-placed to provide a far more effective screen media solution. For retailers, this means an additional communication channel that adds value to customers’ visit experiences.

The forecourt retailers whose stores comprise Amscreen’s forecourt network use the screens located at the primary till point in the stores to promote products and services relevant to whatever is happening at the time, such as de-icer and screen wash in January’s unexpected cold snap, and also by store type. Amscreen’s flexible screen proposition enables this dynamic messaging at the touch of a button, building a valued customer communication channel. Screens generate a positive halo effect: 73% of research respondents believe the presence of the screen makes the store seem more modern.

In 2009, as Digicom was establishing itself in the digital media marketplace, we carried out consumer research through GfK into awareness and opinions of digital signage. 54% of people had seen digital signage in the previous twelve months, while 64% believe digital advertising screens can improve a shopping environment. 78% of people believe digital advertising screens can make a brand or product seem attractive. So it isn’t hard to see that this provides a great opportunity for both retailers and advertisers, when used correctly, with environment and consumer mindset a consideration at all times.

Retail digital signage is particularly relevant in our current economic climate, when ROI is a consistent watchword and marketers are looking for proof of value and engagement from their media choices. Screens in retail locations deliver this accountability. Verifiable retailer-sourced transaction data is the base for network audience figures; sophisticated measurement systems such as the Quividi facetracking system, which we work with at Digicom, prove the number of people who actually engage with the screens. And, of course, retail digital signage advertising can use EPOS for ROI verification, especially when obtained from third party suppliers such as Synovate / Litmus, whose robust methodology can isolate the sales uplift effect of the screen media alone.

Potential and existing network owners must make sure they have defined the proposition accurately to ensure that it adds tangible value to the store visit experience. Retailers considering a screen network should recognise what they have to do to make it work for all parties involved, taking all aspects of the proposition into account. But the returns are significant when network owners get it right, and we have seen first-hand the enthusiasm of retailers we work with through our network partner Amscreen when they realise the opportunity the screens provide to enhance the effectiveness of already-established instore promotional mechanics.

So the network’s fit for purpose – what about the ad itself? A golden rule for retail digital signage is that the creative must communicate the advertising message efficiently within a glance. To this end, keeping a logo or packshot on screen at all times adds enormously to recognition of an FMCG product advertising on an instore screen. It’s an obvious statement, but getting this right is critical as high levels of advertising awareness do translate to proven success in EPOS tests. Amscreen’s forecourt network delivers between 20% and 50% sales uplift for advertisers we’ve tested.

Digital screen networks in retail environments provide a superb communication opportunity for both retailers and advertisers to communicate with that retailer’s customers. In today’s value-driven climate they deliver quantifiable returns derived from robust bases which advertisers are right to demand from their media investments. It’s a sector to watch that can deliver an additional revenue stream for retailers while making a real difference to advertisers’ bottom lines.


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