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How to Implement Digital Signage as Strategic Media

Apr 8, 2008 12:00 PM, By John W. DeWitt

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A car dealership's interactive kiosk, powered by Omnivex digital signage software, automatically prompts a sales rep to show up when the customer drills down to a certain point.

A car dealership's interactive kiosk, powered by Omnivex digital signage software, automatically prompts a sales rep to show up when the customer drills down to a certain point.

Today’s digital signage technology enables more contextually driven, interactive content powered by advanced, realtime integration with business systems. However, harnessing sophisticated capabilities demands that retailers and their technology partners go beyond limited, tactical use of “in-store TV,” according to Jeff Collard, president of signage software company Omnivex. Collard recently talked with Digital Signage Update about how a strategic approach to digital signage content and implementation improves operations and customer experience.

Digital Signage Update: How does the sophistication of today’s technologies change the way retail consumers view digital signage?

Jeff Collard: Next February, high-definition television will be the standard. Older widescreens are dying off, and that really changes the viewer’s expectations. Also, expectations are changing because the Web is much more interactive. You can’t get away with the low-end stuff anymore—you have to match the visually impressive experience of the average consumer. Therefore, signage should be interactive, relatively intuitive—a tool versus just a screen for passive audience. As a consumer, it must be engaging and more relevant to me.

So how do these changing consumer expectations impact the way businesses approach—or should approach—digital signage?

We’ve got to get over the perception of digital signage as “in-store TV.” Smart retailers are looking to use information strategically—driving cost out of the business, getting customers serviced with fewer staff, letting the system manage itself as much as possible, and making their distribution system much more efficient.

Using information strategically is a powerful tool that businesses understand. But they don’t always think about digital signage that way—traditionally, they think of digital signage as digitizing posters. But with a strategic approach, digital signage can help to run business better and provide a better customer experience.

What about the success of Wal-Mart TV? Why should retailers change the way they’re using digital signage if they’re already getting a good payback on a more basic, tactical approach?

Wal-Mart TV is a very broad network, but they approach it as in-store TV—which, by definition, is not very sophisticated. When you look at digital signage merely as an advertising medium, it drives to you to use it in a limited way. You’re just looking for eyeballs—and if you can get an uplift in sales, that’s also good. But you’re not strategically using information to help customers make a decision, get better served, and improve their experience.

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