What is Digital Signage & In store Media Screens?

What is Digital Signage & In store Media Screens?

What is digital signage?


In a retail context, digital signage is a developing field in which traditional posters are replaced by screens showing slideshows or video content. 

In simplistic terms a “TV replacing a poster”.

So why would a store replace the good old fashioned poster with an expensive plasma TV or LCD screen?  There are a number of reasons:  

  1. Media screens allow for content to be animated – i.e movement catches our eyes.
  2. Media screens can have audio, to also catch our attention.
  3. The screen content can change many times over a minute, where as a poster can only display one message at a time.
  4. The content can be updated instantly without the need to wait for a printer and postage.
  5. For retailers operating multiple branches, all screens can be linked over the internet allowing for multiples sites to be updated simultaneously.

The software that runs the machines can update throughout the day to allow you to better tailor your promotions.  Breakfast in the morning, lunch snacks midday and evening meals from 5pm for instance.

Are the systems expensive?

Off the shelf, on the face of it, yes.  However, like most forms of marketing and advertising, if they are used to their fullest potential they should pay for themselves in the long-run.

As an example a media box might cost £350 + VAT which will need to be connected to a LCD (computer screen) or TV screen.  As an example a 42” Plasma or LCD + a media player would cost £700 + VAT (2012 estimate)

Budget solutions.

Well there are many ways you can create a similar effect.

Digital picture frames, can play jpeg images (which might be a poster you have created on the computer) and some play movie files and audio.  Granted they are small, but this can work well within a fixture or product specific display.  There are 7” screens available in white and silver finishes for as little as £17. (Feb 2012 Google Shopping)

Slide shows on PC/Mac.  If you have a PC, Laptop or Mac that is a little dated and no longer used.  You could install Powerpoint, Keynote or Open Office to run presentations on the screen.  These could be a rolling slideshow of messages, images and text or even embedded video content.  Again a computer will play back audio too, if required.

Y-Splitters – A computer screen running on VGA or DVi (typical cables that connect a screen to a computer) can be split with a Y-Splitter to run to 2 or more screens.  In stores that I have designed, I have run 10x or more screens from a single computer in this way – using a distribution amp.

DVD – Finally a LCD TV with a built in DVD player can cost as little as £99 (google shopping Feb 2012).  If you have the facility to create DVDs on your PC or Mac this could be an option.  Alternatively, many TVs have the capability to insert a USB stick or Media Card (like you have in your digital camera) and run Jpegs straight onto the screen.

In summary 

There are cost effective ways to turn your in-store or window communication into a dynamic and animated experience.  Although you may not have £700 to shell out on a media screen and plasma, you may have an old PC kicking around or could afford  2x digital picture frames.

Digital signage is the future, whilst it is still relatively new, there is an opportunity to capture the attention of your customers and get them talking and buying with you.  

Written by

Corin Birchall is a Retail Sales & Marketing Consultant and founder of “Kerching Retail - helping to make your till ring”. His consultancy works throughout the UK and Europe. Corin is an active writer, coach and public speaker, helping to develop and grow a wide range of businesses & business leaders from Leisure and Retail sectors

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