The Complete Guide to Digital Signage

Learn how to deliver effective in-store marketing

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What is Digital Signage?

From Wikipedia: "Digital signage is a sub-segment of electronic signage. Digital displays use technologies such as LCD, LED, projection and e-paper to display digital images, video, web pages, weather data, restaurant menus, or text."

Digital signage is an excellent way to deliver effective in-store marketing. If someone is in your place of business, they are as warm as a lead can get. They already know, like, and trust you enough to come to your store, therefore, they will be receptive to any marketing they see in-store.

As a business owner, you know how hard it is to get people's attention. So, anytime you have someone's attention, you'd be crazy to not capitalize on it! That's where in-store digital signage comes in.

What businesses can benefit from digital signage?

Any business with a physical location for customers/clients can benefit from digital signage. A restaurant can display menus. An auto dealership can display service pricing. The possibilities are near endless; Further down this page you will find a more exhaustive list of ways to use your digital signage.

Digital signage is now easier than ever

Back in the day, managing content on digital screens was difficult and time-consuming. You would have to physically go to the device and either change out a USB stick or DVD to change the content. Because of this, content is likely to become outdated or get boring.

Luckily, there has been lots of innovation in the digital signage world. We are now able to use inexpensive devices that plug into any TV in combination with easy-to-use cloud software to manage hundreds of digital signage devices across many locations.

On this page, I’m going to explain how to make use of modern digital signage in your business today.

Recap: Why use digital signage?

Increase in-store conversions

When a person is in your place of business, they are more likely to purchase something if you are marketing to them in-store with digital signage.

Increase average transaction value

Your customers might not know about everything you offer. Show them in-store with digital signage by displaying product lists, upsells, or promotions.

Capitalize on your client's presence

A person at your place of business is an extremely warm lead, which makes in-store marketing very effective.

Specific Digital Signage Use Cases

The first step to implementing digital signage in your business is to decide what to display!

The following is a list of possible digital signage uses based on industry. Many of these use cases are applicable across many, if not all industries.

Use your imagination and think about how they can apply to your business!

Automotive Dealership

  • Service Department: Service pricing list, today's service schedule, vehicles ready for pickup
  • Sales Department: Showcase specific inventory like new or discounted, current promotions, testimonials, events
  • Finance Department: Display upsells such as warranty or paint protection

I.T. Company

  • Display KPI's such as "first response time" or "time to ticket resolution"
  • Show a graphical representation of device or ticket statuses
  • Show call center information, such as who is currently on the phone, or how many calls are queued

Restaurant

  • Food/drink menu with pricing
  • Current wait time, next in line
  • Reservations list
  • Back of house: Current tickets/orders to be fulfilled

Sales Team (any industry)

  • Top sales people
  • Progress to current sales goals, such as total sales or new revenue this month

Other Ideas

  • Stream YouTube videos
  • Slideshow of your company's Instagram photos
  • Customer testimonials, either in text, photos, or videos
  • Showcase your employees, such as "employee of the month" or "welcome our new employee"
  • Display your social media handles and encourage your customers to engage with you online, such as "Use our hashtag / tag us / follow us for a chance to win X"

 

How To Implement Digital Signage In Your Business

Time for the good stuff!

I'm going to explain how to get your first screens going, with everything from choosing the TVs, software, and hardware to preparing your content and putting it all together.

Choosing a TV

If you already have TVs or existing digital signage, great! As long as they have an HDMI input, you're probably ready to go. Most digital signage players are compatible with HDMI, but double check that before purchasing one.

If you don't have TVs, or you want to upgrade, there are lots of options. The big question is: Consumer or commercial grade?

Almost every TV/display manufacturer has a commercial line, such as Panasonic, NEC, Samsung, etc. These TVs are designed specifically for digital signage solutions since there are some special requirements when using a TV for signage. In general they are going to perform better and be more durable for this application. They will be brighter, last longer, capable of being on 24/7, less likely to have burn-in when displaying static graphics, and have better warranties. Just like anything good in life, commercial displays are significantly more expensive than consumer TVs. Make sure to consider the lifetime cost of your displays rather than just the up-front cost; If a consumer display is half the price, but you have to replace it twice as often, well, I'll let you think about that one.

If you are on a budget and understand the risk of possibly spending more long-term, consider buying consumer TVs. They work great for many businesses, especially if they don't need to be on 24/7, or if you are displaying videos (less likely to burn-in.)

Size is another big variable when choosing TVs for your digital signage. In our office, we used a "screen size calculator" such as this one here to get the TV's dimensions and mark it on the wall with masking tape. Just type in the diagonal screen size and it will give you the width and height. Then, stand back and use your judgement. Get your team member's opinions too.

You can also use "screen size to distance calculator" such as this one here to get an idea of TV size based on how far away the viewers will be.

The type of content will dictate the size to some degree as well. If you are displaying dashboards with metrics and a ton of text, it might need to be bigger than if you were just showing photos or videos.

Size is only one factor, RESOLUTION is the other. Similar factors to size also dictate the required resolution. In my opinion, if you are displaying anything with text, it has to be 4K or higher. This will ensure the text is sharp and easily readable even at smaller sizes. If you are ONLY displaying video and are on a strict budget, 1080p will do, but remember that right now in 2020 we are nearing the end of the 1080p era.

The last thing I want to mention when choosing a TV is bezel size. The bezel is the border around the edge of the screen. If you want to have your screens side by side or in a matrix configuration, you might want to consider TVs with smaller bezels to make it look more seamless. This is especially important if you want to display content across multiple TVs, such as playing one video scaled across a 4x4 matrix, or having an ultrawide picture across two TVs.

Choosing a digital signage software

There are a ton of digital signage softwares on the market today and it can be quite confusing to pick the right one for your business. Hopefully in this section we can simplify it for you to make your decision easier.

First of all, you want to ensure your digital signage software is cloud-based. This is going to allow for easy, simple management across as many devices and business locations as you want. It will give you one online portal for managing all of your content and devices for multiple users.

Second, determine what type of content you will be displaying. Not all software can support all types of content. For example, if you want to stream YouTube videos, make sure that is in the feature-list, since they don't all support that.

Third, make sure the price fits your budget. Some digital signage software is free and open-source, others cost a certain amount per month per player. Some charge for storage and others don't. Generally, the less you pay, the less storage you get, the less formats are supported, and the harder it is to manage; This rule isn't hard and fast, just what we've experienced through working with many different solutions over the years.

Here are a few tricks to finding the right digital signage software for you:

  • Create a spreadsheet to compare features and prices
  • Search online for "best digital signage software in 20xx"
  • Go somewhere you know has good-looking digital signage, ask them what they use

Most digital signage software provides free trials to test out the features and see if it fits your needs.

Ultimately, you're going to want to have your marketing and IT Departments collaborate on this decision to make sure it suits everybody's needs in your organization. It's no good if you have something easy for IT to manage but doesn't support the content your Marketing Department wants. Or something that looks pretty but is difficult to manage.

Choosing a digital signage player

This is probably the easiest part of the process, because most digital signage software will either require or suggest a specific digital signage player.

I recommend working with your digital signage software's team to determine the best player for you.

You'll also want to consider the size and power requirements of the player. Make sure you have enough space behind your TV to mount it. If the player requires AC power, make sure there is an extra plug behind your TV, or else you'll be running cables across the wall and that would be pretty ugly! Some players, such as the ChromeCast, can be powered by USB, so that's an option if you don't have an extra plug.

Putting It All Together

First of all, you're going to need to mount your TVs! If you're handy, go for it, or else I recommend hiring a subcontractor / handyman, especially due to the liability in case of a TV mount failing. Don't forget to get an electrician in before-hand if you need plugs behind the TV.

Most players will work fine over wi-fi, but if you want extra speed and reliability, consider having a network cabling specialist run ethernet behind the TV.

Now that your TV is mounted and has power, go ahead and plug that bad boy in! I'm referring to the digital signage player, of course. Worst case scenario, it makes a pop, bang, and starts smoking. Best case scenario, it turns on and asks for some type of registration!

At this point, you're going to want to follow the instructions from your digital signage software. You'll probably have to register an account, then somehow link the player to your account. It may involve downloading and installing software, although, some players come pre-loaded with the software installed which makes setup a breeze.

That's about all the advice I can give on setup since the instructions are very specific based on which software and player you choose. If you need more help at this point, reach out to your digital signage software's support team, or an IT company who specializes in digital signage. *cough* *cough* RAXXOS *cough*

 

Coordinating your marketing strategy with the right digital signage can greatly enhance brand loyalty.

- Roman Massey, Owner/Operator Raxxos Technology Inc.

How Can Raxxos Help With Your Digital Signage?

Let Us Do The Legwork

Hundreds of combinations of digital signage hardware and software can be overwhelming. With over a decade of experience, we can recommend and procure the best hardware and software for your business's digital signage. Just say the word, and we will make pretty pictures show up on your TVs.

Tailored to Your Business Goals

We combine our business and technical experience to create the perfect plan to meet your business goals. We understand that every technical solution must meet a business need and ultimately increase your sales. We're not just an IT company, we're also business strategists at heart.

Upgrade Your Current Signage

Already have some digital signage, but not happy with it? We can help you transition to a cloud-based digital signage software that is so simple to manage a 4-year-old could do it. You will wonder why you didn't do it sooner.

Simplified Billing

If you have multiple services with us, we simplify your billing so you don't have to pay multiple vendors and deal with software licensing. We can manage it all, you just pay us. (optional)

On-going Support

Combine our digital signage services with a technical support plan, or get support for your signage only. Our team of technicians is available for training or helping you with on-going questions and support.

24/7 Monitoring

With a support plan, we will monitor all of your devices 24/7 to make sure your signage is always up-and-running. If we detect a problem, we will try to fix it remotely, in which case you won't even know there was a problem. If we can't fix it remotely, such as if a circuit breaker is tripped, we will call you and let you know.