Redefining automated retailing part 3: Digital signage options for kiosks
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Historically, the cost and complexities of digital signage discouraged operators of retail kiosks from investigating its potential benefits. But as digital screens become a more common component of kiosks in other environments, interest in digital signage for retail kiosks is increasing.
Digital signage, also referred to as dynamic signage, is a specialized form of multimedia containing information, advertising and related messaging. In part 2 of this series on redefining automated retailing, we explored the differences between active and passive digital media, and how to measure digital media's impact. This month, we will consider the attributes of the three most common digital signage formats from a technical perspective: static, hybrid and dynamic.
While many digital signage developers advocate multiple screens on multiple machines to achieve cost effectiveness, the hybrid model is often a preferred approach as it incorporates the strengths of the other two options.
Static signage (jpeg or similar format) may involve backlit picture boards on which content is displayed in a fixed format deemed best for delivering basic information.
The problem with static signage is that there are few reliable metrics for measuring impact and there is no way to track item sales made on-the-fly. Over time, static signage is perceived as part of the machine framework and often ignored or taken for granted.
For example, a large digital photo of someone enjoying a snack product posted on a panel is not likely to be considered impactful.
Hybrid signage is a combination of static (fixed) and dynamic (changing) content. It includes both picture boarding and digital display screens, wherein the screens are controlled by a PC or alternate source playing downloaded content from a local, central or remote server. In a typical hybrid scheme, one or more panels or panel zones may be digital screens while the remaining surfaces are static boards.
The hybrid model is a compromise approach that can be an effective option. For example, a large action photo with a scrolling LED panel across its bottom is illustrative of one form of hybrid format.
While static signage tends to fade or blend into the background, thereby becoming ineffective, dynamic digital media (mpeg or similar format) remains active and engaging. The use of full motion video, music and/or voice track, stylized text and artistic presentation provide unequalled content.
Dynamic signage can be controlled locally or remotely, and the medium can deliver content via split screen, rolling banner and scrolled information. Unlike other formats, dynamic signage retains its uniqueness over time.
For example, a short video clip playing on a kiosk-mounted screen may influence the consumer to purchase a higher priced item or an additional item from the machine than might otherwise occur.
Digital signage can have a strong, positive impact on kiosks as it increases the range of information available to consumers at the point of purchase.
Some important performance metrics for digital signage in kiosks include: 1) revenue lift resulting from product promotion, 2) purchase transaction time, 3) index of customer satisfaction, and 4) increased number of customers using the kiosk.
In part 4 of our series on redefining the automated retailing experience, we'll explore video streaming, a highly engaging type of digital signage.
Michael Kasavana, Ph.D., is the National Automatic Merchandising Association endowed professor emeritus. Dr. Kasavana has authored or co-authored six books and a host of academic and industry journal articles. In addition, he has also created a series of online instructional materials and software products. He has been inducted into the HFTP International Technology Hall of Fame and was the first recipient of a Distinguished Achievements Award from FS/TEC.