Attention: The Nielsen Co. has reported that digital signage in the US generates more than 237 million monthly exposures to people 18 years of age or older. Separate market research from IHS iSuppli indicates the growing adoption of digital signage around the world as professionals in the retail, hospitality, healthcare, corporate, and government sectors look to the medium to communicate to audiences on the go. Electronic digital signage (EDS) systems now can be found in a variety of locations including supermarkets, Big Box retailers, movie theaters, shopping malls, doctors and dentists’ offices, liquor stores, and schools. Screen sizes are ranging from 22 inches to 50 inches and larger.
The growth potential is there. Earlier this year, Microsoft Windows Embedded Marketing honcho Barb Edson reported that there are approximately 2 million digital signs across the United States, and that number is expected to grow to 7 million over the next five years. Indeed, revenues for digital signage equipment and software were $5 billion at the end of 2010, according to IMS Research, and are growing to more than $7 billion by the end of this year.
Worldwide shipments of signage and professional displays in 2012 reached 17.2 million units, up from 15.4 million in 2011 and 13.5 million in 2010, said IHS iSuppli. By 2016, they are expected to reach nearly 26 million units. The research firm attributed the healthy growth to a few factors, including a greater need for digital signage in public spaces and the rapidly declining price of LCD panels.
Many industry experts feel brand owners are the biggest drivers of EDS. Brand owners feel EDS can help them keep a customer at point of sale instead of the customer choosing a cheaper/generic brand or what is on sale. Advertisers see EDS as a less expensive way to reach a larger audience than TV advertising, according to I.T. Strategies, another research consultancy. Recent audience measurement tools provide statistical data to prove electronic digital signage is impacting customers at point of sale, pointed out VP Marco Boer. EDS also gives brands an alternative advertisement media as television viewers/newspaper readers decline. EDS increased brand-specific sales 75 percent to 100 percent in liquor stores operated by Drinks TV, Digital Signage Today has reported.
Signage that Sells
Diageo’s Virtual Bartender is another example of EDS inside of an alcohol retailer. This sign allowed the consumer to interact with a “virtual bartender” through a touch screen. The bartender suggested drink recipes and printed a complete shopping list for the customer. This increases liquor sales and also mixers, ice, specialty cups, etc. -- anything listed on the “shopping list.”
GameStop TV is an entertainment-based program that offers original gaming content now produced by CBS Outernet. The network, running since 2006, is installed in more than 4,300 GameStop stores. The system has shown to increase sales of advertised products by an average of 20 percent, according to a Neilsen study. Some 65 percent of all store visitors watched or listened to the in-store programming, and 52 percent of the predominantly (72 percent) male 12 to 34-year-old store audience spent more time in the store after viewing the content (compared to those who did not view).
One Estee Lauder interactive EDS used RFID technology. Shoppers interacted at the point of decision, where they were provided with media content specific to their needs at the point at which they are making the decision to purchase. When a product was picked up, the RFID allowed screens to play video specific to the selected product along with cross-recommendation to other products in the range. For example, if a customer picked up a lipstick, the RFID tag would register and the EDS suggested other cosmetics to go with the lipstick. The EDS also turned into a mirror to allow the customer convenient product testing. In addition, a special tag presented by a Lab Series Consultant turned the screen into a skin scanner enabling a customer’s skin type to be analyzed, then recommended suitable products.