The “Other ROI” of Digital Signage

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Aug 23 2013, Posted by InReality

Return on investment or ROI for a typical digital signage project can be difficult if not impossible to define.

I have seen some studies suggest that a 10-15 percent sales lift should be possible, indicating that “advertised items” will probably sell more quickly. I’m sure this is occasionally true, but is it reliable? Is it repeatable?

Many practitioners ask the question about the ROI on their projects, however most discussions along the lines of ROI always focus on the business side of the equation and rarely address the consumer or viewer side. Clearly there is a disconnect.

The Other ROI

What if I said that there was another ROI that we should be thinking about? One that if we could master it, would almost certainly guarantee higher sales and better engagement with the content and the brand?

Suppose that, instead of focusing on the business return, we tried to define ROI as what the viewer gets when they “invest” in a digital experience?

After all, this is truly the first transaction that occurs every time a customer even walks into a store or showroom. The expectation is that our time will be rewarded with good product, good customer service, good prices and a good in-store experience. That’s the return on our investment of time.

Digital Signage ROI is Different

The real heart of the issue lies in the fact that nearly all consumers have been to a store before. Maybe not your specific store, but they have a basic idea of what to expect. They can quickly judge by the type of lighting used, the way the store is laid out and their overall impression of the store to decide if they will continue the experience or simply walk out.

In-store digital experiences are different. There is no uniformity and no frame of reference. The customer simply has no way of knowing whether or not this experience will provide a return on the investment in time he/she has to make to interact with it.

The result is that most people shy away from even trying these technologies because they assume the worst (a bad experience).

A Focused Approach

Now that we’ve identified the objection, lets focus on how to overcome it. Lets define return on investment as a measurement of payback the consumer gets when they interact with a digital experience. They invest time, and we deliver value.

First, let’s agree that looping an infomercial about a product or service isn’t bringing value. In fact, “repurposing” content that was originally designed for some other channel probably won’t work at all.

Instead, create clear concise calls to action that leave NO doubt about the mission of the digital experience and what it will deliver. And of course, well designed fixtures with no wires showing and compelling content are also very important.

Once they engage, make sure that the experience is well laid out and easy to navigate. Invest the time to understand your customer and how you want to lead them through the next few minutes of interaction. This is a very specific extension of your brand and the overall experience you want to promote.

Rich content that inspires, enlightens, entertains and educates in a comforting, easy-to-use environment is the best way to deliver a positive experience and fulfill the promise of a positive return on investment.

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  • Jessica Sheehy

    I never though of it that way but come to think of it, the idea is a very promising one. Viewing it that way wouldn’t make owners worry about Returns but instead about consumer experience which will later on convert to more than just generous returns.


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