Basics of a Digital Signage Merchandising Network

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   Digital Signage comes in various varieties, and commercial signs are there to identify or attract business for the
     store, building or vehicle displaying the sign. Signage, as most graphic design, is a form of communication.
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                                     Basics of a Digital Signage Merchandising Network
                                                                 By Frank Lucer

    There are many business models which can drive your digital signage network. In the recent past,
we've explored advertising as the main source of revenue. A lot of owners pursue this model because
it is straightforward and offers cash flow numbers that are simple to calculate. An entirely different
model is one that is focused on merchandising. Rather than being used to distribute advertising, the
screens are deployed for the purpose of promoting a particular company and its products.

 Below, I'll explain the basics of a digital signage merchandising model. We'll discuss who launches
and steers the project as well as advantages and drawbacks that are inherent to it. I'll also describe
one of the most common obstacles that can hamper its success.

Understanding The Project's Purpose

 This type of signage project is designed to accommodate a few separate, but related, objectives. First,
it supports a given merchandiser's brand. Second, it promotes specific products within that brand, often
with the goal of lifting immediate sales. Third, it accommodates broad promotional campaigns within
the brand. It is typically spearheaded by a single merchandiser with the digital screens hosted in a
venue in which only that merchandiser's products are sold.

 For example, consider the popular clothing retailer Banana Republic; each item sold within its stores
are part of its brand. A merchandising signage network would be deployed within Banana Republic's
stores to support the brand, promote (broadly) all items within the store, and advertise specific items
near the screens.

The content for branding campaigns may be developed by the retailer. However, a media company
will often create the content for specific sales promotions.

Advantages And Potential Drawbacks

 One of the most important benefits for a merchandiser-led signage network is related to content. It can
be tightly controlled with a high level of customization because the entire project is handled by the
retailer. In fact, content can be developed for each individual screen in order to highlight certain
products that are in close proximity. This advantage has a far reach.

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 For example, consider a retailer that is running an advertising campaign on television for a specific
item. People who visit the retailer's stores can be greeted with customized content that promote the
advertised item. What's more, the content can be distributed only to the screens that are near the

 Unfortunately, having complete control and flexibility over the content presents its own challenges. If a
network operator is unable to show top management how the screens deliver a positive ROI, resources
that were once allocated toward the project may be pulled. When that happens, content suffers
dramatically (after all, the budget is slashed) and there is little chance for the network to recover.

Possible Obstacle To Success

 One of the most severe challenges in deploying a merchandiser-led signage network is not having
sufficient time in order to test its effectiveness. Often, a retailer's senior management will invest a
sizable amount of money into a large project with certain ROI expectations. They will allocate financial
resources to the project and hand the reins to a project owner. If the screens fail to immediately deliver
the expected ROI, a rash decision is made by management to cut the budget (which I alluded to
above). In doing so, they seal the project's fate.

 Digital signage networks require constant testing. Sound, lighting, screen positioning, and other
factors influence results. One possible way to circumvent this obstacle is for the network operator to
suggest conducting small-scale tests in select venues before a full deployment (and investment).

 This digital signage model can be very effective. Not only can it build a merchandiser's brand, but it
can deliver measurable results over time. But, a sufficient budget must be allocated and enough time
given to the project team in order to test.

Four Winds Interactive is a leading provider of digital signage networks and software, check us out
online at

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                                          Avoid Digital Signage Without Purpose
                                                             By Ryan J Bell

It happens all too often: someone in your organization, browsing a trade magazine or industry portal
sees an article on the growing trend of digital signage, or a case study on a competitor's installation of
a digital signage network. The piece goes on and on about how digital signage enhances the effect of
marketing messages, assists in guiding desired behavior from clients, and has the ability to target
different demographics based on time and location. In fact, the piece makes it sound like a digital
signage network is the only thing keeping your company away from the success it truly deserves.

 All of the above is completely true, and digital signage provides organizations like universities, hotels
and retail centers with direct marketing benefits. However, when considering investment in digital
signage it is important to take a step back from all of the potential benefits and make sure you can
answer one simple question: what exactly is your organization trying to accomplish by making use of
digital signage? If you cannot clearly identify the purpose of a digital signage network, if you don't
already have an idea of what content you would want to give to customers (or potential customers) if
given the opportunity, then it will be impossible to achieve any level of success with the signage

 Signage (whether digital or analog) has many uses outside of just delivering marketing messages: it
can be used help consumers find their way, to give information on products and services offered, and
even for video games and point of sale systems. If there is a primary need for this type of system in
your organization then chances are you can safely begin to consider a digital signage system.
However, if you are purely attracted to the added benefits of digital signage and are inventing primary
needs that are not currently part of existing challenges, then chances are your digital signage project
will not be a rewarding experience.

 It is vitally important to the success of your signage project that you take the time at the outset to
determine attainable goals which you want your signage system to fulfill. Getting input and signoff
from key management in your organization will also help to create buy in, and to provide absolute
direction on the project. Although digital signage companies are capable of great efficiency in the
design, development and implementation processes, attempting to fulfill an unclear set of objectives
which are constantly shifting will only create unnecessary expense and disappointment.

 Although digital signage can fulfill very many marketing purposes in an efficient, attractive manner, it is
very dangerous to get caught up in all of the benefits without being able to see the over-arching
purposing of introducing this new marketing method to your company or organization. It always helpful
to step back and reconsider the motives and goals behind your consideration of a digital signage
implementation. Not only will this help to streamline the entire development and implementation
process, it will also lead to more measurable results.

Four Winds Interactive is a leading provider of digital signage networks and software, check us out
online at

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Avoid Digital Signage Without Purpose
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