How to Use Digital Signage to Sell More And Draw a Bigger Crowd

Priyanka Bhadani9/16/2022

What is digital signage?

Digital signage is a type of electronic display that shows information, advertising, and other messages. It is usually found in public places, such as shops, restaurants, and airports.

What is Digital Signage?

Sometime in the mid-2010s, Pizza Hut deployed an interesting tabletop at some of its stores. The tabletops were interactive. They let customers view menu offerings at the outlet, choose a pizza, and customize the toppings with simple gestures or swipes on the innovatively designed tables. One of the latest digital signage software technologies the brand was using, it was developed in partnership with Chaotic Moon Studios.

The core of any successful business involves strategies used to market its products well. This does two things -- informs the target group of the product line-up and disseminates new information.

Digital signage is a sub-segment of the larger out-of-home advertising market. Digital signage includes static and video displays that show digital content, including anything from menus to advertisements, news and weather updates. Businesses use digital signage solutions to communicate with their customers and employees. These installations can be found in a wide variety of settings, including restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, schools, airports, train stations, and hospitals.

Digital signage displays or electronic signage displays use digital display devices to cast media. They've become a popular tool for marketing, particularly in the post-Covid era. Digital signage displays are created using a set of hardware and software solutions to transmit relevant content in several formats -- videos, photos, texts, and audios.

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Digital Signage Strategy! What's That?

What's a digital signage strategy? There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this. After all, every business has its own goals and objectives. But largely speaking, common goals of a digital signage strategy include increasing customer engagement, improving efficiency, reducing wait time, and promoting specials or new menu items.

To achieve these goals, restaurants may use many different digital signage solutions, such as interactive display kiosks, tabletop screens, video walls with special items or even digital menus. The idea is to find the right solution for your specific needs and goals. Ultimately, smart digital signage is a great way to promote a restaurant and increase customer engagement, as Pizza Hut did by integrating interactive tabletops. Or how McDonald's integrated digital menu boards at many of its outlets globally in 2021. These digital menu boards not only let the customers scan the menu and place orders, but also promoted new menu items.
There are a couple of ways to plan your restaurant's digital signage strategy, but the most common strategy has a few linear rules, including-
  1. Define your goals and objectives- Be clear about what you want to achieve with digital signage More customers? More sales? Increased brand awareness? Better customer engagement? Defining your goals will help create content and choose features that support your objectives.
  2. Understand your target group- Who are you catering to? What do they want? Creating targeted content that appeals to the target group will help you maximize the impact of your digital signage.
  3. Choose the right location- Location is key for effective digital signage. Where will your signs be placed? Will they be visible from all areas of the restaurant? Will they be easy for customers to find and read? Consider these factors when choosing the location for your digital signage display. Your digital signs should be placed in high-traffic areas where customers will see them.
  4. Keep it simple- Too much information on digital signs can be overwhelming and confusing for customers. Stick to one or two key messages per sign, and make sure those messages are clear and easy to understand.
  5. Incorporate images and videos- People are more likely to pay attention to visual content than text-based content, so incorporating images and videos into your signs can help grab eyeballs and get your message across more effectively.
  6. Make it interactive- Interactive elements like polls, quizzes, or games can boost customer engagement by giving them a way to participate in the sign's content experience actively. Interactive displays can also help draw attention to the sign itself, making it more effective at promoting whatever message you're trying to communicate.
  7. Plan for updates and maintenance- Make sure you have someone who can regularly update your content and troubleshoot technical issues.
As technology becomes more and more commonplace in society, it's no surprise that digital signage is becoming increasingly popular in the restaurant industry. Digital signage can be a great way to improve the customer experience, increase efficiency, and boost sales. However, before you can enjoy these benefits, you need to have a solid digital signage strategy. Here are five tips on how you can sell more with your digital signage system.

1. Improve Customer Communication

A business can use digital signage software to deliver targeted messages to specific customer groups, helping you to improve communication and better understand their needs. These display boards can provide customers with up-to-date information about your business, such as special offers or a change in operating hours. Many fast casual and quick service restaurants have started using digital signage at their drive-thrus to guide customers through the process of placing orders and inform them about special offers of the day or week.

Here are a few ways you can use electronic signage to improve communication with your customers and sell more in the bargain-

  • Use it to provide customer service information- If you have a large store or complex premises, digital displays, like a video wall, can help direct customers to the right department or service counter. You can also use it to display important phone numbers, website addresses, privacy policy and terms to use the business property.
  • Use it for wayfinding- Digital signage can help customers find their way around your premises, whether looking for the restrooms or the exit. It can also be used to highlight certain areas of interest, such as specific products or services -- for example, a reading corner in a cafe, or a photo booth in a restaurant.
  • Use it to promote sales and discounts- Everyone loves a bargain, so why not use digital signage for advertising sales or discounts you may be running? It is a great way to boost foot traffic and generate excitement among your customer base.
  • Keep your customers up-to-date- One of the benefits of digital signage is that it's easy to update and change as needed. So if there are any changes in your business, such as new products, services, or opening hours, you can quickly communicate these through your digital signs.

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2. Use it for brand recall

Digital signages are not just about 'hanging a screen on the wall'; they go beyond that. Some of the best digital signage systems provide an excellent opportunity to build your brand identity. Everything matters, from how you hang the screen to how you use it at different venues like a pop-up, and how you integrate it with your existing restaurant management systems like the point of sale. You are creating maximum impact when you make sure that your signs are consistent with your other marketing material and include your logo and brand colors.
In Quarter Two of 2022, Yodeck Digital Signage conducted a survey to gauge the effects of digital signage on the restaurant business. 84% of restaurant business owners surveyed believe that digital signage makes their brand more recognizable to consumers.

There are endless ways to use electronic signage improve the branding at your restaurant. Here are just a few ideas-

  • Use digital signage to display your restaurant's logo and slogan prominently. It will help customers remember your brand and associate it with positive experiences.
  • Use them to showcase photos or videos of your food and drinks. It is an appetizing way to get customers' mouths watering and encourage them to visit your restaurant.
  • Use them to display customer testimonials or reviews. Hearing positive feedback from others is always reassuring and can convince potential customers who are on the fence about visiting your establishment.
  • Use digital signage solutions to highlight any awards or accolades your restaurant has received. It signals that you're a reputable business worth patronizing.

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3. Increase Sales And Average Spend

There are a number of ways to use digital signage solutions to increase sales and average spend. Digital signage can increase your restaurant's turnover by promoting special offers or menu items. For example, Burger King uses in-store advertising with its digital screens located throughout Burger King restaurants. These electronic signages play ads for the other products the brand offers (such as ice-cream), leading to more purchases.

Another way is to use digital screens to create a sense of urgency by displaying countdown timers or showing how many items are left in stock. Additionally, digital signage can upsell to customers by displaying information about complementary products. Digital signage can also be used for loyalty programs by prompting customers to scan their loyalty cards or enter their phone numbers to receive points or rewards. There are many case studies to validate this claim. In fact, the Yodeck survey revealed that 77% believe digital signage increases sales.

Here are a few ways to go about it-
  • Use it to upsell higher-priced items. For example, if someone buys a coffee, promote baked goods or other menu items to them too.
  • Digital signage can also draw customers' attention to special promotions and sales. This can help more people become aware of the promotion and encourage them to take advantage of it.
  • Use these signages to create a sense of urgency around purchasing decisions. For example, if there's only one item in stock, you could use a sign to let potential buyers know, so they're more likely to make a purchase right then and there.
  • Use customized content on your digital signage screens according to viewer demographics, location, and time of day. This will ensure that the right message is delivered to the right audience at the right time, maximizing its effectiveness and leading to positive results, such as increased sales and higher average spend.

4. Enhance Customer Experience

Whether ordering through a kiosk (an interactive digital screen) or scanning through menus on a digital board at a drive-thru, digital or electronic signages provide ample opportunity to enhance customer experience. Initially, big multi-chain restaurants like Burger King, McDonald's, Taco Bell, and others were the only ones adopting the technology. But during the pandemic, when it was mandatory to follow social distancing rules, many restaurants embraced this trend by implementing digital ordering kiosks at their locations.

Kiosks, for example, have streamlined the ordering process and helped customers get their food faster. Additionally, they free up employees, allowing them to provide better customer service elsewhere in the restaurant. Drive-thru menus on digital boards ensure everything is clear and easy to read. Digital signage has helped make these menu boards more user-friendly, which helps improve the customer experience and encourages people to purchase more.

  • Drive repeat business by ensuring customers have a positive experience at your restaurant using self-service kiosks. One of the best ways is to integrate your digital signage system with an efficient point-of-sale system like Plumpos with hassle-free payment processing. Do this and customers are likely to come back repeatedly.
  • Foster brand loyalty by keeping your brand front of mind with customers by using digital signage to promote your unique selling points. Also, use a digital signage system to create interest and excitement around your restaurant, driving word-of-mouth marketing.
  • The best digital signage systems integrate with other systems and your company's social media profiles. Integrate social media into your digital signage strategy by displaying tweets and Instagram posts from customers who have used hashtags related to your brand. It is sure to grab customer attention and create a buzz.

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5. Leverage Digital Signage As A Kitchen Display System

Digital signages can also be used to create an efficient kitchen display system. They can be used effectively to improve communication in the kitchen and create an efficient display system. A few ways to use kitchen display boards effectively is by posting recipes, cooking tips and other information that would help cooks in the kitchen. This can save them time by making the information they need readily available to them, and can also help them improve their skills.

By placing digital signage near food preparation areas, cooks and waitstaff can quickly and easily see updated information about menu items, specials, prep times, and cooking instructions. Digital signages can also relay important customer requests or changes to the back-of-house staff. All of this, ultimately, helps serve customers better and increases footfall.

There are many different types of digital signage system available, so choosing the right solution for your needs is important. For kitchens, it is always best to use waterproof and grease-resistant displays that can withstand high temperatures.

There are a few points to consider when setting up a digital signage system for your kitchen-

  • Make sure the displays are visible from all parts of the kitchen. You don't want anyone missing important information because they couldn't see the screen.
  • Use clear and easy-to-read font sizes. No one wants to squint at a tiny screen while trying to cook.
  • Keep the content updated regularly. If your menu changes frequently, make sure your digital signage reflects this. It will help avoid confusion and keep everyone on the same page.
  • Use animation sparingly. Too much movement can be distracting in a busy kitchen environment. Stick to simple animation or static displays for best results.

How to Zero In On the Right Digital Signage Solution

The first step to setting up digital signage displays is to procure all the hardware, software, and other resources you need. It's always a good idea to spend enough time researching before making a choice. For instance, you may need to choose between a touch-screen and a regular display. If your business needs customer interaction, it is always better to choose a touch-screen and a cloud baseddigital signage solution. For example, employing an easy to usetouch screen kiosk at a restaurant will make ordering and payment processing a breeze. If you need to disseminate information, use regular LED displays, which are easier on the pocket.

It may appear simple, but a great deal of technology is involved in making a digital signage system effective. At a broad level, a digital signage display system can be divided in the following categories-
  1. Hardware- It includes the physical components -- screens (for instance, LED displays), media players (if necessary), other network components, mounts, etc.
  2. Software- The device management system, the playback software, and the solution to stream the content.
  3. Connectivity- One of the trickiest parts of having digital signage displays is ensuring connectivity -- deciding on whether you want to use hard-line, Wi-Fi, or mobile technologies.
  4. Installation- The installation process is long and includes site surveys, evaluation of the weight of the hardware, weather conditions if you have chosen an outdoor location, and the final installation with all connections intact.
  5. Content- A content management system (CMS) and the continuous flow and change of content, whenever necessary, is important to keep the display effective and relevant to the target group.
Here is a step-wise guide on how to put together digital signage displays.

1. Choose the display device for your signage- To display any content, you will need a display device -- the front end of your digital signage hardware. The display device and the content are the only components your target audience will see.
2. Determine your media players- Once you set up the display, you need a media player that is compatible with the display device to deliver the media to the display unit. There are several varieties of content players, each with its own configurations and properties. The IT team and the digital signage developers must consider the process's challenges. Different media players support different types of media through codecs. Advanced software saves these media files on the internal storage to ensure uninterrupted playback if there is an internet connectivity issue. In the case of a streaming solution, constant internet connectivity is required.
3. Choose a distribution network- One of the best examples of content distribution is cable television, with which a service provider distributes video programming. However, most current technologies use wireless technology, like Wi-Fi and even Ethernet, to cast content on a display device. For wireless technology to work effectively, a stable internet connection is a must. In the absence of a reliable internet connection or reach places where the internet is inconsistent, hardware (HDMI, AV, VGA cables) is the best choice.
4. Content management system and content are key- Content Management Systems (CMS) and content are the pillars of effective digital signage. CMS is the software that works in the background and manages what to display and how to display it on electronic signage. You have to upload content to the CMS interface if it's cloud based and it will keep rolling. However, if it isn't cloud based, you will have to manually upload it time-to-time on the online user interface to control how it displays.

Once the CMS is set up, it is time for the most important element -- the content. The adage "content is the king" isn't popular for no reason. Content, or clear communication with your target group, can make a huge difference to your business. Thus, it's important to have a content team that understands your business, is aware of new developments, and creates effective content to display on your digital signage.

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