“Consumers want to be engaged! Engaging can encompass everything from entertainment to informational content. Every situation will have a different definition of what is engaging. This is why it is so important to define what the user experience will be in order to create a compelling media strategy. If you aim at nothing, you’re going to hit nothing smack dab on the head. Defining what experience you want someone to have…this is the first step.”
Richard Fassio, Founder and President
Modern Digital Inc.
Digital signage systems range from single, stand-alone screens to combination units that incorporate numerous screens to form a digital wall. Regardless of size, there are two basic types of digital displays: passive and dynamic. Passive digital media involves the placement of high definition photographs projected or posted on a screen or board for presentation. A major concern with passive media is that over time it loses effectiveness as it is easily taken for granted and thereby its message will be overlooked or ignored. In other words, since passive media content is static it does not change and once it is viewed by the customer, there is no reason to view it again.
This is not the case with dynamic digital media which normally features colorful animation and catchy sounds designed to attract and hold the customer’s attention. Consider the fact that the age group of 18-25 year olds – a group labeled Generation P—is known for its preference for cashless (plastic) payments, it also has grown up with a cellular phone in one hand and an iPod in the other. Coupled with the explosion in HDTV, teenagers and young adults are more attuned to dynamic digital media content than predecessor generations. The application of animation as an alternative to previously stagnant content can have a huge impact on consumer purchase behavior, regardless of the age of the consumer.
Dynamic digital messaging is a medium which requires content that is current, relevant and most importantly, engaging to be effective. Particular attention must be given to its message (i.e. content, style, and special effects) to ensure that it is suited to the presentation format and target audience. The impact of dynamic digital media, also known as place-based media, can be measured through a correlation between a playlist audit (content menu) and sales data (purchase transactions). A positive correlation indicates an effective impact profile; while a negative correlation means the content likely did not influence consumer purchase behavior.
Similar to the objectives of other forms of media campaigns, vending machine-based digital programming should strive for three goals: 1- influencing a POS purchase decision (promotional), 2- extending brand image (informational), and 3- enhancing the customer experience (entertainment). From an operational perspective, digital media is very appealing as it enables instant updating of product availability, pricing, descriptions, add-ons and modifiers, as well as upselling opportunities (bundling and coupling). Given the nature of visual movement, digital media has an infinite spatial capacity and can be controlled through a linked PC or a hosted digital broadcast network. According to IMS Research, an analysis firm specializing in digital signage, more than 210 million digital screens will be in place by 2011, with nearly 70 percent of these screens being flat screens.
Hopefully vending and OCS operators will be participants.
Vending operators can use digital media with the intention of increasing revenues while enhancing the consumer experience by delivering targeted messages where and when they seem to matter most; at the point-of-purchase. Traffic volume and sales data by time of day (often referred to as dayparts) are basic elements used to evaluate media success. Generally, there are a few popular techniques used to determine the impact of digital media on point-of-purchase behavior. These factors being: