Sales Correlation – matching POS transaction data to digital content playlists will generate a correlation index between sales and content-specific messaging. Different messages have varying impact on purchase decisions and understanding how unique broadcast content influences consumers from various demographics can be important to category management. Similarly, different messages displayed on disparate machines may also have varying impact on sales. For some applications, “Smart Campaign” software that links sales data to media playlist can be used to determine media effectiveness.
Event-based Couponing – A vending machine display that promotes a specific product or combination of products may also generate or transmit a discount coupon to further influence purchase decisions. Media experts claim that this form of promotion teaches the customer to pay attention to broadcast content, now and during repeat visits, as there may be a promotion or other benefit to be gained. This may present vending an unparalleled opportunity.
Net Impression Tracking – this metric involves evaluating the customer’s ability to recall the content of a digital display. When a message is broadcast, an impression is created. Measuring the strength of recall can be used to evaluate this relationship. This is often a difficult metric to compute but can be very meaningful in terms of next step strategies. Often practitioners report that short messages (some as short as 10 seconds) may have a better recall rate than a 30-second promotional piece); additionally, the longer the message the more likely there will be a service slow down.
According to the Digital Signage Group (www.tdsg.net) there are numerous techniques that can be applied to make a display interactive. For example, adding a barcode or RFID reader to provide an opportunity for the consumer to swipe or tap a recognizable card or fob; or placing a motion sensor or touch sensitive interface on the display surface will render it interactive. There are both small and large format touch screens and camera systems capable of tracking consumer movement or count traffic in front of the display unit.
The unknown cost of digital media often discourages many operators from investigating its potential benefits. From a financial consideration perspective, there are three digital format options available: static signage, hybrid signage, and dynamic signage. While most digital signage developers advocate multiple screens, on multiple machines, are needed to achieve cost effectiveness, the hybrid model is evolving as a practical approach as it incorporates the best of the other two options.
Static – static signage (jpeg or similar format) may involve backlit picture boards on which content is displayed in a fixed format deemed best for delivering basic information. The problem with static signage is that there are few reliable metrics for measuring impact and there is no way to track item sales made on-the-fly. Additionally, on-board space is limited and, once appropriated, space cannot be easily modified. Over time, static signage is perceived as part of the machine framework and is often ignored, or taken for granted. For example, a large digital photo of someone enjoying a snack product posted on a vending machine.
Hybrid – combination of static (fixed) and dynamic (changing) content. Composed of both picture boarding and digital display screens; wherein the screens are controlled by a PC or alternate source playing downloaded content from a local, central, or remote server. In a typical hybrid scheme, one or more panels or panel zones may be digital screens while the remaining surfaces are static boards. The hybrid model is a compromise approach that can be an effective option. For example, a large action photo with a scrolling LED panel across its bottom is illustrative of one form of hybrid format.
Dynamic – while static signage tends to fade or blend into the background, thereby becoming ineffective, dynamic digital media (mpeg or similar format) remains active and engaging. The use of full motion video, music, voice track, stylized text, and artistic presentation provides unequalled content.
Dynamic signage can be controlled locally or remotely and the medium can deliver content via split screen, rolling banner, and scrolled information. Unlike other formats, dynamic signage retains its uniqueness over time. For example, a short video clip playing on a machine mounted screen may influence the consumer to purchase a higher contribution margin item from the machine than might otherwise occur.