Dynamic media technology centers on video playlists compiled using media files. Media files can be played sequentially or simultaneously in various zones on the screen(s). Media file elements include: animation, audio, graphics, text, video, fonts, and the like. Presentation modes include full-screen, partial screen, zone, scroll, roll, crawls, and banners.
Quality content is dependent on well prepared source material. Poor content always translates to poor customer experience. Good dynamic digital signage content is a confluence of technical and psychological factors and quality content should encourage a sale by creating a relationship between the two. To a large extent, content is driven by both hardware and software that is part of the media toolbox. The content can be professional commercials (media spots), internal promotions (time dependent discounts), attention grabbing features (celebrity voice or image), entertainment (music, art, sports, etc.), and/or third-party advertisements (revenue modeling).
Digital signage can have a positive impact on a retail environment in several ways. One opportunity is to increase the range of information available to customers while they are deciding on a product or service. Some important metrics related to digital signage testing for the vending and OCS industry include: 1) revenue lift in products promoted on the screens, 2) actual and perceived transaction time, 3) customer satisfaction, and 4) increased number of customers using the vending machine.
Digital signage can have an impact on changing ingrained customer behavior. A 2008 report produced by the Platt Retail Institute entitled “Test Results from a Bank Branch Digital Communications Network” found that ATM use at test branches increased following introduction of digital signage. Customer visits to “live” tellers decreased by 8.3 percent at the test sites as compared to a control group of bank branches without digital signage. Customers who viewed the digital signage messages were more aware of which documents needed to be completed and what type of personal identification was required, thus decreasing wait time in line and thereby improving teller productivity.
Digital media can engage consumers while enhancing a self-service experience. As a result, the vending operator needs to understand the needs of its on-site customers. Experienced media professionals emphasize that rather than focusing on digital technology deployment, operators are wise to focus on the objectives of customers first; technology second. Installing screens and displaying 15-second commercials is unlikely to deliver added value to customer interaction unless the format is appropriate to the audience. The key is to match customer interests to a solution that meets business objectives. When business and customer objectives are jointly considered, the next step is to identify environmental and location issues related to technology. Things to consider are traffic flow, lighting, ambient noise, nearby furnishings, machine positioning, and physical point of purchase.
The place, time, promotion, and audience needs to be known for content to be developed for maximum efficiency. There is probably no aspect of digital media more important than content management. Vending management will likely have to devote as much time to digital content as it does to category management and/or product mapping. Industry leaders who have experimented with a variety of media content cycling, including looping and playlist formats, cite three strategies for success:
Block scheduling – in a block schedule format, the playlist is established and fixed and runs continuously until interrupted.
Interval scheduling – interval scheduling provides the ability to change messages and pricing according to time of day (i.e., dayparting).
Spontaneous scheduling – content randomly arranged or selected based on traffic demographics or other parameters.