Digital Signage Expo Showcases The Future Of Retail Marketing; Vending Will Change, Too

Last week’s Digital Signage Expo at the Las Vegas Convention Center was an eye opener for where retailing and marketing are headed, both in this country and the rest of the world. The 3-day event, now in its ninth year, showcased hundreds of interactive content delivery systems to thousands of attendees. VendingMarketWatch reported on the vending-related displays on 03-08-12.

Digital signage technologies keep getting more powerful in terms of consumer engagement and automated management. When I attended my first digital signage show in 2008, I was uncertain what these tools would bring to vending. This year, with several vending machines on display and a handful of progressive vending operators in attendance, there is no question that digital signage technology, with its immense marketing and communications capabilities, will change vending as we know it.

The biggest takeaway was that the exciting capabilities keep evolving. Things like social media marketing at the point of sale, wayfinding and facial recognition are among the new innovations.

This year’s show set records in the areas of attendance (4,024) and exhibit space, (62,440 net square feet). In addition to being an extremely busy event, the amount of education taking place was amazing. There were 16 education seminars per day, an additional 16 workshops per day, and 20 discussion groups per day for the 19 “vertical” markets. The “verticals” were the user industries in attendance: ad agencies and brand marketers; arts, entertainment and recreation; banking and finance; bars and night clubs; casinos; corporate campuses; educational facilities; government; health care; hotels, motels and resorts; houses of worship; museums and historical sites; digital out-of-home networks; public spaces; restaurants; retail; stadiums and arenas; transportation; and system integrators and installers.

With so many dynamic exhibits on the show floor, the show management arranged a special tour of what they deemed the most salient innovations every morning for the 20 or so trade press editors in attendance.

Due to the variety of user groups involved, the knowledge sharing is allowing the various user segments to learn from one another. And to provide feedback to technology providers on ways to make the tools even more powerful.

Philips Commercial Signage, for example, developed three-dimensional signage for in-store advertising. The three-dimensional experience is noticeably more engaging than a two-dimensional screen. A field study found the three-dimensional screen for Red Bull beverages increased viewing time by 45 percent and sales by 8.5 percent in a retail setting.

One show stopper was the VE Connect on display at the Intel Corp. booth. VE Global Vending Inc. demonstrated  new software tools including a content management system, universal control board applications, near-field communication payment applications, an Intel® audience impression metrics suite and product recognition support the operators’ need to control and monitor vending transactions and interactions.

Another show stopper, also at the Intel Corp. booth, was Kraft Foods’ dessert sampling machine with age verification software.

These were just some of the vending concepts that have been developed, thanks to innovation by technology providers who recognize the unique reach the vending industry brings to consumer marketing.