Loek Wermenbol
Retail strategy director

Why digital solutions won't succeed without spot-on content

Investing in digital signage without a well-defined content strategy. If you are doing that, you might as well throw your budget right out the window. After all, a good content strategy is more than just deciding which videos or images to display on a screen. But what is the best approach and why is it so different from the other content strategies you have included in your marketing plan? 

A common mistake is copy-pasting your overall marketing content strategy to your digital signage in your store or showroom. To explain this properly, let’s first go back to the beginning. Why did you choose to implement digital signage in your shop window or on your store floor in the first place? Right. To attract customers (window display) and to inform and elicit a certain behavior from your customers (on the store floor). You want to make a difference in your customer’s shopping experience. That’s why you went for digital solutions on your store floor and the best hardware to match. And then it’s wonderful to have your YouTube commercial running on those screens in the store, isn’t it? Think again because this is where it often goes wrong! 

The best content is born from your marketing strategy, and that marketing strategy is born from the objective you want to reach your customer with. If your content does not follow these lines, it is doomed to fail. I would like to give you some tips that will help your digital solutions succeed: 


Contextual relevance. 

If you implement a digital solution in your physical store or showroom, you must ensure that the message you convey is relevant to your customer and fits the moment when your customer visits your store. This is where the customer journey comes in. You need to be aware of the role your physical store has in that customer journey. This role is never the same because you have little influence on the moment in the customer journey when a particular customer visits your store. It is therefore important to factor all scenarios and phases of the customer journey into your content strategy in order to present the right message at the right time in the right place to that specific customer. For example, content on a storefront display often focuses on emotion to draw customers into the store. Content on a checkout display focuses on the customer who has just made a purchase in your store. With this content, you focus more on retention (information about the return process) or on customer loyalty (savings offers).


Personalized content on the spot. 

Technological innovations now also allow you to offer even better personalized content. There is a solution that can screen shoppers’ faces to determine what gender and age that person is. That solution can then automatically issue a trigger on the hardware, at that point showing only content specific to that person. How relevant do you want it to be? 


What’s happening on your other channels?  

Just as you align your social media campaigns with the messages on your website and possibly TV and radio ads, ideally you should also align your in-store content with those campaigns. But be careful and don’t fall into the trap of copying your content from those other channels one-to-one on your digital store communication. It is important to let that communication seamlessly connect with your physical store. The look & feel is the same, but the moment is totally different. Your customer is in a different phase of the customer journey when looking at an Instagram ad about your product, than when he stands at a checkout counter in your physical store. If you choose the same content at that moment, you are missing an important opportunity.  

The same goes for the user experience of in-store communication and interactive displays in your store. A customer does not exhibit the same behavior in your store as online. So why make the UX exactly the same? The rule of thumb: keep it simple. Your customer is closer to a purchase moment in your store than in an online environment. Don’t distract the customer too much from the product; instead, lead the customer to it. And perhaps redundantly: make sure it’s technically seamless. If a customer has to wait too long to perform an action on an interactive display, he or she will drop out just like a slow online experience.  


What is the right time? 

If all goes well, you know exactly when certain customers come to your store the most. For example, elderly people come to the supermarket in the morning and young people during the break from school. So why not tailor your content to the groups that are in your store at that time? For example, with a good content management system, you can attach certain timings to content so that your customers are exposed to exactly the right content. This can also work for outside influences. If it’s been raining for days in a row in the summer, that scheduled content about barbecuing might give way to an offer of umbrellas or snacks to eat while Netflixing.  


Location, location, location. 

Another thing you need to think carefully about is the location of your displays on the store floor and in the window. Where does the display stand out the most and from what angle does the customer view the content on that display? It is also important to look at the bigger picture. Is your store in the middle of a shopping street and people walk past your store? Or is your store at a T-junction, with shoppers coming right up to your store? In the latter case, you have more time to tell your message than in the first case, where the public walks by. Then you are forced to captivate the potential customer in just a few seconds. That has a big impact on the content you have to create, which can be different for one store than another.  


Use data. 

All the data you get from the online campaigns you run are hugely valuable to the content you develop for your digital signage. That way, you can tailor your content to your customers’ regional preferences. An example: you have an online store, and you have physical stores in different regions in the Netherlands. If you know that your customers in the South have a strong preference for product A, based on online click behavior, it is wise to align the content of your window displays in the stores in the South with that data. Again, that relevance is incredibly important to be successful.  


Moving images will stick. 

What a waste it is to use static images on digital displays. Yet I still see it happen a lot that images don’t change, move or include a subtle animation in the brief moment that customers interact with that screen. It has been proven that moving content is 46% more noticeable than static content.  


Add KPIs to your content strategy. 

Once you have your content strategy fully developed, you can connect KPIs to it without any doubt. If you do it right, you increase your brand awareness, for example. And what about the shareability of your content? Instagrammable content ensures free publicity on the socials of your customers! 

What’s more, you can even earn back your investment. In fact, a good content strategy for digital signage can strengthen your sales team in their sales techniques. Good content helps your team sell products faster or even up- and cross-sell.  


Want to know more about the most ideal content strategy for digital signage?

I’d love to tell you more about it, so feel free to contact me! Should you wish I can give you a tour in our retail experience center to show you in person the power of content and an the latest insight in the digital technologies for commercial spaces such as retailstores, flagshipstores and the fast upcoming trend of digitalized pop-up stores.