Drag and Drop Your Way into the SMB Digital Signage Market

Create: 11/22/2016 - 12:00
digital signs Bailey's Taproom

Digital signage is dramatically changing business as usual for SMBs. The numbers are in: Businesses are installing them in record numbers, and customers are attracted to their real-time information. In fact, eight out of 10 customers who entered a store did so because of a digital sign, according to a survey conducted by FedEx, “What’s Your Sign: In the World of Small Business, Just How Attractive is a Sign?” And once customers venture inside, businesses in a Nielsen study reported that they had up to 33 percent in additional sales through the use of in-store digital signs.

(Photo credit: Bailey’s Taproom, photographer Marc Smith, 30dayadventures.ca)

Tapping into Location-Based Marketing

One particularly effective use of digital signs for retailers is in digital menus, which may quickly become the replacement to the restaurant chalkboard or sandwich board. SignStix reports that 29.5 percent of customers said that digital menus influence their purchasing decisions. The marketing power of a digital menu is particularly effective when real-time menu information is combined with mobile applications and location-based services. Used correctly, digital signs and menus provide integrated messaging that engages consumers and enables them to connect with the businesses they frequent.

A good example of this type of interactive digital signage is in Bailey’s Taproom in Portland, OR. According to a recent blog from Asik Khan, president of the Location-Based Marketing Association, the Taproom enlisted a .Net programmer to develop a digital menu board that displays brewery and beer name, beer style and color, brewery location and the approximate level of beer remaining in each keg. The menu also displays which Foursquare friends have checked in at the Taproom and sends out a Tweet as soon as a new beer is added, so customers can hop in and immediately know what’s on tap.

Overcoming Obstacles for SMBs

While the brewery may make the digital menu implementation look easy, many retailers are still hesitant to make the move to digital on their own.  According to a recent report from Intel’s Arthur Chang, Segment Business Development Manager for Connected Home and Commercial Clients, the challenges that SMBs cite for not moving to digital signs include:

  • Cost.  Initial cost starts in the few thousand dollars. Digital signs are difficult and expensive to scale. The best options are subscription-based, requiring an additional monthly cost.
  • Installation. Setup is complex and requires an outside provider with technical expertise. The process can be invasive and disruptive to daily business. Wireless connectivity and/or a reliable network are required.
  • Maintenance. Most of the software is proprietary and difficult to personalize. The industry is highly fragmented and has wide-ranging offerings, costs and products. Updates and fixes likely require a technician.

Small Business Digital Signage Solution Kit

Solution providers can help their clients overcome these obstacles with the small business Digital Signage Solution. It has three ingredients:

  • A PC powered by a 6th Gen Intel processor with HDMI input and pre-installed with SmarterSign software;
  • An Intel Compute Stick pre-installed with SmarterSign software;
  • A client’s own monitor or TV with HDM input.

SmarterSIgn software allows the owner or the business manager to control the message and its timing. The software helps the owner to more easily create content for the sign, build a schedule and publish the content. Plus, the software contains design tools and a template library, so users can drag-and-drop a customized message for the digital sign.

SmarterSign also has management tools, so the user can determine when and which monitors to run content on and set the content to play on specific days at a specific time. The SmarterSign player application is pre-installed on the Intel Compute Stick.

   (Photo credit: Intel)

Using this Intel digital signage kit, solution providers can benefit from increased incremental sales to SMBs and offer new sell-up opportunities on large monitors and displays along with high-margin content management services. The Compute Stick requires less time and cost required per digital sign installation. Most importantly, the kit connects you to the growing digital sign opportunity in the large—and still untapped—small business retail market.

Learn more about the Intel Compute Stick and Intel Digital Signage for Small Business

About Author

Patricia Schnaidt's picture
Patricia Schnaidt
Patricia Schnaidt is an expert business technology writer. She has held top publishing and editorial positions at InternetWeek, Network Computing, Windows Magazine and LAN Magazine. Schnaidt has written countless articles, lectured extensively, and authored "Enterprise-wide Networking" (Prentice-Hall). She holds a B.A. in Computer Science from Columbia College, Columbia University.

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