A major supermarket deployed a 100-screen digital signage ad network in 2004 as a trial run for a planned 300-store install. The goal was, like all major instoreTV, to attract advertisers and run promotions within the shopping environment and to increase sales. But the project died off with little interest from both the public and potential advertisers. Why? It was a matter of too much and too many.
First, there were 40 screens within a single location. Yes. That may have been a little too much…digital display overkill. This was partly due to the excessive reliance on store traffic pattern studies. Such studies are great for knowing where customers walk and linger, but they are limited because they don’t show where customers are looking as they walk.
Second, the screens were placed too close together. Screens churned out various advertising messages all at the same time next to other screens. Concerning this ‘faux pas’ in screen placement, did anyone involved in this project even consider whether advertisers would want their message competing with other advertising within the store?
Thirdly, Apparently the screens had rapid, 10-second visuals. The content contained flashing, bright video images that bombarded customers during their shopping experience. Can you imagine 40 screens placed very close to each other and pounding moving images into the eyes of customers that are struggling to concentrate on one thing… to simply purchase groceries? This was visual harassment! Little wonder the deployment never made it past its infancy.
Using video and extreme motion in retail signage must be given very serious thought. Is it really necessary? It is costly, time-consuming and it just doesn’t work. Why digital signage vendors and resellers are intent on using flashy video for such installs is beyond reason. After all, shoppers don’t go to the store to watch television. Nor do they have the time to pause and consume such content.
But high-definition, non-moving graphics and ‘soft’ transitions within zones does works. It calms the mind. People can focus. Only then can an advertiser’s message truly be seen and digested. Good digital advertising content does not invade a person’s freedom to shop and make buying decisions. Rather than harassing customers on a visual level, it adds to the shopping experience by providing messages that are there to be consumed as needed.
Noventri has preached this message since the early days, with some resistance by the industry, naturally. But more and more, digital signage users are finding this to be sound reasoning. Video just does not work in most installations. After all, it is called digital signage. Traditional signage does not need to move. Thus, viewers that are on the move can actually read and ‘get’ the message. Soft motion through transitions provides just enough so-called movement or change to catch a viewer’s eye without harassing them. Noventri has a ‘golden rule’ that they follow for most installations: “Moving audience…still pictures; still audience…moving pictures.” In retail, the audience is moving. No need to say more.