Unfortunately most of the hype and blog posts available in the marketplace focus completely on the edge of technology, paying little attention to that which actually has value. This is true in both hardware and software. When it comes to display sizes this is precisely true. Some of the most effective, frequently used and least expensive signs are found in the small form-factor. In the point-of-sale world, particularly at the cosmetics counter, small form-factor signage is a very fruitful way of making an impact. Sometimes pulling away from the “bling, bling” side of things and focusing on where real return can be noticed is more highly beneficial to sign users and providers. For this particular discussion, I want to focus on the cosmetics counter.
You’ve been to the mall or local cosmetics store where literally dozens of perfumes, ointments, paints and other beauty-enhancing products are on display with the intent to wet the appetite of the patrons who may visit. I am certainly, nor will I ever claim to be a cosmetics expert, but it would seem that winding your way through the cosmetics store is like trying to find the best digital signage software package. There are so many decent and good choices, sometimes you’re left to simply shop based on price. This is where promotion and awareness are key. And, how you may ask can you effectively promote products where much is not readily known about them to the general public? Why, at the point-of-purchase of course!
Much of the fluff related to this industry is currently housed in those who install for more noticed and recognizable deployments. But perhaps the deployments with the greatest impact are those whose focus is on “the one.” Targeting 50 people at a bus stop with some “branding” campaign may not be as effective as targeting a single person just prior to their intended purchase of something. At least in that particular instance, there is instant exchange of revenue and an ROI is much easier to measure.
In addition, the size of the display is not as much of a factor as one might think for effectiveness. Small can be just as or even more effective at a huge fraction of the cost. We wish screen size vs. price appeared on a graph linearly. Unfortunately, display sizes jump quickly in price with increases in inches. This is true of many products, not just televisions. However, when you are seeking a return on your technology investment, it can serve as a huge factor. Think for a moment, for the same price of one 52″ display, you may be able to invest in three smaller displays under 20″. These displays may not have the initial “pop” of a large display in a high traffic area, but they can have a very big effect on ROI.
Think about a medium traffic area whose demographic is known and who’ll be looking for a particular product to purchase (I’m specifically referring to the cosmetics counter). A small form-factor display with a media player acts as an added salesperson at the time of purchase without the huge cost of a large format display.
I use the term “cosmetics” rather loosely. Digital signage at the POP is perhaps more beneficial to the man than it is to the woman. Men learn more about the purchase in the store than does the woman. Let’s take some information from Paco Underhill:
In some categories, men shoppers put woman to shame. We ran a study for a store where 17 percent of the male customers were interviewed said they visited the place more than once a week! Almost one quarter of the men there said they had left the house that day with no intention of visiting the store–they just found themselves wandering in out of curiosity. The fact that it was a computer store may have had something to do with it, of course. Computer hardware and software have taken the place of cars and stereo equipment as the focus of the male love of technology and gadgetry. Clearly, most of the visits to the store were information-gathering forays. On the videotape, we watched men reading intently the software packaging and any other literature or signage available. The store was where men bought software, but it was also where they did most of their learning about it. This underscores another male shopping trait–just as they hate to ask directions, they like to get their information firsthand, preferably from written materials, instructional videos or computer screens.
Take us away from cosmetics and use small form-factor signage in places where men need to be targeted as well, for that is how they choose to learn about specific products and where they will purchase them.
Simple, but elegant is always the name of the game when you’re promoting products with digital content. This is as true in cosmetics as it is in hardware stores. Rotating static content on a small display can be all that is needed for such an install. This saves money on content creation as well as the software that may be running the display. A simple flash or thumb drive can be used to update content that simply plays on a loop (scheduling capabilities may not be required each and every time). Even if this type of content is insufficient for your liking, there are enterprise software packages and content creation tools available to make this a reality.
Mary Kay may use distributors because they do not wish to pay for advertising, but normal non-MLM companies promote through traditional ad channels whose definition is growing and changing. Digital out-of-home is one segment where this heavily trafficked face-paint market can be served with shopper-specific advertising.