It’s not easy to quantify return on investment (ROI) when it comes to digital signage. That was pretty much the consensus among panelists at a Total Tech Summit 2017 discussion on “Next Level Salesmanship” — which really turned into a deep dive on digital signage ROI.
Sharp Electronics’ Saundra Merollo doesn’t love the term ROI in relation to digital signage. She prefers “return on objective” or ROO. As Sharp’s senior sales engineer, strategic accounts, points out, digital signage that delivers emergency communication or wayfinding that helps people from walking around in circles, well, the direct objective isn’t revenue related.
However, there are obvious benefits to emergency communication and wayfinding.
So, it’s tricky.
The panel did agree, however, that articulating ROI (or ROO) is vital for digital signage dealers. Kevin Goldsmith, CTO at Ping HD, said integrators need to look closely at the impact of projects since few customers are quick to share ROI metrics.
Brian Elles, director of product marketing of visual solutions for Mood Media, agreed, adding that there are many layers of customers’ objectives when it comes to digital signage. So it’s necessary to really dive in and analyze.
The panel offered several insights into how digital signage dealers can articulate ROI to create track the effectiveness of projects and articulate value to prospective customers.
Sometimes Digital Signage ROI Is Easy
When it comes to quick-serve restaurants or digital menu boards, “that’s where [the customers] really get excited because they can see something tangible,” Goldsmith said. He referred to a supermarket customer that put in digital signage and reported increase of sales of up to 22 percent on some items and an average 13 percent uptick.
Pick Some KPIs and Go With Them
Customers that are focused on dramatically increasing revenue probably need their expectations reset. Mood Media’s Elles suggested zeroing in on a couple of KPIs (key performance indicators) for an application.
There is never one single objective when deploying a digital signage solution. It’s important to identify the different ways that the customer hopes digital signage will have impact.
He referred to Dunkin Donuts and making that customer understand that they can benefit by adjusting content throughout the day.
This includes rotating content at different rates. People stand in line longer for morning coffee than they do grabbing a quick afternoon pick-me-up, plus they’re interested in different menu items from morning to afternoon to evening.
So Elles suggested talking to customers about KPIs such as dwell time to gain better understanding of buying habits. That way the customer has something to track.
Establish Benchmarks for Digital Signage ROI
ROI is particularly challenging when the customer doesn’t know understand their current business trends. How can the impact of digital signage truly be measured if that’s when the measuring begins? Elles suggested setting benchmarks with customers and getting their buy-in. That way they’ll be more likely to appreciate digital ROI achieved.
Use Industry Standards for Digital Signage ROI
While it’s not always easy to measure the impact a particular digital signage application has on, for instance, sales, it’s easy to make a case for digital signage working in general. Sharp’s Merollo shared that statistics show a 40 percent increase in customer satisfaction when digital signage is deployed. Meanwhile, she added, customers report a perception of less waiting time. So they might be waiting just as long in line at a store or in a doctor’s waiting room but engaging digital signage makes it feel less so.
Safety Is Compelling Message
Merollo, as mentioned, prefers to focus on return on objective and a big reason is that Sharp is seeing a lot of digital signage applications in K-12 and higher education related to mass notification emergency communication (MNEC). “The No. 1 priority is around safety and emergency messaging,” she said. “Is it really the ROI or the ROO? I’ll leave that to you as parents to figure that out.”
Digital Signage Is a Recruiting Tool
Elles referred to digital signage as compelling for prospective students visiting a college.
In contrast, schools that don’t have digital messaging, video walls and digital wayfinding appear antiquated in comparison, he pointed out. Universities see “huge value” and are seeing a “huge uptick” in the students they’re able to convert as a result of tours that feature digital signage, he said.
However, the same argument can be made for talent recruitment when it comes to companies that greet prospective employees with digital branding and well-crafted messaging.
ROI Has to Be Rock Solid
When it comes to digital signage, “ROI is driven by sales success,” Elles said. It’s important to focus on the customer’s entire journey, he explained. There is never one single objective when deploying a digital signage solution.
It’s important to identify the different ways that the customer hopes digital signage will have impact. Then, “get very granular,” he advised. Allow for time, 60 to 90 days, to really analyze how the solutions achieved the customer’s various objectives.
Digital Signage ROI Increases When Costs Are Down
It goes without saying that the lower the investment, the faster a company can achieve ROI, pointed out Goldsmith. That matters to integrators, he said, because there is an opportunity to focus on providing digital signage solutions that cloud- and software-based that are relatively economical and efficient.
Ping HD, for instance, launched its own EngagePHD content management software which it calls “the next generation of digital signage software.”
Integration firms that truly want to make a strong ROI case for customers will be focused on not just the “return” part of the acronym but the “investment,” too.