In a previous post, we discussed the myriad of business benefits of outdoor digital signage, particularly among quick-service restaurants (QSRs). Outdoor digital signage eliminates the cost and effort associated with designing, printing and updating traditional printed menu boards in the drive-thru, and provides the ability to change menu items, prices and promotions on the fly. A Forrester Research study found that a 10-store QSR organization would see a 196 percent ROI from outdoor digital signage.
That said, there are a number of roadblocks that can derail your digital signage initiative. Some are common to all digital signage implementations while others are unique to outdoor digital signage. Here are the top four concerns.
Network Outages.The benefits of digital signage derive from the fact that you can update content from a central location and deliver it to remote displays. That requires a highly reliable wide-area network (WAN) with adequate bandwidth. If you rely on broadband Internet to connect to your signs, service provider outages and network slowdowns are a significant risk. The ISP may also place limitations on the amount of bandwidth you can use. It’s important to properly architect the WAN and configure your content management system (CMS) to schedule content downloads during off-peak hours.
Poor Quality or Stale Content.The right content will help drive sales, enhance the customer experience and boost your brand. Poor quality content will have the opposite effect. You need to ensure that images and text are crisp, videos play smoothly, and the right information is delivered to the right displays at the right time. You also need to have a constant supply of fresh content to keep customers engaged. Problems will arise if you have a cumbersome CMS that has a confusing interface and limited functionality. It’s important to invest in an enterprise-class CMS that allows your team to focus on creating and scheduling content rather than troubleshooting technical issues. Don’t skimp on the “brains” of your digital signage system.
Weather-Related Problems.Indoor digital signage gets a lot of abuse, but outdoor displays are subjected to the elements. Moisture, heat, high winds and bitter cold can take their toll. So can bugs, dust and other debris — not to mention graffiti. Obviously, you need to invest in displays that are designed for outdoor use, and install them properly to minimize damage to sensitive electronic components. You have to run power and data cabling to each display. You’ll also want to implement a remote monitoring and management solution so that you can be alerted to any problems that arise. This is particularly important for QSRs. With the majority of QSR revenue generated in the drive-thru, the prompt elimination of screen issues is paramount.
Inadequate Technical Support.Speaking of problems, how are you going to respond to them? Do you have the staff resources to dispatch someone to troubleshoot a distant display? A digital sign that’s blank or displaying garbled information is worse than no sign at all. Your digital signage strategy should include processes for rapidly identifying and correcting problems. Because revenue generation is a key goal of digital signage, it may make sense to partner with a firm that offers around-the-clock support and can provide skilled onsite technicians.
A digital signage system that’s properly designed, architected, implemented and managed will deliver key business benefits and a rapid ROI. A poorly planned system will negate all of those benefits and cause headaches and cost overruns. SageNet has a proven track record delivering indoor and outdoor digital signage solutions. Our knowledge, field experience and responsive support can help ensure your success.