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Are in-store networks a turn-off for shoppers?

A digital signage controversy has caught fire in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, sparked by two recently published articles. "In-store TV: Will it prove a turn off?" was run in last month's issue of The Grocer and the second, by KPMG's Helen Dickenson, is called "In-store TV is an advertiser turn-off."

Looking toward the positives, there are quite a few POPAI articles showing that traditional static POP can produce sales lifts in excess of 25 percent, and if done correctly, a digital POP system should not do any worse than static POP. There are numerous studies from industry experts such as Avanti, CoolSign and Scala, which suggest that digital signs can lift sales by anywhere from 15- to 400 percent and can improve product recall by equally impressive margins.

At the same time, evidence exists that there are some networks that don't do this well. If digital signage projects were that successful, there wouldn't be any contention whatsoever, and every retailer would already have a network or be scrambling to install one. Like any other marketing or promotional tactic, digital signage networks can fail – or at least not produce the ROI that their owners originally envisioned. A lack of planning and insufficient understanding of the target marketplace probably makes this happen even more often than it should. And of course, it's still hard to make engaging, entertaining content that people want to look at, while still monetizing the screen space effectively with well-placed advertisements.

Bill Gerba is co-founder of WireSpring and maintains an active role in the self-service and narrowcasting industries.

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