In this constantly connected age, stores need to work harder — and smarter — to grab customers’ attention, and one way to do this is through digital signage.
Dynamic digital signage is more eye-catching and facilitates higher levels of engagement than traditional print signage. Its use in the convenience store space has been growing as the industry realizes the flexibility, marketing and branding opportunities it provides.
There are two other important reasons to deploy digital signage: It encourages increased customer spending, and allows the store to realize additional revenue through advertising.
How to Maximize Your Digital Signage Investment
There are three key ways a store can maximize its digital signage investment: digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertising, upselling transactions, and selling tertiary goods.
DOOH advertising: This allows a store to generate revenue by featuring advertising on screens in between store or brand-specific content. Larger brands and their franchisees are able to build their own networks and advertise products, brands and services carried both locally and nationally.
In addition to larger in-store screens, gas station-based stores are investing in small screens directly above the gas pump where customers pumping gas can watch the news and weather or play trivia games, while also viewing content target-marketing the captive audience. Customers are entertained as they wait to fill their tank, and advertising partners benefit from increased brand recognition and sales opportunities.
Upselling transactions: Digital displays can feature promotions that encourage customers to spend more on items related to what they’re already buying. As customers wait in line to pay for gas, they might see an ad for a car wash, or a customer buying a sandwich could be encouraged to add chips and a drink at a reduced rate for a “meal deal.” This also gives the store operator the opportunity to run promotions dynamically based on time, date and inventory, which can also incentivize the customer to spend more.
Selling tertiary goods: Digital signage can convince customers to purchase items they weren’t even thinking about buying. A customer who comes in to buy a bottle of water is going to buy that regardless of advertisements, but a digital sign showing a special on cheeseburgers, chips or fountain drinks can entice them to grab a meal or additional beverage as well. A digital sign over the self-serve coffee station can show content like that week’s state lottery jackpot amount, with a call to action like, “Have you bought your ticket yet?” to get customers to add on a ticket or two while they pay for their coffee.
Where to Use Digital Signage
There are five main areas where a convenience store can use digital signage:
Outdoors. Some c-stores that operate as or alongside truck stops and highway gas stations use massive direct-view LEDs as marquee signs to attract customers to pull in, or smaller outdoor LEDs to advertise gas prices or food deals at the pumps.
- Indoors. As customers wait in line, digital displays can show promotions, events or service information. Some brands also use self-service kiosks for self-checkout to help customers get in and out more quickly.
- Menuboards. Many gas station-based c-stores incorporate quick-service restaurants, which can use digital menuboards for more convenient menu updates or to easily roll menu offerings from morning to evening. C-stores that sell their own food can also use a menuboard to advertise their offerings. The general simplicity of most c-stores’ menus lends itself well to a digital menuboard.
- Add-on services. For the larger truck stop-type stores that offer a number of services like laundry, showers, restaurants or an arcade, digital signage is often used to direct customers around the complex or advertise ways to get them to spend more time and money within the store. A truck driver or road-tripper stopping to use the showers or visit the facilities might see an ad for the laundry services and decide to wash clothing, and then have a meal while waiting for the laundry to wash.
- Freezer/Cooler Doors. One of the most innovative ways a c-store can use digital signage is by using transparent LCD and OLED displays for its freezer doors instead of standard glass doors. This application allows the store to bring in extra revenue by selling advertising to a distributor of a particular brand, so the distributor’s products are advertised over those of competitors.
Technology is no longer optional in any industry these days, and digital signage provides an interactive, engaging way for c-stores to encourage customers to spend more, while also allowing a store to maximize its investment with innovative advertising opportunities.
Richard Ventura is vice president of strategy for NEC Display Solutions. He can be reached at [email protected].
Editor’s note: The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Convenience Store News.