Digital signage is one of the few technologies that brings benefits to every type of physical retail outlet, hospitality, or service provider. Now that digital screens cost relatively little to buy, install, maintain, and run they are a highly affordable on-the-premises advertising tool.
Businesses are increasingly using digital signage
The fact that it is so effective is demonstrated by the incredibly fast rate at which businesses have adopted this tech. According to Statista, in 2016 the digital signage industry had a global turnover of around $20 billion. In 2023, just 7 years later, total sales had grown by 60% to $33 billion.
Franchises pioneer increasing sales by using digital signage
Interestingly, it was franchise businesses that first spotted the potential of using digital screens to communicate with customers. Dick Ripp, an early Arby´s franchisee in Richmond, asked Scott Sharon to come up with a way for him to display Arby adverts, food shots and promos in his restaurant. Using 4 old-fashioned tube TVs and VCRs this was done. As A result, at certain times of the day, sales doubled.
So, that is benefit number one, consumers respond positively to digital displays. Of course, an uptick in sales translates into higher profits which benefits both the franchisee and franchise owners.
Even these days, the uptick in sales is considerable. The FedEx Office “What’s Your Sign?” survey of American consumers revealed that 76% of them have entered a store because of attractive signage. It also showed that 68% of them had bought something extra because of what they saw advertised on an in-store screen.
Central control of promotions and offers
Modern digital signage systems can be set up so that what is being displayed on screens in multiple locations can be controlled. So, someone at head office can decide that morning which stores or restaurants will carry which offers. They could for example set things up so that in places where it is predicted to be hot and sunny the lunchtime offer can be a salad and smoothie. While in colder parts of the country, the promo displayed in those outlets could be for soup or stew.
Potentially, using an API the weather information for each location could be collected and automatically fed into the digital signage software. Using a script that contains simple “if this then that” statements, the system can be set up to deploy the right ads to the relevant stores without the need for human intervention.
This frees up both the person at head office and the franchisee in every store to work on other tasks. They can focus on things that are most likely to add to the bottom line. For example, spending time on the floor at busy times talking to customers and smoothing out any wrinkles. Providing customers with a smooth and personalized service is one of the best ways to get them to return repeatedly.
Controlling promotions centrally saves money
Taking care of advertising at a central level plays an important role in keeping marketing overheads low. As already mentioned, a lot of labour hours can be saved. So does being able to use and repurpose images and videos in many different ways. Instead of each franchisee spending time taking photos and designing their ads, or paying someone to do it for them, it can all be done centrally. The images can then be repurposed once again and used for things like social media campaigns, billboards, pamphlets and more.
Digital signage improves brand awareness
Consistency is an important component of successful branding. Having someone at headquarters create the promos ensures that everything the customer sees stays on brand, including what is displayed on in-store screens.
The ability to test multiple promotions in real time
The best digital signage providers incorporate the ability for users to track and analyse the effectiveness of any promotion into their software. Potentially, a multi-national or group of franchisees can run multiple experimental offers, in different locations. They can then monitor in close to real-time to see which ones result in an uptick in sales. Opening up the potential for the best promo to quickly be displayed on digital screens nationwide. Enabling every outlet to benefit from using a promo that they already know works.
This approach makes it easy for franchise companies to quickly tap into emerging trends. For example, if a popular chef makes a dish that is already available on the franchise´s menu it can be promoted immediately. Giving customers more of what they want is a great way to keep them coming back.
Using digital signage to reduce wastage
Most franchise companies that run their promotional screen centrally still give their franchisees some local control. This provides them with the chance to run some special promotions for things like local holidays. It also means that if they have products that need to be sold quickly to avoid wastage, they can put together a special offer to ensure that it sells through.
Using digital signage to motivate and keep staff informed
A strong franchisor-franchisee relationship is key to success for both parties. When used well digital signage can play a big role in keeping the channels of communication open and strong.
They enable the head office to send out the same message across all outlets at the same time. Or to tweak it so that it is more relevant to the store it is being displayed at.
Digital signage can also be used to remind staff of things like company policy or important dates. It is also possible to share sales data in real-time to help everyone see how close they are to reaching that day´s sales goal.
To improve customer engagement
For any business, customer engagement is essential. Reaching out and soliciting their opinion tells people that the business cares about them. Many companies have had some success with using their screens to encourage customers to fill out short surveys. It is also a good way to boost the number of reviews.
There is no doubt that both franchise owners and franchisees benefit greatly from using digital signage. Because the software used to control them is continuing to improve, the list of benefits is going to increase.