Why is Digital Signage Still So Traditional?
The internet has caused a massive shift in the modus operandi of marketing. Due to the interactive nature of online experiences, people increasingly expect their shopping experiences – not only online, but offline, too – to offer interactivity. Since digital signage and Web 2.0 make use of high technology with interactive capabilities, you might expect to find retail outlets, health care facilities, airports and the like employing digital signage in its most cutting-edge forms to appeal to their patrons. In many instances, though, this simply isn’t the case. What’s the missing piece of the puzzle? Why is digital signage still so traditional?
Market research – at least some of it – seems to indicate that high-technology innovations such as interactive digital signage appeal primarily to specific demographics of the population, such as younger customers, wealthier customers, or customers who are fond of the latest high-tech gadgets. Some of this market research actively tries to dissuade businesses from choosing personalized, interactive solutions, particularly when trying to appeal to older customers. In other words, businesses begin to fear that they’ll turn people away if they come across as too high-tech. So in their deployment of digital signage, these businesses often opt for traditional instead of interactive.
Since interactive digital signage is considered a cutting-edge technology, many businesses have perhaps been reluctant to use it because they’re afraid it carries limited appeal. This view, though, might be short-sighted. While the internet is, today, a part of daily life for millions of people, this hasn’t always been the case. Some thought leaders of the past actually believed the internet would be a passing fad. Technology is developing so rapidly that what was considered cutting-edge even two years ago is considered to be commonplace today. This trend will grow, and creative and innovative use of digital signage will grow along with it.
Some of today’s thought leaders may be making a big mistake in assuming that innovative digital signage carries only limited appeal. What’s missing in the prevailing market research mentality is acknowledgement of people’s adaptability to change over the passage of time. Given enough time, people become accustomed to new technologies, and given additional time, they not only become accustomed to the innovations but they come to expect the innovations as the new “norm.”
The market research also ignores what people tend to have in common. Most people value efficient, time-saving methods of conducting business in their day-to-day lives. In today’s busy world, people tend to appreciate options that involve less time spent waiting, whether in lines or on the phone. Interactive digital signage, by its nature, is filled with possibilities for retail use that not only give personalized experiences to customers but help them save time. As people increasingly conduct business transactions online, it seems inevitable that interactivity will become the norm offline, as well.
What are the implications for how digital signage is used? For one thing, businesses could trust more in people’s willingness to try out innovative new technologies. This needn’t mean jumping into free fall. If a business would like to use interactive digital signage in retail outlets instead of traditional digital signage, it could have employees available to help people take best advantage of the interactivity. Every innovation always comes with a learning curve.
Businesses could also consider carefully where they place interactive digital signage. In a retail environment, interactive digital signage could be placed where it is most likely to be seen by customers as a ready source of assistance – not on walls or on the periphery of the store, but among the relevant products, where it will be viewed by customers and most likely utilized. Businesses can also offer a spectrum of technologies in retail environments in order to appeal to a wide range of customers.
So why is digital signage still so traditional in its use? The answer may be rooted in the notion that only younger, technologically-hip people would accept it in offline environments. This idea can, however, be thoroughly debunked when one examines the development – and gradual, widespread acceptance – of interactive technologies and personalized experiences on the internet.