Best Practices

Why Effective Content On Digital Signage Drives Sales At Retail

The value in a customer is their lifetime spend, and they buy what they remember

There are many different kinds of shopping experiences, whether in-person at a brick and mortar location, on a store’s website, or on a desktop, tablet or mobile device; customers visit a retail channel largely to shop – to choose among a myriad products in vertical or horizontal categories.

People who are physically in a store location are poised to become customers – that’s why they’re there. However, when a consumer visits a highly specialized physical store location for a particular purpose, product or experience, they are choosing to visit a retail destination.


What is a retail destination?

A retail destination not only provides products serving a single sector, but such a location will also specialize in that sector often supplying information and expertise unavailable at a general-purpose retail outlet. For instance at a sports super store, a customer can get a tip on their golf swing when purchasing a new putter, often along with other golf accessories; or at a pet super store a consumer knows he or she can get grooming advice when going in to purchase dog treats or other pet accessories.

This is an important distinction. A retail destination offers an unlimited ability to expand a consumer purchase every single time a customer walks into the store. Why? Because everything on offer is something they need now, or will need for their golf game, pet or in the case of cannabis dispensaries, their well being.


Expanding the Basket.

Upselling is not new to retail, but operating a retail destination presents a unique opportunity to expand every sale by providing information and guidance. Because customers don’t know what they don’t know, presenting information that provides options that they may not have previously considered are all reasons to expand the purchase “basket” – and have them buy more than they originally came in for.


Selling at Point of Sale.

By the time a customer has arrived in the store, they have usually done their homework online ahead of time, culled through a series of options, identified their purchase choices, and will make comparisons in person ahead of a final purchase decision.

But that does not mean that the customer is immune to in-store guidance. Impacting that decision at point of purchase is where digital signage shines. The digital screen gives the dispensary operator the ability to suggest and display a full list of product options related to the product that brought the customer into the store. In a retail destination, that product should be just the beginning of the customer conversation.

However, the opportunity to cultivate customer engagement, provide additional information and help guide each purchase to a more expansive conclusion is altogether dependent upon displaying effective content.


What is effective content?

Effective content is communication that compels a customer to consider products that did not make their short list. Effective content motivates purchase of more of the product than what was initially planned, validates the original purchase intent, and/or prompts impulse purchases that were not initially being considered.

Effective content is informative and relevant. It is something new that the customer was not initially aware of and, importantly, helps position the dispensary operator as an expert and resource for additional information. Effective content prompts customers to ask for more information or take a particular action.


What makes content effective?

Creating customer engagement is what makes content effective. But to be engaging, the message must first resonate with the audience. Content must address customer concerns and questions, which means content must be developed with the customer in mind. Knowing whom the customer is and on what he or she will base their purchase decision is essential to ensuring that they will be interested in what information is being displayed.

Don’t assume that information alone will suffice. To motivate customers to purchase there should always be a call to action that encourages purchase. Such motivation can encourage immediate purchase through showcased or “featured,” products, “today’s specials,” or provide an incentive upsell such as “buy one get one at half price.”


Developing a Digital Signage Content Strategy.

Before crafting any message it is essential to develop a content strategy to ensure that your communications are planned out, resonate with your target audience and serve your business goals. The great thing about creating a strategy is that it forces you to think through the communication process based on several points key to your success.


  1. Articulate your business goals. These could include sales goals for particular high margin products; signing a certain number of customers up for regular e-newsletter communications to build a steady customer base; and/or communicating particular information to make sure your customers are better educated about the products you carry.
  2. Identify Your Audience.  A rule that holds true in marketing is that 20% of the customers buy 80% of the goods.  Knowing who fits into your 20% – what their profile looks like – will allow you to speak and cater to their needs, build long-term relationships and upsell successfully.
  3. Create a Communications Calendar. Your communication strategy should accommodate any seasonality in your market that changes buying patterns. Sometimes that means an influx of visitors, or the return of residents from vacations. Capitalize on gift-giving opportunities around established holidays and birthdays of those in your customer database.
  4. Plan Regular Message Updates. Pay attention to the length of time customers spend in the store on average. How long is there attention available to absorb whatever messaging you develop? Consider communicating in small “modules” of information that can be quickly absorbed and changed out frequently so that information is always “new.”


Designing the message.

When selling any product it is essential to craft and communicate a customer-focused message, which means defining what you want to accomplish and who your target audience is before you begin designing any messaging. That means you may wish to conduct a customer survey, which could be a simple in-store questionnaire tied to inviting customers to sign up to receive opt-in email information about new or featured products.


What if they don’t buy now?

The value of a single consumer to the dispensary is represented by what he or she will likely spend during the entire association with the store. That means that the relationship with that customer is much more important than the value of a single visit – and no one likes to feel pressured. But, every visit adds up to that lifetime sales total, so encouraging and guiding each visit becomes an important step toward encouraging the next visit.

You are in business to turn a profit. A profit is a multiple of earnings based on engagement, motivation, and recall. Even if a customer doesn’t buy a particular product now, you want them to be able to recall the product and the reasons to buy, so when they return, they will seek you out and ask to learn more about it.


About the Author

Phil Cohen

Philip M. Cohen is CEO of CMN Holdings, Inc. and their subsidiaries, Cannabis Medical Network, a digital media network airing in cannabis doctors waiting rooms and Cannabis Lifestyle Network, airing in dispensary waiting rooms. Phil has operated a dozen ad supported digital signage networks in doctor offices and at retail since 1985 and is a past Chairman of the Digital Signage Federation. 


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