Generating ROI with hybrid digital signage kiosks (Commentary)

By Dean Sanders

Director of Industry Sales, Zebra Technologies

All signs point to continued growth of the kiosk marketplace. Concurrently, the digital signage market appears to be growing. In the fall of 2011, Global Industry Analysts Inc., forecasted the digital signage market to reach $13.8 billion by 2017. Kiosk/digital signage hybrids, which combine the interactivity of digital kiosks with the visual appeal of digital signage, are cited as one of the primary drivers for that growth.

Hybrids create multi-purpose functionality and entice interaction, escalating both the use and effectiveness for the kiosk owner. Digital signage can supply news and entertainment while the kiosk component can provide transactional functionality, such as catalog ordering, loyalty program management, price checking, etc. The two-fold use allows for both to be simultaneously operational, creating stronger ROI. These systems can play compelling content and then switch into interactive mode once a user touches or passes by the system.

One real-world example is at a garden center in Andover, Kan., where an interactive digital signage system makes it easy for customers to determine the specific lawn and landscaping products they need for their project. When the system is touched, playout switches from linear content playback to an interactive mode where customers sign in by providing their names and addresses. From there they can access an aerial view of their specific property and use their fingers to outline their project area on the map. Later, customers are then reminded with postcards and other promotional mailings of specials on products they need to apply to maintain their lawn or landscaping project.

Interactivity doesn't have to begin with a human touch either. Imagine a hybrid digital signage system in a ski shop at the base of mountain. Skiers donning their boots and gloves might see a digital sign in passing as it plays back linear content; however, their attention might be focused when temperature, wind and solar sensors at the top of the mountain report conditions and trigger specific presentations. Lots of sun could call up reminders about needing sun screen. Heavy snow might trigger another presentation that makes them think twice about leaving the store before having the right gloves or goggles.

The possibilities of hybrid kiosks are endless. The expanding need for ease of use and multi-purpose functionality within self-service industries should continue to drive the deployment of hybrid digital signage kiosks in the years ahead.

Sanders leads Zebra's industry sales teams, which are responsible for business development for the health care, self-service, mobile workforce and PAX (print & apply labeling) markets.

(This commentary originally appeared on DST sister site KioskMarketplace.com, on Sanders' blog.)

Read more about retail digital signage.

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