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If you're one of the booming number of retailers, dealers and service facilities who have caught on to the value of in-store TV, chances are you're using it exclusively in one of two ways: to entertain your customers (maybe you have the channel tuned to the big game or the news, or you're showing a sports video), or to advertise your brands, services and special promotions. (And if you're not already embracing digital in-store technology, keep reading for why you should.)

The Case for Advertising:

Marketers and digital signage experts will tell you that using in-store TV solely for entertainment is a lost opportunity to reach your customers at a key point in the decision-making cycle: when they're physically in your store and primed for purchase. (See this article from Dealernews.com's Eric Anderson, "Digital Ads: The Newest Member of Your Sales Staff?")

To an extent, they're right. The purpose of digital signage is first and foremost to sell. A recent digital signage study conducted by InfoTrends found that digital in-store advertising has 47.7 percent effectiveness on brand awareness, increases the average purchase amount by 29.5 percent, creates a 31.8 percent upswing in overall sales volumes, generates a 32.8 percent growth in repeat buyers, and generates 32.8 percent more in-store traffic. It's hard to argue with those numbers.

The Case for Entertainment:

But in many cases, the view that digital signage is for direct selling and direct selling alone also is short-sighted. What many retailers, dealers and service facilities already know is that there is indeed value, both short- and long-term, to entertaining customers by showing the broadcast content they want to see, not just what we, as sellers, want them to see.

Keeping clientele happy and occupied with the big game or breaking news while they wait or shop benefits your bottom line in ways that are more subtle than overt advertising, but arguably just as valuable. It makes customers' wait time pass more quickly and their overall shopping experience more enjoyable. It turns your store into a place where people feel comfortable and like to be. And happy customers come back, spend more and recommend you to their friends.

It's About Time: The Best of Both Worlds

So it's true that both entertainment and advertising are valuable uses for in-store TVs and digital signage displays. But historically, these two use cases have been mutually exclusive by necessity. Limitations in technology meant you had to pick one over the other; either televise the race so your customers don't have to miss a minute while spending time in your store, or promote your wares with non-stop, looping marketing messages.

That's why forward-thinking digital signage engineers are developing new ways to enable dealers and retailers to capitalize on the best of both worlds. For example, some new signage can display a retailer, dealer or brand's customized product and service messages alongside live TV programming of the retailer's choice — so you can televise the game while still reaching your customers with unobtrusive yet effective marketing messages.

That kind of solution can be ideal for deployment in waiting and retail areas for automotive, motorcycle, power sports and outdoor power equipment dealers and aftermarket providers.

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Latest posts by Ben Stagg
Ben Stagg
Digital Signage Certified Expert Ben Stagg, director of R&D for Vital Media Inc., is responsible for the technology solutions and deployment infrastructure for Vital Media’s digital signage solutions. Stagg started his own digital signage company in 2004, before selling it in 2007 and joining Vital Media.
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