Are kiosks the future of digital signage?
The biggest barrier to digital signage isn't a bigger screen, but rather a smaller one: the consumer's smartphone. It's hard for your display to be relevant to a customer when they have a more relevant Facebook page open on their phone. One way, however, for retailers to reach these distracted customers is to integrate interactive elements into digital signage. At that point, digital signage has crossed the border into the world of kiosks. Could kiosks be the future for digital signage?
Both digital signage and kiosks are making big money, according to various reports from different research groups. Both digital signage and kiosks are expected to hit more than $30 billion by 2023.
These markets are separate simply because they offer different products. Kiosks are primarily interactive tools meant to draw in customers for a longer time than digital signage. Digital signage, on the other hand, is primarily meant to push messages to customers in a short amount of time, whether it be advertisements or information.
Digital signage only requires a display, a media player and the right software. However, once you add a touch interlay over it, the line between a kiosk and display becomes very blurry. From there, it's easy to add a wireless printer, scanner and other kiosk-like tools.
These kiosk-like elements also help digital signage deliver that truly special element: relevant dynamic content.
It's not so much that content is king, it's that customers won't pay attention if your content isn't relevant. Many vendors are attempting to innovate with digital signage by enabling dynamic content that changes based on customer footfall, demographics and customer input.
A mall display, for example, could analyze a customer's face to uncover that he is a middle aged man and push out an advertisement for a discount at the sports store.
Interactive kiosk elements can improve overall content for digital signage through several methods. Using that mall display as a example, that same man could come up to the display and touch the screen to receive a coupon to his phone.
If not enough customers come up to interact with the display, however, the mall can take that into account and switch up the content. In essence, the interactive elements adds an extra step of engagement, whereas before the customer would be only a passive receiver of information.
That being said, you don't necessarily need a touchscreen to engage customers
To kiosk or not to kiosk
Adding interactive elements into your display is a lot of work. It requires changes to the hardware, software and maintenance. It also requires you to design good interactive content to inform and lure in customers. It may not be what you are looking for.
If you are mainly hoping to provide a bit of information to customers through a bright video wall that grabs their attention for long enough, then you might not need a touchscreen.
That being said, you can still integrate kiosk-like elements into your display that don't cause a lot of ruckus. For example, you could integrate a QR code into a display for discounts, or you could simply place a message at the end of your content loop asking your audience to follow you on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.
Are kiosks the future?
It is likely that for the immediate future, kiosks and digital signage will exist side by side, while working together occasionally.
That being said, we are seeing a shift towards more dynamic displays which try to capture customers in the moment and offer them truly relevant content. Because of this trend, the line between digital signage and kiosks will likely continue to blur.
Image via Istock.com.
Bradley Cooper is a Technology Editor for DigitalSignageToday.com. His background is in information technology, advertising, and writing.www