Thursday, May 1, 2008

Digital Signage - Giving the Printing Industry Heartburn

Have you noticed how well digital signage works? Say you walk into an electronics store and there on massive screens, are advertisements about the TV, Camcorder, iPod, Cell Phone, PDA, computer, or whatever department you are browsing. In the past, stores would spend big bucks on designing the ad/poster, printing it on a large format printer (probably outsourced to a printing company), laminating the poster so it could withstand public traffic touching and bumping it, mounting it to a board, and then putting it up in the store, possibly just for a seasonal promotion, or even a weekend. Think about how much effort this would take in a department store, or a grocery store! Now, with an investment in digital signage, you change your ad with a click of a button. You can have the ad rotating with other ads, so when shoppers are in line at the check out, they see your specials, your promotions, or maybe your promotions for next week, reminding them to come back. If you are in retail and you are not taking advantage of digital signage, you need to rethink your advertising strategy.

Digital signage comes in all sizes and therefore you can do it on a small budget, or go all out and really make a splash. This is now an industry to itself. You basically need a computer to run the ad (and there are some basic boxes on the market for under $300 that can be dedicated to running digital signage), at least one display monitor, (this can be an HDTV or even a computer monitor), and the cabling, (you didn't think that I'd leave that out did you?) and you're set! Professional Cable's high-quality HDMI cables are being used in retail stores that are raking in big sales thanks to a good digital signage campaign.

Don't have a big budget for digital signage? Alex Para, manager of the University of Utah Bookstore had no budget for this, but knew he'd get big results with them running ads and information about products found at the bookstore. So what did he do? He went to his vendors and sold them ads on his new digital signage...which they paid for. Now that it's paid for, 100% by his vendors, he is seeing the impact of the digital signage in his store. His department is getting noticed. Students are walking in to the computer department asking about the Apple (MacBook) Air laptop computer that they saw on the digital display. Some are saying that they hadn't even noticed that the bookstore had a computer department until they noticed the signage. He'd had the good old-fashioned posters up before He'd used giant banners before. But what caught their eye? The big HDTV showing all the fancy gadgets the computer store had to offer.

As you are putting together your digital signage, consult a professional. There are many companies that specialize in the design and installation. If you are doing something real basic, you'll probably be OK doing it on your own. Give me a call. I can help point you to some of the hardware that you'll need, like our HDMI multipliers. It allows one computer to run the ads, and splits out the signal to multiple HDTVs or monitors via HDMI cables. We also carry the same thing in SVGA. SVGA multipliers have been used in this setting for a long time, often in classrooms, airports, and conference rooms.

With retailers moving by the dozens to digital signage over the regular posters, large format printer manufactures like HP, large format printing companies like FedEx Kinkos, and laminating companies like GBC are having a bit of heartburn over lost sales and are scrambling to try and figure out how they can take a part in the newest wave of in-store retail advertising.

Until next time
The Cable Guy

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