Today I'm going to talk a bit about item #10 our list of top 13 mistakes to avoid when deploying a kiosk or digital signage network: make sure your display features a clear call-to-action.

It's probably clear by now that most of my focus is on the retail arena.  WireSpring has several large and growing retail networks of kiosks and digital signs powered by our FireCast software, and many leading research firms predict that retail is where the majority of kiosk and digital signage dollars will be spent in the coming years (and more importantly, popular reason and general observation seem to corroborate this).  Our customers run the gamut from specialty retailers to manufacturers to auto dealers.  However, all of our clients have two things in common: first their kiosk or digital sign programs are successful (those who have finished their deployments, of course), and second, they all use some kind of call to action to entice customers on the sales floor.

Just what is a call to action?  Well, it's something -- an offer for free or discounted merchandise, notification of a limited-time coupon, an opportunity to enter a contest -- that draws consumers to your screens.  A strong call to action is what separates an expensive but money-losing digital retailing project from a profitable one with a strong ROI.  Even a simple message at the end of a dynamic content clip can serve as a powerful motivator in front of the right audience.  Case-in-point: one of the smaller vendors at Bass Pro Shops/Outdoor World is Slumberjack, a manufacturer of high-end sleeping bags and hiking equipment.  After Bass Pro installed their digital signage network, Slumberjack purchased advertising time and put together a simple 15-second segment ending with a call to action directed at customers on the shop floor.  After a few months of experimentation, they were able to boast a 59% sales improvement across their entire line, with some items seeing a 195% increase.

When dealing with busy customers moving about a (potentially) large sales floor, the message is key.  It must be short and sweet (on average, you'll get about 7 seconds to draw the attention of a consumer to your digital sign or kiosk), yet still enticing enough to stop them in their tracks, or at least slow them down long enough to see what you have to offer.  Also stick to short phrases and straightforward language -- your academic dissertation isn't going to win over any converts.  At best it will get ignored by the average passer by.  At worst it will confuse or even alienate your target audience.  Finally, make sure that your message is appropriate.  Don't promise a free candy bar with every purchase if you can't deliver.  And even though kiosk and digital signage content isn't regulated by the FTC (yet), don't stoop to cheap tricks or false advertising.  You'll regret it later :)

Finally, consider using some traditional POP display advertising to draw more attention to your kiosks and digital signs, especially if they're not placed in the most prominent store locations.  Those svelte, ultra-modern kiosk enclosures and ceiling-dropped plasma displays look cool and conserve floor space, but they're also often hard to see from far away.  Consider using some static signage and POP to add some inexpensive and highly visible pizzazz to your displays.  Check out some of the ideas at Visual Store, or go to the source, POPAI, or Point-of-Purchase Advertising International.  This part of the industry is very well known and understood, so there are plenty of experts available if you need help.


0 # Josh 2011-10-20 00:55
Great article, I'll be using your Slumberjack sleeping bag case study as part of a presentation to a grocery store Co-op. Thanks, JB
+1 # Bill Gerba 2011-10-27 13:53
Hi Josh, I'm glad this article is still useful all these years later :) Best of luck with your presentation!

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