Attention, Walmart shoppers...
It was only a few short months ago that Walmart released some information pertaining to their (in)famous Smart Network. In case you missed the announcement, the company calculated the following percentage increases in store departments using the Smart Network:
Image credit: Procsilas Moscas on Flickr
- Electronics: 7%
- Over-the-counter: 23%
- Food: 13%
- Health/beauty: 28%
Sales lift by product type
- Mature items: 7%
- Newly-launched items: 9%
- Seasonal items: 18%
- Items on rollback: 6%
In the first, a breathing-strip manufacturer purchased an endcap campaign, in which a 90- to 120-second message ran on endcap screens with product positioned around it. While the program was running, the brand saw a 100 percent sales lift on the specific product, determined by testing versus a control group.The future of the digital signage market? Seven meeeeeelion screens!
In another campaign, the retailer wanted to increase the number of shoppers that opted in to receive discounts and offers via SMS. It staged a four-week campaign in which shoppers were told that if they'd sign up by dialing a specific code, they'd get exclusive announcements of new "Rollback" offers. During the four-week period, the retailer saw a three-fold increase in daily opt-ins. (emphasis mine)
Since NRF is a January conference, it's only natural that some of the speakers might want to take the opportunity to make some prognostications. It's like some kind of holiday disease that peaks right around mid-month. And while I wasn't there in person to hear it, I saw tweets about a talk given by Windows Embedded Marketing honcho Barb Edson that sounded like a real doozie. According to data cited by Microsoft's Edson, there are approximately 2 million digital signs across the US right now, and that number is expected to grow to 7 million over the next 5 years. For that to happen in a nice, linear fashion, it would mean that the industry will deploy 1,000,000 screens every year for the next 5 years.
Is that possible? I suppose so. Is it realistic? Yeah, I think it is. But to see that kind of growth, we're going to have to expand our definition of what constitutes a digital sign to include much smaller displays, electronic POP units, and so on. It might even have to incorporate some commercial uses of regular TVs with only the tiniest bit of "smartness" in them, like showing CNN in the waiting room of your auto service shop and using something like Google TV to stick your logo in the corner of the screen. But by saying that any out-of-home screen that displays directed messaging information is a digital sign, that 7 million number seems well within reach, and might even be conservative.
Is an estimate of a million screens a year too high, too low, or just right? Will sales lift data from Walmart and other major networks help the industry achieve sustained growth? Leave a comment below and let us know!