Earn Recurring Revenue from Retail Digital Signage as a Service

If you want to differentiate yourself in the retail market and earn recurring revenue, build a customer engagement service offering like this one.

If you cater to the retail market and aren’t currently offering digital signage solutions, you could be missing out on a significant opportunity. Gone are the days of digital signage being nothing more than a promotional video playing on loop. Today, various integration opportunities create a compelling business case for your customers to invest in displays and other technologies. Here are a few examples of how digital signage is being used today and how you can create a unique and powerful as-a-service bundle for your customers.

Digital Signage Tied to Video Cameras

Retailers with IP video surveillance systems might be able to extend the value of their investment by integrating the cameras into analytics software that drives signage content. For example, cameras can be used to tell the CMS to deliver specific and targeted content rather than in-store signage playing random ads and messaging.

Minimally, a camera close to the display can tell the display that a customer is nearby. Taken further, analytics can be used to determine the age and gender of the customer to deliver even more targeted content. In-store cameras can also drive customers to specific departments for sales and other promotions. Analytics can then generate heat maps of customer foot traffic to see if the advertisements are working.

While some of this functionality might seem like it would be “nice to have,” in many cases, it’s a “must-have.” For example, many brands are willing to pay retailers to show their ads on in-store signage. However, they now want some evidence that their target market is seeing the ads. Video cameras can deliver that proof.

Digital Signage Driven by Beacons

Just as video cameras can drive digital signage content, it can also be driven by beacon or Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmitter technology. Depending on the sophistication of your customers, these solutions can become very powerful. Typical case studies involve customers opting into a program whereby they receive special promotions once their smartphone is “connected” to the store. As the customer walks through the store, beacons can sense the customer’s proximity and then push out messaging to their phone.

If integrated into digital signage, those same beacons can be used to drive content whenever a customer is nearby. While a video camera can estimate the age and gender of a customer, beacons have the potential to be tied to a complete customer profile, including past shopping history. Technically, it’s possible to deliver content specifically crafted for that customer. For example, does the customer have a history of buying new blue shirts? Why not show them signage of blue shirts just added for the season? The possibilities are endless.

Digital Signage Driven by Guest Wi-Fi

If beacons are out of reach, guest Wi-Fi solutions can be used to drive digital signage content. For example, once customers opt into a retailer’s guest Wi-Fi network, access points can roughly estimate that customer’s location as they walk through the store. This information, along with any data on what they’re browsing on the phones as they shop, can be used to drive targeted content when that customer is in the proximity of the display.

Build a Customer Engagement Service for Retailers

Building bundles tied to digital signage could be a smart strategy to optimize your recurring revenue. Consider the previous examples; a retail customer engagement service could include:

  • Digital signage displays
  • Kiosks/interactive signage displays
  • Content management software
  • Content creation service
  • Content management service
  • Beacons/transmitters
  • Proximity marketing software
  • Loyalty programs
  • Guest Wi-Fi and access points
  • IP Video cameras
  • Video management software

The ROI of such a solution will look great to retailers as nearly every component has multiple uses. For example, signage can pay for itself with brand-issued marketing funds, proximity marketing can drive sales and customer engagement, and guest Wi-Fi can improve the customer experience. In addition, video cameras can be used for loss prevention.

The bottom line is that a service bundle like the one above might come at a cost, but it will increase sales, reduce loss, and improve the customer experience. For the VAR/MSP selling such a unique and extensive service, there’s no better way to differentiate yourself. 


The former owner of a software development company and having more than a decade of experience writing for B2B IT solution providers, Mike is co-founder of XaaS Journal and DevPro Journal.