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. Long gone are the days of digital signage being nothing more than a promotional video playing on loop. Today, there are a variety of integration opportunities that create a compelling business case for your customers to invest in not only displays, but a variety of other technology. Here are just 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. Rather than in-store signage playing random ads and messaging, cameras can be used to tell the CMS to deliver specific and targeted content.

Minimally, a camera close to the display can tell the display that a customer in 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 be used to drive customers to specific departments for sales and other promotions. Analytics can then be used to generate heat maps of customer foot traffic to see if the promotions are working.

While some of this functionality might seem like it would be “nice to have,” in many cases, it’s “must have.” 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 throughout the store, beacons can sense the proximity of the customer and then push out messaging to the customer’s phone.

If integrated to 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. 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. Once customers opt into a retailers’ guest Wi-Fi network, access points can roughly estimate the location of that customer as they walk throughout 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

If you’re seeking recurring revenue in retail, building bundles that are tied to digital signage could be a smart strategy. 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. Signage can pay for itself with brand-issued marketing funds. Proximity marketing can drive sales and customer engagement. Guest Wi-Fi can improve the customer experience. 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.