September 18, 2018

Will digital signage solve McDonald's woes?


Originally posted  | by Bradley Cooper

 

When you are out on a road trip, is McDonald's your first choice? I only go to McDonald's if it's the only choice available. My main reasons for this mindset are the low quality food, poor service and long wait times.

McDonald's recently tried to turn all this around with a massive digital signage and kiosk upgradeto the tune of $6 billion. The restaurant plans to deliver:

  • Modernized dining rooms featuring "globally and locally inspired décor."
  • Refreshed exteriors.
  • New furniture.
  • Digital self-order kiosks.
  • Remodeled counters centered around new table service.
  • Interior and drive-thru digital menu boards.
  • Designated curbside pick-up spots for mobile pay customers.
  • Expanded McCafé counters with larger display cases.

The real question is whether this upgrade will solve its woes. To understand that, we have to look at what digital signage and interactive kiosks can do and what they can't do.

What they can do

Digital signage can help bring an experience into the 21st century. Customers are used to looking at screens, so deploying screens is just a way to meet their expectations.

However, the most important element in digital signage is how it can improve the customer experience and draw the customer's eye. A bright menu board, for example can be far more pleasing to look at than a static display. The animations can draw customers' attention to a new item on the menu or a discount, which can boost sales.

Kiosks can also deliver more seamless checkout experiences, since customers can order their food directly from the kiosk and receive a ticket for later pickup.

Digital signage is for more than just selling, however. Restaurants can use it to showcase funny videos such as from The Chive, or they can use it with interactive games in the restaurant, such as McDonald's touch tables.

The goal of digital signage is to craft a better experience for the customer so they will come back later and engage with the brand in a deeper manner.

What they can't do

First of all, they can't replace employees. Many people believe that kiosks are a replacement for employees, but they actually boost demand. With kiosks, more customers can order more food, so restaurants like McDonald's need to have more employees in the back end to meet this demand.

Second of all, digital signage and technology in general cannot revitalize a brand by themselves. If the food still tastes bad, no one will care about the fancy displays. Also, if the kiosks don't work well with your other systems, such as mobile payments or a digital coupon, customers will go somewhere else.

For McDonald's in particular to truly succeed, it will need more than just technological upgrades. It will also need an in-depth plan to boost quality and customer satisfaction. The restaurant needs to rethink who it hires, how much it pays them and how they train them.

Training is an area where displays can help. Displays can showcase reminders of how to make a complex product or offer cleanliness tips. But, if managers aren't following through or slacking on training, then it won't stick.

This is why all businesses, not just restaurants, should adopt broader strategies, which integrate the technology into the overall business and customer service strategies.

McDonald's and other restaurants should not look at technology as a separate tool, but as an integrated part of the overall experience, which succeeds or fails based on how well the other elements of the business perform.

 

July 31, 2018

The Growing Impact of Digital Signage in Retail


Originally posted by Mark Boidman on June 11, 2018 at  www.digitalsignageconnection.com

Digital signage continues to make a powerful statement in retail as we are starting to see more digital displays, including interactive displays, across retailers throughout the country.

Eight out of 10 customers entered a store for the first time due to a digital sign catching their eye, according to a recent survey.

Moreover, the digital signage hardware and software markets are growing quite quickly. Digital signage revenue in the United States today, in terms of equipment, software, and services plus digital signage media revenue, is about a $20 billion market opportunity using estimates based on publicly available data. This number is likely to rise to just over $25 billion by 2019.

That $20 billion includes about $7 billion of media revenue. Taking the media revenue out of the equation leaves roughly $13 billion for equipment, software and services.

Expanding Reach and Falling Costs

More broadly, digital media on screens in public venues reaches more customers than videos on the Internet. It is a powerful statement of the size and scale of digital billboards and digital screens.

Furthermore, the cost of rolling out a digital signage network continues to fall annually by more than 10 percent, and signage penetration across physical locations increases.

In addition to costs coming down, the number of use cases has increased.

Digital menu boards in physical locations, such as quick-service restaurants or coffee shops, are all being converted to digital screens. Menu boards are becoming digital menu boards. Even buffet table displays or paper tags at café food stations are becoming digital screens.

Cruise ships and hotel buffet displays are well positioned for digital, which are huge market opportunities.

Many coffee shops and retail stores want to roll out massive screens right in the entry of their stores to create experiences and shopping environments in the store that level the playing field with online shopping.

This is why more spectacular displays are being rolled out, especially as technology costs to deploy digital signage and retail tech in general are going down.

Many big cities will one day look just like Times Square.

Changing Customer Behavior

What is starting to happen in most retail stores, especially with young people, is that they are tuning out non-digital screens. They are so used to the digital screen in their pocket, and the ability to interact with those screens, that if they do not find that screen experience in a public store, they may not even walk in or feel comfortable shopping there.

This dynamic is dramatically influencing how shopping malls and stores think and react.

Within retail stores now, whether their products are clothes hanging on the wall or displays of food, there are typically digital screens around or above them. These digital screens showcase products, provide information, provide interactivity and can even take the place of a salesperson to provide supplementary information.

With interactive digital screens, you can determine if retailers have your size, the color you want, and/or make a request to have your choice brought to you.

Contextually Relevant Content to Drive Sales

Digital signage is driving sales and engaging customers, and the more you can engage with somebody at the point of sale and provide them with an improved shopping experience, the more likely you are to see increased brand awareness, as well as growth in sales.

More retail stores are deciding to spend money to roll out networks because it is no longer cost-prohibitive for them to do so. They also realize that networks are critical to create the experiential environment in the store necessary to provide a competitive advantage.

It is imperative to remember that digital signage must deliver more than just content; it must also deliver context.

From a consumer’s first impression at a store entrance through the entire retail experience, digital signage has the ability to turn the person who is merely browsing into your newest customer.

 

 

September 19, 2017

Don't Be Lazy - Boost Your Digital Content!


Adding digital signage to your business can increase sales and improve the reach of your promotions.  While you can continue using traditional, static signs in addition to your new digital signs - it is important to remember that each one has unique features.  Those features require various types of content.

Tip: Don't just use your static sign images on your digital platform!

Create new content for your digital signs and check how it looks before going live.  Sit in various areas of your building and take note of how the content POPs of the screen - or could use tweaking to improve performance.  Remember, digital allows movement - not just static images.

Tip: Think about ways to get people to interact with your content

Adding charging stations near your digital signs can draw customer's attention to your screens.  The longer a person sits near the screens, the longer they have to see all the promotions and interesting information about your business.

Screens could also include a game or wayfinding information for guests to interact with.  This can also be a way to improve key metric data by determining how long guest's are interacting with your content.

What are alternate ways you can engage customers with your digital information?

Request a FREE quote from BLR to learn more.

 


September 5, 2017

Digital Menu Board


When making the move to digital menu boards, one area that provides companies a challenge is the logistics of setting them up. 

First, companies need to communicate the changes throughout the organization to ensure every department, and person, is on the same page as to the intentions of the menu boards.  Communication is vital to keeping errors to a minimum while producing targeted, and branded, content for the digital menu boards.  Once content is produced, the organization can begin the stages of implementation.

Large organizations should run pilot tests to identify areas of concern during the initial phases of implementation to ensure perfect execution when the digital menu boards are set to go live.

 

Having a dedicated, and experienced company to walk you through the process is vital to creating a targeted campaign with seamless implementation - BLR Sign Systems can help.  Contact BLR today.

 

August 29, 2017

Taco John’s Reports Sales increase after Menu-board Test

Taco John's has been adding new menu boards in-store and at the drive-thru and testing new designs since January, 2014. They have announced a 12% increase in EZ Combo Meals since converting to digital menu boards. The new menus have two panels and have simplified the ordering process for guests.

“Our guests love the new visuals on our drive-thru and interior menu boards,” Renée Middleton, vice president of marketing, said in the release. “It really simplifies the menu, catches their eye and brings more attention to the Taco John’s EZ Combos.”

Contact BLR to find out how we can help you convert your drive-thru menu displays.

August 8, 2017

Weather-Proof Your Outside Digital Menu Displays

The weather can be damaging to outdoor digital menu displays - so why not dress it up?!

Based on your business' location, you can dress up your outdoor digital menu display in a variety of ways.  For locations where it gets extremely hot outside, housing the equipment with an air conditioning unit can help regulate the temperature based on the outside temperature.  However, in areas where it is only warm - a fan can accommodate your needs.

Some businesses choose to use 'plenum chambers' to ventilate the outdoor digital menu display.  A plenum chamber is a type of ventilation system that uses air pressure to forces the air to move out - and then is replaced with fresh air from outside the chamber.  These systems allow displays to cool and provide extra protection from water.



July 5, 2017

Restaurant Franchising and Innovation Summit

The Restaurant Franchising & Innovation Summit will be held July18-20, 2017 in London.  During the summit, there will be a panel session on "How Big Name Brands Are Using the Latest Tech to Drive Sales" where they will discuss digital menu boards and other technologies.  Learn more at:

https://franchisinginnovation.com/europe-2017/agenda/how-big-name-us-brands-are-using-the-latest-tech-to-drive-sales/