How to Measure the Success of Your Digital Signage Pilot Program
Good ideas are like good intentions: there’s no guarantee that
pursuing them will lead to great reward. Ideas have to earn their realization.
That hard work begins as soon as the eureka moment has passed. Ideas must be
tested, modeled, evaluated, and—not infrequently—sent back to the drawing board
in search of that elusive desired result.
Retailers understand better than most that innovation for
innovation’s sake is a luxury they can often ill afford. Luckily, proof of
concept and pilot programs give retailers the approach they need to assess
whether any given idea, however bright, will help them achieve a specific
Retail video display systems are a powerful, flexible tool that can have a positive impact on your business’ bottom line. This type of digital signage allows you to target your already-engaged customers with tailored messaging optimized to lift sales, promote special offers, grow brand loyalty (and favorability), and more.
All that technological sophistication does not come without a price. Effective deployment of retail video display systems across an entire retail enterprise requires significant investment. These investments can quickly turn into over-investments, which, in turn, can strain your organization and limit your ability to allocate resources where they are most needed.
By starting small with a digital signage pilot program, however,
retailers can prepare to scale—and reach new heights in terms of revenue,
customer satisfaction, and employee utilization. But you don’t scale a program
that isn’t working. How do you know if a program is working or not? You measure
What You Should Measure
On too many occasions, organizations exit a pilot only to discover
that no stakeholder can confidently state whether the program was successful or
not. The fault most often lies in not carefully
defining success at the outset, and that typically comes from a failure to
reconcile differing agendas—and success measures—between the leadership team
and those executing the program.
Imagine this scenario: a fashion
retailer that operates 250 stores within a tri-state area decides to pilot a
digital signage program. The goal is to determine whether these retail video display systems can boost sales of promoted
products by 15%. Leadership decides to pilot this program at 25 locations
(representing 10 percent of their fleet). Already, the organization has set a clearly
defined quantitative goal—boost sales by 15%. Multiple objectives may
contribute to this goal, but those objectives have been line-itemed and
the goals quantitative—at least for the pilot program—is important, because
it’s hard to argue against numbers. That’s
not to say that qualitative results aren’t important. Often qualitative results
can offer the “whys” behind the data you’re seeing in your quantitative
results. But the lack of numerical data can often leave qualitative results
open to interpretation. This makes it easy to write off the successes of the
In a retail context, digital signage objectives tend to fall into
one of six primary buckets:
Brand storytelling. How can digital signage help your business forge more meaningful connections with its customers?
Increased sales. How can digital signage help increase sales of promoted products and acquire new customers?
Guest experience. How can digital signage create connected experiences that lead to higher levels of customer satisfaction?
Data collection. How can digital signage help you learn more about your customers’ behaviors, desires, and pain points?
Employee communication. How can you use digital signage to support your team members’ professional development and increase their job performance?
As a retailer, these are your digital signage touchstones.
Whenever a question arises about the purpose of your pilot program, return to
the one that is most relevant to that initiative.
How You Should Be Measuring
Choosing a metric can be one of the most challenging aspects of
running a pilot program. Consider the sales lift measurement options available
to our grocery store:
Increases in average basket size.
Increases in sales of specific
Increases in percentage of
transactions per customer.
Increases in purchase frequency.
Increases in gross revenues.
Let’s say our fashion retailer elects to measure its pilot program’s
success by average purchase size. Even here, decisions have to be made. How
will comparable sales data be defined, captured, and stored for analysis? Does
it make more sense to examine historical performance month-over-month (or
year-over-year)? Or does it make more sense to measure a test group—those stores
with digital signage—against a control group—those without?
Each retailer will answer these questions differently. The key is
to make sure they are being asked and seriously considered during the pilot
program planning phase.
Finally, retailers implementing a digital signage pilot program
need to beware of the “all your eggs in one basket” syndrome. Quantitative data
tells only half of the story of a program’s success. Yes, you need hard data:
how many shoppers interacted with the messaging and added an item to their shopping
carts, for example. But you also need qualitative research to achieve an
understanding of the experiential aspect of the digital signage solution you
example, how do shoppers explain their reasons for choosing whether or not to
interact with the retail video display
they could improve the screens content or placement, how might they? Surveys,
questionnaires, even traditional focus group-style interviews: all these
qualitative tools and more are available to retailers. Don’t neglect to leverage
these instruments to generate the insights necessary for setting a course
toward scaling your pilot program.
Contemplating a digital signage pilot program? Already running one? Completed one and now looking to transition to a scaled digital signage program? Contact us today for more insights into how to get the most value out of your digital signage program.