Placing Your Digital Signage Screens For Shopper Convenience

In a recent article, we explored how the placement of your digital signage displays influences viewership. The height and angle play a large role in determining the time frame during which people will view your content. The less time you have to get your message across to viewers, the greater impact it needs to deliver in a short segment.

Today, we’re going to look at the issue of placement in the broader context of how people shop. Studies have shown that shoppers manifest predictable behavioral tendencies in retail settings. If you can tap into those tendencies through savvy screen placement, your content will have a better chance of being noticed. As you might expect, location is a dominant factor.

Acknowledging Natural Obstacles To Attention

Retail environments typically stick to strict floor plans. For example, grocery stores arrange aisles, sections, and end caps according to predictable traffic patterns. Likewise, malls, clothing stores, and similar venues experience comparable patterns. The challenge is that shoppers behave differently as they move throughout the floor.

There are areas within most retail settings in which shoppers are harder to reach. It’s true for signage content, posters, or any promotional collateral. A good example is the entryway of a store. When people enter a retail venue, they “decompress.” Their minds and behaviors go through a dramatic change as they assume the role of a consumer. The first ten feet past the entryway is a virtual dead zone. Digital screens placed in that area will fight an uphill battle toward attracting notice.

Getting In Front Of The Traffic

A lot of signage network operators will place their digital screens according to strange formulas. For example, they might evenly space out displays every so many feet. Or, they might place screens in areas that attract very little traffic in the hopes of drawing shoppers to those areas. Both ideas are bad.

First, digital signage displays don’t lead traffic; it’s the other way around. A retail venue’s existing traffic patterns should lead screen placement. Second, placing monitors evenly throughout a retail environment fails to address normal shopper behavior. Consider a typical walled aisle in a grocery store. Research has shown that shoppers tend to enter aisles from the back of the store. Furthermore, while people can easily see both sides of the aisle down which they’re moving, purchase decisions are usually made on the left side. Evenly-spaced digital displays would ignore these tendencies.

Placement, Context, And Timing

Studies about shopper behavior have also shown that people are more open to buying new – or at least, unfamiliar – products at the beginning of their shopping experience. It makes sense to place signage screens near a store’s entrance (beyond the entryway, of course) with content promoting new items. An example is the manner in which end caps are used in the front of the store. They promote familiar items while “back of store” end caps – usually seen first – promote newer items. Your digital signage displays should follow suit.

Allocating Your Signage Resources Wisely

It’s important to note that existing research regarding shopper behavior offers guidelines, not a concrete blueprint. After all, different retail venues attract different audiences. Those audiences will act in ways that are inconsistent with existing traffic and behavioral data. That said, a digital signage network represents a large capital investment; the screens are expensive. The formula you use to place them throughout a retail setting should leverage the substantial data that is available.

Four Winds Interactive is a leading provider of digital signage networks and software.