The holiday season can be a very hectic time of year for retailers and consumers. Planning ahead can mitigate stress, but how far in advance you ought to start getting your ducks in a row is up for debate. The sooner the better should be the general consensus if you're a retailer preparing to out-sell your competitors. At the time of publishing this blog, there are approximately 3 ½ weeks until Christmas, and a wise retailer would want their store flooded with heavy foot traffic as of yesterday. While we don't have a time machine, we do have excellent tips to help you utilize your digital signage to the max and get the most out of the upcoming holiday season.
Human beings are visual creatures. The majority of information we receive is perceived visually. In fact, the relationship between our eyes and brains processes visually-presented information 60,000 times faster than auditory or sensory information. Digital signs are visual, which is why they work. Yes, your in-store sales staff can verbally relay special holiday promotion details to your customers, but doing so won't be nearly as effective as deploying those same promotions to your in-store digital signage using visually stimulating images, videos, and infographics.
When you use digital signage as your primary means of communicating with customers, you end up putting your sales staff in the advantageous position of only having to reinforce the promotional information when they interact with shoppers. Rather than having to remember, or fully memorize, the specific holiday sales specials, your employees can simply glance at the digital screens to stay on track. In-store digital displays can also share important information relevant to your shipping and delivery options, return policies, and customer service channels, which means that your sales staff won't have to. When you free up your employees from the busywork of relaying every in-store promotion that's in effect, you empower them to assist customers who have already narrowed down the products or services they'd like to buy, which ultimately leads to the success of closing sales.
STEP ONE: PUT A SYSTEM IN PLACE
It doesn't go without saying that in order to get started preparing your digital signage for the holidays, you will need to have digital signage installed in your store. The good news is that it isn't too late. Contact a digital signage provider today to discuss your business's goals, how many screens you'll need, and whether or not the provider's software will come with advertisement and promotional templates you can use to get your sales information deployed throughout your store as quickly as possible.
If you haven't been able to find a digital signage provider with software and solutions that cover your bases, including furnishing you with the means to easily create your own in-store ads, then give us a call today. FTx Digital Signage Solutions include a full suite of tools that will simplify your in-store marketing in time for the holidays. Our solutions are cloud-based and user-friendly, which means you can design and deploy your promotional infographics from any device, and best of all, our software comes with an additional solution, AdPro, which will supply you with ad templates that are easy to fill-in, customize, and schedule. Our AdPro graphic design software used to only be available for purchase, but FTx is now offering it for free indefinitely.
STEP TWO: DESIGN YOUR DIGITAL CONTENT
You don't have to be a graphic designer to revamp your usual marketing images with a seasonal spin. But we really do stress that you choose the most comprehensive and user-friendly ad design software you can find, and make sure it integrates with your digital signage solutions. Presuming you've found the perfect design software, the following are the best practices for generating holiday-themed promotional materials as efficiently as possible.
- • Replace the color scheme of your current logo, slogan, and graphics with traditional red and green or other festive, holiday season colors, such as gold and green, silver and red, or any combination that captures the spirit of Christmas
- • Re-design your newsletter header with the same new, seasonal color scheme you chose for your logo; add snowflakes, holiday wreaths, or Santa Clause, and come up with a fun, festive catchphrase that plays with your current slogan
- • Create holiday-themed promo graphics for social media and blog posts, using your new holiday logo and including specific sales, deals, and discounts information
- • Update your social media profile header and main profile photo so that these images are consistent with your new holiday theme colors
- • Duplicate and elaborate on your social media promo graphics so that they are appropriate to display on your in-store digital signage; take advantage of the extra space that digital screens provide; include enticing sales information; utilize rotating visuals and video content to get the most out of your digital screens and engage in-store customers
By covering all of your bases while you design new holiday digital content, you'll be able to deploy your new content across your omnichannel for fast, direct marketing that works.
STEP THREE: GET YOUR OMNICHANNEL READY
The term "omnichannel" refers to a marketing content strategy that uses all available channels when advertising and promoting to drive better audience engagement. This strategy creates a unified, consistent experience for your customers that helps to clearly market your brand. Instead of putting your products and services at the core of your marketing efforts, omnichannel enables you to put your customers at the core so that you can communicate with them directly and effectively.
In practical terms, an omnichannel marketing strategy would utilize every advertising avenue available, including:
- • Your website
- • Your e-commerce store
- • Your digital newsletter materials
- • Your social media accounts
- • Your in-store digital signage
With your digital promotional content designed and exported, using software such as FTx AdPro, you can deploy the ad graphics you made to all of your digital channels. Presenting uniform branding for your holiday sales by deploying to your entire omnichannel will greatly increase brand awareness in the minds of consumers and ultimately lead to increased holiday shopping.
STEP FOUR: CREATE SEASONAL AMBIENCE
Every holiday season, retailers take extensive measures to transform their stores into winter wonderlands that fill customers with the Christmas spirit. In addition to redesigning your window displays, placing a decorated tree inside, and adorning all of your sales racks with tinsel, you can use your digital signage to enhance the seasonal ambience at your store.
If you took the time to design holiday digital content using FTx AdPro or similar software, then your in-store display screens already contain holiday flair. Depending on how many screens there are at your location, you can program specific ones to display a crackling fireplace, snowflakes fluttering down for a "snowing inside" effect, or even Christmas carolers singing songs, if your screens have sound. Getting even more creative, try rotating in a sales promotion graphic or information about your store's customer loyalty rewards program in-between 10-seconds of "snowing inside". This way, you can integrate the actual ambience with the infographics you made for an even more engaging display. Unsure of where to start? FTx AdPro now includes holiday templates for every industry and this software is free forever!
STEP FIVE: IMPLEMENT STREET-FACING SIGNAGE
Is your retail store within a mall or are you located in a strip mall? Perhaps your store is on an intersection corner in a bustling city? Either way, store windows are another opportunity to interest pedestrian consumers to come inside, which is why most retailers dedicate a hefty budget to transforming their window displays for the holidays. With street-facing digital signage as part of your festive window displays, you can increase the chances of enticing passersby to come in and shop with you. The content you display, however, should be slightly different than that on your indoor screens. Here are some ideas for your street-facing signage that are more likely to get people inside and spending:
- • Promote the biggest benefits of shopping at your store, and leave out the specific, smaller deals you have going on; big benefits include free gift wrapping, free shipping when a certain spending threshold is reached or exceeded, big ticket raffles and sweepstakes, and special access to free or discounted goods and services in exchange for signing up for your customer loyalty rewards program
- • Display a live-feed of any Instagram posts that tag your store's IG handle and use a fun hashtag; when posts with your store's branded IG handle and clever holiday-themed hashtag display to your digital signage live, this provides your audience with a highly interactive set of visuals; this strategy for street-facing signage also informs passersby of your IG account, which they can follow, and the promotional hashtag, which they can scroll through in their own time
- • Call-to-action graphics must be included as the last slide of your rotating promos; whether your campaign is promoting the sign-up bonus points of your customer loyalty rewards program or a store-wide 2 for 1 sale for customers who spend over a certain threshold, be sure to clearly show your audience the next steps they must take to get in on the deal
There is so much you can do to prepare your digital signage for the holidays. This article only scratched the surface. If you don't yet have digital signage at your retail store and would like to take the first step, FTx Digital Signage Solutions can have you up-and-running in no time. Be ready for the holidays with our digital signage solutions and take advantage of free AdPro, our free-forever graphic design software that is compatible with our digital signage solutions.