8 Questions to Ask When Choosing Digital Signage Software
By Amin Zareeka ; September 26th, 2016

Digital signs are all the rage as more businesses seek to leverage the power of technology. From football pitches, restaurants to retail stores, this has become an integral part of the contemporary marketing environment. Over the years, digital ads have become easier to design and deploy and even small businesses are enjoying better ROI after adopting this interactive marketing tool. 

The choice of the software you choose for your platform will greatly determine how effective the system is and it is imperative to get some insight on how to make this choice.

Why Invest in Digital Signage Boards?

Flat panel displays are now a must for modern businesses and the benefits are immense. They are highly flexible and easy to update. This means businesses can manage display content easily and maintenance costs are minimal. These displays are easily visible which increases brand awareness. They are also perfect for customer service, especially when you deploy an interactive platform.

Digital menu boards are also important if you want to cut personnel costs. It is more affordable for your customers to check menus and other products on a digital chalkboard menu than employing more attendants. If you have any new offers, a digital display will trigger appetite and lead to higher sales conversion. Your display signs can also be used for a variety of purposes including weather updates, price updates, and promotional offers to mention a few.

A Study by Video Corporation of America (VCA) shows digital signage increases brand awareness by 47.7%. This marketing tool also improves overall sales by 31.8%. If you are using digital signage, you will enjoy 32.8% growth in repeat buyers.

Choosing the Right Digital Signage Software

The digital signage software you choose will greatly determine how affordable and effective your display system will be in the long run. The software also determines the reliability of the display and content management. Using a software provider works great for small businesses which don't have the resources for an in-house team to work on the system.

With an established software provider, you are guaranteed more reliability of the product and technical support to guarantee easy maintenance. A digital signage system will include the display, a media player and a content management system (CMS). These are provided as a package by your software provider. Before making a choice of the software, here are some questions to ask the provider:

1.  Do you provide a demo or training for the system? The best software for your signage should be easy to install and manage, but it is always advisable to give it a try before purchasing. You need to see how your displays will look like to avoid investing in the wrong product. During a trial, you have the chance to assess ease of use and level of customer support to expect from the software provider.

2.   How easy is it to set up the system? When shopping for the best software for your signage, you should confirm if it will require any coding skills or if it is suitable for even a DIY project. Look for software that is easy to install and use on the go. You should try out how easy it is to choose a template and then add your content. More importantly, look for a system that allows easy editing and needs low maintenance.

3.   Does the system support remote control? It is important to monitor your content anytime and from anywhere. This is what makes digital signage so convenient for modern business. If you are on the move, you need to know which content is being played and where. This feature makes it easier to update content when need be without the need for physical presence.

4.  How easy is it to customize your digital signage templates? For a start, make sure the software provider offers a wide range of display templates to suit your unique business needs. More importantly, confirm how easy it is to update these templates to suit your current advertising campaign.

5.  Does the software support all type of media? This is one of the greatest considerations when choosing a digital signage platform. You should first determine the type of media you want to display which can be news and RSS, video, presentations, images, social media content, live URLs, or custom-design dashboards. Whatever type of content you are displaying make sure you have a system that will support those types of files.

6.  What is your track record in signage software development? Before working with any software provider ensure you check their track record. Look for case studies, reviews and testimonials from past clients. More importantly, check their past projects and look at the company's reputation in the industry.  It is important to look at their products reliability.

7.  What supportive features do you have on your software? Software tools determine how easy it will be to manage your content. The dashboard should be interactive and posting content should be a drag and drop action. More importantly, look for integration capabilities, unlimited disk space, scrolling banner, display report, playlists, among other features, to make digital display maintenance easier.

8.   Is it possible to estimate the cost of the digital signage display? Most software providers have a tool that allows businesses to calculate the startup cost including screens and the software. This helps you in budgeting.

Once you have identified the right platform for your digital signage, you need to confirm the company will provide excellent technical support. Look for email, phone and remote support to minimize downtime for your displays. You should then go ahead and compare prices from different software providers. With emerging trends in digital display you can now track your ROI from the campaign.

There are many untapped opportunities in digital signage especially by small businesses. This is one of the most effective customer engagement tools available and it is now possible to integrate social media onto your displays, provide timely response, update your promotional offers and alert your shoppers about important local information that affects them.

About author

Amin Zareeka is a digital marketing consultant and a digital signage software developer with over 16 years in the industry. He has worked with hundreds of branding campaigns over the years. Zareeka lives in New York and blogs regularly about industry trends.

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