Digital signs have been showing more usage in stores and restaurants, given their flexibility and more dynamic presentation. They’re certainly more noticeable and the benefits of technology are obvious.
Setting up a digital sign can range in complexity and difficulty depending on your needs. This article will offer four different methods for you, ranging from the simplest to the most complex – Novice, Expert, Professional, and Locol. You can go straight to the method you feel best describes yourself, or peruse all four to determine which most suits the situation you are planning for.
Perfect for small businesses where the owner wears multiple hats.
- A slideshow creator, such as PowerPoint, Keynote, or Google Slides.
- A device that can play the slideshow.
- A large display to present the slideshow.
- The simplest way to set up a digital sign is to create the signs in a slideshow creator, then set it to play on a loop with a device connected to a large display.
- Almost any device nowadays can connect to an external display. For a task like this, an inexpensive one like a Chromebook or a tablet works well. Of course, any old computer you happen to have lying around will also do the job fine.
- Slideshow creators are easy to get a hold of and to use.
- The cost of setting up is completely under your control.
- Using a computer, even an old one, just to play slides on a loop is probably overkill.
- Keeping a computer on for the whole day can be a waste of electricity.
- Slideshows lack engagement with customers.
- Updating the signs can be inconvenient, since you need to interrupt the presentation to do so.
With a little technical skill, you can get more out of the customer experience.
- A website creator, such as WordPress, Wix, and Squarespace.
- A large display with touchscreen capabilities.
- A device with an internet connection.
- Website creators such as WordPress can be used to create an entire set of pages that operate as images and signs.
- Customers can approach the display, and navigate the website by clicking on links and buttons.
- Each page acts as its own sign.
- Add a navigation bar so customers can find what they’re looking for easier.
- Remove the keyboard so that customers can’t access other websites.
- An interactive display is much more engaging for customers visiting the store.
- Website creators are simple to use and can quickly create pages and sites.
- Web interfaces are familiar to everyone, even if presented as signs, so they can be operated without support from staff.
- Can be updated without interrupting the display, but requires reloading the site after.
- Pages from your online site can overlap with in-store signage since they’ll be created using the same tools.
- Requires more technical knowledge and expertise to implement.
- Costs are higher due to touchscreen requirements.
- Like the Novice method, you will need to dedicate a computer to this task.
A dedicated low-cost device with a small footprint but incredible potential.
- A Raspberry Pi (RPi) device.
- A large display
- Digital display software, such as piSignage, yoDeck, and so on.
- Set up a RPi and confirm it has the latest firmware installed.
- Download and install one of the digital display software applications.
- Use the application to design your digital sign.
- Hook up the RPi to your display.
- Unlike using a computer with the Novice and Expert methods, a RPi requires relatively little power to operate.
- RPis are also very economical compared to using a computer to run the signage
- Different apps have varying features that can customize the design even further.
- Some of the apps are completely free and open source.
- RPis require a much more dedicated skill set than the other options.
- While the hardware is inexpensive, the software running the signage can be much higher and require subscription fees.
- Free options exist, but the better features come with a price tag.
- Each option has its own quirks and use cases, and so will require in depth research to choose the best one for your needs.
A solution for professionals that combines the simplicity of the Novice and Expert methods while incorporating the flexibility and power of the Professional method.
- A Raspberry Pi device.
- A large display.
- A WordPress account.
- Access to a Locol Media portal.
- Locol Media uses WordPress as the engine for design, including the blocks and plug-ins.
- Use the Locol Media Portal to manage playlists and hubs for each of your stores.
- Connect your playlist to the RPi.
- Hook up the RPi to the display.
- Locol Media provides many of the benefits, including low costs and energy usage, minimal technical skill requirements, and customizable features.
- The more proficient you are with WordPress, the more you can get out of this method.
- Will be able to integrate touchscreen features if needed.
- While WordPress professionals will benefit the most from this method, the learning curve for using it for most other people will be challenging.
- Still need to keep an eye on subscription costs for WordPress and the Locol Media portal.
Steps for successful Digital Sign Implementation
- Gather the client’s requirements
- You should be able to get basic content from the client’s web site.
- Design an overall style for the digital signage
- Use a style that is consistent with the location and their website
- Verify the size and aspect ratio of the screens, some TVs have non standard aspect ratios
- Locol Tutorial: Creating signs by uploading images and videos
- Mockup the overall theme to get the client’s buy-in
- Locol Tutorial: Using the WP Block Editor to create digital signs
- Consider the size of the screen and where it will be located at the store
- Determine the right font size that is easy to read
- Locol Tutorial: Creating a slide using the WP column block
- This will also be a good time to verify that the client does not have any changes to the requirements 😂
- Confirm the client’s requirements with detailed mockups
- Obtain the client’s signoff in writing
- Create a preview playlist
- Locol Tutorial: Adding a WordPress post or page as a Locol Slide
- Create slide introduction animation
- Slide introduction animation should be consistent and conform to a style pattern that fits the customer
- Create the screen locations and hubs
- Name the screens logically to fill store locations, so that it’s easy to identify a screen later with store staff
- Set up the player agents
- Install a Rpi inside your lab and verify the playlists
- Get the wifi credentials for your client sites
- Verify power plugs location
- In most client locations, the client has maintenance staff that would be responsible for mounting monitors and RPi’s. Create instructions for the client so that the work can be done smoothly and professionally.
- Turn on the screens one location at a time.