Monday, September 21, 2009

How the economy might be (should be?) affecting digital signage screen placement

I've been catching up on my reading lately, and last night found myself looking at the September issue of Shopper Marketing. As I read Executive Director William Schober' editorial, I learned two things: first, there's a PBS special where Elmo (yes, the lovable Muppet) teaches kids how to cope with the financial crisis.   I kid you not.  Second, and more in tune with the theme of this blog, there's a good chance that the economic crisis may have shifted the way that people shop -- and this, in turn, may have shifted where digital signs need to be located to get optimum draw and have the biggest impact.

I don't know if other people have pointed this out and I'm just late to the game, but I admit I had to sit and scratch my head for a while after looking at the data.  While it sounds a little crazy to say that a recession could change where we need to put digital signs -- they're just pieces of equipment, after all -- when you step back and look at the way the media is consumed, it starts to make a lot of sense.  And that's precisely what happens if you look at the data from Nielsen's now defunct P.R.I.S.M. program. Steve Frenda, the managing director of strategy and member development for the In-store Marketing Institute threw together a little chart to illustrate a pretty significant trend in shopping behavior:

The reason for this shift to "deeper" shopping in the aisles by many consumers is because they're cutting back on more expensive dining options like eating out or getting take-out in favor of cooking more meals at home.  Cooking full meals requires a greater variety of groceries, which typically forces shoppers to do more in-aisle shopping, instead of simply picking up the old standards in a quick race around the perimeter.  When these shopper traffic patterns shift, so do in-store media consumption patterns. And while a store manager could use this data to move static POP displays and posters around pretty easily to regain some of the impact lost around the store perimeter, for many digital signage networks that have screens bolted into location, this is a bigger problem.

While endcaps and the racetrack are still going to get navigated and shopped (you still have to walk on them/past them to get to your desired aisles after all), it's possible that this traffic shift will reduce the premiums that networks currently charge for media on or near them. It's also possible that an increased demand for in-aisle marketing will increase the number of projects utilizing shelf-edge and in-aisle screens (Walmart and IBN already do in certain cases). However, considering the cost of adding infrastructure, it's equally likely that stores and network owners will take a wait-and-see approach to decide whether this new shopping behavior is going to stick around after the economic recovery revs up a bit more.

Tags: ,

No comments: