Magazine Article | December 16, 2008

Lure More Customers With Digital Signage

Source: Innovative Retail Technologies

This university bookstore's new digital signage solution increased individual product sales from 6% to 240%.

Integrated Solutions For Retailers, January 2009

Virginia Tech Services operates one on-campus bookstore and one off-campus bookstore that sell books, computers, school supplies, apparel, gifts, and sundries to the university's students. You can argue that a company generating $20 million in revenue each year knows how to execute successful marketing strategies. So, when Steven Glosh, assistant director at Virginia Tech Services, was presented with the chance to use in-store digital signage to help drive sales, he incorporated the technology into his marketing campaigns.

Virginia Tech Services creates marketing campaigns for television, sporting events, bookstore sales promotions, and more. In 2006, LevelVision, a media solutions and digital signage provider, approached Glosh about incorporating its IntelliMat in-store digital signage solution in each store. "We thought this device would be an innovative way to promote our products," says Glosh. The product is a portable digital display designed specifically for floor use. Approximately 1 inch thick, the device measures 43-by-53 inches, weighs approximately 90 pounds, and is water-resistant. It has a flat, television-like screen that enables people to read marketing messages. It should be placed in high-traffic areas where customers can walk on it. The device comes preloaded with Microsoft Windows XP Professional and runs video files in formats including Flash and Final Cut as well as PowerPoint files. Up to four different marketing messages can be displayed at once. 

Installation took two hours at each location.  The device was placed near the front entrance of both locations. The only restriction was that the device had to be placed near an electrical outlet in order to receive power. The vendor laid the devices down in their designated areas and plugged them in.

Drive Sales With Multiple Marketing Messages
Virginia Tech Services' marketing team is responsible for creating six different 10-second 'spots' for the device, typically in PowerPoint. The marketing team can create and update new spots in just a few hours. The vendor typically takes one business day to upload new files. The marketing team was required to create spots for the vendor to test prior to installation. The spots rotate continuously throughout the day, and they are identical at both locations. However, each device has its own IP (Internet Protocol) address, meaning that content can differ from sign to sign. Retailers may load content to devices directly using a variety of USB devices (e.g. thumb drives, CD drives, external hard drives) or remotely using content management software. The marketing team emails the files to the vendor, which then uploads the file to the signs remotely. However, for the original installation, the vendor loaded the content on-site. Audio may also be incorporated via .wav files.

The device has helped Virginia Tech Services increase sales, as products advertised on IntelliMats increased anywhere from 6% to 240%. For instance, hooded sweatshirt sales increased 7.6%. The company measured the progress of $6.99 t-shirt sales for five weeks in 2007 compared to the same time the previous year. T-shirts advertised on IntelliMat increased sales 240%. Sales of products advertised on and immediately adjacent to the vendor's device were 145% higher than  products advertised elsewhere in the store.  In addition, the company validated the devices' ability to create awareness by giving away 133 free items that were advertised only on the mats. "We create spots that coincide with our current in-store and television marketing campaigns [e.g. back-to-school promotions]," says Glosh. "The device's 'Wow-factor' stops people in their tracks, gets them to read our marketing message, and make purchases. The mat is an innovative way to drive sales." 

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