The Basics, the Briefs and the Benefits of Automation in Retail

The Basics, the Briefs and the Benefits of Automation in Retail

The content IS the experience

Every marketing medium is unique (and uniquely challenged) to have true meaning in today’s cluttered communications landscape. This holds true with retail digital signage and, while everyone in our industry ultimately has to touch content, we often miss the mark regarding our content strategy on in-store screens.

Digital signage content is meant to build an affinity with your shoppers that sparks some kind of business outcome. Jonathan Brawn from Brawn Consulting sums up the digital signage challenge perfectly when he says “In pro AV, the technology drives the experience…but with digital signage, the experience drives the technology”. Right. No one looking at an in-store digital sign cares about the technology; they only care about what’s on it.

  • They offer the simplest way to ensure customers see your restaurant’s Digital menu boards while increasing foot traffic and sales.
  • They are changing the way customers order food. Sales data shows that restaurants that replace their traditional printed menus with dynamic digital menu boards see a significant increase in order sizes and receipt totals.
  • Digital menu boards help increase profitability and generate a positive impact on your business’s bottom line.

Planning in-store content with CX (Customer Experience) in mind

To be effective, in-store digital content must be targeted and have a meaningful context for the intended viewer. We’ll break this down further in a minute, but suffice it to say that this only happens if each ‘spot’ has a clear, formulated strategy to follow. If using dynamic messages, it becomes even more important because each one will have multiple versions, all of which need to be ‘tagged’ to what attributes they belong to–like gender, time of day, store type, etc., along with other ‘if/then’ scenarios tied to the weather, inventory, wait times and other situational events.

Regardless of one screen or hundreds of screens in the store, before getting into the business of cranking out content, the overarching in-store network’s content strategy must be mapped out all the way down to each individual screen. There are visual systems like the one shown that make this easy.


The things that should be determined can include:

  • Screen Name so that it can be easily identified across all in-store screens
  • Screen Location, hopefully, mapped on a floor plan
  • Screen Type: Passive/Interactive/Triggered
  • The content Loop Length (if not triggered)
  • Strategic Purpose of the screen: typically Attract, Inform, Engage, Sell, etc.
  • Key Measures for what it’s supposed to deliver: Opportunity to See, Views, Dwell, Traffic, Sales, NPS, etc.
  • Content Categories that the screen will display, each weighted by priority–typically include Promotional, Category, Seasonal, Brand, etc.)
  • Content Formats will display what the network team will need to determine based on the “zone” the screen is and typical customer behavior there–examples are POP+, interstitial, video, mood/art, brand, etc.
  • Example Playlist for everyone to follow

The process of developing an overall screen strategy is extremely important. In fact, neglecting to do so can result in missed opportunities for generating revenue. It is crucial to carefully plan this strategy before diving into daily content creation activities. This ensures that everyone understands the purpose of each screen, how its effectiveness will be measured, and that the content displayed on it aligns with its location in the store and the behavior of shoppers. Additionally, this strategy establishes a framework for testing the content against performance benchmarks and optimizing it accordingly, similar to what other digital marketing channels have already implemented. Once this strategic plan is in place, the next essential step is to create a detailed creative brief.

Retail cx

The basics of a great content brief

As a best practice, strategically savvy teams use a creative brief for every piece of in-store content. By utilizing such a system, everyone in the team can align and have a common understanding, facilitating effective communication and addressing any questions that may arise. This system is closely connected to a Creative Workflow, as illustrated here, which guarantees that all team members are working towards the same goals and objectives.

A typical Creative Brief template for a digital signage spot includes the following:

  • The Ask: What the content spot needs to do
  • Key Message: The main point it needs to convey
  • The Insights: Anything essential that can add context to the challenge or opportunities around the product or message featured
  • The Measures: The metrics this spot will be measured against
  • Target Market: Who it is likely to appeal to
  • Reasons to Believe: The things that the spot will need to call out as support
  • Reasons to Buy: If applicable, the call to action or incentives to nudge the shopper to conversion
  • Mandatories: The creative specifications as dictated by the screening strategy or product/CPG team
  • Realities: Things that may stand in the way to hit home on the spot’s goals
  • Timing: When it needs to be ready to be scheduled
  • Locations/Dayparts: Which locations and which dayparts it belongs to
  • Flight Time: The dates it will need to be ‘on air’
  • Versions: If dynamic, what versions need to be created with what images, messages, and or creative changes that each should encompass
  • Tags: If dynamic, the tags and business rules laid out for each spot version

Every retailer will have their own spin on the systems and templates that they use to plot, plan, program, and optimize their digital signage content and that’s okay. The point is to have them!

LTD graphic

What’s in store for dynamic digital content

To be successful in-store with digital content, you need to understand the relationship between content. How it’s performing against the screen and content goals, and how it changes over time. Getting to the right mix will be different for every store, product, and shopper. Therefore the importance of utilizing the appropriate strategy and optimization tools to squeeze the most juice out of each installed screen. However, as digital signage content automation has become *smarter*, so has the ability to easily optimize the content workflow.

AI-powered digital signage

Ai-powered dynamic digital signage is real, here, and ready for deployment. Now, thanks to Ai and advances in automation, there are exciting new realities for pushing live content feeds that can literally replace humans. Especially when it comes to serving up relevant, contextual content with minimal human oversight.

Context digital signage

Contextual digital signage messages are pretty simple to explain. It means that the message makes sense in the context of the moment in which the shopper is standing. Who they are, where they are, what’s going on around them, and, if important, what’s going on outside the store. All of these considerations should be included in your screen strategy. With dynamic signage, every scenario can be All of these considerations should be included in your screen strategy. This is done with a great CMS working in sync with an in-store analytics solution.

Navori’s solution

Navori has the only solution that seamlessly knits together both an advanced CMS with a proprietary, industry-leading in-store intelligence solution. This means the headcount, hassle, and margin for error required to schedule contextual content via lots of playlists and human oversight goes away. Getting the most personally-relevant content in front of each person becomes scalable, and flexible. And, even better, can be knitted into the store’s marketing automation so that it works in sync with every digital touchpoint the shopper engages with.

Home Navori QL Bloc

There are many, many factors that can contribute to ‘what works’ for in-store digital content, but, with the right strategic systems and software solutions, it can be streamlined and strategically placed. Ideally, your digital signage software should include advanced data-driven capabilities so that you can display content based on simple rules, as well as a few other key considerations.

We’re happy to assist you through your many options to make your in-store digital content work harder or give you advice on how to navigate a free trial with the solutions that are out there.