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POP Signage in Motion

Signs are moving from static banners to dynamic displays. Find out what retailers are looking for in the 21st century.

By Jennifer LeClaire

In part one of this three-part series on motional signage, we take a look at trends in point-of-purchase advertising.

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  • From scrolling signs to holographs to video message boards, motional displays are gaining momentum with retailers. As such, savvy sign makers are taking a closer look at opportunities to expand their business into this trendy arena.

    Point-of-purchase (POP) advertising is more important than ever before for today’s retailers because about 70 percent of all brand purchase decisions are made in-store, according to a study by the Point of Purchase Advertising Institute (POPAI). Another POPAI study found that the rate of unaided product recall was 40 percent for retailers that used in-store advertising.

    If those numbers jump out at you, just watch what happens when you add a little movement to the sign. POPAI research suggests that motion in POP advertising displays results in greater retailer receptivity (70 percent of retailers would choose motion over non-motion) and higher sales at regular store prices (an 88 percent average gain above normal sales).

    Why are retailers buying into motional signage? Because it gives them the ability to control distribution of content, inform customers of current information about products, services and specials, educate consumers on products and services, entertain customers while they shop and advertise the latest products. These factors combined are what lead to the 88 percent sales gain demonstrated in the POPAI study.

    So the question then becomes, why wouldn’t retailers want motional displays?

    In part one of this three-part series on motional advertising, we dive into the world of POP displays, where profits are awaiting sign makers who can provide cutting-edge solutions to retailer’s who are challenged with making the most efficient use of space without producing clutter that turns customers away.

    Selling motion displays
    “Motion display advertising is hitting the United States in rapid form,” says Gary Brown, owner of MVP Promotions, a West Chester, Ohio-based marketing and advertising firm. “Although this form of advertising has proven successful in Europe for more than a decade, it has only been recently that its impact on United States advertising, particularly in-store point-of-purchase advertising, has been recognized.”

    That means sign makers can still become early adopters of this retailing trend. But who exactly is using motional signage? The aforementioned POPAI study tested motional signage in supermarkets, grocery stores, package stores, drugstores, stationary stores and camera stores on items like juice, beer, cigarettes, whiskey and bourbon, personal care items, pens and cameras.

    “In addition to providing a much needed service to their customers and having the opportunity to influence buying decisions at the point of purchase, retailers like having the ability to control the content and distribution of the content,” says Vanessa Ogle, chief executive officer of Enseo, Inc., a Richardson, Texas-based company that designs and produces hardware and software solutions for dynamic signage. “Relying on in-store employees to manage when and what content is being played is no longer required.”

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    A spectrum of options
    There are several different types of motion displays and new innovations are emerging all the time. There are scrolling image signs, LED displays, tri-message displays, holographs and video screens, among others. Experts say each has its own place in the market because different environments and products support different mediums.

    LED displays are nothing new, but scrolling signs are catching eyes all around the country. Illumisign EyeCatcher Advertising Display Boards have set themselves apart in the industry by leveraging light, color and movement. These steel-encased lighted boards hold up to 20 full color posters. The images in the advertising display board rotate.

    “I’ve watched people ­ both adults and children ­ sit in front of motion signs and look for the next image to appear,” says Roy Fletcher of Fletcher Consulting, a Dublin, Ohio-based marketing and advertising consultancy. “The motion on top of the backlit vibrant colors is especially impactful.”

    EyeCatchers have become popular in airports, restaurants, retail stores, sports arenas, shopping malls and bowling alleys, among other locations that have lots of foot traffic. EyeCatchers are catching on because it saves retailers, who covet sales generated per square foot, precious space.

    “When you put a sign in a retail environment that has 10 or 20 images versus a static sign with one image, you get more bang for your buck,” says Fletcher. “You can’t really duplicate the cost factor with 10 static signs versus one motion sign when you take into account the space savings.”

    Sequential motion
    In Europe, where the motional trend was launched, an Irish company called Rotaview Ltd is trying to launch a countertop revolution with its innovative POP display technology. The Rotaview is a patented multi-image display that combines light, high quality backlit graphics and movement to command consumer attention. Unlike the EyeCatcher, which typically sits on a stand, the design of this display is compact and allows retailers to install it on countertops or other key retail areas.

    “Rotaview provides unprecedented opportunities for media owners to establish new and unique site packages, or indeed for proactive advertisers to own their own advertising medium,” says company spokesperson Trevor Turner. “Effective consumer impact is achieved by getting a customer's attention and influencing a purchase decision when they are in the right place to act immediately on impulse.”

    Meanwhile, Liti Holographics in Newport News, Va. is working with affordable, life-like holograms that can’t help but get the customers’ attention. Liti’s system captures, processes, prints and replicates full color, high-resolution three-dimensional images that project off the surface of the film, with up to five seconds of animation and a 120-degree view zone. A sporting goods store might show a Nike cross-trainer hovering in the air, for example, and offer a front and side angle in multiple colors.

    Digital dynamic signage
    Digital dynamic signage has been trying to make in-roads with retailers for the past couple of years and experts say the little steps are starting to add up as consumers respond to these innovative POP advertising mechanisms.

    “The power in digital dynamic signage is the ability to change the look and feel of what’s on the screen so that it doesn’t become part of the background noise and continues to be fresh and interesting and attract attention,” says Ogle.

    Video rental stores are using this merchandising strategy by providing informational kiosks where short trailers of recent or promotional movies can be viewed, according to Ogle. The interested viewer swipes a bar code and the movie trailer begins playing. This informational kiosk can also be used to assist in locating other movies based on a variety of search categories such as director, actor, etc.

    Home improvement stores have several channels of information available for the customer to select based on their informational needs, Ogle explains. For example, in the tile section of the store, the customer can walk up to the informational kiosk and view a video of how to grout tile or any number of other topics. Then, at the end of the video an advertisement is shown for a particular brand of grout.

    “This is an ideal opportunity to provide instructions on how to install or build an item and then follow-up with an advertisement from the manufacturer of a particular product,” she says.

    Motion goes mainstream
    When will motion go mainstream? Experts say we are approaching that reality. National digital signage networks are in the works that will help attract larger advertising budgets to spend dollars on POP displays as a compliment to television and radio campaigns.

    Forward-thinking sign shops are showing interest and educating themselves on how motional signage can fit into their product portfolio. The next step is educating the market on the benefits of this medium. Once the consumer demand increases, experts say sign shops will either jump on the bandwagon or get left behind.

    “Consumer demand will be a key factor in having traditional sign companies providing motional sign products,” says Ogle.

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