I n a world where people’s attention is being pulled, left, right, and centre – when your brand, product, or service is directly in front of their eyes, what can you do to ensure it makes a lasting impression?

From smartphones to billboards, the screen is everywhere and there’s no denying its power to capture an audience’s attention. In the physical environment, no matter what the size, digital signage provides a platform to engage your customers with rich media – but how can you implement it?

What is rich media?

In its broadest sense, rich media refers to any type of digital advertising containing interactive features specifically designed to encourage user interaction. Those features might include video, audio, or social media content alongside images and text. Rich media facilitates highly complex advertising aimed at generating a powerful response.

The layers of possible features within rich media elevate it beyond simply using words or images, or a combination of both, and create exciting opportunities for people to engage with products or services. Not only that, but when deployed in a physical space, rich media can offer consumers context-specific content when they are already somewhere they’ve chosen to be, such as a train station, retail store, or a quick service restaurant.

Ways to combine rich media with digital signage

There are increasingly creative and innovative ways to combine rich media with digital signage to enhance a physical space, so let’s take a closer look at some common applications.

Information and upselling

In spaces such as retail, digital signage gives you the opportunity to display product information to customers. Replicating the online customer experience, you can give a clear overview of products and features, taking care of commonly asked questions. Adding a level of interactivity, such as a touchscreen, allows customers to find the information they need, so that workers on the shop floor are freed up to focus on making sales.

Talking of sales, digital signage is also an opportunity to upsell by promoting add-on items and related products that the customer may be interested in, again borrowing from the online retail experience. With rich media, you could even use sensors to trigger the onscreen content when a customer enters a particular area of the store.

Window displays

If getting customers through the door is a challenge in itself, rich media presented via digital signage can be used to create a memorable moment for window shoppers and draw them into your store. The versatility of digital signage means your window display can reveal the latest offers or show engaging content to capture the attention of passers-by and increase footfall. A digital sign is much more dynamic than a printed one, so there’s greater opportunity to hold a customer’s visual interest for longer in order to encourage them to physically walk through the door.

Brand storytelling

Digital signage gives you more space to tell your brand story. Combine that with rich media, and you have a great opportunity to differentiate your offering in a competitive market. And if you’re restricted by space, digital signage and rich media give you an unlimited canvas to get your story across to customers. Rich media enables customers to experience your brand in a more multisensory way, so it’s more likely to result in a memorable brand moment.

Digital marketing

As the boundaries between online and physical retail continue to merge, rich media and digital signage give you the ideal opportunity to bring your best online content in-store. You can break down the barriers between sales channels, and offer customers a more seamless experience between digital and physical touchpoints – whether that’s social proof in the form of online reviews or exciting video content from your website. Touchscreens could also enable you to gather real-time feedback on customer experience in the same way as online rating systems.

Advantages of rich media in the physical space

With so many things vying for people’s attention, it follows that marketing within the physical space needs to become more dynamic, engaging, and interactive in order to capture and hold the attention of customers. Rich media offers the versatility needed to do that, allowing multiple media functions at once in order to elevate the customer experience. Using things like video to provide faster, and more engaging content is also a great way to capture ever-decreasing attention spans.

Rich media and digital signage also allow retailers and quick service restaurants to be more dynamic and responsive in order to drive sales. For instance, by providing near-real time information about special offers and promotions, or anticipating consumer needs as the old adage goes ‘when it’s raining sell umbrellas’. With so much meteorological data readily available, why not sell umbrellas the day before it rains? A digital sign fitted with sensors could easily determine the likelihood of rain and adjust the onscreen display accordingly.

The opportunities for this kind of event-driven content are wide-open. Rich media on digital signage triggered by sensors in response to an external stimulus has the potential for unique, eye-catching, and memorable brand experiences in real time. This kind of dynamic and interactive media, involving more than one sense, can be hugely powerful in engaging your target audience.

Of course, increased customer engagement also opens up the possibility to collect more information which can be used to identify actionable insights, and create evermore data-driven campaigns in the physical environment.