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The phrase, “the customer is king,” has evolved into a more holistic phrase, “the customer experience is everything.” Companies are focusing on delivering cross-channel experiences that truly draw in distracted customers. However, in order to improve customer experience, a tool needs to first grab a customer’s attention. Is digital signage the right tool for the job or is it just more clutter?

Short attention span

A report by Microsoft reveals the average human loses focus after eight seconds. Goldfish, with an attention span of nine seconds, now have us beat. This is a four-second drop from 2000 when humans had an average attention span of 12 seconds, according to a Time report. Technology is a driving factor behind this drop.

“Heavy multi-screeners find it difficult to filter out irrelevant stimuli — they’re more easily distracted by multiple streams of media,” the report stated.

Microsoft also found 77 percent of people ages 18-24 reach for their phones when nothing else is currently holding their attention.

That being said, it’s obvious that digital signage really has to stand out to grab a user’s attention and it needs to have good attract screens.

In a recent webinar entitled, “The Do’s and Don’ts of Content Design,” Suzana Spratley, CEO and founder of Techtap, recommended breaking down a display’s video loop into several digestible segments.

In other words, if you have a 30-second video running on your displays, break it into five-second increments so customers on the move will get the message.

4K and brightness are useful depending on the circumstances

One way to potentially draw in customers is to make your display stand out with 4K resolution or by giving it a particularly high brightness. It is key, however, to consider your strategy before making the jump to 4K.

If your display is positioned far away from consumers, they likely won’t notice the difference between 4K and plain old HD. 4K is designed to be viewed up close. In addition, it’s important not to rely on 4K as a crutch for subpar content. As 4K becomes more commonplace, customers will likely stop being impressed by it.

Consider the circumstances

In certain environments, digital signage is almost always going to be a plus. Customers will obviously be looking at menu boards in a restaurant to decide what they want to buy. Restaurants can improve the experience by automatically updating the menus depending on the time of day or an item’s popularity. Also, in a doctor’s office, you have a unique opportunity to present key information to bored or anxious patients.

In retail environments, you will obviously need to present a better value proposition. One high-tech way would be to use customer demographics to deliver targeted messages. An interactive display for example, could advertise sporting goods for men who walk by.

Deliver dynamic content

Delivering fresh content is key to continually drawing customer attention. Many gas stations now have integrated digital signage into their point-of-sale displays. The displays showcase entertainment and information on key services at the gas station. Obviously, the end user will need to update content frequently, otherwise customers will become bored with hearing the same music video multiple times in a row.

Also, consider integrating mobile content elements into your digital signage. You could, for example, offer QR codes on your displays that customers can use to get special discounts. Or you could encourage users to download a loyalty app to get additional deals.

It all comes down to planning

All of these factors need to have a basis in your overall strategy. Who are you trying to reach? What type of content will reach them? How important it interactivity? How will you attract them? What’s the benefit for your customers?

All of these are basic questions, but it’s easy to forget them when you are caught up by the overwhelming number of digital signage tools out there.

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