When it comes to the content that’s used on a digital menu board, many times it’s felt that video and animation are the best use of space and that they will attract the customers’ eyes. It is the best way to interact with them. Well is that really the case?
Sometimes it can actually present a speed bump in the whole ordering process. People want to get in, order their food, and get it quickly. Video and animation can slow that process down. Here’s something that we’ve noticed with some QSR’s. They will have the regular menu board items displayed, then suddenly the whole menu board will change out to a video promotion or advertisement. Once that’s over, the regular menu boards will reappear.
Now put yourself in the customers’ shoes. Here they trying to order their items, and maybe they have kids with them and they’ve got to get them to soccer practice. Perhaps there are other people in line, and now they have to wait for an advertisement to be over with to continue ordering. Really, that can hinder the whole ordering process and certainly is very frustrating.
When designing menu board content, one of the first things you should take into consideration is the customer. What do they really want? They want to be able to order quickly, and you certainly don’t want to do anything with your menu boards that would hinder that process.
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Moving food is not what most of us want. But we are not referring to something you might see on a TV show about extreme diets or survivalist conditions where people have to eat grubs, beetles, or worms. Rather, let’s discuss QSR’s and digital menu boards.
In a QSR, the most important thing is to move food from behind the counter out to the customer. You want to be able to do that in a fast and efficient way. A great tool that we now have are digital menu boards. You see this cropping up all over the place. Many people view digital menu boards as nothing more than glorified televisions. They figure, “Well, it should have video and animation on it because it is a TV”. Is playing videos and commercials the best use of menu board space?
The number one argument that we get is, “Video attracts the eye. It makes people want to look up at the menu boards.” If you’ve ever been in a QSR before you already know where to look when you want to order food. When people walk in, they may look at the seating arrangement or maybe use the restroom, but when they come up to the counter, the first thing their eyes are fixed on is the menu boards. Usually they’re not even making eye contact with whoever is taking the order because they’re busy reading from the screens.
So video and animation to catch the eye of the customer really isn’t necessary. Actually it can be a poor use of the space on the digital menu boards. We will examine this further in our continuing series of How To: Move Food In a QSR With Digital Menu Boards.
This is becoming common place on websites. You’ve seen it. And I know you’ve used it. The link to opt out of an ad.
Have you ever NOT looked for this option when a commercial pops up on your screen?
Clicking it gives you a sense of relief and satisfaction. “You thought you were going to tell me to buy something, but you were wrong!” Then, with a smug look, you navigate to the information you really want.
This conditioned response is more pronounced while watching TV. A commercial comes on, and if you have a DVR, you fast forward. Or you channel surf. I know I’ve seen my share of 5 minute snippets of various Lifetime Original movies while waiting for the game to come back on. Let’s face it. Watching some mushy show about a love lorn frontier woman who is married to a man that treats her bad is better than a commercial. Barely, but still better.
Let’s carry this philosophy over to digital signage. Does it make sense for business owners to put commercials or video content on digital signage in hopes of improving the customers’ shopping experience? Consumers are already trained to ignore and avoid anything that looks remotely like a commercial. While they may see your signage, they won’t look at it for long. In fact, they will quickly “Skip This Ad” and move on.
We believe it is vital to remove the association between TV commercials and your digital sign. We want your message to reach the targeted audience. Wouldn’t it be a shame if your investment in digital signage went to waste because you were encouraging your customers to “Skip This Ad?”
Sadly, some organizations choose to go for the “wow factor” and end up sacrificing what really works. Poor results mixed with the high cost inherent with video usually ends up giving the illusion that digital signs don’t work and the entire concept gets discarded.
Avoid this scenario like the plague. Or in this case, like it’s a commercial!
Use content that works—do it in a way that people would want to look at it —this way you and your digital signs will be a success!
“I’m remodeling the kids’ room. May I get a gallon of lead-based paint, please?”
Before 1978, lead-based paint was deemed to be good practice and a great value. Now, in the US, a company can be fined and possibly face criminal charges for failure to comply with regulations regarding removal and disclosure of lead-based paint.
Why? Because we are now aware of the unintended, yet harmful health effects. Today, how would you react if you overheard someone asking the above question? They must be joking, or have no concern for the well-being of their children.
In like manner, it has become standard in the digital signage industry to promote video as the ultimate medium for reaching customers. Conventional “wisdom” says it’s good practice and gets the best value out of your signage. This is because many choose to ignore the harmful side effects video has upon customers.
For example, imagine yourself in a store. You notice a TV suspended from the ceiling near the checkout area. It’s playing a video. What instantly comes to mind?
“Hey, there is going to be some interesting information I really need to know.”
Nope. Most likely it’s, “Oh no! It’s a commercial.” You make the association between a TV showing video and being sold to. You quickly turn away. That’s what customers do.
At Noventri, we embrace the universal truth that people hate watching commercials and will avoid them at every opportunity. How could we, in good conscience, tout the effectiveness of video in digital signage applications? We cannot. We do not. It is a source of pride to stand up for the truth.
Despite these facts, the geeks and crooks of the digital signage industry continue to push “lead paint” as best practice.
“You must have video to have great signage!”
Or “Using lead makes for superior paints!”
A new coat of paint does brighten a room, makes it feel warm, clean, and inviting. Digital signage has the same effect. Isn’t everyone much better off without the lead and video?
Does it make a difference where your screens are mounted? YES!
The Eiffel Tower, Mount Rushmore, The Egyptian Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China all have something in common. Whether they have an audience of one, or of thousands, they can be seen by everyone. These landmarks wouldn’t be nearly as impressive if they could only be seen by one person at a time.
The best way to make your digital screens viewable by the masses is to move them off the floor! Hanging them by the ceiling or on the wall with proper tilting can go a long way. The cynics will say ‘Yeah, but the higher they are the harder it is for them to read.’ Then get a bigger screen! Make the fonts larger! There is always a way around distance. There is NOT a way around having your message blocked while there is a group of people in front of the screen that is on a floor stand. Even one person standing in front of the screen can be enough to destroy your message if your screen is on the floor.
While floor standing screens have their place, make sure that everyone can see your screens by taking the high road, not the low road.
SIDE NOTE: Although this isn’t an article about touch-screens, one reason why touch screen kiosks are strongly discouraged is because they’re intended for one person to use them at a time. Who wants to wait in line to see the Eiffel Tower one person at a time? I would rather enjoy the Eiffel Tower with my friends and family. The same feelings or principles apply to digital signage. People are at your place of business to do something other than stop and admire the new digital screens. So make your digital signs a part of their day-to-day lives by giving them the information they need that is easily viewable by many.