Friday, April 10, 2009

Digital Signage that's Not Digital...or all that Expensive!

For years we've all be hearing about, reading about, and seeing digital signage popping up in retailers...and, quite honestly, making many of us in the college store space a bit envious.

All too often, our mainstream retail competitiors are willing and able to put the hot new thing in display and signage into use. Things that we usually cannot give the space and/or dollars for.

But now there is a digital signage-like display system that might be of interest. I first say this at a P-O-P show last year. And ran across it again the other day "spotlighted" on the VMSD magazine site.

The MCS Low Voltage Lighting Display Panel system (from Carl Stahl DecorCable) uses illuminated, 8x10 sized frames to hold simple graphic slides (think overhead film printed with color graphics) to create vibrant images. This system is easy to install and looks nice with 3-4 panels in a vertical line.

From my discussions with the vendor, an entry-level set-up is less than $300 and is easy to install. The graphic films can be produced in-house by using printable overhead film and color printer with your own graphics.

So if it's not true digital signage (with motion, sound, etc.), how would you use it? Well, TRU research tells us that our customers rarely know the brands or wide variety of merchandise that we carry in store. So what about using each panel to display the logo of a name brand you carry in apparel? Or you could mount it in a window to add vibrant images to add to window displays. Since the cables/panels can be clicked into/out of the mounting like track lighting, you could just take it down when you don't want it to be part of a display.

Bottom line--this is an easy, inexpensive way to bring a bit of tech and splash into your store. The best way to use it is up to you. I'm just here to spark the idea!

Check out the VMSD highlight online. The vendor site is a "build what you need" site. So if you're really interested, I'd suggest just giving them a call!

Tony Ellis, CAE

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