October 24, 2015
Derry Fitzsimmons

Small Business Signage ›   Smart Signage Methods ›  

Digital Signage in Small Business

Many small business owners are already using digital signage but they likely don't know that the category exists. This leads to a variety of uneducated attempts, to varying degrees of effectiveness.

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Most Common Digital Signage Methods

The desire to express oneself through an in-store TV display is strong and the advantages in doing so are equally powerful. Not knowing any better, most people will get their start with digital signage by way of a USB thumb-drive, rotating images of their products or promotions. They may also use a DVD player or Microsoft Powerpoint. A small percentage will actually discover the world of pro solutions for digital signage, with all the advantages and potential pitfalls that it holds. 


Example "Quick Start" content for Small Business from SmartSign2go

USB Thumb-drive

This method is easy and is a built-in capability with most modern TVs. Unfortunately, while it's relatively easy to put in place, it's a bit of a hassle to keep it updated and offers very little beyond simple photo rotation or video playback, unlike most professional solutions. Creating new images for signage that look good and that say what you need to say can be time-consuming and also you have USB Thumb-drive for Digital Signageto physically update the drive. Go to the TV, pull out the drive, take it to your computer where you've created images in Photoshop, load them in and then plug it back into the TV. If you have multiple displays in multiple store locations, this process becomes extra time-consuming, not to mention that you'll need to know how to effectively use Photoshop if you're doing more than loading photos from your camera. 

DVD Player

Another very popular method is the good ol' DVD player. If you're involved with a major brand, chances are that they have media available on a disc that you can set on repeat. This can look GREAT if it's done well. Issues are soon discovered down this road as well however. The video gets stale after a fairly short time period. Also it's a major challenge to remember to start the DVD player every day and to set the repeat function correctly. This method also offers nothing beyond video playback. No web features, no social media integration, no scheduling of playback and no easy way to update it. Plus, where do you put the DVD player?



Microsoft Powerpoint

Given these challenges, many people will opt for something a little more sophisticated such as Microsoft Powerpoint. Powerpoint is great because most of us know how to use it already and may have it already installed on an old computer from college. For basic informational signage on a single display this can be an "okay" method. Unfortunately MS Powerpoint was created as a Microsoft Powerpoint for digital signageboardroom presentation software for PC displays. The formatting typically looks poor when used on a normal TV display, with images often being squeezed and graphics being pretty boring. It's also a hassle to update, since you have to be on-site. Plus when you're done, all you've got is a rotation of information and photos. No engaging people with your latest social media posts, no video, no scheduling of playback, etc.


Standalone Digital Signage Software

A small percentage of small business owners will discover the advantages (or disadvantages) of pro signage solutions on the market. The entry-point into this world is software designed for digital signage that runs on your PC, connected to your TV. Options such as Xibo, Repeat Software or Media Sign Pro. The advantage to these methods is that they are built for signage, so the output looks great, if your design work is good. Unfortunately, these software suites are usually still complicated to use and don't offer you the power and simplicity of a cloud-based solution designed for small business, such as SmartSign2go

Enterprise Digital Signage

Most small business owners who fall into this category did some serious investigating for a signage platform that could do more. Most all of the digital signage solutions that a person finds through a Google search have been created for large enterprise companies. While the claim is that these platforms are easy to use, the assumption is that your company has a person on-staff who is technically-inclined. Popular systems in this category are by the likes of SCALA, Omnivex, Broadsign, etc. Yes, they are powerful systems but for that comes a LARGE expense both in terms of money (initial and monthly) and in the time you will need to invest in learning the system and keeping your signage up to date. 

Small Business Digital Signage

For a system that truly DELIVERS all that digital signage has to offer for the small business operator, then what would be ideal is a system that was created from the ground up for the needs of SMALL business. A very small handful of companies exist for this purpose. SmartSign2go is one of those companies. It offers a solution that is turn-key (even the design work), simple to operate, easy on your pocketbook and full of features. To learn more, check out the website.

Example "Quick Start" content for Small Business from SmartSign2go

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