Convenience stores are now more-than-nipping at the heels of blockbuster quick service restaurants (QSRs) for grab-and-go and snack meal options. Consumers started to eat more snack foods during the pandemic, and convenience stores find increased attention to their grab-and-go and pre-made sections.
Despite initial victories, if convenience stores want greater share of wallet, they’ll need to adopt a few tricks from the QSR playbook. QSRs have already embraced digital strategies that allow them to build loyalty, strategies that rely on digital menu boards as the cornerstone of their interactions.
To hang with QSRs, long-term, convenience stores will need to take a page from the quick-snack playbook: digital menu boards.
7 Digital Menu Board Challenges, Solved
Digital menu boards became the standard rule of engagement for QSRs over the last ten years, but they became core to strategy in the last two years, driving adaptable, personalized, streamlined, high-level service to customers — both inside and outside the store.
Digital menu boards are one key area where convenience stores could gain a leg up on their competition: by offering stellar customer experiences that provide a reason to walk in.
How can convenience stores adopt digital menu boards quickly and run with them? Here’s your guide.
Challenge 1: Where Should I Place Digital Signs?
The first challenge is to re-envision a digital convenience store. Where will signage deliver the largest impact on sales?
For convenience stores, there are really three key areas you want to focus on:
Made-to-order station: The value of digital signage is clearest at this station. Quick service restaurants use digital signage to add convenience and speed to customer orders. Convenience stores can certainly do the same in this area.
Pre-made or ready-to-go food station: Pre-made is another area of significant value, with additional opportunities to monetize ad space for the brands you sell (see below for more on monetization). As always, digital signage allows you to give extra emphasis to higher-margin items, providing lift in sales and profitability.
Beverages station: As with the pre-made station, beverages provides another opportunity to deliver more compelling, attractive content that can create more awareness and help customers find what they want, quickly.
Challenge 2: What Is a Digital Menu Board System, by Components?
Digital signage systems are not complicated. Let’s focus on just a single store-level.
Digital Menu Board Screens: These are the screens that display content to your customers. They can also be touch displays, like you might see in self-service kiosks, or simple screens. Keep in mind that these components are specially designed, ruggedized for 24/7 use. They are available in the widest range of custom sizes, as well.
Digital Menu Board Player: Many people miss the media player because our computers contain software media players only. When you open Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime, or VLC, for example, you are using a media player that is hosted on your computer. Any system will require digital menu board hardware and software to play content on screens. These two elements are often sold together, but if you buy them separately, make sure they will work seamlessly and reliably with your digital signage platform.
Sensors: Many digital menu board solutions do not use sensors, but for a store owner, sensors can be a real game-changer. When your customers navigate to an eCommerce site, their progress is tracked assiduously from page to page, click to click. Store owners are dying to understand in a rigorous way how customers interact with their stores. Sensors deliver that information with anonymized data. Sensors deliver vital insights into how customers engage with the store. Dwell-time, what areas they frequent, and where they look are key data points, especially when you can control what content displays on your digital signage. With sensors, retailers can make decisions about content and then analyze the results quickly and easily. This process helps to optimize the in-store experience and improve sales and profitability over time.
Digital Menu Board Software: Now that we’ve discussed the big components of the system, let’s talk about how you can generate and manage your content. Digital signage software helps you manage, schedule, and monitor the text, images and video on your screens. Software can deliver incredibly sophisticated tools to help deliver consistency at scale, and customization at the location level. As with all of these core components, commercial-grade solutions ensure reliability and minimal downtime.
Rich media content: Then there is the content itself — imagery, video, and text. Start by clearly defining your content strategy, and consider partnering with a provider who has expertise with digital signage, specifically.
Challenge 3: Digital Menu Board Service: Managing multiple communication points
The previous two sections focused on the store level; now let’s think bigger. A digital menu board solution, at scale, delivers a dizzying amount of content across, sometimes, thousands of locations. Who decides what gets screen time? Who decides how the content should look?
This is where digital signage software becomes useful and important. A digital signage content management system will be customized to your organization’s needs and goals. You want to ensure that brand standards are upheld at each location, and you want to ensure that the most current promotions and menu items are displayed.
What happens when a location runs out of hoagies? Do we want to continue showing ads for a meatball sub? No. We want to deliver relevant content. Location owners and operators also need permissions, so they can keep the displays alive with timely information. Software will help organizations set effective rules in place.
An experienced technology partner will be able to walk you through these decisions to achieve your goals.
Challenge 4-7: Advanced topics
There is a lot of information in just these first three challenges, but don’t stop there. Digital menu boards allow you to convey more information, engage customers, and optimize the information you display to build loyalty and sales. To tap into these benefits, convenience stores need a few more points of expertise:
Challenge 4: Create a Content Strategy
Challenge 5: Tap into Loyalty
Challenge 6: Monetize your Investment with an ad network
Challenge 7: Build, Scale, Support
STRATACACHE has helped solve these challenges for 8 of the 10 top QSRs.
If you would like to know how you can get the most out of your digital signage, download our white paper today!