Blog | Digital Signage Content Management

By STRATACACHE Team

Mar 25, 2022

Digital Signage content management systems deploy content to displays, managing scheduling and programming rules across a network of hardware devices. Innovative businesses program CMS to personalize content. Find out how they do it.

Your choice in Content Management System (CMS) defines the potential ROI digital signage can achieve. A CMS can and should enable you to manage thousands of displays, delivering consistent but personalized content. It needs to execute your brand promise in a way that speaks to the customer on their terms.

The stakes are high for enterprises. Brands that can localize to the context of their customers increase customer-centricity, increasing their perceived value and the attractiveness of their offerings. According to a November 2021 McKinsey Report, 71% of consumers now expect companies to deliver personalized interactions, and 76% get frustrated when companies do not personalize communications. Faster-growing companies drive 40% more revenue from personalization than their slow-growing competitors (McKinsey, “The value of getting personalization right—or wrong—is multiplying.”).

Personalization has dramatic implications on the prospects for your business, and the digital signage CMS is the cornerstone of your in-store personalization efforts. The CMS defines your ability to manage the network at scale: whether you will be able to handle over 1,000 locations. It also defines the relevance of your messaging and your ability to connect with customers.

What Features Do You Need in a Digital Signage CMS?

Web and mobile applications have set the standard for interactions with big brands. Without question, consumers see incredible value in having accounts with their favorite companies. Purchase history, as well as personalized recommendations and offers strengthen the bond with businesses by increasing the convenience of subsequent transactions.

Digital signage Content Management helps to achieve that brand promise on store premises. In some industries, competition already centers on the in-store digital experience. Industries like quick service restaurants, luxury retail and banking define winners and losers by their ability to deliver on digital expectations, in-store. Similar trends are starting to emerge for grocers, convenience stores and large venues, as well. Increasingly, big brands in these industries need scalable digital signage cms to help them personalize interactions at scale.

How do you ensure your digital signage CMS will have the capability to scale. We’ll discuss a few of the most important features to identify in your needs assessment as a big brand.

As digital signage deployments increase from 100 to 1,000+, and as they move from basic deployments to more advanced features and use cases, they start to encounter a wide variety of needs and bottlenecks. These issues are rarely seen in Proof of Concept Deployments but then become painful later down the line. By taking some extra time on elements like the Content Strategy and Needs Assessment, large brands can accelerate their digital signage projects (and increase digital signage ROI).

Here are some of the most common problems.

Bandwidth

Internet connectivity is not a problem at all locations, but it can become a bottleneck in some stores or regions. It also tends to become more noticeable as businesses deploy high-definition video and image content with greater frequency.

There are a few workarounds to this issue and one elegant solution.

The simplest solution is to set the content strategy at the limit of the lowest common denominator. Take the lowest bandwidth locations as the bottleneck for the entire network. This approach can limit the content strategy, and we would not recommend it for businesse that compete on customer experience.

A second workaround is the ability to manage location groups and assign specific rules to each group. This would allow you to create a unique strategy for locations with low bandwidth — one that requires less bandwidth to function. It triages the bandwidth limitation; however, the downside is increased complexity. You might send low-definition files to one group and high-definition to another, for instance. But content creators must either consider how their images will appear in different resolutions, or they will exert preference to one group, and the other can suffer.

The elegant solution is to use a digital signage CMS that supports the hardware. Media players have Gigabytes of storage space, as well as CPU and GPU resources. A “Smart” CMS will capitalize these resources with Asset Management and Device Management / Reporting.

Be sure to ask about:

  • File storage and processing infrastructure: Does it happen in the cloud, at locations or both?
  • Structured data: Is there a system to use structured data to integrate lightweight real-time data from the cloud with large media files located on the Edge?

Schedule Management

Schedule management should be standard for any digital signage CMS. A CMS does not need a schedule when it manages a website; in this case the user dictates the “schedule” with event triggers, such as clicking the mouse on a product. Many digital signage systems do not use touchscreens, however, so the schedule must be set and managed by the CMS, itself.

Be sure to ask about:

  • Basic dayparting and playlist features
  • Walkthrough of editing and managing dayparts -
  • How the CMS integrates / customizes scheduling from a global to a local level

Dynamic, Rules-based Playlists are a prerequisite for Personalization

Personalization brings together “lightweight” data from various sources to deploy relevant content to the right audience at the right time. This can be hard-coded in a Proof of Concept, but to deliver true personalization at scale requires an easily navigable system for writing, managing, and executing, and maintaining rules.

Be sure to ask about:

  • Walkthrough the process of writing, maintaining and deploying rules
  • Integrating lightweight data, like pricing and purchase history with content deployment
  • Authorization and security: Can location managers and content creators influence content without risking brand integrity?

Point of Sale Integration

Personalization is most frequently based on the sale and purchase history of the customer, as well as business data. Think Amazon’s suggestive sell: “Customers who bought what you are looking for also purchased these other items…” To deliver a similar experience in-store requires the CMS to speak with Point of Sale systems. Except not all CMS work with all PoS. E

For digital signage, this requires the CMS to speak with Point of Sale to deliver

Be sure to ask about:

  • Point of Sale Integrations: Is the CMS PoS agnostic?
  • Can PoS data process on the Edge? If not, how long does it take from PoS data to travel back to the cloud for processing, then deploy content back to the customer?

Your Content Strategy, Executed across all Digital Signage

With a content management system designed to scale, your organization will have all the capabilities it needs to execute your content strategy. All of the nuts and bolts really just boil down to the ability to communicate the brand in a way that is personally relevant to customers.

Exactly what those interactions look like depends on your industry and use cases for your digital signage. Similarly the ROI digital signage will achieve depends on your content strategy — the specific goals you are trying to achieve with each audience segment.

But the journey does not end with initial deployment. As a basic capability, your digital signage CMS will enable your organization to add or subtract locations, localize and personalize content, and keep your screens functioning 24/7/365.

A scalable digital signage system reduces your response time from weeks or months, to a matter of days. If you are using a digital menu board, you can change prices instantly. You can publish new offers and promotions, corporate social responsibility achievements, and more, all within seconds.

You have total control of how your brand interfaces with customers. This capability cannot be emphasized enough. In fact, the ability to respond to global changes helped quick service restaurants maintain their revenues during the global pandemic, gaining market share and growing in one of the industries hardest hit by changing health concerns.

Read more how Quick Service Restaurants Use Digital Signage in our White Paper: The Evolution of the QSR >

Learn More About the Digital Signage CMS Powering STRATACACHE Customers

STRATACACHE deploys a proprietary digital signage CMS to support 8 of the Top 10 Quick Service Restaurants and 7 of the Top 10 US retailers. We develop our digital signage platform to support personalization at scale.

Here are some of the high-level features of STRATACACHE digital signage CMS:

  • End to end system monitoring
  • Asset Management
  • Device Management / Reporting
  • Schedule Management
  • Dynamic, Rules-based Playlists
  • Point of Sale Integration

Not just CMS, dedicated support and services

STRATACACHE is not only a software vendor. We are an end-to-end technology partner. We regularly support our customers with active development and customization, creative, UX/UI, data science, installation, consultation and planning, distribution, and more. We offer more than a digital signage CMS; we offer everything your brand will need to excel with your signage investment.

For enterprises, we highly recommend managed services in addition to a CMS. The specialized skills involved with digital signage are difficult to find, but we have cultivated a deep talent pool, located in 28 offices across the globe. We highly recommend that you leave the technology to us, so you can retain laser focus on your brand.

We are the most capable and experienced partner to do that for you.

More questions about digital signage? Let us know!