Since 2003, AVMI has been working with Three to
design, install and support its digital signage estate
comprising over 10,000 displays in 340 retail stores.
The majority of stores feature window and in-store
displays showing digital advertising and it is the job
of the retail marketing team to ensure this content
is kept fresh and locally relevant in order to entice
shoppers and to drive footfall in the stores.
But with up to 100 unique media files playing at any
given point, the team quickly lost oversight and the
existing portal became too cluttered and difficult to
navigate, especially for new users.
As a result, tailoring content to specific stores became
an extremely time-consuming and long-winded
process, typically taking up to three hours to schedule
"We decided the process wasn’t working and that
our content needed to work harder for us" said
Laura Cripps, Retail Marketing Executive at Three,
"because having so much niche content for all the
different segments and store types was something
we wanted to push more going forward”.
Working with AVMI's digital media team, Three
sought to find a solution to the problem.
After carefully considering the requirements of the retail marketing team and exploring a range of available content management systems (CMS) and digital signage solutions, we opted to design and develop a bespoke portal that would be capable of staging large volumes of content across such a huge network of displays and locations.
The digital displays play a key role in driving footfall in the stores and are supported by ‘Instagram’ style photo montages (pictured above) to create an inviting, energetic lifestyle feel, whilst the layout encourages interaction with staff.
The stores are grouped into categories – based on their footfall, location and customer profile – with content being tailored to appeal to the preferences of every store and customer type, at both a local and national level.
One of the most important features of the new portal is its simplicity and the fact that AVMI takes care of all backend aspects that are required to send the content to the actual displays.
From testing the media to ensuring it will display accurately and optimally, uploading the content to the CMS and programming it to schedule correctly, to pushing the content live and reporting back. Once scheduled, the content is pushed out remotely to over 1,000 large format displays which are driven by digital media players as well as 9,000 MicroSigns.
Content can either be scheduled in advance or on an ad-hoc basis, which allows the marketing team to be flexible and reactive to changing market conditions and breaking news or events.
Content can also be scheduled to only play at an individual store or around particular times so, for example, a store situated closely by a school or university may prioritise pay-as-you-go promotions during lunch breaks and after-school-hours, which are more likely to appeal to students.
All files are date and time-stamped which enable ‘countdown’ messaging to promote offers that are ending this weekend, tomorrow or today. The countdown promotions have proven to be extremely effective at shifting unwanted stock and push specific price plans and we are currently exploring the possibility to add a live countdown timer to create an extra sense of urgency and help generate interest for particular offers.
To alert the marketing team to any soon-to-expire content, the files and playlists are colour-coded using a simple traffic light system. And when the countdown runs out, the content automatically disables itself and stops playing in store.
The portal also includes a number of features that were previously not available, such as the ability to filter content based on specific file tags. Before, the marketing team relied on bulky spreadsheets and strict naming conventions to keep oversight. A preview function now also makes it possible to quickly view content that is already scheduled.
The new portal is the result of a highly iterative and collaborative process and the marketing team has been handed a highly functional and practical solution, helping to save time and free up resources.
“The new portal has been a massive help. Now a full campaign update takes 20 minutes, down from 3 hours”, says Laura Cripps, thereby allowing the team to focus on more producing high-quality, targeted content which will help to drive greater footfall. With our help, the marketing team is also able to react more quickly to changing market conditions, being able to put a campaign together in less than 24 hours; from briefing and storyboarding to production, testing and distribution to all stores.
Our team is always on hand to provide ongoing support and maintenance of the digital estate so should an issue ever arise with one of the screens in-store, AVMI will either remotely resolve or send an engineer to site, where required, to ensure minimal downtime and disruption.