Small business accounts for more than 99 percent of the U.S. economy, yet about 50 percent of small businesses go under by the fifth year of existence. Ironically, it’s neither the economy nor the industrial sector they operate in that plays a role in their demise.
It’s likely that most small businesses fail due to things like poor planning, ineffective management or overexpansion when they’re not ready. But for businesses that are doing everything “right,” it’s often access to resources (or lack thereof) that makes it hard for small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to compete with large corporations and chain stores.
Digital signage can help level the playing field for SMBs. Here’s how:
1. Reduce perceived wait times and help promote business
Nobody likes waiting. This is especially true of today’s busy professionals with little free time to waste. So it comes as no surprise that inordinately long wait times can be SMB killers that seriously affect a customer’s perception of service quality.
One recent study pointed out that as a line grows longer, the chance that another customer will wait in the same line is reduced by 30 percent. Strategically placed digital signage, paired with high-quality content, can help reduce perceived wait times, especially when the content provides useful information like specials, menu options, local weather conditions or entertainment.
2. SMBs are agile enough to allow for quick deployment
The sheer size of most SMBs can be a boon that pays dividends, because current digital signage technology can be deployed quickly and effectively. There’s no waiting around for endless meetings and debate over what, when and where to deploy digital signage. And SMBs are small enough that they are able to change content on a whim as it suits strategic business needs.
3. It's affordable
This is a major benefit for mom-and-pop shops on limited budgets. Digital doesn’t have to be expensive to be effective for a small-business owner.
In fact, some of the smaller, basic systems can be had relatively cheaply, depending on the hardware, software and content specifications. Samsung, for example, is one of the manufacturers marketing all-in-one digital signage solutions for well under the $1,000 mark.
4. The time is right
Small-business owners know that timing is everything. Consider that about 65 percent of quick-serve-restaurant customer traffic happens in the morning, at lunchtime and in the afternoon. Snack time is about a third of traffic, while dinner is even less.
Digital signage provides the ability to deliver targeted messaging and content based on time and day of the week in order to reflect customer habits or promote specials such as “two-fers.”
Related: How Adaptive Digital Menu Boards Help Restaurants Serve Customers
Because many SMB owners are actually on site managing their businesses, they can take advantage of intelligence like this in order to capitalize on the behaviors of their customers.
5. Maximize space
Space costs money, especially in highly competitive U.S. markets like New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago. Digital signage helps make the most of your limited physical space, so SMBs don’t have to sacrifice valuable floor space needed for merchandise. Well-placed installations enable optimal opportunity to communicate with and engage customers while they’re on site and already in “shop mode.”
6. Leverage online presence
Digital signage can also help leverage online and social media content in order to generate in-store buzz, drive new social media “likes” and “followers” and ultimately increase sales.
Today, social media is used by more than 1 million SMBs in North America, and eight out of 10 SMBs use social media for their business in order to drive growth. Digital signage is a natural fit to leverage and build a greater online presence when SMB owners are willing to invest the time and energy to stay involved with their online customer base.
Digital signage can help small businesses be that place a customer longs to revisit. It is a useful tool for attracting new customers and keeping regulars engaged, entertained and coming back for repeat business.