Digital Signage

Digital Signage: The Ultimate Buying Guide

Digital signage is a sub-segment of electronic signage that involves displaying digital images, videos, text e.t.c using technologies such as LCD, LED, and e-paper.

Due to the evolution of technology, lots of businesses now make use of digital signage to create public awareness about their products or services.

This guide tells you all you need to know about digital signage, the types, and how digital signage works.

After reading this guide, you will be able to choose the best digital signage for your business, and understand how it works.

Digital signage

 Digital signage

Types of Digital Signage to import from China

When it comes to digital signage, there are lots of options available.

They vary in size, type of software used, type of screen used, and so on.

The different types of digital signage offer different benefits and are suitable for different types of business.

Hence it is important you know the types, to choose the appropriate one for your business.

The types of digital signage you can import from China include;

Digital Posters

These are probably the simplest of all digital signage displays currently in use around the world.

They are made up of LCD screens installed flat into the wall, and placed inside a small enclosure that can only contain a media player.

However, for a first time user of digital signage, digital posters are the best due to their ease of installation.

Digital posters can be used in either portrait or landscape scale.

Apart from being simple, digital posters also occupy very little space since they are placed flat against the wall.

You can use smaller versions of this type of digital signage as digital menu boards or point of sale advertisements.

Digital posters

digital poster

Freestanding Digital Advertising Display

This type of digital signage involves using a display enclosure attached to the floor.

Freestanding digital displays can be very obstructive because their installation involves bolting the display stand to the ground.

This also makes them the center of attraction as they are hard to ignore.

You can replace the LCD TVs with touch screens and then convert it to digital signage kiosks.

Free standing digital advertising display

Free-standing digital advertising display

Ceiling Mounted Digital Signage

In this type of digital signage, you mount an LCD screen on the ceiling.

While it is less obstructive than other types, it is also less eye-catching because not a lot of people would look up to the ceiling to notice it.

ceiling-mounted digital signage

ceiling-mounted digital signage

Outdoor Digital Signage

This type of digital signage display involves connecting to a network and keeping the display outside.

This type of display stays outside and as such, is vulnerable to theft and vandalism, hence it requires an LCD enclosure for security purposes .

They are the best type of digital signage for a brand that wants to create awareness to new/potential customers.

Outdoor digital signage has to be placed in a waterproof casing with proper cooling and ventilation.

This type of display is sometimes used as a digital billboard and is recommended for big businesses due to the cost it attracts.

 outdoor digital signage

 outdoor digital signage

Interactive Floor Standing Display

Interactive floor standing displays are tower-like structures that stand-alone, unattached to the wall or floor.

They are usually as tall as 32 inches, but not taller than 55 inches.

As the name implies, these displays allow customers to interact and get involved in the displays.

This type of display makes self-service easy for customers as they can shop on their own with little or no help from staff.

Interactive displays increase the impact your brand has on customers, because of the level of interaction it allows.

interactive floor standing display

interactive floor standing display

Interactive Digital Kiosks

This type of digital signage uses videos, music, and promo displays to attract consumer’s attention.

The biggest challenge of this display type is how to avoid becoming a part of the day-to-day hum of noisy distractions that consumers pay no attention to.

Consumers might find themselves paying more attention to this type of display.

This is due to how entertaining it is, without getting annoyed at the marketing idea behind it.

interactive digital kiosks

Image 7: interactive digital kiosks

 

A-Frame Displays

A-frame digital signage displays are like digital posters, but unattached to the wall or floor.

They serve the same purpose as everyday poster holders, but they are more preferable and serve your business better.

Also, they display pertinent information for your consumers, and create better shopping experience.

This type of digital signage display leaves your business ringing in the customer’s mind long after they have left the site of the display.

You can change the content of your display whenever you deem fit, meaning that you can display several information to your customers by just pressing a button.

The major advantage of this type of digital display is that they are easy to move around, and can fit into whatever space you have in your store.

A-Frame display

A-Frame display

Mobile Displays

These types of displays are similar to the A-Frame displays, except that they are mounted on wheels to enable easy moving around.

They are the easiest type of digital signage to move around with, and are great for trade shows.

As you can move them from one location to the other providing your customers with information.

 mobile displays

 mobile displays

Indoor Digital Signage

This type of digital display, as the name implies, is mostly used indoors by businesses with a lot of information and updates for their customers.

Businesses who use indoor digital signage can update the contents of their screen instantly to make them more appealing to their customers.

Indoor digital signage

Indoor digital signage

Digital Menu Boards

This display type is mostly successful in bars and restaurants.

They can either be used alone or as part of a network of display signage.

Digital menu boards consist of an LCD monitor to display information.

 digital menu board

 digital menu board

Components/ Elements of Digital Signage Display

The different types of digital signage displays all have the same basic components in common.

These components are what make up a digital signage display package.

They are:

  • Digital display
  • Media player
  • Content management system
  • Content
  • User

Digital signage can be complex or very simple, depending on its components.

Further details about these components are provided below:

i. Digital Display

This is the part of the digital signage that is seen by everybody.

Hence it has to be reliable and durable.

The display in digital signage could vary in style and size due to advancements in technology.

The first thing to do is to choose your preferred display.

Some of the available options include:

  • Tablets: Tablets are the smallest available option when it comes to digital displays.

Due to their size, they are good for conserving space and can either be mounted on the wall or propped up on a flat surface using a stand.

If you decide to use a tablet as your display, they usually serve as the media player also.

  • TV screens: these are the most commonly used type of display and they are available in different varieties.

TV screens are usually available either as commercial displays or consumer displays.

Commercial displays are more long-lasting and are suitable for businesses.

While consumer displays are more suitable for home-usage.

Both work well for digital signage.

  • Video walls: these are made up of multiple displays put together like a collage, to form one image.

Each display shows a particular portion of the image which is called a zone.

Not all digital signage can make use of video walls for display.

  • Computer monitors: these are usually available in sizes smaller than TV screens and are suitable for placing against a flat surface due to their in-built stands.

ii. Digital Signage Player/ Media Player

This is the device that feeds content to the digital display system.

The digital/ media player usually connects to the display through an HDMI cord plugged into a socket.

When using an Android TV or a digital signage ready TV, you do not need a media player.

iii. Content

This is perhaps the most interesting part of the digital signage system because it can come in so many different and unique forms.

The content of your display could come as images, video, or interactive content like social media feeds.

Besides, the content could make or mar your display as it is what guarantees the attention of the consumer is drawn to your display.

Having fresh, relatable, and engaging content is what differentiates an interesting digital display from all the daily advertising noise we try to ignore.

Your content could come as slides, graphics, animated graphics, 3D graphics, live feeds, and even database content.

iv. Content Management System (CMS)

This is the part of the digital signage which allows you to manage and configure your display content.

If you decide to use a cloud-based management system, you have access to your dashboard wherever you are.

So long as you have an internet connection.

Some other features available on the content management system include multiple user accounts, automatic updates, and content scheduling.

v. User

The last but not the least component of digital signage is the person behind the screen, the user.

Unfortunately, technology hasn’t gotten to the point where digital signage figures out contents and run itself, so the user is as important as all other components.

The content that is displayed depends on the user’s preference and choices.

Besides, the other components of the digital signage display also depend on the user.

This is, because it is up to you to choose your preferred screen, your preferred content management system, and also your preferred media player.

Though all parts of digital signage are important, the user is most important because he makes the other components work for him.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Digital Signage

When choosing digital signage, there are some factors that you need to put into consideration.

These factors include:

Type of Business and Purpose

Digital display signage can be used by both big and small businesses, but what works for a small business might not work for a large one and vice versa.

You also need to consider why you want digital display signage.

For example, the size of the display screen you would need to disseminate information indoor would not be the same as the one for outdoor display.

Audience

Another important factor you should consider is your audience.

The size of your audience and who your target audience is should factor in your choice of display signage.

Investment and ROI

Digital signage aims at creating awareness and possibly drive sales for your brand.

Therefore, another major factor you should also consider is how much digital signage would cost and what returns you would get on your investment.

How much business you would attract, using digital signage also factors in your choice.

Technology

This is made up of the hardware and software parts.

Hardware for Digital Signage

Majorly, the hardware used for digital signage includes digital signage display and the digital signage player.

There are many thin clients and signage players available in various OS versions like Android, Linux, Windows, Chrome OS (Chrome bit & Chrome box), etc.

There are options for having an embedded player with the displays LG & Samsung signage displays.

Also, there are many options for Android-based signage displays.

Displays can be any LCD, LED, or projection-based displays.

The type of display to be used can be decided by considering the specifications depending on the usage and ambient conditions.

Software for Digital Signage

Signage software primarily means content and signage device management software.

When it comes to choosing software for digital signage, certain factors have to be considered.

Factors like: how much it cost, the ease of use, how well it supports multiple user accounts.

Also, good digital signage software should be able to publish the right kind of content you require.

It should also provide you with the option to schedule your content.

Good digital signage software should be able to disseminate information as that is the main aim of every digital signage display.

The software should have the ability to manage network unmanned.

That is, it should have some automated features like auto restart, auto sleep.

Digital signage software should have inbuilt security and encryption.

The software should also be capable of providing status reports on the whole signage network from time to time.

Network

This is another important factor to consider when choosing digital signage.

The network is the backbone of the whole digital signage solution, and as such you need a really strong network to ensure good connectivity always.

Also, the digital signage software player & display should be capable of displaying — Images, Videos, Playlist, data from 3rd party application, social media, HTML5, web feeds, news site, RSS, JSON, streaming, Live TV along with signage content.

The type of content depends on the business type and the target audience.

So a business should choose software and display media players that are compatible with the content the business is putting out.

Maintenance and Operations

This is another factor to consider when choosing digital signage.

This is because it would be quite tedious using a digital signage display solution that is high maintenance and requires constant monitoring.

Benefits of Digital Signage

The benefits of using digital signage are many and cannot be overemphasized.

Below are some of these benefits which you would enjoy by using digital signage:

  1. Digital signage displays are eye-catchy and attention-grabbing displays that ensure people pay attention
  2. Digital signage displays encourage customer interaction and self-help services.

This means that customers can get all the information they need from the display and would only need an employee’s assistance when necessary.

Also, this reduces the possibility of bad customer service by more than 50%.

  1. For companies with a chain of stores across different cities, digital signage is beneficial.

This is because you can change the displays at different locations at the same time without having to visit the stores physically.

  1. Digital signage displays can also be changed automatically without any manual interaction with the system.

The required changes can be scheduled and the software makes the changes at the appropriate time without you having to lift a finger.

  1. Digital signage also allows potential customers to recall and retain the information they see displayed.
  2. The ability to seemingly reduce wait time is one of the benefits of digital signage.

Most people do not like waiting in line and long queues sometimes detract from the shopping experience.

But they’re less likely to mind the wait if they have attractive display signage showing information for them to go through.

  1. Digital signage software provides analytics that helps you improve your business and sales.

Some of the displays have inbuilt video cameras that record the activities and behaviors of shoppers.

The digital signage analytics software can also provide the user information on shoppers product preference.

  1. Digital signage is also an entertaining way of passing information.

People tend to ignore annoying advertisements and marketing campaigns, but digital signage uses images and sometimes entertaining video content.

  1. If there is a need to spread emergency information in a public place, digital signage is a sure bet for this purpose.
  2. Apart from improving the consumer experience, digital signage is also beneficial in enhancing internal communications.

Digital signage enables companies to pass information to their employees easily and effectively.

  1. Using digital signage for your business improves the general outlook of your store. It makes your store look more modern.
  2. Digital signage reduces the strain on your human resources.
  3. You can make money for your business using digital signage by selling ad space to other non-competing businesses that share the same audience as yours.

Uses of Digital Signage

Digital signage is becoming more and more popular due to its being versatile and multipurpose.

Some of the uses are stated herein:

  1. Perhaps one of the most important uses of digital signage is that it is used to pass information to the general public
  2. Digital signage can be used to advertise products and services.
  3. The display screens can be used as leaderboards for employees, thus motivating them to make more sales and have healthy competition.
  4. They can be used to provide interactive wayfinding tools, for example, maps to enable people to locate their destination in public places like the mall.
  5. Digital signage can be used to keep customers entertained
  6. It can also be used to display reviews about your business
  7. Digital signage can be used to answer frequently asked questions concerning your brand and services.
  8. Instead of always displaying business information, you can use digital signage to display things like the weather forecast, date, and time for your staff and customers.

How Digital Signage Works

Once you get all the hardware for your digital signage in place, the software controls what happens on your display.

The digital signage’s content is powered by a media player or system-on-a-chip which pushes content to a display.

Users can then manage the content with a content management system, either on-site or within the cloud to change up content remotely.

For your digital signage to work, you need all the basic components to be in place.

Price of Digital Signage Display

When it comes to digital signage display, the price differs according to the type you choose.

Since different types of digital signage comprise different hardware and software, the prices also vary.

The cost for digital signage display hardware depends on your budget, the type of display screen you choose, and also the size of the screen you decide to use.

Digital signage display screens could cost as low as a few hundred dollars or as high as a few thousand.

The price depends on the brand, the screen resolution, and screen size.

Remember, the media player for digital signage display also varies in cost depending on how much you are willing to spend to procure it.

Other factors that determine cost include, the OS you want, and what you hope to achieve with your digital signage.

The cost of the software you use for your digital signage also depends on your budget and what you hope to achieve with the software.

Where to Install Digital Signage Display

The location of your digital signage display mostly determines how much of an impact it makes and how effective it will be in achieving your goals for it.

Below are some of the best places to install your digital signage display:

  1. In areas with high traffic: placing your digital display signage in places where people tend to congregate. For example, in a lobby.
  2. Your digital display signage should be installed at eye level because if it is placed above people’s heads or too low, that defeats the whole purpose of having it there in the first place.
  3. Digital signage displays should be installed close to WiFi routers or within close range, to prevent interference.
  4. If you’re using digital signage for your business, you might want to consider installing it behind the checkout counter.

This serves as a source of entertainment for your customer while they wait in line.

  1. Digital signage displays can also be placed within arm’s reach of whatever products you’re advertising.

This provides the customer with information about the product they are about to buy.

  1. The valet booth is also another interesting place to install digital signage displays. Customers could get more information about your social media pages and services as they leave your building.
  2. You could also install digital displays in the conference room of your company.

This way, when no one is presenting your display screen can be showing motivational quotes, graphics, or updates for your employees.

  1. Digital display signage can be displayed in the office break room.
  2. If you have a large manufacturing company, you can install a digital signage display along manufacturing lines to display safety guidelines for your employees as they work.
  3. Another place to install a digital signage display is in the elevator or around the elevator area.

You can display news and trends from around the world for your employees while they wait for the elevator.

digital signage installed in a valet booth

digital signage installed in a valet booth

digital signage displayed in a conference room

digital signage displayed in a conference room

Limitations of Using Digital Display Signage

As with everything else that has benefits, digital signage also has some limitations. These limitations include:

  1. Some people find digital signage too busy and difficult for them to focus on
  2. The initial cost of using digital signage might be more expensive than a lot of people can afford.
  3. If there are technological malfunctions, it could be quite inconveniencing
  4. Digital signage software requires a certain level of expertise to operate. This could be a huge challenge for people with no IT skills.
  5. Due to the large initial cost of installation, calculating your return on investment might prove to be a herculean task.

Best TV Screens for Digital Signage Display

The TV screens below are some of the best screens you can use for your digital signage displays

TCL 6-SERIES LED TV

This comes in various sizes and is one of the best consumer display TV screens there is.

Some of its note-worthy features include; 4K UHD resolution with Dolby Vision HDR which is responsible for excellent detail and picture clarity, distinct colours, and three HDMI 2.O input devices.

TCL 6-SERIES LED TV

TCL 6-SERIES LED TV

Sony Bravia X750F LED

This one has excellent picture quality and android TV technology.

Some of its key features include;

  • Energy-saving mode which helps reduces the amount of energy in use by reducing screen brightness

Narrow aluminum rims which give it a slim and sleek look

 Sony Bravia X750F LED TV

 Sony Bravia X750F LED TV

Samsung DC E-SERIES Commercial LED

As the name implies, it is a commercial display TV unlike the first two which are consumer displays.

This is a very cost effective commercial display screen.

Some of its key features include; it can function for 16 hours per day, 7 days a week.

It has a slim design with narrow sides.

Samsung DC-E SERIES Commercial LED TV

Samsung DC-E SERIES Commercial LED TV

Samsung PM-H SERIES Commercial LED

This one has a 1080 full HD display and is designed to run 24/7.

It has a great contrast ratio which will enable your video to be seen even in daylight.

Some of its most important features include; it has a slim profile and an embedded media player for easy content management.

 Samsung PM-H Series

 Samsung PM-H Series

Toshiba TD-Z SERIES Commercial LED

This TV offers premium quality due to its high HD resolution and ultra-wide viewing angle.

It has a durable professional design, landscape, and portrait mode orientations, coupled with a slim depth and narrow bezels.

Toshiba TD-Z Series

 Toshiba TD-Z Series

Benefits of using Commercial Grade LCD for Digital Signage

1.) The major manufacturers of digital signage build their commercial-grade LCD to be durable and last for longer hours of use.

The screens can be on for 10 to 16 hours depending on the business type.

The commercial-grade LCD screens obviously last longer than their consumer counterparts.

2.) Commercial-grade display screens have clearer picture quality than consumer-grade display screens.

This is because the standard of brightness for the commercial-grade screens during manufacturing cannot be compromised below a specific level.

They have extra modules with backlights which are responsible for the vividness of the pictures even during the day.

3.) Commercial-grade digital signage display screens usually have extra features like custom software that allows business owners to show special promos to their audience.

Some commercial-grade screens have inbuilt technologies that make them sensitive to gestures and movement, which makes for better interaction with viewers.

4.) Commercial-grade digital signage screens are stronger than the normal consumer type screens.

Therefore, you can use them as often as you want and for as long as you desire without them packing up from over working within a short period.

Consumer TV displays are not as strong as the commercial-grade, thus not suitable for business use in digital display signage.

5.) The major benefit of using commercial-grade display screens is that customer support is readily available from the resellers.

So if you have an issue with your display screen, you can get help from the company in fixing the issue.

Available Sizes of Digital Signage in China

Below are some of the available sizes of digital signage in china:

  1. 32-86 inch IP65 waterproof high brightness lcd outdoor advertising media player monitor android 3g/4g
  2. 43 inch android kiosk advertising led display screen
  3. 43, 49, 55,65, 75 86, 98” inch 2000-3000 NITS brightness outdoor lcd advertising touch kiosk
  4. LED P4 512X1024mm digital signage
  5. 37 inch lcd video shelf digital media stretched digital signage

How to Choose LED Screen vs LCD Screen for Digital Signage

Overall, most people prefer LED screens to LCD screens for digital signage, because of their clearer picture quality and reliability.

LED screens offer the following benefits:

  • They have very bright screens
  • The screens are good for outdoor use because they are unaffected by weather elements.
  • LED screens are designed to conserve energy
  • The designs are flexible
  • They are easy to set up
  • The screens do not require projection to use.c

The major disadvantage of these screens is that they mostly weigh a ton and require rigging systems.

LCD screens offer the following benefits:

  • They are more affordable
  • They do not weigh much, which makes them easy to carry about, and rig.
  • They are capable of connecting with different input sources, especially VGA, and HDMI.
  • The brightness of this screen type makes it suitable for indoor applications.

Its limitations include: options are limited when it comes to screen size and they cannot be used for outdoor purposes during the day.

How to Choose Media Player for Digital Signage

Below are some of the things you should consider when choosing a media player for digital signage:

  • How many content formats does the media player support? A good media player should allow you to display your content in whatever format you prefer.
  • The playback quality: A good media player should have very high-quality playback and be able to update content fast.

Compatibility with software: your media player should be able to work with any software, regardless of the operating system.

When you use an open-source media player, it is compatible with any software, hence your whole system is not limited.

Security of the operating system: a good media player should have a very secure operating system, to prevent unauthorized tampering with the content.

Why use 4K Screen Digital Signage

4K screens provide you with clearer picture quality.

The whole aim of digital signage is to draw attention, and using 4K screens makes your content easier to read even from afar.

Possible Storage Devices for Digital Signage

When it comes to where to store your content, there are two options available for you to choose.

They are: the solid-state drive (SSD, which is the newer option) and the hard disk drive (HDD, which is the older option).

A lot of people prefer SSD because it is fast, reliable and portable.

Although the SSD costs more than HDD, the HDD offers more storage space.

The hard disk drive is thus more suitable for content with lots of video which require more storage space.

Best Operating Systems for Digital Signage

The available operating systems for hosting your digital signage software are:

Windows: this operating system is stable, familiar, and very flexible.

iOS: it is a popular and stable operating system, although it is rarely used in digital signage.

Android: this operating System is available for free and easy to use but, its functions are limited.

Chrome: This OS can be gotten at no costs and is easy for even a person who is not IT savvy to use, but it isn’t widely used in digital signage.

Linux: this is the most flexible OS and easy to customize, but with a steep learning curve.

How to Choose Input Devices for Digital Signage System

There are two types of input devices you can use to connect digital screens to their media players. These are:

DVI: DVI cables are bigger than HDMI and are made up of a 24-pin connection point.

They are the older of the two devices and only work with video content.

This means that if your signage display requires audio as well, you will need another input.

HDMI: HDMI cables are smaller with tiny connection points. HDMI is compatible with both video and audio content.

It is the preferred option of the two for most digital signage installations.

How do you Choose Content for your Digital Signage Display

The content of the display is the focal point of any digital signage display and it is what determines how your users interact with your display.

Most times great content equals a higher turnover for your investment.

When choosing what to display with your digital signage, you need to have a content foundation.

The content foundation determines what your digital signage display contains and how it looks on the outside.

This can be achieved by doing the following:

  • Determine your goals i.e what you hope to achieve with the content
  • Develop a strategy: figure out how to put your content together and what apps and widgets would be most suitable for your content type.
  • Make sure to put a dedicated person in charge of digital signage decisions and to provide support.

Your content should contain text elements that provide vital information, content design elements like charts and videos.

It should also have a message compelling enough to get customers to interact with the brand.

Since digital signage involves capturing the visual senses of people, the content has to be visually appealing.

The user has to pay attention to color schemes, elements of design, and be very intentional about creating interesting content.

Also, the user should also conduct thorough checks on the content before putting it out.

Features of Cost-Effective Digital Signage

Cost-effective digital signage should be non-time-wasting, give you quality for your money, and have a great return on investment.

Your content would be managed by you without any need for a third party

The number of applications you would need to operate your content management service would be reduced.

Features of Interactive Digital Signage

Interactive digital signage engages customers by using touchscreens, body sensors, and QR codes through smartphones.

Interactive digital signage is very versatile and can be used for a lot of things like games, polls and to share social media content.

Benefits of Context-Aware Digital Signage

The user can monitor the environment around digital signage, using technologies such as in-built cameras, sensors, beacons, and software programs.

This allows you, the user, to deliver content based on the environmental cues.

Context-aware digital signage also analyses the demographics of passers-by.

Thereby, providing you with extra information needed to tailor your content to suit your consumer demographics.

Top Digital Signage Manufacturers China

Below is a list of top digital signage manufacturers in China:

  1. Shenzhen Zhongkong Computers Co. LTD
  2. Suzhou Premier Signs Co. LTD
  3. Flyon Industrial Co. LTD
  4. Pullyy Technology (SHENZHEN) Co. LTD
  5. Dipu Electronics Co. LTD
  6. Zhejiang Tyloo Display Co. LTD
  7. Kintec Digital Co. LTD
  8. Shenzhen Yacoo Technology Co. LTD
  9. Shenzhen DDW Technology Co. LTD
  10. Shenzhen Rogin Electronics Co. LTD

You can watch this youtube video to see a demonstration from a top manufacturer of digital signage display in China.

How to Ship Digital Signage from China

  1. There are different options available for shipping digital signage from China:
  2. Sea freight shipping: this option allows you ship for a lesser price
  3. Airfreight shipping: this option is for when you need to ship your digital signage urgently.
  4. Railway shipping: this option is not as expensive as air freight shipping, but more expensive than sea freight shipping. If your need is just a little urgent, this is the best option for you.
  5. Door to door shipping: door to door shipping provides you with competitive freight cost, and your goods are delivered safely and timely to your doorsteps.

At BanSar, we help you import digital signage from China to your local country.

Depending on your unique requirements, we offer cost effective shipping solution for all your shipping needs – contact us now.

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