Static menu boards were once the typical form of promotion in restaurants and fast food outlets due to their easy implementation and maintenance, however we are seeing an increasing trend towards using digital menu boards – and for good reason. Digital menu boards allow the freedom of updating the menu items when needed, increased engagement and up-sell rate, reduced perceived wait time, and flexible content management either locally or by head office.
But then the question remains; how do you pull off a successful digital menu board strategy?
Displaying your menu items and having a nice layout aren’t going to successfully influence and engage your customers anymore. Today’s consumers are connected to technology, and they expect the same high level of technology everywhere. Research shows that customers purchasing behaviours can be influenced by digital menu boards so it’s important to make sure you have a comprehensive strategy in place.
Here are 4 strategies to help you optimize your digital menu boards to their full potential.
1. Make the most of digital screen “hot spots”
A “hot spot” is the place on screen where your customers are focusing on when they first look at the menu board, and where their eye revisits most frequently. To find this hot spot, you will need to conduct testing to see where people look most often on your screens. For example, you may want to offer a limited time item and display this item at different areas of your screen over time. If sales increase particularly in one spot, you can fairly deduce that this area is the “hot spot”. It’s important to know where this hot spot is, because this is where you will place your best-selling, highest profit products.
These hot spot areas may differ depending on the location of your screens. For example, are they inside near the counter, near the entrance door, or outside? It’s highly likely that each location will have a different hot spot, as people will be engaging differently with each one. If it’s near the entrance door people will most likely walk past and glance at it, if it’s near the counter then you will see people spending more time reading and engaging with it while they wait in the queue, and if it’s in a drive through area you will find that people may have a little time to look at the menu board, however they also need to make a quick decision so the best-selling popular items must be displayed very obviously in the hot spot. To find the best hot spot for each location, you must test and measure, and think from the customer’s point of view, considering the buyer’s journey.
2. Make sure your menu boards are easy to update
Menu boards are dynamic in nature, and therefore they will have the capability to change and update the content easily. The benefit of digital signage and menu boards is that the network can be updated, configured and monitored regardless of where you are located, either locally in a store or from headquarters. In contrast to static menu boards that sit stagnant for months at a time, digital signage can be updated in a few minutes, allowing for fast pricing and product changes. This allows for fast implementation of new campaigns from head office, or being able to quickly remove products that are not performing.
Using smart software that is linked to POS enables reporting of sales in real-time, linking to a database of images used, pricing information and sales. This will give an immediate insight into any correlation between a marketing campaign or promotion on display and increased sales for certain products, and to track which stores are tracking with their daily sales targets.
3. Brand your boards
Your brand involves more than just your logo – your brand is the sum of all the words, pictures, values, perceptions, stories and expectations that surround your business. Your brand represents what you stand for as a company. Keeping this in mind when designing and branding your menu boards will lead customers to build trust with your brand and their perception of your company, in turn creating consistent sales. Digital menu boards can protect the integrity of your brand - instead of leaving your company branding perception to your front line employees, your digital boards will add to the customers experience. When designing your menu board, one of the most important factors is to make it recognizable to the brand, and make it easy to read. If you get carried away with too much brand related graphics, your customers will get turned off.
4. Measure it
Make sure to avoid spending lots of time setting up your menu boards only to abandon them after implementation. You must keep checking back in and measuring the success of your hard work. Report back on individual products sales as well as overall brand perception and customer satisfaction to see what’s working and what’ not. Another way to measure how effective your screens are, is to display certain limited-time items or a special discount which is only offered on your screens and not on any other promotional material in your store. Every customer that sees the discount will take up the offer, so you can leverage on that desire to save money to see if your digital menu board promotions are effective.
If you have a rotating message on your display, how do you know how much screen time to give each message? This requires testing and measurement to achieve the right time, as too long and people will lose interest and miss out on the next message, and too short means that people won’t have enough time to consume or comprehend the offer and act upon it.
By measuring the performance and trends of your screens over time – even a few weeks – you’ll be able to effectively report on customer engagement and determine if your digital menu board strategy is successful.
Employing these four strategies will help you achieve a successful digital menu board campaign. By ensuring your highest-profit and best-selling products are within the “hot spot” on the board, having dynamic software that is quick and easy to update from multiple locations, branding your menu boards, and measuring your progress, you’ll be able to make educated decisions about your menu boards and promotions to ensure success.