The battle against COVID-19 is far from over, and as businesses struggle to reopen and return to the bustle before the pandemic, it’s important to use all available resources to do it. Digital signage can be a valuable tool in this situation as it can provide the most current and relevant information to the consumer. It can also direct their behavior and the customer journey more easily, which can be a challenge when such an unexpected factor throws a wrench in the works.
1. Inform about store policies
Although most of us are by now aware of standard behavior guidelines in stores near us, it is still important to mention them to new visitors. Some consumers might not be aware that wearing a mask inside a store is a requirement—depending on the state or country laws—but there are those who choose not to do it or, based on lack of information which says otherwise, assume the store doesn’t require it. This matter can be particularly tricky if you don’t enforce this rule enough. Certain people won’t feel obligated to wear a mask if they see others in the store not wearing them either.
A display at the store entrance will catch the attention of every visitor. Apart from being an easy tool to manage and update, customers will take a display more seriously than a sheet of paper. Displays could also be placed at key points in your store to remind customers of social distancing. This is a topic which intertwines with keeping track of the number of visitors inside the store, which we’ll tackle next.
2. Track the customer count inside
Social distancing is best achieved when there is a limit on how many people can be in a confined space at a time. This sounds like something that massively slows down traffic and kills sales. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head a few months back, stores, especially supermarkets, had no option but to have an employee keep track of traffic and let people in one by one. It doesn’t come as a surprise since, before COVID-19, most stores didn’t really need to count customers so they had no automated methods to do it.
As the months passed, new solutions emerged. One such solution comes from the startup Density. They offer a solution ideal for people-counting. It can track how many people enter or leave an area. When connected to a screen, this solution can display how full the area is and provide an estimate on the waiting period. Integrating this feature into your digital signage content can also shorten the perceived wait time and allow the consumer to plan their visit better.
3. Manage store occupancy
Keeping track of store occupancy through automation has many benefits. First, it doesn’t require an employee to keep track of it manually. And second, it can be an excellent foundation for other solutions.
Certain solutions can be integrated with automatic doors which only open once it's safe to enter. BrightSign, a global market leader in digital signage media players, launched its BlueFox Count app for a similar purpose. A sensor detects mobile phones and counts them as one person. CEO of BrightSign, Jeff Hastings said that "depending on the total count detected, the BrightSign player is triggered to display various messages on the screen at an entrance such as 'Please wait, the store is at its maximum capacity now' or 'Please come in, we are only at 38% of maximum occupancy.’”
Based on the data collected on occupancy, you can inform consumers about peak hours. This allows them to plan their visits more efficiently. If you have the option, sharing this data online would be of particular use for your customers.
4. Make self-service a safe option
Touchscreens are a critical component of self-service in this day and age. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic made us all think twice before going anywhere near a public touchscreen. While that may be the case, touchscreens can be of significant use even now. For every touch, you can wash your hands, which is recommended anyway. Providing the option of self-service helps with social distancing and it gets people in and out of stores faster.
People will be more open to using your touchscreens if you keep them safe. This means cleaning them regularly, and ensuring hand-sanitizer is accessible by every user.
The best way digital signage can help any business reopen is by making every visitor feel safe. Apart from informing on store policies, rate of occupancy, or providing self service, your digital signage can also use quality Public Safety Announcements. Fortunately, there are many options when it comes to COVID-19 PSAs, some specifically designed for use with digital signage.
While they might not be the most important part of your content rotation, PSAs are an excellent way to diversify your content and make it more comfortable and comforting for the consumer.