Elevate Customer Experience with Digital Signage CMS

By Scala Team
April 21, 2023

Retail Digital Signage CMS is software that can dictate when and where digital content is displayed…

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How a Retail Digital Signage CMS can Elevate Your Customer Experience

A powerful digital signage content management system (CMS) is the key to successful content deployment across your digital signage network. In the high volume, competitive world of retail, it’s important to display content that promotes relevant products and promotions, store branding and values, and delivers personalized and customized messaging. In order to do this, a reliable CMS is necessary.

CMS is the software component of the digital signage system that dictates when, what and how digital content is displayed on the screen(s). Additionally, your content management system can be a source of content creation and hardware management, answering questions such as if your content is playing on the right player at the right time. When you’ve decided that digital signage or retail tech solutions are right for your stores, having a reliable retail digital signage CMS is essential to creating and deploying content that meets brand guidelines and surpasses customer expectations, all while achieving digital signage ROI. A switch to a digital signage network opens up the opportunity for real-time marketing.

Real-time marketing is about reacting to environmental factors — such as consumer behaviors, store conditions, trends and needs — in the moment, and being able to deploy content that can be updated instantly, or triggered to update. In retail, getting as full a view of the store, and of customers and employees, is crucial to delivering on a positive in-store experience, and therefore a positive impact on brand reputation. Seamless content updates, deployed through a CMS onto digital signage, allows brands to stay ahead of the curve and remain relevant to their customers.

It’s hard to deny that movement incorporated into a well designed promotional campaign is going to capture more attention than a static campaign. In fact, a Scala customer reported a measured 89% increase in attention after switching similar content to digital displays. Your CMS will allow you to run multiple looping campaigns, content and messaging throughout all points in the in-store journey.

Benefits of a Retail Signage CMS


Increasing customer engagement is one of the challenges at the top of mind of retailers this year. In recent years and increasingly, ecommerce platforms are thriving. The idea of not having to leave the house to get groceries, clothes, toiletries and literally anything you could think of was attractive to many. Since then, brick-and-mortar stores have been trying to shift the way they operated pre-pandemic, and it’s been more challenging than expected.

Retail shopper or customer engagement refers to the full scope of ways brands interact with consumers in-store and online. Tracking engagement covers everything from collecting analytics of how much time consumers spent looking at specific products on a mobile app, to what products and displays they are spending the most time with in the store. Measuring engagement is essential to brands as this is the way they build and maintain relationships with their customers. For example, if a brand releases a new skincare product to push out to a specific group of customers, they can create powerful, customized messaging through emails, social media and in their rewards app to gain customers interest. In-store, digital signage and interactive displays can be strategically placed in high-traffic areas — front of store, checkout line, or end cap displays, for instance — or in product-specific locations to gain the most attraction from the consumers who are more likely to purchase the product. This will ensure the product and dynamic content is reaching their target audience, while also reaching new potential customers. The level of customization is contingent upon how many consumer insights are being gathered. It’s commonly known and accepted that ecommerce is collecting every click and dwell time spent on a product. Physical stores can level up with online by gathering similar insights. Your retail digital signage CMS allows you to apply these valuable, 360-degree customer views into hyper-relevant in-store messaging and experiences

Having this information on how brands build and maintain consumer relationships is what will allow them to create more specific and personalized content tailored to their products, market and current customers, while maintaining a modern store environment and offering an enjoyable experience for shoppers.

Content Management

Aside from the obvious stability and trust you can place in your platform, flexibility and scalability are important to consider when looking into retail digital signage CMS platforms. How large your network is and what content capabilities are available will play into deciding whether a CMS will work for your brand, or not. Trusted and reliable tools are needed in order to not only effectively deploy content, but create and manage it as well. Your digital signage CMS needs to handle the scale and complexity of your current in-store digital signage network, but the platform also needs to scale as you optimize and grow your endpoint size and content complexity.

Smaller digital signage networks should look for CMS platforms that allow brands to easily create playlists and schedule content, while offering multi-channel support and a customizable interface. Smaller networks don’t require as many organizational features, and by offering a platform that is user-friendly, flexible and reliable, brands are able to create and deploy unique content, without being overwhelmed by the system itself. A smart, reliable platform allows multiple content contributors to ensure the network is being used to its full potential.

A large network is made up of hundreds or thousands of locations and digital end points, and requires more advanced CMS features for maintenance of their digital signage system. Brands who are a part of a large network need to maintain their standards across all locations, therefore, there is a greater need for assistance in managing and creating the content. To achieve this, the CMS platform needs to be able to handle the capacity of the network, without sacrificing simplicity for users. Typically a network of this size, requires workgroups which are made up of users from different departments who only see the messaging they’re supposed to see. When content is created, it can be sent for approval to ensure brand messaging is consistent. Other important aspects for large networks include player management and scheduled maintenance.

Having a CMS platform that is complex yet simple will create more opportunities for brands, develop a modernized environment while driving sales and increasing customer satisfaction.

Sales and ROI

Budgets are getting tighter and tighter as consumers make their way through the economic challenges they’ve been facing. Brands need to make a change, not only so that they can continue to drive sales and generate new customers, but so that they can offer competitive products at an affordable cost to keep customers coming back. It has been proven that adding digital signage solutions in the store not only offers customers a more personalized and engaging experience, but increases revenue by 30% or more (FTx Global, May 2022). Digital signage offers limitless content, meaning brands can create videos, images and messaging that represents their organization, products and customers in a visually appealing way that attracts attention and intrigues viewers. Using the right technology and insights, these messages can be highly personalized and therefore highly effective.

In addition to being visually appealing, digital signage content is able to prime customers, or prime the purchase. This term is used to describe how content is designed to provide customers with the knowledge they need to navigate the store efficiently. This can include content that displays unique discounts, popular items, new products, and even product reviews from social media influencers or celebrities during relevant times. The content is designed to generate more upsell opportunities and increase the price of the average comp overall.

It is evident that once digital signage is implemented in the store, sales will increase, but will ROIs be realized? The answer is: yes. Digital signage is the most valuable and effective tool to increase engagement, sales, in-store traffic and customer satisfaction—even in the midst of labor shortages and recessions. In fact, digital signage is proven to mitigate challenges brought on by labor shortages by increasing efficiencies. And digital signs clearly communicating price changes or high margin items can influence higher sales directly at the point of decision.

An additional way to increase ROIs is by creating a retail media network. This year has been a big year for retail media networks as they are one of the hottest topics in retail right now. Retail media networks are created by brands allowing for full or portions of their screens, or parts of their looping digital signage content strategy, to brand partners for their ad content. This works so well because current partnerships are gaining further reach, while brands are driving additional sales and revenue for their business. Read a more thorough explanation of the new revenue stream opportunities with digital signage here.

Customer Experience

If customers aren’t having an enjoyable in-store experience, they’re not going to return. Today’s consumers crave convenience and personalization, and while many brands are slowly starting to implement this, not all have taken the plunge yet. CX goals are constantly changing with the advancement of technology and products, and in-store environments need to be able to keep up.

Creating an experience where all types of shoppers feel comfortable is very important. BOPIS, (or “buy online, pickup in store”) shoppers want to be able to have seamless integration with their pickup experience, and they want to be able to pivot based on preferences in real time — placing the order on their phones, view real-time order updates, and easily locate their order when it’s time for pickup. On the other hand, experiential customers want to participate in the full experience of wandering through the aisles, looking through the clearance sections, check-out the latest products, ask questions and make small talk with the staff member at checkout. In bigger stores, nearly gone are the days of the plumbing expert waiting to deeply answer questions about faucets, or career shoe salesmen specializing in the product. The experience craves technology to support the deeply knowledgeable sale. To do this, there needs to be technology that allows customers to tap into each experience. Digital signage solutions are not replacing employees. Instead, they are creating an efficient customer journey for brands, especially ones who are short staffed, while providing shoppers with other forms of assistance, ultimately ensuring all customers’ needs are met and the most important internal tasks are completed without sacrificing customer service.

How to Engage Retail Customers with a Content Management System

Adding a digital signage system to your store is just the beginning of transforming your customer journey. To really engage shoppers, there needs to be relevant, dynamic content displayed on interactive fixtures that are strategically placed throughout the store. Additionally, customers need to feel that shopping in-store is convenient for them. To successfully achieve this, there needs to be a focus on the when, where and why content is displayed, as well as the analytics behind it.

Content Scheduling and Playlists – Use the CMS to create playlists that display relevant and personalized messaging based on location in the store, time of day, and customer interactions. Multiple playlists can be created and deployed throughout the store at the same time to ensure the right audiences are being reached at the right time.

Analytics and Reporting – Capture detailed analytics based on customer interactions with displayed products, content and more. Use Walkbase technology to test product displays to drive revenue, or geolocation for area specific promotions. Analytics and reporting can also be used for personalization.

Unique customer experience – Creating content that can be tailored to individual customers, or content that’s universal but specific based on location creates an experience for customers that feels unique for them. Additionally, with app integration, even more data can be collected and used to further improve customer engagement and satisfaction.

Breaking Down a Retail Signage CMS

Creating a successful in-store digital signage network starts with a reliable digital signage CMS. Some CMS platforms are built from the ground up to be quick start, user-friendly and encourage a network of end users to be content providers (with permissions in place, of course). Other platforms are best utilized as a fully managed service, with a dedicated team working on the success and health of the network. When searching for a retail digital signage CMS platform, consider that both types need proven success in:

Scalability – Having a digital signage CMS be scalable is important as it gives the brand flexibility in creating and deploying content any time, anywhere on any screen. Additionally, the software has all the tools and functions needed to run your digital signage network.

User friendly – While having some experience with digital signage CMS is preferred, it is not necessary. For single location networks, the content can be easily created, deployed and managed. Although larger networks require more advanced functions, the system is still easy to use, yet complex enough to handle content management for 100+ locations.

Integrations – It’s important to note that not all CMS platforms are the same, some are offered as a bundled solution, and many require additional software integrations. Here are a few baseline things to note when looking at CMS vendors and their full digital signage tech stack.

  • Content Creation – The software and process for content creation and updating the CMS with new content. This should be intuitive, powerful and flexible to meet your project’s needs and process.
  • Hardware Management – The set of tools that helps system administrators monitor and manage digital hardware, including players and screens. The success of your project is dependent upon the hardware effectively, consistently delivering your digital signage content, and your ability to monitor your network’s health.
  • Content Downloads – Digital signage software is structured both in the cloud and on-premise. Exactly how the CMS sends and manages content across these areas has important implications on the reaction time of your signage, as well as the bandwidth it requires.
  • Security – This includes a wide scope of elements that ensure your network is safe and secure. This can (and should) include mechanisms that prevent content and schedule tampering, secure offline playback capabilities of players, native single sign-on support for user management, role-based access and limitations, and more. Make sure to discuss security measures when talking to CMS vendors, who should be able to confidently guide you through security discussions.

How Scala can Help

As the leading digital signage provider powering 3.3 million digital solutions globally, we are equipped with the products, solutions and services needed to achieve any digital signage goals. Our flexible and scalable CMS platform allows brands to manage and deploy content to digital networks of any size, from any internet-connected computer.

Scala’s retail digital signage CMS is designed for flexible content and playlist creation, scheduling, approvals, multi-channel support, multiple independent frames, player management and maintenance and can handle networks with hundreds to thousands of players.

To learn more about how you can achieve your digital signage goals with Scala, download our Scala CMS spec sheet or fill out the contact form below.