In my last two columns for rAVe DS, I referenced a terrific column from Keith Kelsen. Both months, I have suggested you go and read his column before you read mine. I am doing the same this month, go give it a read now if you have not yet read it.
This month I want to discuss the final type of digital signage Kelsen writes about, the Point of Sale (POS). The POS signage may be the least used in education, because so many of us are not really sure how to use this. We really need to dig into marketing and state of mind to really understand. To do that, we need to partner with the experts who are running our retail points, and others in our business offices.
I find a few obvious places on campuses for POS digital signage. The first is the campus bookstore(s) and our dining services operations. We need to look beyond that though, and think about any place where cash is exchanged. At Bates for example, we have a service spot for our computers sales and service. Faculty, staff and students can buy printers, bags, computers and other peripherals at this location. Many schools with larger sports programs have stadiums or facilities that include both food sales and logo-apparel. We may have smaller convenience stores on our campuses where there are retail activities.
I think of the three types of signage, and this is the one that requires those of us in IT to be in a position to find partners. Our first partner I discussed a moment ago — the experts on your campus in marketing and business. Our next partner has got to be a great integrator, with a firm understanding of, and experience with, digital signage in POS environments. I don’t think that the stuff we use in our other signage networks will fly very well in these POS networks, because they are just too expensive. In your bookstore, for example, you could have a dozen different digital signs. You simply can not pay $7,000 per install for each of these signs, like you may do in other locations. That would make ROI really difficult to achieve. Also, you don’t want huge 50” and 60” monitors, you want smaller ones, in strategic locations that appeal to people that are looking at specific items.
It is no surprise to colleges today that they cannot continue to increase the tuition for students. We all need to start looking at other ways to make money. Certainly, fundraising is one of them. However, smart business offices are going to look really hard at income sources other than tuition and donors. Those constituents are already hit very hard, and have some level of fatigue. However, we have students, alumni and really importantly, visitors to our campuses who have money to spend.
Perhaps the time that we have the biggest influx of “new” customers to our campus is during sporting events. Typically, these are also people who may be interested in buying apparel and food. Unlike what we may do with all our other work, this is a place where we NEED to be business oriented. This is a situation where you can see a very clear ROI, if done properly. For integrators, this is a great opportunity to get your foot in the door at some of the schools that you have not got into yet. Come in with a great business proposal and you may make a long term partner.
What are some very interesting uses you have found for POS in the educational market? Have you had any experiences that have clearly added a benefit to the shopper, and to your bottom line? If so, give me a shout! I look forward to hearing from you.