Digital Ads: The Newest Member of Your Sales Staff?

Publish Date: 
Feb 1, 2010
By Eric Anderson

THE SHOPPING MALL has them hanging every 100 feet. They’re embedded in gas pumps. My bicycle store has two. The local dentist is promoting services on one in his waiting room. Even my bank has one to watch while waiting in line for a teller. Flat-screen televisions with focused sales messages seem to be creeping into my life everywhere I go.

They are for selling — not for entertainment! OK. Maybe they’re a little entertaining because it’s boring to sit in a waiting room or stand in line without watching something that you can read, blinks or moves around. Mall televisions promote gift certificates, movie theaters and upcoming store sales. The dentist TV wants me to know about the newly affordable teeth whitening methods and the celebrity “real” Orange County housewife who is now his customer. Gas pump screens push credit cards and refreshments. The bank-o-vision sells its new checking account program, and my bike store’s Informatron explains a trip I could win to the Tour de France.

Now comes my motorcycle store’s television programming. Travis’ backflips. Jason’s stoppies. Racing. The Crusty Derelicts of Zombietown riding through the air with a half-ton of hot steel between their legs. Honestly, it’s all cool stuff, but it doesn’t educate me, the customer, about any of the good deals or new products available inside the store. Remember there are only two kinds of products for which your store’s shoppers will pull out their wallets — what’s new and what’s on sale. So show them what they can buy now while they are inside your store!

The Sharpie and posterboard sign days are gone. Gone too are the funny starburst-shaped cardboard signs with the word “NEW” on them. It’s the 21st century, and we’re obsessed with messages and moving images on big-ass flat-screen televisions or pocket-sized PDAs. It’s time for powersports dealers to join the world of audio-visual sales-enhanced retail environments. If you have already paid to attract potential customers to walk through your front door, then it’s time to close more sales inside the store too. Customers no longer have the time to “just look” — you are a destination store, and flat-screen monitors were made for ogling.

Your customers drove or rode out of their way to you. If they are only a credit card swipe away from buying something, why not mega-inform them about the 1.9 percent financing, winterization specials, free gloves with jacket purchase, complimentary tire balance, midnight madness blowouts, next month’s big race and the new 2010 fashions, which just arrived?

It’s called the digital signage industry. Technically, it’s not television because a loud soundtrack is not usually present — that’s interruptive to shopping and conversation. Think of digital signage as animated signs with TV-like images or videos promoting only the brands you have in stock — every second of every business day. No human staff member could possibly keep up with that.

Companies like Moto TV that offer such solutions were the answer for Jason White, GM of Fay Myers Motorcycles World near Denver.

“The final straw was we were running a road race on our monitors and the TV station cut away to an ad from our competitor across town, playing right in front of our customers inside our dealership,” White says. “We’re done with regular TV inside our store.”

Check them out at, or visit them at Dealer Expo. They are the same people who brought Blockbuster its in-store TVs promoting the latest movies and DVDs to rent and buy. (Continued)