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Digital signage buyer - do you know how to buy smart?

The tremendous growth pace of retail media is rapidly changing the Digital Signage industry. As the industry evolves, buyers are also required to have an entirely new business vision and technological understanding.

Globally, retail media is a big deal. Those working in marketing say that there's not much else being talked about at marketing events worldwide right now. And it's no wonder, as in the United States alone, retail media is expected to surpass the $100 billion mark in a few years, while in Europe, it's rapidly approaching the €25 billion milestone. The scale of this indicates something significant; retail media is projected to surpass the size of TV advertising by 2028.

The growth has mainly occurred online so far, but over the past year, discussions about in-store retail media have exploded internationally. It's predicted to eventually become a new business area in retail at least the size of online retail media.

Retail media in the Finnish context

In Finland, in-store retail media is not entirely new. S Group has been successfully selling advertising on digital display surfaces for years.

Kesko, too, has recently installed several thousand new screens and is starting its media sales.

Similarly, smaller players in the retail sector and media sellers are considering joining in. In Finland, in-store retail media development may be on a smaller scale because our linguistic area targets relatively small audiences in online advertising.

Increasing expectations for Digital Signage providers

However, modern in-store retail media is not just about installing screens in retail spaces. Digital Signage displays have long been present even in the smallest stores. A wide variety of operators have supplied display networks, offering quite diverse levels of expertise and service quality. Retail media is changing the game.

In the very near future, Digital Signage software will require audience data processing capabilities, automated content production, and the ability to target advertising to the right audience at the right time. Similarly, Digital Signage providers will need seamless cooperation between the delivered display network and software platform, as well as robust maintenance and support expertise to meet the increasingly demanding requirements of the growing retail media business.

Digital signage buyer - do you know how to buy smart?

The rapid development described above requires a change in mindset. In some cases, buyers of Digital Signage systems may have previously focused solely on optimizing the purchase of Digital Signage delivery in terms of price - at least for the hardware. As the business criticality of retail media grows, this is neither reasonable nor justifiable.

There are several reasons for this:

Purchasing hardware from one supplier enables centralized control of hardware settings, asset management data, and remote management. This saves the customer unnecessary work, hassle, and ultimately, unnecessary costs.

When the same supplier installs, configures, and manages one software used in the network, situations related to interaction between hardware and software can be easily resolved without unnecessary wrangling between parties. If multiple Digital Signage software systems are used in the network, all scheduling, integrations, and automation work must be done multiple times, if possible at all.

When the same entity also services the hardware on-site, all installation and hardware information is in one place, and all maintenance and warranty replacements can be done centrally and intelligently managed. Additionally, when this supplier also handles remote maintenance, all devices can be behind one remote monitoring system. Thus, the entire device fleet can be updated and managed with one software.

Finally, having one common network solution for the entire system naturally significantly facilitates remote monitoring, maintenance, and operation when all systems are within the same network.

All of this enables the customer to have a smooth and ultimately much more economical and nerve-saving solution than assembling individual sub-deliveries. Helpdesks and support can serve the customer as well and efficiently as possible, and warranty services proceed as agreed. Ultimately, the end customer is also better served when the screens display what they actually want to see.

Retail media makes all of the above increasingly important in the future.


Teemu Kurri is the newly appointed Chairman of the Board of Craneworks. This article opens the Perspective series, which discusses the upheaval in the digital signage industry from the perspective of customer organizations.

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