[End User Survey] Digital Signage: 125 Retail Leaders Shared Their Concerns, Expectations, and Thoughts on Deploying Displays in Their Stores


Screens dominate our personal and professional lives. The average American spends 7 hours and 4 minutes daily looking at a screen (Zippia, 2023).

They’ve become a routine part of life for work, information, and entertainment. In B2C, digital displays increasingly relay information, interact with and guide customers in many businesses.

We wanted to look at retail in particular to understand more about why (or why not) brick-and-mortar locations would deploy digital displays beyond the relatively common POS and kiosk applications.

A big thank you to Samsung for sponsoring this survey.

The Methodology & Respondents

We employed a third-party data collector to gather 125 responses to a survey about digital signage for retail. Specifically, we focused on the United States and full-time employees who identified their industry as Retail & eCommerce, either Mostly Physical Locations or Both Online/D2C & Physical Sales.

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We focused on Director, VP, and C-Suite employees in IT, Marketing, Operations, or Executive departments.


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Finally, we wanted a variety of retailers who sold different types of products. The top four responses came from Electronics, Auto Parts/Accessories, Beauty/Personal Care, and Apparel/Footwear, but several others were represented. Most of the respondents employed less than 250 workers across their locations. We also affirmed that none of those surveyed currently use digital signage in their stores for anything other than POS or kiosk applications.

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Now that our survey pool is set, it’s time to learn their thoughts on digital displays!

The Survey

Question: What is the top concern that keeps you from deploying non-POS/kiosk digital signage in your store(s)?

When “Cost” is an option, it’s reasonable to assume that will be the top response, and over 45% of those surveyed said just that, but other popular reasons included “Not Enough Space” (20%), “Expertise” (20%), and “Content Management” (11%).

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Question: Where would you find digital displays most beneficial in your store(s)? (Please select the top 3)

Given that we were focusing on retailers who are not currently deploying digital displays throughout their stores, we wanted to know their thoughts on where such displays could be helpful to their business.

Over 60% of respondents selected Window and/or Shelf Displays among their top three options. Other common selections were Wayfinding/Directory (48%), Promotions/Marketing (43%), and 3rd Party Advertising (41%). Only a handful thought using displays for Employee Areas or Customer Entertainment would benefit them.

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We thought this would be a good spot to examine how these answers break down among store types.

  • More than half of Beauty/Personal Care & Electronics execs answered Promotions/Marketing
  • Half of Auto Parts/Accessories & Electronics and 66% of Grocery were interested in Wayfinding/Store (or Department) Directory displays
  • Half of Auto Parts/Accessories also saw value in 3rd Party Advertising
  • All but one Jewelry/Luxury Goods respondent said Employee Areas

Question: How much do you think it costs to deploy each of the following in one of your stores?

Since cost is the most common concern when it comes to deploying digital signage, it’s important to learn what the retailer’s perception is of associated expenses to install various hardware options.

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Large-format displays predictably are expected to be the priciest to deploy, with nearly 78% of respondents saying over $1000 and about 10% of those putting the cost over $5000 (the only display types that were perceived to cost that much).

Wayfinding & directory displays were perceived to be a little less expensive, with almost 60% predicting $500-$999, but 32% still expected up to $5000 for those as well.

Window displays had less consensus, with a near-even split between the under and over $1000 responses.

Finally, Shelf/End Cap & Backroom displays were mostly expected to be priced under $1000.

Question: Who would be the primary decision-maker(s) for purchasing digital signage for your business?

When looking for opportunities, it’s always important to understand who the ultimate decision-maker is. For retailers, it would seem that Marketing (38% of responses) and IT (30%) are the best bets. 19% said Owners/Execs and 11% indicated the Individual Locations would make those choices.

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Question: Who would be responsible for deploying and maintaining digital store displays?

Question: Who would primarily create & manage content for your digital store displays?

Once a decision to buy signage is made, we wanted to know who they expect to install and maintain the hardware and who would create and manage the display’s content.


Responses were split on the deployment of displays, with Store Staff (37%) & External IT Partners (35%) taking a small lead over Internal IT/Operations Teams (26%). We suspect that store staffers might need some assistance, though, so there should be ample opportunity for a trusted technology partner to help.

On the content creation & management side, the responses again indicated an opportunity for digital signage VARs/SIs to provide ongoing guidance (and generate recurring revenue).

33% would look to their Internal IT/Operations Team, 26% expect External IT or a Creative Agency to do it, and 21% thought Store Staff would do it.

Only 14% said Marketing, which, to this marketer, assumes a lot about the other department’s abilities to create engaging, dynamic messages for those displays.

Finally, it may not mean anything, but most of the respondents who expected Store Staff to install displays, maintain them, and manage content also thought the best use cases would be for Wayfinding/Store Directories, Window, and Shelf Displays. They were all VP/Head/Director level employees.

Question: What benefits would you expect from deploying digital displays in your business? (Select top 2)

We wanted to understand what retailers not using displays in their businesses would expect to get out of them if they did. These responses could inform your approach and talking points to the benefits of signage, either to emphasize their expectations or to point out things they don’t know they’d gain.

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Around half of the responses expected Recurring Revenue (52%) and Customer Awareness (49%) to be the biggest benefits of displays. Increased Store Traffic/Lingering (40%) and Customer Loyalty (34%) were next. Only 18% directly expected Higher Sales to be a benefit, but one could argue that all of the other benefits would help with that as well.

Looking at these responses against retailer types was revealing again.

  • Customer Awareness was called out by over half of Auto Parts, Home Improvement, & Beauty execs, and nearly all of Furniture & Jewelry.
  • 68% of Auto Parts/Accessories execs think they’ll see Recurring Revenue from displays, along with 61% of Electronics and over half of Grocers.
  • Most Grocery & Furniture leaders thought they’d see Increased Store Traffic/Longer Time in Store.

Question: What concerns or needs do you have about installing, maintaining, or supporting digital displays? (Select top 2)

Finally, we wanted to address retailer needs directly when it came to digital signage, uncovering where VARs may have the most traction with their service & support. The good news is there are many avenues to partnership in the industry.

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Four responses got similar traction here. Choosing Hardware/Software/OS got 44%, followed closely by Creating/Deploying Content (42%), Installation Assistance (41%), and Ongoing Tech Support (38%).

Our Takeaways

Taking a broad view of the survey and our findings, here are some takeaways for Digital Signage VARs looking to capture new retail opportunities.

  • While retailers have varying ideas about where digital displays could benefit their business, examining their locations, understanding their business goals, and assessing their expectations can help you educate them.
  • Auto Parts/Accessories, Electronics, & Grocery execs see potential for store displays, especially for Wayfinding/Store Directory, which makes for stores that offer a lot of items. Those stores also felt Recurring Revenue would be a benefit of deploying digital signage.
  • Auto Parts/Accessories execs were particularly interested in 3rd Party Advertising, making them ideal targets for VARs working with pDOOH solutions. The mix of consumers and mechanics that frequent these locations could provide excellent opportunities to sell advertising.
  • More than half of retailers look to external partners or their individual stores to handle digital displays, from installation to content management. Even if you didn’t win the initial hardware sale, having your expertise on speed dial is important when a display malfunctions. Also, if you sell digital signage and don’t handle content yourself, you should have a strong relationship with a content specialist to tap into.

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John Martin
John Martin is BlueStar's Sr. Content Marketing Manager and host of The TEConnect Podcast. His career path includes stints in retail, textbook publishing, and food service equipment, but his true passion has always been writing. In his spare time, John is an avid consumer of podcasts, watches way too much TV, reads science fiction and comic books, and is consistently heartbroken by the Cincinnati Reds.

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