Many store managers may wonder whether or not digital signage is a good investment. It seems obvious that a sign capable of changing its message, tell a story, and do so in vivid colors would benefit a store’s bottom line, but the reality is much more complex than that.

Recent research has shown that the impact digital signage has on sales varies greatly depending on the size of the store. Hypermarkets (defined as stores carrying 29,000 to 38,000 items), including brands like CostCo and Sam’s, and malls show an increase in sales from the presence of digital signage. No effect, however, is seen in either supercenters or supermarkets, and there is potentially a negative effect found in smaller stores if signage is not properly utilized.

The study claims the difference stems from consumer behavior. In malls and hypermarkets, the shopping area is so large that people benefit from receiving as much information as possible about where things are located and what is available. In large hypermarkets, consumers are more likely to be influenced by impulse buying opportunities. With more items on sale, these locations can coerce customers more easily, and shoppers naturally come in with a longer list of items to purchase in mind. The smaller the outlet, the more refined the shopper’s list is and he or she is less likely to make a complimentary purchase.

Digital signage seems to work best in locations where people need help making decisions. That means larger locations, fast-food restaurants, and concessions. Digital menu boards are a great way to use digital signage, as people are looking at them to make decisions. Digital signage at the point of sale can greatly influence people’s purchases by providing images, details and other information. Emotions, attractive coloring, and movement can influence consumer behavior and lead to purchases.

Digital signage can provide a sales boost at the point of sale in concessions and fast food menus, and they can be useful in providing people with information about what is available in a very large shopping location, including providing maps to help guide customers around. Absent of these conditions, though, signs can be ignored or become overbearing. Retailers, food vendors and venue hosts will see revenues increase with the help of A/V applications, but it is critical that they implement the right tools in the most effective way.