Traditional vs. Digital Signage — Which One Should You Choose?

Traditional vs. Digital Signage — Which One Should You Choose?

Are you thinking of (re)designing your brick-and-mortar shop or restaurant? Then you know that some of the most important things to consider are the types of signage to install in order to attract and inform customers about your products and services.

Maybe you have a collection of beautiful designs from Pinterest for this purpose: chalkboard illustrations with cursive lettering, vintage-style embossed plates, and other raw ideas to inspire you. Or, perhaps, you want to go for a modern touch like a set of animated digital signage displays that caught your eye in a clothing store downtown.

When it comes to putting your advertising ideas into practice, you have two broad options to choose from: traditional signage and digital signage. Each of them is effective in its own way, and the choice depends on a few factors, such as the consumer segment you want to appeal to, the design purpose, and the available resources.

Let’s dive deep into the pros and cons of traditional signage and compare them to the digital signage benefits and drawbacks so you can decide which one is best for your venue.

Types of Signage

To start off, here is what you need to know about each type of signage used in retail stores and hospitality businesses.

Traditional or Static Signage — A Timeless and Reliable Choice

Static signs are permanent displays that convey information through text and still images. They have been around since ancient China. The earliest recorded advertisement is believed to be a bronze plate depicting a family business that sold needles.

Nowadays, you can see examples of traditional signage everywhere, such as:

  • shop signs
  • wayfinding signage
  • in-store displays
  • posters
  • billboards
  • welcome signs
  • regulatory signs

These types of designs can be showcased on a wide range of materials like cardboard, wood, or aluminium, so they easily blend with the overall appearance of a venue. What’s more, as they don’t depend on a power source (unlike digital signage), they are the optimal choice for outdoor displays and attract passersby to your business location

Even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder, most people would agree that traditional signage has a particularly decorative appeal that can outshine its digital counterpart. If, for example, you own a cosy café that occasionally hosts live bands, your customers may be more drawn to the familiarity of a classic signage

Having said this, don’t make up your mind about which type of signage to install just yet. Let’s look at the uses and benefits of the alternative solution

Digital Signage — Versatile and Interactive, Especially When Coupled with the Power of AI

Digital signage is a powerful tool to capture customers’ attention and engage them with your brand. It can be used to display any type of content and it takes the designs one step further through convenience and interactiveness

Specifically, digital signage software allows you or your staff to easily switch between various designs you have prepared beforehand to best fit any occasion. It can also improve customer engagement in a few ways

  • allowing your clients to select their order from a digital menu board;
  • inviting them to subscribe to your newsletter via a touchscreen feature;
  • displaying and promoting your business’s social media activity;
  • displaying QR codes that clients can scan to obtain information — and use the codes as performance metrics.

Additionally, you can use artificial intelligence and machine learning to determine, in real-time, consumer preferences and behaviour, and showcase the visual materials that best appeal to them. It is, by far, the most cutting-edge feature that sets digital signage apart from the traditional one!

Traditional Signage Vs. Digital Signage

Rarely does a business use one technique or the other exclusively. However, if you need to prioritise one of them, here are three additional points to keep in mind:

  1. Financial Investment
  2. Generally speaking, traditional signage may cost less to implement. As such, it can be the ideal option if you are just starting out and need a quick and cost-effective design solution. On the other hand, smart digital signage solutions are more versatile and long-lasting, helping you save money in the long run.

    But keep in mind the ongoing maintenance costs which require additional expenses for the digital signage, such as software licensing and electricity costs.

  3. Maintenance and Versatility
  4. While both solutions require maintenance, it’s usually cheaper and easier to preserve static signs. On the other hand, you need to update them quite often according to your business needs, which may require replacing them completely.

    Furthermore, traditional signage can only be changed manually, needing additional costs for materials and designs, whereas, with digital displays, you can use digital signage software to easily change the graphics.

    From a practical viewpoint, digital signage may also help you avoid a lot of trouble that comes with changes in the menu and discounts or special events you wish to promote on your displays. You can update all of them with just a few clicks of a button.

  5. Customer Experience and Interactiveness
  6. In this regard, it’s safe to say that digital signage holds the upper hand. Matthias Woggon, a pioneer in smart digital signage solutions, told Forbes why interactive signage technologies are on the rise in the retail industry.

    While they have tremendously helped facilitate shopping and food pickups during the pandemic (via digital menu boards, for instance), that’s not the only reason for their popularity. Self-order terminals also ensure lower costs for retailers, less pressure on staff, as well as better customer experience through shorter wait times.

    These are some of the digital signage benefits we can experience today. Who knows what the future holds and what improvements we will be able to see?

Step into the Future with storePlay’s Smart Digital Signage Solutions

If you want to create a holistic marketing campaign for your organisation, you would most likely benefit from a blend of both types of signage.

However, if you are looking for innovative signage options, we invite you to take a look at what smart digital signage solutions Storeplay Radio has to offer. We focus on optimising sensorial marketing techniques through visual in-store messaging that boosts sales and brings you closer to your customers. We also serve as an intermediary for a number of hardware suppliers, so you don't have to deal with the installation yourself.

Get in touch with our team if you want to discuss and experience all the digital signage benefits that will put your business in the spotlight!