If you don’t already use digital signage in your business, you’ve probably thought about it. Then you checked the cost of a digital signage system and decided to think about it a little more. Maybe a lot more.

Is digital signage worth it? Ultimately it depends on your business, your goals and as always, your budget. To help you decide, here are some of the pros and cons of going digital with your signage.

Digital Signage Advantages

Nothing attracts attention like movement and digital signage makes it easy to animate elements of your sign, as well as display video from a variety of sources, including SD cards, DVD players and media servers, whether onsite or on the web.

Thanks to touch screen technology, customers can interact with your signage, increasing interest and engagement. With the right system, customers can even check stock levels, place orders and pay, right there onscreen.

Instant Updates
Need to change a sign? With digital, all it takes is a few keystrokes and swipes of the mouse or your finger. With some systems, you don’t even have to be on site – you can do it all quickly and securely from any web browser.

Longer Store Visits
The longer customers are in your store, the more likely they are to buy and make larger purchases. Digital signage gets customer attention and holds it, giving you a better chance of closing the sale and building bigger deals. If you don’t have time to develop original content, you can purchase professionally produced content from a variety of sources.

The right digital signage system will let you display your content on any screen, at any location. That includes tablets and smartphones. With web-based content management and delivery systems, even a salesperson on site thousands of miles away can use your content to close the deal.

Digital Signage Disadvantages

Comparative Cost
Cost relative to traditional signage is the most common reason businesses don’t upgrade to digital. But comparing digital signage to traditional signage is like comparing the Internet to yesterday’s newspaper. Digital isn’t just print with pixels. Used to its full potential, it’s a different thing altogether – and potentially far more valuable to your business. Depending on your application, you may be able to reduce costs by choosing a software-only solution to use with any displays you already own. Some features, however, may only be available using an integrated hardware and software solution from your vendor. You can also cut costs by displaying ads from the brands you carry. Some businesses can even cover the entire cost of their digital signage system in this way.

Learning Curve
For the technically disinclined, learning the ins and outs of operating digital signage can be pretty unappealing. Fortunately, many systems have evolved to the point that training time is minimal if you stick to the basics and lean heavily on pre-made content templates. But to really leverage your investment, someone on staff should take the time to understand the system and its capabilities in detail.

Rapidly Advancing Technology
Whatever digital signage system you choose today, something better is coming and probably soon. That’s true of any technology, which makes it a good candidate for financing, which can offer an easier, more affordable upgrade path and relieve the paralyzing indecision that results from waiting for the perfect time to take action.

Potential Downtime
With technology, failure is always an option. Choosing reliable hardware and software is important, but even the best can leave your customers staring at blank screens at the worst possible time. That’s one of the reasons choosing the right digital signage dealer is so important. Be sure yours spells out its responsibilities clearly and has a reputation for prompt, capable service and support.

Business Disruption
The need to run power and signal wiring to all of your digital signs can be a major business disruption. One way to minimize this is to choose a digital signage dealer willing to install outside your regular business hours. Another is to choose technologies like power over Ethernet (PoE), which combines power and signal over a single network wire.
Digital signage has redefined the way businesses communicate with customers, driving levels of interest and engagement that just aren’t possible with traditional signage. If you do decide it’s for you, take your time and choose the right system and a dealer who will be there to support it and help you get the most from your investment.