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Digital signage at the pump: a consumer's perspective

Feb 10, 2017

Digital signage at the pump: a consumer's perspective

My first experience with digital signage at the pump was oddly enough at a somewhat isolated small gas station in a rural area, rather than one in a large city. I was taken aback when the POS screen suddenly started telling me about Beyonce's latest music video. This particular display showcased news, entertainment and advertisements for the gas station. From a consumer perspective, I can see several benefits of this technology and a few downsides.

The captive audience factor

Customers are already forced to look at the screen to select their fuel grade, and pay if they didn't prepay inside. Thus, the digital signage delivers a guaranteed impression. Also, most customers will likely stay by the pump to avoid overpaying or topping off, so they will be in close proximity to the display.

All Over Media, a gas advertising company, points out that customers tend to spend three to five minutes refueling, which gives advertisers time to repeat their message multiple times.

Loyalty programs

An article by Forbes mentions that "On average, American households are enrolled in 29 loyalty programs, yet they are active in only 12." With so many loyalty programs and so little time, businesses need to make sure their programs are at top of mind of consumers.

I can see the true value of a tool such as digital signage at gas stations for loyalty programs. At other gas stations with loyalty programs, sometimes their signs for the program are tucked away or not particularly noticeable. Even some that have loyalty program kiosks have them shoved in a corner of the store.

By having a call to action for users to join a loyalty program or redeem points at the POS, it helps deliver better brand awareness and in turn a higher enrollment and engagement rate.

Better demographics

All Over Media points out that most consumers go to a gas station one or two miles away from their homes regularly. This presents an interesting opportunity for gas stations, since they can use digital signage to directly reach the local neighborhoods around them, based on demographics, income and other key metrics.

This also presents an opportunity for sponsoring local events. A gas station could sponsor a local event in the area and advertise it on its digital signage. This helps drive brand awareness and equity.

However, I do believe there are a few possible issues with gas station digital signage.

Competing with a smaller screen

It's no surprise that one of the greatest competitors for digital signage is a user's cell phone. It is easy for a consumer to whip out their cell phone as soon as the digital signage video begins to play and simply browse Facebook.

While the display might grab the customer's attention at first, it may quickly become just another annoyance in an over saturated advertising market.

One way to combat this might be to invest in mobile integration technology. A gas station could integrate a QR code into one of the videos that gives the user a special discount.

Content can get stale

Imagine going to a gas station and hearing the same advertisement, song or content over and over. After a while, customers might decide to visit the gas station just down the road without digital signage.

As past articles on Digital Signage Today have discussed, poorly made or thought out content can ruin even the best displays. Gas stations and content providers need to carefully consider their audience and regularly create new dynamic content to keep staleness from setting in.