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Digital Signage is a Truckstop Great Idea

Posted in: Great Ideas

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Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators. The author, Darren Schulte, NATSO’s vice president of membership, brings to NATSO a wealth of knowledge about our industry.

Join Darren here every other Thursday for his biweekly retail column.

{Great Ideas} Digital Signage is a Truckstop Great Idea

As referenced in an earlier blog post, while on NATSO’s International Study Tour I was impressed with the information-sharing and profit-building relationships our European retail counter parts had with their suppliers. One of my other takeaways was how they have embraced digital signage, both static and fluid, for their food service programs. Speaking with operators overseas, specifically with Statoil at their interstate travel plaza, I learned the results are impressive, to say the least.

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Retailers across the board here in the United States are embracing digital signage quickly. Digital menu boards, touchscreen menu boards as well as digital advertising all add profitability to your operation as well as significantly improve the decor, often giving the food service area an upscale look. Statistics available here in the United States show a lift in comparable food service sales of at least 5% when coupled with a robust digital program. 

Digital signage allows you to attract, engage and connect with your customers in ways that written and static-marketing signage cannot. For example, digital signs allow you to change your pricing programs as needed, thus allowing you to easily change from certain prices during slow periods to other prices during busy times. You can also create interactive menus that allow your customers to choose from the wide variety of items you may have while reducing costs of menus if you see fit.

In Europe we even saw examples of a retailer who has embraced digital price tags for all of their 5,000 or so SKUs. According to leadership, this allows them to manage their retail pricing strategy effectively and easily taking them from doing price changes infrequently and inaccurately, to daily with significant improved accuracy.

As consumers become ever more visual rethinking your current marketing and messaging programs is a must. Your customers are glued to their smartphones, tablets and TV, but if digital signage is done right in your operation, you can have costumers glued to your messages. 

I was recently at a baseball game with my nephew and was impressed to see that most of the food stand vendors had converted to digital menu boards. I hope you too will hit one out of the park by adding digital signage to your location. 

Photo Credit: Darren Schulte/NATSO

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here

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Editor's Note: Sign suppliers will be available for questions on The NATSO Show Floor. Register for The NATSO Show today to find the latest digital signage products. You can access a list of suppliers that support the industry as NATSO members in NATSO's Buyer's Guide.

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising, most recently as the Vice President for Retail Merchandising for TSC Global/Barjan LLC. Prior to his time with TSC Global/Barjan LLC, Schulte also worked for Petro Stopping Centers and Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores.