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Human Library Spotlight: Digital Signage Creates Flexibility, Boosts Sales and Increases Profits

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Marketing & Retail

At The NATSO Show, NATSO has tapped into leading industry experts for an interactive, one-on-one learning Human Library full of industry experts with decades of experience.

The experts are on loan to conference attendees for customized learning experiences operators can tailor to their own objectives.

This week on NATSO's blog we will meet this year's Human Library experts. Today we meet Bob Sabo, director of strategic accounts for digital sign manufacturer Ping HD. 

// Update, meet all of the Human Library experts at the links below:

Human Library Spotlight: Digital Signage Creates Flexibility, Boosts Sales and Increases Profits

In today’s world, digital media is the norm. From sending and receiving email on a smart phone to accessing information on a tablet or a laptop, consumers are used to viewing their information on a screen. Retailers can use this trend to their advantage by using digital signage. 

Retailers both within the United States and abroad are embracing digital signage, ranging from digital menu boards and touch-screen menu boards to digital advertising. Not only does the signage provide an upscale, sleek appearance, it can allow truckstop and travel plaza operators to frequently change advertising and better target their customers, whether it is by the time of day, day of the week or the season.

As NATSO Vice President of Membership Darren Schulte reported, statistics available here in the United States show a lift in comparable food service sales of at least 5 percent when coupled with a robust digital program.

During the Human Library at The NATSO Show, Bob Sabo, director of strategic accounts for digital sign manufacturer Ping HD, will work with operators one on one to help them better understand how digital signage can meet their specific needs.

NATSO sat down with Sabo for a Q&A to learn more about digital signage and all it has to offer. 

Q. Digital signage is just starting to take off in the truck stop and travel plaza industry, but can you tell us more about how other industries are utilizing digital signage to their advantage?
A. When any consumer goes into any location in today’s world, they are looking for digital. I don’t know if individuals are even aware of it or cognizant of it, but they are. The smart phone has changed everything. There are some retailers that have really embraced digital signage and we’re seeing it more every day.

The c-store chain 7-11 has started putting two screens in every store, and I think it is telling when somebody as prominent as 7-11 has found value in it. Hyatt Hotels has started using the signs in their grab-and-go food areas. We’re doing more and more of that as they are starting to remodel. Walgreens has even started to put it in the Get Well locations at some of their stores. 

The real point is they are using the signage to promote their offerings and ideas. We want to use the signage—a picture or a video—and have it move a customer to do something they wouldn’t already do.

Q. Can you outline some of the value benefits digital signage can provide?
A. There is a wide range of benefits, but we have found the top 12 to be:

  • Centralized control of menu board content
  • Better pricing flexibility
  • Lower costs to make menu changes
  • Increased customer satisfaction
  • Increased sales of promotional items
  • Improved operational efficiency
  • Better compliance with menu labeling laws
  • Higher check averages
  • Increased sales of high-margin items
  • Improved order accuracy
  • Increased foot traffic
  • Higher margin per transaction

There is just so much flexibility that comes with digital signage. We can do video—we can show a Pepsi pouring. Operators can learn more about the content we do in these YouTube videos.  

Q. Can you tell us more about the latest technology?
A. We’ve created a video that does a great job of outlining both the history and the future of digital signage.



Q. Is one digital sign enough to get the most value out of the technology?
A. For the truckstop and travel plaza industry, we typically recommend two to three screens to help reach the different customers the locations serve. The front is where J-Q public comes in. Truckers come in the back door. You want to promote what you have on both sides.

When operators are deciding where to place the signs, they need to be sure they are high enough to pull the patron in. Even if you have it, if it is not placed properly—the right content for those in the facility then there is little value.

Q. What else would you want NATSO members to know about digital signage?
A. This is where the market is moving and it is moving at a very rapid pace. In today’s world, it is technology that drives the way we think. For a small investment, a digital sign can improve the looks of their location immensely. Digital makes it look sophisticated and modern. I don’t know what else they would do for so little money to create that atmosphere and help them sell product.

// To reserve a time to meet with Sabo and all of the Human Library experts, travel plaza operators should contact Kimberly Roberts at or (703) 739-8573.

The NATSO Show 2015 Human Library is sponsored by: 

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About the Author

Amy Toner

Amy Toner

Toner markets NATSO products, services and meetings. She is the content editor of NATSO's core websites, Stop Watch magazine and Highway Business Matters biweekly articles. In addition, she provides creative services across all departments. Toner joined NATSO in 2006. Prior to joining the association, she served as director of membership services at an association for ambulatory surgery centers. Toner lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son.

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