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Outdoor Digital Signage for the Retail Sector

The key features and benefits to consider.

These days, new content on-demand is what consumers expect on their phones or televisions. This expectation continues to manifest itself in nearly every environment, particularly at retail. Because retailers constantly change promotions, fresh communication to customers is a relentless demand. There is no doubt digital signage is the answer.

Yet, with many retail brick-and-mortar stores’ inclusion in outdoor shopping malls and outdoor storefronts, special considerations must be made for this signage.

At the same time, retailers who are considering such an investment need not be hesitant of implementation costs, as it is these same considerations that will reduce their costs in the long-term.


Tolerance: For outdoor digital signs, retailers should look for 100 percent sealed (even down to the cable entry) displays, engineered to endure extreme elements in all seasons. With built-in thermal management systems, display components can now be kept safely warm in severe cold and properly cooled in severe heat, reducing electricity costs. Retailers should look for displays with an IP68 rating, which signifies their protection against dirt, ice formation, and temporary submersion in water, as well as their ability to operate in extreme temperatures from -40 F to 140 F. Shatterproof, impact-resistant glass is also a must for outdoor displays, especially in unattended public places.

One of the biggest challenges when considering outside displays is not the NIT brightness rating, but overcoming the concern about brightness ratings. In fact, contrast is much more important to viewability to avoid glare caused by the sun. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how bright your display is if it can’t handle the elements, like UV/solar rays, high/low temperatures, and glare from the sun. Instead of asking about NITs, ask instead how rugged the display is against bugs, dirt, high/low temperatures, glare, impacts, etc., which are absolutely the most important factors for outdoor signage success. A display’s life span and performance depends on this. If the displays don’t function, your goals aren’t accomplished.

Maintenance: Using fully sealed displays and outdoor kiosk enclosures also negates the need to rely on service calls to clean vents, filters, and fans that need to be regularly changed to avoid filling with debris.

Beyond equipment, the main appeal for retailers in regard to selecting proper outdoor digital signage is the reduction in operational costs. While static signage needs to be printed, hung, and taken down repeatedly, digital signage can instantly be changed to feature new sales items, promotions, and changes in inventory.

Outdoor malls will also find digital signage reduces maintenance costs. By using digital kiosks, malls can quickly change store directories as new stores are added or as leases end.

Form and Function: In addition to weatherproofing, signage needs to effectively communicate with customers in an appealing way. Integrators will want to look for several factors to enhance user experience. Ultra-slim, smooth bezels are not only attractive, but also enable multiple units to be joined together to create a seamless outdoor videowall that appears to look like one large panel and can be mounted anywhere. Additionally, selecting a display that is optically bonded not only reduces glare and makes the display much stronger but also reduces the display’s solar load. Polarization is also a key consideration in outdoor displays, because displays without polarization may be unreadable by folks wearing polarized lenses. These considerations, in tandem with an ambient light sensor to ensure content is always legible, is top priority.

Once the aforementioned have been considered, the true takeaway here is that the opportunities for retailers to use exterior digital signage are limitless. Digital signage can certainly be used to generate revenue through advertising, but moreover, what retailers can and should offer shoppers is the experience of personalized guest service. Combining such content as customized wayfinding, exclusive promo codes, and virtual outfit selection/modeling, with outdoor signage creates a 360-degree brand experience, allowing customers to interact with brands anywhere, at any time of day. A constant stream of fresh content on-demand is the expectation of your customers and it is through outdoor signage that retailers can truly accomplish this.

Peerless-AV is a member of the Digital Signage Federation, the only independent, not-for-profit trade organization serving the digital signage industry. The DSF supports and promotes the common business interests of worldwide digital signage, interactive technologies and digital out-of-home network industries. To learn more, go to

Author Brian McClimans serves as Vice President of Global Business Development at Peerless-AV. In his current role, McClimans is responsible for establishing new markets, developing new products and managing strategic relationships for Peerless-AV throughout North America, South America, EMEA, and Mexico. McClimans serves on the Board of Directors of the Digital Signage Federation as a Board Member-at-Large.

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