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Digital screens drive customers to spend

The influx of digital video screens throughout the UK’s shopping centres is testament to the impact of Brunel’s research into the effectiveness of the medium.

The little-researched issue of digital signage (DS) has meant that, although improvements in screen technology have made the platform cost-effective, there was little understanding of what consumers thought about it or whether advertising through the medium was effective.

In 2003, Dr Charles Dennis was commissioned to carry out a ‘proof of concept’ study for early innovator of DS technology, Instrumental Media Group.

The study centred on The Mall Ashley shopping centre in Epsom, demonstrating through a survey of shoppers that DS had a significant, positive effect on their spending, while focus groups indicated that people found the information useful.

A further study of shoppers in Uxbridge in 2005 confirmed that DS at a centre in the town was effective in contributing to its attractiveness.

Later research included six focus groups at shopping centres in Uxbridge, the USA and Australia, in which malls with and without DS were compared with each other.

Using the theory gained from these studies, Dr Dennis carried out a further study at Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, London, to evaluate DS practices. The results were published in the Journal of Marketing Management and contributed to Harrods’ decision to upgrade screens in the store and increase their number from around 100 to 200.