The modern technology landscape is gradually placing more power in the hands of the end user, and a culture of self-service has been built around this trend as more companies and customers recognize the value of this approach to tech. As these developments continue to gain momentum, business leaders, employees and consumers alike will expect greater control over the devices, applications and services that facilitate their professional and personal lives, according to Vending Market Watch.

Now, these trends are impacting new corners of the IT environment, and digital signage has been one of the more interesting areas to experience this change. Organizations are not only delivering more self-service options to consumers via these digital outlets, but executives are also demanding that their digital signage software providers offer more opportunities to customize content and underlying networks. Here’s a look at the current state of the self-service revolution and how businesses can make the most of their signage investments with these methodologies.

“Digital signage operators need control of underlying networks.”

Customers choose to help themselves
Today’s consumers, especially those of the millennial generation, take pride in their tech savvy, impacting how they engage with brands in nearly every way imaginable. As a recent article from Retail Customer Experience noted, innovative companies have recognized the DIY desires of these millennial consumers, not to mention members of Generation Z, who will likely bring these self-service demands to a new level. For now, organizations are doing their best to meet the expectations of young demographics that want tailored experiences at every stage of the consumer journey.

The source explained that in the world of retail, self-service is a must if a brand wants to achieve and maintain a competitive advantage in its segment. This means building a customer service program centered on the exact demands of the consumer, creative content that engages buyers and returning shoppers, and personalized marketing campaigns that reflect past purchase histories and suggestions for the future. Additionally, these assets must be dispersed across channels, including mobile, Web, social media and even network television.

However, digital signage is one channel that has yet to break through the self-service barriers that challenge today’s brands. Retail Customer Experience pointed out that while many display systems are functional, they don’t deliver the next-gen features that today’s demanding consumers expect. It’s up to business leaders to recognize what truly separates a digital signage strategy from the rest, and launch initiatives that prioritize self-service above all else.

Companies seek control of digital content
So, what exactly are today’s young, tech-savvy consumers looking for when they engage with digital signage technology? From the perspective of a brand, these platforms are a gold mine for gathering and leveraging consumer data for more personalized experiences down the line – the key to a cutting-edge retail strategy. Essentially, interactive displays offer an opportunity for customers to navigate products and services, while giving the brand in question a wealth of useful information to be utilized in a range of valuable contexts.

Customers want self-service experiences, but so do the brands operating digital signage platforms. Customers want self-service experiences, but so do the brands operating digital signage platforms.

The concept sounds great on paper: Give customers the ultimate self-service experience while fueling efforts with highly individualized data sets. Of course, there are a few roadblocks that may stand in the way of a brand and a strategy of this caliber – namely the control of digital content and the networks through which it’s distributed. Companies need to be confident in their ability to not only create compelling content, but also track, organize and analyze the data that comes back through their systems, as this will further inform and empower self-service strategists.

“For the first time, we are seeing the benefits of having insightful data at everyone’s fingertips, enhancing performance and informing key decisions with timely insight, which in turn can only create a more self-sufficient and informed workforce,” explained Brian Gentile, senior VP and general manager for TIBCO Analytics, in a blog article for Computer Weekly.

How digital signage software can help
Before a brand can reap the benefits of these next-gen self-service visions, it must first take command of its own signage networks, gaining confidence in its software and content as it creates a strong foundation for the future. In other words, enterprise leaders need to demand the same level of self-service control over these technologies that consumers expect of them. Only when signage networks are optimized with fully customized schedules, content streams and interactive capabilities will a brand be able to deliver what consumers truly want.

Luckily, digital signage software for retail can give a brand a complete control panel for all of its display and network needs, ensuring a competitive advantage built on strong technological foundations. A company that adopts a self-service mindset toward its digital signage assets will be prepared to craft the ultimate customer experience.