When COVID-19 began to grow in the United States in March, each day brought new information, guidelines, and regulations that impacted small and large businesses alike. Restaurants and retailers had to move to curbside pick up quickly, quick-serve restaurants had to route customers through drive-thrus, service providers had to change procedures, and many businesses had to close.
Businesses used their digital signage, a medium that has the flexibility to be updated immediately, to communicate the changes.
Here are a few ways that digital signage has helped businesses and organizations function during the pandemic:
Open status and hours
Some businesses were forced to either close or reduce hours to meet sanitation protocols and comply with stay-at-home orders. Digital signage allows these businesses to post new hours and to redirect customers to online storefronts.
Best practices for safety
Businesses that remained open were required to adopt new social distancing protocols, and in some cases, require face coverings or the taking of temperatures. Digital signage is useful for explaining changing protocols, so customers know what to expect.
Smaller establishments often are required to limit the number of people entering a business and to direct the flow of traffic to maintain social distancing and minimize interactions. Digital signage can be programmed to show wait times for an establishment, display assigned numbers for the next customer allowed in, and to direct guests. It’s also the perfect medium for communicating with customers that dining rooms are closed, but drive-thrus are open.
Updates on product availability
Out of toilet paper and hand sanitizer? A digital sign can convey that message and save customers the hassle of waiting in line. Many signs can integrate with point of sale systems to update the public on the number of high-demand items remaining. Digital signs also can be used to promote specials and menu alterations and notify customers about limits on services. For example, veterinarians may be open for emergencies but closed for grooming.
Essential businesses may be open, but it has been far from business as usual. Digital signs help update employees on changing protocols and remind them about best practices around handwashing, mask-wearing, and social distancing. Digital signs also can be used to convey uplifting messages during this stressful time.
Real-time updates on coronavirus
Digital signs can provide the valuable service of keeping the public informed about new hotspots, changing guidance, and new protocols. Daily updates from the CDC and local officials can be displayed through the integration of RSS feeds as people wait in lobbies and lines.
The pandemic has been a time of great difficulty, and digital signs can play a role in easing stress, informing consumers, and connecting communities. There are many heartwarming stories about businesses and organizations using their digital message centers to do this. Some are posting graduation photos and well wishes, while others are thanking doctors, nurses, and other frontline personnel.
As states lift restrictions and businesses and organizations transition to previous practices, digital signs will play a vital role in communicating the details of that transition to communities.