We install and run digital signage systems that perform as well (or better) as set-ups costing ten times the price, and these lower costs mean we can put screens in places that people previously would have never thought possible.
One of those places is independent book shops.
We feel there’s a benefit to book shops being able to advertise their books, events and services to customers already in their shop or passers-by looking in their window (we’re able to supply screens to be seen in-store or in-window, or maybe both if you wanted more than one screen).
But we know money is tight for many shops, and that means the traditional model of shops paying for the screens wouldn’t really work, so we’ve come up with an alternative: advertising-funded screens.
Essentially the way we’re doing it is find advertisers that want to advertise to people who use independent book shops, get them to pay for advertising campaigns and then we use this to fund free screens for the shops that want to be involved.
The money the advertisers pay us also funds our content creation and management service that we provide the book shops, meaning all you have to do is keep the screen turned on (you have to pay for the power) and tell us what you want us to put on the screen for you (we make you a template when you agree to take one of our screens that we update whenever you tell us, with whatever you want on there).
The kinds of advertisers you might see on there are the kinds of advertisers you might see on an upmarket TV channel: cars, finance, utilities, media, national government and healthcare. Of course we’d also expect book publishers to be interested in advertising on the screens as well.
We will never run anything that is not allowed to run pre-watershed on TV, we will never promote any gambling products, we will never promote any junk food type advertising (known in the trade as High Fat Salt or Sugar/HFSS). Being parents of young children our barometer is whether we would be happy with our eight year old seeing the advertising we place on the screen.
But, if you ever see anything you don’t like on there you’re able to tell us and we’ll take it off. This whole thing only works if you, the shops, are happy with what we’re doing.
In terms of how much advertising will be on the screen, it’s always going to be dominated by your own advertising. Most of the time we’ll be running at about 25% airtime for our advertisers, never above 50%.
We’ve been conducting a trial with Red Lion Books of Colchester to see how they use the screen and how useful they find it; the screen we have supplied them is placed in the shop window:
We supply all of the hardware and software, including our own 4G data connection if needed, and we have a few different screen sizes available, with our preference being our 24″ screen (the others are 27″ like Red Lion Books’ above, and a 22″ screen). We just need a single power socket near where you’re placing the screen.
Note the way we said ‘where you’re placing the screen’, as in a drive to do everything as efficiently as possible, we’re aiming for shops to self-install the units themselves.
But don’t worry, it’s really easy to do – all you need to do is take the screen out of the box we send it to you in, and screw in four small screws that attach the screen to the stand and plug it in. We pre-configure and test everything before we send it to you so it should spring to ‘life’ within a minute of you flicking the switch.
Timeline/roadmap for rollout:
To give you an idea of what your advertising content could look like, here is some of the content we’ve got together for other shops:
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens if it breaks or gets stolen?
We use a modular set up where if any single part stops working we can get a replacement to you next day. We will also send easy to follow instructions to let you swap the part.
There are only three parts that can fail:
- The screen
- The little computer plugged in to run everything
- Our 4G data router
Everything is designed for the shops to change things themselves and absolutely no technical knowledge is needed your end at all. Any techie stuff is handled by us here in the office and configured before it’s sent to you.
You then send the part you took off back to us for us to fix or send off for repair under manufacturer warranty.
If anything gets stolen then it’s our problem, not yours. If you are worried about theft we can provide a cable lock, but in our experience we don’t feel it’s necessary.
What advertisers might we see on our screen?
We expect you’ll see advertising from book publishers, charities, media outlets, cars, health and finance advertisers.
You won’t see anything that we wouldn’t let our own young children see, anything that conflicts with the Advertising Standards Association guidelines, and anything that isn’t able to be shown in a family environment (such as junk food & gambling).
That said, if you see an ad for something you fundamentally do not agree with, or perhaps a book that you aren’t stocking, let us know and we’ll make sure that ad doesn’t play in your store.
Do I have to do anything to the screen?
No, our system is designed to be controlled by us here in the office remotely.
The only thing you might occasionally need to do is turn it off and on after any firmware/software updates. These usually take place out of office hours without anyone knowing but occasionally it does cause the system to need turning off and on at the wall power socket.
Are we committed to anything?
No, we simply ask you to give us four weeks’ notice should you not want the screen any more.
What are the costs to us?
The only cost to you is electricity, depending on your tarriff it shouldn’t cost you more than £1.90 per month to run.
How do I get a screen?
Just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and someone will be in touch with next steps. Ideally please send a photo or two of where you think the screen could be best placed in your shop (wide angle photos are better for us as opposed to close ups).