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Marketers spend a lot of time thinking about consumer moments — those brief interludes when potential customers make decisions about whether or not to purchase an item or service. But there’s one customer moment, in particular, that’s pivotal to the customer journey: using ATMs. This important moment is critical to the buying process, and it often prompts consumers to think about their personal finances.
Marketers of all stripes are taking advantage of customer engagement at ATMs, and they’ve topped them with printed posters and wrapped them with vinyl graphics. But the ideal has always been to add ATM digital signage solutions that enable motion messages, remote updating and management.
Technical challenges coupled with high capital and operating costs used to limit deployments of what are generally called “ATM toppers.” But those barriers have mostly been eliminated, and the use of ATM digital signage above retail cash machines and in the lobbies of banks is growing increasingly common.
Evolution of Digital Signage for Businesses
The first digital signage solutions required several components, including a dedicated plasma or LCD display panel, a separate computer that acted as the media player and dedicated data connections that included a modem, router and wiring. With these legacy setups, costs could add up quickly.
Today’s high-quality, 24/7-rated LCD display panels are very affordable and compact. The latest models include built-in media players, management software and Wi-Fi connectivity. Putting screens directly on top of ATMs, or on the walls of bank ATM lobbies, is now far more affordable and often no more difficult than it is to install a smart TV at home.
Many retail and public spaces have already begun to offer wireless connectivity, which allows the screens to communicate with a central server to retrieve media files and playlist instructions through a simple web browser. These connections are independent of the ATM’s network connections, removing any security threat.
Putting ATM Toppers to Use
Financial services companies are using ATM digital signage in a variety of ways. National and regional banks use those consumer moments in ATM environments to drive branding messages that build affinity and loyalty with existing customers. This ultimately drives customer acquisition and conversion among consumers who normally use other banks.
Accenture’s Banking Customer 2020 report, released in mid-2015, surveyed some 16,000 consumers and found that 18 percent of respondents have switched banks, and 27 percent have added providers. The research also found that 58 percent of respondents have more than one bank, and that what matters most to bank customers are things like rates and fees, service quality and value for their dollar.
For independent ATM network operators — which place ATMs in targeted venues like convenience stores, restaurants and bars, hotel lobbies and public spaces — the focus is more on local marketing and third-party advertising.
International Cash Systems (ICS) is one of the top ATM service providers in the United States, giving consumers convenient and safe places to get cash. The ATMs help the host businesses drive store visits and sales (from people coming inside to get money), minimize credit card processing fees, and generate revenue from ATM transaction fees.
ICS uses retail ATM digital signage toppers to differentiate its offerings in a highly competitive industry, bundling 21.5-inch screens with its core cash machine product and service. “We saw this approach as a way of putting all the puzzle pieces together,” said ICS President Mark Newman. “Our customers would benefit by increasing store sales, which makes our offering more affordable and truly unique. With each ATM, you have two square feet of profitable area, but with the ATM digital topper, we would have a new vertical source of revenue on top of the ATM.”
Messaging on screens has ranged from a local fuel company promoting propane gas refills during the summer barbecue season to local pubs using available screen time on their ICS ATM to drive that day’s food and beverage specials.
The Future Roles of Digital Signs
Retail ATM digital signage toppers also have a role in the evolution of mobile and banking technologies. Some ATM network operators are starting to incorporate complementary marketing technologies, such as Bluetooth and NFC, to bridge communications to smartphones. This way, consumer mobile engagement moves towards an omnichannel approach.
Shifting transaction technologies, such as to bank cards with EMV chips, also need help in driving awareness and educating consumers on their use and value, and digital signage has a powerful, immediate role in communicating with users.
Read the case study below to find out how International Cash Systems integrated digital signage displays with its ATMs.