What is a Digital Signage Kiosk?

Digital signage is taking the business world by storm. Business owners and CEOs have realized that digital signs, with the ability to feature eye-catching, dynamic, and interactive content, are the best way to get customers' attention, promote customer engagement, improve the customer experience, and ultimately, boost brand visibility and sales.

So what exactly is digital signage, and how does traditional digital signage differ from digital signage kiosks? Broadly speaking, digital signage refers to the use of a digital display screen, such as an Android TV, a LED or LCD wall panel, ipads, or even a smartphone, to display digital content.

Typically, digital signage requires a digital signage solution, which involves digital signage software for content creation, content management, and the creation of digital signage playlists, as well as digital signage hardware, such as a digital signage media player, which transmits the content to the screens through connectors like HDMI ports.

The type of content that digital signage solutions enable a business to display is wide-ranging and dynamic. Digital content can include video walls, interactive applications and touch screens, stunning images, animations, real-time social media feeds, wayfinding directions, advertisements, and so much more. When it comes to digital signage, the options are seemingly endless.

What is a Digital Signage Kiosk?

Digital signage kiosks are all-in-one hardware forms of digital signage ideal for high-traffic areas of transportation hubs, lobbies, and retail stores. A digital signage kiosk is a freestanding unit that delivers digital content at eye level to attract passersby.

While other digital displays consist of only the display, digital kiosks also include software, an integrated media player, and a secure pay function. Kiosks differ in size and capabilities, but most of them feature a touchscreen. Additionally, digital kiosks have a steel enclosure for durability, making them ideal for outdoor use.

Digital kiosks suit any venue where information can enhance the visitor experience, such as a mall environment, hospital, reception areas, and airports. You can fashion a digital kiosk as an information hub to assist with footfall. Unlike other digital signage solutions that need wall mounting, like video walls, you can move digital kiosks around to meet changing needs in a fast-paced environment.

Digital Signage Display kiosks are often examples of interactive digital signage and can provide information related to advertisements, wayfinding, event broadcasting, sales, or customer services.

Touch screen digital signage kiosks can help to keep people informed and updated about a business's services with a reduced wait time which is certainly a boon for businesses in terms of increased traffic, repeated visits, increased brand value, and identity, and enhanced customer experience.

Digital Signage Kiosks, such as touch-screen kiosks, are often deployed at shopping malls, hotels, stadiums, retail stores, restaurants, and corporate buildings to provide outdoor advertising and advertising in areas where there is increased foot traffic.

How Are Digital Signage Kiosks Different from Traditional Digital Signage Displays?

Today's consumers utilize and rely on technology more than ever before. As a result, businesses, organizations and institutions are also finding ways to implement more technology-based tools and services into their core practices and offerings — many in the form of self-service solutions.

Available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs, self-service solutions can be used to simplify, expedite and enhance experiences for both businesses and their customers. Interactive kiosks, in particular, are highly versatile and can take on a variety of roles across industries — from interactive travel and tourism solutions to retail, healthcare and more.

Despite the fact that these solutions have exploded in popularity and found their way into schools, hospitals, office buildings, stores and public spaces across the country, businesses and organizations often struggle to distinguish the difference between self-service solutions, like digital signage kiosks, and simple digital displays.

While there's no denying the value that all kinds of technology bring to the table, there are several key differentiators between digital signage kiosks and digital displays that one should consider when exploring and weighing their options.

Digital signage and kiosks used to be two clearly distinct pieces of technology, but that distinction has blurred in recent years. For one, digital signage has increasingly utilized interactive elements such as touchscreens, QR codes and gesture control, and kiosks have done the same with attracting looping screens or advertisements.

For a long time, the primary differentiator between kiosks and digital signage was interactivity. Now, digital signage is more interactive than it has ever been. Displays are no longer static. The addition of sensors can create personalized experiences.

And new products like smart TV digital signage offer touchscreen capabilities that enable an entirely new level of one-on-one interaction at an affordable price. So, the difference between digital signage and kiosks have been blurred, and now there are specific digital signage kiosks.

While there are practically few differences to differentiate these two technologies, practically speaking, digital signage kiosks are still more costly and require more infrastructure.

They tend to be bulky and less mobile. However, there is an added experiential quality to digital signage kiosks. Experientially, digital signage kiosks present the opportunity for a more immersive, personalized experience than traditional digital signage, an experience that can greatly boost conversions.

Advantages of Traditional Digital Signage Over Digital Signage Kiosks

Some distinct advantages of digital signage are flexibility and scalability. Touch-enabled digital signage can do nearly everything that a digital signage kiosk can do but is not limited to a specific location.

New smart TV digital signage can be as small as 13 inches and is highly portable and suited to nearly any location — for instance, a checkout countertop or inside of an in-store pop-up shop. That digital sign can share information highly customized to its specific environment.

Finally, because digital signage is more affordable and easier to install, businesses may be able to invest in more units, offering more curated settings with greater opportunities for engagement with customers.

Advantages of Digital Signage Kiosks Over Traditional Digital Signage

Interactive digital signage kiosks offer a more immersive environment for the customer with more dynamic information and options to engage. Digital signage generally has a limited number of interactive features, predicated by a "playlist."

A kiosk, equipped with kiosk software, is better able to handle open-ended queries or conduct a physical transaction. For instance, while a customer could view a promo video on a digital sign, that same customer at a kiosk could find product sourcing information, view similar products, order, pay for and ship a product to their home and more.

Of course, to fully take advantage of the level of interaction possible via a kiosk, a business needs to populate the kiosk environment with a high volume of content.

Other Considerations When Comparing Digital Signage Kiosks to Traditional Digital Signage Displays

1. Durability

Arguably one of the most notable differences between digital signage kiosks and digital displays is their structural makeup. While digital displays typically consist of only the display itself, digital signage kiosks boast a durable enclosure built from cold-rolled steel to house and protect the unit's screen, computer, and any other relevant components.

For added durability, the steel enclosures are sealed with a powder coat finish, which is bonded by metal particles to ensure complete coverage for the unit for years to come.

2. Appearance

Designed to be both functional and aesthetically appealing, digital signage kiosks can be customized to complement the appearance of the location in which they will be placed.

From a variety of cold-rolled steel enclosure styles to different powder coat colors, and the addition of Lexan laminated vinyl graphics, companies and organizations can utilize their digital signage installations to represent and portray their brand to those interacting with or simply looking at their solution.

Digital displays, on the other hand, tend to lend themselves toward a more simple appearance with few color, design, and branding options and little room for customization.

3. Security

In addition to a durable enclosure, digital signage kiosk enclosures can be equipped with security locks to prevent unauthorized access and tampering and safety glass to protect the screen and the components inside.

Digital displays, on the other hand, often lack an enclosure, which makes them significantly more susceptible to security issues and damage — and also reduces their expected useful life.

4. Functionality

While digital displays are typically designed solely for what their name indicates — displaying digital content — digital signage kiosks are designed to integrate components, allow for interactivity and provide an overall more comprehensive solution.

Additionally, digital signage solutions can be designed to incorporate the hardware and components necessary for both indoor and outdoor use, which further adds to their functionality across industries.

5. Cost

Traditional digital signage displays have a notable cost advantage over digital signage kiosks. While digital signage displays are not always cheap, especially if you invest in high-quality screens, touch-enabled screens, or large digital displays, but typically a digital signage kiosk will be significantly more expensive.

Since traditional digital signage can do so much that a digital signage kiosk can do (and sometimes more), the cost differential is definitely something that a business owner will want to consider when choosing what type of digital signage technology to employ.

Different Types of Digital Signage Kiosks

1. Free Standing vs. Wall-Mounted Digital Signage Kiosk

Free Standing kiosks, also known as floor-standing kiosks, are a popular choice for those with a little more space. These are kiosks that are planted on the ground and extend vertically upward.

Wall-mounted is an ideal choice for those with limited floor space, allowing your kiosks to be mounted next to one another against the walls of your building. In addition, wall-mounted kiosks which are separated with dividers are an ideal choice where security is a concern.

2. Outdoor vs. Indoor Kiosk

This distinction is relatively straightforward. An indoor kiosk will typically be less durable than an outdoor kiosk. Indoor kiosks often serve the purposes of most businesses, such as retail stores, healthcare facilities, and restaurants. However, there are good reasons to have an outdoor kiosk, which will be built to withstand the wear and tear of the elements.

3. Single vs. Double-Sided Kiosk

The choice between using a single-sided against a double-sided kiosk depends both on the space you have available and the footfall anticipated – that is, the amount of interaction you expect with the kiosk per day.

Double-sided kiosks are best used by businesses or organizations that have a lot of foot traffic, as they will be able to serve more people at a single time. Double-sided kiosks will exclusively be free-standing kiosks with a large screen size. If you want a wall-mounted kiosk, then your only option will be a single-sided kiosk, which will perfectly suit the needs of most businesses.

Choosing the Best Digital Signage Solution for Your Business

Choosing what kind of digital signage operating system you are going to implement in your business or offices is a big decision. The potential payoffs are great, but there is a serious initial cash investment that makes it imperative that you do not make your decision lightly.

Digital signage kiosks are truly a great option for creating an immersive and personalized customer experience. It has the potential to greatly increase customer engagement and satisfaction. Of course, traditional digital signage displays can also have many of these benefits, and it will likely be those businesses with a significant amount of foot traffic throughout the day that may best benefit from a digital signage kiosk solution over a traditional digital signage display.

One should keep in mind, however, that the differences between digital signage kiosks and digital signage displays really are not so great in so many respects and both can often achieve the same goals. Moreover, it is quite possible that a business can greatly benefit from using both traditional digital signage displays and digital signage kiosks.

There is no either/or scenario here. Often the best digital signage system will have a diverse array of digital signage displays and technologies to create the optimal experience for customers and guests.

Luckily, whatever digital signage one chooses, one can expect that it will be much more effective in achieving your goals than traditional ways of visually communicating with customers or guests.

People simply do not respond to posters and static images anymore. They expect visually appealing or interactive material. That’s why we say that digital signage is no less than a revolution in the way that businesses interact with their customers.