Posts Tagged ‘ecs5’

Create an Effective Digital Signage Strategy with ECS5

Posted on: February 20th, 2024

In our increasingly digitized world, digital signage is playing a much larger role when it comes to advertising and customer communications.  Digital signage can be found in many settings from retail stores, pharmacies and banks to hotels and academic buildings.

There are obvious advantages to incorporating digital signage into your messaging as you can create dynamic displays that feature high resolution images, animations, and videos.

If you are pursuing a digital strategy then you need to have a platform that allows you to implement the most appropriate blend of paper, digital and media, but also one that gives you the insurance policy that should you wish to implement something that is more economic or more advanced in technology, given the way that evolves then by implementing the ECS solution, you can introduce those new technologies at pace, in a blended way, when you wish. Versus the alternative of brittle development every time you want to move to new technology, which when implemented outside of ECS each of the ESL vendors has to be implemented separately.

The integration can be complex as it often needs to integrate with many different systems, for example it is normal to integrate with the merchandising product hierarchy, product information systems, stock systems and planogram in addition to the price and promotion systems.  Depending on the complexity of the solutions this can take from several months to up to two years to implement.  This exercise would need to be repeated with each ESL vendor that is implemented.  The project costs can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions spent on IT system integrations, testing and project management.

ECS brings expertise in retail systems integrations and offers a solution to help businesses effectively design and manage their digital signage, which reduces the effort and time taken, often to just a few weeks. This significantly reduces implementation costs, and perhaps most importantly provides instant switch on of many additional ESL vendors and products, without further integration.

ECS5 Media Suite is a cloud-based retail management system that allows businesses to manage print and digital signage, shelf tags, planogram, and inventory from a single source.  Within ECS5, you can design dynamic digital signage and instantly send it to monitors, TV screens, and other digital displays.  You can also easily edit and update digital signage within ECS5 to ensure accurate and consistent communication of pricing, product information, and special promotions.

Why Choose ECS5 for Digital Signage and Displays?

ECS5 LogoBusinesses that want to add digital signage and displays to their customer communications strategies may look for a digital signage company to manage these displays.  However, if you already have a system for print signage, adding a new system for your digital signage will only create silos and make it more difficult to ensure accurate and consistent messaging across your print and digital media.  Simply adding digital signage capabilities is not as effective as incorporating it into your larger communications strategy.

When you work with a digital signage vendor, they may develop their own brittle solution that will operate separately from the systems you are already using for your print signage. You may also be stuck with their designs and capabilities.  This can make it difficult to ensure accuracy and consistency across your print and digital signage as navigating multiple systems to manage your signage increases the risk of inaccuracies and inefficiencies and takes more of your time.  There is also a high level of volatility with digital signage vendors as they may merge or change strategy with little to no warning. Technology is constantly evolving and therefore, you would want to nimbly be able to take advantage of improved resolution, color and economically reducing cost.

It simply does not have to be this way.  With ECS5, you can seamlessly manage your print and digital signage with this single, cloud-based solution.  ECS5 can be integrated into your current infrastructure, so you do not need to start from scratch or spend time and money incorporating new systems.  You can easily design and manage your digital signage and display yourself in the Media Manager with no need for a third-party vendor.  Your digital signage designs are stored within the system so you can conveniently update current designs and quickly change between multiple displays. ECS5 is also the only system available that manages print and digital signage which saves your business time and money and helps ensure accurate, consistent messaging.

The following are the main reasons to choose ECS5 for your business:

  • Manage print and digital signage from one source.
  • Design digital signage in the Media Manager without being bound by the limited capabilities of third-party vendors.
  • Avoid working with vendors in a volatile industry.
  • Avoid being locked into underperforming proprietary systems.
  • Streamline your customer communications strategy for accurate and consistent messaging across all mediums.

Retail Signage Solutions from ECS

Digital signage is highly effective because it is more dynamic and engaging than traditional print signage.  You can create digital displays with high resolution images and video content and even update or change your digital displays in an instant.  If you want to incorporate digital signage, do not get stuck with a vendor that manages your digital signage separately from your print signage.

ECS5 is a highly flexible software solution that allows you to efficiently manage your print and digital signage from a single dashboard.  We save you the trouble of using multiple systems by integrating all of your print and digital signage and displays for an efficient and cost-effective solution.  Our software solution eliminates the need for multiple software systems to handle your in-store displays. By seamlessly integrating all your devices, displays, and systems, we save you the hassle and provide a unified management experience.

The Digital Panacea – The Emperor Has No Clothes On

Posted on: November 11th, 2021

Digital Signage Best Practices, Mistakes, and Disadvantagesdigital signage disadvantages

A digital display or promotional screen that rarely changes its message is an enormous waste.

It might as well be paper.

Yet these are found everywhere — in hotels, pharmacies, school campuses, supermarkets, and department stores.

In some cases, these displays are left unmanaged, displaying errors, or even switched off.

In the constant push towards all things digital, marketers, promotion planners, and retail business owners have begun to work against themselves, driving up their costs of operation for no reason at all, and handcuffing themselves to technologies they cannot drive or manage.

Technology is assuredly a powerful solution for retail stores. Intelligent use of digital solutions such as smart digital signage or electronic shelf labels introduce an incredible amount of control, speed, and consistency to store promotions. These technologies have a positive promotional impact on customers, and lead to an extraordinary return on investment for business owners.

However, ECS Global Inc. provides these digital solutions knowing they are just a piece to the puzzle of store profitability.

While they can be a boon for store performance, technologies like digital signage, electronic signage, and electronic shelf tags can be misused and sink a store’s bottom line just as well.

Recall that over the last decade, IT providers also pushed for a complete digital evolution — to move everything to the “cloud.” Yet, business owners affected by recent ransomware attacks are now discovering their best practices should have still included those physical disks on dusty shelves.

In a similar vein, the over reliance and conversion of all signage and promotional strategies to digital displays is a result of the same lack of critical thinking, creating an expensive lesson for retail stores that fail to also leverage paper signage and labeling.

And so, when you enter a store that is all digital for no reason other than to be digital, it’s true that you may indeed be witnessing the emperor of innovation.

But this emperor has no clothes, and his coffers are empty.

Inefficient Uses of Digital Signage and Electronic Shelf Tags

electronic shelf labels example

It is critical to store success that a blend of technologies including paper, digital, mobile, and display, are used in optimal unison.

ECS Global Inc takes into consideration the most efficient placement and technology for any promotional purpose when implementing the ECS5 cloud solution.

For instance, a digital sign cannot be more efficient, less expensive and more impactful than paper where that paper sign is not highly promotional.

It is impossible when considering the cost of buying the display unit, implementing the unit, and supporting the unit – it just doesn’t add up.

A change from paper signage to digital signage can only be considered an upgrade if the business is driving varied content to that display unit on a regular basis for promotion dependent products.

Otherwise, a digital display that shows a static image for months on end is really nothing more than a very expensive paper sign.

Similarly, the idea of electronic shelf labels may sound like an attractive solution that can be thrown at any retail operation. However, if the price of the promoted goods is not volatile or affected by competitor pricing, these labels never needed to be electronic in the first place.

There is no point in promoting goods such as baked beans, stationary, vitamins, plasters, towels, soap and similar products as they are not highly promotional items.

Paper Has its Place

In these cases of static promotions, a paper sign should always be used, as it is significantly cheaper and, in many cases, even more impactful than a digital display.

A print solution can be highly efficient if you are only printing what is stocked in any store. That means a new sign is only produced when something appropriate changes, such as price, brand elements, or product descriptions.

With the right planogram tool, you can also print paper labels in an efficient store-walk order, minimizing the time the store associate takes to implement the changes by using mobile on-floor printers where operational benefits present themselves.

With a blended solution such as ECS5, you can have one design environment, one instance of content and a central control which is efficient and able to be executed at pace and react to things such as competition activity, market trends, emerging news, and more.

Ultimately, a highly impactful colorful point of sale will always be better than a strictly digital alternative.

Digital Signage and the Trap of a Technology Cul-de-sacdigital signage best practices and risks

A business that is over eager to jump into digital signage without considering an efficient implementation can find itself facing costly consequences.

This can be due to more than just a poor placement of display units.

Often times businesses do not take into account the system needed to manage and drive digital signage displays throughout their store.

For example, when a new promotion needs to be run for a line of products, these stores do not have the means to develop new media content that is both timely and attractive. These businesses must rely on an expensive vendor or studio to create new promotions that are often outdated by the time they arrive. These slow methods of media creation also make it impossible to respond to unexpected events, or actions by competitors.

Without the ability to design and publish new content themselves internally, such as through a blended communications solution like ECS5, these stores abandon the use of their digital displays or simply begin to use them like paper signs. This is an enormous cost waste.

The problem only continues to worsen, as stores that quickly roll out a decision to install digital signage displays may also find themselves handcuffed to their technology.

Media signage that cannot be centrally managed, for example, will require specific hardware from a single manufacturer to run properly.

Display units purchased to run a specific promotion may not be able to run the type of media content needed for future promotions. And further complicating things, other types of displays may not even be compatible with existing setups.

This is not only a significant cost, but it prevents the store from keeping up to date with technology and competitors, restricting them to a cul-de-sac of limited options.

Smart Signage Solutions with ECS5paper signage vs digital signage

Retail stores, pharmacies, department stores, and other facilities should ensure they have a blend of technologies – from high impact colorful point of sale, digital displays and multimedia, to intelligent uses of paper signage and labeling.

ECS Global Inc. provides a cloud solution in ECS5 that blends communication between efficient high-impact digital signage, paper based promotions, and labeling solutions.

With the ability to drive digital signage and electronic shelf tags from a central point and across all types of displays and from many manufacturers, businesses that use ECS5 can dynamically create and manage promotional content that accurately connects to product information, planogram designs, retail mobile devices, and point of sale terminals.

Don’t install expensive display units for the sake of being ahead of the curve. Leverage all aspects that drive operational efficiency and store profitability with a system that unifies communication between everything from label printing to impressive video walls and electronic displays.

Contact Us to Learn More About ECS5

The ECS5 Mobile App | Planogram Design and Application

Posted on: September 30th, 2021

planogram creation software for mobile devices

Planograms and other visual merchandising tools are only as useful as they are practical for the space they are applied in.

Arrangements and designs provided by product suppliers and manufacturers can make sense on paper, but must be implemented in a way that fits the corresponding store or outlet.

One of the best ways to create a planogram and make necessary adjustments to existing store displays is to use a planogram app on a smartphone, tablet, or other retail mobile device.

This way, adjustments and product placements can be made on the move as employees walk the planogram design in the optimal order.

ECS5 is a cloud-based solution that unifies and streamlines communication between print, digital, and display technologies throughout a store.

It includes the ability to easily design a planogram or import planogram specifications from product suppliers.

Additionally, the planogram can be accessed on any retail mobile device such as Zebra and Honeywell devices, or installed on any iOS or Android smartphone or tablet.

ECS5 Mobile Planogram Appmobile planogram app

ECS5 can easily access inventory data, product descriptions, promotional offer details, shelf planogram templates, and more thanks to its seamless cloud connection to store data.

Using a mobile device and the ECS5 planogram app, any planogram and related product information can be quickly accessed by an employee as they walk the store in the defined order.

This greatly improves operational efficiency for businesses and leads to greater optimization of product placements, leading to better use of store personnel and an improved customer experience.

ECS5’s mobile planogram software can used by:

In addition to planogram details, the ECS5 mobile app gives the employee the ability to adjust electronic shelf labels and digital retail displays to reflect appropriate promotions.

ECS5 is also able to provide performance reports based on planogram analytics, further improving the effectiveness of promotions and shelf displays.

Design Your Retail Space with ECS5’s Planogram Creation Software

ECS Global Inc. is trusted globally in providing retail management solutions for POS systems, label printing, mobile retail devices, digital signage, and other technologies that are tied to store success.

With ECS5, your business can plan around an existing space to create a planogram that drives sales and redirects employee labor to better serve the customer.

Contact us today to learn more about how ECS5 can be your planogram solution.

Contact Us to Learn More About ECS5

The Value of Unified Communications with ECS5

Posted on: September 23rd, 2021

Analysis by Isaac Gould | Nucleus Research

THE ANNOUNCEMENT

ECS Global recently announced the release of ECS5, the newest version of its Enterprise Communication Suite (ECS) platform. Building on the success of its previous versions, ECS5 will deliver advancements to channel management capabilities, graphic design tools, and store planning functions. Additionally, ECS5 has added mobile functionality and analytics on product sales performance via external data signals.

The launch of ECS5 modernizes the communication platform with integrations into new communication channels to keep pace with the increase in interactive displays and online marketing campaigns. ECS5 ensures that messaging is consistent and accurate across all forms of signage, including digital price tags, interactive kiosks, TV displays, print, social media, and web banners.

Businesses leveraging the new solution can synchronize all signage, promotions, and pricing data to automatically update online marketing engagements and digital displays or provide stores with the correct information for printing. As the vendor pursues a platform approach to solution development, ECS5 contains multiple modules centered on broadening its range of functionality.

For example, the Planogram component supports the design of shelf and store layouts to maximize product visibility and minimize planning time. Media Manager and graphic design tools enable users to quickly design and disperse videos and images without the need for costly and time-consuming third-party designers. Mobile integration means retail workers can also scan products with handheld devices to ensure pricing and promotional offerings are up to date.

ECS GLOBAL

ECS Global is a marketing solutions provider that supports the distribution of images, video, and messages across print, digital, and online communication channels.

ECS has grown rapidly in recent years, increasing its customer base along with the scope of its solutions. Serving a range of industries, such as retail, manufacturing, healthcare, non-profit, government, academia, sport and leisure, tourism, and hotel services, ECS’s customer profile now includes both small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) and enterprise-scale organizations.

While the concept of unified communications is typical of most marketing solutions, ECS has taken the unique approach of consolidating both physical and digital channel management onto a single platform. Prioritizing its customers’ need for consistent messaging, regardless of medium, ECS continuously updates its platform to ensure it supports the latest developments in signage technology.

KEY BENEFIT AREAS

Nucleus interviewed both ECS5 users and users of the current version of ECS to identify the three primary benefits of their deployments:

INCREASED EMPLOYEE PRODUCTIVITY

Both retail and head office employees can leverage ECS5 to expedite various day to day activities and reduce overall labor.

Retail workers can scan products with mobile devices to select and print relevant signs and labels if anything is missing, damaged, or out-of-date. This eliminates the need to search through a pricing or graphics catalog for every carried product, which often costs stores thousands of work hours.

Head office employees no longer need to manage the individual communication systems but can instead disperse messages across all channels from a single point.

Likewise, retail employees are not required to update digital displays and price labels manually. Interviewed customers have expressed that leveraging ECS5 has allowed them to open store locations in half the time previously required.

REDUCED OPERATIONAL COSTS

Integrating with an organization’s solution ecosystem, ECS5 sources accurate pricing information at all times, eliminating unnecessary discounting and thereby saving ECS’s SMB customers hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

Graphic design and video editing functions are available and easy to use by marketing teams, thereby eliminating the costs of third-party designers and the time-consuming back and forth between parties. Centralizing the management of communication channels may also lower operational costs by retiring legacy solutions and hardware.

ALIGNED COMMUNICATION CHANNELS

ECS5 places the central office in control over its various communication channels. As ECS5 natively integrates with all name-brand Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) applications, users can consolidate their pricing, sales, and marketing data under the solution to generate a single source of truth. This guarantees that all information put out by ECS is the same version across all communication channels and messaging has the same look and feel to maintain brand identity.

In turn, users can take a proactive approach to promotional and seasonal campaign planning by creating signage updates in advance and automating the dispersal.

CUSTOMER PROFILES

CONSUMER GOODS RETAILER

This consumer goods retailer has nearly 30 retail locations in Canada and the US with big box and large mall stores with over 5000 unique products, including eight to 12 popup shops every year.

Previously armed with a legacy solution from the early 2000s, the company was challenged by the labor-intensive nature of developing ad hoc signage, where the creation of a sign often took up to an hour. As each store had its own layout and merchandise, the company also needed location-specific signage while still maintaining a uniform look and feel across the entire organization.

Searching for a solution that could reduce the labor input and manage the signage of multiple store locations, the retailer selected ECS in 2012 for its ability to streamline the creation and printing of signs and labels.

Immediately, the retailer shifted sign making from a store manager duty down to an associate and seasonal employee responsibility. As sign creation has been shortened to about 20 minutes, a third of the time under the legacy solution, the reduction in labor at both the management and shop floor levels has enabled increased productivity to be transferred to higher value-add tasks. The company has also eliminated discounting due to pricing errors as it implemented automatically updating digital price tags.

With over 70,000 price adjustment events every year before ECS, the company now reports between $150,000 and $400,000 saved annually. The consumer goods company has deepened its investments with the solution and is now an ECS5 user, leveraging the latest features.

The marketing team utilizes drag and drop functions within the design tool to quickly create self-adjusting pricing and promotional signs since a connection to the ERP guarantees the accuracy of the information. Store managers design store and product displays with Planogram, and retail workers then select and print the correct signs all from their mobile devices.

The combination of mobile capabilities, intuitive graphic design tools, and integration with its on-premise Microsoft Dynamics NAV ERP system has enabled the company to accelerate store openings drastically. By reducing the average opening times of just its popup shops by over 50 percent, the company saves over 3000 personnel hours every year.

VETERINARY HOSPITAL

This veterinary hospital is one of Australia’s oldest and largest animal shelter and care facilities. Previously relying on siloed and manually managed signage channels, the hospital lacked a unified marketing communications solution.

Besides modernizing its signage capabilities, the hospital also sought to launch a digital display companion with its cage-free adoption center initiative to boost adoption rates. Recognizing ECS as a communication channels expert, capable of supporting both its traditional messaging needs and its specialized project, the animal care organization implemented ECS in 2016.

ECS helped establish the first cageless adoption center by creating a rotating display of each animals’ information upon large screens surrounding the new open and interactive setting. By providing placards that can be seamlessly edited and managed on TV screens and the adoption center’s website by even volunteer workers, ECS enabled its users to support a more client-friendly adoption experience as opposed to the traditional pen and cage facilities.

Over the deployment, annual adoption rates have increased by the hundreds, with over 1000 animals finding new homes every year. The hospital also utilized ECS to build customizable ad banners, donation options, and other useful information on its TV displays, posters, and website to drive revenue and further enrich signage to remove the stigma surrounding animal shelters.

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