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Exploring the Future of Digital Signage Influence Measurement in Retail and QSR

2020 was certainly an eye opener for us all. We had to pivot, transform, adapt and survive. There is positive direction coming through the challenges, including the reimagining of how we do business, and how we evolve existing technologies to transform customer facing industries such as Retail and Quick Service Restaurants (QSR).

Contactless and frictionless are key concepts driving this transformation from the safety needs of the pandemic to the post-pandemic world. We can foresee some interesting things happening to change the landscape using sensors, digital signage and personalization.

Adapting to the new future

Let's look a little closer at digital signage and how things are likely to evolve. FastSensor has worked with payment systems, CMS operations and digital signage companies so we have had the opportunity to look even further ahead from multiple perspectives. Some of what I present below is already in motion and some is looking down the road, but the wheels are in motion to facilitate the changes.


In particular, digital signage has the opportunity to to enhance the buyer experience in some really impactful ways. Some of these are in response to the pandemic but many are just hastening a future that was coming regardless.

Curbside Pickup - Looking ahead

In curbside pickup we’ve seen a variety of approaches, from painted parking spots with numbers and a sign with a phone number, to a QR code on a sign, or an app order and messaging within the app to say you’ve arrived. Some of the quicker acting companies have been rolling out digital signage with branding and messaging, but there is still more to go, including developing concepts to enhance the process beyond the fundamentals of “let us know you are here and we will bring out your order".

Imagine how much better the pickup experience could be if it was more personalized by leveraging the latest technology. What if a digital sign said “Hi John, your order is being prepared.” And during the wait it was possible to review your order and know that you may need something to go with an item you are picking up?

Wouldn’t it be great if the digital sign updated with a suggestion that you may want to get a spackle knife to go with the spackle you ordered? What if you always purchased an item when you visited and the sign suggested, “you usually get a 6-pack when you visit, should we add it to your order?” Would you add it to the order?

Quick Serve Restaurants - Looking ahead

With QSR, we can look forward to some really interesting enhancements, with multiple drive through lanes and predictive ordering. As an example, Sonic rolled out an AI-driven sign that is essentially a chatbot that can engage and upsell. If you have ordered and are arriving for pickup, the very human greeter knows who you are and validates your order. It can then look at appropriate upsell and hold a personalized conversation and close the order. For those that are still using phone apps, it is a very interactive experience and foundational for other personalization.

...FastSensor can track loyalty behavior without an app. This means without knowing who you are, it is possible to link your order history without an identity.

But what if you don’t know who the customer is? There is existing technology today that can anonymously and passively track human behavior, which can be adapted to sensing arrival and triggering the digital interaction. We don’t necessarily need to know WHO someone is to know what they may want to order. You probably just reread that sentence again, so I’ll explain. With state of the art passive RF technology, FastSensor can track loyalty behavior without an app. This means without knowing who you are, it is possible to link your order history without an identity.

Imagine pulling up to the drive-thru and the AI chatbot announces, “Hi, welcome back. I see last time you got a single burger, medium fries and a small root beer. Would you like to get the same order?”

It is a simple matter of linking an anonymous ID to a set of ordered items with no identity. A full car containing three adults? Same concept, just expedite the order by suggestively positioning a prior order. Then offer upgrades, promotional and complementary items to increase the order size.

While this is looking ahead, it isn’t far from happening and perhaps transforming the experience as all the components are already available.

Retail - Looking ahead

Buying has become a bit more mundane as in many cases we’ve lost the sense of discovery that we got walking through a store or mall. While waiting for my pickup at a QSR or store, I would happily watch a video on interesting new products and may even “text xxx code to this number to add an item to your cart” to buy something I didn’t know I needed. Would you?

Further, it is now possible to measure the influence of a digital sign and messaging. Arriving on the scene is the ability to measure the result of an advertisement in the physical world. This is a powerful idea because it increases the value of the sign by measuring the influence to calculate ROI.

But can you measure how many people saw a sign or ad in a store or public space? Using multi-signal RF measurements and unsupervised AI, you can sort out all the radio signals to determine the number of potential viewers. Then, using behavioral analytics and influence measurements outlined above, it's possible to apply a value to the digital sign and the content.

If you can measure that someone took action based on what they saw, you can prove influence, and thereby calculate ROI. This is possible using FastSensor technology today, and coupled with A/B testing, a business can maximize the effectiveness of their content, drive behavior and measure the result.


Digital signage can not only make for a better customer journey, it can support promotions, influence buying behavior and even upsell. Effective technology from FastSensor is available now, and in the coming years will have a substantial impact on the customer journey.

This is the future where digital signage, sensors, and shopping history collide to create a more personalized frictionless shopping experience not just during the pandemic but beyond.

How does FastSensor measure engagement at trade shows?


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