News Feature | June 17, 2014

Digital Signage Pilot Yields Higher Traffic, Tickets For McDonald's UK

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer


Recent Case Study Demonstrates Benefits of Digital Signage

McDonald’s UK has steadily increased its use of digital menu board displays to influence customer purchasing behavior, increasing average transaction sizes and improving promotional capabilities.

In an effort to increase foot traffic, communicate broader menu options and boost average customer spends, hundreds of U.K. McDonald's locations have adopted digital signage guided by The Linney Group and using ComQi's cloud-based EnGage digital content and campaign management platform. Based on clearly identified positive sales impacts, the digital signage pilot continues to grow in scope, the companies said.

According to the case study, the challenge was to improve the customer experience through better customer communication and engagement using digital menu boards.  These new signs were designed to raise the average transaction spend by highlighting specific offers and extending menu choices for consumers.

According to a press release, the McDonald's U.K. digital signage displays increased sales by as much as 11 percent on some items, and helped boost average transaction amounts, according to the case study. The new signage also allows stores to display a full menu range, create central content scheduling and distribution, and enable flexible, targeted promotions.

The first phase of the test selected 20 restaurants of differing size, geography, and location, with the screen acting much like static backlit translate, but to focus on targeting specific menu options at certain times of the day, utilizing up to 7 different offers per day per store.  This option allowed smaller restaurants to display more menu options by using multiple images in a cycle. 

After a full review of the digital opportunities, the McDonald’s UK team approved a plan that concentrated on front counter merchandising using ComQi’s systems.  

Digital displays are now used in hundreds of stores. Based on clearly identified positive sales impacts, the solution continues to grow in scope and scale.

Results suggest that the digital displays had a positive impact on sales figures. The testing was done against a set of control sites with similar size, footfall, customer profile and sales figures, to get a clean read on the impact of digital in the stores, the case study said. The study suggested that content on screen positively affected purchase patterns.

One-to-one intercept surveys done at six locations also measured consumer attitudes and perceptions of the displays. Surprisingly, while the response to the rotating messaging was positive, when customers were asked what they thought of the new displays, most hadn't even noticed they were digital, according to the study.

"It looks right with the new decor in here — a bit more modern and a bit continental," one interviewed customer was quoted as saying in the case study. "It makes me think that they are putting more effort into the food, as well."

Approximately 200 stores have now deployed digital signage powered by the ComQi EnGage platform, with plans to double that number as more franchisees opt in to the program managed by Linney, the case study said.