According to Digital Signage Today, more than 20 million screens will appear in retail and commercial locations by 2015 – so the technology is definitely on the rise. However, many companies have been hesitant to implement it because of the common misconceptions that surround it. Namely, restaurants and retail stores worry that it is inaccessible, difficult to manage or lacks potential.

Let’s debunk these myths so you can make a more accurate decision about implementing digital signage in your restaurant or retail store.

1.   Once you put together your content, you’re set.

Digital signage isn’t as simple as “set it and forget it.” It may be automated, but it does require some updating. Why? Restaurants and retail stores won’t benefit from keeping the same content on their screens for years.

The purpose of digital signage is to relay information in an innovative way that engages consumers. So to realize the technology’s full potential, businesses should create dynamic content and schedule regular updates. Promotional content is often seasonal and circumstantial and must be changed frequently to remain relevant.

Small to medium-sized business owners, I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have to create new content or rotate templates every day – every few weeks will do. Depending on your digital signage platform, you can also take advantage of automatic updates. Business with content partners can simply sign up for a frequent update schedule.

2.   Your content needs no method.

As mentioned, your digital signage displays are meant to engage your customers, inspiring them to interact with your brand. Using the same marketing materials you’ve been using for years isn’t going to catch their eye.

To determine your digital signage goals, think about how you want your customers to feel and what you want them to think while viewing your digital signage – and how you want them to act on those feelings or thoughts. Use those guidelines to create your content. Also, keep your branding in mind. Your digital signage content should match the themes and color schemes of your restaurant or retail store.

And don’t be afraid to incorporate smartphones and social media. To engage your viewers, include information about how they can use your mobile site or app or how they can reach you on Facebook or Twitter.

3.   Maintaining it requires a specialized technical background.

One of the most common misconceptions is that digital signage is difficult to manage or maintain for those without a technical background or an IT department. But if you’ve used a smartphone, tablet or other current technology, then unless your solution must be highly customized, you shouldn’t have much trouble using a digital signage platform. They managed through a web-based interface, where users can upload content or browse templates. Digital signage platforms also allow users to manage players individually or in groups.

4.   It’s too expensive for SMBs.

As digital signage becomes more widespread, players and screens are becoming more accessible for smaller businesses. After the one-time investment for the initial installation, maintenance costs are usually a low monthly fee. Not to mention, businesses can save money by replacing static signage with automated, dynamic content – a backlit board can cost up to $1,000 to update just once. And instead of making updates in each location, multi-location restaurants and stores can update information across the enterprise.

5.   Any screen will do.

To truly realize the full potential of digital signage, businesses should seek durable hardware from a commercial manufacturer or provider instead of purchasing the first screen they see. Unlike consumer screens built for personal use, commercial screens are more rugged and designed to display content 24 hours a day.

What other misconceptions did your business have about digital signage?