Digital Signage for Small Businesses: Is It a Really Good Investment?

May 8, 2024

This article will provide small business owners with a detailed analysis of digital signage as an investment, including its costs, benefits, and potential return on investment, helping them make informed decisions about integrating digital signage into their operations.

Digital signage refers to new technology that allows companies to display information digitally. Digital signage technology can be easily incorporated into any business landscape with increasing accessibility. But this means that companies are asked to consider whether or not it's a good investment for them especially if they are a small business.

Different types of digital signage systems 

What are the different types of digital signage systems, and when do they make sense for different companies?

  • You can use indoor digital signage, which provides easy accessibility for spreading information to clients or customers.
  • You can invest in outdoor digital signage, which offers more versatile displays for larger venues and spaces.
  • You can also invest in video walls where several televisions are used as a way to create a wall of promotional content or video content for things like patrons to watch while enjoying services or waiting for their food order.
  • You can choose digital menu signage as a restaurant where your menus can be easily updated and modified with information relevant to prices and seasonal foods.

Any and all of these options can be combined in order to achieve a maximum marketing strategy based on your small business.

For example:

A Sushi restaurant wants to be able to update their menu as inflation has caused a slight increase in prices but instead of ordering a whole new set of menus they have decided to invest in digital signage which offers a digital menu that can be easily controlled and modified whenever prices or menu items change.

A small market wants to find a way to better promote new products and seasonal discounts. Currently they have a chalkboard that someone has to erase and fill in every week with updated weekly specials. Now they have used an indoor digital signage solution to display information in a much more streamlined process.

Cost of Digital Signage for Small Businesses

The Costs of Digital Signage for Small Businesses

So what are the costs of digital signage for small businesses? This extends to one-time costs, including your initial setup fees, ongoing costs including things like maintenance and content creation, and the additional money you invest in specific features or functions for your business.

Initial setup costs

With digital signage solutions for small business settings, the initial startup costs extend to hardware, software, and installation.

For example:

  1. A small office complex might be able to reduce some of its initial setup costs by using existing television screens, but it'll still have to invest in the software that manages its content and displays it on the screen, as well as potential installation if they want the screens to be mounted in a different location.
  2. By comparison, a restaurant owner might need to invest in new hardware, including monitors and speaker systems, as well as software solutions for managing and generating content, in addition to wall-mounted brackets for the digital menu displays.

Ongoing expenses

When you look into the best digital signage for small business scenarios, you'll also need to consider your ongoing expenses. While things like hardware and installation are one-time fees, the ongoing expenses extend to:

  1. Maintenance
  2. Content creation
  3. Software updates

You might find companies that specialize in package deals involving your one-time setup costs and ongoing content management. But you also need to be aware that there are several packages available for content management services, each of which may vary in terms of what is accessible to you and your business and, subsequently, what the monthly cost is.

Comparison of cost implications for different types of digital signage solutions

So, let's look at an example to compare the cost of digital signage solutions for small business scenarios.

A pharmacy wants to have a digital menu above the prescription fulfillment window with pertinent information such as instructions, QR codes that can be scanned, what insurance is accepted, where patrons can schedule things like flu shots, and so forth. However, they also want a video wall where customers can watch some entertainment while waiting for prescriptions to be filled out or for an appointment.

In this example, the pharmacy would need to invest in the initial setup cost of:

  1. Purchasing the screens, they would use as monitors for this information. It is very likely that they could get away with using traditional televisions because the information they are sharing would work very well on a traditional television. This would amount to a few hundred dollars.
  2. They would also have to invest in the mounting hardware and the cost of a professional to install the televisions. This might also cost a few hundred dollars.
  3. After that, the ongoing costs might include a connection to a video streaming service for the video wall and a simple computer connection for the other menu, which would cost very little each month, an average of $15.

This would mean the initial cost might be an average of $500, and the ongoing costs would be around $15 per month, but they might also have increased turnover and better customer satisfaction with more patrons filling their prescriptions and booking appointments because of this increased digital technology.

Benefits of Digital Signage for Small Business

Benefits of Digital Signage for Small Businesses

When you find ways to invest in digital signage as a small business, you can reap several benefits, just like a pharmacy does. This extends to:

  1. Enhanced Customer Engagement
  2. Increased Sales
  3. Brand Building
  4. Operational Efficiency

ROI Analysis: Is Digital Signage for SMBs Worth It?

In order to determine whether it is worth the investment for your small business you'll need to establish a framework to calculate the return on investment you get.

For example:

Think of the time and effort spent in that small market adjusting the chalkboard sign out front every week. Also, consider how effective that was as a medium for communicating promotions and new products.

In this example, the initial setup costs and ongoing maintenance would need to be weighed against the hourly cost currently spent by employees managing the chalkboard and the increase in revenue from better visibility for promotional advertisements compared to the chalkboard.

There are several factors that influence the return on investment, including the type of business you have, your customer base, and where you place the sign. 

Consider the example above:

In large part the placement of a chalkboard sign on the ground might have inhibited how many customers actually read the sign when they walk through the doors so it's important to realize that a digital sign needs to be installed above the doors, or on a stand when customers walk through the doors so that it is at eye level and much more visible.


Overall, the best digital signage for small business situations can be anything that promotes your business needs or helps you meet your marketing goals, and it doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive to utilize. Now more than ever, digital signage solutions for small businesses are accessible and affordable as long as you learn to balance the costs with the potential gains.

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