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Enplug’s Platform Aims To Help Retailers By Tapping Into Hyper-Local Marketing and Social Media Sharing Trends
LOS ANGELES, CA — Installing digital signage in a retail setting comes with it’s own set of challenges. It’s been more than a decade since retailers first started using digital signage displays and it’s clear that some installations work better than others depending on a retailer’s overall concept, physical space, traffic, and visual merchandising strategy. One of the most challenging environments for digital signage to compete within is the restaurant, bar and cafe space. The issue is attention. Consumer behavior within these environments presents its own set of challenges that makes it difficult for digital signage displays to get noticed. Most people are not looking at digital signage screens in restaurants, they’re looking down at their mobile device or they’re focused on conversations around them.
Despite these challenges there are companies that are breaking through and connecting with people in these environments that include Buzztime Entertainment, a social gaming platform that features trivia and games and a new Culver City-based start-up called Enplug. Enplug has developed a plug-and-play platform that enables businesses to install an interactive digital signage screen with little setup and integrate social media interactions with their customer base. Enplug’s displays aggregate a business’s social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, Foursquare, or Instagram and display the content in real-time using a business’s custom hashtag. Enplug’s cloud-based solution enables retailers to update the displays directly through the company’s website, so changing content or adding a new social media feed to a sign can be self administered.
Enplug’s platform is different in that the screens are mounted vertically with the content divided into four separate zones. Each zone provides a specific area for businesses to run promotional messages along side social media content. Customers can interface directly with the screens using their own mobile devices. According to Enplug, their screens have helped businesses increase social media engagement by as much as 500% within the first month of installation.
“We’re transforming today’s digital displays from one-way communication channels to intelligent, two-way communication platforms,” said Nanxi Liu, CEO, Enplug. “Our technology helps improve a business’s in-store customer experience, increase sales, and create stronger engagement. Every client also has access to Enplug’s online analytics platform, enabling them to track and measure the impact of their social display.”
Enplug’s $149 per month, per screen, starter package shows sponsored advertising in addition to a venues own custom content, however advertising that competes directly with a business that uses Enplug’s platform will not be shown. Businesses can select the more expensive non ad-supported Pro option or buy an enterprise solution that shows no ads and provides a license for an unlimited number of digital signage screens. Enplug also offers analytics and monitoring as an option in their higher priced Pro and Enterprise level solutions.
Enplug’s platform is currently installed in approximately 300 locations in 40 cities across the country. The majority of businesses are restaurants, bars and fitness centers around the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California. Their clients include Rok Sushi Kitchen, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf cafes, Amoeba Music record stores, Arco AM/PM convenience stores, and a Beverly Hills Porsche dealership.
Enplug also announced last week that it raised an additional $2.5 million in funding. Notable investors including Oaktree Capital Co-Founder Larry Keele, Juniper Networks Founding Member Rasoul Oskouy, Idealab Founder Bill Gross, Former AT&T President and CTO Hossein Eslambolchi, Interscope Executive Vice President David Cohen, Lightspeed Venture Partners Managing Director Justin Caldbeck, Atom Factory CEO Troy Carter, Activision Co-Founder Howard Marks, DominateFund, zPark Venture, and Amidi Group.