Magazine Article | June 25, 2012

VARs' Guide To Digital Signage

By Business Solutions magazine

Significant Trends

Control The Customer Experience — “It is important for POS VARs to find ways to integrate other technologies that engage driving the customer experience. POS VARs need to be able to help their customers consolidate the hardware required to operate these technologies.” Scott Falso, director of market development, Seneca

Consider Touch Screens — “Many of the large advertising houses are leading a mass migration to touch-enabled ‘interactive digital signage’ (IDS). By giving shoppers interactivity on-site, retail stores can now provide a menu of interactive enhancements that increase customer dwell time, customize relevant content, and capture metrics to drive real ROI results over CPMV (cost per thousand views).” John Nicewick, director strategic marketing and sales, Elo Touch

Target Nonretail Customers — “Employee communication at companies with 10 or more employees are awesome sales opportunities. Adding back-of-house communication to hotels, manufacturing plants, healthcare, and transportation industries offers improved profitability and performance since staff that have regular, consistent communication have more confidence and are less distracted from their work.” Michael Strand, CEO, StrandVision

Sell Cloud-Based Solutions — “One trend that we see becoming a part of digital signage solutions is the SaaS model for content management. Managing the content via a cloud allows content to be uploaded and accessed from a centralized location or remote locations. More digital signage solutions will be interactive and integrated to technologies we already have, such as tablets and mobile phones, rather than the traditional static displays.” Paul Constantine, president, ScanSource POS & Barcoding

Sales Advice

Show How Digital Signage Can Increase Sales — “POS VARs can be successful selling digital signage by helping customers understand how such a technology can work to increase sales. These new technologies make very little impact standing on their own but as they are packaged together, POS VARs will start to see a great return.” Scott Falso, director of market development, Seneca

Partner If Needed — “With so many resellers converging on this market, it is paramount that you provide the largest solution coverage either through internal skill development or flexible partnerships with the other experts. If you can’t do it all, get the right partners!” John Nicewick, director strategic marketing and sales, Elo Touch

Upsell Existing Customers First — “Use your existing customer database to initially improve their business and then expand into new markets after you are through the initial learning curve.” Michael Strand, CEO, StrandVision

Use Demos To Win Business — “Demo the whole kit and caboodle! Whenever possible, try to show clients all the available bells and whistles such as an all-in-one with the full digital signage integration. Of course, be prepared to remove features when it comes down to quoting what they really need and want. This enables you to demonstrate that you are in touch with all the newest technologies, and I think it’s easier to back off than it is to increase the cost.” David Hunsinger, director of sales, SBS/Keystroke POS

Pitfalls To Avoid

One Size Does Not Fit All — “There are many types of digital signage available today, from large format multiple screen solutions to small, at the point-of-purchase displays. Make sure the solution truly fits the customers’ needs, while also making sure you’re offering a full solution and making it easy for the customer to implement and maintain.” Paul Constantine, president, ScanSource POS & Barcoding

Be Consultative — “Since many customers are not aware that digital signage can profit their business, you must do more than send a marketing piece. Be sure that all marketing offers a low-cost consultative option to allow them the time to ask questions.” Michael Strand, CEO, StrandVision

Don’t Fall For Consumer-Grade — “VARs should emphasize the importance of installing professional displays and not their consumer counterparts, like flat-panel TVs sold at electronics stores. Professional displays have a number of features included specifically for digital signage applications such as tamper-resistant control locks, vertical or horizontal mounting capabilities, increased durability, expandability and viewing angles, and thin bezels and are made for 24/7 operation. Also, consumer televisions usually only come with a one-year warranty, which can often be reduced to 90 days or deemed void if the display is used in a commercial application.” Bill Brennan, senior director of channel sales, Panasonic Solutions for Business

Why Sell Digital Signage?

Retailers Want It — “Interactive digital signage is out of its infancy and experiencing its first real growth spurt. With a clear, less-than-14-months ROI, it tops many retailers’ ‘must have’ lists.” John Nicewick, director strategic marketing and sales, Elo Touch

Analysts Predict Strong Growth — “Analyst group IHS iSuppli reports that growth in the worldwide digital signage and professional display market is set to rise a healthy 12.6 percent from 2011. According to Global Industry Analysts Inc., hospitality, retail, and QSR (quick service restaurant) are some of the markets with the largest potential for growth. Additionally, in 2012, the FDA is expected to require chain restaurants and retail food establishments with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts on their menus. By using digital signage, customers can easily update menus and calorie information without creating an entirely new stationary menu board.” Bill Brennan, senior director of channel sales, Panasonic Solutions for Business

Small Retailers Are A Huge Opportunity — “Digital signage, as an extension of the POS system, is an opportunity that’s seemingly been overlooked by small retailers and their solutions providers. Not only is this an attractive and highly functional option for the merchant, when implemented with an all-in-one POS system it’s also an effective way for POS VARs to increase sales on both new and existing installations.” Michael Gebb, president, SBS/Keystroke POS

Increase Customer Engagement — “Digital signage is becoming a good way to enhance the customer’s experience with a retailer, healthcare facility, or even on an educational campus. This is also a good way to get into some verticals that you may not already be selling into if you become comfortable selling the technology. This gives you a good way to increase your reach into other verticals.” Paul Constantine, president, ScanSource POS & Barcoding