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Knocking Down Customer Roadblocks

How to address the four most common roadblocks customers use in their dynamic-signage protest.

Although the prevalence of dynamic signage in retail environments has greatly increased, hesitation to adopt this technology is still persistent among many clients and prospects. Their objections can range from concerns of costs to fears of technology.

There’s often a need to convince customers that, despite their concerns, dynamic signage can yield results. Understanding their most common challenges and providing context – as well as the answers to their questions – can appease business owners, and increase the likelihood that you will land the deal.

Here, we’ll look at the four most common roadblocks that customers tend to come up with in protest to dynamic signage, and how you can address these.

The do-it-yourself challenge
Yes, anybody can put a flat screen on the wall and plug in a USB, but this is not dynamic signage. So to remove the challenge and convince businesses to re-think that trip to a big box store, talk specifications.
First, hardware used for dynamic signage must be commercial-grade, not off-the-shelf. Commercial-grade equipment is the only equipment that retains its warranty in a business setting. Manufacturers will void any warranty associated with non-commercial equipment that’s used commercially. These higher-grade monitors are also built for constant use and emit less heat; newer model monitors in this category also have the ability to reduce burn-in. In addition to monitors, mounts should be specific to commercial use as well.

You will also want to educate your buyer that certain states and cities – as well as certain industries – have codes related to monitor/display installation. For example, there are specific codes about distance between the bottom of the screen and sneeze guards in food service. Customers who are under the impression they can simply screw a mount into the wall and hang a screen will appreciate your insight and realize the importance of compliance.

Second, retailers should be utilizing software that provides an intuitive interface and easily allows for updates and scheduling. I highly recommend a cloud-based software, allowing users to log in from anywhere. The software becomes even more important when looking at scale: For multi-unit businesses, users need to be able to deploy content changes en masse rather than making changes at the local level. Without software, the only type of content that can be displayed is an image file, which would need to be edited, saved, and then reloaded (a very inefficient process).

Finally, your customers need to understand that a monitor and a USB cause what I refer to as “rolling blackouts.” This phenomenon occurs when a USB is plugged into a screen with no software. Image files are displayed, often stretched or pixilated, in rotation; and in between each file is a flash of black screen. Any customer attempting to read these screens will notice these “blackouts” – they can dramatically impact the customer experience and, hence, greatly reduce the effectiveness of dynamic signage. I’ve seen billion-dollar brands commit this travesty, and if they really understood the impact, they would quickly make a change.

The how-much challenge
The biggest barrier you have to overcome is typically cost. Regardless of your customer’s size or volume, it’s hard for them to reconcile the investment. Luckily, data and results are heavily documented in the industry. Use industry resources such as whitepapers, case studies, and data from trusted subject-matter experts and industry organizations. These resources are often targeted to specific industries, so you can tailor your response.

In addition to utilizing industry resources, you should also begin to build your own. Initiate a sharing of data with your customers in order to measure the effectiveness of dynamic signage. If customers are hesitant to provide you with specific numbers on revenue, ask for percentages. Track this data and label it by industry and by goals. For example, a fast casual restaurant could be interested in measuring a specific element, such as if sales on daily specials went up, or if the time to order decreased.

After about 90 days, data should begin to reflect changes instigated by dynamic signage. Look at same sales for similar items from the year before, as well as six months before. Then compare to the results from the last 90 days. There may be additional factors impacting changes that aren’t related to dynamic signage, such as social media or e-mail marketing. However, this latter type of communication simply gets a customer into the store; it doesn’t further influence their choice when they make a purchase – influencing the buyer at this stage is mostly attributed to the content and message on the screen.

If customers are still undecided, consider offering them a 90-day trial, with the stipulation that at the end of the trial run they will share data related to their goals. If you’ve created a successful dynamic-signage program for them – including stimulating content and easy-to-deploy technology – they should see results.
Another way to deflect the how-much challenge is to talk long-term savings that come about as a result of the decline in expenditures related to prints and reprints. The cost and the savings begin to even out at certain points.

The technology challenge
Even though we live in a world of smart phones and e-readers, not everyone feels comfortable with technology. But technology doesn’t have to be scary for your customers. Assure them that the skills needed to use your software are minimal; let them know you have already chosen to provide a user-friendly system with an easy-to-understand dashboard. The best way to curtail this worry is to demo the system – show your customer how easy it is to make changes or create schedules. Let them play with the demo, and experience how the system works.

Even when they begin to feel confident with how things work, customers still need to know and believe in your support responsiveness. Depending on the size of your organization and the number of accounts, you might need to offer 24/7 service, especially if your users have hours of operation outside a normal eight-to-five workday. Instill in your customers confidence that you are their partner not their vendor – their success is your success, and you are there for them. Create a Help Center that includes video demos and user guides with screen shots as a supplement. Increase responsiveness by deploying a remote-monitoring software for a tech to use to get inside the servers running the signage and repair as if he was onsite.

The ‘dynamic’s-not-for-us’ challenge
Another impediment to transitioning brands to dynamic signage is the idea that it’s just not right for them. I’ve heard customers say, “I don’t want my shop to look like a sports bar.” Well, no one is hoping for that impression when placing signage. I’ve seen my share of signage that was clearly an afterthought, and in these instances, I would have recommended removing it.

The design of a dynamic signage display must be purposeful. In a new building or renovation, you can literally start from scratch, and be very strategic with placement, creating a memorable customer experience.

In situations where an existing layout will be utilized and the only modifications are adding signage, finding a perfect alignment between functionality and appearance can be tricky. Keep in mind best practices for placement as well as all of the available mounting options in creating the most seamless integration of screens.

The difference you bring
Your last card to play when customer objections persist is that you can offer something different. Because you’re a print shop and can create custom displays, you have an advantage over firms that come from a purely dynamic-signage heritage. You can enhance dynamic displays with digital prints and dimensional pieces in various ways, including:

Custom bezels: The look of most monitors is very modern, as bezels become thinner. This might not fit your customer’s aesthetic. But it’s easy to build custom bezels that mesh well with the existing brand. Depending on the capabilities of your shop, you might be able to offer bezels made of metal, wood, or a vinyl print on a material like Sintra. Because bezels fit around the screen and are not a means of support, the substrate options are limitless.

Build a background: Another interesting way to integrate screens into different settings is to install a bright (or, alternately, a subtle) vinyl mural that echoes the space’s current design. Or, add print by integrating long canvas murals – almost as bookends – to screens, adding a touch of style.

These are a few examples of what to expect when meeting with clients. Be prepared for these questions and many others. Most importantly, begin to create your own brand’s resources, just as you have with your print business, so that your audience is engaged. Publish relevant content that focuses on best practices and strategies rather than just sales fluff. Having your customer consider you the expert is certainly the best way to overcome doubt and earn new business. Keep in mind that these are challenges; and challenges are just things to overcome.

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