Is the next step for your shop electronic digital signage?
By Beth Osborne
Content: The easiest part of the puzzle to provide for large-format print providers might well be the content piece. Most content is developed using the Adobe Creative Suite (now Creative Cloud) products, which most designers already utilize when creating and working with large-format print artwork. This is where you have the ability to play to your strengths. And your expertise in color correcting and image correction works here as well. Keep in mind that dynamic-signage content should integrate animation, since static content doesn’t have the same impact as content that moves.
Installation: When considering installation, you have outsourcing options – various companies do nothing but install dynamic-signage solutions. The downsides to this option are that you have little control over how these installers will conduct themselves; and if issues arise, these individuals are not your employees. Installing digital signage doesn’t require a technology genius, but the installer should have a good understanding of networking, hardware, and the software itself.
Support: The final decision to be made is how you will support your customers in the field when it comes to ongoing maintenance and everyday troubleshooting. The good news is that having a robust support program does not mean that you need a room full of technicians ready to take calls. One person available to take calls and deal with customer issues should be sufficient when you’re just starting out with dynamic signage. If you’ve employed an excellent software program, then the technical issues should be minimal; providing a very detailed user guide to your customer is also a good first step to minimizing support calls.
It’s important to determine the costs associated with support as well as when support will be available – only during work hours, 24/7, etc.? You can customize options for each individual customer. When considering costs, think in terms of the labor costs associated with employing a fulltime support technician as well as any profits. Because support is a recurring-fee type of income, its profits can become a foundation for expanding your shop’s dynamic-signage solution.
Launch the solution, make the leap
After you’ve completed the research and made the big decisions, the next phase is implementation. That, of course, begins with customers.
Starting with current customers is the obvious and prudent path. Any customer utilizing menus is the target we already identified, but it’s not just the dining industry that has a need for updated information. Retail, banking, healthcare, and entertainment are all industries with a need to instantly disseminate new information. Retailers choose to preview certain products at certain times; banks want to provide updates on interest rates; hospitals update wait times in ERs; entertainment venues promote the next concert. The landscape is ripe with opportunity, but competition can be stiff.
The best way to combat competition and become a force in the industry is to deliver a great product but also be experts in the field. It’s not realistic to become a dynamic-signage authority overnight. Take advantage of all the information already available: case studies, white papers, editorial content. Also consider working with a dynamic-signage consultant or perhaps hiring a professional with dynamic-signage experience. This type of industry knowledge goes a long way when meeting with clients. Walking in with a dynamic-signage strategy including critical best practices shows your customer that you can deliver the solutions they need.
Offering a new product or service is never easy. But successful companies don’t fear change – they embrace it. Embracing the evolution of signage and graphics is already in the veins of your company. Make this next leap.