Throughout the video surveillance industry, new opportunities are leading to increased competition. For value-added resellers (VARs) both large and small, this presents a fitting opportunity to take stock and assess how you stack up.
Is your business standing out among the crowded market? If not, you may need to determine a few ways to differentiate yourself from the rest.
Here are four tips to get started:
1. Bolster your IT knowledge.
In many markets, much of the increased competition is coming from IT-based firms that are breaking into the surveillance market to take advantage of its incredible potential. That means that it’s important for traditional security VARs to focus on honing their IT skills to stay competitive.
As network-based surveillance continues to overtake analog, IT savvy will only become increasingly important. Today’s customers are looking for a partner that has insight into their network infrastructure and can be strategic when incorporating new IP systems to help save money, optimize their solution, and plan for future growth.
2. Provide added value for each customer.
For VARs of all sizes, video surveillance margins are shrinking, even as competition grows. Until budgets rebound a bit, many of your customers may hold off on buying additional cameras, so why not provide added value for each device?
Consider supplemental ways in which your customers can use their video surveillance hardware. Today’s cameras aren’t simply surveillance devices; they can also stream video and provide data for marketing, operations, HR, and other purposes. Start seeing each camera as part of the customer’s overall business—rather than a solitary device—and you’ll start to see potential for added functionality in multiple areas.
3. Provide a few niche systems.
Take a close look at your target verticals and consider whether or not there are some untapped opportunities just over the horizon. See if you can add a few newer technologies to your product offering that the competition won’t be selling.
In addition to technologies such as 4K, which are still pricey but have broad market appeal, consider incorporating niche systems such as body-worn cameras or commercial security drones. These are the types of devices that are going to be increasingly appealing to a broader swath of customers, especially as the nature and number of threats facing the American public continue to evolve. These types of newer technologies can help your bottom line, because they currently offer fairly good margins.
4. Focus on customer service.
The last point may seem obvious, but it bears repeating: Customer-centric service will always be a strong differentiator. Video surveillance customers choose to work with a VAR because they require your expertise and insight into the world of physical security. People want a level of individualized attention, and surveillance customers need to know that their VAR understands their goals, their security challenges, and their facility.
Starting at your very first meeting with a new customer, be sure to take the time to ask questions, tour their facility, and truly understand their needs. Avoid the urge to go in with a solution in mind. Stay open to different possibilities and you’ll be more likely to establish yourself as a VAR that keeps their customers as the No. 1 priority.
Has your local video surveillance market become more competitive in recent years? How are you working to stand out?