Despite dotting i's and crossing t's, it can be very easy for value-added resellers?even veteran VARs?to encounter unexpected pitfalls when designing digital signage solutions for customers. Often, avoidable blunders are made by making hasty hardware/software decisions, employing inadequately trained installers, or failing to recheck the overall digital signage design plan itself. With the global digital signage market expected to grow by 10% in 2015 and 7% in 2016, profit-conscious VARs should avoid planning digital signage solutions that are not well thought out and potentially ready to turn into a waste of time and money.
1. Failing to vet enough vendors
Just as government and educational entities solicit several bids for a particular project, so should VARs. Selecting the first vendor that comes along may be fraught with more problems than it's worth. Think expired licenses, inadequately trained staff, customer complaints, and the like. When designing digital signage solutions for clients, choose vendors based on several parameters of quality and professionalism?not just lowest bidding price.
2. ROI, ROI, ROI
In real estate, “location, location, location” is the primary factor affecting ROI for the buyer. VARs should be able to provide ROI estimates with reasonable expectations and measurements of the potential success of a digital signage solution. Expanding customer base, attracting customers over a wide range of verticals, and offering customers extra service and support agreements all contribute to bottom-line ROI figures. Later refinements will include fastidious tracking of customer sales, inquiries, and requests for proposals (RFPs).
3. Not paying close enough attention to customer end goals
Following best practices in the pro AV project planning stage is arguably the most important step because all other stages of the project follow along a given timeline. VARs that fail to clearly understand their customer's expectations for end use will wind up losing time and money as project priorities constantly shift and become disorganized. Make sure all team members involved in the project (sales, engineers, installers, project managers) are on the same page when designing a digital signage solution for a customer. Repeat business is the best business?and company reputation will make that happen.
4. Skipping support and training
The digital signage and pro AV industry are always on the cutting edge of presentation technology. Even the most seasoned VARs should take every advantage of the latest training and utilization of vendor support. Vendors that do not offer quality support should not be considered as a project partner, especially when dealing with high-profile clients or projects. Hardware and software vendors at the very least should be available as close to 24/7 as possible and should provide high-quality technical support. If not, don't hesitate to look for another vendor.
5. Dropping the site survey ball
Next to digital signage hardware, software, and content, the location of the installation should be given equal priority.
This is especially true for outdoor installations. Skipping a site survey during crucial times during the day (as when the blazing sun is cooking an interactive display) will surely generate customer complaints and result in lost time and revenue?or failure of the digital signage display.
Likewise, if a customer specifies an interactive digital signage setup for a new product roll-out, is the monitor located in a high-traffic place that renders it ineffective, like an obscure area of a mall or a subway during rush hour?
Have you encountered any other scenarios that you wish someone told you about before installing interactive digital signage?