What VARs should look for in a Digital Signage Provider

growing body of research shows how effective digital signage is at capturing customer and employee attention, keeping them engaged, and improving operations. Value-added resellers (VARs) are finding increasing success in selling this popular technology as more end users realize the ways in which digital signage can have a positive impact on their businesses.

Digital signage is going through a period of steady growth, with the market projected to reach over $27 billion by 2022.  Although this is good news for VARs in the AV field, it also means that as the industry grows, so does competition. As VARs add digital signage to their product offering, they need to differentiate themselves from their competition in order to have some market share.

One way VARs can set themselves apart while saving costs is by partnering with a digital signage provider. The VAR-provider relationship holds significant benefits for the VAR. They are able to offer their customers more competitive pricing, higher quality solutions and better support, all while improving the bottom line.

The VAR-Provider Relationship

The dynamics of the VAR-provider relationship are simple: the provider supplies digital signage software and hardware to the VAR who sells to the end user.

In addition to the core digital signage components, the provider is also often responsible for VAR/integrator training, new solution demos and pilots, extended support,  sales engineering, marketing, and warranty activities.

The expectation is the digital signage VAR or integrator will add on to the core product services such as installation, integration with existing systems e.g. POS, network redesign and more.

The Benefits of Partnership

There are several powerful benefits to be gained by working with a digital signage provider:

  • Training and Continuing Education: Digital signage providers always stay at the top of their industry, they need to in order to be competitive. There is usually a regular transfer of knowledge to VARs in order for them to be comfortable about selling their product. Webinars, attending industry events and expos, workshops, white papers, and online courses are just a few education opportunities VARs get from providers.
  • Cutting-Edge Technology Procurement: It’s not easy to keep up with the technological trends shaping the digital world. Most VARs specialize in their unique fields but don’t have the supply chain infrastructure to support steady procurement of full digital signage systems to their clients. This is where digital signage providers come in. They speed up the delivery of even new products and at competitive rates that lessen the impact on the VAR bottom line. This speeds up the project timeline and distinguishes the VAR’s product offering.
  • Dedicated Support: Because of how complex and large the AV field is, many digital signage providers are enriching their offerings for VARs by offering direct support to VAR end users. They also offer specialized support which can include custom solution design assistance, assistance with contracts, proposals, RFPs, additional customer support and more.

Of course, these benefits can only be achieved if digital signage VARs know how to tell which providers can actually deliver.

What to Look for in a Digital Signage Provider

Digital signage partners can provide cutting-edge digital displays to provide maximum engagement and professional polish for each display used, but not all distributors have the same skill sets or levels of expertise.

To guarantee an effortless, productive and profitable experience, there are several qualities that digital signage VARs must keep in mind when making their decision.

The Right Qualifications

Each digital signage provider will have a unique history with unique qualifications that make them suitable candidates for various industries. VARs and integrators should seek out digital signage providers that have established portfolios in niches aligned with their own business models:

  • Traditional signage shops may want to focus on digital signage providers that offer a broad spectrum of services and have a proven record of success in a number of different business verticals.
  • Creative agencies should prioritize digital signage partners that understand aesthetics, visual design, and have a track record of style.
  • A/V integrators may want to focus on digital signage providers with focused technological expertise and a variety of capabilities to support the diverse needs of the pro A/V market.
  • IT service providers will want to prioritize signage partners that have a history working with tech-oriented businesses and understand the complex informational needs required from these projects.

Above all, a digital signage VAR should look for providers that are active in the industry, including keeping up to date with trade shows, keeping memberships in industry organizations, and maintaining an active web presence that speaks to the longevity of the brand.

A Reputation of Success

VARs should keep reputation in mind when selecting a digital signage partner.

Some providers lead with cheap first, sacrificing quality, employee well-being, and ongoing support in the process. Saving a few bucks is not an acceptable trade-off for a partnership with a second-rate provider. Quality digital signage partners put quality and customer support first.

Do proper research to thoroughly vet prospective partners and see what other VARs and integrators in the industry are saying in order to weed out providers that do not back up VARs with ongoing service. This is another reason why sticking to digital signage partners who are active in the industry is a smart move.

Ongoing Support

Aside from the initial considerations regarding a digital signage provider’s qualifications or reputation, their commitment to ongoing support must also be considered.

Indeed, this can be a make or break factor for many vARs. Creative agencies and IT support services rely on proper communication among all entities in an outsourced supply chain – something that all quality digital signage providers understand well.

Make sure the digital signage provider chosen stands behind their products, provides continuing support throughout each product’s life cycle and is responsive to questions and communications. It’s to the benefit of VARs and integrators to leave no stone unturned here. Do research to check a signage provider’s support policies, customer service options, available warranties, and product guarantees.

Value-Oriented Collaborations

Although value is no substitute for quality, it’s possible to find digital signage partners who can achieve the best of both worlds for the agencies they work with.

With quality being the primary goal, consider how digital signage providers can improve the bottom line of an organization. Through their optimized tech supply chains, they should be able to offer digital signage solutions that work within a variety of budgets. They may also be able to repurpose old technologies or existing assets in an organization to help reduce waste and extend the value found from each technology investment.

The Right Provider for the Job

The benefits of partnering with a digital signage provider are numerous but VARs need to make their decision carefully:

  • Consider each provider’s qualifications and history of work
  • Review their reputation to ensure their quality
  • Choose partners that provide comprehensive support across each product and service offered
  • Save on the bottom line by selecting partners who back their quality with value-driving practices

With these factors in mind, VARs will be well on their way to securing profitable digital signage partnerships that provide a lifetime of value.

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