Sales & Marketing

You Want to Become a One-Stop Shop? The only thing better than doing a good job on part of a customer’s campaign is doing a good job on all of a customer’s campaign. These days, a lot of campaigns leverage both digital signage and digitally printed signage. That rising trend has encouraged an evolution in the consolidation sweeping through the print industry: signage shops who do both. However customers don’t just want any old partner who can do both. They want one who can do both and do it better than if they’d gone to two separate vendors. Vendors see these changes and are increasingly looking to deliver both digital and printed signage offerings to benefit from both sides of the signage boom. If you’re a sign shop who wants to offer electronic and printed signage, you know you want to bring in more business by making that move and you also know serving as a one-stop shop for your customers makes their buying experience simpler and less stressful. Whether a potential customer is checking out your shop or you’re looking into vendor partners, it all starts with the portfolio. You can’t be a successful digital-and-print sign shop if you don’t have top-notch solutions on both sides of the house. When selecting your vendor partner, don’t settle for lower quality—of either type—just for the benefits of having a single partner. The usual factors such as image resolution, turn times, and substrate versatility still apply on the print side, just as image quality, power consumption, ease of use, and implementation factor into your digital signage decision. If a potential partner’s portfolio can’t meet your digital and print signage needs, they’re already out of the running. When it comes to signage, we all know the solution set is far from the whole story. A good one-stop partner has both the portfolio and the expertise to apply it in ways to help your sign shop grow. When vetting potential partners, once you’ve narrowed the field down to the ones who’ve got the equipment you need to succeed, look for proof points. Does your potential partner have a strong history servicing your industry? Do they have proven, relevant results that demonstrate a clear record of helping businesses like yours grow? Drill down beyond the company level.If a potential partner has a strong track record but has been on the losing end of a “brain drain” of talent leaving the company, you won’t benefit as much as you might have hoped. Ask to talk with your potential partner’s relevant experts and gauge the level of guidance you can expect from the partnership. We’ve talked a lot about what a good single-source partner for digital signage and digitally printed signage should have. But beyond giving your accounts payable department fewer names to worry about, why should you rely on just one partner for your digital print and digital signage needs? Well for a lot of the same reasons you give your customers for turning to you as a single-source partner. Whether you’re talking about digital print, digital signage, or commercial print, it’s all about a brand or entity trying to get a message across. The message, and its branding, have to be consistent across all channels. That includes image and color consistency. If your printed sign nails Coca-Cola® red, but the digital sign is a little more McDonald’s®, it harms the brand and can jeopardize the business relationship. You may want to seek out a partner with G7 certification, because it indicates expertise in that kind of consistency from screen to print, job to job, across campaigns. It’s much easier to rely on a partner known for multichannel consistency than for you to act as a go-between for two different vendors who need to achieve consistency. Not having to do that work yourself ties into the other major benefit of working with one partner: streamlined workflows. While third-party workflow consultants can help bridge gaps between the digital signage and print sides of your business, it’s much simpler—and, often, much more efficient—to streamline from the start. A sole-source partner who knows the industry and knows the ways successful shops operate multichannel campaigns can implement workflows that drive consistency and efficiencies—the savings from partnering with the right provider can go far beyond equipment bundles. Remember it all boils down to finding a partner with both the capabilities and the consistency to succeed in printed and digital signage. Capabilities come from a partner’s portfolio and expertise. Consistency comes from getting those capabilities from one partner who knows how to serve you, who provides guidance and added value. You can buy a printer or digital signage equipment just about anywhere. A valuable partner takes more searching, but your customers—and your bottom line—will thank you. By John Fulena, vice president of Production Printing Business Group at Ricoh. Photo: Daktronics

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