I have constantly received inquiries from some who wish to build up a digital signage business in local during the past few months. After countless exciting discussions with passionate and professional individuals, I would like to share some steps we often take before getting into the digital signage business.
Please note that this is merely based on what I have experienced as a sales in Cayin technology, a manufacturer of media players and content management servers. Since I don’t personally handle physical documents or registration of a business, I will not cover this process here. On the other hand, will definitely appreciate if anyone has any different opinions and experience to share.
Let’s get started!
1. Choose the industries to begin with
Although all digital signage system set-ups contain hardware/software acquisition, configuration, content design, project planning, implementation and after-sales support, the concerns from different industries vary a lot. For example, in museum applications, the content design holds an important place while in government/corporate, system security might be the most important aspect they look at this.
Choose the industries that you have more understanding of, so it’s easier to plan your business target and get into this.
2. Position your business in the supply chain
The supply chain for digital signage varies in different markets. There are hardware manufacturers and software developers from upstream. Stakeholders in-between position their business according to their service and channel partners.
Here I have simply listed out two roles that I’m most familiar with, but I’m sure they're a lot of different work divisions according to the industry dynamic.
- Distributor: a distributor understands thoroughly the capabilities and positioning of the brand(s) they’re representing, and manage the inventory and logistic of the products in local. They’ll be able to market the products and serve as a local touchpoint for the brands, providing pre and post-sales support for system integrator/installers.
- System integrator: literally who integrates equipment as a solution and provides installation, system design, buying, and reselling service for end-user.
Vertical integration in some markets is very common, as more segmented work division exists as well. Observe and study the industry in your area, and think about your capacity.
3. Think about your service value and margin
Now you have an understanding of the clientele’s needs and the supply chain, the thing needed to think about is the service value to add. Do you want to take charge of official proposal drafting (for gov), sales activity planning (for retail), advertisement management (for advertising), content design, management, and hardware (including but not limited to digital signage, but also network design) installation?
This got back to my first point: you need to understand the market needs and opt in to your specialized system design, examples include integration with QMS, facial recognition, interactive screen, etc. You can get into one of these and make it your major business at a primary stage. Then, you could get on thinking about the margin you should get.
4. Find your channel partner and discuss
Get in touch with suppliers and talk with them about trade terms and the support they will provide. You should also seek those who will help deal with end-user if you’re not handling the job directly.
Finding partners can also be your first step if you don’t have much idea of your role and what you’ll be specializing in. Channel partners might share their idea and experiences with you. Learn from those discussions and choose the supplier that align with your business model the most. Simply put, it’s a step to build up a business channel for real and solidifying your business connection.
I hope this article serves as a reference for those who are interested in this business, and a basis for fruitful discussion for those who are already in the business.
Good luck with your business and project!
For any sales inquiry or partnership discussion, (or just to talk and make friends!) please contact me at [email protected], or message me on LinkedIn. I’d be glad to know people from tech, marketing, writing, and any other sector.