Guest Post: Balaji Kamineni, Zeetaminds
AV companies and integrators deal with a lot of products and digital signage is just a small part of their over all business. However, with digital signage growing at a CAGR of 7.3% and the need to increase their margins, vendors are keen on adding their own flavour to digital signage and that’s where white-labeling comes in.
What is a White Labeled Solution?
White-labelling is essentially having a product on your brand name, without actually building it from scratch. Have you ever wondered why there are so many different brands for electronic accessories? It’s possible that most of these accessories are manufactured in a factory in China and only the packaging and the branding changes. To the end-customer, it appears as if the brand created the product.
The same is applicable for digital signage software – where a solutions provider can offer a content management solution that is branded as their own, but was built and supported by a third party behind the scenes.
Why can’t I build my own signage software?
Most AV Integrators and resellers would have had the thought of having digital signage software on their brand name let alone develop one from scratch. I have seen few AV vendors who went into that cycle of developing the software, but were unable to sustain active development. The signage software was obsolete in no time.
It is not easy to build a robust yet scalable digital signage CMS software. It takes a decent amount of time and money to realize a stable product. Even then, a stable product is not necessarily a competitive product, unless it has innovations that no one can match.
If sales is your strength, not software development, white-labeling a software solution likely makes more sense.
What do I get from white-labeling?
You get your own CMS, under your web URL, your brand name and brand logo. Typically, there will not be a trace of the actual software provider anywhere in the CMS. Sometimes, a software company selling white label options may try to slip “Powered by …” into a line in the footers of pages.
White-labeling is awesome in may ways because:
- It’s your brand, logo and rules;
- You can price the software the way you want;
- Though you are in some respects a reseller, your customers or prospects can’t go around you to get to the actual CMS software developer;
- Your business name will be on top of mind with your customers;
- You can offer a solution, but keep in-house resources focused on your core business competency;
- Margins are usually higher than just being a reseller;
- And finally, white-labelling is a lot more practical and cheaper than building your own CMS software from scratch.
White-labeling is not for everyone because:
- Marketing collateral of the original brand cannot be used, so you’ll need to develop your own, which is time and cost;
- You cannot capitalize on the brand name of the original provider and its reviews;
- You have no control over the development cycle of the original product, and minimal insight into its business state or plans.
To conclude, go ahead with a white-labeled software if you are well known AV company in your area, can get decent leads on your own and have established trust.
However, selecting the right software for white-labeling is very important, as it is more of a long-term partnership and the stickiness factor is high. Choose to be a reseller partner if you want the flexibility of having multiple digital signage software providers in your portfolio or would like to capitalize on the brand and the marketing abilities of the original software provider.
Main points to consider for choosing the right white-label partner
Stability of the Software: Validate and test if the software can efficiently manage 1,000’s of displays and yet remain rock-solid at the same time.
Multi-Platforms Support: Digital signage software which supports multiple platforms like Windows, Android, LG webOS, etc will give you an edge over others, as the range of supported hardware is wider.
Active Development Cycle: Know about the next list of features the signage provider is working on and its development cycle. This helps ensure the software will stay relevant in the long run.
Digital Signage Experience: A good amount of experience is essential for a digital signage software to be shortlisted for white-labelling. Experience counts as several iterations and improvements would have happened over time. In some cases, reviews on software listings website indicate how long the company has been in business, and how the product improved over time.
Balaji Kamineni is a Co-Founder of Zeetaminds, a Cloud-Based Digital Signage Platform for Digital Out Of Home (DOOH). He has a Masters degree in Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Esade, Spain. Passionate about building extraordinary products in B2B space.