The digital signage industry has gradually come around to the idea that buyers are less interested in how things work than they are in what the things will do for them. You see that reflected in trade show booths that are increasingly putting the technology in context, like faux retail settings.
The next step, logically, is to have real stores as the showrooms. That kinda sorta works when an account exec takes clients through retail spaces where there stuff is installed, but that has its limits. Like you can’t run meetings in a busy apparel store.
NYC-based ComQi did an interesting run at this challenge last fall – taking over a leather goods store called Tusk for a couple of days and filling it with their own tech and that of some key partners. I heard from ComQi’s Stu Armstrong, and also separately from a vendor, that it went well and drove a lot of foot traffic and discussions.
The set-up was handy in that the shop is maybe a block away from the ComQi offices.
The vendors involved were:
- Velocity Worldwide
This sort of thing makes sense to me, and with so much distressed retail out there, it strikes me that a vendor could easily take over an emptied bank or QSR or apparel store in a strip mall or main street, and set up a “store of the future” or whatever for a week surrounding a trade show or conference.
So often, I see presentations and pitches from people who lead with the tech and gadgets and pretty much force prospective customers to imagineer what they might do with it. Context, man. Context.
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for some 14 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia, on Canada’s east coast.