Why Entrepreneurial Dealers Think Outside the Walls
By now most of you are well into your 2014 projects and scouting opportunities to make this year better than the last. You’re asking yourself how to increase your marketability as a dealer, expand what you can offer customers, improve efficiency and educate your teams. Many of you will ask, “What aren’t my competitors doing?”
There is no shortage of areas in the industry that are ripe for improvement, but too often dealers declare, “there is nothing new under the sun” and going about business as usual.
Dealers that are set in their ways are precluding themselves from certain jobs and leaving money on the table. Their barrier to entry is your big break. Consider outdoor AV and the countless opportunities that exist outside the four walls of your client’s space. When you limit your job site with a narrow scope you’re also limiting your profits, not to mention failing to give your clients the opportunity to use their wireless networks and IP configurable technology to the fullest.
The connected home, commercial control products, smartphone interactivity, automation systems, outdoor lighting and AV systems are within your purview. Learning how these product categories are changing to accommodate outdoor technology is the difference between evolving with the times and standing still in a constantly moving industry. And forgive me for using this tired saying, but this is the time to think outside of the box.
Consider the pervasiveness of consumer tablet and smartphone use. Businesses that acknowledge this trend, and stay ahead of the curve by incorporating systems that engage their customers, are rewarded with more traffic and increased sales. Outdoor retail and hospitality spaces are an extension of the indoor environment, be it entertaining, relaxing or exciting. Your expert recommendations educate business owners on how to utilize that space more appropriately for consumers who are increasingly using their smartphones to multi-task, pay bills and communicate in commercial spaces.
Digital signage continues to boom. This is particularly true thanks to touch-sensitive features, RFID and Wi-Fi allowing multiple business applications from entertainment to wayfinding. The value a dealer can bring is in evaluating an outdoor space and making determinations of how Open Pluggable Specification (OPS) needs, energy consumption and acoustics impact what products should be considered for the job. The industry’s system design resources exist specifically to work with dealers to help make these determinations because it helps pass value on to customers and increase profits across the board.
Developing a level of comfort with niche commercial spaces is an advantage that translates well to residential custom installations. The knowledge that qualifies you to specify a system for a restaurant or bar will make you well equipped to create a high end game room, man cave or home theater. The attention to detail and atmosphere that goes into the amenities of a modern spa or resort lounge will fit perfectly into a luxury patio, pool deck or private clubhouse. Who among us wouldn’t want a custom tiki bar or high-tech outdoor kitchen in our media gallery?
Companies like Peerless-AV and SunBrite continue to innovate in the arena of outdoor AV, and the options available to both extend indoor technology or create independent outdoor systems continues to grow. Major manufacturers like Samsung, Bose and Polk Audio are thinking outside the walls because more commercial retail and hospitality spaces are asking for it, which in turn leads to mimicked concepts in the residential market.
It’s time to diversify your project portfolio to consider outdoor AV, because the training opportunities to get you up to speed are available, the product lines already exist to give your customers options and the technical support is there when you need it. The learning curve is slight and entrepreneurial custom installers have this amazing area of specialization to incorporate into their businesses. You’ve already mastered indoors, and now there is something new under the sun in outdoor AV systems.