A common thread that connects these five CI Industry Leaders in the retail market is that they’re not particularly large firms.
At $19.5 million annual revenue, Edwards Technologies is far and away the largest in the group. One reason for that is that it takes a certain focus to excel in this unique market with extremely demanding clients.
Tricks of the Trade
Edwards Technologies credits its success in the retail market to “strategic planning coupled with creative technology design that results in highly engaging, multi-sensory experiences with improved cost and operational efficiencies for our clients,” says CEO Brian Edwards.
There’re no two ways about it, adds Edwards Technologies’ VP of business development Roberta Perry. “The retail market is a tough market! We have found, in short, that in order to thrive in that marketplace we had to have four touch points for the retailer: a special or unique value proposition, an intellectual property, 24/7 support services [which is an opportunity for] recurring revenue, and in-house content production.”
An integration firm’s retail solutions need to be super simple, adds Kevin Goldsmith, director of global media operations for Ping HD — “easy to use, easy to maintain, easy to support and easy to set up and install. It’s great to land a high-profile retailer, but for maximum value think about roll-out potential rather than a solution that would only fit the budget and means of a flagship store location.”
In terms of simplicity, PingHD provides “the complete turnkey solution with a one throat to choke approach,” Goldsmith says. “Bundling the solution into a complete all-inclusive three-year cost has proven to be successful with much of our competition providing high upfront costs and monthly [costs].”
Retail Isn’t for Everybody
“If you are not already in the retail space, it might not be a smart vertical to enter,” cautions RPAV owner Ron Prier. “Retail brick and mortar is shrinking. Retail construction is practically non-existent. Your best bet would be if you can find a niche market in the retail space such as music service, service contracts, etc.”
To be successful in retail, your firm needs patience, says Ping HD’s Goldsmith.
“Retail is a tough nut to crack, especially the larger chains. You should expect a lengthy sales cycle and always be prepared to end up doing a small pilot first before closing any business of scale. Also expect your margins to be lower than you might be used to, especially compared to other vertical markets.”