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In the past few months I have attended several major trade shows to see what's new and visit with my friendly competitors to see how they are doing. I know almost all my competitors and have many good friends in the industry (digital menu boards). I learned several things, but one stood out more than the others.
Everyone wants to be unique, and we all promote our product differences and unique advantages to set us apart from our competitors. That was easy to do with the old traditional boards because we all had slightly different manufacturing methods, methods of displaying the content and unique designs. The boards were designed and built from scratch, and so we could use our design and manufacturing advantages to set our products apart.
This is much more difficult to do with digital menu boards because the hardware is much more generic. When I walk down the show aisles, all the digital boards look exactly the same to me. The only noticeable differences are in the content. However, every supplier promotes their unique differences and advantages. A great example of this is one supplier offered a choice of decorative frames that could be placed over the LCD display to make it look different. If you are a prospective customer you have to ask yourself, "How can they all be different and all be the best?"
The answer is there is very little difference, if any, between each supplier's digital boards. There are slight differences in the quality of the displays used, features of the software, capabilities of the players and ease of use, but all suppliers have access to the same or equal components and can assemble the components any way the customer wants. The only real difference is the capability of the supplier to assemble these components in manner that best meets the customer's needs and provide the best service.
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