If you own or operate OOH media assets, there is a good chance that someone has pitched you a cabinetless display unit. The pitch is very straightforward. It is so straightforward that we can finish it in one sentence – cabinetless displays generally cost 30% less than cabinet LED displays used by most retail companies.
Would you be surprised that this claim is factually correct but grossly misleading? Something can cost less in the short run and yet be exorbitantly expensive in the long run. When you look at your media assets, do you see a short-term investment or a long-term plan?
There is absolutely nothing wrong with focusing on the short term. But, the problem blows out of proportion when sales representatives pitching cabinetless displays do not highlight the long-term implications of their solution.
There is an easy way to find is the sales representative you are dealing with is delivering value or not. Look at the number of white papers, commercial insights, or other educational material she/he has on cabinetless displays.
You will not find a lot of such content because there is not much to talk about. The only positive of having a cabinetless display unit is that you pay less in the near term. But, even that is not the entire truth.
Over a 24-36-month period, if you take the cost of suboptimal performance, maintenance, and component replacement, you will pay way more than the 30% you saved on the cost price. What most sales reps pushing cabinetless displays are not talking about are the myriad challenges that you will face when you install these solutions in your media network:
Your clients pay for the quantity and quality of display units in your network. Cabinetless display units distort the latter because they are assembled and fabricated manually. Because of this practice, most cabinetless display units cannot assure symmetry or accuracy of the picture in the proportion it is meant to be.
The result is a scathing gap between the image you promise in your illustrations and the display quality your OOH assets deliver. With more brands taking a creative approach to their OOH campaigns, this can be a disaster for brands that choose to work with your media network – if you keep the cabinetless LED display units in your media offering.
If you closely observe design trends for OOH media campaigns, you will see an underlying development – brands are shifting to cleaner layouts with lesser elements. This ensures that the key message on each OOH asset is highlighted.
Now, imagine you are the Brand Manager for a major conglomerate. Your company has invested hundreds of crores in developing a comprehensive media strategy. And then you see – images on your OOH points of contact are distorted because, for some reason, the display unit’s anatomy does not support flat images.
You are risking this when you use cabinetless LED display units. Such units are not designed to provide a seamless and flat image aligned with media design trends. Brands and decision-makers for such brands are cognizant of media networks that cannot assure consistency. The cost of using cabinetless units would hence be felt not just by the Brand Managers who trust your media network but also by your business’ bottom line in the long run.
Let’s assume you have very strong relationships with your clients, and they do not mind the picture alignment and demarcation issues on your OOH assets. You do not lose their business. But, your profit margins are still mathematically limited, and they are under attack from fire, rodents, dust, and insects when you use cabinetless display units.
Cabinetless LED display units are just modules installed onto a supporting board. Everything from the wood or metal used in the board to the integrated circuit and processor used in the display unit is put together for only one goal – a low selling price.
You do get the benefit of the said low selling price when you buy the cabinetless display unit. But, short-circuits, exposure to dust, and infestations can expose your display assets to sudden or slow but toxic damage, depending on how lucky you are.
It does not take a genius to see that cabinetless display units expose your business to risk its strategic relationships with leading brands or make a hole in the profit & loss statement. But – let’s put that aside for a moment.
30% cost savings at the moment of purchase are still good savings. The problem with that idea is that 30% is not enough compared to every single risk you face by installing cabinetless display units.
Cabinetless LED display units are designed for affordability at the time of purchase – that is it. They are not designed for rigidity, build quality, consistent performance, safety measures, or even accessibility for maintenance.
You can have one, a few dozens, or a few thousand display assets across your key market – it does not matter. You understand that input costs are only one metric in a large equation that will dictate the profitability of your media network.
Why would you then rely on a solution designed to ignore most of the other decisive metrics?
If the performance, maintenance, or build-quality issues are not a deal-breaker for you – this will be. Cabinetless display units are fabricated to keep the cost of manufacturing low, not the cost of operation or maintenance.
This means that everything from the raw materials to the integrated circuits is designed for affordability and not endurance. Whether you expect consistent performance for your LED display unit or not is irrelevant. You have to expect that in the first one or two years of installing the cabinetless unit, you will incur maintenance costs you did not account for at the time of purchase.
For some reason, if the frequency of the breakdowns does not matter to you – the increasing cost of maintaining the cabinetless LED display unit will surely start weighing in within the first 12 to 36 months of installation.
Most cabinetless display units will start exhibiting performance issues within 18 to 24 months of installation. But, the warranty for such units lasts only between 12 to 36 months. So, every year after the first three years of installation, your entire business is exposed to the annually increasing costs of maintenance, repair, and component replacement for the display unit.
This assumes that the warranty policy backing your LED display units is designed in good faith. Unfortunately, on ground zero, most media operators understand the dodgy practices used in putting together warranty policies that look good until you have to exercise them.
People who often highlight the problems with commonly adapted solutions, including cabinetless display units, often pose the same question – if not this, then what?
Let’s put that question aside for a moment. Instead of jumping on to the alternative, why not try to define what kind of features and benefits should the ideal display unit carry? Here are some of these features you should look for:
The ideal display solution should be engineered in a manner that does not create any demarcations in the image. No matter how minimalistic the display’s design is, the display unit should be able to support it. This would mean that the design and engineering for the display unit should have endowed it with sufficient strength and an efficient design that does not require support at every angle.
You will be able to bridge or even remove the gap between the image quality your illustrations show and what your OOH assets can deliver.
The ideal display solution cannot be made up of wood for its obvious weaknesses against insects, rodents, and fire. On top of that, it should have Internal Terminal Blocks that ensure the power supply is cut as soon as there is a short-circuit, and the damage is isolated from safeguarding most of your OOH assets.
While the display unit should not be air-tight, the materials used should be selected in a manner that ensures the result is resistant to dust. This way, the image quality you deliver would be superior not just to the suboptimal cabinetless display unit but also add value by visually standing out in the Indian climate.
The more rigorous the quality control practices of your media unit seller, the lesser you will be spending on maintenance and repair for your LED display units. At the least, your display unit should have BIS Certification because it is a voluntary certification mechanism. If you want to dial the quality a notch higher, you can also look for UL, CE, and FCC certifications that assure performance on international standards.
Your display unit’s performance and uptime will directly impact the quantity and quality of your inventory. With that in mind, think about the benefits of saving an alleged 30% today, only to pay exponentially higher in terms of lost revenue because of suboptimal performance and incurred maintenance expenses much later.
Hence, the ideal LED display unit should be designed for less maintenance and consistent performance for its entire usable life. Attention to detail in otherwise tacit areas like thermal management that saves electricity cost and your unit from heating up – these are parameters that show whether your display unit will turn out to be an investment or expense.
At this point, you would not be surprised to find that cabinet display units tend to have most of these qualities and hence are preferable over cabinetless display units on any given day in a calendar year. But, the cabinet display units offered by Xtreme Media add another layer of value to a 7-year warranty program.
After working with major media networks across the country, we understood that performance is a deciding factor, but media operators also want to protect their downside. Hence, we provide an industry-first seven-year warranty policy that limits your cost of maintenance & servicing, component replacement, and ownership.
So, now, you can have the additional benefits of owning a cabinet display unit and the comprehensive warranty promise offered by Xtreme Media for 2x the usable life of a cabinetless display unit.
At the end of the day, it is your media network, and you are the one who will bear the costs and benefits of owning the media assets. But, to be aligned with our practice of absolute transparency as a company, we believe it is important for you to know what you are buying when you buy cabinetless display units while providing a better solution