Finally, the Right Digital Signage Solution for SMBs?

By Todd Fender

On Tuesday, Samsung announced the launch and availability of Samsung SMART Signage TV (SSTV).  Targeted at small to medium businesses (SMBs) with one to nine employees, this turnkey, entry-level, digital signage solution combines the functionality of a traditional TV (with tuner) and built-in content management software including 200 customizable templates.

The 40” RM40D and 48” RM48D include Wi-Fi connectivity, built-in memory, and are capable of portrait and landscape orientation; both include a wall mount and stand as well. The solution is designed for up to 16 hours a day, 7 days a week usage to align with standard business hours and will carry a full 3-year warranty, unlike typical consumer TV displays which are intended for 6-8 hours a day usage and carry a 1-year warranty.

However, what truly sets this new solution aside from others is that, instead of being sold through traditional IT distribution and B2B resellers, Samsung will be selling SSTV through major clubs (which may include Sam’s Club, Costco, and others) and consumer electronics and office supply retailers (may include Best Buy, Staples, and others), where SMBs and IT professionals purchase business equipment.

Samsung SSTV will be available at an MSRP of $749 for the 40-inch model and $999 for the 48-inch model. The ASPs for similar-sized Samsung TVs with 1-year warranties, designed for 6-8 hours a day usage, are $442 and $785, respectively; ASPs for similar-sized Samsung commercial displays with three-year warranties are $759 and $880, respectively. However, neither of these offerings includes a wall mount or any of the built-in digital signage content and control versatility

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Samsung hasn’t been the only major brand to identify the SMB market as a major target. Others have tried to tap into this market, but have found it difficult to reach these decision makers by utilizing traditional IT sales channels. They have also found it very expensive to use their own sales forces. On the surface, it appears that Samsung has learned from the experience of others and have addressed the two biggest challenges: channel and price.

Additionally, it is clearly evident that Samsung has taken notice of one of the biggest threats to the commercial display industry: TVs. TV display quality has improved dramatically over the past several years, making them “good enough” for many entry-level digital signage installations. This coupled with the fact that their average selling prices (ASPs) are generally half that of a commercial display make it relatively easy to see why many end users, who only require light usage of the screens (less than 24/7 operation), are turning to TVs or hybrid displays. Over the past few years, the majority of displays being sold through in the U.S. via B2B resellers have been TVs. According to the Monthly Large Format Commercial Displays Sell Through Report, two-thirds of large format displays 26”+ sold through B2B resellers in Q2 were TVs.

We will be monitoring the results of Samsung’s new approach to see if it is perceived by commercial display end-users as being as easy to buy as a TV, while offering more value at an acceptable price premium.