Australian printing firm Dashing is broadening its retail services to digital signage and interactive solutions in a new partnership developed with the cloud-based content management provider, ComQi, Inc.
Adopting ComQi’s core EnGage software platform enables Sydney-based Dashing to formally and fully expand its range of services to deliver and support networked, interactive and IoT-centric digital signage displays for its many top retail customers.
Dashing is technically a ComQi reseller in the new agreement, but CEO Mike Palmer sees the relationship as much more of a full partnership.
Dashing’s move into digital is a logical, evolutionary step for a company that has grown rapidly to now offer a diverse set of wide format, full color capabilities that are used to make visual statements in retail and other business settings. Dashing has grown six-fold in just four years, and now has over 150 staff.
Already digitally-savvy because of some parallel online capabilities offered under Dashing’s roof, the company started looking for a suitable content management platform in 2015. “We wanted someone who was at the higher end of the market,” explains Palmer. “There are a number of digital signage companies that deliver low-end market positions, but that was certainly not what we were after.”
Palmer says his management team canvassed and interviewed several vendors, but was impressed with ComQi’s executive team and client base, and decided to invest in a due diligence phase. “We had two senior technical guys from our company fly to North America for a week, spending time in New York and in Toronto, and their brief was to assess ComQi’s technology. They came back raving about the technology and the technical team that ComQi had in Toronto, and about the platform that underlies their offering,” says Palmer “It was particularly gratifying that there was a meeting of the minds to jointly do some things together in the future, from a technical viewpoint.”
Stuart Armstrong, President of the Americas for ComQi, says the partnership is a natural fit, given ComQi’s primary focus on the retail sector and several clients shared with Dashing
“Together, we bring the domain intelligence of being able to know what those clients want and need. Because as you know, there’s a lot of folks saying, ‘Well I’d like to utilize digital signage, but I don’t know how it’s going to be most effective for increasing traffic, increasing conversion, loyalty, driving sales.’ Being able to consolidate clients in such a way that they feel comfortable, with it giving them a return, is very helpful in the sales process,” says Armstrong.
ComQi’s EnGage CMS is specifically designed to support and leverage the rapidly-emerging implications and possibilities of smart retail environments. EnGage’s Smart Hub media players can drive regular and interactive content to screens, kiosks and video walls, but the players and central server can also connect the information steadily generated by retail technologies like beacons, RFID, NFC, ePOS, and other IoT devices. EnGage and Smart Hubs provide the sorts of insights and content triggers that make a difference on the sales floor for retail customers.
Dashing’s go-to-market strategy is a turnkey solution which leverages the creative and technical skills it already has in-house, running ComQi solutions largely on behalf of clients.
“We think the model will be that we will manage it for them,” says Palmer. “A lot of these big retailers are looking to reduce their supply list and their in-house resources. If they can bill a single supplier – particularly an existing supplier like us – and we can manage it all for them, that’s the solution they seek, to allow them to focus on the critical aspects of their business.”
Armstrong sees an opportunity for Dashing to be much more than a pure reseller for ComQi – because of the developer access ComQi provides, and its extensible, Internet of Things-centered platform design.
“As they get more input on what clients are looking for, and as their technical people are digging into the platform, learning more about the EnGage system, we plan to join on developing capabilities with them,” says Armstrong, “taking that input to develop new enhancements, not just for the platform, but extending it into other areas, as we look at mobile applications and the use of tablets in empowering the sales associates; enhancing fitting room environments. All of those things are possible in how we work with good partners.”
To manage the expansion into digital signage solutions, Dashing is consolidating staff in a single North Sydney office block, and adding both a technical lab and showroom-demo area at reception. “To people who are getting out of the lift, the first thing they will see now is a video wall,” says Palmer.
Dashing is a 100% Australian-owned business with over 30 years experience operating in the Sydney market as a design and print house. The company has grown to become a full service business, offering design, print and technology solutions to primarily the multi-site retail and franchises industries.
ComQi is a global leader providing a cloud-based Shopper Engagement Technology that influences consumers at the point of decision, in-venue, using all digital touch-points: digital signage, mobile, video, touch, web, and social networks. ComQi is a global company headquartered in New York with offices in Toronto, and London with over 16 years of expertise and an installed base across every continent.