Carousel Digital Signage (opens in new tab) is helping Sun & Ski Sports bring customized, season-specific content to its stores across the country. The retailer is deploying Carousel Cloud throughout its organization to showcase the products and services it offers to its customer base of outdoor enthusiasts.
Founded in 1980 and headquartered in Stafford, Texas, Sun & Ski Sports is a specialty outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment retailer with 32 stores in 12 states across America. The company differentiates itself through exceptional customer service, first-hand expertise, and competitively priced brands ready to perform for any journey. Its brand marketing team handles all marketing and creative efforts in-house, including store signage, email, social media, digital display, website, print ads, and distribution of video content to displays positioned in its stores.
Robert Budnik Jr., director of brand marketing at Sun & Ski Sports, explained that the retailer previously used a legacy video publishing process that required team members to deliver individual USB thumb drives loaded with content to each store location.
“We would mail them out to our 32 locations every few months,” he said. “The amount of work involved in purchasing the thumb drives, loading them with video content, and then sending them off and following up with each store to ensure fresh content was uploaded before each season became a logistical nightmare.”
This system was also inefficient when tailoring specific content to each location. “A store in Houston doesn’t need to receive content about local ski or bike rentals, but our resort store locations like in Colorado and Mammoth Lakes do,” he said. “I wanted a solution that would allow us to publish customized content relevant to each specific local market easily.”
Budnik first encountered Carousel Digital Signage solutions while working at another retailer and identified Carousel Cloud as the best solution for Sun & Ski Sports, with Apple TV players for playback. The retailer began testing Carousel Cloud at two locations in Texas and Maryland during the fall of 2021. Since then, it is regularly bringing stores online with the goal of achieving a deployment across all stores in the coming months.
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Approximately 95% of Sun & Ski Sports content runs on consumer-facing displays, which are positioned strategically throughout each store. These screens run lifestyle and action footage of people engaged in various year-round outdoor activities, such as skiing, snowboarding, hiking, watersports, biking, running, and more. Each marketing campaign runs every four to six weeks, with two team members overseeing video content development, scheduling, and distribution.
In the upcoming year, Sun & Ski Sports will install displays with Apple TV players in its corporate headquarters. Carousel Cloud will push employee-facing messaging developed by different departments, including human resources–accentuating the software’s ease of use for users of any skillset.
“Carousel Cloud has improved our workflow considerably, and eliminated a lot of the problems that we would have in going through the content approval process,” Budnik said. “We don’t have to transfer files to thumb drives anymore and if issues arise, we can quickly fix it from our centralized hub. We no longer have to walk a local store manager through troubleshooting an unfamiliar technology. We instead focus on running the right content at the right time, and we have much more control over our message and what our customers see on the screen.”
While Budnik and his team continue to scale up their usage, they receive regular support from the Carousel Digital Signage team. “Their support team is really on top of their game––any time we reach out to them, they get right back to us. They also have great documentation to help you learn the system.” One Sun & Ski Sports designer is currently going through Carousel Academy’s training curriculum, “and she’s constantly updating me about features that we can benefit from.”
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Ultimately, Budnik said that as a true turnkey solution, Carousel Cloud greatly facilitates the setup and management tasks associated with rolling out a seamless digital signage management solution. “What I like about Carousel is that once you configure everything correctly, it runs itself until you need to change the content. The user-friendly software was helpful and made it easy while launching the network, and its scalability is something we use to its full advantage.”