Cabela’s is one of the world’s most recognizable outdoor retail brands, in part because of its ambitious multi-media content production operation. Through print and digital media, Cabela’s provides a steady stream of engaging content about outdoor products and activities to consumers in their homes and at the company’s 37 retail stores in the U.S. and Canada.
Since its beginnings in 1961, Cabela’s has grown by understanding what products their customers want, how they use the products, and how they want to purchase them. The Sidney, Nebraskabased retailer of hunting, fishing, and outdoor gear produces nearly 100 different catalogs per year and its own magazine, Cabela’s Outfitter Journal. On the electronic front, Cabela’s maintains one of the busiest e-commerce sites on the Internet. Cabelas.com features continuously updated community pages, plus company and product information. It has been ranked the number-one site in the outdoor retailer industry by Sporting Classics magazine.
Cabela’s retail stores are another example of the company understanding their customers. Many of the company’s stores are destinations for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s common for Cabela’s customers to arrange their vacation travel to visit the company’s larger stores, which feature taxidermy displays, gun libraries, and restaurants.
Cabela’s produces hundreds of hours of video content featuring prominent outdoors journalists and celebrities who showcase new gear, discuss the latest outdoor hot spots, and teach camping, boating, hunting, and fishing skills. In 2010, Cabela’s started equipping its stores with Hughes Digital Signage video screen networks and video walls to display its video content, along with product information and interactive customer service applications. These screens are used to enhance the experience and to provide valuable assistance to customers.
The Hughes Digital Signage system consists of a digital signage server in Cabela’s main data center in Nebraska connected via an IP wide area network (WAN) to media players placed throughout each store. The server pushes content to the players as file transfers, and the players display the content on screens throughout the stores. Managers quickly and easily schedule delivery of new and updated content, specific to each store display, though the easyto- use Hughes interface on the digital signage server.
The Cabela’s Grand Junction, Colorado, store was the first to have the full array of screens, including the video wall. Hughes Digital Signage touchscreen end-caps in the Grand Junction store display images of the products stocked in each aisle and provide customers with on-demand information for select products. More touch screens throughout the store provide interactive content to help customers decide which product is best for them by watching video clips and entering information into step-by-step tutorials. The video wall consists of nine 42-inch monitors that display Cabela’s videos as one super-sized image. Additional screens in the employee break room deliver company updates and general product information.
“The video wall is for ambience,” said Gary Putman, enterprise network manager at Cabela’s. “It gives us a good ‘wow’ factor while delivering brand messaging at the same time.”
Cabela’s has digital signage in all of its stores and plans to add video walls to every retrofitted and newly constructed store. Putman said the company evaluated a competitive digital signage solution but chose Hughes because it offered the most flexible combination of interactivity and centralized content management the company wanted.
“Hughes also demonstrated that they had the digital signage expertise we needed for these new and exciting media concepts,” Putman said. “We wanted to be able to show the Cabela’s brand the right way, not just playing whatever people brought in on their thumb drives. For that we needed centralized control. Another big factor for us was a system that supported interactive content that helps our customers get the biggest bang for their buck.”
A good example is a customer who’s interested in buying a safe. Cabela’s has an interactive touchscreen program that takes customers through the steps of deciding on the right safe for them. It gives information about the different models, videos of the safe, and comments from other customers about why they bought one. It takes customers through a questionnaire that asks them what they’re storing— for example, valuables and important papers as well as guns. How many guns? How long a fire rating do they need? What kind of lighting do they want? The interactive screen will take the customer through the options and help them understand what they need to know when purchasing a home safe. Cabela’s distributes and manages all of the content through the Hughes system.
Most recently, Hughes has created a solution that lets Cabela’s display product information using an Apple® iPad mounted on the counter top. This capability is another extension of the rich functionality of the Hughes Digital Signage system already in place.