The Sun Diego Boardshop in Carlsbad, California, sells everything from surfboards to bikinis to sunglasses, as well as beach-related gifts and knickknacks — and it’s using leading wave immersive technologies to set just the right “Surfin’ Safari” vibe.
Sun Diego moved into an enormous octagonal ballroom at the Twin Inns, which Carlsbad Magazine dubbed “the anchor of all Carlsbad landmarks.” In its 127-year history, the Twin Inns served as home to Gerhard Schutte, known as the “father of Carlsbad,” and several elegant restaurants before recently converting to retail space.
“There’s a ton of Carlsbad’s history in that building,” said Pete Censoplano, Sun Diego’s vice president of operations and marketing. “It was important to us to do something historic and special.”
Staying true to the building’s heritage, the store features iconic surf photographs and a rotating exhibit of notable vintage surfboards dating back to the early 1900s. Sun Diego decorated the space with a turn-of-the-century industrial theme, save for one notable exception: a mammoth high-definition video wall.
Sun Diego wanted a dramatic centerpiece for the store that captured the thrill of surfing while also showcasing the different brands it sells.
“The main part of our industry is obviously the romance of surfing and the beautiful places surfers get to go,” Censoplano said. “There’s no better way to tell a story to a customer than through video.”
Censoplano, along with Sun Diego’s owner, saw a video wall in another business and knew it would be the perfect addition to their new space. While the wall Censoplano saw featured a two-minute looped ad for just one clothing brand, Sun Diego wanted to feature clips that highlighted all of the brands it sells. The store also hoped to host live-stream events around competitions such as the U.S. Open of Surfing.
A synchronized picture that ran seamlessly across multiple screens ranked highest among Sun Diego’s priorities for the video wall. The firm putting in the video wall had worked with NEC Display Solutions on several previous projects and recommended the company’s displays for the Twin Inns store because they’re designed to create a unified image when tiled.
While Sun Diego can’t quantify the ROI of the video wall yet, Censoplano said that it’s made a huge difference in the store’s atmosphere. Eventually he hopes to be able to tie specific promotions to sales results. While this is the nine-store chain’s first use of a video wall, it will likely include one when it renovates its Belmont Park location, as well as in any new stores.
“The video wall definitely impacts customer satisfaction,” he said. “We’ve had so many compliments on the store. Just the reaction that we’re getting from the look of the store and the combination of the modern video wall—when you leave, you think, ‘Whoa, that’s really cool.'”
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