“Technology is rewriting operating models across every sector of the economy, but nowhere do we feel this more in our day-to-day lives than in retail.”
– McKinsey & Company
New technologies, such as iPad POS systems, have changed the way businesses operate, enhancing efficiency and productivity as well as reducing costs and boosting profits. You may not think of your local grocery store or nearby outlet mall as hubs for innovation, but the retail industry is on the cutting edge of the emerging tech explosion, especially when it comes to mobile solutions that enhance customer shopping experiences. As McKinsey & Company states, “Technology is rewriting operating models across every sector of the economy, but nowhere do we feel this more in our day-to-day lives than in retail.”
The Retail Shift to Mobile
Retailers see customers with a mobile devices as opportunities to push location-based notifications with offers and coupons, give information on where to find items in a brick-and-mortar stores, and create additional purchase options if an item is out of stock. Technology for retailers is also simplifying the checkout process by offering mobile payment or scan-and-go, which bypasses the checkout line completely.
These days, many retailers are shifting their focus by offering mobile solutions for associates too. According to the BRP POS/Customer Engagement Survey, mobile devices and tablets are growing faster than other technology in stores, with some retailers phasing out kiosks and traditional POS terminals.
Mobile devices in the hands of customer-facing associates enhance the customer experience by facilitating faster checkouts, collecting customer data and viewing accurate inventory status in real-time. Behind the scenes, these tools improve efficiency when used by employees for processing buy online/pickup in store (BOPIS) orders and in conjunction with “smart shelves” for restocking.
“Many retailers are scrambling to adjust to the ‘Amazon Effect’ and are exploring order fulfillment automation to try to increase the speed and flexibility of operations in order to compete with Amazon.”
Mobility Solutions for Seamless Warehousing
The pandemic has accelerated the e-commerce trend, with online order volumes exploding at historic levels. 2020 online shopping growth in the U.S. jumped more than 30% year-over-year. The sudden shift to online shopping from physical locations have accelerated omnichannel retail trends, such as BOPIS, curbside-pickup, and home delivery. “Many retailers are scrambling to adjust to the ‘Amazon Effect’ and are exploring order fulfillment automation to try to increase the speed and flexibility of operations in order to compete with Amazon,” explains Forbes.
Three mobility automation solutions in warehouse technology that are helping retailers meet new challenges.
- Tablet-enabled Robots: Retailers use autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) such as the Locus Robotics 3PLs for fulfillment warehouses to cost-effectively keep up with huge demand, customer expectations, and limited labor availability.
- Zebra Printers: Bluetooth-enabled mobile thermal printers generate high-quality receipts for BOPIS customers who enjoy online-quality convenience at a physical store.
- Handheld Scanners: Barcodes make it possible to track inventory more accurately while scanning devices allow warehouse workers to quickly locate, pick, ship, and deliver products seamlessly to customers. Smart shelving can also be connected to handheld devices, so employees know when goods are received, placed on a shelf, or leave the warehouse.
Devices like tablets and smartphones make it easier for employees to work anywhere, increasing productivity and responsiveness.
To better understand the drivers behind workforce mobilization and best practices of those deployments, we surveyed over 15,000 organizations for a data-driven look at the current state of workforce mobilization. Our survey found that 86% of organizations are now in the research or pilot phase of deploying devices. Respondents embrace workplace mobilization for three key reasons:
1. Improve Communications
Mobilization helps employees and customers connect more easily and generates speedier response times. Facilitating faster checkout with a mobile POS in a retail environment can also positively influence revenue. Not to mention, “Mobile POS lowers the overall cost of ownership by eliminating or minimizing the need for ‘big iron’ (a thick-client cash register) at store level and virtually eliminating annual hardware maintenance fees,” explains BRP.
2. Faster Transaction Processing
Faster transaction processing is a major contributor to the push toward mobilization. Devices like tablets and smartphones make it a breeze for employees to work anywhere, increasing productivity and responsiveness.
3. Eliminating Manual/Paper Processes
What 66% of organizations seek to impact most by eliminating manual processes is reduced operating overhead and increased revenue. A sales associate in a retail environment armed with a mobile POS can check out customers on the spot, increasing customer store sales, inventory turnover, and upsell opportunities.
Think Beyond Rollout for Successful Mobile Deployment
Because so many organizations are still in the early stages of mobile deployment, their goal may be to simply get devices in employees’ hands. But it’s essential to think beyond rollout. The sustainability of mobile deployment also depends on answering questions like, “What happens when the devices aren’t in use? How can we secure them? Where will they be stored?” Fortunately LocknCharge solutions hold the key successful mobilization projects with the answers to these questions.
Automate Time-Wasting Manual Processes and Minimize Device Downtime with FUYL Towers
While many devices are shared, only 27% of organizations have considered centralized storing or charging as part of their deployment. This is often because organizations are most concerned with selecting the device itself and the apps or content for the device. They aren’t thinking about how the devices will be deployed, charged, stored and secured when not in use. Because devices are prevalent in our daily lives, organizations tend to overestimate employees’ abilities to safely charge, store, and maintain their business devices. The LocknCharge FUYL Tower offers a complete hardware and software solution. Efficiently charge, store, secure and manage workflow for phones, tablets, handheld scanners and other mobile devices in individually-lockable compartments. FUYL Towers work seamlessly in the following situations:
- Check in/out: Designate who can access the FUYL charging tower in advance or on the fly. Towers track who has taken a specific device and when it has been returned.
- Shared Devices: Employees can easily share the same set of devices, no problem. Pre-set access to a specific locker to limit who can access each device. Employees can also charge, store and secure personal mobile devices during their shift. Like a school locker, but way better.
- Break/Fix: Reduce device downtime and minimize the burden on your IT team by automating your break/fix workflow. Employees can quickly drop off a broken device in the FUYL Tower and retrieve a loaner device while theirs is being repaired.
Easily Integrate Mobile Devices into Your Workflow with Putnam Charging Stations
If ensuring device apps and data are up-to-date can be considered software maintenance, then storing, securing, and charging the device could be considered hardware maintenance. Multi-device charging stations such as Putnam™ 18 Tower or Putnam 8 and 16 Charging Stations save time by seamlessly integrating mobile devices into your workflow. They also contribute to reducing other mobilization pains, such as theft and loss, and offer these benefits:
- A centralized point of charging with numbered slots ensures that devices are put back where they came from—and that they’re always charged and ready to go.
- Only takes up as much desk space as a sheet of scrapbook paper. Now that’s compact!
- Putnam 18 Tower slot dimensions are optimized to work with many different devices.
- Putnam 8 and 16 Charging Stations feature an external LED lights show device charging status so users always know which devices are charged and ready to go.
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When choosing an innovative technology partner, it’s essential to evaluate the three big C’s: cost, capability and convenience. However, we recognize that most customers are also using a critical fourth C as a factor in deciding whether or not to do business with a company—customer service.
Exceptional world-class customer service and support matter more now than ever. That’s why we focus on hiring extraordinary people who also strive to do what’s best for you. It gives us great satisfaction to go above and beyond because you’re more than just a customer. You’re part of the LocknCharge family.
Because we know good customer experience is good for business, we’ve come up with a list of 10 questions to ask yourself when choosing a technology partner.
1. Are they really listening?
All too often, customers say, “I need XYZ product.” But we’ve found that starting with the solution isn’t the best approach to solving a problem. By taking the time to understand your needs and asking questions about your specific challenges, we often discover that we may have a different product that fits you even better. Will the partner you’re considering give you the straight scoop when it comes to the best outcome for your organization? Will they provide custom IT solutions tailored to your needs as well as offer lifetime support?
Even if that means telling you that our solution doesn’t address your challenges, we’ll be honest and upfront.
“Finding the right solution can be challenging, but you can be sure that we will take the time to talk through every option to find one that fits best.”
– Tyler Oren, LocknCharge Account Manager
2. Do they Think Ahead?
We talk to customers across different industries all day long, so we know the latest trends and will help you get the most out of current technologies. It’s important to assess how upcoming technologies will fit into your future plans. Can the partner you’re considering ensure that your investment will be a good one for many years to come by thinking ahead?
3. Will they Go Above and Beyond?
The 9-5 workday is obsolete. If an emergency happens, or you need support outside of “regular business hours,” customer service should be available. Does the partner you’re considering value your time, and commit to keeping your project on track?
Employees at LocknCharge feel a great sense of ownership in customer satisfaction and product success. From answering calls on a weekend or providing a demo in the middle of the night because you’re in a different time zone, we go the extra mile.
4. Can they Maximize your Investment?
When it comes to IoT-connected products, there can be a lot to learn. You shouldn’t have to worry about being left high and dry or with products that break and are unsupported. Will the partner you’re considering teach you how to use your products to the fullest to maximize your investment?
We’re here to teach, help, and give you peace of mind!
- Our support site is continuously updated with the latest product information. We’ve combined everything you need in one place.
- Do you need to speak to someone regarding a warranty claim or technical support? Submit a ticket, and we’ll respond within 48 hours or less.
- Did we mention our lifetime warranty? Some say it’s magical.
5. Will they Make Life Easier?
Charging solutions should be designed and developed with extreme consideration for the end user to improve workflow. Does the partner you’re considering develop charging solutions with scalable and modular designs?
There’s a reason why we are rated 6.8 out of 7 on our “customer effort” score. That’s the average rating our customers give us when we survey them to ask, “how easy was it for you to solve your problem with our help?”
Israel Oliveros explains how LocknCharge treats their customers: willingness to work, flexibility, always caring for the customer and making life easier.
6. Do they Help Save Money?
Let’s face it; most organizations, especially schools, are challenged with limited resources. Does the partner you’re considering have solutions that combine universal charging, open-concept designs and durability to save you significant money in the long run?
Partnering with LocknCharge saves you money.
- Mobile devices that work today might not be the answer tomorrow. A universal charging solution can accommodate a wide variety of mobile device sizes, regardless of their cases or cables. Switching from iPads to Chromebooks doesn’t mean you also have to make an additional investment in a new charging solution. Simply swap out the cables, and you’re good to go.
- A charging station designed to fit a specific device will limit the ability to charge other technology in the future. Our open-concept designs provide the ultimate flexibility to evolve as your tech program changes and grows.
- When a charging solution is made from high-quality materials and is coupled with a lifetime warranty, you can expect it to be durable and last.
7. Are they Saving you Time?
Purchasing new technology every few years does more than just cost you money. The process of evaluating new products and partnerships is extremely time-consuming for all parties involved. By thinking bigger upfront, you can benefit from time savings. Is the partner you’re considering committed to helping bogged down tech teams get back valuable time?
Lockncharge implements future-proof solutions that can significantly impact their ability to focus on new initiatives. Let us be a resource to assist in your biggest charging, security and device management challenges. We’ll tell you how many hours you can get back with our solutions.
8. Can they Offer Continuous Improvement?
We know that things don’t always go smoothly 100% of the time. Is the partner you’re considering 100% dedicated to improving how they do business with you?
The entire LocknCharge staff, from the CEO to the events team, is devoted to listening to customer feedback. We understand that this is the best way to drive new innovative product improvements that make life easier for our customers. We know that things don’t always go smoothly 100% of the time. Still, we are 100% dedicated to improving how we do business to benefit you.
Dr. Darryl Adams explains how LocknCharge has made adjustments in its products for Coachella School District to protect devices better and keep kids charged up and ready to go so they can learn.
9. Are they Trustworthy?
Products worth purchasing should be thoroughly tested and certified long before they ship to your office, facility or school. Can you trust the products you are considering buying?
LocknCharge products are built in ISO 9001:2008, conform to UL STD 60950-1, are certified to CSA STD C22.2 No. 60950-1, and most products are ETL certified. All those letters and numbers may not make sense to everyone, but what they mean is that you can trust our products to always meet the highest design and manufacturing standards.
10. Do they Serve with a Smile?
Relationships are everything. Customer relationships often produce some of the best product ideas and developments! Does the partner you’re considering serve you in a way that is pleasant and makes you feel valued?
At LocknCharge, fun company culture is no joke. It reflects how we want our employees, customers, and partners to feel when they work with us—that we make their lives easier. Contacting our customer care team should be as painless as possible. In fact, we’d like it to be enjoyable!
Just like anyone else, we can talk a big game about the great service we provide–but at the end of the day, the proof is in the pudding. Let us show you what we can do to help reduce cost, expand capability, ensure convenience and blow you away with great customer support. Contact us today to learn more.
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Schedule a live video demo with a LocknCharge team member to get a closer look at how our products help make your life easier.
We know this year has been hard, so we made you something. Kick back, relax, and let Joey bring joy to your Holiday Season!
From all of us at LocknCharge, we hope you have a Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!
Believe it or not, dipping skewers of bread into melted cheese was one of the hottest food fads of the 1970s. As a healthy alternative to ice cream, fro-yo shops were all the rage in the 1980s. The 1990s were known for a coffee shop on every corner. By the 2010s, everyone was crazy for cupcakes. But the food trend with the most significant impact on how, what, and where we eat is the one that combines fine dining fare with the speedy service of fast food. Fast-casual dining has quickly emerged as one of the most popular restaurant types because it meets consumer demands of convenience, price, and healthful food options. And it’s not just a passing fancy. Even with the general slowdown due to the pandemic, the fast-casual dining industry has grown at a quicker rate than the rest of the restaurant industry. This segment’s continued success can be partially attributed to the implementation of technology to meet the surge in online ordering, contactless payments, counter service and off-premise dining.
As restaurants adopt new technologies to overcome health and safety challenges and exceed consumers’ expectations, they can benefit immensely from including a mobile device deployment solution in their overall technology plan. A centralized point of secure charging provides a repository for devices, reducing device breakage, theft and loss. The critical oversight of not protecting devices when not in use creates painful hassles for employees and managers alike. Read on about the evolution of digital dining, find out how to save time and money by mapping out your device workflow and discover the top benefits of charging stations for fast-casual dining restaurants.
Dining Has Gone Digital
The fast-casual model is all about finding innovative ways to improve speed, efficiency and quality through leveraging restaurant technology trends. These days restaurant technology not only supports these three objectives; it also helps restaurants adapt to new safety and hygiene requirements in the wake of COVID-19. Check out these ways that eating establishments are embracing digital devices.
- Taking orders tableside: servers quickly take orders on iPads or tablets, which connect with an iPad POS system improving turn time and reducing room for error.
- Drive-through orders: the kitchen has more time to prepare food orders when guests are greeted in line, and their orders are taken with a handheld device. More time means better accuracy and a better customer experience. Just ask Chick-fil-A which ranks best in both order accuracy and customer service.
- Contactless payment: seamless credit card processing with contactless cards is more secure and sanitary than handling cash.
- Managing reservations and waitlists: staff can work more efficiently and offer guests faster service by using one interface to manage guests.
Learn how mobile devices can be used for more than just taking orders with these best practices for using iPads in the restaurant industry.
Save Time with Workflow Planning
Usage of mobile devices, like iPads, within the hospitality industry is rapidly expanding. 86% of organizations are currently in the research or pilot phase of an iPad management program. Unfortunately, the majority of those fail to consider device security with secure charging stations. The result is restaurant staff wasting valuable time looking for devices, only to find them partially charged or dead.
Imagine opening a restaurant without creating your menu ahead of time. Planning how to charge and store iPads and tablets shouldn’t be an afterthought either. Save a lot of time and money by determining device management workflow before rolling out new technology to your staff.
When a LocknCharge iPad charging station such as a Putnam 8 or 16 Tower is deployed, it eliminates many of the manual workflow processes of checking in and checking out devices and replacing damaged devices.
Watch the video below to learn how the Putnam 16 is helping real-life Fast Casual restaurant owners streamline operations and keep employees satisfaction high.
Make sure employees always know where to find a fully-charged device. At the start of each shift, workers retrieve a device from a numbered slot. By assigning a numbered slot to every user, they can take ownership of plugging in their devices. They put their devices back in the slot at the end of the day, where they will be charged and kept secure. All the shift manager is responsible for is unlocking the station in the morning and locking it up at night. With numbered slots, it’s also easy to know which devices are missing with only a quick glance.
What happens if a device goes missing, encounters a fatal error, or gets damaged during a shift? With an additional station for “hot spares,” no time is lost getting devices into the hands of workers who need them. Employees can simply swap their broken device for a new one and be on their way with a new device for the day.
Top 8 Benefits of a Putnam iPad Charging Station for Fast-Casual Restaurants
Choosing the right charging station may not seem like a big deal. Still, small differences between manufacturers and products could make a huge impact on your technology rollout and your ability to manage devices long term. Check out the benefits of a Putnam 8 or 16 Tower over other charging stations, or no station at all.
- More cost-effective than a smart locker. In an industry that often operates on razor-thin margins, LocknCharge appreciates that budget is a concern for many restaurants. The Putnam 8 or 16 Tower will keep devices safe, organized and secure at a more economical price than a smart locker.
- Get a return on investment within 18 months. Based on LocknCharge data tracking, our customers’ average ROI is 12-18 months.
- Prewired with high-quality, MFI-approved lightning cables reduces up-front costs, and you can kiss tangled cords goodbye. The Putnam 16 station is equipped with 16 prewired MFi-approved lightning cables that would otherwise cost up to $20 each if purchased separately. These certified cords are just the right length to connect to stored devices, no more, no less, no mess. It’s virtually impossible to tangle the charging cables, meaning everything stays organized and in place.
- Save a significant amount of time spent on broken or stolen cord replacements. The Putnam cables stay in the station and can’t be removed easily. Store managers will no longer have to deal with the stress of taking time away from vital day-to-day activities to replace lost or damaged cables. Keeping employees happy and reducing frustration allows you to retain great talent, saving you considerable cash.
- Positively affect your bottom line. The Putnam Tower with an integrated mechanical combination lock secures devices when not in use. So you’ll not only always know where your devices are safely locked away, you’ll lower your per-employee cost by reducing the number of lost or stolen devices.
- Save space. We know that physical back-of-house space = $$. The last thing you’re looking for is a big box taking up valuable real estate. Luckily the cabinet footprint of a Putnam is small, and multiple towers can be stacked. Or easily mount a charging station to the wall with an optional wall-mounting kit keeping devices completely out of the way of the hustling employees fulfilling orders.
- With one glance, see the charging status is for each device. External color-coded LED lights lets your team know which iPads are ready to go so that they never send someone outside with a half-charged device. It also prevents dreaded plugged-in-without-power mishaps—you see it lit up and know immediately that the power supply is connected and doing its job.
- Forget those infrastructure improvements. Eliminate the need to add expensive new electrical outlets or messy power strips. Simply plug your Putnam 8 and 16 charging stations into a normal 110VAC outlet (output wattage: 16 x 5V/2.4A).
Read more about how the Putnam has streamlined an already speedy workflow and saved the cost of replacing cables for Monica and Craig Daniel’s franchised fast-food restaurant in Madison, Wisconsin. Then contact us to discuss the challenges of your mobile workflow and find out how we can help!
Learn more about how LocknCharge helps restaurants deploy mobile technology on our dedicated restaurant page.
Schedule a Live Product Demo
We're here to help! Contact us today to schedule a live product demo or to get answers to any product questions you may have.