Tech Corner: Are You Capitalizing on Technology?
Let’s start by going back in time, 2002, when Research In Motion released the first Blackberry. Five years later Apple released the first iPhone. If you are like me, we thought this is amazing, I’ll get so much more work done now that I can access my email anywhere! Did that happen? For me, the answer is, heck no! We all just found more things to do given the benefits of technology. The same applies to technology in our industry.
Let’s start with payments, vending has evolved from 100% coin to bill validators, to credit/debit, to mobile wallets and bitcoin pay. In Canada, cash is used in one out of three transactions and represents 15% of the value of goods and services purchased. Micro markets behave like vending and therefore the same applies. We get afraid of the costs to accept various forms of payment, but need to shift our thinking to the lost opportunity of not accepting various payment forms that are on point with how consumers want to pay. I ask , do you want 90-95% of the revenue made through a sale by accepting credit/debit/etc or the lost sale because the consumer doesn’t carry cash?
Secondly, 2001 was the onset of GPS in vehicles and shortly thereafter we could track phones. My question is; are you using this technology? Drivers are the revenue generators in our industry. An excessive lunch break or a zigzag drive are revenue killers. The technology exists to ‘see’ your drivers when you can’t ‘see’ your drivers. Are you capitalizing on this technology? Additionally, this ensures that as your rolling billboards aren’t speeding down the road damaging your companies reputation or potentially resulting in injury to your drivers.
The last topic on technology is related to your knowledge of what sells and doesn’t. There is an age old adage that knowledge is power. This applies to our industry, in that in most situations we are confined by space. The easy part is to remove the Big Turk and Mirage, but as you continue to improve you will need the data to decide between a Skittles bag and Mars bar. When evaluating systems, it is important to evaluate both cost and benefit, without data, the benefit diminishes far more rapidly than the cost decreases.
In summary, technology is an enabler to do more with less, generate increased revenue, empower you to see what you couldn’t see before, and give you the knowledge you need to accelerate your business. It comes at a cost, but as said, you need to spend money to make money and technology is an investment that will pay dividends.