PetAge_Cover_Oct14

Technology for Your Business

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As technology in pet products continues to grow, the technology available to pet store owners to help run their business is becoming more ubiquitous. Technology can range from helping an owner ringing up merchandise, protecting a storefront or for helping customers, like the Thrive Water Lab.

Blue Ocean’s Managing Director Phillip Root said the company saw a need in the market for an accurate and quick water analysis machine.

“The Thrive Water Lab is a self-contained water analysis machine that has fixed what has been missing in the market,” Root said. “The Thrive Water Lab is able to analyze water from saltwater, reef, freshwater and pond environments. The machine features individualized cuvettes, to prevent cross contamination, and a touch screen interface for easy navigation.”

To test the water, a customer would place a water sample into the Thrive Water Lab door, answer a few simple questions and then receive a detailed analysis of their water parameters and advice on how to properly maintain their aquatics environment. The company calls the document a Thrive Prescription. It’s able to perform over 20 types of testing and give results for up to eight different parameters simultaneously.

“Retailers spend countless hours, resources and money on performing water tests daily,” Root said. “The Thrive Water Lab gives retailers the time and resources to focus on sales and great customer service, instead of water testing.”

When it comes to fish, consumers are being increasingly interested in knowing where their animals are coming from and how they moved through the transportation system.  The Association of Zoos and Aquariums is also putting a lot of pressure on its vendors to develop as much transparency as possible, officials said.

“At Quality Marine we are pretty well positioned to do this,” Lonnie Ready, sales and marketing director for Quality Marine, said. “We tried to, for the last few years; shed a lot more light on our customers, retailers and public aquariums to where their fish come from and how long they were in transit for.

“Our first step was to track the fish from the collector to our facility. We have assigned each fish that comes into our facility a barcode. They get a label with a unique barcode that follows them all the way through the facility. It contains info of where the fish came from, what collector it came from, we use that to really be able to identify which of our collectors were doing the best job of getting the healthiest fish.”

About two years ago Quality Marine took it a step further by producing labels for its customers that have QR codes on them.

“These QR codes, when scanned, can let people look into the fish’s history all the way back to its collection,” Ready said. “They can see what day the fish was collected, when it left somewhere like Fiji, then see it was held at Quality Marine for four days, or a week, then see what day if left Quality Marine and was shipped to the retail store they are now standing in.”

Protecting your business

When looking at ways to improve your business, getting a security system should be near the top of that list, especially when the security system does more than just protect a store.

ADT has made advances in its small business security systems to not only protect your business, but to be able to monitor your business whenever you want.

“Our ADT Pulse product takes our traditional security system to the next level,” Robin Stennet, director of small business marketing for ADT, said. “It lets you manage your alarm remotely from a smart phone and/or a tablet. We leveraged that new technology to add some other things such as being able to control temperature, lighting and small appliance control.”

In addition, ADT also features a variety of video options.

“It lets you look in on your store in real time,” Stennet said. “Or you can set up an event trigger, which will start showing real-time video.”
ADT Pulse was introduced 2 years ago and the company has had a phenomenal response from it since, the company said. The staff at ADT works to help pet retailers keep a watchful eye on their physical inventory

“Our security features allows retailers to keep a better eye on their assets and stay alerted,” Stennet said. “You can just log in and look from any camera in your store from your phone or tablet. You can also customize those alerts, then you can take that alert further by saying not only let me know it happens but take a 30 second clip.”

The system also allows retail owners to have their ADT Pulse system keep control of the temperature or let them know if it falls outside a certain range. It can also control lighting systems, for when you want to turn lights on and off.

“Our ADT Pulse service is a way for small business owners to combine buglar alarm needs with more interactive technology,” Stennet said. “Being able to check on your business using your tablet or smart phone; or changing the temperature and lighting to be more cost effective, it lowers the fears and concerns that small business owners may have.”

Better Products for Better Service

The Customer Appointment Manager is an electronic appointment book designed to help small businesses manage their employees’ time and their customer’s information.

“With Customer Appointment Manager you can schedule one-time or repeat appointments, search for customer appointments, find available appointment times, print reports, manage a waiting list, customize fields to meet your business needs, track customer history, and send appointment reminders via email,” Brandy Pelzel, marketing manager for Customer Appointment Manager, said. “Customer Appointment Manager helps provide a better first impression to customers and customer service that’s fast and professional. It helps small businesses keep their appointment books full by using a waiting list, sending email reminders. Customer Appointment Manager helps employees save time and be more organize and it helps managers monitor employee productivity and business metrics.”

The program has a three step process for getting started. First, setting up business operations information, such as user accounts and passwords, holidays and scheduling time intervals. Then add employees and services information, including specific work schedules, then add your customers including their contact information, which can be imported from QuickBooks or a text file.

When it comes to phone services, businesses owners just want something that works, and that’s Grasshopper’s number one priority.

One Response to “Technology for Your Business”

  1. James cage

    Jul 04. 2013

    Interesting article. Adopting new technology will help retailers enhance customer experience at stores. Came across this whitepaper on emerging trends in retail “Thinking about tomorrow: Post recession strategies for retailers” http://bit.ly/10XoIQa readers may find it useful.

    Reply to this comment

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