5 Simple Tech Tools to Boost Your Profits
At the 2015 NAMM Show, Billy Cuthrell of Progressive Music Center shared some simple tech tools and gadgets he uses to improve the lives of his students and customers—and provide more opportunities than ever for his business to thrive.
According to Cuthrell, it all starts with asking what problems we need to solve as music retailers and how technology fits into that mindset. He pointed out that technology is easily attainable for today’s generations, easily integrated into our retail environments through the Internet of things and easily updatable with the unending arrival of new technological advancements. Cuthrell then shared how he determines what tech tools to use.
Here are highlights from the video.
Rules Thumb for Tech Products
• Affordability. With the virtual revolution, tech has gotten cheap. Look at it from a buyer’s and investor’s perspective.
• Accessibility. If it breaks, for instance, how easily is the problem solved?
• Ease of use. How easy is it for you and your staff to use?
5 Tech Tools You Can Use Right Now in Your Stores
1. Smart Boards—interactive white boards with Internet capability. There are smart boards geared specifically to music, such as the Orange MusicBoard, an interactive music theory board. These boards have numerous applications in your lesson rooms. They’re also a powerful tool for visual and audio learners, as well as in group situations with staff and students. Your content is expanded with a Smart Board.
2. Dropcam—Wi-Fi video streaming cameras. Cuthrell recommended using them in your lesson rooms. Because they’re Wi-Fi enabled, they let anyone watch from anywhere. He’s had long-distance relatives of students “sit in” and view lessons. Cuthrell is enthusiastic about the Zoom feature, which enables close-ups for teaching applications.
3. Mobile websites. There’s a growing class of mobile-first users, and everything centers around their smartphones, including their shopping. Make sure your website is mobile-friendly. Make it easy for customers to find you and also to get what they need from your website once they get there.
4. iPhone—Cuthrell can’t say enough about the iPhone’s capabilities, and like many, he’s never without his iPhone. “I am supplying my managers with iPhones because they’re an important tool in the retail landscape,” he said. With an iPhone, sales can be made from any contact point in your store. While talking with a customer, Cuthrell said he can make faster online comparisons on the spot, often resulting in increased sales. Plus, there are an endless number of iPhone apps for general learning and to make a retail business more efficient.
5. Beacons—a low-cost hardware product small enough to attach to a wall or countertop that uses battery-friendly Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts directly to a smartphone or tablet. Apple built iBeacon technology into its iPhone. Cuthrell uses beacons for in-store mobile marketing and on the sales floor. The customer has to opt-in, and the beacon can work in different ways, including for mobile payments (self-checkouts using a phone), proximity notices (message nearby customers about promotions or in-store events), product finders/host (customers can go right to their chosen products in your store), and customer experience (track customers in-store and create unique experiences). Cuthrell is able to track traffic in certain departments in his store.
He also brought along the Tile, a small Bluetooth device you can attach to anything you don’t want to misplace or lose. A pack of four costs approximately $70. Download the free Tile app, name your tile and join the Tile network to track your item via smartphone or tablet. If an item is missing or stolen, you can send a signal to your tile, and it will start beeping until it’s located. Attach it to demo items or other retail items that can easily walk out your door.