The arrival of summer means backyard barbecues, sunscreen, and Firecracker Popsicles that stain your lips a mix of red and blue. Speaking of firecrackers, we love fireworks here at Meeting Tomorrow. Sure, we delight in bright colors and a catchy Katy Perry tune, but it’s one of our biggest clients that makes the summertime just a bit sweeter.
A large firework distribution company contacted Meeting Tomorrow in 2014 looking to rent a few hundred iPads. They wanted their sales teams to use the units as a POS (point of sale) system at various firework distribution pop-ups on the West Coast. You know the ones – a tent set up on the side of the road or in a vacant parking lot, tons of fireworks in flashy packaging, a strong desire to play with explosives that comes out of nowhere…all of a sudden you’re loading up the trunk of your car with the aforementioned fireworks.
Typically, standalone kiosks or already installed machines with the needed hardware were used by the company to process payment, but the systems needed expensive upgrades that year and they wanted to do a small test run with a different POS solution. Meeting Tomorrow provided approximately 300 data-enabled iPads to the firework company in 2014; their distributors successfully used these new POS systems and realized iPads filled a need they didn’t know existed. The tremendous benefit the West Coast pop-ups experienced opened the firework company’s eyes to the huge cost savings tablets provided.
Shipping and Repairs
Instead of shipping large kiosks with software that was quickly becoming obsolete to locations across the country, iPads with far greater capability could nimbly be sent coast to coast. The strain of managing shipping logistics, repairs, and replacements could be lifted from their in-house team. If something goes wrong with the POS system, sales won’t be impeded. Old kiosks with installed hardware could take days to get repaired or replaced. With iPads, a replacement unit can arrive the next day (and sometimes the same day!). Plus, Meeting Tomorrow provides 24/7 technical support so the 3am rush of people needing to buy fireworks can be serviced, issue-free.
Consolidation and Resources
With iPads in hand, salespeople have unlimited resources at their fingertips and can close a sale wherever the customer is standing. Along with a POS app, the company’s inventory system is also on the device, plus quick links to product resources. You know when you’re shopping for shoes, ask a salesperson for something, and they say “Let me check in the back”? That scenario doesn’t even register with these firework salespeople.
Meeting Tomorrow also utilizes an MDM (mobile device management) solution that allows us to push out updates to the apps on the iPads. Since the iPads are in the field for 6-8 weeks, the apps the client uses may release updates during the rental period. If the updates aren’t installed on the device, it causes problems with equipment compatibility (like credit card readers). Normally, app updates need to be done manually on every single unit, but our MDM solution bypasses that headache and pushes out mass updates. It’s the magical aspirin of iPad rentals. The expensive, manual upgrades of the ol’ kiosk systems are long gone.
Could there be any more benefits to using iPads for this firework company? Glad you asked. It’s flexible and dynamic! Flexible in uses, not literally. Please, please, do not try to fold an iPad in half. The units are customized to have their company logo in the background, ensuring the gear is on brand. If that was painted on or a sticker on the old kiosks, there’s no way it’d be changed any time soon. Linked resources can be region-specific, analytic tools can be uploaded for real-time updates, the customizable options are endless.
Since 2014, iPad orders have doubled year over year. As of 2018, Meeting Tomorrow is supplying approximately 5,000 iPads to pop-up firework distributors across the US. The latest round of rentals even included a last-minute addition of 1,000 units needed a week later. Luckily, Meeting Tomorrow has the largest stock of rental iPads in the country, so we’re the only company in the industry who can handle their ever-increasing needs while still preserving the easy, streamlined process.
Our main contact truly sees the value we bring to their operations and continually advocates for us, seeing the larger picture in how we’ve transformed the way they do business. For the firework company, the May to July window of time is crucial as 90% of their revenue is generated in that period. Both companies have grown together and developed a strong relationship infused with trust, respect, and kindness. The rentals are a big undertaking for both teams and getting it right is critical. Consecutive years of success means open communication, transparency, and really listening to one another. Ultimately, we all want the same thing in the end – a great rental season and more Firecracker Popsicles.
About the author: Kim Chua is a Business Development Coordinator at Meeting Tomorrow. She loves punny jokes, fluffy dogs, and the Fast and Furious franchise.