Business model

How ChargeItSpot’s retail-focused pandemic pivot led to a new business model

Decade ChargeItSpotthe maker of retail charging stations, has learned to rethink its business value at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stock ExchangeThe venture capital-based company was previously known only for its phone charging towers placed in retail stores across the country. A shopper could lock their phone to save battery life while browsing retailers like Bloomingdale’s, the north face, Target and by Marshall. But when the pandemic shuttered non-essential stores for much of 2020, ChargeItSpot had to reevaluate.

“When it started and all of our customers’ stores were closing, we were like everyone else, well, for how long? We didn’t know,” CEO Douglas Baldasare Recount Technically recently. “Our goal is to solve the consumer problem but also, we create value by giving them a reason to linger longer and shop more.”

So the company made a change that would add value in a world plagued by a contagious virus: it fitted its lockers with ultraviolet lights capable of killing bacteria and virus particles in about 15 minutes. It was a bit of a technical challenge to ensure that all six sides of a phone were exposed to enough light to disinfect it without light escaping, Baldasare said. But the move made ChargeItSpot part of a shielded class of health and safety providers, and it helped about 98% of the company’s existing customers stay connected when in-store retail spending took a hit. dropped dramatically.

Soon after, ChargeItSpot provided the newly equipped lockers to hospital systems in the area so that its healthcare professionals could also charge and sanitize their devices while working. The pilot worked so well that hospital systems turned into paying customers, Baldasare said.

But in addition to the disinfection function and expansion serving the healthcare field, ChargeItSpot had started working on a retail-focused solution for an existing customer that would solve another targeted problem. The retailer reported that its associates and store managers spent a lot of time docking, charging and repairing devices used on the floor or for checkout. His back office often did not stay organized; broken or uncharged devices returned to the shelves for others to unknowingly try to use, and there were device thefts.

How could ChargeItSpot lockers help solve this problem? About a year ago, the company started working on BOW — Asset charging center. The mobile device management kiosk would allow store associates to disconnect devices, report issues, keep them charged and organized, and save time for managers overseeing the process.

It works similar to an Amazon locker, where an employee badge opens a locker and allows an associate to report any issues with a device when they turn it over. Problematic devices will remain locked down and ARC will ensure they are shipped for repair. . The company’s signature towers can hold eight devices at a time, but will soon be rolling out a more modular kiosk that can control around 50 lockers with a self-checkout.

The new ARC modular design coming in 2022. (Courtesy Image)

ChargeItSpot conducted a case study with Navy Yard’s Comoto HoldingsOwner of RevZillaand found that time spent by managers routinely monitoring devices dropped by 97%, time spent by employees checking in and out of devices was reduced by 82%, time spent replacing faulty or failed devices dropped by 67% and device shrinkage was “eliminated”. ”

ARC kiosks are device-agnostic and were initially focused on retail solutions, but one of ChargeItSpot’s first customers was a large e-commerce distribution center. Like ChargeItSpot lockers, ARC’s app can be used in healthcare, foodservice, or any industry where wearable technology devices are an integral part of operations.

“We’re in a tight labor market, and we don’t need to spend time or money on devices that don’t work seamlessly,” Baldasare said.

ChargeItSpot recently raised additional venture capital, bringing its total raised to date to $25 million (though it declined to share specific numbers). In 2020, she was operating with a team of about 130 part-time and full-time people, and the company is still about the same size two years later, according to the CEO.

“It’s amazing to see the impact ARC is already having,” Baldasare said. “We’re helping solve a painful, long-standing issue for our partners at a time when reducing friction in retail and warehouse environments is of the utmost importance.”