As a technology company, we know it can be difficult for people—especially those who aren’t technologically savvy—to choose a tech partner. In an industry like convenience retail, technology has been a little slower moving, so it was easier to avoid. But now, it’s time to embrace new, innovative technologies that can improve your business if you haven’t already.
So, if your knowledge of computers and other devices stops at “Did you restart it?,” here’s what you need to know to vet potential technology companies for your business.
They should work on your terms.
Good technology partners should be willing to work with you on your terms using data modeling, system requirements and more. A vendor should be your vendor, so they should be willing to do things to make your job easier. Seek out vendors that are willing to be flexible with the ways that you’re already doing things. It may be as simple as providing the data in a format your systems can ingest or designing their workflows to work with your set of data tools.
They should understand the nuances.
Technology partners need to fully understand your business to build technology that works with and for your business. They should especially understand the nuances that make your business unique. What key performance indicators mean the most to you? How do you triage potential problems? Which types of problems are the ones you want to intervene with immediately, and which ones will you just let simmer? Understanding these nuances will ensure your vendors bring the right solutions to your attention at the right time.
They should be your advocate.
In almost all cases, your technology partner will know more than you in certain areas. They should be willing to go to bat for you—even if they have nothing to gain or to lose. For example, when working with the latest fuel dispenser technologies, Shep Digital has a ton of experience getting the latest in dispenser technology to sing. A knowledgeable partner will be able to tell you what you need to know before you even realize it’s something that you need to ask about.
Many people think of technology companies as app developers, but these days there are many other ways to use to technology to improve your business. At Shep, we don’t develop apps. Instead, we can integrate your marketing and merchandising strategy across all of your digital platforms from in-store signage to display screens at the dispenser, and yes, including your loyalty program app.