'Shark Tank's Amber Charging Stations Aren't Coming To a Bar Near You ... Yet
I can't go a single day without my phone dying. Gone are the days of Nokia brick phones that last for days on one charge but sound like you're talking through a coffee filter, and here are the days of next-step-hoverboard technology, but you better have a charger in your purse if you want to use it for more than two hours. Amber, a lockable phone charging station debuting on the Season 6 premiere of Shark Tank, is here to ease your "I'm at 10 percent" woes.
Founded by George Shuey and Kyle Byrd, two recent graduates of James Madison University, Amber is designed to be installed in restaurants, bars, malls, airports, or any public space where patrons might need a charge. With seven compartments in each device, the idea is to safely secure your phone as it charges using a fingerprint scan as your key, while you enjoy the establishment. Have another drink, go buy some magazines — your phone is fine! Products that don't have any proven sales yet are always a tough sell, but Amber is coming from a true start-up state of mind: it's solving a need that people are clamoring for a solution to. With that in mind, businesses won't be able to spend their $1,200 quick enough to get Amber on their walls; maybe with a little help from the sharks, Shuey and Byrd can even make their estimated March 2015 debut date come a little sooner.
Your customer needs this, you need this
Amber's sales tactic is all about market research and driving revenue for your business. Just ask them how much money Amber will make for you — they're very upfront about it. Their marketing is customer retention based: as a business, you're a lot more likely to keep someone around if they can keep a full (and secure) charge in your establishment. It's not just a service, it's a revenue generator. In addition to keeping customers spending their money longer, it's also touted to bring in new money, as people can locate establishments that offer Amber through the Amber locator app. It's all about customer satisfaction, according to their website: "Not offering mobile charging is like not offering a restroom."
This is a high tech world
Amber will pitch that their product is the future, and they're probably right. Unique customer experiences "drive loyalty," they say, and it doesn't get much more unique than using a biometric finger print scanner to check your phone into a charging compartment while you eat tapas. It's up to each establishment if they charge money or use any sort of rewards system for the services, but Amber assures that it's setup is so simple, it's ready for use the day it arrives on your business' door step. The device doesn't store data or your prints and is designed to be able to adapt to new kinds of technology upgrades that will require new chargers.
The sharks will see themselves in the founders
Byrd and Shuey are entrepreneurs at heart: even more than being on the cutting edge of technology, they're solving a problem that needs solving. This might not be Daymond or Lori's area of expertise, but if the business plan is solid, I see Robert and Mark jumping all over this (and Mr. Wonderful offering some terrible deal that he'll eventually have to level up to the others). This one should be a showdown.