VIP, a UK brand of Electronic Cigarette International Group (ECIG), have been shortlisted for three categories in the respected Field Marketing and Brand Experience Magazine and Awards (FMBE) for their innovative integration, in the field data and providing “an immersive event” for customers.
Stylish security and mobility solutions at the heart of an evolving tablet based point of sale solution
VIP operates with a mixture of fixed position, and pop up kiosks to go alongside more traditional retail outlets, it became clear early on that mobility (in order to securely store devices), as well as a cost factor would play an essential part in the decision making process when it came to sourcing potential PoS hardware solutions.
Therefore, VIP chose an iPad based solution from Intelligent PoS. Originally; this was supplied with a metal “l” shaped enclosure which held the tablet in place through the use of Allen key bolts. This rather rudimentary design, while still offering some protection to the tablet was prone to causing damage to it if over tightened, and also was impractical since Allen Keys could easily be lost.
Therefore, a replacement tablet enclosure was sought and Intelligent PoS and VIP settled upon the lightweight and adaptable SafeGuard X-Frame™ from SpacePole. Designed for both static and mobile operation, X-Frame is fitted via a patented DuraTilt in-built tilt and rotation mechanism to the market leading SpacePole mount.
Security and technology investment protection is paramount and therefore ClickSafe security tethers were added to secure the X-Frame and tablet to the stand. The tether allows the tablet to be removed for more mobile applications allowing more functionality to the tablet.
Enhancing the customer experience
The first VIP kiosk opened in Derby in 2012 and since then, the business has grown, not only in-line with the adoption of the e-cigarette concept, but also, down the foresight of the management team at VIP, in terms of the customer experience. Seeing how the omnichannel concept was changing the face of mainstream retail, VIP understood that they could develop a similar strategy to converge their online and in-store offering and provided a greatly enhanced level of personal shopping.
In particular, VIP wanted to introduce a click and collect service which would also incorporate a customer loyalty program. To do this, it was necessary to upgrade the software such that there was a seamless integration between the online and in-store systems. VIP engaged Pos In a Boxtm, a specialist point of sale service provider who integrated a software package that allowed customers to order online, collect in-store and receive and redeem loyalty points.
The system needed to remain tablet based and Pos In A Boxtm suggested using the S- Frame tablet enclosure, also from Ergonomic Solutions, to provide a stable operating platform. With designer style appearance, S-Frame provided an enhanced aesthetic look to the system, and with the tablet locked into the enclosure, provided more obvious security to guard against any opportunist theft. The product also merged in well with the existing kiosk design.
Already using X-Frame, VIP were more than happy to keep continuity with Ergonomic Solutions as the supplier of the new technology mounting solution as they had a proven track record in demonstrating an understanding of the requirements needed to successfully enable the use of tablets within a busy point of sale environment.
Secure and stable
The existing X-Frames remain in use, with the S-Frames being supplied for new store or kiosk openings. As Matthew Sisson, Retail Leasing Manager for VIP said. “It was an easy decision to select another product from Ergonomic Solutions. The X-Frame has proved an excellent choice for providing a stable and secure platform for our tablets. The iPad is of course, a sought after product but I am delighted to say that because of the security features offered by X-Frame, we have not lost a single one to theft since the roll out. “Sisson continued, “By introducing S-Frame, we have enhanced the look and feel of our upgraded point of sale in our newest retail sites and pop up kiosks. Both products from Ergonomic Solutions will continue to play a central role as we expand and grow our business in the UK and new markets such as South Africa”.
Taking their responsibilities seriously
VIP understands its responsibilities in terms of the e-liquids and products that it provides. The company abides strictly to the EU’s Tobacco Products Directive which sees any new e-liquid subject to a 6 month testing process before it can be released for sale. Having satisfied these requirements, VIP are allowed to accept NHS (National Health Service) vouchers, given to those using e-cigarettes as part of an NHS program to give up smoking altogether.
The VIP brand launched in 2009, when holding company Must Have Ltd saw the potential of e-cigarettes following a business trip to Asia, where the product had already started to gain a foothold. Since then the organisation has grown to be the UK’s largest supplier and now retailer of vaping products and e-liquids. Based just to the north of Manchester, VIP employs close to 400 personnel with over 150 retail outlets nationwide.
VIP started as an online supplier of vaping products through the use of a cleverly targeted Groupon campaign which created an excellent customer base from which to develop their business. Such was the success of those early campaigns and an increasing adoption of e-Cigarettes as an effective method of giving up smoking that VIP decided to take their products onto the high street.