Friday, May 17, 2019

Accelerate Business With Bicle: The E-Mobility Networking Platform - Yahoo Finance

Accelerate Business With Bicle: The E-Mobility Networking Platform - Yahoo Finance


Accelerate Business With Bicle: The E-Mobility Networking Platform - Yahoo Finance

Posted: 16 May 2019 02:00 PM PDT

For an industry where sort of everything is new, the e-mobility networking platform, Bicle, is a new phenomenon

FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany, May 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Starting as an e-bike business portal one year ago, Bicle® is a digital platform that allows industry professionals in the e-mobility industry to have a social network and build business connections. The website covers all aspects of e-mobility from electric automotive vehicles, light electric vehicles, e-bikes and e-mobility services up to electric planes. Users can engage and contact one another through blog posts and daily talks, as well as the option to upload a social profile.

Bicle offers a platform for people to share insights and new solutions for e-mobility. Leading to all kinds of business opportunities, Bicle delivers content in a unique way that they know their audience desires and enjoys -- all constantly updated to create a captivating experience.

  • Integrated social networking: through business linking and personal content sharing 
  • Business insights: through short, high-impact content, films, animations and infographics
  • Social interaction: covering everything from webinars to interactive polls.

All of this is supported by an expert, in-house creative team, on hand to help advertisers creating targeted campaigns in a variety of ways for a global audience.

Bicle is born digital. Find them everywhere on the internet. With their YouTube channel, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Weibo pages, not to mention their own channel, they inspire and connect a fast-growing community.

Join Bicle.com, get inspired and get into contact with industry professionals so Bicle can take the E-Mobility industry to the next level and accelerate businesses together.

Press Contact:
Sven Spekking 
Phone +4901607593494

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County Launches Small Business Assistance Hub - BethesdaMagazine.com

Posted: 15 May 2019 07:41 AM PDT

Outreach efforts designed to boost startups

By Charlie Wright

| Published:

County Executive Marc Elrich announces the Business Connect program.

Via Charlie Wright

A new program to help support small businesses in Montgomery County is being rolled out at a regional services center and could be expanded throughout the county within a year.

The Business Connect program — which will offer free training, workshops and individual counseling sessions — was announced by County Executive Marc Elrich as part of his efforts to diversify economic development.

"We really want to change the atmosphere and environment in Montgomery County," Elrich said at a news conference. "Montgomery County thrives on the little stuff, most jobs come out of the smaller entrepreneurs."

About half of all startups fail within the first five years, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Advocacy. Roughly one-third of new businesses survive 10 years or longer. The SBA defines small businesses as independent companies with fewer than 500 employees.

More than 95% of businesses in Montgomery County have 50 or fewer employees, according to the county's Business Portal, citing state research.

The first program will be based in Germantown's regional service center and Elrich said the plan is to expand to the program to the service centers throughout the county by next year. Business Connect is managed by the Montgomery County Business Solutions Group, which falls under the county's Business Portal.

Maryland Commerce Deputy Secretary Ben Wu said there will be a collaborative effort between the state and county to share information and best practices regarding the business climate.

"We're turning a new corner in Montgomery County," Wu said at a news conference last week during Small Business Week activities. "… What we are seeing is the beginning of a transformation here in Montgomery County of economic development and how it's performed."

Elrich has been promoting a "4Business: Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business" initiative, intended to engage the county business community. Elrich recently began 4Business efforts with County Council Vice President Sidney Katz, including six listening sessions around the county to gather feedback from residents.

The tour is designed to find and remove barriers faced by small business owners and entrepreneurs in the county that are abnormal compared to other jurisdictions, Elrich said.

Some changes will be made as they come up, such as cutting down on paperwork for government contracting. If there are regulatory or legal changes that need to be made, Elrich plans to introduce legislation.

For years, businesses have complained about the red tape and regulations imposed by the county.

"My goal is at the end of a year people instead of saying 'you're worse than everybody else,' they're saying 'you're no worse than everybody else,'" Elrich said.

Business Connect was one of several initiatives put in the spotlight during Small Business Week, a national event.

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corp., an independent nonprofit partnering with the county to promote economic growth, announced the launch of the Bio Lab Pilot.

The lab pilot is a reimbursement program funded in part by the Maryland Department of Commerce that will award grants to small-scale biotech companies having trouble paying for lab space. Companies that are new, expanding, or relocating and looking to lease up to 5,000 square feet can apply for the award.

The grant requires a one-to-one match, and only businesses with less than 20 employees are eligible. Funding is $10 per square foot up to $30,000.

The county's Department of Liquor Control announced its own small business assistance plan, joining the Maryland Made initiative by instituting several practices to help local alcohol makers.

The DLC will increase signs at county retail liquor stores, provide marketing assistance to local companies and hired a new retail chief, Kent Massie, who will speak with business owners to figure out best practices, according to a news release.

The department also removed the minimum 66-case distribution level for local companies and added a local section to every county store, complete with Maryland Made signs.

"Supporting local alcohol manufacturers helps spur the local economy through job creation, attracting visitors and offering gathering places," DLC Director Bob Dorfman said in a statement. "This ongoing program continues to benefit the county's local economy."

Charlie Wright can be reached at charlie.wright@bethesdamagazine.com

Skipping the Line: Little Caesars' Pizza Portal is a Revenue Booster - Franchising.com

Posted: 16 May 2019 09:01 AM PDT

By: Eddy Goldberg | 372 Reads 10 Shares

Skipping the Line: Little Caesars' Pizza Portal is a Revenue Booster

In this age of delivery, delivery, delivery, location still matters--which is why so many restaurants have been providing "skip the line" options for their hurried, harried customers. Online ordering and payment are quick and easy, often resulting in higher tickets than in-store purchases. But it's a real buzz-kill for a hungry, time-pressed consumer to have to wait in line while customers hem and haw over the menu board and wait while their food is prepared (especially when yours already is). And then wait again when it's time to pay.

Little Caesars, the country's largest carryout-only pizza chain, has taken another step in customer convenience with its "Reserve-n-Ready" pickup option. Here's how it works. 1) Using the Little Caesars app, a customer orders and pre-pays online. 2) When their order is ready the app notifies the customer. 3) At the store, they go directly to the Pizza Portal (a heated, self-service mobile order pickup station), where they input a 3-digit PIN or scan a QR code from their phone. 4) The door on the customer's secure compartment opens, and off they go to enjoy their meal. No line, no waiting.

Little Caesars announced the Pizza Portal in August 2017, calling it the "restaurant industry's first, heated self-service mobile pick-up station." It was market tested in Tucson at more than a dozen locations, and the results were positive. Last September, the company announced it had completed the installation in nearly all its U.S. stores.

After almost a year of using the Pizza Portal, John Hotchkiss, a franchisee with 46 Little Caesars, is loving it. "Digital sales are responsible for 6 percent of our current company sales--up from zero," he says. "We love the increased ticket average and the speed with which our customers can obtain their order without ever having to go through the normal process of the quick service restaurant."

So do customers. "They love the ability to walk in and go directly to the portal and be on their way without having to wait and pay a cashier," he says. "The feedback from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive. We will continue educating our customers so they understand and hopefully use the Pizza Portal to help us further expand our online business."

"The app and portal now allows us to build on our limited traditional Hot-n-Ready menu to offer custom orders all day," says Hotchkiss. "We like being the only one in our industry that has it. It gives us the ability to differentiate our company in the competitive environment of online ordering."

He's also getting a boost from corporate, with the franchisor spreading the word about the new system. "TV and in-store advertising are helping to promote the Pizza Portal, and our management team was very excited to launch it and work diligently in promoting it to our customers," says Hotchkiss.

Corporate likes it too. "We're very pleased by the incredible feedback we've received from customers after our recent national rollout," said David Scrivano, president and CEO of Little Caesars.

So does the IFA, which presented Little Caesars with its Marketing and Technology Innovation Award for the Pizza Portal this past January. "I commend Little Caesars for their innovative and high-tech approach," said Robert Cresanti, IFA president and CEO. "It's exciting to see franchise businesses adopt new ideas and technology to better serve their customers."

In addition to the Pizza Portal, Little Caesars has been adding features to its mobile app. One example is that customers using the app now can schedule an order up to six days in advance and use touch ID and fingerprint and face ID to log in.

Hotchkiss says the cost to implement the Pizza Portal, which is integrated with the Little Caesars app, was approximately $16,000 per unit. The proprietary technology for the pickup station was co-developed with Apex Supply Chain Technologies.

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Embracing the power of digital engagement | 2019-05-16 - bake Magazine

Posted: 16 May 2019 06:52 AM PDT

You don't have to be a major player to make a difference in the digital marketplace. Engaging with your customers through your company's website, mobile devices and social media platforms is becoming increasingly seamless and cost-effective, and the digital world can level the playing field a bit when it comes to highly sought-out local bakery brands.

Still, there are valuable lessons to be learned from the heavyweights of retailing.

According to newly released Nielsen data, key retail players like Walmart, Kroger and Target have grown their online customer base by at least 90% more than Amazon over the past two years. Amazon has much greater domestic buyer reach (10 times more than any other), according to Nielsen, so there's not as much room to grow its buyer base. But that's not the only reason for the rapid success of competitors.

In part, merchants have succeeded because they've embraced the click-and-carry model where consumers buy an item online and pick it up at a physical store, Nielsen reports. The research firm estimates that the share of click-and-carry sales grew from 4% to 11% of all consumer packaged goods (CPG) e-commerce sales in just two years. Consumers appear to enjoy this model because it gives them confidence to expand online shopping beyond health and beauty. In fact, the grocery/gourmet food category has a compound annual growth rate of nearly 50% over the past three years, according to Nielsen data.

What can independent bakeries and bakery cafe chains expect next?

The future is all about digital engagement. Explore and reinforce unique experiences to enhance customer interactions and keep your focus on building richer and higher customer counts that will last.

Panera Bread, for one, is launching an augmented reality (AR) experience on Snapchat to bring more dedicated consumers into the fold, using a highly innovative campaign in tandem with AR company Kabaq. Panera fans can scan designated Snapcodes for four of the bakery cafe chain's new "You Mix Two" options (Southwest Chili Shake Up, Mac-Tomato Medley, Delicious Cheese Times, and Tomato Tango) and see the two menu items fused before their very eyes. The unique "You Mix Two" concept gives Panera customers eight unique menu remixes that are crowdsourced directly from the 34 million MyPanera member base. These menu hacks combine preexisting menu items in enticing and delicious ways.

Embracing "third place"

Starbucks, among other leaders, believes success in the digital age revolves around reinforcing a trusted brand.

Much success in the digital age revolves around reinforcing a trusted brand. For instance, at the new starbuckstories.com, and across Starbucks associated social channels, customers can now meet coffee farmers and the agronomists working with them to create the world's first sustainable agricultural product. Consumers hear people speak to country, togetherness, family and service. A quick tour across the top navigation guides fans to impactful stories about coffee, community and social impact.

Brand endurance requires evolving with customer's changing needs, according to Starbucks. To that end, Roz Brewer, Americas group president and chief operating officer, recently revealed the company's plans to reimagine the third place, with a focus on three key attributes: convenience, comfort and connection. Through this lens, Brewer will announce Starbucks will take a phased approach to modernizing the customer experience across all key touchpoints for customers, beginning this summer in New York City.

"I don't want anyone to walk away today thinking this is about furniture or a new renovation strategy," Brewer said during the company's March 20 annual meeting of shareholders. "Reimagining the third place is about listening to our customers, so we can better position our business now and for the future."

Through this approach, Starbucks aims to learn directly from its customers and adapt changes to new and better experiences using technology and product innovation, in addition to new and reimagined store formats. The company also will reiterate its commitment to the continued expansion and evolution of programs like Starbucks Delivers (now available in 12 countries) and Starbucks Rewards.

"Our relationship with our customers starts the moment they think of Starbucks. They connect with us through their barista and the quality of what's in the cup they take with them," Brewer said. "Their third place is everywhere they're holding our cup. No matter their journey, after leaving our stores, that feeling of comfort stays with them. And In an increasingly busy and on-demand world, it's that feeling that keeps the third place growing."

At a crossroads

A custom app at Carlo's Bakery's Times Square location allows customers to place orders in advance from their smartphones.

Scores of bakeries across the country are witnessing the multitude of opportunities ahead through digital transformation.

For example, Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro and his iconic Carlo's Bakery are partnering with Ordrslip, a provider that allows restaurants to operate custom mobile apps, to bring a new mobile ordering app to his bakery in New York City's Times Square. The custom application will allow Carlo's Bakery customers to place orders in advance from their smartphones and will help the bakery to better manage rushes.

"Our Times Square location is the newest and busiest bakery within our franchise," says Buddy Valastro Jr., owner of 19-store Carlo's Bakery, founded in 1910 in Hoboken, New Jersey. "A branded, custom app from Ordrslip gives us the ability to keep pace with our customers' expectations for fast service and a mobile user experience that fits their busy lifestyle."

Others are reimaging the possibilities of making food delivery more affordable. Kitchen United, the start-up creating a new way for restaurant brands to expand via off-premise optimized kitchen centers, recently announced The Halal Guys and Wetzel's Pretzels have established operations at the company's Pasadena kitchen center. The company plans to end the year with 15 kitchen centers open, each housing between 10 and 20 restaurant brands that will power their delivery operations through Kitchen United.

Jennifer Schuler, chief executive officer of Wetzel's Pretzel, credits Kitchen United for bringing a revolutionary approach to capitalizing on consumer trends toward delivery and being a place where restaurants — from start-ups to long established brands — can navigate this changing foodservice landscape, "and we're thrilled to be a part of it."

Kitchen United is expanding across the U.S. with kitchen centers open in Pasadena and Chicago, and new kitchen centers slated to open this year in Atlanta, Columbus, Austin and Scottsdale.

On-campus deliveries

College students expect their favorite foods to be delivered to them, even if by robots.

Students at Northern Arizona University (NAU) can now have Einstein Bros. Bagels delivered directly to them by a fleet of 25 self-driving robots. The program is operated by foodservice company Sodexo in partnership with Starship Technologies. Students at campuses can order autonomous food delivery from several retail partners.

Since the robots' debut at George Mason University in late January, more than 1,500 breakfast orders have been placed.

Nearly 25,000 NAU students and faculty can use the Starship app to order food and drinks from local retailers to be delivered anywhere on campus, within minutes. Students place an order through the app, drop a pin for the delivery location and follow an interactive map to track the robot's location as it makes its way across campus. They receive a notification when the robot arrives and can unlock the robot to retrieve their order, all through the app. Each robot can carry up to 20 pounds, or about three shopping bags of goods.

Supply-side economics

Bob Howland calls it an incredibly exciting time to serve in his new role as chief digital officer for Dawn Foods. In this newly created leadership position, Howland will play an instrumental role in engaging customers with Dawn's digital solutions. He is responsible for developing the company's long-term digital vision, engaging customers with digital solutions and leading its broad-reaching digital initiatives.What excites Howland, who joined Dawn earlier this year, starts with helping Dawn's bakery customers realize the full potential of their digital journey. More consumers than ever before are engaging with their favorite shops on a "hyper local level," and the path for bakeries is wide open.

Dawn's Bakery Business Portal acts as a virtual storefront where consumers can order fresh bakery products that they pick up and pay for at the retail bakery store.

"I've been doing this for more than 20 years, working in industries ranging from chocolate to home goods, and I believe it comes down to three words: people, process and technology," says Howland, who previously served as executive vice president and general manager of Blueport Commerce, a Boston-based e-commerce platform for furniture. "The big part of this effort is the people. It is about change management, helping people know the potential for what digital could mean to their business, and understand the differences of consumer behavior. The opportunity to change tends to be very rewarding."

In one key project announced earlier this year, Dawn is using the initial phase of its new Dawn Bakery Business Portal to test, learn and gain insights for a deeper dive into the next phase.

The Bakery Business Portal was introduced in a test phase in the Chicago market where a group of 8 to 10 retail bakeries use this portal as a virtual storefront where consumers order fresh bakery products that they pick up and pay for at the retail bakery store.

"These efforts have gone very well. A few have seen a pretty significant percentage of orders made online, and still others are working to create more," Howland says. "At the end of June, we plan to expand the next phase to 30 to 50 bakeries, as we continue to learn more and partner more fully with Dawn customers. More deployments give us a richer understanding of who's doing it well, what's working and why. We are creating a community where bakers can share through Dawn, and I think that will go far."

G4S Launches G4S PartnerLink Case Management & Business Analytics Portal - Yahoo Finance

Posted: 16 May 2019 05:00 AM PDT

RALEIGH, N.C., May 16, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- G4S Compliance & Investigations is pleased to announce the launch of G4S PartnerLink, the industry's most advanced case management and business analytics portal.

Within G4S PartnerLink, users are able to efficiently and securely view and collaborate on files while having the ability to assign and review work product in real time.

Case access is available 24/7, ensuring clients can analyze and manage data instantaneously, leveraging G4S' entire suite of case management and business analytics technology from a single, easy-to-use platform. Using these features, clients can decrease costs by quickly identifying and referring high-risk claims as well as a reducing indemnity dollars and improving cycle times. In addition, clients can manage and grade vendors directly within G4S PartnerLink. The Vendor Management portal enables users to:

  • Rate vendors based on multiple criteria, analyze data and view performance dashboards to easily identify top performing and underachieving vendors to mitigate risk and future incidents
  • Monitor, track and report on performance issues
  • Automatically assign and schedule activities and track through to completion
  • Easily trigger email notifications to vendors on overdue assignments, tasks, insurance requirements and licensing renewals

G4S PartnerLink is accessible by claims staff, management and other integral personnel with advanced security features. These features include access for all stakeholders through the utilization of a dedicated username and password for file allocation and review. Through this collaborative approach available with G4S PartnerLink, users can share work product, communicate with legal teams and clients, track assignments, review video and more.

"We understand in today's competitive market, it's critical to continue investing in proprietary tools and technology," said Michael J. Malone, president of G4S Compliance & Investigations. "With the introduction of G4S PartnerLink, we are proud to continue offering best-in-class products to our clients while allowing them to see increased efficiency and cost savings."

About G4S Compliance & Investigations
G4S Compliance & Investigations is the global leader in insurance claim solutions. For 30 years, the G4S name has been synonymous with the highest standards of integrity and service while offering fully integrated investigative solutions. G4S provides unparalleled industry knowledge, superior data privacy, benchmarking, data mining and integrated technology backed by extensive global resources, expertise and proven return on investment. For more information, visit www.cni-g4s.com

About G4S plc
G4S is the leading global, integrated security company, specializing in the provision of security services and solutions to customers. Our mission is to create material, sustainable value for our customers and shareholders by being the supply partner of choice in all our markets. G4S is quoted on the London Stock Exchange and has a secondary stock exchange listing in Copenhagen. G4S is active in around 90 countries and has around 540,000 employees. For more information about G4S, visit www.g4s.com.

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