Benjilock and Vava 4K projector strive for retail traction
Introducing a new tech product is always hard.
The more innovative it is, the harder it is to communicate to people.
If it's doing something new that they haven't thought of or made a place for in their life.
It gets kind of hard to get it into their head.
So often you'll want people to go to a store to see it and try it but that's kind of hard these days.
And it's already been hard because people are shifting more to digital channels online stores.
So now what?
We'll spend a few minutes on this episode talking to two startups that have made very different products, a padlock and a video projector.
But both have in common the fact that they've had to break a new idea into the market.
And by the way, they've both done so with the assistance of beta retail stores and si networks with beta on a partnership that includes live events and featuring some of their products.
Robbie, Cabral's is gonna have some ideas about this.
He is the founder and CEO of Benji lock.
This is a high tech padlock, a simple idea that came from an experience he had.
You're not a lock of guy by trade.
You kind of came into this.
I got laid off from work in the worst time of the year in 2014.
And the same day I got laid off, my daughter was born.
So it kind of hit me hard.
I was personally the press with a lot of anxiety but then at the end of the day, you have to do better for yourself and your family.
But because I got overweight, I decided to start going to the gym at night.
And one day someone left the key inside the locker and I see the manager coming into bolt cutter and all that and I'm looking at all of this and I'm like, wow The light bulb popped in and that's where Benji live was born.
It's a simple story that led to a lock that allows you to unlock it with a fingerprint which phones were kind of already doing at that point, right?
You're getting accustomed to the whole fingerprint technology, but then the locks on its own when you go to the gym, it was very still traditional combinations.
Only key and myself was why not just use your fingerprint but also traditional key make it a hybrid and see how people take it and for some reason I felt like that was the the need for someone that loses their key or.
Forgive their combinations.
It was just a win win for both.
Okay, so it sounds on its face, like this kind of idea, that would be so simple to get across to someone and say, hey, you can use a key, like always, or you can just use your fingerprint.
Your fingers are always with you, so you're not gonna lose them.
But it's never that easy, is it?
It takes them out of effort and time to get people's head wrapped around new things.
It is tough because at the time I was laid off from work So you have to find your own resources and trying to find your small little teams to try to help you build product that it wasn't even my expertise.
Like my thing was always music.
I wasn't really intended into creating a lock, but the idea came up.
So once I ended up building that prototype, I decided to unveil it basically at the biggest consumer tech show in America which is CES.
In 2017, and when I did that, I think that was the best thing for me because that platform helped me to showcase the prototype.
Meet companies like Hampton products international and also a guide me to the whole Shark Tank casting call that they did at the Venetian that year.
You chose to, among other places market this through Beta, through this chain of stores that showcase tech.
A lot of folks would say, why don't you just go online and go direct?
How hard can it be to buy some search words and some keywords I should say and when anyone searches for padlock, you come up and boom, they'll find you on your store on Amazon or whatever.
Why be in stores>> beta is completely different from the original traditional stores because they're able to showcase it.
So it's kinda like those typical Apple stores that you go on but you;re able to showcase the product, to feel it, to touch it and then that's kinda of how you get the idea.
And also the people that actually work there are very impressed because they like know the product, they know how to explain it.
Feeling the product and then when you see that it actually unlocks Your fingerprint then you're like, Okay, now I get it.
So something about touching it makes a difference.
I mean I could showcase to you the original lock, I showcase you, the TSA lock.
But at the end of the day when you have someone next to you, explaining you how it works.
How it feels, that that's when you get that, that moment, like, wow, this is it.
And I'll tell you this quick thing.
I had a chance to go to beta stores, locally in Santa Monica.
They had a nice event last year, before the pandemic hit.
And, and I went in for like two or three hours.
And I gotta tell you I was excited because people came in.
They right away as soon as they saw the product, they were like, wow, this is kind of cool.
As soon as they touch it, they feel it.
They unlock it.
It was like boom, I'm in take my money, take my car and I was like wow, this is like incredible.
Like I normally don't see that at a normal retail store but it was just like This is so cool.
Yeah, I feel as if, as if part of what a good store does, whether it's beta, or another store, When they do a job well, you get the feeling that everything in the store is good.
And, therefore, you trust the whole Selection, as opposed to if you go to some retailers, you can tell Okay, they sell some crap and they sell some good stuff.
So, now I don't know what to trust.
But if you go to a store that's that seems to have a good curated I hate to use the word collection, you realize, okay, I'm safe here, whatever I look at and like it's been filtered.
And I think a good retailer has to be trusted that way.
It makes a huge difference because even now.
They were going through the whole pandemic and a lot of the retail stores were closed, you still had, they offered the whole virtual assistant that a lot of customers that will like to actually purchase a lock that would actually talk to someone in real time.
And they will even showcase you the product, teach you how to use it and all that.
So those little things actually go a long way.
compared to just try to buy it online and then I'll get it, and if it doesn't work, if I like it, I'll just return it.
And I find that interesting.
Like you mentioned, the product [INAUDIBLE] or I've broken because of the shipper or the person didn't read the directions, and they They just don't understand it.
They're often if there's no connection and no initial training and demonstration, they're just gonna send it back and they're gonna flame you with one star and say do not buy in all caps.
And that's unfair in many cases.
I mean, I read a lot of those, we all see them on Amazon and go, okay, is it really that bad a product?
Or is there something else going on here that's gotta be frustrating for brands that say, you didn't read the directions.
Especially for me as an entrepreneur and inventor that actually, you know, this whole This product, which you see on the back is like the original prototype that actually was built in my living room.
So it's like, it means a lot to me that a company like beta that actually takes care of your brand and your product from launching it to selling it.
So the consumer feedback it goes a long way.
Another example of breaking new tech into retail is a company called Vava.
They make dash cams and baby monitors but most interestingly for us an ultra short throw 4k video projector.
Video projectors in general remain pretty niche ultra short throw even more.
So Jay Lin is head of business development for vava and he joins us from one of those beta stores in Palo Alto.
How far away from the wall does the projectors sit
At about seven to eight inches away, the projector can pick up to 100 inches if you want to do it up to 150 inches all you have to do about 13 inches away.
So this is not your traditional projector.
Are you credibly able to argue to consumers You don't need a TV in your main television room.
This is what you need instead.
Yeah, that's a that's, that's a million dollar question and, and I'll answer it this way.
I will say that yes, we can definitely say with full confidence that if that's your goal, again, going back to it's all about you right if you choose to have vava to replace.
Place your TV completely.
Absolutely you can do that.
We've also seen our users though however that they have kept their TVs the TVs in the background above the projectors in the front and that, you know, they bought the specialized screen where it's a floor rising motorized screen that comes up okay, down,
You could easily go direct to consumer wall to wall and never put this thing in the store.
Lots of brands do that right?
But you don't What is it about being in store for this projector, for example that you think is compelling?
We realized that putting into store from offline to online offline experience is actually very important on our projector.
Is retailing at 2799, right with taxes about close to $3,000 or so.
So, first off, you're not talking about buying a $10 gadget online, right?
Like, whatever you know, I'm just going to put down 10 bucks and get online right?
So when you're making a $3,000 investment you.
Even though we are the best price in this category, people want to do their research.
They want to see it in person.
So they look out they're very careful.
We realize our users, they read online reviews.
They check out the comments right but they want to see it in person.
So we've decided that you know, by partner with beta, put it into a store environment like this where people can actually see it in person.
It actually enhances that user experience and as you know, proverbial, seeing is believing.
Part of it is also got to be the fact that you guys are a challenger brand if you're not Samsung, and so as a result, do you have to convince people that here's a projector with great specs.
It's got a really good price.
I don't know the brand, does that make it more important that you be available for personal inspection?
With an ultra short throw laser projectors space, we're currently the market leader right but you're right?
No, a lot of people have Ababa Bren.
They see that this thing is real, and they can trust the fact that Baba is indeed a company that makes this real projector.
The moment that somebody walks into a store right they'll take you around the store and they'll personally explain the product to you.
In demo in front of you.
So I think that in itself is almost feel like you're getting a personalized tour, if you will, you know, where they explained the products in great detail.
And I think that's really helpful and for our users, our customers when they come in here, right Not only are they just watching this alone, but then there's actually somebody who's very, I almost feel like they're extension us.
I hear a lot of the opposite from a lot of brands that say, you know, we're in all these big stores, and we just don't feel like they're telling our story.
Well, we don't know if they understand our product.
They may have too many products they have to know Or they're favoring another product for whatever commercial reasons they're being told we got to move these.
I love the Best Buy and and the other tech retailers, right but I just feel like at least here within beta they're definitely providing an above beyond Personalized shopping experience right i think that's in the front end like you said, and the back end we love beta because they actually provide a real time dashboard, where we get to analyze the data in terms of you know, are the shoppers for example, stopping in front of the Baba projector, you know.
So for example, I can see in the dashboard today that On average when a shopper comes into a beta store like this, they're actually more interested in our product.
So I think this is like the cool kwanko gadget apart their sensors ever in the store, in fact in front of each product so apparently, you know, in front of the vava 4k projector at their sensors above and you know, I think in a cabinet what's my understanding where by.
They can track the movements of the shoppers.
And again, you know, and you kind of see like, you know, to the right of it right.
There's a little pad panel there, if you will.
So if they're interested in the product, right, you know that the beta testers can further direct them to look at the panel demo product information input, their email address where we as a brand condemned Follow up what works best for you guys?
Do you want them to see the thing in real life and then buy where they want or do you really want to have them buy where they see?
Or do you want them to see it online and buy in store?
What do you think real yields the best experience So some shoppers they're very comfortable with buying a $3,000 product online then so be it they can buy from our Alibaba website.
They can buy it on our Amazon store, wherever it is available online right.
But again some shoppers again they want to be more careful perhaps like you said Brian, they may or may not have heard of Alibaba before.
Weren't too sure if this thing's for real whether we were gonna do we've claimed to be really awesome quality like this, then yeah, there's stores like beta where they can walk in and have that, you know, in person experience.
So I think to answer your question, Brian, we just wanna offer all the available options that you're comfortable with.
But let's then talk about post sales support because that's one of the things that Tends to make some brands really stand out.
Let's face it, Apple is one of those really great safety net.
And I know that I'm going to get support, warranty coverage and education from a place that I know how to get to.
What do you guys do to do that you're a much smaller company for some initial product development perspective.
You do want to make up.
From that just kwanko words, minimize the support that necessary whatnots
Yeah, always better to have no need for support or warranties, right?
This thing's supposed to do you take out of the box and then drop it next to the wall and voila, you get your 150 inch cinematic movie theater, right?
But we definitely in conjunction with beta, right, we offer dedicated support.
In fact, we have private virtual.
A support where, for anybody and each person that has bought a VAVA 4k projector, we will assign a dedicated rep to support you remotely from the moment that you take it out of the box.
So because we feel like you know again with the 4k projector right.
It's very important that you get the right experience.
The moment you get out of the box, that's something unique that hey, we have somebody a named person to support you, Brian, when you're getting your 4k projector
that's a new wrinkle that I think a lot of technology brands are trying to figure out how to maybe not exactly that way.
But they're trying to figure out how to really handle this.
Because so many of the bad reviews that they'll get, let's say it's on Amazon where reviews are so important and so accessible-
Are from misunderstanding, or impatience, or not reading the manual, and it doesn't matter.
If someone has a bad experience, they think you've got a bad product, and they're gonna mark you that way, and they may be very persuasive.
Maybe more so than the happy customer who doesn't have a lot of grit.
They don't have a lot of motivation to write a great review.
People that are angry have a lot of motivation, they tend to really outweigh or punch above their weight, I guess.
And so I think a lot of brands trying to figure out how do we make sure we have a really good handhold It's going to cost us forever,
we probably wouldn't be able to provide this kind of dedicated support for a $10.
the fact that you're talking Baba 4k projector, which is meant to replace the TV in your house.
We want to provide that personalized support so that you get a great experience and you're right yes.
It does also help with.
Today's day and age social proof right so that people give us good reviews and they realize that they have a great experience.
We've been talking to Jay Lin, he's director of business development for vava
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