Tag Archives: iPhone

A Square Deal

May 25, 2013 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Café 110 opened its doors at the corner of 13th and Farnam in March 2012. Owner Allan Zeeck had been at the Benson Grind in the hip Benson neighborhood for about eight years before he closed shop and headed downtown with his eyes set on a space in the Old Market’s business district.

The business, which is known for its catering and live music weekends, serves delicious foods and drinks to its Old Market customers from 7am to 5pm Monday through Friday and 9am to 2pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Breakfast and coffee are the main attractions, in Zeeck’s opinion, but Café 110 also has an assortment of pastries, a healthy soup and salad bar, and fresh sandwiches.

But it’s not just the food that has Omaha buzzing about Café 110. It’s Zeeck’s implementation of an electronic payment service called Square.

Similar to the Passbook app, which stores coupons, boarding passes, event tickets, and more on a smartphone, Square is the new-age system of business transaction around the country. Rather than using the traditional cash register, businesses that use Square can have their customers pay either by swiping the card through a reader attached to a portable device, like a smartphone or computer tablet, or through the Square Wallet app.

“[Square] keeps track of my inventory, taxes, gratuity, credit card statements—it has a whole library of my entire history that I have access to any time I need.” – Allan Zeeck, owner

With the Square Wallet app, customers can set up a user profile on a smartphone, linking their name, a photo, and their credit or debit card information. When it’s time to pay, all customers need to do is open the app and make a quick payment with the touch of a finger. Receipts are then sent directly to the customer via text or e-mail. The app also allows customers to pay with gift cards and coupons and keep track of business punch cards.

Zeeck, who began experimenting with Square four years ago and has been using it ever since, has nothing but praise for the technology. “The process is very efficient,” he says. “It keeps track of my inventory, taxes, gratuity, credit card statements—it has a whole library of my entire history that I have access to any time I need. It [also] lets me know what sells and what isn’t selling.” He adds that the best parts of using Square are that each swipe is only 2.75 percent with no additional fees and that the money is in his business account the next day.

Though he’s heard some mixed reviews about the Square technology at his café, Zeeck says overall, his customers have received it very positively. “People like that it’s so snazzy and modern. There’s no pen or stylus to deal with; you just use a finger and a phone…It’s easier to retain records of the purchase, too, so if there’s ever any kind of misunderstanding with a purchase, I have the ability to go back and refund without the pain of the bank.”

Zeeck knows there are other systems similar to Square available, but he’s certain that he wants to stick with Square. Down the road, he even hopes that his customers will be able to both order and purchase from their phones with Square. “You always worry about minimizing the personal communication with your customers, but I think as long as [Square] continues to progress at a rapid pace and continues being so efficient, I’ll keep using it.”

Café 110
1299 Farnam St. #110
402-932-4040
cafe110omaha.com

Instagram Builds Brands

November 25, 2012 by

Instagram is this non-assuming app that is a snap to download and use on your iPhone or Android. It helps us makes the most of our increasingly busy, visual, and social lives. And people love it. According to a recent Forbes article, Instagram saw “remarkable growth” in the first half of 2012, going from 15 million users early in the year to 80 million in July. That’s a 400 percent increase in users.

Founded by two Stanford grad geeks who majored in Management Science and Symbolic Systems with a focus in Human-Computer Interaction, the inspiration they got from working at Google, Microsoft, and a few start-ups led to the big idea—an easy way to take a photo, give it a cool effect, affix your location, tag your friends, and share with the world (or at least your world) through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and more. With Instagram, you can broadcast a visual experience to thousands in a matter of seconds.

That’s what the world’s major brands like about Instagram.

The Starbucks and Redbulls of the world may be obvious early adopters of the cool Instagram technology. Performers, fashion companies, and sports teams use Instagram to showcase what they do best. But savvy marketers in the halls of General Electric and other corporations are leveraging this tiny tool to make big waves in building their brands. Here’s how GE did it:

They birthed their Instagram account by sharing photos of their innovative jet engine and health care technology as “art.” Then they launched a contest inviting Instagrammers to share their photos of items that illustrate any of GE’s four main areas of innovation (moving, powering, curing, and building). Contest photos were marked by a hashtag (that groups and feeds similar photos to users) “#GEInspiredMe,” and shared on GE’s Facebook page. This allowed other Instagrammers and Facebook fans to see and vote for the best photo. The winner was flown to Germany to photograph a world-class jet engine plant. A little ingenuity and a lot of creativity helped GE emotionally engage thousands of prospective customers and  grow brand awareness and sales.

To see the more than 4,000 user photos submitted to GE, search “GEInspiredMe” from your Instagram account.