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Sheri Tate is our kiosk industry veteran, with over 12 years of experience working with kiosks in product development, operations and marketing roles. Sheri began working with ChargeItSpot’s Founder/CEO Douglas Baldasare as a consultant shortly after the company was founded. Her passion for the startup’s mission developed and in 2015 she relocated from Northern California to Philadelphia to join us full-time. As SVP Product Strategy, Sheri manages ChargeItSpot’s product development, and is also involved in many other areas of the company’s strategic growth.
1. What are your day-to-day responsibilities at ChargeItSpot?
As the SVP Product Strategy, there is no typical day as I essentially manage all things product related. My team designs and implements all of the new features and functionality – both software and hardware for our phone charging kiosks – like the new loyalty card scanners we recently installed – as well as the backend administration system. I also manage several key departments: engineering, creative and PR. And finally, I also oversee the development of ChargeItSpot’s mobile app and website.
2. How has ChargeItSpot’s product strategy evolved since launching in 2011?
We’ve definitely come a long way. ChargeItSpot started with a single focus of providing free phone charging to people everywhere. As we have evolved, we have developed many capabilities beyond just charging which make our charging kiosks a robust omnichannel customer engagement platform. Our phone charging stations provide a variety of ways for our clients to communicate messaging to consumers: from the kiosk’s custom wrapping to its touchscreen interface to the SMS message each customer receives after charging their phone. Our partners can use the opt-in data we collect to gain valuable customer insights. For example, how long a customer charges their phone is related to how long they spend in the store and the frequency of their returns. Third party research has also allowed us to correlate the customer’s time spent charging with an increased dwell time and basket size. We’ve also become more strategic with the retailers we partnered with, and we’ve found a need for our charging stations in unexpected verticals such as hospitals, casinos, universities and community centers like the YMCA.
3. You’re a kiosk industry veteran. How have kiosks changed over the years?
My first foray into the kiosk industry was in 2003 when I started working for DVDPlay who made the first DVD rental kiosks (before Redbox) in Los Gatos, CA. It was a novel concept at the time, and we were competing mostly with brick-and-mortar stores like Blockbuster. There was very little online streaming in 2003.
Being a stand-alone product, a kiosk has to be able to sell its product or service without the help of a sales person. In 2003, people were not very accustomed to interacting with kiosks beyond ATMs. This made it hard to convert customers. The familiarity we now have with kiosks has certainly evolved a lot in the last 12 years. Today, you go up to a kiosk get just about anything – from a duplicate of your keys to a fresh cup of coffee to a new headset! Kiosks are not only more pervasive and common, they’re also considerably more stable and sophisticated. A lot has been learned over the years on how to perfect the kiosk technology. Ten years ago, you’d see a lot of “out of order” signs on kiosks. That’s no longer the case today. Kiosks must be incredibly easy to use on the front end, but they are typically highly complex on the backend. It always makes me laugh when people think our kiosks are just a big locker with charging cables!
4. What’s the most interesting part about your job?
I love the variety and the challenges. No day is the same. It’s a great feeling to be a part of something you feel is on the cusp of becoming very big. I also love the people. ChargeItSpot has a top notch team. We work hard together but we also have a lot of fun together!
5. Where do you see ChargeItSpot in 5 years?
I see our phone charging stations in tens of thousands of public locations. I predict phone charging stations will become as ubiquitous as Wi-Fi is today. You used to have to look for Wi-Fi, and now it’s free and commonly available. Cell phone charging is a basic need that is not going to go away. We’re more and more dependent on our phones and with phone booths and landlines now obsolete, people will demand a free cell phone charge when they’re out and about so they can stay powered up throughout the day. I also see us integrating new technologies in our kiosks. We’re looking at some cutting-edge new technology and verticals that will help better service our client’s needs. We’re always going to be perfecting our product and services to better meet the evolving needs of our retail partners and customers.
Quick Charge Questions
iPhone or Android? iPhone
What’s your favorite mobile app? Amazon shopping
When was the last time your phone battery died? Yesterday
What’s your biggest cellphone pet peeve? How quickly the battery runs low
If you could look through anyone’s cell phone, who’s would it be? Barack Obama
What do you wish your cellphone could do? Completely replace my wallet and credit cards