The Drone Factory

Belfast, Northern Ireland

Located in Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Drone Factory is a passion project for owner Michael, consultant Chris and manager Kevin.

“We got into the drone business because of our film production business,” explains Michael, which lead them into developing a deep knowledge base and appreciation for the quickly evolving photography, camera and drone industry.

Believing that drone technology is on its way to becoming ever more prevalent in daily life, they sought to create a showroom and educational space for drone enthusiasts, whether professionals or those simply wishing to learn more about the emerging technology. From boasting an extremely well-informed staff including drone pilots who completed their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) certification to offering drone repairs (a service not offered by most other competitors), The Drone Factory immediately set themselves apart from the competition with the level of expertise they’re able to offer shoppers. “We wanted someone to come in, ask for help and get educated.”

Motivated by the bright future of drone technology, the owners plan on being right there as casual drone use increases with consumers. “We’re rapidly getting to a point in time where drones change our lives. Drones will do the jobs that people do. Drones will wash windows, drones will spray crops, drones will deliver goods from Amazon and other sources. They will provoke a fundamental change in the way society works and that’s why they’re so important. That’s why we believe we’re at the beginning of an emerging technology that’s going to generate sales of something like 5.5 billion by the end of 2016.”

To satisfy the growing popularity of this technology, The Drone Factory wanted an integrated omnichannel solution that would help them sell across different sales channels, give them the data necessary for analysing their business activity, and enable them to be physically mobile. That’s exactly what they got with Lightspeed.

With the help of Lightspeed’s omnichannel system, they have been able to optimise their online store and, as a result, increase their website traffic, increase visibility for their store and attract customers to their brick-and-mortar retail location from around the country. “We’ve actually had people travelling up from Southern Ireland, as far as Dublin, to purchase from us and visit our store. We’re starting to cover the whole of Ireland, not just the North.”

As their online presence grows, they plan to open pop ups in shopping centres and trade shows. Something made relatively simple since Lightspeed’s system goes on the road with them wherever they go to meet new customers and share their tech. “You can use it anywhere. Whenever I want to set up an event, I can bring the till with me since it’s an iPad. All I need is a scanner and a cash register and I can take cash sales. If I want to go to a remote location and only take cards for our more expensive products, I can bring my card reader. If I want to expand my shop and open a store elsewhere, all I need to do is add another register, get another iPad. It just makes everything very simple to do.”

Another aspect of the Lightspeed system that was critically important for The Drone Factory was the amount of time they spent managing their store. Working with cutting-edge technology every day, the owners spend a significant part of their days on continuous product learning to stay informed about the latest tech developments and maintain their position as leaders in their field. “You have to stay one step ahead. Learn about every product before it comes out, learn about the functionality and ins and outs of every product.”

They needed a solution that would simplify the day-to-day running of their business and help them access actionable insights quickly. With the omnichannel system, they could speed up their entire ordering process, “we’re able to react to customer requests quicker, we can do the product ordering quicker and get the product shipped out to the customer. We’re able to turn orders around three days quicker than before. Literally with a click, you can see the reports [you need]; how much stock is in the store, what’s its value, how much was turnover was made the week before. We’re able to get that info in a matter of minutes.”

An omnichannel platform that would support their ambition was what they sought, and Lightspeed offered them just that. “With Lightspeed, the sky's the limit.”

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