Month: November 2016

The Beach Vacation we All Needed

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The kids were restless. The wife was upset (perpetually, it was starting to seem). I checked the bank account– it was fine and healthy. I made a list of chores and things to fix up around the house, but it turned out that the house was in great shape. We were all eating just fine, the fridge was fully stocked, our bills were all paid; still, despite the fact that nothing was “missing,” I could tell that something was definitely off kilter…

Soon, it came to me in a burst of realization… it came to me that we were halfway through the summer, and we hadn’t traveled at all. Six weeks into the season, and we had yet to venture further than around an hour or so out of town to visit my cousin. How could I have been so blind? No wonder there was such a strange feeling; we were all getting cabin fever!

We love our home, but familiarity breeds contempt, and I decided that it was due time that the lot of us get out of dodge, and try somewhere new. Naturally, my wife was keen to the idea– can you blame her?

 

That night, and for several nights afterward, my wife and I stayed up for at least an extra hour before going to sleep, researching potential destinations on our respective tablets. We decided that it would be best if we stayed within the United States this time around, and that we did not want the drive to take any more than one day, (definitely less than two days), as our sons are 4 and 6 and– well, no explanation required.

At first, she wanted to visit some of the major Atlantic cities, like New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. I was not supportive of this idea, I said that the kids were so young, and that these major cities were due to be wildly busy in mid-late August. I suggested that we consider visiting family down in Florida, but she said it would be too hot; I conceded, that is a fair assessment. Within a few days, I suddenly remembered the story of a dear friend of mine, who, not long before, had given me some great advice about a potential destination.

“Honey,” I began, while my wife’s head was directed at the screen of her tablet, with a furrowed brow.

“Yes, honey, what is it?” She asked, sternly.

“What about the Outer Banks?”

Suddenly, after days… weeks… what felt like years of bickering, the answer was that simple. We agreed that we would spend our family vacation that summer at the Outer Banks.

I’d heard from a trusted friend that that the beaches, the parks, the history, the food, and people who spend their summers over around the Outer Banks were top notch, and that it was a bit of an undiscovered gem for the Southern-Atlantic coast. I called up my friend who had recommend the trip to me before, and, without hesitating, he said I was in for a treat:

“Hoo boy! The Outer Banks! Great choice! For your rental, don’t forget to call Twiddy & Co., they actually specialize in Outer Banks vacation rentals. They treat us well every time. Tell ‘em I sent ya!”

Time passed, and before we knew it, we were packing up the Sedan the next day. We had a rough plan for the trip, but we wanted to leave some of the specifics open to spontaneity. The boys and I were very excited; I had them all jacked up and ready to toss around the frisbee and the football on the amazing beaches. The wife? She had packed a few books that she’d been meaning to read for a long time, and she was more than ready to relax on the sand. Thanks to Twiddy & Co, we were matched up with our ideal vacation rental, and we were all very impressed and pleased with the house we stayed in. It was an oceanside house in Frisco, which was totally idyllic. The boys were elated to be sharing a great room down in the basement, and my wife and I had our own bathroom, complete with a jacuzzi, in our upstairs suite. It would be fair to say that we were elated, too.

But how were the Outer Banks, you ask?

To put it simply: we absolutely loved the trip.

We did everything we could; from a leisurely walk around the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge on Roanoke (yes, there are alligators!), to Corolla Adventure Golf & Bumper Cars, to the Children at Play Museum at Kitty Hawk– not to mention everything in between! The beaches, by the way, are gorgeous. Particularly fantastic was Coquina Beach, in Nags Head, and another (complete with lifeguards) in Ocracoke. There was also a very nice and quiet beach in Duck. My wife also loved the Elizabethan Gardens in Roanoke, and I was quite partial to the offerings of the Fort Raleigh National Historic Site. Fort Raleigh was actually named after famous British figure Sir Walter Raleigh, and Roanoke Island was the home of the Lost Colony, which was Queen Elizabeth I’s first attempt at a permanent British settlement on American soil.

Also, call it the spirit of the vacation, but the boys were completely willing to eat the delicious seafood that we put on their plates. As well as the classic local seafood, we treated ourselves to great pancakes, bagels, and tacos on the trip, and we made sure to eat at a wide variety of local spots. We could not arrange a babysitter, but my wife and I have discussed the possibility of coming back by ourselves, as we heard that a lot of the high-end seafood restaurants are absolutely to die for, and apparently a few of them are totally worth their steep price!

We met other families. The kids were able to play on the beach with other kids, my wife met other women who held many similar interests, and I was able to relax, tip back a couple of beers, watch sports and have some fun with a couple other soon-to-be geezers like myself.

When it was time to leave, the boys were exhausted, but so were my wife and I. Still, we didn’t feel like we wanted to go. The four of us could all agree that we had a fantastic time, even if our youngest was asleep in the back seat. My wife and I are still talking about where we will rent, eat, and relax when we return to Outer Banks. Absolutely tremendous.

Bluetooth Beacons to Transform Retail soon

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Brick and mortar stores face a setback in 2015, while the shopping online showed good growth. In fact, even the giant retail stores had to close. However, not all the hope is lost as retailers have a savoir in the form of new technology. The beacons arrived through Apple as iBeacons in 2013 and were introduced into the market. These did not acquire interest initially, but caught up fast by 2015 end with Google entering the field with Eddystone.

 

Beacons are small devices that are wireless, battery operated and low-cost. The device transmits a Bluetooth weak signal to other devices are Bluetooth enabled that are promoted by cell phones using an AT&T signal booster or something identical. The beacons reach to customers as someone walks with a Smartphone that is Bluetooth enabled and provides the right application.

 

Importance of Engagement

The most trying hindrance faced by retail now is that it should engage customers who are much attached to their devices. The big fact is that it should convince customers to reach a store, battle the crowds and hunt an item that is convenient and more fun.

 

Beacons may assist in keeping your current customers by developing an engaging in-store experience.  Now, retailers with the help of such beacons can navigate customers through a store and find that they want and also get few perks for utilizing these efforts.

 

The first step is to engage. It is very important to bring back customers. Once that is done, the retailers can provide customers incentives to keep them on hold and to stay for a while.

 

Beacons as Experiences

Customers require experience and are the main reason that retail is shrinking, though it is not dead or closed completely. The fact cannot be denied that online shopping fails to convince the urge to feel a product. At the same time, it does not also permit to get the unexpected surprises found in the store.

 

The beacon technology embraced early is sure to offer the unique experience. The retailer can use it to promote customer experiences to include rewards, discounts and recommendations.

 

Beacons helps in drawing customers into the stores and also in keeping them inside longer, but bear in mind the technology may not be able to do this on its own. It should be installed and implemented with a robust strategy suited for each retailer. The strategy employed should offer an experience such that it is of value to customers.