General Merchandise/HBC

Pine State Trading Implementing OrderShark

C-store distributor deploying Ai2's Android, iPhone order entry app

AUGUSTA, Maine -- Pine State Trading will deploy enterprise application developer Ai2's new smartphone order entry app to help service approximately 1,000 convenience stores in the northeastern United States. The app, called OrderShark, is designed to replace Telxon and MSI devices with Androids and iPhones, which the company said is a significant upgrade in sales technology, especially the communication protocol.

Pine State is one of North America's largest distributors of convenience items, food and beer. The company is a longtime user of Ai2's solutions for sales force automation and remote order entry. Ai2 estimates that the "bring your own device" (BYOD) aspect of OrderShark that allows retailers to use their personal smartphones will save Pine State approximately $500,000.

"The Telxon communication issue is a significant problem for retailers in c-store and grocery distribution. When orders aren't sent and received in an efficient way, it slows down our entire operation. OrderShark will help us on our mission to give them the best possible service. Best of all, we don't need to purchase and support a ton of hardware that's already obsolete," said Keith Canning, managing partner of Pine State.

Using the smartphone's camera, OrderShark scans any barcode type from any angle using proprietary scanning technology that Ai2 developed. The app reads all existing UPC types as fast as a Telxon as well as QR codes. It handles all existing Telxon symbologies. Users in a retail environment can view, edit, retain and copy previous orders. The OrderShark system provides the status of all orders including confirmation that an order was received by the host, which older handhelds don't always provide, Ai2 said. Orders are logged in the device for safekeeping and easy access. Orders are sent over WiFi or cellular networks. OrderShark supports international language sets for multilingual use.

Ai2 designed OrderShark to mirror a distributor's existing Telxon interface, which shortens a distributor's deployment time. A distributor or retailer need not purchase any new computer hardware. Users simply download OrderShark from the Apple or Android app store to their existing smartphones or iPod Touch units, enter a specifically assigned confirmation number and begin building their orders immediately.

Chicago-based Ai2's applications are used by more than 75,000 users each day to capture nearly $75 billion in annual sales. More than 10,000 retail stores and more than 1,000 movie theaters use Ai2 solutions for their order entry needs. Ai2 improves the sales process for some of the world's largest distributors in foodservice, convenience store, grocery, beverage, hardware, medical, beauty products, jewelry and more.

Pine State Trading is a family-owned company based in Augusta, Maine, with more than 800 employees and annual sales approaching $1 billion. It offers a diversified sales, marketing and logistics network to serve its more than 5,000 customers.

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