From your favourite corner coffee shop to a Fortune 500 company, most successful businesses are founded on three key ingredients: passion, the ability to fill in a gap in the market, and a vision for the future.

This has certainly been true for the Drone Factory. Based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, the company is the passion project-turned-business venture for owner Michael, consultant Chris and manager Kevin.

The Drone Factory
Having worked in the film production business, Michael and his team began taking a keen interest in the equipment involved, including cameras and drones. Over time they saw beyond what many have called a temporary fad and spotted their gap in the market: the burgeoning pick-up of drones among consumers. As the user pool widened, so did the applications of drones, now ranging from agriculture and art projects, to deliveries or simply recreational entertainment.

As drone enthusiasts themselves, Michael and the team decided to create a space that could truly cater to the needs of this growing audience. So the Drone Factory was born; an all-in-one space designed for the drone community that includes a showroom and educational area for advice and customer support as well as a top notch repair service, one of the few within a showroom setup. To truly set themselves apart, the Drone Factory invested in expertise provision, ensured by their Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) certified staff.


The search for the right tech
To support their growing business, Michael and his team looked for technology that could keep up. One of their pressure points was the need to manage both an online and an offline sales platform, as they learned that customers would check product offerings online before visiting their physical store to make a purchase.

The ability to manage their business while not being desk-bound also became crucial. The Drone Factory team often found themselves on the move, either testing new drones, visiting pop-up locations or trade shows, which meant they needed to be able to access business information from anywhere and at any time.

The solution that helped them succeed
They implemented Lightspeed’s omnichannel, which helped them seamlessly integrate their online and offline platforms, and gave the team access to important business data which allowed them to run the business efficiently and, importantly, remotely.

The new tech fit well and has allowed the Drone Factory to optimise its online store which lead to increased traffic to their website. As visibility within the drone community increased, so did footfall in their brick-and-mortar location, with people from across the country coming to visit their store. Omnichannel has also enabled the Drone Factory team to streamline the entire ordering process. With stock data just a click away, they are able to respond and ship orders out three days quicker than before, providing the excellent customer service that keeps people coming back and telling their friends.

Mobility is key for the Drone Factory, and the ability to run their electronic point-of-sale system (EPOS) directly from an iPad has encouraged them to remain nimble. They have opened more pop-up stores in new locations, thus widening their customer base and visibility even further.

With global drone market revenue expected to grow to more than $11.2 billion by 2020, the sky’s the limit for the Drone Factory. Owner Michael explains: “The omnichannel nature of Lightspeed has helped us operate smoothly both online and instore, and we’re now able to easily keep track of inventory, regardless of where we are. We’re excited to see the new and inventive ways drones will be used in the future and we’ll make sure we’re there for the journey with our customers.”