North Carolina’s Research Triangle is Ready for its Startups to Go Big

Last year, some would argue, Raleigh celebrated its 40th year as a bona fide tech hub. 1976 was the year when James ‘Jim’ Goodnight, left North Carolina State University to go it alone in software. Today his company, SAS Institute, is worth over $3 billion and employs 14,052 people worldwide.

“Until that point we had the global players like IBM and Northern Telecom, but SAS was our first homegrown technology company of significant size,” says Ben Brooks, founder of investor Southcap. “It put us on the map.”

North Carolina’s sprawling capital has long been a destination for leading technology brands. In fact it is the biggest part of The Research Triangle, a metro area comprising itself, Durham and Chapel Hill, and including Goodnight’s alma mater NCSU, Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Forget Apps; American Signature Hands Tablets to Furniture Shoppers

Despite fears of physical retailers that they would become obsolete as shoppers moved to ecommerce purchases, it turns out that the majority of shoppers still prefer to make their purchases in a physical store. As the number of shoppers using their mobile device in the store increases, the question has become how to better engage these customers. Columbus, OH based furniture retailer American Signature is working with CloudTags to provide customized tablets to provide product features, reviews, availability and delivery dates, as well as related online-only products. “Customers in the journey didn’t love any furniture shopping in any furniture store,” said Stephen Haffer, CIO and EVP at American Signature, based in Columbus, Ohio. “The whole experience was broken. We wanted to make buying furniture easier.” After using the tablets for several months, American Signature has seen exciting results – 95% of customer emails collected via the tablet were previously unknown and the average post-visit order value was 20% that non-tablet users.

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