Business Internet

Expanding Your Brick and Mortar Business Online

Expanding Your Brick and Mortar Business Online 2550 1700 Vyve Business

Simple Ways to Leverage Your Existing Customer Base

Starting with the early days of the 21st century, it became increasingly difficult for brick and mortar businesses to compete with their online competitors. The lower barriers of entry and widespread availability of internet access allowed online upstarts to pop up seemingly overnight, outcompeting brands that had stood the test of time for many decades.

Even the popping of the internet bubble in the early 2000s was not enough to kill off eCommerce. Instead, online shopping took off in a big way, and today it is an integral part of the retail experience for most shoppers.

Given these new realities, it is important for business owners to adapt, augmenting their existing retail operations with new online channels.

If you are thinking about expanding your brick and mortar business online, the customers you already have can be your biggest assets, how you handle those relationships will make all the difference in the world.

Here are some simple ways to leverage your existing customer base when expending your brick and mortar retail store online.

Offer an Order Online Pick Up in Store Option

Online shopping can be great, but sometimes a hybrid approach works even better. If you want to make the most of your online operations without cannibalizing your brick and mortar sales, a pick up in store option could be the perfect solution.

Providing your customers with the ability to pick up online orders in-store benefits both the buyer and the business. Shoppers can save time that would have otherwise been spent hunting down the items they need, while retail shops can benefit from additional in-store purchases and impulse buys at the point of purchase.

Provide Online Only Discounts to Existing Customers

The shopping bags you give your customers do more than carry their purchases; they can advertise your business and help you build out your new online channel. If you want to encourage customers to shop online and spread the word about your offerings, why not print up some coupons and drop them in every bag that leaves your store?

Offering special coupons with online discount codes to existing customers will encourage your loyal clientele to check out your new marketing channels. Even more importantly, those coupons have a way of spreading far and wide – to family members, friends and others who will soon be beating a path to your virtual store.

Set Up a Referral Program

Your existing customers can be your best brand ambassadors – if you give them a chance. Setting up a referral program is a great way to reward your best customers while spreading the word about your new online operations.

Print a special referral code on all your receipts, urging brick and mortar shoppers to share their experiences with their friends in return for a special online-only or in-store discount. Don’t forget to drop coupons and flyers in each shopping bag with the referral information on them too!

Setting up an online channel is a great way for brick and mortar businesses to survive, and thrive, in a difficult retail environment. This combination of online and offline retail serves the evolving needs of customers, business owners and shoppers in the 21st-century world of commerce. The ideas listed above can get you started, but the rest is up to you.

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Business Solutions

How Business Internet Access Differs from Residential Needs

How Business Internet Access Differs from Residential Needs 960 720 Vyve Business

Business owners of any size work hard to protect their assets. However, the internet is a necessity for you to do most of your work. This means you need to have the right options and a plan in place. Some business owners use residential internet instead of business internet access, but this can be a mistake.

While business internet costs more than residential services, you get more perks, such as consistent speeds, better customer support, and more features, ensuring that your business can perform better.

If you cut corners with your internet service, you’re likely going to find it challenging to complete your goals and tasks.

Dedicated Connection

If you have ever experienced internet speed lagging or wonder why you don’t have access at particular times of day, this likely means that you are sharing your internet connection with other customers and companies during peak times.

The shared bandwidth drastically affects your internet speed and performance. Bandwidth is measured using the contention ratio, and the ratio your ISP offers indicates how many businesses and homes are using that same line. For example, a ratio of 30:1 indicates that 30 people are on the same connection as you. Peak usage means that most of those people are using the internet at the same time.

Most of the time, residential plans have high contention ratios, which means more people use them and bandwidth is spotty if the network is not built to handle the peak usage times.

Business internet access can give you a dedicated connection to the internet. You have consistency regardless of the time. It costs more, but it means that you, and usually you alone, have access to that particular line.

Static IP

Your IP address is the network’s online address. Dynamic IP addresses are usually used by ISPs for residential services, which means the IP address changes periodically. Business internet usually allows you to purchase a static IP address, which doesn’t change and is permanent.

The static IP address ensures that your network is more secure and reliable. Most entrepreneurs who host their own servers need a static IP address. You may also require a static IP address if you allow employees to work remotely and access the network from home.

Faster Upload/Download Speeds

Internet bandwidth is the amount of data that is transmitted across your internet connection and should be the first variable you consider when choosing an ISP. Bandwidth, in a sense, is the maximum speed you can achieve with your ISP under the best conditions. It isn’t necessarily what you’ll get with the service.

Internet speeds are a metric of performance and can determine how smoothly you can stream videos or back up your company data in the cloud.

Most business internet access plans have higher internet speeds to give you a better connection. A high-speed connection includes upload and download speeds. The download speed is necessary to download and stream content while the upload speed can affect your ability to back-up data to a server or the cloud. Both speeds are necessary for video conferencing and the like.

Residential internet has higher download speeds with slower upload speeds, which is why providers can keep costs low. Business internet usually requires comparable download-upload speeds, which is called parity. Faster upload speeds can help the employees work more proficiently.

The amount of bandwidth you require depends on how many users you have (employees, customers, etc.) and the performance needs of the users.

Customer Service

Business internet access can enhance customer service. Internet outages can cost you a lot of money and time. Therefore, some ISPs offer SLAs (Service Level Agreements) to business customers. It is, in a sense, a guarantee that claims you get a predetermined level of performance by using the provider’s services. If the service doesn’t meet those performance levels, you get compensated appropriately.

You may also be able to add on options, such as security, data backup, productivity solutions, VPNs, and Wi-Fi setup.

Different Internet Access Technologies (Benefits and Drawbacks)

There are many internet access technologies out there, and it is important to know a little about each one so that you are more informed and can make a better decision.

Ethernet over Coax can help make your Wi-Fi connection better. You know that your Wi-Fi range is sometimes limited, which means some areas don’t get a signal. The Ethernet over Coax ensures that you can send your Ethernet signals using coaxial cables. However, if your business doesn’t already use coaxial cables, the cost of laying new cable for your network devices can be expensive, and you may find that the Ethernet cables aren’t long enough, which means paying more for longer cables.

A dedicated Ethernet Internet over Copper is also available, and it ensures that you’re the only user of that particular internet line. It can guarantee that the internet works when you require it most, but it is one of the most expensive options available.

Dedicated Ethernet internet over Fiber provides you with the highest quality and bandwidth possible, but it isn’t very accessible. Ask your ISP if this is an option available in your area.

A T1 line can carry data at rates of 1.544 megabits-per-second, which is about 60 times faster than traditional residential access. NxT1 access is similar, but it is a bonded T1 bandwidth, which means you can obtain more than the single T1 bandwidth circuit without needing a DS3 access. Its primary advantage is that you can attain more diversity across carriers when using various protocols, including Border Gate Protocol and Cisco Express Forwarding. However, this option is quite costly and may not be available in all areas.

Business Broadband (including Cable, DSL, and Fiber), is the traditional option that most entrepreneurs seek because it is familiar. You can still choose the speed you desire, as well as the bandwidth, and some ISPs may offer dedicated services. However, fiber is still best, and the slowest fiber option is still faster than the fastest DSL option.

Business Wireless Broadband (Satellite, 4G, and WISP), also called fixed wireless broadband is suitable for rural areas. However, it is considered a poor option for businesses because it is a very spotty service and the fastest connections are still very slow compared to traditional broadband.

Are you interested in learning more about Business Internet Solutions and other managed services to secure your business? Click to connect with one of our Business Solutions Experts.