‘The Carriers’ Carrier’

Tech solutions

With technological innovation in network connectivity playing a greater role in business and society now more than ever before, the work of Aqua Comms, the transatlantic specialist of subsea cable networks, is proving vital. Supporting global carriers and media organisations in their missions to keep us connected, Aqua Comms is evolving to stay ahead in a rapidly advancing industry.

Established in 2014, Aqua Comms is an internationally renowned specialist in the field of subsea fibre-optic cable networks, that provides comprehensive services in the building and operation of submarine cable systems. From the planning, implementation and supply of fibre pairs and capacity services to the global media, content and carrier markets, Aqua Comms is committed to providing solutions for the web-scale providers that are so central to the international cloud industry.

Since its inception, Aqua Comms has continued to honour its commitments to exceptional performance and reliability in its solutions, positioning itself as the leading Transatlantic experts in subsea networks in the North Atlantic market. Run by its highly experienced team, Aqua Comms’ first networks AEC-1 and CC-1 remain the most advanced subsea cabling systems to connect Ireland, the UK and the US to Europe, enabling inimitable Transatlantic connectivity for global carriers, cloud-based networks, data centres, IT companies and the global media.

Today, Aqua Comms remains devoted to increasing connectivity across the North Atlantic, having launched its most recent project with consortium partners Facebook, Google and Bulk Infrastructure, a data centre operator situated in Norway. The HAVFRUE cable system is a new high-speed cable with a landing party in New Jersey, Ireland and Denmark, and forms a part of the North Atlantic Loop to offer next generation cable systems and diverse routing. Aqua Comms has been charged with the operation of the cable, owning a portion of the fibre pairs which has been called AEC-2, as the logical representation of the firm’s next step in connecting Transatlantic regions.

AEC-1 was conceived shortly before Aqua Comms came into being in 2014, when a private investor in a Transatlantic cable initiative previously called Emerald Networks acquired the Irish cable company, Sea Fibre Networks. In 2012, Sea Fibre Networks had built an undersea cable between Dublin and Holyhead in Wales called CC-1, which was the shortest, most secure crossing of the Irish sea. The private investor, then named Aqua Ventures International, capitalised on what was a period of high growth in the Irish economy to combine its own Transatlantic cable with CC-1 to create AEC-1. Extending from Shirley, Long Island, to Killala, Co. Mayo, Ireland, AEC-1 had the shortest passage through shallow water in the US, landing in western Ireland before going into Killala. It has dual diverse backhauls to Dublin to reach the Irish Sea and dual diverse backhauls across the UK to London.

Today, Aqua Comms continues to work alongside a multitude of carriers such as global content networks, wholesale carriers and global media organisations, never competing with clients but striving to deliver the best possible service as the ‘carriers’ carrier’. The surge in networks has been incoming since the turn of the century, which saw a monumental drive to build new, transatlantic cables. Soon into this momentum, however, the costs for building new cables jumped exponentially due to demand, coinciding with a collapse in the market in 2002. With a huge oversupply of capacity in the Atlantic, many of these cables went into bankruptcy, putting an end to new investments in cable systems.

However, with legacy cable systems typically having a lifespan of about twenty-five years, this oversupply is now coming to an end. Moreover, the economic life of these cables which has been somewhat extended through upgrades by equipment vendors is now no longer rational, with the cost of running these cables approximately the same as new cables, yet with approximately a tenth of the fibre capacity of their newer counterparts, approximately 4-5 Tbps per fibre pair compared to 20-30 Tbps per fibre pair today. That’s six to eight times the capacity for the same operating cost.

Thus, the launch of AEC-2 is the first of many new cables that Aqua Comms will play a part in installing over the coming months and years, including the brand-new cable across the Irish Sea called CC-2 and a cable across the North Sea running from Newcastle, in the UK, to Denmark, called North Sea Connect. Between them, these cables will create a series of ring-based structures between North America and Northern Europe that will be part of the North Atlantic Loop that has already been extended through the AEC-2.

Projects such as AEC-3, which is due to be launched in the first half of 2022, will see continued development of Transatlantic connectivity, while plans further down the pipeline expect to see exciting projects in the Arctic launched, focused on the development of new routes connecting Asia to Europe. In the next year, Aqua Comms also plans to introduce its ‘liquid products’, an automated offering that will be tailored to customers’ specific requirements in an innovative ‘bandwidth on demand’ concept. Clients will be able to grow their own speed through a fully flexible and dynamic model that can accommodate the ever-changing nature of innovation in the network industry in the form of developments such as 5G.

Aside from its expanding connectivity services, the firm is looking to develop its professional service offering further too. Currently providing everything from cable design and build through to provisioning and sales with an emphasis on operations and maintenance, Aqua Comms will also be able to manage submarine cable assets on behalf of third party owners, who will be able to benefit from the efficiencies of the firm’s outsourced operating model, which includes an outsourced NOC.

The strong, flexible model employed by Aqua Comms is based on aggressive automation, that allows customers to maintain control of their own networks and thus provide financial and operational efficiencies. Structured with a management tier of twenty leading professionals across all the crucial functions of a complete business including Sales, Engineering, Legal, Finance, Marketing, HR and more, the Aqua Comms model allows the freedom and agility to maintain superior standards on budget and on time.

This unique model has created a company culture that attracts some of the best talent in the world, with a management team that is made up of some of the industry’s Top 100 Influential People. The experience of the team has enabled the creation of a relatively flat hierarchical structure which operates with transparency throughout the organisation, facilitating a positive, progressive working environment that engages on all levels and ignites a shared passion for the promising future that lies ahead. Trust and transparency are key mantras of the organisation: Trust the team with the information, receive trust back through being open and transparent. This has enhanced the seamlessness and agility of Aqua Comms’ operations across the Atlantic – attributes that have rarely been so valuable as they are in the current climates of the global pandemic.

Consequently, Aqua Comms has not only been able to maintain its existing standards but improve on them with the delivery of new services at this crucial time. Thanks to the minimal impact on its supply chain, the Aqua Comms network design remains robust, with restored terrestrial backhauls supporting the secure subsea cables. With the Internet taking on a more prevalent role in communications both professionally and personally than ever before, the networks that power this technology are crucial. The exceptional work of Aqua Comms and the carriers it supports is proving invaluable in ensuring the world is able to stay operational and connected in a time when we need it most.

For further information, please contact Andrea Forder at www.aquacomms.com

4 Essential Qualities For Chief Strategy Officers

CSO

The role of chief strategy officer is new in the business world. It has been growing increasingly popular over the years as companies, large and small, continue to realize the value of having a member of the management team who is primarily planning for the business future and looking for ways to make a profit while maintaining sustainable operations. 

The CSOs are critical personnel in the company because they look at long-term goals and work on how the business will grow more in the future. This article will help you learn more about the chief strategy officer job description and the position’s essential roles. 

 

What Does A Chief Strategy Officer Do?

A chief strategy officer is an executive officer responsible for helping the chief executive decide on the company’s strategy and operations. This individual must understand the strengths and weaknesses of the company and how to leverage those strengths and use them to the best effect. They also analyze the company’s financial statements and spend time trying to make decisions that will benefit the company in the long term.

A chief strategy officer helps the company strategically plan for the future, designs strategies for execution, develops plans for achieving those strategies, and brings those plans to the senior management’s attention. The strategic planning process starts with a comprehensive and strategic analysis. This analysis may look at a company’s products and services, competitive landscape, market trends, and customer preferences.

Once the analysis is complete, the plan can be implemented. The plan implementation will involve identifying a designated team of employees responsible for implementing the plan. There may also be a need to hire outside consultants or an organization specializing in plan implementation. This is when it’s time to train the team that will be working on implementing the plan.

Chief strategy officers also play an essential role when it comes to implementing strategies. They help build the organizational culture that’s necessary for a business to implement strategies effectively. They also build relationships among the different parts of the organization. This allows the company to coordinate efforts across the different parts of the operation successfully.

 

What Qualities Should A Chief Strategy Offer Have?

What are the qualities of a chief strategy officer? Here are some:

 

1. Vision And Understanding Of The Business

One of the primary essential qualities for a chief executive officer is vision or the ability to visualize the result the company is heading to. The CSO needs to be able to envision and put into place the company’s future while making sure that all other people involved in the company are adequately motivated and focused on achieving the same result. This is an essential skill because it allows the CSO to delegate responsibilities and tasks that may prove too difficult or otherwise unnecessary for him or her to accomplish alone. 

To have a clear vision of the company goals, chief strategy officers should also understand how the business processes work. This is important because they should strategize how to optimize the business operations to get more revenue. 

 

2. Delegates To And Manages People

Another essential quality of a CSO is the ability to delegate and manage employees. The CSO’s job will often place a great deal of emphasis on how much time is spent working on other tasks while keeping an eye on the strategic plan. However, CSOs can’t do everything all at once. They need to delegate some of the tasks within their team to produce results and run their department efficiently. 

 

3. Creativity

Another critical quality of a chief strategy officer is being able to think creatively. This doesn’t mean that true CSOs have to come up with the next, greatest-ever idea, but it does mean that they should come up with ideas for new ways to approach the company’s mission and goals. This should not be done on a whim or as a result of a magic formula. 

Instead, a good CSO understands the importance of planning. A CSO should be creative because they know how to plan for their goals and find creative ways to achieve them by using minimum resources without compromising their products. They should also have innovative thinking and are open to suggestions from other people in their team. 

 

4. Good Communication Skills

The fourth quality is the ability to communicate effectively with others in the company. The CSOs should effectively work with other departments to ensure that everyone is working toward the same goal. Having good oral communication skills is critical in conveying their message efficiently to other managers and employees in the company.

This includes, but is not limited to, internal meetings, team meetings, and conferences. When CSOs aren’t able to effectively communicate with others, problems can’t be solved, and solutions won’t be implemented. Effective communication is necessary if the company expects to run as efficiently as possible.

The CSOs should also have good written communication skills. They should be able to communicate their vision and plans for the company. One way to do this is through written communication such as emails, letters, and memos. However, formal written communication such as a memo, letter, report, or statement in a board meeting is preferable because it provides more detailed information and can then be used as leverage for change. 

 

Summary

To be effective in this position, chief strategy officers must understand how business works and how people interact. They must develop strong leadership skills, be highly skilled in negotiations, and have a comprehensive understanding of marketing and corporate communications. They must be willing to put their recommendations on the table as they communicate the strategy to the company’s senior management. If you’re considering a career in this field, some educational programs and certifications can help you obtain your credentials. 

Chief strategy officers are an essential part of the management team. They’re responsible for looking at the bigger picture and strategically securing success by planning how the business can grow for more years. By striving to master the qualities mentioned here, it’s only a matter of time before you can become the finest chief strategy officer you can ever be.

6 Ways Water Efficiency Can Save Your Business Money

Close up of blue toned water

Water is an essential resource for everyone. When it comes to businesses, water is vital for daily activities—from the water employees use for drinking and making tea, to flushing toilets, cleaning offices, and ensuring the surrounding landscape is green and flourishing. 

As you might expect, commercial and industrial establishments will use more water than all households combined as they cater to their employees’ and clients’ needs, while also maintaining their offices. On average, office buildings consume 50 liters for each employee every day, and even more if it’s in a manufacturing industry. 

According to waterfootprint.org, a business’s water footprint is the total amount of water used to produce goods or services. This includes water used throughout the supply chain process until it reaches end-users or consumers.

Unfortunately, water is becoming a scarce commodity for everyone. The Water Resources Group states that only 1% of freshwater is readily accessible for millions of people worldwide. They also foresee water shortages by as much as 40% worldwide by 2030.

Water shortage can greatly impact everyone in the future, so it’s about time we make water efficiency a business priority. But aside from being an earth-friendly endeavor, water efficiency can help also businesses save money in several ways:   

 

1. By Reducing Water Bills 

Businesses looking for ways to reduce operational costs can find potential savings in implementing water-saving strategies and technologies. One way you can make sites and offices water-efficient is by detecting and fixing leaks. Taking care of leaky faucets and pipes can reduce water bills by as much as 30%

Also, businesses can install the following water-efficient devices:

  • Spray taps, push-tops, or infrared controls to reduce water use by 50% 
  • Sensor-controlled or waterless urinals to decrease toilet water consumption by 70% 
  • Low-flush toilets that use as little as 6 liters per flush
  • Rainwater collection devices such as water butt taps for watering plants
  • Insulation for cold and hot water pipes and tanks 
  • Low-volume showers to limit water use by up to 50%
  • Eco-labeled equipment for restaurants or canteens 

Fixing leaks and installing water-efficient fixtures and equipment are practical ways to ensure your business is water-efficient. This can reduce overhead costs and translate to noticeable savings now and in the future.

 

2. By Increasing Your Tax Credits

Governments worldwide are encouraging businesses to take part in water conservation initiatives by providing them with grants, rebates, and tax credits to implement energy-efficient projects. Commercial buildings that will transform into green buildings can take advantage of tax deductions for using energy-efficient hot water systems. To give you a better idea, you can get credits of up to $1.80 per square foot in the US if you can reduce energy use by 50%.    

Aside from energy-efficient technologies, tax benefits are also awarded to businesses that use water as renewable energy. They can avail of government rebates and grants when they install rainwater-harvesting systems, wastewater systems, water recycling and reuse systems, and desalination technologies. These innovations treat non-potable water so it can be reused for irrigation or wash-down applications. 

Taking advantage of these incentives will lower business taxes. Simultaneously, it allows companies to obtain government backing for energy conservation and water efficiency efforts. 

 

3. By Attracting Free Promotions 

Your efforts to save water can also work to your advantage by giving your brand an eco-friendly image that most clients and consumers will likely support. Sustainable initiatives can also catch the attention of new investors, even without much advertising. There’s also a growing number of companies that advocate for water conservation and other movements that aim to protect and preserve the environment. 

When your brand is eco-friendly, you’ll likely benefit from free advertising via ‘word-of-mouth’ because environmental advocates aim to get more people on board, and will often promote brands that support their advocacy, all for free. 

 

4. By Influencing Future Business Decisions

Companies can transform water-related savings into long-term financial gains by instituting water efficiency measures as part of their business practice. As more value is placed on water and its importance to daily operations, you’ll be better equipped to make business decisions about its use and disposal. This may also compel you to become resourceful in water sourcing and conservation to mitigate risks and ensure water shortage resilience. 

Business owners shouldn’t only plan on current cost-cutting measures, but also seek to translate them into sustainable investments. 

 

5. By Reducing Impact On Water Consumption Rates

With increasing demand and looming scarcity, water rates will surely increase in the future. This can pose additional expenses to businesses, especially those who utilize water as part of their manufacturing process. It may even result in the government having to set water consumption limits for commercial or industrial processes in favor of household or agricultural use. Ongoing conservation efforts can ensure water is continuously available, and that consumption rates remain stable so businesses can continue to utilize water for their future operations. 

 

6. By Reducing Dependence On Freshwater

Water efficiency has long-term benefits for the business and the environment. Apart from reducing your business’ carbon footprint, it also helps make freshwater more available for the future. 

Reducing dependence on freshwater also compels businesses to seek alternative water sources through water recycling. In the food industry, water is reused for cooling towers and boilers, washing plant machinery, flushing toilets, cleaning floors, and washing vehicles. 

Apart from reducing dependence on freshwater, recycling water also increases water savings and can reduce wastewater fees. Furthermore, it can serve as an opportunity for businesses to expand their services and cater to the environmentally-conscious consumers’ water requirements. 

 

Conclusion 

There are many ways water efficiency can help businesses save money. Properly installed fixtures can reduce overhead costs, while using energy-efficient technologies and implementing measures to save more water will turn you into an eco-friendly company, and earn the trust of water conservation advocates who may promote your brand for free. 

No matter what type of business you’re running, water efficiency offers benefits that will help you endure even when water shortage becomes an inevitable issue.  

An Introduction to Franchise Business

franchise

A franchise is a business type where the brand and business model is used in other locations and typically owned by different individuals. This is not to be confused with a chain business, where all the locations are owned and managed by one parent company.

 

How Does Franchise Business Work?

It works simply – the franchisor sells the rights to the business model, and the franchisee who holds them can then open their own business, and replicate the success, taking the guesswork out of the uncertainty establishing a start-up business and all the related processes.

For example, UK-based Stoneacre Motor Group specialising in the financing of both new & used cars is a franchise dealership group that has the rights to sell brand-new vehicles from major automotive makers who are franchisors.

 

What Are the Pros and Cons of Owning a Franchise?

If you’re thinking about starting a franchise business, we’ll cover a few essential factors you should consider before making a big step to owning a franchise. Let’s start on a positive note:

Pros

  • You won’t need to come up with colour schemes, fonts and logos, as franchisors already have established branding.
  • Marketing which can be one of the more difficult aspects of a business is also typically taken care of, with some companies rolling out campaigns for all the franchises.
  • The business model is there already, so you have less to worry about and focus on making your franchise as successful as the original.
  • On-going support from the franchisor will give you access to training, assistance and a support network from other franchisees.

Cons

  • You’ll need to adhere to strict guidelines, which can sometimes be limiting, especially when it comes to choosing a location and suppliers.
  • There are high associated costs with running a franchise, and you should be prepared to give back a chunk of profit through royalties and fees to the franchisor.
  • A high entry level where you’ll need to pay a purchase fee up-front, so should already have a starting capital.

 

Picking the Right Franchise Fit

When choosing which franchise to be a part of, you should conduct in-depth research and compare various factors, such as the price, creative freedom, entry requirements and the overall fit for the brand. If this seems overwhelming, you can hire a professional franchise advisor who is well-versed in different factors that form this type of business and is suited to help you pick the best franchise to ensure the perfect fit. This way you’ll need to pay a bit more, but can be sure that all the areas are covered, which is cheaper than realising halfway through that you’re not compatible with the business.

 

Discovery Days at the Franchises

Once you have selected a few of the potential franchises, get in touch with them to discuss if you can arrange a meeting & show-around during Discovery Day. You will have an opportunity to discuss the ins and outs of the business with the owners & employees, get to know the people behind the scenes and visit the office and franchises that are crucial to the business.

Additionally, you should be given a Franchise Disclosure Document that breaks down the cost of owning a franchise. These usually include a one-off franchise fee, training, marketing, equipment, property costs and other miscellaneous fees.

Discovery Days are like a two-way interview, where you can ask important questions and find out if the brand reflects your values and whether you can envision yourself being a part of the business. For the franchisors, it’s also a good opportunity to see if you’d be a good candidate to operate a franchise.

Afterwards, you should be contacted within a few workings days and receive a decision from the franchisor. If they like you from the get-go, then you should be given the next steps in the process during Discovery Day.

 

Examples of Successful Franchise Businesses

There are many companies offering franchises, including but not limited to:

 

McDonald’s

Fast-food company McDonald’s is known internationally, and out of 38,000 locations, 93% of them are operating as franchises. The initial investment is often significant in the UK, and costs between £350k and £1,85 million (2018).

 

Starbucks

Starbucks is the largest coffee franchise in the world and has an expansion plan in the UK over the five years, particularly focusing on the drive-through locations across England. Currently, they’re not looking for franchisees, however, keep an eye out as new opportunities could become available.

 

Swarovski

Swarovski was established as a franchise in the UK in 1983. The company is in the jewellery industry and best-known for its crystal fine jewellery. The franchise requires a minimum investment of £130,000 and has a contract length of 5 years.

 

Other well-known franchise companies include:

  • Subway
  • Domino’s
  • Pizza Hut
  • KFC
  • Expense Reduction Analysts
  • InXpress
  • Costa Coffee

 

Conclusion

To be a successful franchisee, you need to consider many factors – from one-off upfront cost and ongoing royalties, inventory, property, marketing, training & whether the brand is the right fit for you. 

Additionally, we’ve covered what a franchise, franchisor and franchisee mean and how they differ, as well as pros & cons that need to be taken into account before starting a franchise business. 

Hopefully, this guide to franchise business has answered your questions and given you information about how such a business operates and whether it’s worth getting into.

Share with us on social media, which franchise is your favourite and why? 

Issue 4 2021

Welcome to the April edition of Corporate Vision magazine, providing you with all of the latest news and features from across the corporate landscape in 2021.

April seems to have come and gone with a speed that few other months have had, and it hardly seems possible that we are already a third of the way through the 2021 calendar year. Still, it is beginning to look like business as usual for a great many companies following the national easing of lockdown rules in the United Kingdom, but many other places are still grappling with new waves and variants of the virus. However, the corporate and business world has continued to soldier on.

One area of the world that has been hit particularly hard in the last fourteen months is that of the arts. However, our cover this month celebrates the work of BroadwayHD, and its achievement in being crowned the Best Niche Streaming Service 2021. Streaming services is something that has seen a boom throughout the pandemic and lockdowns, and BroadwayHD has capitalised on this to ensure that musicals can still be brought to those who love them. Also featured in this issue are stories of success across property management platforms, accessible cybersecurity, and a passion for programming.

2021 continues to be a year where many will seize opportunities that presented themselves in 2020. More stories of success, more outstanding innovation, and more brilliant businesses await readers in these pages that follow. As always, we wish you well and hope you stay safe until you can join us again for our next issue in May.

How to quickly get 1000 followers on your business Instagram page

insta followers

Social media was invented to add to the social experience of face-to-face interactions, or in lieu of it. It took away borders and cultures to create a platform for communication with anyone, from anywhere. High on that list for most people are family and friends that we enjoy keeping tabs on. Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms that keeps millions of people in touch with family, friends and sometimes, strangers that may become friends and more.

Instagram is not only limited to personal use. With over 1 billion users, it is also a great platform for businesses to leverage in reaching their target audiences. It allows businesses to create personalised adverts. More importantly, it allows businesses to gain followers in no time. By considering a few simple steps, anyone can go from no followers to a couple thousand followers in Instagram. It is no rocket science. Here are the tips.

 

Use influencers

Do you remember the popular kid at school? Do you have that one friend who can get you into any place and make any event a success just by showing up? They have a charm about them, don’t they? Similarly, influencers are the popular kids on Instagram. They have a large following and by their mere mention of a brand, can draw significant attention to them. It is an Instagram superpower! Influencers can create conversations and trends around your brand that engage users with the brand. With this engagement, users can learn more about the product or service offering of a brand and potentially, turn into clients or customers. Even better than using only influencers, is to use a hashtag generator, like Task Ant, to find popular hashtags that your influencers can use when promoting your products. Influencers create the attention it would take businesses a lot of investment in marketing to create. Rather than huge marketing investments, why not use an influencer at a slice of the price?

 

Have a complete profile

Social media is an information hub for customers which makes it important that businesses use this to their advantage. Once a customer’s attention is drawn to a business and they choose to use social media to investigate it, they want to find as much core information as possible. It is therefore in the best interest of the business to create a complete profile. What does that mean? Businesses should create an attractive profile with some core details including a company logo, a phone number, email and a physical address. These details a persona to the business and allow customers to reach out in case they have questions or want to make an actual purchase. A complete profile will make your business seem more legitimate.

 

Post consistently

Social media users are often scrolling through their phones during a big part of their day. Some parts of the day more than others. Businesses should post consistently to draw the attention of users. A schedule for the posts such as hourly, daily or weekly goes a long way. Imagine visiting a candy store that you find closed on most days, open on other random days? It creates confusion and doubt about their reliability. Posting consistently shows that the business is alive, kicking and ready to serve their customer.

 

Post quality content

Content is at the heart of everything with social media engagement. It is a make or break so it is highly important to create great content that not only draws the attention of user but engages them. Instagram is all about aesthetics. If it does not look good, it does not get good attention. Good content may include well edited relevant photos with the an appropriate caption for the target audience.

 

Engage

Engaging customers adds a persona to a brand. People want to know they are interacting with a brand with people behind it that takes into account their needs. It adds a human connection that makes customers more trusting of the brand and more prone to buy from it, and you should try it out for more followers. engagement on Instagram can be done through hashtags and influencers who create hype around a brand that creates conversations on the brand. 

 

Conclusion

Gaining followers is the name of the game on Instagram as it draws attention to you or your brand. Gaining this attention is made easier when influencers, a complete profile, consistent posts, quality content and engagement are part of your arsenal. It does not have to be complicated.

How to use Instagram for marketing

Have you recently decided that traditional marketing just isn’t working for your business and you need a new way to get your name out there? Have you thought about using Instagram to market your business or brand but just aren’t too sure how to go about it?

Instagram has quickly become one of the most powerful social media platforms for marketing and branding. In the past decade that Instagram has been around for, they have managed to amass over 1 billion active monthly users and making is no surprise that it is popular among both businesses and individuals.

More and more businesses and brands are starting to notice just how beneficial marketing on Instagram can be and have discovered that it is one of the best places to promote their products and content.

If you are new to Instagram and need help getting started, or may need some tips to use Instagram for marketing, here is everything you need to know.

 

Engage as much as possible

For many businesses and brands, marketing is solely about pushing out a product or service. While this was the case with traditional marketing, using social media as a one way communication channel to your audience will not get you very far. Social media is first and foremost a platform where people come to find entertainment and socialise with other people. This means that you need to take advantage of this and interact with your followers as well.

Engagement is key to becoming successful on any social media platform, especially Instagram, and if you choose to not engage with your followers and other users, you might miss out on a lot of bigger opportunities or lose out on a much larger audience. There are so many different ways to engage with users such as responding to comments on your content, liking other people’s content, using a growth service like Growthoid which will engage on your behalf, sharing things, and even replying to direct messages. People love feeling noticed and appreciated, and this is the best way to do it.

 

Use hashtags

Hashtags are a tool available on most social media platforms but are especially popular when it comes to Instagram. The only issue it that so many people don’t fully understand their power and tend to misuse them. Hashtags are a searchable keyword that follow a pound sign which can be included in the caption of your posts. This keyword can be searched by anyone and they will see everything that has been posted with the hashtag.

Hashtags are a fantastic way to reach a much larger audience that you might not normally be able to reach, but on top of that they can also help you reach your specific target audience. If you are struggling with choosing the right hashtags for you content, TaskAnt is exactly what you need. TaskAnt is a service that will help you find the best hashtags related to you content that will provide you the most engagement and give you the widest reach.

 

Influencers are available

With so many users making use of social media, it’s no surprise that some have become incredibly popular gaining audiences with millions upon millions of followers. These social media celebrities are known as influencers. Influencers, for the most part, are very happy to work with businesses or promote products that they really like, and this is a great way for businesses to take advantage of the influencers much larger audience and gain the attention of them.

If you can’t sponsor any posts from an influencer, you could also try sending them a packing of things they could review with the hope that they like it and will share it with their audience.

 

Understand the demographics

Before you start marketing on Instagram you need to understand the demographics and who it is exactly that you are marketing to, as this will help in increasing your Instagram followers. Typically, social media is targeted towards younger generation and more often used by people who are young adults. Although, Instagram is the most forgiving when it comes to demographics and they do cater to a very wide age range, if you are looking to market on Instagram, you need to know that the majority of people that you will be marketing to will be between the ages of 13 and 30.

Earth Day: Engineering a circular food economy

circular economy

Today is Earth Day! This annual event is held to support environmental protection. Manufacturers are increasingly held accountable for their carbon footprint, a leading UK engineering firm has its sights set on developing a more circular economy. 

Presumably, many people’s initial thoughts turn to single-use plastic, air pollution and renewable energy when asked about sustainability, and whilst those things are crucial, people often forget about the detrimental effects of food waste and its packaging. 

Here, James Sopwith, Group Strategic Account Director at adi Group, explains how the engineering firm is doing its bit for the planet and how food manufacturers and more can play their part in leading a low-carbon economy.

 

Harnessing heat energy

Earth Day 2021 is about raising awareness of the ongoing damage being made to our planet through human action, and more importantly, inaction – so it is down to us to put it right and make a difference before it’s too late. 

Here at adi Group, we want to not only encourage manufacturers across all sectors to make a positive impact on the environment, but also drive forth efficiency and lower their operational costs at the same time.

As well as dedicated service divisions that manage aspects of water pollution and waste management, just one of the ways in which we are achieving this is by being innovative in the use of waste heat from gas-fired Combined Heat and Power (CHP) plants

Taking the immense amount of heat energy from gas-fired CHP power plants, which would usually go to waste, we provide manufacturers with a model to harness this energy and redeploy it within several of their own processes.

Our market business partnership also delivers a fantastic way for us to guide and advise manufacturers across the UK to become more efficient, affording a CAPEX free solution to their upcoming energy needs, whilst also reducing their carbon footprint.

We can easily see how this could begin to transform industries that utilise a vast quantity of energy in their production processes, such as the food and beverage sector.

But whilst this concept begins to take hold, what other ways can engineering help to produce a truly efficient circular economy?

 

Long-term effects of food waste 

You may ask why food waste is so damaging. Well, food production is responsible for more than a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and when food decomposes, it gives off a lot of methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Both of which are astonishing figures. 

And, if we’re all completely honest, we are all guilty of wasting food here and there, with one third of all food produced globally going to waste. Truth be told, it is much more damaging than you might realise. 

As somebody in the industry, I firmly believe that manufacturers have a duty and responsibility to lead on such an issue which has serious economic, moral, and environmental impacts. And engineering has its part to play, too. 

Operating as a vital support mechanism for food manufacturers, it is down to firms like us to help drive change, identifying processes within food factories that can limit and reduce food waste up and down the country.  

We can do so by making food production cleaner and more efficient whilst also extending the shelf-life of products, not to mention upping the ante on automated processes. 

Some of this is already in the works, with encouraging signs. The robotic chef for example, has been designed in such a way to emulate the work of a chef, helping to dictate on matters such as taste, consistency, quality and value, while reducing wasted ingredients in ready meals and other chilled foods.

Elsewhere, the Waste Systems division at adi Group is the UK and Ireland distributor of Sotkon, an innovative underground waste container system, offers councils and businesses a truly 21st century approach to waste management through smart data systems. 

Eliminating unsightly overflows of food waste packaging and more, the smart system notifies responding waste management organisations when containers are full. Usage data can be captured at the point of collection, and logistic systems communicated with to determine optimum routing, so that carbon footprint and emission reduction benefits are realised.

 

Giving food and packaging a second life 

It isn’t just food waste, though. It’s packaging, too.  

The life of both food and its packaging doesn’t simply end when it is thrown away. If not repurposed and put to good use, food will simply rot, releasing harmful emissions into the air whilst in landfill. 

This is why it is important to raise awareness of the additional value and potential of food packaging. Increasingly, we are seeing brands manufacture products and packaging that have been recycled or have an intended second purpose.  

Coca-Cola, for example, announced a circular recycling campaign in 2019, in which they enlisted the help of the public to ensure their plastic bottles and cans continue to be reused, repurposed, and recycled. 

And it is campaigns such as this, combined with the efforts of manufacturers and the engineering industry, that can make a huge and impactful difference to the world we live in. 

Interestingly, mushrooms are also becoming more commonly used as a source of packaging, with Styrofoam-like material being made up of fungus roots and residues from farming. After use, the packaging can be broken down within compost at home.

By repurposing the inedible parts of foods, they can be utilised for a multitude of different things, which in turn limits the amount of food ending up in landfill and reducing GHG emissions. 

As things stand, the consequences of food waste are already serious enough, but if we committed to implementing such changes across manufacturing and beyond, just imagine how much of an impact this would have in engineering a brighter and cleaner future for all.

 

A greener future 

By utilising the tools and technology available to us, combined with increasing awareness within the manufacturing industry, we aim to help engineer a more circular economy. One that sees less food waste, more recycled products and multi-purpose packaging.  

Engineers and manufacturers must continue to work together in this regard to contribute at both a micro and macro level, improving self-operational processes as well as making headway to the UK Government’s low carbon future initiatives.

manufacturers increasingly held accountable for their carbon footprint, a leading UK engineering firm has its sights set on developing a more circular economy. 

Presumably, many people’s initial thoughts turn to single-use plastic, air pollution and renewable energy when asked about sustainability, and whilst those things are crucial, people often forget about the detrimental effects of food waste and its packaging. 

Here, James Sopwith, Group Strategic Account Director at adi Group, explains how the engineering firm is doing its bit for the planet and how food manufacturers and more can play their part in leading a low-carbon economy.

6 Things You Should Know When Opening An Out-Of-State Store

Store

Small businesses are the backbone of the American economy, employing an estimated 120 million people. Whether you’re one of the 30 million existing small business owners in the US (or you’re thinking about becoming one,) you might be considering opening a new store out-of-state.

If you’re experiencing strong revenue and would like to capitalize on your growing brand awareness, a second location could help to expand your empire; however, like any business venture, there are some key factors that you should consider before opening day. Below, we explore some things that you should know before opening your out-of-state store:

 

1. Local regulations may vary

Per the constitution, US states are free to create their own local laws and regulations, in addition to enforcing federal laws; this can cause complications if you’re operating a business in an unfamiliar state. What may be perfectly legal to sell in your current state may be heavily regulated in the locale where you intend to do business; this is especially true if you sell age-restricted or adult products, such as glass pipes or alcohol. For example, if you need to know how to sell bongs legally, make sure to research the state regulations relating to your product and to consult a lawyer to ensure that you can run your business uninterrupted.

If you sell age-restricted products, consider seeking advice from a payment processing expert; some mainstream payment processors may consider your product high-risk, potentially interrupting your business operations.

 

2. Tax requirements may change

No matter where your initial business is registered, most states will require you to pay some form of tax on any income originating from a business in their jurisdiction. As most small businesses are a limited liability company (LLC) or sole proprietorship, they will be subject to a state tax on personal income.

While sole proprietorships can begin conducting business with relative freedom, any LLCs will need to register with the state that they intend to operate out of, and pay any required fees. A Certificate of Authority application (also referred to as a Statement and Designation by a Foreign Corporation) must be lodged with the relevant Secretary of State office. If you do not register your business in the appropriate state, you may leave yourself vulnerable to fines, back taxes, and limited legal rights in that locale.

Staying up to date on any new taxation rules for interstate business can be extremely complicated; consider hiring an accountant either local to the state you’re opening a store in, or an accountant licensed to practice in both your home and business states.

 

3. Shipping and handling may get complicated

Opening an out-of-state store presents some unique challenges—shipping and handling being among the most important, due to the value of products lost if something goes wrong. If your new store is part of a franchise, it might make sense to consider third-party logistic help to centralize your packing and shipping operations. In addition to freeing up your shop staff, having a third-party logistic partner reduces the risk of items being out-of-stock for online orders, and may improve shipping times.

If you’re moving stock between stores in different states, be wary of any travel restrictions on size or weight of shipments. For example, each state has different guidelines on what constitutes an oversized load, and may require special permits or travel times. It’s also important to understand the legalities of shipping certain products, such as alcohol, across state lines, whether it’s between your stores or direct to customers.

 

4. Employer obligations may be different

Many business owners may not consider whether they need to provide different benefits or processes for out-of-state employees; the store that you’re opening may be located in an area with different employer obligations than you’re used to. Some states, including California, Oregon, and Washington, have more employment laws than others; however, you should review local laws for any state that you’re doing business in. Common laws to review include:

  • Minimum wage
  • Overtime rates
  • Paid and unpaid leave
  • Paycheck delivery
  • Drug testing

You may need to make adjustments to your employee contracts, handbooks, or even uniforms in order to abide by all local employment laws. Failure to comply could result in expensive lawsuits from unhappy workers.

 

5. Company communication is critical

One of the major challenges faced by business owners with out-of-state workers is communication; the inability to be face-to-face with employees can cause feelings of disconnection and isolation in your staff. Lack of communication can impact your business operations, as well; in a recent survey, 86% of employees and executives reported that ineffective communication was a major factor in workplace failures.

There are many tools available to help business owners and employees communicate effectively while working in different locations; regular video calls, interoffice messaging systems, and start-of-day phone meetings are all good ways to stay connected to your out-of-state staff. It’s estimated that up to 80% of businesses are now using social collaboration tools to benefit their operations, and organizations that support effective communication are 4.5 times more likely to retain their top talent.

 

6. Store location matters

As any retail entrepreneur knows, the location of your store can make or break your business. No matter how great your product range, a storefront with minimal foot traffic may struggle to turn a profit.

Before opening a store out-of-state, make a few trips to the area where you’re thinking of operating, and take note of the foot traffic and clientele; talking to shop owners in the area is also an ideal way to get local advice. Review your ecommerce sales to see if there are certain areas in which you already have a potential customer base, and consider trialing a pop-up shop before you commit to a long-term lease.

 

Conclusion

Opening a new store can be stressful under any circumstances; however, establishing your brand out-of-state can come with a raft of unexpected challenges.

Thoroughly research all small business laws and regulations in the state that you’d like to operate out of, and enlist the services of payment processing experts, lawyers, and accountants to ensure that your store is positioned for maximum success.

Securing Success With Superb SEO Services

Digital business

As the world has become more digital and technical, businesses, organisations, and individuals alike have all had to adjust their service offerings and create an online presence. However, simply having an online presence is not enough. That online presence has to have all the necessary information, and be ranked high enough so that customers can easily find it. Understanding the ins and outs of SEO is Bruce Clay Inc., which has been named the Most Outstanding SEO Training & Services Provider – 2021 in this issue of Corporate Vision. Join us as we find out more about the business and Bruce Clay himself, and highlight the success that both have seen.

Search engine optimisation, otherwise known as SEO, has become a staple of business in the twenty-first century. The emergence of search engines such as the ever-dominant Google, amongst others, has paved the way for businesses to scramble in order to be ranked on the first page of searches that relate to what they are offering. There are all sorts of tips, techniques, and tricks that businesses can make use of when creating their online presence and adjusting it to ensure that they are consistently ranked higher and better on search results that pertain to them. Uncovering and finding these secrets is not easy, but something that Bruce Clay and his team have dedicated much of their professional lives to. Since first being formed back in 1996, the work of Bruce Clay Inc. has been focused on becoming the world’s premier search marketing agency that delivers results for its clients. Fast forward nearly a quarter of a century, and that is certainly the case today for Bruce Clay Inc. and Mr Clay himself as an individual.

Having established itself and built up a repertoire of outstanding services over the course of twenty-five years, Bruce Clay Inc. can now hold its collective head high and take pride in the fact that it is a premier search marketing agency. In essence, what Bruce Clay Inc. does for its clients is get them and their websites traffic from search engines and search engine results. The firm is a strict follower of search engine guidelines, and it succeeds in generating results for its clients. In many cases, it would certainly be fair to say that Bruce Clay Inc. has changed lives by generating traffic to websites through legendary skills. A quick Google search itself will bring up results of Mr Clay’s own colleagues citing him as the father of search engine optimisation.

The way it works for clients partnering with Bruce Clay Inc. is this: they put their trust in the firm completely to focus their efforts and activities on driving traffic to a particular website. Achieving this can be done through search marketing activities, such as search engine optimisation techniques, pay-per-click techniques, SEO-driven content, and social media advertisements. These are very much where Bruce Clay Inc.’s core services lie, and the firm ensures that it only employs experts to guarantee the best service possible for clients. Every single one of the analysts working at Bruce Clay Inc. has more than ten years in their given space, and are clearly experts on the matter of search engine optimisation and marketing, and each of the technical consultants also has more than ten years’ experience in their chosen field.

Mr Clay has intentionally built a team of the very best experts so as to ensure that his clients get the very best SEO service that money can buy. Even Mr Clay himself is an expert, having been in the industry for more than a quarter of a century. He has shared his knowledge and spoken at more than three hundred conference sessions, written three top quality books, and has offices on five different continents. The breadth and depth of Mr Clay’s expertise in this particular subject matter is second to none, and anyone would be hard pressed to find a reason not to work with this incredibly knowledgeable and insightful individual. Mr Clay has spent years crafting his name into a brand that is synonymous with success, and Bruce Clay Inc. is now well known as being the agency that people call when they cannot afford to fail when it comes to search results. In doing so, the work of Bruce Clay Inc. is also synonymous with expertise, competence, value, and service. This is the company that clients turn to if they really want to get traffic from search engines.

Just a handful of the services that Bruce Clay Inc. offers has already been outlined above, but there is so much more to what the firm has to offer than simply titles of service. Search engine optimisation is such a wide-ranging area for example, and the SEO services provided by the firm demand greater exploration and understanding. In delivering SEO services to clients, the firm’s goal is to get clients into a position where they are in the top three rankings for important keywords, thereby generating increased website traffic. There are also three core ways in which the firm delivers its SEO services: retainers, blocks, and audits. With a retainer, Bruce Clay Inc. runs in sprints of four weeks each, staffing a client project with an agile team that is capable of overseeing a high quality SEO program. It includes on-page, off-page, and server analysis, covering desktop and mobile websites, as well as expertise, authority, trust, and maintenance signals.

Blocks of time service are also available. Clients can buy a block of time that stacks up in multiples of twenty hours. Through expert consulting over the next six months, these twenty hours can be used by clients who are driving their own projects but need some help with the trickier aspects and harder questions. This is ideal where a client has some SEO capability themselves, and just wants someone for the tough issues. Rounding off the SEO services is the complex audits. They vary by purpose of course, and can be anything from simple reviews, to deep penalty detection and repair, to comprehensive full suite audits with implementation support. Whatever the need or the purpose, Bruce Clay Inc. is there to help with whatever is needed.

Audits then lead to the delivery of reports and discussions around the findings that are contained within those reports. Bruce Clay Inc. then has its team work with the recipients of those reports for a full three months to focus on mentoring, consulting, guidance, and eventual confirmation of best SEO practices that can stem from those findings. Upon delivery of the final report, clients will find that it also contains a severity and priority list of things that need to be done as soon as possible. Oftentimes, these things are exactly what a firm needs to succeed, and can pertain to a myriad of different areas.

Content expertise, link authority, earned trust, and a sound SEO program are all synergistically tied together, and clients cannot succeed at any without all of them. Each works in tandem with the others to create an environment in which site traffic is fostered in the best possible way. There are ways in which Bruce Clay Inc. can help, such as training, PPC, social media, content, and overall guidance. For instance, the SEO training course that the firm provides is online, meaning that clients can take it at their own pace. Another option is to have clients pay for PPC advertisements, or pay-per-click advertisements. Bruce Clay Inc.’s PPC program is a full-service management program where the client owns the account and the firm does all the management work. It includes both PPC and Paid Social Media programs, so advertisements in Facebook and other platforms are also serviced under the same program.

Social media has quickly established itself as a major force to be reckoned with in modern society, influencing everything from corporate business to politics, and beyond. Specifically, Bruce Clay Inc. focuses its efforts on social media advertisements, and how to turns leads into conversions. Everything about social media feeds off buzz, whether it be buzz around a business, a headline, a news article, a life event, or something else entirely. Particularly regarding a business, there is a social media buzz around service and shareable content. That requires a content strategy and SEO, which in turn requires a keyword, theme, and hierarchy strategy. Again, that in turn requires persona development before the cycle starts again. There is a never-ending cycle of social media buzz that is generated by shareable content. Social media, without some trustworthy content behind it, is nothing more than a wasted opportunity.

Bruce Clay Inc. takes the initiative and seizes the plethora of SEO opportunities that are out there. In the social media marketing and advertising space, the power lies with shared content. Bruce Clay Inc. helps with clients with their content needs, but as part of a larger and more cohesive program. If the client wants content, that is where the program can start, but content alone is not a solution. The firm analyses an existing website, discovering content gaps and identifying keywords, variants, and questions that need to be answered. From there, the firm also uses its patent-pending tools to determine page length and keyword density, before creating a draft to client specifications.

After the client has approved the draft, Bruce Clay Inc. then finishes the job with images, references, and videos as appropriate, all of which is peppered with tags, strategic links, keywords, variants, and more. In essence, every single project is unique because every client is unique. The projects that Bruce Clay Inc. takes on are each customised for a client’s specific needs, and that is why the firm does not offer traditional and ineffective packages. Instead, it takes the time to carefully and meticulously identify any next steps, focusing on ensuring that those are all met in four-week periods.

Now is the perfect time to get on board with what Bruce Clay Inc. is doing. The world has never been more digital than it is now, and being optimised for search engines is the quickest way to ensure that a business is found. Yet, 2020 was a year quite unlike any other before it. The introduction of COVID-19 into society has left many businesses wondering what is next. Fortunately, Bruce Clay Inc. has worked quickly to ensure that it is prepared for the future. As a part of the pivot due to COVID-19, Bruce Clay Inc. made the decision to pivot from entirely classroom-based training and learning, to most online training for search engine optimisation. In fact, just recently, the firm has launched its new training program, and it is perfect for those looking to jump into the world of SEO.

Having been live since March 15th, 2021, this new SEO course from Bruce Clay Inc. is online and not a live classroom recording. Instead, it allows users to take things at their own pace, starting and stopping where they need to in order to catch up. Whilst there are some things missing, such as the additional videos, Mr Clay’s exceptionally humorous jokes, insightful stories, and the morning Q&A session, this online course does have everything that a learner could need in getting into SEO and finding out more about what it is, and why it is imperative for a business to succeed in the twenty-first century. Those who want the added extras as part of the real-life classroom experience can have them, with a physical course that is tentatively planned for late summer in 2021. Of course, things are subject to change, but the hope is that Bruce Clay Inc. will be back to teaching people the way it is used to.

At present, the newest course offering from Bruce Clay Inc. is for general audiences and is priced at $1795. The online class contains many different sections, and takes over fifteen hours at normal playback speed. In addition, the program includes monthly live Q&A sessions with Bruce Clay, mini-courses covering in-depth topics such as siloing, ask-us-anything style videos, a discussion forum, and even a subscription to the firm’s own SEOToolSet® software tools. For those who have decided to take the course in a group or as part of a corporate entity, there are both multiple student and corporate discounts that can be applied to the fees of the course. This course is significant, for both Bruce Clay Inc., and the students that enroll. Everybody has a chance at learning something or gaining something. Over the firm’s lifetime, thousands of students have take the classroom courses with rave results, and this is surely yet another feather to the already well-decorated cap that Mr Clay has.

There can be no denying the power of technology and of search engines in the world today, which is something that Bruce Clay Inc. has sought to convey to its clients for over a quarter of a century. As technology has come and gone, this firm has stood tall and proud at the forefront of what this relatively new industry can do for people. Bruce Clay Inc. is a truly outstanding business, and one that deserves every success as it transitions from classroom courses to online courses. There are a myriad of businesses out there that need help in achieving all that they can through the power of SEO and search engine marketing, and Mr Clay’s team of experts stand ready to deliver that help in the best possible way.

For more information, please contact Bruce Clay at www.bruceclay.com

Preparing for life after COVID-19 – Starting with your employees

post covid life

The global pandemic has changed the way we live, work and do business. Ross Daniels at Calabrio believes now is the time for organisations to plan their pandemic escape route. Here, he kickstarts the road to recovery with three tips on how to turn your agents into brand ambassadors

When the Enterprise Research Centre surveyed 1,000 companies across the UK in 2020, the results were enlightening and somewhat heartening. While many firms saw their turnover fall by 42% and employment levels drop by 30%, others managed to grow despite COVID-19. Surprisingly a fifth (21%) of respondents saw positive impacts of the pandemic with 17% citing the ‘greater embrace of digital technology has significantly changed their business model’. Meanwhile, organisational priorities have changed with ‘new processes’ (72%) and ‘digital technologies’ (65%) topping the list followed closely by ‘entering new markets’ and introducing ‘new products and services’ for 55% and 53% of companies respectively. (i)

Meanwhile, in a recent study of UK organisations, McKinsey talks about the importance of ‘agile resilience’. Taking lessons from COVID-19, these resilient organisations share 5 common characteristics including ‘developing a culture that empowers people’ and ‘provides people with technology they need.’ (ii)
So, what steps can all organisations take to succeed in the New or Next Normal? What can contact centres do to capitalise on massive shifts in consumer beliefs and behaviours? How do technologies such as the cloud, long considered an emerging part of the modern customer service experience, become increasingly vital for ‘agile resilience’? These are fundamental questions that we set out to explore in our latest Recovery Accelerator Kit EBook, outlining a set of modern tools and templates for winning customer loyalty and growing market share post-COVID.

 

Turn contact centre representatives into brand ambassadors

A successful path to recovery starts from within. Follow this three-point plan to prepare frontline agents and other customer-facing staff:

 

1. Make your brand story part of the thought process

By helping agents to internalise your organisation’s brand story so it becomes second-nature when interacting with customers, whatever the channel. Start with good training for new recruits as well as experienced members of the team. Make the brand story an intrinsic part of the New Joiner process then reinforce the message by weaving it into regular group communications and virtual team-meets. Applying a strong brand story in conversations, at every opportunity, will deepen staff and customer engagement. It encourages agents to share best-practice learning while demonstrating to customers that your organisation cares and delivers true value.

 

2. Articulate the perfect brand story

As a team, discuss, discover and then articulate what your brand story really means. Working with those on the frontline, managers can quickly formulate a brand story that agents can be proud of while providing a unique competitive differentiator that makes your organisation stand out from the crowd. Ask yourself: “What drives us?”, “How do we make the world better?”, “How do we improve our customers’ lives?”, “What is our vision for the future?” and “What are our core values?” When answering these questions, always consider the customer’s perspective.

 

3. Gamification

There are many ways to turn agents into brand ambassadors using your very own brand story. One of the most engaging and effective methods is gamification and this works well when agents are spread across multiple locations or increasingly, working from home. Like anything, there are right ways and wrong ways to implement and maintain a successful gamification strategy. The best gamification initiatives connect to corporate goals and are both competitive and collaborative. Make prizes meaningful – there is little use handing out gift cards for restaurants agents are unable to visit so why not consider a membership for Amazon Prime or a subscription to Netflix? Finally, gamification must be motivational, offering badges for the winners to share their brand story successes – and learning – with others while boosting morale.

With the Government’s plans for easing the lockdown on the horizon, now is the time to plan your own pandemic escape route. From re-understanding your best customers, to creating consistent multi-channel experiences and mastering the art of the Cloud, Calabrio’s latest eBook offers a variety of tools and techniques to prepare for the critical post-COVID phase.

How to Manage A Physical & eCommerce Store at the Same Time

Whether your store began as a brick and mortar setup and you added e-commerce functionality over time, or you began your retail journey online and opened a physical store, you need to ensure that you provide a consistent customer experience in both mediums. Operating both a physical and an e-commerce store simultaneously might seem daunting at first but nowadays many retail businesses are doing this successfully and you can too. 

To manage your inventory efficiently, provide the best customer service, manage your finances and market your business, you will need to have the right systems in place to streamline and integrate your different business processes. You will need to find the best way to schedule your employees, to provide the best in-store experience and you will need to build your brand both online and in-store. With so many different components to consider, you need to ensure you are organised and prepared to manage a physical and e-commerce retail store at the same time. 

Let’s take a look at a few things you need to keep in mind to keep your physical and online retail entities operating efficiently. 

 

Consider The Customer Experience

Although your e-commerce store and your physical store are two separate entities, they need to work seamlessly together to provide the best possible experience. For example, if your customer orders something in-store they should receive an email receipt of the transaction on your store app. Likewise, if a customer orders something online, they should have the option to collect from your store. Ensuring that both of your retail outlets work perfectly together will ensure the best possible user experience, encouraging more loyal, long-term clients. 

 

Integrate Your Payment Systems

To manage your business finances with ease, it’s wise to integrate the payment systems of your online and physical retail stores. Collecting all of your financial data in one place will help you to make more informed decisions regarding the future needs of your company. There are plenty of software tools designed specifically to meet the needs of the retail industry that you can use to make this process as simple as possible. Take some time to research your options to find a system that will provide you with the functionalities you need at a price you can afford. 

 

Hire A Fulfilment Company

If your business carries a lot of stock, you will need a space to store your inventory. Most brick and mortar stores only have enough storage space to house the stock for the store. To store the additional stock you will need for your online orders, consider outsourcing to a reliable fulfilment company that will store, package and ship your products to your clients on your behalf. With a fulfilment company looking after these tasks, your in-store staff can focus on tending to the needs of your customers and selling your products instead of packing and shipping items sold online. 

 

Focus On Customer Service

Whether your customers are buying from your online store or your physical store, you need to provide reliable customer service for your clients. Using CRM software you can track your communications with your customers so that whoever is dealing with that customer again in the future can access notes regarding the previous conversation. This helps to provide a seamless customer support service to your clients, making them feel valued and appreciated, which will help to increase brand loyalty over time.

 

Manage Your Online And Physical Stores Seamlessly

Managing both an online and a physical store is no easy task and the challenge might seem overwhelming at first. However, with the right systems in place and by intertwining these two elements of your business, you can manage your completed retail business with ease. With each component of your retail operation supporting the other, you will be able to provide the best possible customer experience in-store and online to build credibility in your brand going forward.