GIVE AWAY: The BlackBerry® Classic

classic-preorder.png.originalAs 2014 starts to wrap up, many business owners are thinking about resolutions and investments for the New Year. If technology is on your mind, why not start thinking about which smartphone would start you off on the right foot?

Just in time for the holidays, the new BlackBerry® Classic has arrived and is available to Rogers business customers. The device is a mixture of all the good things about BlackBerry smartphones, such as the Physical keyboard and classic navigation keys, combined with the new speed and performance of BlackBerry. Like the recently released BlackBerry Passport, the Classic also comes loaded with Blackberry 10.3 software including Blackberry Blend Technology (brings documents, emails etc. from your device to your laptop or tablet) & BlackBerry Assistant (lets you complete actions on-the-go using voice and text commands).

In addition, the device comes ready for both work and play:

  • The physical keyboard and beloved classic navigation keys let you navigate with confidence using the optical track pad, menu and back buttons as you move between documents, emails, phone calls, etc. Not to be forgotten, you can also rely on the touch screen to get you around!
  • The BlackBerry Classic packs some serious punch, with a 3.5-inch screen, a fast processor with 2GB of RAM making multitasking even easier. It also has a 2,515-mAh battery for up to 22 hours of battery life and a microSD card slot to expand your storage if need be.
  • There’s no shortage of apps at your fingertips for work or play, with access to BlackBerry apps on BlackBerry® World™ and Android apps through the Amazon App store.

Want to give this new device a try? We’re giving one away. All you have to do is to tell us how your business could benefit from a BlackBerry Classic device (100 words or less) in the comment section of this blog post to be entered into our draw.

We’ll be doing a random draw of all eligible email subscribers on January 19th, 2015 and will be announcing the winner here, and via our Twitter account, @RogersBiz within approximately ten days following the draw.

For more information about this device contact your local Rogers Small Business Specialist or Rogers representative.

Contest closes at 4:00 pm ET on January 19, 2015. Open to residents of Canada who are 18 years or older, excluding residents of Quebec. Prize: one (1) BlackBerry Classic valued at approximately $500. One entry/person. Odds of winning depend on the number of eligible entries. Mathematical skill-testing question to be correctly answered to win. No Purchase Necessary. Full rules here.

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The future of retail: omni-channel marketing

retail white paper post 2Wireless connectivity is becoming more and more widely available, and with it a growing list of new smartphone capabilities. In the retail space, this means that connected consumers can explore products, availability, ratings, reviews and promotional offers just by tapping their wireless device while walking by or visiting a store. Such publicly available data is almost limitless and is readily available across social media outlets, mobile-enabled websites and apps—and consumers are engaged in almost constant research. This convergence of mobile technologies and customer engagement platforms can provide retailers myriad new ways to reach customers wherever they are.

“Omni-channel retailing” is designed to help customers enjoy a consistent and integrated experience across all shopping channels—mobile, digital and in-store. Shoppers receive the same messages, source the same inventory and make purchases whether shopping in-store or online using a computer or mobile device. There are many digital, mobile and in-store experiences that can influence the customer buying decisions, such as: SMS/MMS, social media, in-store and sidewalk digital signage, to name just a few.

So how can omni-channel marketing benefit retailers? First and foremost, through increased profitability: omni-channel shoppers spend 15-30% more than multi-channel shoppers (IDC Retail Insights). But multi-channel shoppers also exhibit strong brand loyalty, and can influence others to patronize and purchase from a brand. To be truly effective, retailers need to really get to know their customers and then consistently cater to their specific needs and interests.

Customers communicate and interact with brands in different ways using different devices. It is essential that retailers understand their customers’ specific preferences, attributes and purchase history, and then use this information to decide how, when and where to communicate with them. There is a host of new technologies that allows merchants to gather and analyze data on consumer location and behaviour. Retailers can also segment and target prospects and customers based on shared demographic and behavioural patterns, as well as maximise sales opportunities at each stage of the shopping process.

Location-based services, such as M2M-enabled Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) tags and geo-fencing; Customer Relationship Management systems; and data analytics are just a few of the great technologies currently available to retailers. There are numerous benefits, but the big ones include:

  • Creating more interactive customer experiences;
  • Gathering real-time data on customer location and shopping behaviour;
  • Pushing out timely and relevant offers;
  • Enticing customers to “buy now;” and
  • Cultivating both short- and long-term brand loyalty.

How do you think new technologies will change customer experiences? Download this whitepaper to get ideas and read the latest research.

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Get ready for a New Year packed with NHL!

RBB_RGCLWhen the puck dropped in October, we announced that all Rogers wireless data and Internet customers received a free preview subscription to Rogers NHL™ GameCentre LIVE™ until December 31. Last month we shared that Rogers customers get a free 2014-15 Season’s Pass to Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE™ (including the Stanley Cup® Playoffs!), if they’re on one of the following (or select grandfathered) wireless or internet plans:

  • Share Everything™ for Business wireless plan (comes with data that can be shared with up to 25 devices, unlimited text , Canada-wide calling and access to ROAM LIKE HOME™ for just $5/day when roaming in the U.S)
  • Business Internet Standard or above

Remember to get on one of these plans if you want to score a 2014-15 Season’s Pass for Rogers NHL GameCentre LIVE™, otherwise the free preview subscription ends December 31st.* Depending on where you’re watching, you’ll get access to national, in-market regional, and out-of-market regional games, French broadcasts, plus, Rogers customers also get exclusive access to GamePlus™ and MyReplay angles that put your right in the middle of the action.

Tune in on TV

We’ve also got an all-star line-up on for traditional TV:

  • With NHL® Centre Ice, you’ll be able to show up to 37 regular season, out-of-market NHL games every week in both SD and HD. Bundle your business internet, phone and TV, and you’ll receive one season of NHL® Centre Ice™ for free – that’s valued over $1200.00!
  • The NHL on Sportsnet will deliver 350 national regular season NHL games across nine networks, including CBC, City, Sportsnet (East, Ontario, West, and Pacific), Sportsnet ONE, Sportsnet 360 and FX Canada.
  • The Grid on channel 509 (available in Ontario only) is a showcase of six channels at once: Sportsnet Ontario™, Sportsnet ONE™, Sportsnet 360™, City™, CBC, and FX Canada.
  • Sportsnews on ch. 500 features scores and game updates on game night.

Whether your customers are looking to follow their favourite team, players, or just a game featuring the league’s best stars, they’ll know your establishment is the best place to do it.

For more information about NHL® Centre Ice™ or Rogers Game Centre LIVE™ contact your local Small Business Specialist today.

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Rogers and Wavefront’s Partnership is a Continuation of its Commitment to Expand Innovation in Canada

This post, written by Jared Lindzon, originally appeared on Betakit and has been republished with permission.16fcea6

Rogers has just announced that they are strengthening their strategic relationship with Vancouver-based wireless technologies accelerator Wavefront with a $4 million funding commitment.

Over the last three years Rogers and Wavefront have teamed up to help numerous entrepreneurs develop ideas that run on wireless carriers, including mobile, machine-to-machine and Internet of things-based innovations.

“This is really the continuation of that partnership,” said Mansell Nelson, the vice president of products and services at Rogers.

Nelson adds that the partnership will add to Wavefront’s efforts in molding ideas and innovations to fit within Rogers’ framework. Aside from providing investment capital, Rogers has also committed to continue providing mentorship support to members of the accelerator program.

“One of the things that we’ve found has been really successful through the mentoring program is getting these folks ready to work with a carrier,” he said. “Some of their visions are not aligned with the real world, so it’s about harnessing that entrepreneurial vision to help them become a commercial or viable success.”

The announcement comes only a few weeks after the launch of Rogers Ignite, the first innovations departments at a major Canadian telecommunications company. Previously, entrepreneurs had to jump through hoops in order to get their idea into the hands of the right person within the organization, but the new department will accept and consider a wide range of ideas from entrepreneurs.

According to Nelson, Rogers will now be able to refer some of the ideas that come by way of the Ignite program to Wavefront for further development.

“Ignite isn’t a development centre, it’s meant to be a way for people to get their good ideas to Rogers,” he said. “We think there is going to be a role for Wavefront if it (the idea) is not quite ready for commercialization.”

According to Brad Lowe, vice president of venture acceleration operations for Wavefront, the financial investment as well as mentorship opportunities will go a long way in helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into market-ready products.

“Rogers has always looked outside of their traditional business for new and interesting business opportunities and revenue streams,” he said,

Lowe adds that partnering with Rogers has significantly accelerated the growth and development of the startups it supports.

“To have Rogers on your side and potentially be in the Rogers playbook of companies that they want to promote to their customers, that’s a great starting point,” he said. “Being able to integrate your technology or your company’s technology into a Rogers offering, or be part of their overall solution, that gives you the ability to immediately scale from the basement to the nation-wide reach that Rogers has.”

When presenting their ideas to Rogers Ignite or Wavefront, Lowe advises entrepreneurs to consider the real-world problem the their innovation attempts to solve, as well as strategies for developing that idea into a viable product.

“You’ve got to prove the short-term business value and the larger, more exponential strategic business value of what you’re doing,” he said. “You need to understand how it goes beyond the technology and be able to clearly state the business value proposition.”

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What enterprises can learn from small businesses

small business tips for large businesses post imageRogers recently hosted its second annual Rogers Talks. This multi-city event brought together small business owners to talk about the latest technology, marketing and social media trends they can use to reach their business goals. It became clear during the event that businesses of all sizes, from micro to enterprise, often face very similar challenges. So, what can large organizations learn from their small business counterparts?

Speed matters: time to market

Small businesses know that, because they often have a limited number of offerings, they need to cross every finish line first or they might lose the race. Enterprise businesses can get their products and services to market faster by streamlining internal processes, breaking down internal barriers and taking more calculated risks. Enterprise businesses could benefit from adopting some of small businesses’ entrepreneurial attitudes by moving more quickly; and because large organizations are almost never made or broken by one product or service, there’s less at stake in so doing.

Make branding more human

While small businesses may struggle to find the time, money or manpower to even think about marketing, resources aren’t usually the problem for enterprises. Their problems include getting bogged down in internal processes or in getting so immersed in marketing language they forget customers aren’t necessarily “bilingual.”

During her Rogers Talk, entrepreneur Arlene Dickenson suggested that small businesses are indistinguishable from the individuals running them: “You are the most important part of your business; it’s your voice” that makes the biggest impression with customers and prospects.

Small businesses very often speak directly to individuals, while enterprise businesses speak to large groups of people and to other large businesses. Trying to speak to the individuals in those groups and companies can positively affect how people perceive your brand; no matter how little shoulder room they have in your analytics, people are still people. If an enterprise can behave more like a person and less like a corporation, members of those large groups might respond positively—and as our increasing understanding of the importance of social media shows, even one individual’s feedback can profoundly affect sales and brand reputation.

Be clear about what you’re selling

70% of all businesses in Canada are small; such entrepreneurs have to know exactly what they’re doing, why and for whom. This should be true for enterprises as well. Companies bursting with enthusiastic and bright employees might imagine they can answer all their customers’ questions and meet all their needs, but such strategy isn’t always feasible or desirable in the long run.

Arlene Dickenson emphasized how important it is for small businesses to amplify “the reason they’re in business so people can understand it”—which means producing the most effective marketing content, having focused interactions both in-person and online, as well as attracting the right employees.

What small business practices are you using in day-to-day in your enterprise?

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Introducing the Nexus 6 for business

A couple of weeks ago, Rogers became the first carrier in Canada to roll out LTE-Advanced. We started with 12 cities and have a plan to roll it out across the country. Now available is the first LTE-Advanced enabled device, the Motorola Nexus 6, available online and in Rogers stores. Demand is going to be high, so we recommend reserving a device on the Rogers Business Reservation System.

The Nexus 6 is the first new device to come loaded with the Android 5.0 Lollipop operating system. This is the biggest change to the OS in years and comes with new features that complement a busy work schedule and arms mobile professionals with the tools to make them more productive on-the-go. Check out the features below:

  • Multi-tasking made easy. With the new system, users can easily switch between editing documents, browsing the web, responding to emails, or checking their calendar.
  • More doing, less charging.  A large 3220 mAh battery provides up to 24 hours per charge and access the Motorola Turbo Charger for a quick burst of power – 15 minutes to get up to 6 additional hours of battery life.
  • Security on the Go. The Nexus 6 is automatically encrypted on first use and is equipped with Android Smart Lock which secures a smartphone by pairing it with a trusted device like your wearable, tablet or even your car.

LTE-Advanced is now available in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Windsor, London, Hamilton, Toronto, Kingston, Moncton, Fredericton, Halifax and Saint John.

For more information about this device contact your local Rogers Small Business Specialist or Rogers representative.

Are you a Nexus user? What do you think of the new features in this device? Check out the video below to learn more.

 

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Welcome to the retail revolution

retail revolution imageThe bricks and mortar store isn’t going away anytime soon—a fact abundantly clear this time of year. How retailers engage with customers, however, is shifting to meet the demands of the new connected shopper.

Let’s look at these demands by the numbers:

  • 70 per cent of smartphone users plan to use their device for online shopping in the coming year (International Data Corporation, 2014);
  • Global mobile transaction volume is expected to experience an average of 35 per cent annual growth between 2012 and 2017, and achieve a market value of $721 billion with more than 450 million users by 2017 (Gartner, 2013);
  • In the 2013 holiday shopping season, more than $16 billion was left on the mobile table due to abandoned mobile shopping carts (Jumio, 2014);
  • There are almost as many mobile subscribers as people on earth (http://www.slideshare.net/wearesocialsg/social-digital-mobile-around- the-world-january-2014);
  • 91 per cent of the global population owns a mobile phone; and
  • 56 per cent owns a smartphone (http://www.digitalbuzzblog.com/infographic-2013-mobile-growth-statist ics/).

Clearly, the in-store experience has changed. Shoppers are using their smartphones to check things like best price, brand quality and product information, to get a clear picture of their desired purchase. This new mobile-assisted shopper cannot be ignored, so now is the time to develop a mobile strategy and exploit wireless capabilities to increase competitiveness.

But how can retailers capitalize on this shift? Wavefront™, Canada’s Centre of Excellence for Wireless Commercialization and Research, has released a white paper which begins to unpack this retail revolution; it also offers insight into how retailers can take advantage of these big changes.

“The Retail Revolution: Harnessing the Power of Mobile Solutions” looks specifically at how, through the use of technology, retailers can create positive experiences along the path to purchase, minimizing pain points and encouraging in-store buying. Answering frequently asked questions about a product or recommending complementary items directly to a customer via their smartphone or a digital screen, for example, limits reservations regarding the purchase. The relationship consumers have with brands, products, services and each other is changing and so must retail strategy.

The benefits are many and increased profitability, improved in-store experience, increased customer loyalty, better inventory management are just the beginning. Technology applications in retail are virtually endless and custom solutions are giving retailers a competitive advantage. Discover more about the evolving retail landscape—download the white paper here.

How will you use mobile technology to meet customer needs?

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Keeping your retail business up and running for the holidays

busy holiday shopping seasonRetail businesses need to make sure their networks run properly all year round, but staying up and running during the busy winter holiday shopping season is especially crucial. How robust, scalable and diverse your network infrastructure is can make or break businesses of all sizes—from Mom and Pop shops to nationwide and global retail chains.

Retailers lose, on average, $4700 for every minute of point of sale (POS) downtime (http://cradlepoint.com/infographic-high-cost-internet-downtime-retail ers)—and, of course, this average doesn’t reflect the financial realities of the busy December shopping season.

POS is only one part of the network infrastructure required to support successful retail businesses; other central pieces of the infrastructure puzzle include supply chains, loyalty programs, employee scheduling and time management, to name just a few. Retail businesses of all sizes rely on the resilience of their networks but the larger the retail organization (and the number of outlets that includes), the greater the impact when networks fail.

Network diversity is key to making sure businesses are able to meet the intense demands of the holiday season. Blinds To Go bolstered their network reliability with a last-mile telecom redundancy solution for in-store POS. Not only have they benefited from a 10-15% improvement in speed and reliability, but installing a wireless backup solution was also painless—in fact, according to Blinds To Go system administrator Constantin Koutrias, bringing in the solution had so little impact on business operations that “some stores didn’t even realize that something new was installed.”

Steve Hillier, former Head of IT at Mastermind Toys, agrees that continuous uptime for store transactions is absolutely necessary; for this busy national toy store chain, “Downtime can spell disaster for our retail business. In fact, avoiding a payment system connectivity outage of less than one hour during the holidays would recover the service cost for an entire year.”

System reliability and smooth installations aren’t the only benefits to be reaped from wireless backup connectivity, however. As Mastermind Toys found out when they installed a failover solution for their over 25 retail locations, rapid deployment, cost-effectiveness and improvement of more internal, administrative processes were incredibly important.

Arising out of all these great business benefits is, of course, the biggest one of all: happy customers. A healthily functioning network means nothing prevents customers from getting what they want, in the time they want it—which in turn significantly increases the likelihood they’ll return.

A strong network infrastructure forms the bedrock of great customer service. How does your business mitigate the risk of internet downtime?

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Last minute tips to prepare your small business for Black Friday

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailThis year, Black Friday is expected to set new sales records (yes, even in Canada). If you own a business, particularly one in the retail industry, here are some tips to help your business get the most out of Black Friday:

Be prepared
Taking a look at last year’s Black Friday sales results can help you come up with an accurate number for this year’s big shopping day. This will help you determine your inventory, workforce, payroll, equipment and marketing needs. An accurate Black Friday sales forecast, even one you put together last minute, can help build an efficient, profitable and customer-focused business.

Offer incentives to customers and employees
Loyalty programs like Vicinity gives customers a reason to choose you over the competition. This helps you incent customers on big shopping days like Black Friday but also inspire repeat visits and build relationships with future loyal customers.

Customers can register online at vicinityrewards.ca or at any participating local business. Members can then search for nearby businesses and track their rewards through their online account or by downloading the mobile app (available for Android and iOS). Customers can then use a single loyalty card to redeem offers at more than 650 businesses across Canada. Simple.

You might also want to offer special incentives to your employees to keep them energized, as some workers are known to mentally “check out” during the holidays. Give your hard-working employees welcome words of encouragement and recognize their accomplishments to keep morale high.

Launch a last-minute Black Friday online campaign
The big promoters’ integrated marketing campaigns to advertise their Black Friday deals will be seen and heard on all media. To help small businesses compete, there is Engage by OutRank by Rogers, a cost-effective tool that helps small businesses market their business online, while getting a comprehensive picture of their marketing results, online reputation, social media and website performance, all in one place at a low cost. This service can make connecting with past, present and future clients this Black Friday a heck of a lot easier.

Bottom line? The Black Friday and holiday rush can be a race. Be prepared to seize opportunities where the big guys can’t compete. To learn more, visit vicinityrewards.ca or rogersoutrank.com.

What’s the best deal your business is offering on Black Friday?

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Rogers Talks wrap-up: 3 big insights for small businesses

audienceSmall Business Month is celebrated every October, so to support Canada’s intrepid entrepreneurs, Rogers recently held a series of cross-country events called Rogers Talks™. Geared specifically towards businesses with fewer than 100 employees, these events (held in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal) provided immediately useful tips to help small businesses dive deeper into the digital economy. From being connected and mobile, to having an accessible and up-to-date website, to using technology to bolster marketing presence and identity, Rogers Talks covered a lot of ground.

Here are some of the best pieces of advice for small businesses that came up during these events:

1. Accept that doing business online is no longer optional—and embrace it. Vancouver presenter and Jones Soda founder Peter Van Stolk pointed out that building an online presence is a necessity—and that it’s relatively inexpensive. There are many free and cost-effective social media and blogging tools, so take advantage of what’s already available. A business’s online presence really does function as a “business card without the paper,” so make the most of these ubiquitous platforms to “share your story and values.”

2. Embrace social media and online marketing options—but focus. Such digital tools can help small businesses make their presence known to previously unreachable communities of customers. But there are so many options, choosing the best ones can seem overwhelming for businesses immersed in their day-to-day operations.

Start by articulating what your business stands for, who you’re selling/marketing to and what kind of relationships you want to have with customers before jumping into digital sales and marketing. As Ben Kelly of LinkedIn discussed, this will make choosing “what platforms to concentrate on, what content to post, what resources are needed and how the company will differentiate itself” much easier. A clear strategy includes finding the right online fit for your business.

3. Make flexibility one of your core business attributes. Toronto-based internet strategist, researcher, and broadcaster Jesse Hirsh agrees that focus—specifically in time and task management—is key to striking “a balance between conducting your business, communicating about your business, and investing in the further development of your business.” But just as important as focus is being flexible in how you engage with digital platforms and online communities.

Being flexible in a connected world means learning to “bend to the needs of your consumers, but not to the extent of losing your integrity, respect, and time.” In other words, meet your customers and prospects halfway and try communicating and connecting with them where they are now—LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, to name just a few—and find out what works best for you. Then, listen and respond and convey your business brand’s values in ways designed to reach your preferred audience.

What digital tools are you using to run and promote your business?

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