more than video rental software ...

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internet video and game rental point of sale service providers

channel stacking
One suggestion for successful business expansion in the retailing of dvds or games is channel stacking. Under channel stacking the goal is to profit from putting as many units as possible to the customer in any manner possible. This means occupying all sectors, in rentals and sales, storefronts and online, new and used, movies and games, family and adult. In other words, engage as many customers as possible.

affordable entry
Using a low cost turnkey service provider like means that you can move into the rental business with very little investment. The service charges are paid monthly with no fixed term so there is very little financial risk. The software and servers would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to duplicate from scratch. Also consider that they are in a position to share their experience and contacts in the business with you.

online scaling
Even the smallest business can present an impressive facade on the internet. A user has few clues that an online business is anything other than what it has chosen to present publicly. Provided that the underlying software has been carefully selected, an online business can grow from a small startup to international status without betraying its humble beginnings. The key to doing this is to present a professional appearance with snappy performance in error free user sessions. In other words, a site that just works all the time. Doubling your traffic, sales and profits in a physical location might mean renovating and expanding a store. Doing the same thing on the internet is more like turning up the volume.

special needs of blended operations
Blended operations highlight the differences between current online rental systems and traditional storefront operations. In particular, inventory balancing is more rigorous where online title reservations are allowed in a storefront front counter pickup operation. The system must ensure that the title is available to the customer upon arrival rather than making a best effort to ship available titles from the customer's wish list. Titles that are rented at the counter by drop-in traffic must be immediately removed from the available list so that the information is accurate when processing mailorder shipments. The online catalog for pickup traffic must also be controlled to display only those titles that are known to be available for reservations.

long term planning
Consolidation in the entertainment media is forseeable over the long term. The distribution channels to the end consumer will both narrow and shorten. Video on demand would shorten the path to the consumer. Streaming video technology awaits the availability of fast and cheap bandwidth to a significant consumer population. Consolidation among sales and rental outlets by acquisition or retirement will narrow the path to the consumer. One path to consolidation will an increased movement of sales and rentals to the internet. The most successful market participants will be those who can blend traditional dedicated storefronts, partnered outlets such as internet cafes, online rentals and streaming video. Catering to a blend of these distribution channels will require a sophisticated software platform of exceptional capabilities. Bear in mind that this consolidation will in no way lessen the public appetite for variety and choice in entertainment. Rather, it presents an opportunity for those who are willing to cater to the demand for available choice.

retail and ecommerce
Ecommerce in its essence is simply an additional means for a customer to interact with a retailer. It is a channel that has a demographic that can be highly appealing to retailers. Youthful, affluent early adopters are the prime demographic of this distribution channel simply because they have the means and skills to use it. This is also the profile of the target demographic for entertainment media retailers. An estimated 46 billion dollars of sales were made online in 2002, with 13.7 billion dollars in Q4 alone and a year over year increase in the 28% range. The growth rate makes this channel a priority for businesses which want to achieve greater than average growth.

home entertainment
There is a natural connection between the internet and home entertainment. Both are simply different applications of consumer electronics. Presenting the essential aspects of a particular title is well within reach of an internet connection. There is no risk of ordering the wrong color, size or weight. The amount of the typical order or membership is usually viewed by online consumers as being low enough to be relatively safe.

small business on the internet
The business practices of small businesses should serve them well when extended to their online businesses. Consumers still value the personal touch and responsiveness of independent businesses. These are the small things such as publishing contact information and responding to communications in a timely and direct manner. The goal of an online business should be to treat customers as if they were standing right in front of them.

choosing a domain name
A domain name is the address of your internet business. For example, since we create rental platforms, ours is People refer to your internet video store by using its domain name. So, your domain name and your business name should be the same. Consumers often presume that domain names usually end in .com so the domain name you select should be a .com domain. The domain name should consist only of letters from the alphabet because domain names containing hyphens or digits will often be misspelled if mentioned during conversation. Finally, the domain should be catchy, short and communicate that the site is related to dvd rentals.

online content management
The entertainment industry releases new product every week. The result is a constant stream of graphics, descriptions and backoffice data that must be accounted for by retailers. When the retailer has a internet site, all of this information must be updated on the site before it is available to consumers. A site built on software that requires manual updating of the data will quickly fall behind. Some content providers will charge fees in the thousands of dollars to provide data update streams. A service provider that includes the data as part of the service can be a great help in keeping costs under control.

unique requirements
Dvd or game rentals by subcription have several characteristics which must be accommodated by software systems. Sales software treats returned goods as an exception. Rental software must track the return of rental dvd or games as expected events. Rental inventory is inventory that is shipped repeatedly. Shipments must be tailored to both available inventory and membership entitlements. Subscription renewals must be processed on a time based schedule as compared to a usage schedule.

internet customers and storefront customers
There is no doubt that picking up a movie at the local video rental store whenever the mood strikes is more gratifying than waiting for the next mailorder delivery. The availability of new releases is of great importance to storefront rental operations. New releases rapidly become sellthrough inventory in a matter of weeks. Users of online rental services have different motivations. They are less concerned with new releases and more interested in breadth of selection, convenience, and avoidance of late fees. Therefore, online rental services can expect have lower title acquisition costs because they make more use of catalog titles. A useful strategy for storefront operations is to feed aged new releases to an online rental store. The online rental store acquires content more economically, and the storefront can risk acquiring more copies of new releases during the high demand period because the online business is creating additional sellthrough opportunities.

rental competition
Progressive rental retailers view competition to the rental industry as all alternative avenues by which a dvd or game can be obtained by the end user. For these retailers, this competition includes online sales of new and used titles, big box retailers, rental chains, online rental services and streaming video on demand.

moving from storefront to online
There several motivations for traditional video retailers to create an online presence. They can increase in the reach of their trading area at a lower cost than opening new locations. They can increase the number of hours that their services available. They can increase the usage and lifetime of their inventory of titles. They can share the cost of equipment such as label printers and barcode scanners. They can turn unused labor costs into productive time during off peak hours.

marketing strategies
Successful merchants know that marketing is important to their continuued success. They also know that they cannot reach all possible markets at once. Online businesses often seem to ignore such common sense. They act as if they are special cases which can ignore conventional wisdom. They are wrong. Marketing budgets are scarce dollars and every dollar must be spent with a measurable degree of success. Building success by leveraging local recognition remains more effective than trying to launch a national brand from ground zero. Traditional marketing remains much more effective than online marketing in attracting real customers as opposed to curious clickers. An online presence makes your business accessible, but it is still customers who will bring you profits. Leave internet branding for the venture capitalists and look elsewhere for the most profitable use of your promotional dollars.

hybrid delivery options
The main difference between online rental services and traditional video rental stores for customers is the instant gratification offered by driving down to the local video store. A local rental retailer might well decide to leverage this strength by offering counter pickup of reserved titles and counter dropoff of viewed titles. Customers close enough to use these features gain the convenience of browsing and reserving online, the savings from online pricing and retain the instant gratification of immediate title availability. The retailer increases revenues, gains customers and eliminates postage costs which is one of the largest cost components in mailorder dvd rentals. Drop in members can be accommodated by means of a self service internet rental kiosk which they can use to signup or access their video or game dvd rental membership.

using service providers
Service providers can be a smart choice for retailers. Maintaining an online presence is much more than just acquiring the right software. The servers need monitoring and maintenance. Bandwidth must be negotiated with network providers. Software must be maintained and upgraded. Security must be enforced and monitored. Data must be backed up. Content must be acquired. An integrated service provider who offers everything in one package can be the difference between a successful online business and just another also ran. The decision to outsource should be treated as a necessary cost of business just like rent. You can be sure that a fee based service provider who depends on your success will do everything possible to help you in achieving your goals. If you do not have the inhouse resources to create, obtain, maintain and manage the required online technology, your best bet is to use a service provider.

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