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In this series, I’ll be delving into each of the 4 main ways the internet has changed the business industry. This month, I will be focusing on how the internet has allowed companies to directly connect with their customers in a meaningful way. If you were working in an office before the internet, you know the differences between now and then are staggering.

Before the internet was a major part of our everyday lives, the main way customers would connect with the business would be when they physically went to the brick and mortar store or spoke to a customer service representative over the phone. While both the actual store and phone service still have an important place in today’s business world, they are not the only means of communication. People can now traffic the company website, and may order online as opposed to coming into the store. In fact, a recent poll taken showed that nearly one third of all consumers shop online at least once a week. There is less of reason to have an actual store nowadays because customers so regularly order offline.

Email has allowed employees to easily communicate with clients, quick questions can be answered via email within a couple hours or, at the most, a couple days. Instead of waiting to schedule a phone call and align the schedules of both parties, email allows questions and answers to flow freely everyday, increasing productivity and allowing for better communication.

Have you ever signed up to receive promotions from a store on your email? Companies can reach out to new and existing customers with coupons and sale notifications in their email every time they want a sale to be known. While these sometimes are overlooked in a customer’s inbox, these are still great ways for a company to stay relevant to a customer.

A relatively new form of communication with clients is geolocation or location-based marketing, that takes advantage of the consumer’s smartphone. Also known as geofencing, geolocation targets customers by their location, offering sales and alerts when they are in close proximity to a store.If the customer is sharing their location with their network, a company is potentially able to market to that person, and a whopping 72% of customers will react to the promotional information. This form of communication will take me to my next way that internet has changed business – marketing.

Visit my page next month, when I’ll describe how the internet has vastly changed the marketing industry. Feel free to check out my presentation with all 4 ways on my slideshare account.