New Network Transforms Retailer Into Web-Based Business
When Larry Dague hatched the idea to open a scuba store and dive shop in 1998, he never envisioned his current success - a $2 million Internet-based company. "Starting out as a small dive shop in landlocked Dallas, I never pictured networking or the Internet as having any significant impact on my business," says Dague, the owner and president of ScubaToys.com.
He followed the advice of a group of dive students and installed servers, a network, and a router to gain a beachhead online. He taught himself HTML and assembled a Web site. Since then, ScubaToys.com has watched online sales grow to 70% of its revenues. Over the past three years, sales have swelled by nearly 100%. "We completely changed our retail business model," Dague explains. "Our retail outlet has become our dive-training facility and fulfillment center for our Internet-based business."
The ScubaToys.com Web site offers an array of dive gear, including wet suits, masks, lights, tanks, watches, books, bags, software, snorkels, spear guns, cameras, and accessories. In addition, the site offers information about classes and training, general information about diving, a travel section, and live cameras with views of the store and the training pool. An increase in sales revenue as a result of the company's first Web page inspired development of an e-commerce business, offering customers the ability to order all ScubaToys.com's products via the Internet.
Router Allows Multiple Simultaneous Transactions
ScubaToys.com installed a Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) 806 Broadband Router so that phone, Internet, and credit card transactions could occur at the same time. ScubaToys.com now has a network of devices that includes PCs dedicated to graphics and coding, point of sale PCs for processing transactions, Web cams, scanners, digital cameras, and servers for e-commerce applications. Nearly 70% of the company's business practices are network-based, and about 90% of its sales and marketing efforts are focused on the Web.
The Cisco 806 Broadband Router is an Ethernet-to-Ethernet router designed to provide secure Internet and corporate network access with digital subscriber line (DSL) and cable modems. The Cisco 806 Router includes a stateful inspection firewall, optional VPN (virtual private network) IP (Internet protocol) Security Triple Digital Encryption Standard (IPSec 3DES) encryption software, and quality of service (QoS) features for voice and video traffic management. VPN IPSec 3DES, a framework for security at the network-processing layer of network communication, is planned to be implemented in the near future. The QoS features are currently utilized to prioritize Web traffic. ScubaToys.com plans to expand the QoS functionality to include voice over IP in the near future.
Due to an increased sales volume from Internet sales, ScubaToys.com has been able to negotiate lower pricing through distributors. "We're in the position of being able to offer the same products as our competition at a much lower price while maintaining better profit margins," says Dague. At a time when the average scuba shop in the United States generates $355,000 in annual sales, Dague reports 2002 sales of about $2 million - a 40% increase from the previous year.