For nearly a decade now, there’s been a growing opinion that online shopping would lead to the death of retail. That opinion has translated to actual numbers over time, with Forbes reporting last year that retail is in fact suffering because of many people’s preference for online shopping. But now something interesting is happening that could give in-store retail an unexpected boost: mobile apps enable some of the perks associated with online shopping to work in stores as well.
To get a feel for what exactly that means, consider these three potential uses for apps in brick-and-mortar locations.
Even a few years ago, Mashable posted a very interesting article about the different ways apps could drive revenue for businesses. Several points were made, but the primary focus was on geo-targeted push notifications, advertisements, and alerts. The implication is that businesses can now engage with customers in close proximity to their actual stores by sending information to those customers through their own apps. That can mean alerting the customers to sales or new product inventories, sending out coupons or opportunities for rewards, or even simply letting them know they’re near a store location. Ultimately, the idea is to provide incentives for customers to visit stores through a channel that really wasn’t widely available (or at least widely utilized) even five years ago.
We’ve begun to see a transition away from cash and credit cards and toward something called “contactless pay” in retail stores. Basically, it’s the use of cards that can be scanned or even mobile screens that can be scanned to transfer funds. Indeed, Worldpay points to several ways that accepting these types of payments can help businesses. Moving to digital pay allows stores to accept a full variety of cards, serve customers in seconds, and implement strong payment security. But what sometimes goes unsaid is that the use of contactless pay also invites customers to engage with businesses via their mobile devices. And when apps are in play, that can mean further incentive to buy. Specifically, a business offering an app with reward points or coupon accumulation built in can do very well by letting customers pay through technology. Payment can be processed and rewards earned in a matter of seco
Beacons are essentially small sensors that can be placed throughout stores to reach out and connect with customers’ mobile devices. The idea is to use this technology to optimize the shopping experience for those customers. According to a study posted at MediaPost, close to 46% of retailers will soon be using it. Beacon technology does not necessarily require that a customer have a retailer’s app downloaded in order to connect, but with an app in place there can be additional capabilities (such as accessing the customer’s purchasing history).
Consider all of these innovations and ideas together, and you can begin to see a shifting nature of in-store retail. Largely through apps, stores are finding ways to engage with customers and offer special deals and convenience that mimic some of the advantages people have previously enjoyed in online shopping.
Technology is changing rapidly. While business shouldn’t jump on the bandwagon and buy every new piece of technology that enters the market, there are some you should seriously consider. New technologies can breathe new life into a tired and lifeless company, making it more energetic and updated with the competition. Take a look at some of these and see if they can help to improve your image and overall daily operations.
Using Financial Management Software
Don’t stick with a bank rooted in the 18th century. Find one that works with your accounting software and makes your life easier. Monitor your inventory purchases, cash flow, your payroll, receivables, and your vendors using one comprehensive application. One outstanding way to save money is to use an online check stub creator like http://www.checkstubmaker.com/to create company branded checks on your own. You can cut out the middle man and save a ton of money when you know where to invest.
Customer Relationship Management Software (CRM)
This software is designed to give you more information about your customers. Untapped business opportunities are often just a phone call away, but you need the background information and data to make that call successful. Insights can inform you on the best sales and marketing practices, and it can help you find areas where you can improve your customer service and support.
Get in on the Cloud
Every business has heard about cloud technology, but hearing about it and implementing it, are two very different things. Cloud computing makes it possible to store your applications or non-essential data on an external server. This makes more room on your local computers to store information that’s needed immediately. It can even help with file sharing, virtual meetings, website hosting, and banking.
Get Better Teleconferencing
Invest in new technologies that allow you to take advantage of internet conferencing. This can include any combination of cameras and audio that are combined with online meeting spaces. Teleconferencing can build a better relationship between customers and your employees, which can help you acquire new business and get more done in the office. This could even help with remote operations making your business work better from anywhere in the world.
Another great use of modern technology is the advent of mobile marketing. You’ve got a website, but why not bring your company to your customers? By creating a mobile app your customers can download to their smartphones, you’re bringing your business to them. If a customer downloads an app version of your website, they are more likely to visit you in the future.
Don’t settle for outdated technologies that only serve to make your business inefficient. Stay updated on the latest technologies, and make sure you provide your customers with a fresh and updated company culture.
Businesses of all sizes benefit greatly from online marketing, which includes everything from e-mail newsletters and blogging to social media. Here are a few ways that your business can harness Internet marketing for the most benefit.
To start, it’s important that you have a visually-appealing website that has unique content, is search engine friendly, and easy to navigate. Without the right keywords and content, customers may not be able to find you online very easily. You should also be linking your social media pages to your website.
Blogging is one of the best ways to make a difference with Internet marketing for your business. By offering your customers and readers useful content, you’ll set yourself up as an expert in your field. Plus, regular posting to your blog will increase SEO, leading to a higher ranked website in search results.
Social Media Marketing
It’s important that your business is utilizing all social media options that suits their business. Typically, Facebook and Twitter are a good place to start. Depending on your business, you may want to consider other things like Pinterest or Instagram. You can use these to create engaging content, connect with your customers, and promote ads. It can be tricky to figure out which social media platforms are right for your business. Be sure to get the help of professionals like those at to find the best social media marketing strategy for your business.
E-mail marketing is still one of the most effective Internet marketing tools today. However, you should cross-promote your campaigns on your other social media platforms, as well as your blog and website. Without cross-promotion, you’ll have a hard time growing your mailing list. In order for e-mail marketing to continue to be successful, you have to regularly add to the list of people you reach.
Google AdWords Campaign
Google has two excellent ways to help you market your business. You can choose to display search network ads so that when someone searches for your type of business online, your ad will appear in the results. You can also opt for display ads. With this type of advertising, you choose the types of websites that your ad is displayed on. For example, a restaurant supply company may want to display their ads on a food blog.
It’s important to remember that all of your internet marketing should be able to translate onto phones too. Since many people search the internet on their mobile devices, everything about your website and social media channels should be mobile-friendly. By developing mobile apps, your business can reach a different set of customers and showcase your services or products. You can also improve customer engagement and stand out from local competition.
Thanks to new methods of advertising, there are seemingly endless ways to market your business and connect with your audience. These tips can help you get the online visibility you need for success.
Informational credit to Meredith Broadcast Digital Solutions.
The International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is the world’s largest gathering of techy geeks or more simply put all those crazies out there who thrive on the consumer technology’s business. With the ever evolving evolution of technology, the show provides interested individuals, customers, businessmen with the latest trends and innovations in this ever-emerging market. This time CES provided a great deal of influx from the world of virtual reality, smart televisions, smart cars and much more.
But, just as always, there were a few items that were just extra-ordinarily, some might say, weird but definitely awe-inspiring for the rest. Let’s take a quick look at what these items were:
Smart cars, auto-cars, hybrid cars, you name it! The CES 2016 was more of an auto show. There were a few disappointments as well but nevertheless the collection of highly anticipated automobiles were also displayed at the show. Chevy’s all-electric bolt managed to get quite a lot of attention from customers. Not to forget the electric microbus concept introduced by Volkswagen which generated quite the hype as well. Screens dominated the interiors of multiple cars this time around with Audi’s new system making the top of the list. Apple’s CarPlay made quite the appearance with its wireless technology.
Another out of the ordinary innovation showcased at the CES this year the autonomous single-passenger taxi by EHang, a Chinese company. The vehicle is supposed to be pilotless and may hit the market sometime soon in the near future. Again, just as with other crazy technologies, this one is heavy on the cost side as well. The company claims to commercialize their production of this taxi in the next 3 months or so but all they need is the FAA control approval. Let’s see how that works for them then and till then let’s hang on to our dreams of flying around from one marketplace to another.
UHD Screens, Samsung bent screen concept, Backlight Master Drive tech by Sony and many other similar to the previous year’s concepts were introduced so far as television screens are concerned. The one highly improved on concept was the displays that were made to look much brighter and clearer this year around. Picture quality improved by multifold as well. Other than that, noticeable improvements had been made in designs by most brands, one example being LG whereby it brought about a super thin version of its OLED set.
However, one odd aspect of this television screens display was that some of them were showing off the back of their television screens rather than the displays or the front. Why would anyone, any consumer at home, be interested in the back of their television screen at all?
Oculus, HTC and Valve introduced their virtual reality headsets which are extremely pricey to begin with so forget affording one right now, you’re not going to be able to afford one for years to come. However, with the game of virtual reality finally going strong, businesses can begin to invest in this sector to capture great money from the market. On the end of gaming, we saw Sony Playstation’s Vegas tech bonanza, the bids for which will begin soon in 2016.
Huawei, as is being observed, since the past year has been capturing the market for smartphones and did it again at this show as well. The Huawei team managed to capture the attention at the press conference as well by delivering excellent speeches. Not just that but their introduction to the audience about Huawei Mate 8, gold matte Nexus 6P, Huawei GX8 and new luxurious versions of their watch. Samsung’s Gear S2 Classic smartwatch was introduced in two different colors.
Direct drive and high-torque platters are often demanded by DJs to create mixes that would create jaw-dropping mixes. This time at the CES, the most anticipated Technics 1200 was introduced by the Panasonic team who claimed to have revived the turntable. Some key improvements include better spinning at improved speed. This limited edition of the Grand Class SL-1200GAE will be available this summer that will run in 1200 units only. However, the only advantage of owning a “premium” version of the plate is that it adds a unique serial number plate and of course that it will be available early. But, that’s just it. It’s better to wait for the other versions
Another interesting highlight at the CES 2016 was all the drama that occurred at the hover board counter when a Chinese manufacturing hover board company’s marketing team was raided by two US federal marshals. They say it was all about some issue with “infringement” rights etc. but we’ll have to wait for any further news to come out regarding this matter as hover boards have been the latest trend in the market for quite a few months now.
These were all the interesting and not-so-interesting news from the dangerously techy CES event this year and with that everyone bid farewell to this year’s largest tech event. Let’s see what 2017’s CES will have to offer.
More and more consumers are relying on their smart devices to shop, browse the Web, and even take care of their banking. And as apps become more a part of everyday life, many financial institutions take advantage of these convenient devices. Financial apps should have the highest levels of security and protection. To make sure yours is ahead of the game, use these tips to stay secure and safe.
Many financial app developers make the mistake of using bank accounts or card numbers to establish their users’ identities. Every time the user log in or checks their account balance, this sensitive data is sent over the Internet. While there are standard secure ways of minimizing the risks, using confidential data for identification is very unwise. Even worse, this same data may be stored on the user’s device making it prone to hacks. Financial apps should use complex numerical combinations to identify a user’s account.
Most smart devices collect a disturbing amount of information about the user’s identity from their SIM card. For example, many phones store messages, browsing history, the model number, and the mobile equipment identifier (MEID). Additional security steps should be taken to confirm the device identity. For example, when the user accesses the financial app, the Web service should request validation through the device’s internal credentials list. Certificates are an excellent way to encrypt connections and identifications, such as the standard Internet SSL certification for online financial transactions. A device signature is one of the best ways to prevent hacking and fraudulent activities.
When shopping, all online consumers expect to see the highly recognizable padlock icon in their web browser. This applies to shopping for home products, or even a home loan in Austin or mortgage. SSL certificates are tiny data files that digitally secure the transaction details through cryptography. SSL certificates create secure connections between a web server and browser. All your financial app data should sent through SSL encrypted communication. Keep in mind that the SSL certificate should be a 256-bit encryption strength.
Technology users must remember dozens of different passwords to access everything from websites to their own mobile phone. As a result, many mobile device users will turn off the passcode access to their financial app because they feel safe with having their device secured with a PIN. However, the financial app should be built to restrict this function. Users should be gently prompted to re-enable the passcode security features. In addition to this, financial apps should require users to enter their passcode a second time before any major transaction. While this may slightly slow down the process, it will prevent major problems from occurring.
Online consumers will continue to utilize financial apps to take care of personal banking. However, financial apps must be made secure through property identification, security and encryption. Use these tips to make sure yours is keeping up with the competition.
Creating an app that goes viral is one of the highest achievements any app designer can get. A viral app is one internet users snatch up as quickly as possible. They talk about it on social media, encourage their friends to download it, and get it attention on and offline. Software and app developers in Utah realize having an app go viral is more powerful than any paid advertising could ever be. People won’t necessarily trust developers or the ads that clutter up their computer screen, but do trust their friends when they say a particular app is worth looking at. The following are some ways to make your app go viral on social media.
Make it Easy to Use
The best applications are so easy to use, the user does not notice the design. A good design will have a natural flow and be quickly accessed which allows users to immerse themselves in the experience, without being distracted by the mechanics of making the app work. A good app, especially if it is a game will get the user totally lost in it.
Your app must be obstacle free and allow users to sign into social media with one click, share the app with their friends on the very first screen, and prioritize the action that is on the screen. It should be simple for users to share information on multiple social media platforms, and post on multiple websites with just one touch. The simplicity of use will encourage more sharing.
Reward Users for Sharing
When we are rewarded for an action, we are likely to repeat it, and this trick is proven on everyone from dogs to little kids. Develop your app to giveusers a gift, be it additional storage space, points that can be used to buy expensive items within the app, or access to exclusive content in return for inviting others to use the app.
In addition to rewarding the user, reward the friend who accepts it. This creates a win-win situation where both the giver and the receiver are happy they have downloaded your app.
Be Upfront with Your Users
Protecting a person’s privacy and creating an app that goes viral are on two opposite ends of the development spectrum. Transparency is key. Your app should let users know what they are sharing, and it should let them control what they want to share, and what they do not want to share. Remind users that your app will not automatically post to their social media accounts, and that it will not pester their friends to download it. Provide secure and simple agreements that can be signed at the click of a button.
When an app goes viral, it takes on a life of its own. But like any life form, it needs to be continually fed if it is going to keep living. Give your users a reason to keep using it and keep that momentum going.
Almost everyone today has a smart phone or tablet. Most of your customers have them, as do your employees. You might think these devices are merely distractions. Some of your staff members likely play games or browse social media when they should be working. However, you can use tablets and smart phones as valuable tools for your business. You just need to know which apps to utilize.
Below, you’ll find a list of app types any business would find useful. Use these apps to boost productivity, improve relationships with customers, and keep better track of your company’s processes.
Communication represents one of the most important aspects of a successful business today. You need the ability to communicate with your employees and teams on a constant basis, and communication apps allow you do to that. However, email might not move fast enough for your business. You need instant messenger of some kind, even if you just text your employees.
Customer-Relationship Management Apps
Communication apps keep you in touch with your employees. But you still need mobile tools that connect you to your customers. CRM (customer-relationship management) apps help you increase customer satisfaction because they give you fast access to customer data. You’ll know a person’s sales history when they come to you for assistance, and this information helps you tailor your services to each customer individually. Live chat app tools can also foster good communication between you and customers and give them the information they need in real-time.
Cloud Document Creation Apps
Even if you can communicate with your employees over text, you cannot use regular communication apps to illustrate concepts, graphs, and other complicated data. You’ll need document creation apps that allow you to share information over the cloud. Your employees won’t miss out on graphics or details if you have to send them a report.
To-Do List Apps
Sometimes you and your employees become so busy you lose track of all the tasks you have to finish in a day. But if you have a good list app of some kind that allows you to check off what you’ve accomplished, you won’t miss any of your duties.
You want to foster innovation in your business since new ideas can help you stand out from others in your industry when you bring something exciting to the table. But if your employees don’t have a way to record their great ideas, they can’t improve your business. Your employees also need a means of recording when they have problems as well. Otherwise they might not remember enough to help you eliminate those problems later.
Apps like those listed above turn your employees’ mobile devices into tools rather than distractions. Implement them at your company to see it become more productive than it has ever been.
Those who think mobile apps are for big brands only fail to realize that more and more small businesses are joining in on the mobile app trend. Of course, understanding what an effective mobile strategy actually is involves more than just a passing interest. Below is a review of several important keys to creating a long-lasting mobile business app that can withstand the test of time.
Develop a Direct Marketing Channel
Every business owner has a need to grow their revenue base. Needless to say, expanding marketing opportunities is a good reason for developing a new business app. Of course, nothing can match the power of creating an effective new way for customers to buy from you, and the development of a direct, user-friendly sales channel should be your most pressing priority. Make your app easy to understand and simple to purchase from. This way you can expand revenue and give your business a leg up.
App users need and require interfaces that are intuitive and simple to use. Without a good platform, any new business app will suffer from slow user adoption. On the other hand, enforcing this as a priority during the development process will likely bring about a more efficient and successful launch of your project. Don’t be afraid of change, especially as updates in technology and platforms follow.
Proficiency, Certification, and Accreditation
Creating a powerful app for business that engages users where and when it matters should be an important objective. The ability to design, build, and successfully launch a worthwhile app requires a good understanding of computer architecture, mobile-device networking, object-oriented programming, and mobile operating systems. Such skills are found in developers who have computer science degrees and experience in the app world. If you are not developing the project yourself, you should insist your team of internal developers or outside contractors demonstrate they possess the requisite skills and proficiency levels your project calls for.
Data Security Risk Management
Network security is more than a hot topic right now. It is a religion. Today, it is more critical than ever for business applications to preserve existing security protocols, while delivering the features you want. When it comes to security, you have but one shot at the public. A major slip-up in the defense of your user data is something that your brand can’t survive. Make sure your passwords, coding and structure can’t be hacked or used without your permission.
A profusion of easy-to-program frameworks has made the development of a whole class of useful, data-driven apps possible. Those possessing the correct mindset and the determination to complete a project can build a useful business app in a reasonable period of time. Although getting started can be daunting, the satisfaction that comes from observing appreciable progress first-hand is often sufficient to fuel the creative energies behind the most ambitious mobile app development projects.
Smartphone apps are one of the fastest growing industries since people all around the world are getting access to smart devices. A business with a well-functioning smartphone app can drastically increase both profits and brand recognition. Following some basic practices for creating and designing an app can help ensure that customers find your business app useful and relevant.
One of the biggest mistakes any company can make is to release a smartphone app with too many features. It’s best to focus on one feature at a time. If the app is too large or feature-rich, it’s going to be difficult to troubleshoot. Starbucks is a prime example of loading too much into an app too fast. Years ago when they first released their app, it was loaded with all sorts of features that weren’t needed. It slowed the app down, and made it hard for customers to use. The new app is streamlined, provides basic features, and has added the ability to order drinks for pickup. Concentrate on what your customers actually need, and don’t try to entertain them with extra features that will bog your app down.
Make sure to employ analytics, and keep abreast of user reviews and feedback for any app you launch. By monitoring this information, you can find out where drop-offs are occurring, and apply a fix to control the problem. As an added bonus, if you respond quickly to any bug reports, most app stores will reset feedback to indicate to customers that previous negative reviews referred to a previous version of the app. In some cases, it may be necessary to completely pull the app and start over. If this occurs, stay on top of things and notify customers that the app was pulled to provide a better user experience for them. Don’t just pull the app without notifying your customers. They may view a sudden disappearance of your app as a bigger, more insidious issue with your company’s viability.
If your app uses GPS and relies upon it to function, you need to have a plan in place for users to keep using the app without the network. If you have a maps app, make it possible to download a map and store it to memory the user can still find their way. Test your app by giving it to people outside your company to try out. Use touch points to see how people use your app and find out how people are using the app to provide a better user experience. You should also find ways to reduce graphics and storage space that is needed for the device. Most devices only have around 16GB of data. If your app requires too much space, users will delete it to save room for their personal pictures, music, and video.
If your app does require a large amount of data, consider using web technology. Pull information from the cloud to make the experience more useful and relevant to users. According to NorthStar alarm reviews, their home security company uses cloud-based data to help protect their customers. If you do use web-based technologies, make sure to test it thoroughly with the default browser for each operating system.
Hire a software tester to ensure any changes you make don’t affect the user experience. Automated mobile testing can help expedite the process of testing an app. The software goes through all the menus and options, and alerts designers to any bugs. While it’s no substitute for manual testing, it’s an option that can greatly reduce the time spent troubleshooting.
It’s important to think carefully about the design and features in your mobile app. By taking the time to anticipate customer needs and trim unneeded features, you can create a mobile app that exceeds the expectations of your customers.
Microsoft’s secret to populating an unpopular Mobile platform:
Business Insider reports that Microsoft has been openly paying upfront for writing windows mobile apps. Word is that, some developers were offered as much as $100,000 to bring their apps to Windows Mobile.
A nice piece of reporting by Jenna Wortham and Nick Wingfield landed on the front page of the New York Times Business section, two days before the launch of the Nokia Lumia 900. While the Windows Phone global market share continues to be tiny (up to 2.6 percent in 2015) but it is making momentous gains in some areas.
Microsoft’s main dilemma is not absolute refusal by iOS developers, but it is about its platform which is simply not a priority of app developers. However developers always “go there where people are” but Microsoft’s weak position in mobile apps market is at the same time appears to be as a best opportunity for developers who want to be paid high for best idea apps.
When free phones and promises of prime real estate on the Windows Phone app store wasn’t enough to get reluctant developers to write software for the new device — the first fruit of a collaboration between Microsoft (MSFT) and Nokia (NOK) — Microsoft reportedly starting writing checks to cover some of the cost of development, which can run anywhere from $60,000 to $600,000.
Among the developers that, according to the Times, have been paid to write for the Windows Phone OS:
By the time the Lumia 900 is released, the Times reports, the Windows Phone app store will have more than 70,000 titles, including Netflix, YouTube, the Weather Channel, Amazon Kindle and Fruit Ninjas. Still missing: Pandora, Instagram and all the Zynga games.
“We are by no means satisfied with our catalog,” Casey McGee, senior marketing manager for Windows Phone, told the Times. “That’s something we can get better at, and do better at, every day.”
Windows Dev Center Benefits program provides access to many great offers & rewards to developers. It is also providing iOS & Android developers; free technical support and marketing services to help build and promote your app. Above all there design guidance team remain there from start to launch. Windows phone app development has offered multiple benefits to developer and users, if you have any question regarding window app development our experts love to hear from you.