Wednesday, 1 February 2017

5 Reasons Why Your Business Needs a Mobile App

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It used to be the case that mobile apps were restricted to businesses that had extra time and money to invest into their development. Not anymore. Nowadays, a mobile presence is a necessity and one that can pay for itself in the long run. With 80% of Internet users owning a smartphone and people spending more time on mobile devices than desktop, the smart move is to take note and adapt to the changing environment. It’s also the case that going mobile with responsive sites isn’t enough, especially when there’s been a preference for app use (89%) vs. mobile web use (11%), with a 98% growth in mobile app usage between 2015 and 2016.

The Many Benefits of Mobile Apps for Businesses

It seems that people everywhere are attached to their smartphones and consider them as extensions of the self. Because of this, apps are becoming key marketing tools that allow for increased engagement and visibility, higher revenue, faster growth and more. Take a look at these statistics from PR Newswire that outline some benefits of utilizing mobile applications:
● Shoppers using mobile applications browse 286% more products than mobile web shoppers, contributing to an add-to-cart rate 90% higher than mobile web
● Overall conversion rates on apps is 120% higher than mobile web
● 40% of eCommerce transactions involve multiple devices along the path to purchase
● Mobile commerce accounts for 35% of retail eCommerce sales worldwide and 50% in the US
Still not convinced that your business should embark in mobile application development? Check out these five reasons that prove otherwise.

1. Stand out from Your Competition

Having a mobile app for your business is a good way to stand out from your competition. For starters, if they have one and you don’t, you’re already behind and definitely need to catch up. If neither you nor your competition has one, then you need to distinguish yourself and use this as an opportunity to get ahead.

2. Increase Your Revenue

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Every hour almost 160,000 products are purchased from mobile devices on Amazon. Translation? People are shopping on mobile devices with increased frequency. This presents a wonderful opportunity to penetrate a previously untapped market and drastically increase your revenue. In simplest terms, mobile applications equate to increased sales because you’re offering customers an easier and more convenient way to shop. Not only can you facilitate the checkout process and make it faster, but you’re also making it so that customers can reach your store anytime, anywhere.

3. Build Brand Recognition

Similar to standing out from your competition, mobile application development for your business allows you to mold your brand to your own standards and specifications. Not only that, but branding also adds a recognition factor to your business that presents it as more reliable and evokes a sense of trust. In other words, when people know your business they’re more likely to come to you and see you as a source of information.

4.  Improve Customer Service

One of the top benefits of mobile apps is that they improve the customer service experience and increase your business’ connectivity and reach. Attaching a mobile app to your business means that you’re available 24/7, and can therefore engage with customers at all times because apps are convenient, accessible and improve our standard of life. You become a constant presence on your customers’ phones accelerate their contact with your brand. Moreover, you can further improve your customer service by adding a chatbot feature to your app for true 24/7 service.


                                                            Image Source: techcrunch.com

5. Create a Marketing Channel

Last but not least, mobile applications can also function as a direct marketing channel that attracts and engages customers, and provides further incentives for retention. To begin with, you can learn a lot about your customers from your app’s analytics and can tailor specific products and recommendations for them. This not only increases the odds of a sale, but it also personalizes the app for them and makes it more user-friendly. Adding a loyalty program that rewards certain behaviors is also a good way to retain customers. Offering special discounts or promotions keeps them coming back and the addition of a referral program can serve as further incentive for them while attracting new customers to you. To top things off, utilizing push notifications ensures that you’re never too far from you customer’s reach and that they’re up to date and with any new and relevant information.

Are You Considering Mobile Application Development?

By now, you’ve seen some of the many benefits of mobile apps and can make an informed decision as to whether or not you should add one as your business’ next venture. A mobile app for your business lets you stand out from your competition and provides an avenue for branding, can increase your revenue by creating a whole new marketing channel, and improves your customer service experience to ensure that your customers are happy. If you do decide to develop an app (as you really should), make sure it’s easy to use with a friendly user interface, appealing designs and easy navigation, and that it provides useful content that keeps customers coming back.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

7 Factors to Consider Before Launching a Mobile Application


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Did you know that worldwide app downloads are forecasted to reach nearly 270 billion in 2017? Or that the average app user in the US downloaded 8.8 apps per month in 2014? There are many apps out there and many more to come. These apps are filtered into categories that range from entertainment to communication. They’re used by children, teens, adults, and are now being made by businesses for businesses.

Mobile Applications For Your Business

Considering that 90% of consumers’ mobile time is spent using apps, incorporating mobile apps in your business plan is a smart marketing move in the mobile-first world we live in. You can:

●   Improve the customer service experience by making use of AI and including a chatbot function that allows you to service many customers at the same time 

●   Provide more value to your customers and increase repeated visits by including coupons, promotions, or loyalty reward programs as an app feature 

●   Increase engagement by adding geo-location during the mobile application development process and sending special offers to customers who are in your vicinity
Before adding features, though, you need to consider seven factors that will help you out as you develop and launch your app.

What Should I Consider?

1. Market Research

Your first objective is to research the market. Get a feel for the atmosphere and see where you fit. How will your app change the way people live their day? Make sure that your app provides a benefit for people to use. Follow trends and discover who your competitors are. What are they doing? Build on what they’re doing right and improve on they’re doing wrong.

2. Marketing to Your Users

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You’ll have an idea of who your ideal user is after conducting market research. Use this information and market to them. How can you improve their lives and their interactions with your brand? Everyone’s needs are different and you need to know who you’re trying to help.

3. Platforms

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In a perfect world you have unlimited resources and can develop an application on all platforms from the get-go. With a finite amount of money you have to decide in which platform your app will perform better. If you’re thinking of going with an enterprise app, iOS is a more secure option. Apple has an iOS Developer Enterprise Program and recently announced a partnership with IBM for mobile enterprise apps. If you want more access to the software, Android is best. It has an open source operating system that allows for modifications. You also have to consider programming languages. iOS uses Objective-C, Android uses Java, Windows Mobile uses C++, and web apps use a combination of JavaScript, HTML 5, CSS3, and so on.

4. Native vs. Mobile Web

Before debating which platform you want your app to target, you have to decide if you want to create a native or mobile web app. Native apps can use device-specific hardware such as the camera, accelerometer and flashlight, and are installed directly in the device itself. They’re essentially developed for one particular platform and need the app store’s approval before being distributed. It’s a long process, but results in safer, more secure apps. Mobile web apps, on the other hand, are internet-enabled apps that are accessible through the device’s web browser. They’re easier to maintain and require no prior approval before distribution, a combination that results in less spending. They can also access a limited amount of the device’s hardware. If you’re undecided you can always go for a hybrid app that’s built with a combination of technologies like JavaScript, HTML and CSS. They’re hosted inside of a native app that uses a mobile device’s browser to display content and can be made to target multiple platforms.

5. User Interface (UI) Design

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UI design involves the elements that are used to interact with mobile apps. It’s how they function. It’s the tangible part of the app and includes the screens, buttons, and any other component that guides the user’s experience. If we’re using a vehicular analogy it would be the engine, the seats, the stereo, and anything else that contributes to the car’s structure.

6. User Experience (UX) Design

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If UI is the engine and seats, UX would be the experience of driving the car. It’s more conceptual and focuses on the user’s journey as they navigate through the app. Don Norman, the cognitive scientist who coined the term, said that "user experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.” It’s the process as a whole; the sequence of actions, thoughts, and impressions a user goes through as they interact with you app.

7. Testing

Testing is essential with mobile application development. With proper feedback you can fix potential bugs before they becomes a bigger issue. Who’s your ideal user? If you have a targeted audience, you’ll benefit from a private beta launch in which a select few will be able to test the app before launching. If, instead, your audience is broad and diverse, you’ll do best with an open beta launch. You can also use services like Apple’s TestFlight that send mobile apps to internal or external beta testers for feedback.

When you finish testing you’ll have an idea on where you’re with the whole mobile application development process. You might encounter bugs that need patching or feedback that pushes you to revamp the app’s interface. But before you do any of this, do your research, find a target audience, choose a platform and the design you want to use, and be sure to create a memorable experience for your app’s users.

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Why Security is so Important in Mobile Application Development

                                                            Image Source: static.pexels.com

Much like the Stone Age, Bronze Age, and Medieval Period, we as a society are beginning to undergo a drastic change. What that change might be you ask? Just look around you. Chances are the vast majority of people you see everywhere are on their phone. The entirety of our planet is entering what should be called: “The Mobile Age”. In an article by PC Magazine, they state;

“By 2020, global smartphone subscriptions will more than double to 6.1 billion, 70 percent of people will use smartphones, and 90 percent will be covered by mobile broadband networks.”
Mobile first is the ideology that is almost fully encompassing our day-to-day activities. As a highly intelligent civilization, ironically we are almost useless without our cellular sidekick. Checking emails on the go, finding local businesses, messaging, and location services are all made convenient and possible by the advancement of smartphone technology. Due to this trend, mobile application development has progressively taken off as being both a lucrative business and operational activity for discussion. Mobile apps are what make smartphones in an enterprise setting immensely advantageous. However, the amount of reliability we put on these applications can actually be considered an Achilles’ heel for companies that don’t put enough time and effort to investing in mobile application security.

Issues with Security
 

Most companies don’t realize just how important mobile application security is and how it can prevent a slew of issues that may arise without proper encryption. According to a report by Now Secure:

      • “24.7 percent of mobile apps include at least one high risk security flaw”
      • “The average device connects to 160 unique IP addresses every day.”
      • “Business apps are three times more likely to leak login credentials than the average app.”

With an increasingly amount of smartphone users, especially in the workplace, this presents an opportunity for cybercriminals to attack. According to We Live Security, “For cybercriminals then, the economics of mobile attacks are obvious. By attacking these devices, they can reach and infect more machines, and earn more money by exploiting individual users or by selling their details via the black market.” The lack of carefulness and education involved with handling these devices by employees, has lead to expanded issues with online safety.

Need of Security

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Mobile application security issues can directly dismantle an entire corporation. Without proper protection, hackers can perform sophisticated cyber attacks enabling them to gain access to business and personal data. This could be anywhere from bank information, passwords, and sensitive data, all the way to client email lists, digital assets, critical financial files, and critical company resources. These problems can especially be detrimental to online ecommerce sellers that possess delicate customer information.

How do you Stop it?

There are quite a few steps for any business to take in order to help prevent malware and security concerns. Essentially, the biggest thing to remember is that smartphone security and online web security isn’t the same beast, you need to treat cellular safety separately. In this blog post from DarkReading, a few remarkably helpful tips are given:

   • Creating source code scanning tools can help make smartphone apps more resilient to an online attack.
   • Giving restrictions to devices that are able to download unauthorized apps, companies can take away functionalities and prevent access to important business resources.
  • Developing a capability that can remotely wipe sensitive data from compromised mobile devices can aid in the fight against data leakage.
  • Tracking context of where certain mobile transactions are coming from can help restrict access to company systems.

The idea is that prevention is the best practice. If circumstances do arise, cyber web attacks and remote device infiltration should both have the necessary steps for avoidance.
Your company’s software developers should have a zero tolerance policy against ignorance. Thinking your smartphone or tablet application is fully secured against any forms of hacking or information theft is your biggest mistake when fighting against web software bandits. Just when you least expect it, someone could potentially permeate through your development systems and take whatever information they want. Make sure to follow safe practices and keep your cellular applications safe from harm!

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Extreme Mobile Traffic Drives the Need for E-Commerce Data Centers

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As our technology driven culture rises in intelligence, so does our cellular usage. According to Ericsson, “The growth in mobile data traffic is due to both the rising number of smartphone subscriptions, in particular for LTE smartphones, and increasing data consumption per subscriber. This is forecast to result in a ten-fold increase in total traffic for all devices by the end of 2021.” 
A Pew Research study just last year reported that; “68% of U.S. adults have a smartphone, up from 35% in 2011.” It’s staggering how quick our society is in adjusting to smartphone ownership. From a business point of view, this increase in traffic has lead to ecommerce owners having to manage their own mobile data centers. Companies are beginning to realize that relying on third-party servers to maintain and keep track of order inquiries is ill advised. With the smartphone population growing, investing in a self-owned infrastructure to house telecommunications and storage systems is the smart move.  

Why are Data Centers so Important?

With such a high volume of sales and mobile traffic/visits, cellular ecommerce platforms are having a hard time keeping up. Outsourcing server information isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if your brand is taking a considerable amount of consumers, it should reconsider its strategy. One way to do this would be to invest in a Data Center. A Data Center is basically a large group of networked computers used by companies for remote storage and the processing of large amounts of information. Why would a company need to set one up? Simple. Building mobile data centers can be low cost, allow for full optimization and customization for specific business demands, and can provide a large amount of compute power. In an article about massive Indian online retailer Flipkart, investing in a self-owned information storage, it explains; “E-Commerce manages the scale like nobody else. This means they’ll have to invest heavily in servers and switches in the next decade. It is much cheaper to invest in your own architecture and build it yourself.” This trend can drastically increase a business’s efficiency. 

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Data Centers Make Media Assets Easily Assessable

The next action to revolve your future business storage plans around is how you’re going to manage all this information. Cellular information is collected in many different ways including customer service records, purchase history, website behavior, etc. As a business it’s imperative to securely maintain this information. Ecommerce site data centers fit this mold. Data centers get the information customers enter in through sale entries or other information sources and store it as you would normally think, except on a much bigger level.
Like a well organized book store, the information filed in searchable format, easily accessible across the company. As far as the cellular traffic itself, an information center is usually load balanced and distributes the work evenly over the network. They often use different internet service providers to allow for a greater amount of load sharing and overabundance. 

What are the Necessary Steps for Tracking Mobile Data?

One of, if not the best, tools on the market to analyze cellular information is Google Analytics. As the popularity of smartphone web searches increases dramatically, understanding the shopping behaviors of consumers is crucial for ecommerce businesses. Google Analytics helps by displaying the number of people viewing your mobile site, what keywords are being searched, how well optimized your website for Mobile, and the average amount of time customers spent on your site. Taking advantage of a tool like this could tremendously help your brand with growth and fully maximize your ecommerce platform’s potential.

Some advanced data centers may even provide analytics of their own, giving you a 360° view of your data journey.
Self-managed mobile data centers are looking more and more like the future of system information storage for businesses. Providing well maintained, secure and organized data, it’s the future of data management to keep your e-commerce information secure and available.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Top 5 Ways Mobile Apps Can Transform Your Business


Mobile technology is a theme that is constantly being discussed in today’s data driven society, and rightfully so. A study performed by Plos One, showed that on average, we use our cell phones close to 85 times a day. It’s chilling to think about how much we really do rely on our mobile devices to function.
With that said, businesses aren’t too worried about this statistic. In fact, companies are beginning to realize that there is a great amount of profitability in having an engaging mobile application. Consumers connect with these applications on a multitude of levels and because of this, company owners know the power a mobile app can have on elevating a business to the next level. This beckons the question:
How can smartphone apps better remodel the way your company performs business?
The answer is 5 simple solutions: 

1. Consumer Interaction

People don’t just use their cellphones for the sake of using them. Companies know that to have a successful and appealing mobile application, you have to get into the mind of a mobile device user. Know what your target consumers want, and incorporate a plan around meeting those needs. If you are major retail brand that specializes in selling women’s shoes, cater your application towards that demographic. Get your consumers involved.  Have end sale questionnaires or email sign-up screens; anything that can get people to be contented using your application while adding value to your business is the preferred end result.

2. It Makes Life Easier

Smartphones provide a range of supporting functions that make daily struggles easier to maintain. For example, take a look at Uber.

Uber is a multinational online transportation company that connects car drivers on demand, with people that need rides in a given location proximity. Their app allows any smart phone user to get car transportation anywhere, with just a few simple screen touches. What makes this so innovative is the map that pinpoints the driver’s live location. This allows people to simply follow the live location of their drivers to find their pickup location. This feature, along with many others that Uber has to offer, gives consumers and even employees a full range of accessibility when it comes to enhancing their total experience.


                                                                                  Image Source:  digitaltrends.com

3. Mobile Ecommerce (M-Commerce)

Mobile ecommerce or just simply m-commerce is a term used to describe the online sales that are acquired through wireless electronic devices. These transactions can be through smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. Businesses who have a clean and easy to use interface for consumers to purchase goods through, always see better results. Customers aren’t going to waste their time scrolling through applications for a company that doesn’t have a developed shopping cart or buying options. Looking at big ecommerce companies like eBay or Amazon, you notice just how integrated their mobile applications are for a seamless buyer, user experience.

They offer full customization and advanced search options for consumers. This provides more company engagement with consumers, while simultaneously making purchase records, sale sheets, and behavior statistics more freely accessible, leading to more sales and boosted growth within the company.

4. Innovation

Developing mobile software around your customer is the best way to ensure prosperity for your business. Being creative or doing something that hasn’t been done before is what’s going to set your business apart from others. People love to see genius concepts come to fruition through applications. This type of thinking keeps them involved and associated with what product you’re selling or service you’re offering, while helping with the construction of brand identity. Users want to be at the forefront of technologic innovation, and if your mobile application is offering something new, innovative and exciting that provides value to your consumers, your business profitability will see a rise.

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5. Helps Increase Customer Base

Today, 68% of U.S. adults own a smartphone. People are using smartphones more than ever. Whether it’s shopping, connecting to other people, or finding a restaurant to have dinner at, smartphone users commit to certain cellular applications to get the job done for them. It’s tremendously beneficial that if your company has a smartphone app, that it provides signup options for potential consumers. If you can get someone to use your app, that’s great – getting them to register creating a lifetime customer is even better!

The goal is to get consumers to use your app again and again. If you can accomplish this you will begin to notice a rise in user retention. Having a bigger database of customers is strongly correlated with elevated growth and sales.

Mobile software and cellular applications are the future of business. If you’re able to harness this power through the innovative use of a mobile app, it can generate more sales leads and overall development of your business’ operation.