Mobile Design Trends to Watch Out For in 2017

Mobile phones today are an integral part of our lives and people are spending more time consuming media on their hand held devices. According to a report by CMO, the mobile digital time is higher (at 51 percent) compared to desktop media time (at 42 percent) in the U.S. With the number of global smartphone users expected to reach 4.77 billion in 2017, it has become essential for businesses, of all sizes to build mobile apps that help them cut through the clutter and have a competitive advantage. In fact recent studies show, over a third of small business have either already invested in a mobile app or plan to build a mobile app in the next 12 months.

However, just having a mobile app would not be enough; it must offer high quality user experience, since it is the key to success for any mobile app. In fact, according to Invision App, 85 percent of adults think a company’s mobile website should be good or better than the desktop website. Want more reasons to develop a mobile app?

A study conducted by Flurry, an app analytics company reveals people spend 158 minutes on their smartphones and tablets each day on an average; out of which 127 is spent browsing mobile apps and 31 minutes browsing websites. So, businesses that have not invested in mobile apps should be prepared to lose out customers every day. If that is not what you want to happen, start thinking about launching a mobile app as soon as possible. However, when building a mobile app consider the following trends that are expected to make waves in 2017:

Hybrid App Development

According to the statistics provided by Smartphone market research in 2015, 81.7 percent consumers prefer the Android OS followed by 15.3 percent consumers who prefer iOS and finally only 2.2 percent who prefer Windows OS.

Unlike native apps that are created focussing on a specific OS, hybrid apps are web apps in disguise of native apps. They are cross-platform apps, so you need not develop different versions of the same app for different OSs. This means development becomes faster and simpler and you can target a larger audience just by developing one app. Although not many businesses have adopted the Hybrid development model, there are many that are showing interest towards hybrid apps.

The biggest examples of a hybrid mobile include Evernote. It is a high-performing hybrid mobile app which offers excellent multi-device sync capabilities. The Evernote experience and interactions are so seamless that it seems like a native app.

hybrid-spp-development

Wearables – The Next Big Thing

Wearables are gadgets and they take the mobile technology to a whole new level. According to reports by Gartner, almost 50.4 million units of wearables will be sold in 2016, an increase by 18.4 percent compared to 2015 sales.

Posted in Mobile App Development

Tips to Offer Excellent Customer Services through Your Website

Tips to Offer Excellent Customer Services through Your Website

  • Only 37 percent websites got a good or excellent customer experience score in 2012. While 6 percent brands received poor score – Forrester.
  • 54 percent customers share their bad experiences with more than five people and 33 percent customers share their good experiences with more than 5 people – Dimensional Research
  • 89 percent customers switched over to a competitor due to bad customer experiences – RightNow
  • Up to 60 percent of the customers will pay more for good customer experiences – Desk

What do you understand from all the above data? If you are a seasoned marketer, you would at once understand that all these data indicate how important ‘Customer Experience’ is to survive in this highly competitive eco-system. The competition is fierce out there and companies who still haven’t prioritized customer experience need to think again.

Till now there has been a lot of buzz going on about “UX” and “UI”, but in 2016 all you need to think about is ‘CX’ or customer experience.

What is Customer Experience?

Businesses had been focussing on product/ service quality, value of money spent or quality of customer all this time, but now they need to shift their attention towards customer experience (CX). So what exactly is CX?

CX is defined as the customer’s end-to-end journey with your brand. Customer experience refers to the cumulative experience of the customer while interacting with the business and developing a relationship with the brand.

With the advent of social network and real-time interactive eco-systems, it has become crucial to offer excellent customer experiences. Customers are able to share their experiences, both good and bad in real time with their friends and family, which can directly affect your business.

Nurturing your relationship with the customers has become more important than ever, to ensure growth of business. Creating long-lasting relationships between your customers and your brand can spark positive word of mouth that can help you reach the next level. So how you ensure a positive customer experience for your customers? Read on.

Tips to Offer Excellent Customer Experience

Playing the role of a marketer can be a real tough one – you have a lot of content to manage, manage multiple channels, give out the right messages and above all you need to make sure the customers don’t face any bad experiences, so save the online reputation of your brand.

So you need to have a solid strategy to ensure you build a strong and long-lasting customer relationship by offering the best customer experience:

Real Customer Interaction

No matter how you much spend on marketing strategies, the best type of marketing is ‘word-of-mouth’. It is found that customers who get their problems solved quickly, tell four to six people about their good experiences. This allows many more people know about your brand and how much you value your customers.

To make sure your customers happy, you need to interact with them regularly. Talk to them directly and respond to their queries or issues as fast as you can. Social media like Twitter, Facebook, etc. and blogs offer amazing opportunities to interact with the customers directly, so utilise these platforms to the maximum.

Good UI and UX     

A crucial part of a good customer experience is excellent UI and UX. This can only be achieved by developing a user-friendly and interactive website that has easy navigation and strategically placed content. There are many more things you need to look after – you need to have a responsive website to offer similar user experiences for both mobile and PC users, the user interface should be flawless and intuitive enough to impress the viewers and most importantly the content should be easily traceable, which means the visitors should be able to find what they are looking for easily and quickly.

Know Your Customers

You must have read this many times before but most people talk about understanding the demands of the users. It is true that the first step to know your customers is to understand what they are looking from you, but you also need to know their grievances.

Make sure you listen to your customers patiently – listen to whatever they have to say, good, bad or even stupid. Customer feedbacks mean a lot; you can improve a lot based on what the customers think about you. Find out ways to get customer feedbacks – ask them what they think about you through opinion polls, surveys, social media, emails, etc. Remember, some people might talk bad about your brand but don’t come on too strong. Tackle strategically!

Ongoing and Best Quality Customer Service

One third of the customers say they have experienced rude customer service at least once in a month and about 58 percent of them share their ill experiences with their friends.

Dissatisfaction with the quality of customer service is top reason why brands lose their customers to their competitors. To ensure best customer experience for your customers, make sure you put all efforts to offer excellent customer services. Respond to customer queries quickly and actively and offer the best solutions to help your customers solve their problems.

Good quality customer service is better than offering rock bottom prices, since customers appreciate the high quality tips and advice more than cheap products/ services. To improve your credibility, customer service is inevitable.

So when preparing the marketing plan, make sure you include customer experience as one of the most important factors.

Conclusion

Today’s customers are more educated and more aware of what is going around. Today’s customers don’t get wooed by rock bottom prices; they look for the best value for their money. So in order to make sure you retain your existing customers and attract new prospects, a positive customer experience is important.

By offering excellent customer experience, you will achieve customer loyalty and an increase in revenue and sales. The best thing you will build stronger customer relationships which mean you improve your credibility and trustworthiness among prospective customers. More and more people will be willing to get involved with your brand. Customer experience has become the most important factor of online marketing, so put in your best efforts to offer your customers with the best experience ever.

Posted in Website Design

Tips to Choose the Best Website Designing Agency

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Let’s take a test: Think of a topic that you want to research on and Google it. Click on the link that seems the most appropriate. When you enter the website, what is your first impression? Did you find the information you were looking for? How long did it take?

If you were able to find the information easily, then you can say the website was well designed. The website was designed keeping usability in mind, so that you (as a visitor) can navigate through the website to reach the exact point where the information is available. If you were lost navigating the website and ultimately returned to the SERPs to find another website, it simply means the web designing was terrible.

A good web design is important to make that ‘first impression’ and help the visitors to find what they are looking for easily and quickly. With the world around us going digital, it has become essential for businesses to have a well designed website, since it determines how well your customers connect with you or your business. So if you have not upgraded your website for years, now it is time that you give your website a facelift.

Still thinking why? Take a look:

  • You have only 10 seconds to create the ‘first impression’ and tell your visitors what you have to offer them. If you can’t, consider you’ve lost the game. – NN Group
  • Once the landing page loads, the visitors take 0.5 seconds to create an opinion about the website –Kinesis Inc.
  • In 2011, about $1.1 trillion of retail sales were web-influenced – Forrester Research
  • 88 percent of the visitors will not return to your website, if they had a bad experience – Econsultancy

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So now you must agree that web designing holds an important role in impressing and retaining visitors and can also influence the bottom line of your company.

So how would you make sure you have a well designed website?

Almost all business, by now know that having a website is very important to create an online presence, but not many of them are technically sound to understand what works for them and what does not. Web designing depends a lot on the industry you belong to and the people you cater to, so the only way to ensure you have the best website is to hire the website designers London.

Experienced web designers understand what works best for specific industries and help you come up with innovative web designing ideas that will appeal your visitors. By hiring the best website designers London, you will have a competitive advantage over your competitors.

How to choose the best web designing company?

A lot has changed in terms of web designing over the past few years. The dominance of mobile web and social media has revolutionised the concept of web designing. What worked a few years ago, are a complete no-no in the present scenario.

So your success depends a lot on the proficiency of the web design company you choose. To make sure you make an informed decision while choosing website designers in London, here are a few things that you need to consider:

Know Your Goals

Before you hire a web design company, it is important to identify your goals. What is it that you want to achieve from your web design? Do you want to improve your sales or create brand awareness? Or do you want to increase the number of visitors.

Depending upon your aims, you need to decide whether the company you are considering has the experience and resources to fulfil your expectations or not. Ask for case studies that reveal their potentials.

Consider the Skill Sets

Before embarking upon your web designing project, it is important that you check the skill sets the web designing company has. Web designing is multi-faceted – it needs to be aesthetically pleasing, functional and offer an amazing brand experience. To design an impressive and high performing website, you need experts who can handle specific areas of the project such as HTML coders, graphic designers, etc. If the company you are considering has one person doing everything – you should think again before hiring them.

Check Out the Terms & Conditions  

Web designing is not a one-size-fits-all concept. The requirements vary with each project and the demands should be addressed individually. To make sure you get what you are looking for, you need to check the ‘Terms & Conditions’ of the web designing company.

You need to keep your website updated to outsmart competition, so check whether updates and maintenance are included within the designing fees or not. In case, you don’t like the design, will they modify it to match the expectations? Do they own the source codes? What if you want to shift your services?

Having answers to these questions is very important to avoid problems further down the line.

Communicate

It is very important that you communicate with the web designing company clearly. There should be enough transparency between the web designing agency and the client. Oftentimes, clients visualise things that are either impractical or out of scope. In such cases, the web designing company should communicate and make the client understand why it is impractical or unachievable, rather than doing a poor job or overcharging the clients for things that can’t be done.

Cost vs. Value

Last but not the least, cost is an important factor in determining whether the web designing agency you are considering is ideal for you or not. In most cases, business owners make their decisions solely based on the cost factor, but to make the best decision you must consider the value against the money you pay.

Consider what you have invested for in the past and how much return you have got. Compare that to what you are about to get – whether it will improve the returns or not. Ask the web designing agency if they can provide evidence about how they can help you improve your bottom line. To make sure you get the best value for the money you spend, you need to do a lot of research

Conclusion

Web designers must understand that websites are assets which help businesses achieve certain objectives. So you need to be very careful while choosing website designers. Look for professionals who will tell you about websites that are more than just “clean” and beautiful”. An experienced website designer will tell you about user experiences.

Remember you are creating a business asset, so make well informed decisions.

 

 

 

Posted in Website Design

Understanding the Fundamental Elements of Responsive Web Design

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Web design is no more what it used to be a few years ago. There were little variations of the screen sizes and not much had to be taken care of, but the circumstances have taken a 360 degree turn. With mobile devices dominating the World Wide Web, your website has to perform seamlessly on any and every device – whether it is a 7” tablet screen, 4.8” smartphone screen or any other designs. This is the reason why responsive wed design has taken over normal web designing concepts.

Responsive web design is no more a thing of the future and there is no wondering why there is so much buzz about RWD (responsive web design). A recent survey on Google+ found that among 652 followers, 82 percent voted responsive web design to be the most commonly used mobile configuration strategy.

According to another research by The Search Agency, 91 percent of top 100 ETail (online retail) companies do not use responsive web design.        

So even though, it may seem that a large portion of the online businesses have adopted responsive web design, there are those who still don’t. If you are among those who have still not embarked on the responsive bandwagon, it is high time that you do so. Switching to responsive web design makes sure you reach the widest range of audience and you make the most of your online business.

Responsive Web Design and Key Features

By now, almost everyone is aware of what a responsive web design is; those who have still don’t know, keep reading:

Responsive web design is a design approach that dynamically changes the appearance of the websites depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to browse the website. So with help of RWD, the same website can be viewed on a multitude of devices without any distortion.

So what makes a responsive web design different from an ordinary web design? Here are the key features that make RWD different from standard web designs:

  • Flexible/ Fluid Grids
  • Flexible Images and
  • Media Queries

 Let’s explore each of these features in details. Keep reading:

Flexible/ Fluid Grids

To create a successful responsive website, you need to design the website such that it seamlessly adapts to screens of all sizes. Flexible grids are the best options when it comes to RWD since they are created using relative proportions rather than fixed pixel values.

In simple words, traditionally, fixed width grids were used to position the elements, which means the elements got cemented to that specific position. In a fluid grid layout, everything is created in relative proportions – that is in percentages or relative sizes. So no matter what the size of the screen is, the grids adjust according the percentages allocated for them. But designers need to be very careful while creating flexible grids, since a lot of proficiency is required to come up with the perfect flexible grid systems. The web designers should be able to define specific parameters for the design elements (columns, containers, spacing, etc.) to provide the best web design solution.

Without the flexible grid system, it would be tough to accommodate the website on smaller and larger screens alike. In this approach the columns scale themselves automatically and move along with the grids to align the content suitably as the screen size increases or decreases.

Flexible Images

With responsive design, even the text and images get aligned suitably to offer a seamless user experience. To offer great user experience every design element needs to be scaled appropriately. This means even the images and texts need to be scaled down or scaled up with the changing screen dimensions and this can be tough.

In order to make websites lighter and expedite loading times, a lot of websites are incorporating lesser images and stock photos. If it is important to use images for your website, you can set the image width to 100 percent of the container which ensures it does not get chopped off and remains visually appealing as it was on the larger screens.

There are many different techniques to align the texts and images on a responsive website such as locking the image to occupy a certain portion of the vertical screen, limiting the minimum/maximum size of text containing images, etc. A web designer who is proficient enough to design responsive websites will be able to decide which technique suits your requirements.

Media Queries

This technique enables the web designers to design several design layouts using the same components (texts, images, etc.). Using media query, you can adjust the style, font and other elements of the web page depending upon the media type used by the users to browse the websites. Media queries can be utilised for handheld, TV, print, screen and projection. With help of this technique you can adjust the components according to the device width, height, resolution, colour index, aspect ratio as well as height and width of the browsers.

Media queries work successfully only in conjunction with flexible grid and flexible images. Most of the up-to-date web browsers respond to media queries and when implemented properly, it can provide flawless user experiences to the end users.

Media queries don’t just offer mobile or tablet solutions, they go beyond these. With help of media queries and responsive web designs, the designers can get out of the constraints of resolutions and screen sizes. Now it is possible to build websites that adapt to all different mediums.

Conclusion

Today’s consumers have different wants and needs when it comes to user experience, so it is necessary that you design websites that cater to the needs of all these different people. Responsive web design is a step in the right direction and all the online business owners should start thinking the responsive way.

In the web designing industry, one-size-does-not-fit-all; so the web designers must think of with unique solutions to allure the target audience. The opportunities are endless, so think of building websites that are more dynamic, more engaging and more user-friendly!      

Posted in Web Design Portfolio

Benefits of iPhone App Development

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By now you must know the importance of developing a mobile app for growing your business. So you have decided to develop a native mobile app for your business. The next big question is – which platform to choose, whether Android or iPhone app. Android and iOS are both very popular platforms and they have their own pros and cons, so how would you decide which one to choose. A number of big players choose to develop their apps on iOS and have benefited immensely from them. So why do they choose iOS over Android? Let’s take a look:

  • There were 44.53 million iPhone users in 2012, in the U.S and it is expected to reach at 75.23 million by 2015. – Statista
  • iPhone users were able to choose between 1.5 million from the Apple’s App Store, as of July’2015. – Statista
  • Apple iPhone downloads have exceeded 3 Billion at the start of 2010

The above data makes it clear why the big companies choose to develop iPhone apps. Though decision solely depends on your business goals and target audience, by developing iPhone apps you will certainly have some well defined benefits.

What are Native Apps? Why Choose them?

Native apps are those that are installed through a specific app store such as Google Play or Apple’s App Store. Native mobile apps are created specifically for any one platform and are capable of taking full advantage of all the device features such as the GPS system, camera, contact list, etc.

The Native apps can be accessed through icons on the mobile devices and offer the best user experience. If you are developing a business app for the first time, it is always good to choose native apps. Some more features that make native mobile apps the best choice are:

  • Ease of Use: Native apps are easier to use, since they are compatible with the functionalities with the specific device. Native apps offer much more in terms of user experience.
  • Fast Graphics API: With native apps you get the advantage of fast graphics which is very beneficial if your app requires quick refreshes.
  • Amazing Animations: Fluid animation is very essential if you are developing a gaming app or highly interactive apps. With native apps you get the best of fluid animations.
  • Built-in Components: The app can be seamlessly integrated with the built-in components of the device such as the camera, address book, GPS, and other advanced features.

Now that you know the advantages of developing a native app, what are the advantages of developing a native app on iOS? So, now let’s explore the advantages of iPhone app development.

Benefits of iPhone App Development for your Business

When developing mobile apps, the first thing that the developers should keep in mind is usefulness and usability of mobile applications. Mobile apps are reflections of your brand and the success of your business solely depends on the user experience offered by the apps.

A professional iPhone app built according to your business requirements is the key to achieve your business goals and attract potential customers. Here is how iPhone app development can help your business:

Get More for Your Apps

Regardless of the huge market share owned by Android, it is less profitable for the businesses. The iOS platform is expected to bring in 90 percent of the amount spent on mobile devices, which clearly highlights the revenue advantage that the businesses developing iPhone apps would get. Thus iPhone app development is always more profitable for business owners.

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Secured Apple Eco-System

A number of mobile app developers choose to develop iPhone apps due to the more secured and regulated environment. It is possible to offer a holistic user experience with help of Xcode, iCloud, iTunes, the App Establishment, etc. and sharing content also becomes seamless throughout various devices. In simple words, iPhone apps are much more reliable than Android apps.

Superior User Experience

Even though developing apps on Android is easier, the app experience is much better on iOS apps since they are user-friendly and versatile. Even if you launch the same app on iOS and Android, the experience on iPhone device will be much better. iPhone apps are much more fluid thus look and feel good compared to Android apps. iPhone also offers an amazing media experience. Whether it is music, videos or photos, you get the best of all with iPhone apps.

The Apple Store

Apple was the first to launch the app store, so they have an advantage over the Android app store. The number of Android apps is more than that of the iPhone apps due to multiple Android markets, but with iOS it is not the same. You can find about 1.2 million apps active on the Apple App store alone. Moreover, iPhone apps are much more stable than those on Android due to their stringent approval procedures.

Loyal Customer Base

Apple has a loyal customer base and these people will always stick to iPhone devices regardless of the price tag. There is something about owning an iPhone device and the loyal iPhone customers will go to any extent to get their hands on the latest edition.

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91% of current iPhone owners will replace it with another iPhone model when it’s time to upgrade, according to a recent survey by the Yankee Group. So by developing a user-friendly iPhone app you will always have a dedicated set of users.

Conclusion

Developing iPhone apps can be beneficial for your business in many ways. With iPhone app development you can come up with some of the most amazing apps since it is easier for the developers to work on the iOS platform. Since iPhone apps are available on a single set of devices testing and debugging is easier as compared to Android apps that are available on multiple devices.

So if you want to improve the bottom line and serve your customers better, you should choose iPhone apps. Not only will you get a loyal customer base, you can offer the best user experiences to your targeted customers.

Posted in Mobile App Development

Benefits of Developing Mobile Apps on Android

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The number of smartphone users in UK will reach about 44.9 million by 2017 – Statista

More than 76 percent (an increase from 52 percent in 2012) of the UK adults now own a smartphone. But the ratio of people making voice calls is falling considerably. So what do people do with their smartphones? How do they communicate?

Smartphones have changed our lives significantly and they have now become an indispensable part of our lives. There has been a proliferation of tools in the mobile eco-system that has made communication possible without speaking. For instance, even a few years ago you had to call and book a taxi, but now you can book a taxi without calling. How? Through mobile apps!

Whether you want to order food or check the weather, you just have to check the app and all the information will be available to you within seconds. Currently there are millions of mobile apps available in the app stores and they have huge impact on the life of the consumers as well as the businesses that develop these apps. Among many other mobile platforms, iOS and Android are the two most popular mobile platforms. Each of the platforms have their own pros and cons, but here we will talk about the significant role of Android in the mobile app eco-system.

Brief Introduction to Android

Android is one the most popular smartphone operating systems. Android is an open source operating system for mobile phones. Android Inc. was founded in 2003 by Rich Miner, Andy Rubin, Nick Sears and Chris White in Palo Alto of California, U.S. but it was acquired by Google in 2005. Android is feature packed and supports millions of applications on smartphones. Android apps are written in JAVA and it depends largely on Linux version 2.6 for memory management, process management, security, driver model and network stack.

When talking about mobile application development, Android offers a lot of opportunities to the developers as well as the business owners. Android also offers Android SDK (software development kit) for the app developers.

Benefits of Developing Mobile Apps on Android

Android application development can help businesses as well as consumers. A large number of business owners are still unaware of the many advantages of developing mobile apps on Android. To help the business owners make better decisions, here are some benefits that Android offers:

Open Source Platform

Android offers an open source platform to the app developers, which means the business owners don’t have to spend a lot to buy the licensed versions. This means there are no recurring license expenses. Android is popular as one of the most low-cost mobile app development platforms and there are no restrictions to use it.

For small and medium sized business it is a great opportunity to maximize their worldwide visibility through mobile applications. The best part – android is highly customisable which means businesses can customise it as per their business requirements and needs.

High ROI with Lowest Investment

With Android, the mobile app development costs are considerably lower compared to other mobile platforms and it has a comparatively low barrier to entry. The Android tools are also available at low cost which means the businesses are able to develop cutting edge applications with the lowest investments.

The average revenue per user for Android games was 20 percent of that of iOS games in January 2014 – DAU-UP. By December this figure reached 65 percent in December 2014. Moreover, the advertising on Android devices is much cheaper compared to iOS devices. This means you can reach out to more users on Android devices as compared to iOS devices with the same budget.

This is a boon for small and medium sized business that work with small budgets. The main costs associated with Android app development are app development, app testing across various devices and distribution via various third party app stores.

Seamless Integration

When it comes to inter-application integration, Android is the best choice. It is also suitable for businesses that want to cross-promote a collection of applications/ programs together since it can seamlessly connect various software applications together.

High Flexibility and Portability

Android apps are written in Java programming language but they can easily be ported to support other mobile operating systems like Ubuntu, Blackberry, etc. Androids can also be ported to Chrome OS and Microsoft has also announced that they will soon allow Android apps to be ported to Windows 10 devices.

Easy Distribution

Android apps can easily be distributed to the consumers through Google Play store and once uploaded the apps are available for download just within a few ‘hours’ as compared to Apple’s App Store that makes apps available for download after a few ‘weeks’.  

The apps uploaded on the Google play store can be modified for multiple times (even within a single day) to offer better user experiences. For applications that need to be constantly updated and modified, the android platform is the perfect one. Developers can also release alpha or beta stages of the app to a selected set of people for testing purpose. Mobile app developers can also release the apps for a specific group of people to get feedbacks and polish the app further for better user experiences.

Not only through Google Play store, you can also distribute the Android apps through third party application marketplaces or create your own distribution and sales channels. Such flexibility is not available with most of the other mobile platforms.

Conclusion

Whether you are developing a mobile app for your employees or the general public, it is always more profitable to develop mobile apps on Android. Not only does Android offer immense flexibility to the developers, Android apps are also very engaging thus you can serve your customers better.

For businesses, both large and small, it makes economic sense to develop mobile apps on Android, since it has the maximum market share – as of December 2014, the number of Android devices was more than 1.6 billion, as compared to 395 million iOS devices, 46 million Windows and 45 million Blackberry devices. So businesses can reach a wider audience with help of Android applications.

So whether you are an individual or own a business you can increase your profits many times by developing Android apps.

 

Posted in Android Apps, Mobile App Development

Mistakes to Avoid When Setting-Up an eCommerce Website

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Retail eCommerce has become an integral part of the retail business realm. More and more businesses, both large and small, are leveraging on their eCommerce websites.

The retail eCommerce revenue in the U.S, according to Statista, stood at $225.5 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach $434.2 billion by 2017. According to recent study by The Intelligence Group (TIG), 72% millennial (those between the age of 18 and 34) do their own online research before going to the local brick and mortar stores.

With so many economical and accessible platforms available in the market, building an online eCommerce store has become much easier. Now you can build an online store as good as eBay and Amazon at the most affordable rates and offer the best of the best to your customers. But remember your eCommerce website is a reflection of you and your brand, so it is very important to set up the website correctly.

The Internet offers you with a lot of opportunities to reach the global market and cater to their needs 24X7, 365 days in a year. But establishing your online business in this competitive market might be tougher than it seems.  Careful planning and strategic implementation of the plan is necessary to grow your online business. This means you need to identify the risks and pitfalls along with the opportunities, so that you don’t stumble down setting up your online business.

Remember the first impression is everything! Here are a few things that need to be considered to avoid the major pitfalls when setting up an online eCommerce store:

Starting Without a Business Plan and Marketing Strategy

A lot of business owners have the misconception that just buying a domain and building an appealing website is enough to attract traffic. Like we would say, don’t jump in the ocean if you don’t know how to swim; similarly we would suggest don’t start an online business if you don’t have a solid business plan and a strong marketing strategy.

Your business plan does not need to be 200 pages long! You need to have a business plan that helps you to understand the best selling services/ products, your niche market, most preferred customers, how your services/ products can help your customers, etc. The marketing strategy should help you identify your competitors, channels to promote your service/ products and ways to measure success.

This might seem tough and daunting initially but as you start sorting out things one by one, things will become easier and obvious.

Wrong Host and eCommerce Platform

Being able to save some money is not bad; but not at the cost of the credibility of your online business. No doubt there are a number of free hosting options available, but not having your own domain name can have adverse effects on your brand. If you want people to invest money in your products and services, then you first need to win their trust. Having your own domain name is also the first step towards branding.

The biggest disadvantage – the site or content does not belong to you and you can’t connect to the social platforms (the strongest marketing tools in today’s online business realm). Hosting on the right platform offers a number of advantages – you can upgrade your website as your business grows; get 24X7 support services, your websites runs without glitches and most importantly you have complete control over your website.

Second, you must choose the eCommerce platform very carefully. There are a lot of excellent open source eCommerce platforms available such as Magento, Zencart, etc. that allow you to build your own customized eCommerce website, but you need to choose the one that suits your business needs the best. The eCommerce platforms have their own pros and cons, so evaluate them carefully choose wisely.

Unable to Locate the Customers

To make your online business successful, you need to know where to find your most preferred customers. Not every channel is going to be helpful for finding your potential customers. To start with, look where your competitors are promoting their products.

It is essential that you do your homework in advance, so that you can sell your products in places where people are willing to buy them. Promoting industrial machinery on Etsy would be sheer waste of time, since this is a niche online marketplace for handcrafted goods. Understand your customers and their needs and then determine where they are most likely to be found.

Ignoring User Experience

It is necessary for any online business to have an appealing website, but that’s not all. All you need to focus on is the ‘User Experience’. This means you need to build a website that has the perfect balance between usability and functionality. You need to covey your message to your customers in the right way and at the right time. Your website needs to have the perfect balance between the design elements and content.

Design your website in a clutter-free way to retain the customer’s attention and avoid all kinds of distraction. Have a clear navigation structure, high quality content, simple check-out process and a secured payment gateway.

One more thing that you need to take care of is the cross device compatibility and loading speed. Make sure you have a mobile responsive website that loads quickly.

Investing Without Planning

Many online business owners get overwhelmed and start building their inventories without knowing what the actual demand of the products will be, ending up draining their money with minimum or no returns. Experts recommend doing a market research about the demand of the product before acquiring or manufacturing it. To start with, you can check out the common marketplaces to see how many pieces of the same product that you are offering have been sold for the past few months. This will give you an idea of how much of each product you should have in your inventory.

Conclusion

It is very easy to get overwhelmed when starting your online business, but you should be very careful not to make any mistakes that will cause your online business to slow down. Establishing an online business in today’s competitive marketplace is very tough; so have a strong business plan and marketing strategy that will help you understand your targeted audience and identify your niche market.

To make your online business successful make sure you avoid making the above mentioned mistakes. Make a string start and go a long way!

Posted in Website Design

Tips to Improve eCommerce Website UX

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eCommerce is the only trillion-dollar industry that is growing at a double-digit percentage each year – Read report here.

eCommerce has been there for about twenty years now and there is no doubt that online shopping has reached its peak in the past few years.

According to a report, one-fourth of all the purchases made in UK are made online; this means 21 percent of the retail sale comes from online purchases. Today’s consumers have easier access to the Internet and the willingness to spend has also increased, which is the reason why eCommerce websites are thriving even in this competitive world. RJmetrics states that there are more than 110,000 eCommerce websites as of 2014 and more or less each one of them are able to make decent amount of time from online sales.

So if you want to thrive in this extremely competitive landscape, you need to do something really unique and innovative to stand apart from your competition. eCommerce websites serve a completely different purpose than any other website and that is helping people purchase what they are looking for. From clothes to books, electronics to toys, eCommerce websites offers customers with a wide variety of items.

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Today’s consumers are proactive, decisive and more impatient that ever; so if you want to retain them and want them to complete the purchase cycle, you need to offer excellent ‘User Experience (UX)’.

According to Forrester, 97 percent of the websites they examined failed at user experience. By improving the UX, eCommerce websites can increase sales and win more number of happy customers.

So how would you improve the UX for your eCommerce website? Keep reading.

Tips to Improve the UX for eCommerce Websites

It is extremely important to improve the UX for your eCommerce website design to make sure your customers are satisfied and their journey through your website is glitch-free. Improving the UX also reflects in the revenue, so here are some ways in which you can improve the UX for your eCommerce website which finally will help you improve the bottom line.

Go Mobile

The number of mobile users has already surpassed the number of desktop users, which means a major portion of the customers that visit your website use their mobile devices to browse it. Therefore, offering a good user experience on all devices, should be your first priority.

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Make your eCommerce website responsive, so that it adapts seamlessly to any screen size. This means the customers will have similar shopping experience on desktops, laptops and even on smartphones.

Better Search Results

Almost 30 percent of the customers visiting your website will use the on-site search feature to find exactly what they are looking for. This means offering these people with the exact search results will motivate them further to complete the purchase cycle.

Here are 3 things that you should consider to improve the search feature:

  • Proper placement of the search box. This means you should place the search box in the most prominent location so that the shoppers can access it easily.
  • Determine the keywords that the shoppers are most likely to use to search for a specific product. Include these in the product descriptions, etc. so that the exact products come up when the shoppers search for them.
  • Accuracy is the next important thing. Provide your customers with the most accurate results, misguiding them or showing the wrong results might discourage them to proceed further.

Bigger and Better Product Pictures

A number of eCommerce websites are embracing larger pictures and they are seeing the benefits. Since the customers are not able to see or touch the product in reality, you need to use pictures that are close to real life. Bigger pictures show more details; to improve the UX you can use multiple images o the same pictures from different angles.

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Include Product Reviews

Including reviews helps users to understand the products better. Reading the user reviews the customers are able to evaluate whether that is the exact products they are looking for or whether the products serve their needs. User reviews can also help address concerns and answer questions about the quality and usage of the product they are looking for.

Real reviews from real people can encourage customers to proceed through their purchase journey. To improve the user experience, you can consider adding information about the reviewer (so your customers know the reviews are real) and a summary to the reviews (to help the customers get a gist of the review).

Detailed Product Descriptions

Including detailed product descriptions (in layman’s words) is important to give the customers a real life feeling of the product. Since they are not able to touch, feel or see the product directly, you should provide every minute detail which will help the customers understand whether the product is exactly what they are a looking for.

Detailed product descriptions along with high quality image will help the customers get a real life feeling and there are high chances that the customer will complete the purchase process.

Security Assurance

Most people abandon the purchase process in the middle since they are worried about the security offered by the eCommerce website. The customers are required to put in their credit card details and other personal details in order to complete the check-out process, this is where they get worried.

Use a secured payment gateway and add a seal of security to make the customers confident about the security features. The conversion rate for Oriental Furniture grew by 7.6 percent after they started displaying a security seal on their eCommerce website.

Conclusion

Improving the UX of an eCommerce website does not just mean improving the design of the website; you also have to focus on the usability and functionality of the website. To improve the user experience you need to implement strategies that will help the customers to navigate through the purchase journey seamlessly.

Improving the user experience will boost the conversion rates and improve sales. Not only sales, a good user experience also helps in developing strong and long-term customer relationships, which mean you can go a long way generating better sales.

 

Posted in Website Design

Mobile Web Design Best Practices for a Seamless User Experience

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When a visitor visits your website chances are they used their smart phones or other mobile devices to discover your website. Yes majority of the digital media is now accessed through mobile devices across the globe. According to study by ComScore, mobile has already taken over desktop. Total activity on mobile devices such as, smartphones and tablets, account for 60 percent of the total digital media time spent in the Unites States.

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So mobile marketing is no more a choice, it has become an integral part of any online marketing agenda. The first point of contact between your brand and the prospective customers is your mobile website, so it is necessary that you design the website in a way to offer the best user experience.

Web designers still use the approach of scaling down a desktop website to its mobile version by making it responsive. To create an impressive mobile website it is required that you create a website dedicatedly for mobile devices and then scale it up to the desktop version if necessary. This is known as the ‘Mobile First’ approach and the best one to cater to your mobile users.

To determine which approach suits your business goals, you need to check the analytics for your website first. The analytics will give you insights about the source from where the visitors come from – desktops/ laptops or mobile devices. Depending upon the findings, you need to plan your web design strategy.

Mobile Web Design Best Practices

To reach out to maximum number of targeted audience, you need to design your website in a way that works across several mobile platforms. The biggest challenge about mobile web designing in 2016 is that mobile devices are available in myriad of sizes, variants and they use various.

So to offer the best user experience you need to design a website that works seamlessly across various devices. Mobile designing is more about the fluidity and usability unlike desktop designing that requires pixel perfection. To ensure you are able to do so, here is a list of mobile web design best practices that will help you design the most appealing mobile website:

1. Understand the Difference between Mobile and Desktop Users

The user behaviour differs considerably on a mobile device compared to desktops. Mobile users use their devices to browse various sites rather than make purchases. To improve conversions on your mobile website, it is therefore important to capture the interest in a more appealing manner than just placing a call-to-action like “Book Now” or “Buy Now.”

Features like clickable phone numbers or providing the email address only to get registered, are helpful to capture user attention and transform them into leads.

2. Navigation and Content Placement

The key to successful user experience on mobile is time, functionality and visibility. Mobile users are time constrained so it is essential that you place the information in an easy to find way, make the major features such as tabs and buttons, clearly visible and make sure the website is highly functional so that it offers an app like experience.

You also need to determine what elements to appear first to make the mobile experience better. For instance, if you have a mobile travel site, you should place the trip finder elements on the topmost panel. Placing all the important elements strategically will help the visitors find the desired information quickly. Remember simplicity is the key to a perfect user experience. Avoid using multi-level menus and use a simple navigation structure.

3. Flexible Layout Designs

Mobile devices are available in a number of dimensions, so keeping the layouts flexible will ensure that the website adjusts itself seamlessly to devices of all dimensions. Making your website work equally on all mobile devices and on all mobile OS will help you make the most of your targeted mobile users.

4. Minimal Images

The lesser images and special effects you use, the better it will be. Lesser images mean the website will load faster. Instead you can explore the innovative possibilities with CSS coding. It is also time to say goodbye to the practice of using fancy texts as images. Use fancy fonts to achieve similar effects. The infographics below will help you understand how exactly the loading time can affect the conversion rate for your mobile website.

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If the loading time of your mobile website is high, visitors will abandon your site and never come back. Most of us tend to overlook this aspect of mobile web designing. Here are some metrics that will create a sense of urge if you haven’t yet considered this:

  • 47 percent of online consumers expect the mobile pages to load within 2 seconds or less – KissMetrics
  • 73 percent of consumers reported they came across websites that were too slow to load. – KissMetrics.
  • 40 percent of consumers abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load – KissMetrics.

5. Ask for Important Information Only

For desktop websites, it is perfect to include registration forms to get information, but when you are designing a mobile website, keep forms to the minimum. Not everyone can afford a tablet or smart phone with a large screen and the average smartphone has a small screen with a smaller virtual keyboard.

The keys of an average smartphone are barely 5mm x 5mm in size, thus typing can be very difficult. So if you want to get information from your users, design a form differently for your mobile website that asks only for specific information. Use auto-fill features for common field like name, email, etc. Also make sure the ‘submit’ and ‘reset’ buttons are fairly sized, so that the user does not have any problem submitting/ resetting the form.

Conclusion

Finally, it is very important to maintain consistency throughout your website. Make sure the entire website offers seamless experience throughout the journey of the consumer. The key to success for your mobile website is to understand the behaviour of your target audience and designing it accordingly.

Strategically place the all the major elements of the website to make information easily available. Remember, an amazing website does not mean cluttering it with numerous design elements; rather it keeping it simple and clutter-free is the secret to outstanding user experience. So implement the mobile web design best practices to design an exceptional mobile website.

Posted in Website Design

Tips to Boost Your Holiday Season Sales Right Now!

The online sales are expected to increase 7 to 10 percent this holiday season, according to the National Retail Association.

So are you geared up to cash-in on this opportunity? As the holiday season approaches, most eCommerce companies are getting ready to handle the influx of holiday season. Increasing sales in today’s high competition market is not an easy task. The success of an eCommerce business needs a lot of hard work – updating your website, optimizing the order fulfillment, optimizing your marketing plan and a lot more.

Still wondering if you should put in that much of effort to get prepared for the holiday season? Let’s take a look at some more statistics.

  • According to a Deloitte-authored sales forecast by  Inc.com states that the total retail sales this will reach $965 billion, which is an increase of 4 percent from 2014.
  • Reuters predicted that the sales growth will be the slowest since 2009; even then the businesses will experience a growth of about 2.8 percent to 3.4 percent.

Holidays are the most important period of the year for the retailers as well as the shoppers. About one-third of the retail stores make profit during the last two months of the year.

If you’ve done nothing to prepare for the huge rush during the holiday season, fret not! You can still make the most of the ever increasing eCommerce and online sales. Wondering how?

Here are some tips that will help you make the most of the holiday season:

1. Create a Mobile Responsive Website

Mobile eCommerce sales grew by 28 percent in 2014 and more than 50 percent online shopping are performed through various mobile devices such as smartphones, tablets, etc. So if your website is not ready to cater to the needs the online shoppers, you are losing a lot of holiday shoppers. If you still haven’t upgraded your website, it’s high time you do it.

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Also make sure the pages load quickly. Almost 40 percent of the customers abandon a site due to slow-loading pages, so implement techniques that will help the pages load faster. If you are able to satisfy your customers, they will recommend your site to others and you can take advantage of the free marketing and this takes us to the next point.

2. Optimize Check Out Process

The average shopping cart abandonment rate in 2015 is 68 percent. This means online shoppers spend time to browse through the products, pick the best items, add them to the shopping basket and then leave the site without completing the purchase. What stops them from completing the buying cycle?

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The check out process for many eCommerce websites are very complicated and ask for information that is not even required. You can avoid shopping cart abandonment this holiday season, by optimizing the check out process for your online eCommerce website. Implement easy check out process, ask for essential information only and implement a secured payment gateway. In short, you must try to offer the best user experience for your customers.

3. Social Media Integration

If you want to reach your targeted audience, it is recommended that you add social sharing buttons to the product pages. This will enable your customers to share their favourite products with their networks and become your brand advocate. Promote your special offers on social media and improve the visibility of your products and services.

4. Implement Email and Mobile Marketing

To make your eCommerce business successful during the holiday season you should implement email and mobile marketing strategies. Email marketing is still effective to reach out to the targeted audience, so make sure you have an email marketing plan in place before the holiday season starts.

Mobile marketing is even more important that email marketing- about 50 percent of the mobile messages are read within 2 minutes, so with help of mobile marketing you can reach a wide and diverse audience effectively.

5. Invest in Content Marketing Strategies

Content marketing has proved to be effective in attracting prospective customers and converting them into qualified leads. Publish helpful and informative content and build customer trust. Content marketing help you to position your website in a manner that your target audience considers you as reputed source of information. Posting high-quality and highly informative content will also help you garner top positions on the leading search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc.

Sales for your eCommerce business will not increase just because it is holiday season and people are busy shopping for their friends and family. You need to put in a lot of effort to position your business rightly in front of your target market and attract prospective customers. By implementing the above mentioned

Top eCommerce Holiday Season Trends to Watch Out for

According to BigCommerce, the global B2C will record the biggest growth in 2015 with the revenue reaching $2 trillion.  Another study by Emarketer.com, Asia-Pacific will top the list of top region for eCommerce sales in 2015, which will be followed by North America and Western Europe.

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These figures portray an encouraging picture for those who own eCommerce website, but the success solely depends on the capability of the business owners to identify and implement the latest trends into their marketing strategies. With the 2015 holiday season fast approaching, e-retailers should start preparing the new challenges that the changing customer behaviours will bring to them.

Here are top 3 trends that the eCommerce business owners should watch out for this holiday season:

In-Store Pick-Up Facilities

In store pick up facilities will gain momentum in 2015 and this will provide the customers with a better and improved customer experience. The largest online retailers have been leveraging on this trend to attract more customers and allow them to make online purchases and pick the items from the nearest brick and mortar stores.

Mcommerce to be the Next Big Thing

Business owners are well aware of the fact that a major portion of their sales come from mobile platforms. Customers have been using mobile devices to browse products and fetch information, but in the recent times the consumers are engaged in online shopping through their mobile devices. So if you want to make the most of the mobile sales, it is necessary that you prepare your website to provide amazing mobile shopping experience.

Omni Channel Marketing

Today’s customers demonstrate a more diverse shopping behaviour – they use multiple channels to access products and services. Business owners should offer the customers with the opportunity to shop through mobile devices, brick-and-mortar stores, and by scanning QR codes. The fate of online and offline retailing is completely in the hands of customers, so the businesses offering cross-channel interaction opportunities for their customers will be the ones who will win the race.

Conclusion

Though it is necessary to gear up for the holiday season to improve the online sales, smart businesses should employ the eCommerce best practices all-round the year to keep up with the online sales throughout the year. Working on your eCommerce website all through the year will help you reach a point where you can outsmart your competition and build customer loyalty.

Posted in Website Design