Category Archives: Blog

Anticipate Mistakes: Start your app projects with the Discovery Phase

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The app world has taken the globe by storm. Do you know what is the current force behind the current top-rated apps? Can you guess what is taking these apps by storm?

Strategising right, is the key to successful development of a software. This is exactly what you do when you engage in ‘project discovery’. The discovery phase in software development is the first step towards developing a highly rated app. It ensures that we set up realistic goals and also prepares ùs for a veritable customer response.

To make mistakes is human, but it is only a handful of us who are trained at anticipating them.  Discovery phase helps the app development team assess the market needs, budgetary requirements and the profitability of the app being developed. We urge you, for once, to invest meticulously in planning out your discovery phase. Trust us, the benefits will make you follow it as your firm’s protocol.

What is Project Discovery Phase and why is it so crucial to app development?

The project delivery phase is basically an advanced research phase which takes into account even the most minute details. It helps in charting out the wireframe protocol and in modelling the system requirements specification (SRS).

Every app development project completes a cycle of phases and subphases. The first and the one of prime importance is the project discovery phase.The success of the subsequent phases is determined on the comprehensiveness and precision of this process. Quite often, firms execute it in a workshop mode. The team responsible for this initial phase includes team leaders (or tech leads), project managers, app developers, analysts and financial consultants. All the team members are allocated separate jobs such as Business Goal Identification, Determining  Customer and End user Requirements, App Success Appraisal, Tracing End User Journey, Budgeting the development, Profit Allocation and Profiling of Competitors etc. Each finding undergoes critical assessment and evaluation. Incorporation of expert recommendations helps anticipate a reliable plan of action. In the absence of this initial wealth of work (which was earlier ignored and tagged as superfluous), an app development plan may fall flat. In fact in current times, a plan’s success depends upon the discovery phase theme.

Tools and Techniques for proper execution of the Discovery Phase:

Developing a high-rated, user friendly app bases itself on details and figures that can be put into different categories.. The tools and techniques employed in the Discovery Phase help in categorization and analysis of the data. :

  • Business Goal Identification: This is the first sub-phase which helps in brainstorming and mind mapping the business model. Setting up goals makes the A visual and interactive model of your analysis helps concise the conclusions and make them easily comprehensible. The mind map also aids in identifying company limitations, user requirements, setting the basic compatible android/iOS, fostering effective internal communication and relationships.
  • Tracing End User Journey: User stories closely map the consumer actions. They help transform an abstract business model  into a functional one. User journeys also help in targeting how each new feature helps in overcoming existing problems.
  • Charting the Business Process Modelling Notation (BPMN) Chart: The chart helps in app success appraisal. This subphase demonstrates an easily understandable end-to-end business model highlighting the working of the platform, its interactions with the user and how the platform helps the user in achieving his intended goal.
  • Request-Response Model: This subphase under Project Discovery Phase helps identify the key features that need to be outsourced or integrated with the help of third party services.
  • Profit Allocation and Profiling of Competitors : A SWOT analysis of the model helps in assessing the profitability and uniqueness of the model. It helps evaluate the
    • the strengths /unique features,
    • weaknesses of your competitor and your app,
    • opportunities that are available for your apps growth and
    • threats that may negatively affect your outreach and growth.

The cumulation of all these subphases aids in revising the drafted model. A well researched and well analysed model is the best offering you could give to your developers.

Indeed what we get from a the series of analyses and visual reporting in the discovery phase is no less than a ‘discovery’.

Angel Next Door website helps neighbours help each other #AngelNextDoor

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These are challenging times.. I am scared.. and so is everyone else…

I am scared for myself and my community.. people struggling with food, medicine, jobs, business, depression and so on…

We are eager to help others in a crisis but, right now, with the community locking down against coronavirus it’s hard to know just who needs help – or where to turn when they do.

I want to help.. we all want to help…

I wish I was a health care worker.. and I could have been on the frontline saving my people…

but I am just an app developer…

So I did.. what I could do best…

I partnered with like-minded entrepreneurs & community leaders to develop Angel Next Door https://angelnextdoor.com.au/ )

..a community help platform that allows people to seek help and offer help to their neighbours in a confidential, private and secure setting.

I know you care for the community and would be willing to help those in need…

that is why I am inviting you all to register as an Angel at https://angelnextdoor.com.au/

As an Angel, you will get email alerts whenever someone in your neighbourhood needs help- you can choose to offer help if it suits.

You can also seek help from other angels when you need it 🙂

The idea is simple…

If you need groceries or medicines, maybe some advice or help around the house or business – but can’t get out for whatever reason – just sign up to Angel Next Door and a neighbour will help out.

You might need a meal, the dog taken for a walk, some basic gardening, maybe the bins put out – whatever it is, Angel Next Door is there to help.

So register today – either as a helper, or someone who needs help.

And please, don’t be shy. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Go to AngelNextDoor here – https://angelnextdoor.com.au/

Also, please share this with your neighbours and loved one- so that they have a support system when they need it.

Stay safe and feel free to call me if I can be of any help.

 

How to avoid annoying prospects with personalisation

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How long does it take before prospects walk away from your website? 15 seconds! Has this time span changed? It probably has. Technology has nurtured more impatient people. Immediacy is the expectation. But we shouldn’t perceive this in an overly negative light. In people-to-people conversations, there’s an element of immediacy expected. This is the world of marketing personalisation.

Get results

Personalisation is the holy grail of marketing. From big to small businesses, new to established brands, it is in their marketers’ playbook. In website development, for example, it’s worthwhile to note over 9 in 10 websites see an increase in conversion rates as a result of personalisation. To add, a Marketo study showed that close to 4 in 5 will engage with offers that have been personalised based on previous interactions with the brand.

In an increasingly undifferentiated world of business, personalisation has grabbed centre stage. The focus, not that it never was, has shifted to consumers. They are more informed, more demanding, discerning and spoilt for choice. Competing for a share of their wallet is keener. The battle lines have been redrawn. Unless victory is achieved in the hearts and minds first, it’ll be difficult to convince and convert prospects. Personalisation helps to create the emotional connection needed to win the battle of hearts and minds. When consumers believe brands have the depth of understanding of themselves, a relationship is built and nurtured over time. This emotional connection is the strategic advantage brands must possess to grow.

McKinsey has argued that personalisation produces tangible results. It can lead to revenue increases of between 5 – 15%. Failing to adopt it can be costly for companies. Accenture has reported that 2 in 5 consumers switched companies because of a lack of personalisation in their effort to wow and woo. This amounts to a loss of $756 billion. That’s a significant amount of revenue lost at a time when the climb to win and retain customers is steep.

However, in the race to outdo the competition in their personalisation effort, companies are at risk of overdoing it. It can get very creepy. The rise of personalisation brought to the fore concerns over data privacy too. If we see personalisation and data privacy sitting on opposite ends of a continuum, there is a middle ground or sweet spot marketers must strive to achieve. It may not appear as obvious as one would like it too. It can be deduced from a series of trial-and-error and established best practices.

In this article, we share ideas and tips on how to arrive at that sweet spot. Apply them in your web or app development where possible. It can be a line drawn in the sand sometimes, but having a set of guidelines can avoid annoying prospects with the perils of hyper-personalisation. Let’s examine them below.

1. Be data disciplined

It’s increasingly possible to collect, store and analyse every digital footprint of customers and prospects. The connected consumer leaves behind an elaborate trail of his or her shopping and buying behaviour. Data analytics have become more advanced too. They have made artificial intelligence and machine learning a reality and an essential tool in marketing.

Hitting the right note is as relevant in music as it is in marketing personalisation. Irrelevant data will not only muddle your strategy and actions but contribute to an already noisy and cluttered socio-marketing environment. In the course of it, you place your personalisation effort at getting too close for comfort. Instead of drawing customers and prospects closer to you, you’ll turn them away.

To be data disciplined isn’t too difficult. It all boils down to having a clear and focused strategy. Adopting personalisation for personalisation sake is a mistake. Be clear of its intent and stick to it. It can be tempting to want to know more about customers and prospects. But if it doesn’t nurture a stronger relationship, skip it.

2. Know the customer journey well

How well do you know the customer journey of prospects and customers? Before you answer this question, remember what you know of it isn’t a vanity exercise. Its the quality of what you know that matters more. Your customers’ digital footprint is valueless without a qualitative appreciation of it.

To illustrate, gathering customer feedback is a common practice to understand customers. But most feedback surveys address the ‘what’ and not the ‘why’. Acting based on the ‘what’ alone is insufficient. The chances of making mistakes, for example, coming across as insensitive or creepy, increase.

We encourage marketers to dive deep into the customer journey to understand the ‘why’. The emotional hooks you need to hang your product or brand on can be found in the ‘why’. With this depth of understanding, you can activate the right strategy and actions ‘to get personal’ more meaningfully. It’s that sweet spot where a deep-seated need is aroused by a personal message.

3. Contextualise your effort

In an article published by The Next Web, it reported a mortuary’s personalisation effort that went wrong. The precision of the mortuary’s targeting is commendable. At Christmas, it sent hampers to residents of a hospice. While it may appear to be a wonderful gesture, it also reminded prospects of their impending death. Suffice to say that there aren’t many people in a hospice who wish for a Christmas gift that rings in the end!

The ultimate marketing personalisation effort is marked with empathy. It relies on technology to make the personalisation effort more human. Observe the wisdom of context in marketing personalisation. Consumers appreciate the effort brands take to address them as individuals. But there is a line drawn in the sand to be respected. Continuously interrogating data about consumers to arrive at the ‘why’ makes this line more visible.

In web development, knowing what to ask for in the contact form is a strategic decision. Asking too many can turn people away. Having the right ones can boost your personalisation effort. Speak to us to find that sweet spot.

How to compete for growth with a mobile app

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Enterprise mobility is the buzzword in business. After all, we are the mobile generation. From anywhere, anytime we can get things done. It is the era of the connected consumer. Statista reported that by 2023, the world will have 7.33 billion mobile users (1). To almost everyone on the planet, the world will be at their fingertips.

Mobile technology has disrupted and will continue to, the way we do business. With the cost of developing apps trending downwards, more businesses are developing them to fuel growth. Its a step towards unleashing the power of mobility in their digital marketing strategy. An app can be a gamechanger for your business. But like everything in business, it needs a strategy and it must be given purpose. In addition, it must be consistent with the business’ strategy and model to be an asset.

The connected consumer is confronted with choices each time they tap-and-swipe. They have become borderless in their search for information and buying behaviour. Whether B2C or B2B, apps are becoming a staple in the way business is conducted. To illustrate, over 4 in 5 B2B marketers indicated apps play an important role in content marketing (2). Hence, it’s not surprising that B2B apps will hit $140 billion by 2023 (3). Amongst others, making it easier for customers to connect with your business and brand aids loyalty and advocacy. It takes engagement and personalisation to a much higher level. In a McKinsey study, it was revealed that 9 in 10 retailers claimed personalisation is a top priority (4). We can expect apps to figure prominently in their strategy.

In today’s competitive environment, a mobile app can you give a competitive advantage. The strategic advantages it offers outweighs it’s developmental as well as maintenance costs. Be it operational, sales and marketing or post-purchase services, apps just make things easier and better. We’ll take a close look at some of these strategic advantages in this article.

1. Your brand is in their hands

How much time does the average person spend on their mobile phone in a day? Slightly over 3 hours! (5) If the average person sleeps for about 8 hours a day, we spend about a fifth of our waking hours on the mobile phone. From a marketing perspective, it’s a huge window not to be missed. With an app, your brand can be in their hands for that amount of time. The best part is they are a captive audience during that time also.

A cluttered and noisy market makes gaining visibility a challenge. There’s always a brand ready to outshout your ad spend. Besides, shouting louder has never proven to be an effective marketing tool. But with your brand in their hands, you’re always “on” and in their minds. A tap-and-a-swipe is all it takes to prod their minds about the existence of your brand.

2. Your brand becomes more human

We’ve established personalisation to be a big thing in marketing. People don’t want to be treated as another digit and are less inclined to deal with a faceless brand. The digital world can be faceless. Everything can be decided and moved by algorithms. There is hardly any human intervention required. But this creates layers of insecurity, from falshoods to scams. As a result, people have become guarded.

Human centricity sits at the top of the agenda of many companies. In marketing, for example, creativity and effectiveness are topics of discussion once again. Both were eclipsed by automation from the mid-2000s until a year ago. At the core of creativity and effectiveness is human centricity.

The ability to incorporate chat technology in apps means you can have conversations with your target audience. It’s customer engagement at a higher level. Marketing has become a dialogue and apps have contributed to it.

3. A deeper engagement

Just a decade ago, people were logging onto their notebooks and specific websites to get things done. In contrast to dial-up days, that was a breeze. But today, even taking the notebook out of your bag is cumbersome. You’ve got to flip it open, wake it up and tap away alphabets and numerals. It’s too much work just to do a Google order (6). With a mobile app, all those layers of work have been taken away.

This ease is a great enabler of many more things a brand can do to have a deeper engagement with customers and prospects. From pushing out special offers and promotions to simple greetings on special days like birthdays, Christmas or a work anniversary, the opportunity to engage at a much deeper level is a lot more versatile and dynamic. The ease also means the effort to engage will likely be reciprocated, perhaps not in the form of purchase but brand advocacy. That’s a relatively inexpensive way of reaching out to others.

4. Marketing agility

The world of business is in a continuous spin of change. That’s the way it should be as business feeds on the creativity of people. There’s always something new being created to make people’s lives better. Where relevant, you should incorporate them into the business and how you engage with customers. When ride-sharing companies were faced with the challenge of customer safety, security features were added to their apps. It helped restore trust in the service.

Marketing agility isn’t just a management principle. It is a practice businesses must embrace and have the capability of delivering. Apps allow this. It’s much easier to update or add new features to enhance the customer experience with apps. In fact, if well used and communicated, it can be a point of brand differentiation as it demonstrates your commitment to making things better for customers.

A mobile app is an important pillar of a business’ digital strategy. App development is gradually easing out of the nice-to-have category into an essential business tool. With the cost of developing an app decreasing, it is increasingly accessible to all businesses. Speak to us to find more about mobile app development for your business.

(1) https://www.statista.com/statistics/218984/number-of-global-mobile-users-since-2010

(2) https://techjury.net/stats-about/app-usage/#gref

(3) https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180801005624/en/Strategy-Analytics-Mobile-Business-Applications-Market-Hit

(4) https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/marketing-and-sales/our-insights/no-customer-left-behind

(5) https://blog.rescuetime.com/screen-time-stats-2018

(6) https://www.businessinsider.com.au/google-food-ordering-australia-2019-12

Photo: LG G4 by Janitors licensed under Creative commons 2

How to be a growth-centric customer experience brand

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Good news: a 2019 Forrester study revealed that Australian brands have not risen to the Excellent Category of its Customer Experience Index. This means that the race remains wide open. Will yours be the first brand to occupy a spot in this category?

In a competitive business environment, it has been argued customer experience is a key differentiator. Today’s consumers are looking for an all-encompassing experience with a brand, not just with its product or service. Across all stages of the consumer journey, they expect to be treated as individuals with unique needs. People don’t to be treated as just another digit in the digital age.

In the web and mobile app development space, both designers and technologists are increasingly pushed to develop a design-thinking approach. Neither creativity (designers) nor technology (technologists) can dominate the development. Both have to put customer experience at the forefront of their work rather than aesthetics or functionalities. Mapping out the customer journey is a design thinking principle they have to apply. In case you’re wondering if the concept of customer experience is just another passing marketing fad, take note of this.

A PwC Survey, The Future of Customer Experience 2017/18, revealed that over 7 in 10 Australians stated customer experience as important in deciding between different options. In addition, it also reported that globally people are willing to pay 16% more for a product or service if they enjoyed great customer experience. Obviously, we will need to add the loyalty factor as well if the product or service delivers the expected quality. In a nutshell, providing great customer experience pays!

Is there a secret sauce for serving the best customer experience? The answer is “Yes!”. One of the most common mistakes companies make in their effort to be a customer experience champion is over-reliance on technology. Technology is nothing more than a great enabler; it is not the silver bullet. Instead, it is the marriage between technology and staying human-centric. For example, in developing a mobile app, unless you have a clear understanding of when, where and why it would be used, it may not necessarily take off. Does it make sense to have an app for a physical workout that requires people to jump, squat, stretch? Probably not until wireless headphones were invented. Wired headphones restrict mobility. On this note, we begin the discussion of the steps needed to be a growth-centric customer experience brand with a call to focus on knowing your customers.

1. Up-close-and-personal

A keystone of design-thinking is the focus on getting up-close-and-personal with customers. It’s no longer acceptable for brands and businesses not to have a deep understanding of their customers. Nor is it acceptable not to validate the information you have about your target audience. There’s a mountain of data and a truckload full of research tools businesses can use now.

If you are serious about providing great customer experience, researching your target audience is part of the deal. Great customer experience isn’t an effort to mould customers into a prescribed behaviour. Rather, it is delivering what they want well or at least better than the competitor can. Customer experience strategies driven by insights of the target audience are destined to do well.

Footnote: Incorporating consumer research into your customer experience strategy communicates your ongoing commitment to serve them better. In the age of Industrial Revolution 4.0, our lives are constantly evolving. Keeping tabs of changes demonstrate a brand’s commitment to helping customers stay in step with changes around them.

2. Make innovation a brand quality

Complacency is the death knell of brands in today’s business environment. Blockbuster Video’s demise has been attributed to this; it isn’t because people no longer want to watch movies at home or the VCR/DVD player going obsolete. Rather, it was its failure to recognise the pervasiveness of IoT, more specifically streaming. From Netflix, Apple TV to Disney+, streaming is the preferred mode of home entertainment. And more recently Amazon announced it will be streaming live selected UEFA Champions League matches in Germany for the 2021/22 season. This should put major sports broadcasters in Europe on alert.

An important facet of great customer experience is the on-going effort to get better. It’s a trinity involving research-plan-activate. It’s human to expect more and better. People are constantly comparing. It’s not a new human behaviour; it just got easier to do. With the world at their fingertip, it’s easy to know where the greener pasture is. With the data you collected from the digital experiences you’re providing now, you should take the step to transform them into insights, ideas and innovation.

Footnote: Your innovation must be in inline with the brand footprint you’ve developed for the business. Going astray can kill the business as much as not doing anything will.

3. Keep your digital assets fresh and relevant

In the digital marketplace, your digital assets are the first points of contact customers have with your brands. A regularly optimised website has been reported to increase visits by 113%! That’s a good enough incentive for any business to regularly review their digital assets. After all, it is your storefront. Nothing can be a bigger turn off than a slow or outdated website design, blog page or Facebook page. Think of it this way: when you are shopping on the high street, aren’t you more likely to walk into a nice looking shop than one that looks grey?

Great customer experience is one a customer is willing to show and share with others, which includes your digital assets. It speaks a lot about themselves in as much as the brand. Making a customer proud to be associated with your brand is part of that great experience. When was the last time you reviewed your website?

The great customer experience race is on. There are no clear winners in Australia yet. It could be you. To learn how you can integrate technology and human-centricity in your customer experience to grow the business, call us today.

Photo: smiling by El Mostrito licensed under Creative commons 2

How to design an omnichannel strategy customers love

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How connected are consumers today? In a study conducted by Worldpay, it was reported nearly 7 in 10 will start their shopping experience on one device but finish it on another. In a B2C environment, that may not be surprising. But what about this in a B2B environment – 3 in 5 B2B companies highlighted that buyers spend is higher when they interacted with more than one channel. The study revealed too that B2B companies are increasingly more comfortable using mobile devices during their procurement process. If you do not possess an omnichannel marketing strategy, you are at risk of being relegated in the order of saliency in people’s minds. In fact, you stand to incur a 10% loss in future revenue if you do not have one.

Moving between online devices and crisscrossing on and off-line in almost everything we do is a fact of life. More interestingly is the fact that we aren’t likely to be doing different activities on different medium or devices. Rather it is likely to be different phases or stages of the same activity, for example, to purchase the latest smartphone. We could be reading reviews on our tablet, visiting the store to have a touch-and-feel experience and completing the purchase on our smartphone. If you are pursuing an undergraduate course, it is increasingly common to tune in on a lecture on a dedicated channel on your smart TV, pose a question via Loom on your mobile phone and use a project management platform on your desktop to coordinate with your group mates on a project. It used to be a colony just a decade ago. Now it is a civilization of people who lead connected lives, virtual and physical.

As the world begins to slowly but surely embrace IoT, we can expect the economic contribution of the connected consumer to experience exponential growth. IoT is forecasted to contribute $14 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Businesses without an omnichannel strategy will be swept away by this tide. With technologies like voice search, chatbot, AI, VR and AR poised to make a greater impact in marketing, if you have not, the window is still ajar for you to develop an omnichannel strategy. In this article, we share best practices you can adopt to design it.

1. Get up-close-and-personal with your target audience

The ideal omnichannel strategy is built around these pillars:

i. What the customer wants

ii. When they want it

iii.How they want it

While this may sound simple, you should expect differences across the different segments in your target audience. These differences have to be accounted for in your strategy. To this end, it is imperative you undertake a deep dive of your target audience. The insights you gather will be used to map the customer journey. Ensuring the journey is seamless will make or break their omnichannel experience with your brand.

2. Break down the walls

The way businesses are organised may not be conducive for them to offer a seamless omnichannel experience. Walls separating departments and functions can impede this need. While these divisions may promote organisational efficiency, it matters little to consumers. Paramount to them is the ability to navigate through the channels with ease.

A crucial challenge business must overcome is harnessing digital and human-to-human channels. The latter remains relevant. Businesses tend to make the mistake of overlooking this. Ensuring this synergy between man and machine in delivering a delightful omnichannel experience calls for the breaking down of walls. The clarity in communication between different stakeholders in the business avoids hiccups. These can contribute to delays. At a time when immediate gratification is a need, brands may pay a heavy price for this.

3. Get the basics right

When was the last time you looked at your website across different screens? Perhaps you got it right when you built it – making sure it looks good on any screen. It’s amazing that till today, some brands and businesses still get it wrong. Your website is probably the first, if not second, interaction people have with you. If you do not optimise accordingly to suit different viewing experiences, you would have failed a basic test of your omnichannel presence. Not only will it irritate people but it will negatively impact your SEO ranking. This will make it difficult for you to be found.

4. One channel at a time

In their eagerness to launch of omnichannel presence, businesses make the mistake of putting them all out at once. While it makes sense to do so, it comes with a risk. They must work in concert perfectly all the time. If they don’t, and this will impact negatively on the seamless experience people desire, it is is a disaster in the making.

Our recommendation is to put them out gradually. Perfect every channel before adding others to the line-up. In the course of perfecting them, determine the channels that are working effectively. It should help you decide on other channels to be added in to complement existing ones. Every channel adds to the seamless customer experience. There must serve a purpose, not a vanity exercise.

5. Build an identity for each channel

A seamless experience should not be interpreted as an identical experience for every channel. They can be different. Remember that people use a different channel for different reasons. If the smartphone is used for purchasing, the ease of tapping “Buy” must be present in the user interface. But if it is used to read reviews, then the copy must be easy on the eye.

When you have a deep understanding and appreciation of the customer journey and the roles of each channel in that journey, you’ll be able to develop an omnichannel strategy that is delightful and perhaps surprising too. Each augments the other. For the customer, it is a smooth passage from one stage of the journey to the next.

The future of digital marketing is omnichannel. To learn more about omnichannel strategies or web design Melbourne based, connect with us here.

1. https://www.worldpay.com/content/dam/www_worldpay_com/en/docs/WPUK-Omni-channel-payments-store-of-the-future.pdf
2. https://go.forrester.com/blogs/15-04-02-us_b2b_ecommerce_to_reach_11_trillion_by_2020/?zd_source=mta&zd_campaign=2861&zd_term=iangordon
3. https://www.martechadvisor.com/articles/ecommerce/5-trends-worth-watching-in-b2b-ecommerce/
4. https://www.emarsys.com/resources/blog/omnichannel-future-marketing/

Eight reasons why you need a mobile app for your business

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2020: the year of the app

If you are a business owner, you might think that you are too small, or too insignificant to need a mobile app. However, in this technology-driven market, mobile apps are a great way to boost your performance, whether you are a small or large business. One of the best ways to connect to your customers and interact with a wider range of users is through an intuitively designed mobile application. With the way that the number of apps on both the Android and iTunes stores is growing, and the number of businesses that are investing in app technology, we strongly predict that 2020 is going to be the year of the mobile app!

An app doesn’t need to be fancy or over the top to enhance the way you do business. There is a wide range of apps that can complement your operations, reduce time spent on repetitive tasks (like answering the same question over and over), and make your business more consumer-friendly.

Types of mobile apps

The range of mobile apps greatly varies and depends on what kind of business the company is in, and how they want customers to interact with their products/services. Apps can include (but aren’t limited to):

– Commercial applications and e-stores where customers can buy products.
– Booking engines to secure appointments; send reminders etc.
– Hospitality apps for ordering food; tracking deliveries etc.
– Customer service and chat platform apps.
– Design and interface apps for viewing possible services like home renovations, architecture, fashion etc.

These are just some of the many options available! We know that maybe you haven’t thought about a mobile app before, so we have gathered the eight top reasons why you should consider one for your business.

1. Accessibility

These days, basically everyone has a mobile phone, so making your business as easily accessible as possible is key to your success. That is the case even more for businesses that don’t have an office or a store where customers can see you face to face. A mobile app can be your best customer-facing opportunity. A mobile app can complement a mobile-friendly website so that all your information is easily accessible. Apps have the bonus of being more interactive, so customers won’t get lost browsing your site.

2. Dynamism

All good businesses are dynamic, and adding a mobile app to your suite of services is a great way to show your existing customers that you are always growing. Your app might allow customers to book an appointment, view products, or chat to somebody. It really depends on your core business. However, the key fact remains the same. An app shows your customers that your business is dedicated to making their experience as simple and efficient as possible.

3. Generate leads

An app is a clever way to increase the visibility of your business. By making your app available on the Android and iTunes stores you put your name in front of more eyes. In a way, this is like another kind of marketing, and you will generate leads from those who download and interact with the app.

4. Set yourself apart

You might feel like a ‘small’ business, but you can still show that you are different from the competitors and geared towards the future. A business that recognises mobile users and has its own mobile app appears to be larger and more successful than those who don’t. Having an app gives you a certain amount of cred among your tech-savvy customers, much in the way that having a website did during the 1990s. If you don’t have an app but the competition does, then you risk falling behind in the game.

5. Feedback

An app is a great way to get fast and real-time feedback from customers. Sometimes customers are reluctant to pick up the phone, but they might be happy to rate your service through an app or drop you a line. An app provides people with a communication tool that is more in line with current consumer preferences and ultimately will allow you to improve your service.

6. Loyalty

Having an app will also allow you to see valuable data, like how many customers you have using the app, and how often they use your services. Having an app gives customers an extra way to interact with your business, so will help them to stay loyal to you over the long term.

7. Increased profit

Some people are worried about getting an app because it will cost money to set up, but most often these costs are offset by the extra money the app brings in. If, for example, people can purchase things through the app after your business is closed, increased sales will come in, without the extra labour costs of extended hours. In addition, you might consider selling ad space on your app which can be an extra source of revenue. Some people charge for their app, while others make it free for users to download. You will need to decide what is best for you, but you might have a free basic version, plus a paid extended version.

8. Improved web traffic

Mobile apps can be a way to send traffic to your website. You might do this by linking to key areas of your site. Increasing traffic to your site can also have follow-on revenue benefits, so for this reason, you want your app to complement your website rather than replace it entirely.

Summary

As you can see, there are many reasons why you should consider developing a mobile app for your business as we come into 2020. Regardless of how big your business is, or what your main operations are, there are a wide variety of applications that can complement your daily activities, and enhance your success. Don’t be left behind.

Speak to a customer consultant today to find out more about how a mobile app can serve you.

How technology will shape customer engagement and growth

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A survey sponsored by SAS revealed the following:

1. 4 in 5 believe drone or autonomous vehicles will be delivering products to consumers
2. 4 in 5 percent believe future brand-consumer engagements will be via chatbots
3. 4 in 5 percent believe AR, VR, some combination of them, will be used to see how a product will look like on them
4. Nearly 3 in 5 percent believe a combination of reality devices will be common in entertainment or in visiting new places by 2025
5. 4 in 5 are likely to use smart assistant devices like Google Home and Amazon Alexa to shop online or control domestic appliances and devices
6. Nearly 4 in 5 are likely to use wearables to control other devices.

Just two decades ago, the above statistics were but a wish list. In the present, they’re mere fact. There’s a race going on to make the technology better, faster and more profound in the impact they make on people’s lives. New and more interesting ways of engaging consumers will emerge in 2020.

As marketing technology permeates every aspect of the business, it is important for companies to review their customer engagement ecosystem. Generally, people have become more receptive to the digitization of their relationship with brands. It was reported in the same survey that by 2030, 67% of the engagement between consumers and brands will be on digital devices. Bots are replacing humans. In the world of instant gratification we live in, bots tick all the boxes.

Imagine this: in time, you could speak to this blog by asking questions to direct you to relevant parts that provide the answers you’re searching for. Within a matter of seconds, the reader can decide if the blog is worth his/her time. It sure beats any speed reading skills. To this end, while technology presents vast opportunities for businesses, it also raises the bar of competitiveness significantly. In the realm of customer engagement, businesses of any size can get their hands on platforms or apps to improve relationships with consumers. Making the right choice is critical. The rule of thumb technology marketers have been articulating is keeping the balance between human-centricity and instantaneous capabilities of technology.

With that in mind, let’s examine the technology trends that shape customer engagement in 2020 and possibly beyond. It is important to note here that many of these technologies have yet to realize their fullest potential, yet they are making a profound impact in the world of business. So keep this in mind as you read this of their evolving nature: there is more to come!

1. Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning will design customer journeys

In a PwC study, 7 in 10 believe AI/ML will be a significant business advantage. It is the most talked-about technology along the hallways of businesses and homes. Its application in the retail sector is a sign of its prowess in the world of business. A great example is Amazon Go. AI/ML is used to identify when products are removed from the shelves or returned. It stores the data in a virtual cart. The data is a goldmine for merchandizers. A simple activity of where to put what is now a science with a dash of creativity. It used to be the latter mostly in the past. With the retail slump across the globe, this is a useful application of AI/ML. What’s in store next?

It is highly probable that facial recognition is next on the list. Imagine being able to greet your customer by name the moment he/she lands on your website. That’s taking personalization to a new peak. Can we do it? The answer will be a resounding “Yes!”. After all, facial recognition is increasingly common.

2. Voice technology will replace click-swipe-type

In a 2018 Pindrop study of 500 decision-makers in the IT sector, it highlighted that 3 in 10 companies have introduced voice technology to enhance the customer experience. At the same time, 3 in 5 will be introducing it in the next 12 months. That should have happened by now. Voice technology is rapidly changing the way we do business. Its instantaneous quality is the biggest draw. The other is its versatility. It can be engaging and entertaining as well as functional, like ordering your coffee through a voice enhance Starbucks app. Moving from browsing to acting has become more seamless. And with mobile devices a mainstay in brand-consumer engagement, voice is here to stay and grow.

3. AR/VR is real

While AR/VR isn’t new, it has gotten more real. Its role in facilitating faster decision-making is the biggest draw. Helping consumers bring to live their visualization exercise, for example, “How will that couch sit in my study”, is whetting the appetite of marketers in the retail sector in particular. It will be a tool to combat the retail slump. Creating new experiences is what the sector needs to compete against online shopping phenomena. To consumers, it might just make shopping more fun!

4. In-car screens

You would have noticed by now that the dashboard is no longer a ‘hero’ in the cabin of cars. It’s the in-car screen, especially those that pop-up. Sexy in design, power-packed with a range of functions, it does make autonomous vehicle desirable. Sit back and enjoy the ride is no longer just a movie line. It’s real!

Research firm IHS has forecasted that the car electronics market will hit $62bn by 2022. It looks like mobile entertainment is set to grow. GM’s marketplace, built into the make’s in-car screen, allows customers to make reservations or purchase coffee. It makes pretty good sense given that you’re likely to be thinking of that morning coffee in the car after you’ve turned on the engine.

As mentioned, more is yet to come. Technology is moving faster than it ever has. Connect with us to learn more.

1. http://business-review.eu/tech/study-how-new-technologies-will-impact-customer-experience-by-2030-205753
2. https://www.pindrop.com/2018-voice-intelligence-report/
3. https://www.pwc.com.au/government/pwc-ai-analysis-sizing-the-prize-report.pdf

How to improve user experience with chatbots

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As businesses strive hard to win the personalization race, the focus has turned to enhance the quality of engagement with prospects and customers alike. If you think personalization has run its full course, think again. It’s still evolving. With more brands and businesses jumping on the bandwagon, it still has a distance to go. You’ll need to work harder to differentiate your business from the competition in the race. Otherwise, you’ll be among the many in the sea of sameness.

In the B2B space, the challenges are steeper and sharper. This is best epitomized by the finding shared by CEB. It reported that 57% of the buying process is completed before a sales conversation is started. Thanks to marketing technology, this is possible. The encroachment of B2C marketing practices, which includes personalization, into the B2B space has added to this. In research conducted by SalesForce, it concluded that B2B businesses aren’t immune to B2C marketing practices. One it highlighted was 4 in 5 business buyers expect real-time communication. So, where is personalization in B2B headed towards?

One of the buzzwords in 2019 is conversational marketing. It is an extension of the personalization race. Not too long ago, conversations in the sales and marketing context were closely associated with a post-purchase experience, also known as customer service. The information age, however, has created a knowledgeable and savvy society. Today, people know enough to ask more. They compare and contrast, then pose more questions. With the prevalence of online reviews, tutorial videos and digital product guides, more information is just a swipe-and-click away.

In addition, people have grown accustomed to instant gratification. It’s not good enough to have answers fast, it’s got to be immediate. Now that texting, namely Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger or Instagram Message are accepted as a communication tool, time to response has shrunk further. Slowly but surely, the monologue in marketing has given way to dialogue.

The seeds of conversational marketing have been sowed. It is changing the landscape of personalization. The benefits it brings to both customers and businesses are tremendous, aside from the instant gratification. Chief amongst them is a brand’s or business’ ability to nurture a relationship earlier. This leads to a deeper appreciation of customers’ needs. As a result, it places the brand or business in a better position to anticipate the latter’s needs. It has been reported that by 2020 over 7 in 10 business buyers expect their needs to be anticipated with relevant suggestions to follow. The barriers to providing excellent customer experience are slowly being eradicated. What can we expect as a result of this?

With brands and businesses outdoing each other to provide that great customer experience, the competition for increased market share is more intense. Add increasing commoditization of products and services, the battle for the wallet will boil down to the greater customer experience through holding better conversations with customers as well as prospects. The age of marketing transparency is on the horizon. To facilitate this, the dialogue must rise in quality. Enter Chatbots!

By 2026, the global chatbot market is expected to rise to USD10.08 billion in market value. It’s the clearest indication of the massive potential of a chatbot as customer experience becomes more intuitive and seamless. Chatbots are appearing in almost every digital interface people have with brands and businesses. Its capabilities are increasingly versatile too. In this article, we will examine how chatbots should be integrated into your web design and application.

1. Stay in the race

This is the most basic contributor of a chatbot, not just to your web design but brand aura too. An Oracle survey showed that 1 in 2 customers want to access a business 24/7. If you aren’t open to queries in the least, expect to be nudged out by competitors who are.

2. Greater personalization

As mentioned at the outset, personalization is a deal-breaker. The better it is, the higher are your chances of converting prospects to customers, customers to loyalists, loyalists to advocates. For example, conversational chatbots enhance the quality of engagement, making one feel they are communicating with another individual. It’s less instructive, unlike a CTA that reads Call Now! or Sign Up Now!.

3. Attentive and prompt

10 seconds or more for a video to load up and the site will lose 50 or more visitors. This is the work done by Professor Ramesh Sitaraman of the University of Massachusetts. We have grown impatient in the digital age. Imagine the loss when your website isn’t able to respond to a query. Chatbot, especially those built-in with AI and machine learning capabilities, can address this problem. While it may not be able to address every possible permutation of a query, it might be more acceptable to visitors after a while to accept a call from a customer service or sales representative later.

4. People-centric user engagement

The holy grail of user engagement is perhaps one where people are dealing with ‘people’. To meet the rising expectations people have of the ideal customer journey, it’s only with someone on the other end can these expectations be met. That someone is the chatbot. It can delight customers easily with the help of AI and machine learning.

5. Intelligence

With chatbots, every conversation becomes a source of insights about the customer. To this end, data collection becomes a natural occurrence. Every question and response builds a mountain of data that can help the business serve customers better. In the least, they can serve as hypotheses to be investigated in greater detail. Recall the point mentioned earlier about the need B2B customers have of businesses to anticipate their needs and respond accordingly.

We foresee 2020 to be the leap pad year for chatbots. As with every marketing technology, it will be accessible and affordable quickly. Whatever the size of your business, now is the time to start looking into chatbots. Speak to a consultant today to learn of the potential application of chatbots in your web design.

1. https://www.cebglobal.com/content/dam/cebglobal/us/EN/best-practices-decision-support/marketing-communications/pdfs/CEB-Mktg-B2B-Digital-Evolution.pdf
2. https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/10/state-of-connected-customer-2016.html
3. https://www.salesforce.com/blog/2016/10/state-of-connected-customer-2016.html
4. https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2019/08/26/1906677/0/en/Chatbot-Market-To-Reach-USD-10-08-Billion-By-2026-Reports-And-Data.html

How voice search technology will accelerate brand growth

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Ordering a pizza or checking on the UV rays before this Sunday’s beach outing is just a few spoken words away. It used to be a click and swipe but with the emergence of voice technology, your search is more audible now. From Siri, Amazon’s Echo to Google Home, you don’t need your fingers to do the clicking and swiping.

Voice search technology has taken off and it is soaring. It is the most significant gamechanger in marketing technology in recent times. The growth potential is immense. One thing is clear, it will elevate personalization to a different level altogether as brand-customer engagement is poised for a major change.

The benefits of voice search technology are wide and varied. Even if you are unlikely to implement it in the coming year, voice search technology deserves a spot on your marketing agenda. Why? We believe the implementation of voice search technology will keep you ahead of the social and digital marketing race. Incorporating it into your web app development initiatives is imperative to stay relevant in the next decade.

1. Screenless browsing is history!

Well, not quite yet. But Gartner has predicted that by 2020, 30% of browsing will be done without the use of the screen. That’s just a few months away. To underscore this likelihood, Google has improved its word recognition accuracy to over 90%. Both technologists, as well as consumers, have begun embracing voice technology. Unless unforeseen circumstances get in the way, voice technology will embed itself in our lives the way smartphones have.

With increased demand, it will grow more affordable, versatile and precise. They are catalysts for rapid growth. Brands that do not incorporate voice technology into their game plan may be confronting obsolescence soon. Brands that are hard of hearing will struggle to remain salient.

2. Improved customer experience

Can voice technology improve customer experience?

Existing voice technology can differentiate voices. They empower brands to gain valuable insights into customers. These can be used to craft unique messages and content. To this end, it can foster closer brand-consumer relationships and nurture brand loyalty. Brand-consumer interaction becomes more seamless and natural.

In contrast to letting the fingers do the search, voice is less time-consuming. Imagine it to be search hacks that everyone can apply. When convenience reigns, expect use to increase.

Indeed, voice search will take customer experience to a whole new level. It will make conversational marketing the focal point of customer experience management. Greater customer intimacy follows.

3. It is changing the SEO playbook

With its growing influence in social and digital media marketing, voice technology will re-write the SEO playbook. New best practices will be in place, if not already.

There is a difference in the way people search using text versus voice. In the latter, it is inevitably longer. After all, it’s almost like a conversation. It can be more precise or vague. As a result, you have room to incorporate longer keyword phrases, perhaps three words or more.

In addition, because voice searches are likely to be more conversational, the form of queries tends to be a complete question. For example, we will voice “Will my flight land early?”, rather than the words “Flight schedule”. To this end, your keywords should mirror as closely as possible what the target audience will ask.

Another change voice technology will bring to the SEO playbook is the dominance of local searches. Because of the ease and speed of voice search, we can expect more searches such as “direct me to the nearest ABC gas station.” If relevant, local searches will be a major chapter in your SEO playbook.

Perhaps the most notable change in the playbook is the need to be on the first page is irrelevant. People will no longer be presented with results. Instead, they can expect an outcome for their search. In response to a query that says “What’s the most popular fried chicken that most people order”, the response is most likely to be KFC. On this note, the importance of being a unique proposition is vital. With voice search, you’ve got to be the number one!

4. It will drive more web traffic, faster

Voice technology is still evolving. Its full potential is not anywhere near yet. However, it is increasingly clear it can generate more web traffic, and possibly faster too. How?

When a voice assistant provides an answer to a query, it will also enable people to go to the associated website. Without the distraction of other possible websites to go to, if you are the featured answer, chances are people will visit your website. So it makes marketing sense to ensure your SEO is voice-optimized.

5. Getting to voice technology

Given the early stages of voice search technology, as a small business, it may be more prudent to adopt it gradually over time. In fact, bigger companies are adopting this graduated approach. Creating a Google action or Alexa skill is a step in this direction. For example, PayPal allows customers to use SIRI to perform transactions, Campbell helps customers choose and cook recipes and Nestle offers cooking instructions as one cooks. They are nascent steps you can implement. But the impact it will have on your brand is profound. It’s all about getting into the act early.

If you don’t, competitors will adopt it

With the likely pervasiveness of voice technology in marketing, if you don’t implement it, another company will, and will become a real threat. When competitors adopt voice technology, be prepared for your customers to migrate to them.

In the current competitive business environment, to be found first is crucial. When a brand has been found, it opens many windows for people to discover more about them. If it’s all good, chances are they will be converted or retained. At present, not many businesses and brands have jumped on the voice technology bandwagon yet. Hence, the early adopter will have a significant competitive advantage.

To learn more about this fast-rising technology, connect with us here.

1. https://adage.com/article/digital/hey-alexa-voice-strategy-brands/310893
2. https://searchengineland.com/voice-search-explosion-will-change-local-search-251776

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