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What makes an e-commerce business a success?
There was a point of time when e-commerce was all about catering to the product/service requirement of a customer. However, in today’s digitalized atmosphere, the customer is looking for much more. Hence for e-commerce businesses to succeed, they must take extra measures, adopt trends, and always stay in the loop of technologies that could benefit them.
E-commerce Businesses have always found the concept of technology to be challenging especially owing to its quick evolution and the growth of ethical e-commerce consumer awareness. The ever-changing trends are making it impossible for most online retailers to catch up with the “now of things”. On the other hand, the consumer today is more aware of the purchasing cycle as well as the impact borne environmentally due to e-commerce.
This is why even though there are about 12 to 24 million e-commerce sites in the world, only 6,50,000 of them are able to sell more than $1000 USD, annually. Other than that, predictions are that the number of online buyers is expected to reach 2.14 billion by 2021.
Hence, it has become impertinent that e-commerce businesses adopt all new technologies and trends of the present moment that can enable them to reach, if not the top, a safe place from where they can only move up. To help businesses achieve this goal, here are some technologies and trends of the future that e-commerce businesses need to adopt.
Future technologies for e-commerce
1. Drones and Droids
Believe it or not, drones and droids are the future of e-commerce delivery. Though this concept seemed like a sci-fi concept in the past years, today customers are actually waiting eagerly for this reality. No wonder, big e-commerce giants like Amazon are already investing and exploring paths to roll out the technology.
The main reasons why most consumers abandon their carts are because of the delay in delivery and shipping costs involved when buying a product. In fact, according to reports, it was found that 86% of online shoppers dropped their purchase midway to making payments because of the high shipping costs. So, if e-commerce business is looking t succeed, drones and droids are the trends to go for.
As key examples of the usage of drones, Amazon has already started testing its ‘Amazon Prime Air’ and ‘Scout’, in international locations, making attempts to deliver goods to customers in 30 minutes or less. Dominos Pizza showcased another excellent example of delivery by drones. In 2016, the world-renowned pizza place made its first drone delivery to a couple in New Zealand, after which the company stated that this mode will be an important part of its services in the near future.
“Bots and chat make it easier for people to buy the way they want to when they want to–and that should be the goal of any business.”– David Cancel, CEO of Drift
Chatbots are not a new concept and have existed since the 1960s but their applications to assist businesses to grow is only a recent concept. Traditional online experiences are not catering to customer needs any longer and they are looking for newer ways to communicate and make purchases.
Designed to emulate a ‘human’ customer service experience’, chatbots are revolutionizing how modern branding and sales are approached.
Consumers can rely on bots for everyday assistance, such as grocery shopping to providing daily wisdom for inspiration. Additionally, in terms of marketing benefits for e-commerce websites chatbots assist in the improvement of conversions and search engine rankings; organically incorporating sales and sorting data with every benefit offered.
For companies which have not yet experimented with chatbots, today is the time to start because, believe it or not, consumers are heavily on this technology for everyday assistance whether it’s about shopping for grocery or providing daily wisdom for inspiration.
3. AR and VR
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technologies that are touching the core of human experiences and revolutionizing human actions by the day. In fact, in the arena of e-commerce AR and VR technologies have almost blurred the line between real and virtual user experiences.
Take for instance Sephora’s Virtual Assistant, one of the best Augmented Reality examples. The technology is designed to help users choose their looks ranging from makeup to outfits and more along with giving lessons for doing their very own makeup with virtual tutorials. The application is suitable for everyone, beginner or expert, giving people the chance to experiment without having to use the actual product. The application is also embedded with AR e-commerce features that allow users to try and buy any of the products if they find it suitable. All in all, the application provides users with an enjoyable shopping experience, giving them the confidence to make a purchase without having to think twice, which will likely help increase conversions while reducing refunds for Sephora in the process.
It can be seen clearly that by using technologies of AR and VR ecommerce businesses can allow customers to explore more products and save their time in the process. When ecommerce businesses begin to give their customers more options in less time, the result will be that businesses will receive more purchases and lesser abandoned carts, which will ultimately raise the store profit.
4. Voice Assistants
A new survey by Feedviser states that 43% of brands strongly agree
while 23% somewhat agree to the fact that voice ordering will bring great opportunities for e-commerce in the future. Keeping this stat in mind, another recent study by Walker Sands, the 2017 Future of Retail, states that 1 consumer out of 5, in the USA, has already made a purchase, using a voice-controlled device.
Even in the present time, voice assistants like Alexa, Google, and Siri are already supporting users to cope with everyday life in the present era. Hence, it is but only natural that this technology is going to work wonders for the e-commerce arena as well. We can go ahead and call it an era of V-commerce. Voice assistants for e-commerce is going to make the purchase process quicker, more efficient, and convenient for customers.
V-commerce is a simple tool to use but only a few consumers are using it to their advantage. However, this may be due to the fact that e-commerce businesses have not yet implemented the technology for consumers. V-commerce is expected to grow from its present value of $2 billion to $40 billion by 2022 and will open new doorways for eCommerce and mCommerce companies in advertising and investments.
So, these were some of the technologies that are going to bring transformations in the e-commerce arena in terms of how consumers are going to interact and buy goods. The e-commerce industry has to understand that it will continue to be impacted by new technology. This means greater demands from consumer and a shift from the desktop to mobile devices.
With every new year come new innovations and ecommerce businesses have to keep up with them if they want to be a part of the success circle. It’s time to ask, are we there yet?
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It’s great that you have chosen to outsource the software development work for your enterprise. After all, outsourcing can solve many problems within an organization. Some of these problems are cost control, quick delivery, a lack of quality talent, or backlog in the development process.
Outsourcing software development can assist in addressing the key requirements of technology-driven companies. Yet, there are certain things that could go wrong with the entire process if you do not take precautions beforehand.
Businesses need to understand these risks and know how to handle them to prevent situations going in the wrong direction. To stay prepared, here is what you need to know.
What could go wrong?
It might be a great idea to start asking yourself-
“What areas of outsourcing can lead my company from going in the southward direction?”
“Where can we go wrong and how will it affect us?”; and
“How do I prevent the risks?”
Well, to answer your first question, there are many areas where things could go wrong when you outsource software development. Some of these areas are as follows-
#1 Lack of communication among involved parties
Communication is key to the success of a project if and when you decide to outsource software development. A lack of communication between the parties involved, which are your business and the software development service provider you choose to outsource, can lead to greater issues as the project progresses.
A communication gap between parties can happen due to various reasons. This can include language, time zones, as well as cultural differences, which can all affect results to a great extent.
What you can do
As a business, you need to think ten steps ahead prior to outsourcing a software development company. You have to make it clear-cut, right from the beginning. The outsourcing company must understand your expectations. On the other hand, you need to ask them for a specific point-of-contact and regular meetings in a week or month. This way, all updates and delays will be in the know and the project will flow smoothly.
If you have chosen to outsource software development from overseas, then ensure that you have at least one well staffed, on-shore office that can help with problem-solving and collaboration if any issues arise.
Any software development company that you choose to outsource your project to, will take some time to learn and understand your process. So, it is always better to stay well-connected, especially when the project is in its infancy. Doing so, not only helps you in nipping the bud before things go awry but also in developing a familiarity between both parties.
#2 Cost to work ratio
While some businesses are driven by technology, others are driven by cost. If you belong to the latter category then it is only natural that you will most likely settle for lower estimates.
But, if you are looking for success, money is not all that matters. If the company from whom you wish to outsource software development does not have a strong portfolio or cannot match the commitment and values of your company, then they will never live up to your expectations.
As a business owner, you need to be careful when you receive a lower estimate from an outsourcing company. The reason being that they might be new to the field and thus have a lesser understanding of the service or industry as a whole.
What you can do
In this case, your sole responsibility is to take caution and make all necessary checks to understand if the outsourcing company can live up to its promises. Along with the estimate, ask the company if there are any contracts to be signed to seal the deal.
A good and reliable software development company will always have a contract, lining out any exclusions, add ons, or policies that they would like their clients to know about. Again, that is also not enough. The next step for you is to read the contract carefully and ensure that all your requirements are covered. All deliverables and goals must be established. Your company to outsource software development does not have to be one with the lowest bid but one that can meet your requirements.
#3 Uncertainty about delivery
Most software development companies are not able to live up to their promise of quick delivery to their clients. This results in chaos and delays along the lifecycle of a project as well. This generally happens when requirements and expectations are not explained when a project starts.
What you can do
For the success of your business, keep things transparent so that your outsourcing partner stays capable of meeting your needs. This should include everything from the start to the point of delivery.
It should include all the significant milestones of the project, the role that you and your team will have in it, and your expectations of the on-time completion of deliverables.
#4 Fraught outsourcing transitions
It can be a major step to entrust and outsource any part of your company’s responsibilities to another organization. This change can make a reasonable impact on the organization’s people and processes especially if the transition is not done smoothly. Hence, businesses must make an attempt to evaluate all areas to understand, plan, and address them if any issues arise.
What you can do
To address the issue of facing the transition to new work processes when outsourcing software development it is essential that you perform thorough research on technology, infrastructure and management structure necessary to ensure its smooth transition. Treat it the same way you would when you are acquiring a new company. Ensure that everyone involved in the internal team stays informed and understands its objectives.
#5 Low Company Value System
You must understand that when you decide to outsource work for software development it’s sole purpose is to help your business. However, when the transition happens, more than help a lot of tension is created between parties. Most of the time this happens because the values and culture of a company and business have not been executed properly. The software development company, to whom you choose to outsource business has to align their work process with your own company’s core values. If after everything has been said and done and the outsourced company still does not understand your values, then they are just not the right fit for you.
What you can do
Before you can expect others to understand your company’s core values and culture, you have must have a first-hand experience of it. What’s important to you and your business? Identify the areas and directly question the outsourcing company about their work culture.
Don’t step back when it comes to asking the tough questions in the beginning for fear of losing them. They might be renowned for their work in the field but if they cannot match the way you work, then it’s just not worth the effort.
#6 Non Aligned Goals
Does the company, which you have hired for outsourcing software development, fit your company’s strategic goals? This is one of the most important questions to ask before you make the plunge and hire an outsourcing service provider. Discussing strategic goals is important because it lays the foundation of your business, which if not well executed, can have a domino effect on every other project under your arm, either positively or negatively.
What you can do
When briefing a company that you plan to outsource your software development work, ensure that you have explained the project to them in detail. Tell them about the goals of the project and how its implementation can help your business grow. If there are other projects underway, explain to them how the current project is related to them, in the process clearly communicating any existing constraints.
It can be a highly effective method for organizations to outsource their needs for software development, especially when the processes involved are executed in a proper manner.
The risks mentioned above are a few that businesses should look out for especially when they plan to outsource their work for software development. In brief, it can be concluded that transparency is the key to the success of a project.
Marak Technologies is a full stack software development and digital marketing company, located in India at Shillong and Kolkatta. Are you having problems in meeting your business’ IT requirements? Give us a call, or shoot us an email. We explore technologies to make your life easier and informed.
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Industries are aggressively investing in the utilization of Artificial Intelligence (AI) software capabilities. According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) Worldwide Semiannual Cognitive Artificial Intelligence Systems Spending Guide, it has been forecasted that this area of technology will grow to $52.2 billion in 2021. Furthermore, the report also stresses that by the year 2021, 75% of the enterprise application will be AI-driven. Hence, organizations should start evaluating AI to see how it will affect their business processes.
Benefits of Artificial Intelligence
There are many ways businesses can take advantage of the speed and detailing that Artificial Intelligence offers. According to a study by Infosys, Artificial Intelligence offers a competitive advantage to businesses, which is the main driving force for its adoption.
Some of the benefits that the adoption of AI for businesses are-
- AI can save businesses time and money via automation of routine and monotonous processes and tasks. In turn, this will increase productivity and operational efficiencies.
- Outputs received from Cognitive technologies in AI can help businesses in making faster decisions.
- With AI, businesses will have smart systems are set up properly
- AI technologies can assist businesses to make better predictions about their customers’ choices for a better and personalised experience
- The technology can mine vast amount of data to generate quality leads and grow a business’ customer base
- Businesses can grow expertise by enabling analysis and offering intelligent advice and support
Types of Artificial Intelligence (AI)
There are four types of artificial intelligence:
- Reactive Machines:
The most basic types of AI systems are purely reactive. They neither have the ability to form memories nor to use past experiences to inform current decisions.
- Limited Memory: These artificial machines form memories based on past experiences. In this case, the procedure of application takes longer because of the identification and modifications that are required to perform certain actions.
- Theory of Mind: These machines are more advanced and adopt, and hence the psychological term, “Theory of the Mind”, which means to have the understanding of thoughts and emotions that affect the behaviour in humans and animals.
- Self-Awareness: These AI machines are an extension of the “Theory of Mind”, possessed by Type III Artificial Intelligence. In this case, AI researchers not only have to understand the concept of ‘consciousness’. They also have to implement the same in machines as well. This way the AI machines will have an awareness of themselves, know about their internal states, and will able to predict the feelings of others.
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For anyone who is new to digital marketing, it might be a little difficult to understand the frequent jargon that dominates the industry. With terms such as Impressions, CTR, CPC thrown frequently at any newbie, you are bound to feel left out in this fast-growing industry. To get a better understanding, here are 25 key terminologies that every digital marketer must know.
#1 Click-Through-Rate (CTR):
The first digital marketing terminology that we are going to talk about is Click-Through-Rate. This terminology indicates the percentage of people who have clicked on a web link which is usually placed in an email, an ad, website page, and so on. Higher CTR percentage means that more people have clicked through your link.
#2 Cost per Acquisition ( CPA ):
Cost Per Acquisition is a pricing model wherein a business is charged by advertising platforms based on the leads, sales or conversions that are generated. The best part about CPA is a business is only charged for the results that it wants.
#3 Cost per Click (CPC):
Cost per Click is a pricing model where a business is charged by publishers for every click people make on a displayed/test ad which leads people to the business’ website.
#4 Cost per Thousand (CPM):
Cost per Thousand is yet another pricing model where advertising impressions are brought, and business is charged according to the number of times the ad appears per 1,000 impressions.
When a customer or a visitor to a business’ website performs the action that you intend him/her to perform, it is called conversion. This desired action can be anything you want – purchase a product, signup for a membership, download or registration for your newsletter.
“Impressions” in digital marketing terminology means the number of times that an ad appears in a target audience’s social media feed or web browser or such other platforms. Impressions could also be related to the number of times a website has been accessed or viewed by users in total.
A keyword is a word or phrase that your audience uses to search for relevant topics on search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Bing. If you are a mobile app developer, a relevant keyword could be “Custom Mobile App” (short keyword) or “Customised Mobile App Development in Mumbai” (long-tail keyword).
#8 Organic Traffic
Organic traffic is the number of visitors who have visited your website through a Search Engine. It is also known as “Free” traffic as visitors do not usually click on a link to land on your website. Organic traffic is the best type of traffic.
#9 Paid Traffic
Paid search is when a business bids on keywords and makes ads around those keywords to be displayed on search engines. Paid searches usually appear either on the top, bottom or right side of a search results page. Furthermore, paid traffic also comprises any type of paid advertisement that directly indicates to a business’ website.
#10 SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search Engine Optimization is a method adopted through which a business optimises its webpage enabling the website to rank higher on a search engine’s results page (SERP).
#11 SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
Search Engine Marketing is a method through which businesses get higher placement on search engines by bidding on frequently searched words and phrases.
#12 SERP (Search Engine Results Page)
Search Engine Results Page is the list of results given by a search engine for a search query you make. For example, if you were to look for your website standing for the keyword “Best Digital Marketing Agency,” a SERP report will let you know where your website stands in terms of ranking.
#13 Domain Authority:
Domain Authority is a scale that ranges from 1 through 100. It is a system that search engines employ to determine the authoritativeness of a business’ website. The higher a website’s domain authority, the more Search Engines trust the site.
#14 Keyword Stuffing:
As the name suggests, it is a practice of employing or rather overloading your content with keywords. It is usually done in hopes of making the content of a website more visible on search engines. Engaging in this practice might attract some sort of penalties by search engines. It is advisable that you avoid stuffing keywords in your content; just provide great and valuable content.
Metadata is HTML snippets that are added to a webpage’s code. Metadata add contextual information for web crawlers and search engines. Metadata are used by search engines to help decide the type of information that is to display in the results.
#16 META Description:
META Description is a set of texts, about 155 characters, that appear on the search engine results page showing a summary of the page’s content.
#17 RSS (Really Simple Syndication):
Really Simple Syndication is a technology that enables a business to share content to people who subscribe to the content. The subscribers ultimately get automatic alerts if you make any updates to your content.
#18 Viral Marketing:
It is a modern technique of marketing. In this technique, businesses encourage their audience to share their content with others. This could be a video, a picture, or even an article that can intrigue users’ interests and push them to take action or make a purchase that benefits the business. With viral marketing, businesses can reach potential customers faster, exposing them to content faster.
A subscriber is a person who lets a business send him/her content, messages or other communication through email or other personal communication means. Subscribers are a major force who determine the effectiveness of your viral marketing campaign.
#20 Social Networking:
Social networking is the practice of using web-based or mobile platforms to build online communities where people share common interests or activities. The most common and widely used social networks globally are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter to name a few.
#21 Landing Page:
A landing page is a page on a business’ website that is optimized to be the entry page to the business’ website. For example, if you are planning to launch a new product or service, you will create a new web page for it that will direct you to the main page of the website wherefrom you can make the purchase.
A backlink is a method in which a website hyperlinks to another website using HTML HREF code. Backlinks are a major factor that is used by several search engines in determining organic rankings. If a website has incoming backlinks from other relevant and more established websites, the links are votes of trust for the website. The website, therefore, gains authority through those backlinks, which results in better rankings.
#23 Bounce Rate:
Bounce Rate is the percentage of visitors who enter the website and exits without clicking or interacting with any other page. It is always advisable that a business makes their website interactive and fun so as to reduce the bounce rate to a minimum.
#24 Email Marketing:
It is a method that employs email with the objective of acquiring sales, customers, or any other type of conversion.
#25 CTA (Call to Action):
CTA is a feature on a website that allows visitors towards a specific action or conversion. The action can be a clickable button, an image, or standard text. A few examples of CTAs are “buy now,” “Subscribe,” “call now” to name a few.