Category: Customer Engagement Platform

Importance of Having Mobile Apps for Small Businesses

The world has gone Mobile. The number of smart phone users globally has grown exponentially over the past 5 years. The number of Android & iOS devices sold globally has crossed a billion mark each. Hence, it is no longer sufficient to have only a website for your business. Any business, small or large must have a mobile app. Let us look at some of the most important reasons why you should opt for a mobile app for your business:

1. Branding – A mobile application is the best way to create brand awareness for your business. You can use your logo, your business’s tag line or a message that you would like your customers to connect with your business to create a brand recall. Every time a customer who has downloaded your mobile apps sees your logo in the form of the mobile app icon on their screen, they will recall you.

2. Increased Reach – Because of the sheer penetration of mobile phones and other mobile devices like tablets and the improved Internet connectivity in most parts of the world, the number of people you can reach through a app has increased tremendously. It is easier for your existing as well as potential customers to find out the right information about your products or services through your mobile app.

3. Create Customer Database & Profile – It is easier to collect customer data in terms of phone number and email id through a mobile apps. You can also allow your app users to login via their social media accounts like Facebook or Google. This will give you access to other valuable data like their areas of interest, their lifestyle choice, their shopping preferences, etc. This data can then be used by your marketing team to send out the right communication.

4. Increased Engagement – By building the right features in your app you can utilize it as a powerful way to increase engagement with your existing and potential customers. You can include features like social sharing and a help desk (for sales and service queries) in the app to improve direct communication with your customers. This will in turn help your business to connect closely with your customers.

5. Push Notifications – This is one of the biggest advantages of having a mobile apps. You can ask your Mobile App Development Solution provider to integrate a push notification feature in your app which will help you with your on-the-go marketing. Through this feature, you can send bulk messages to all the app users or specific messages to a sub-set of your app users based on the message. You can also communicate about the latest offers or discounts you are offering to your customers regularly through push notifications. Best of all, it doesn’t cost you a penny to send out these messages, unlike SMS or Email marketing.

With the above advantages of having a for your business in mind, it is imperative to identify the right Mobile App Development Solutions provider for your business app. Solution Analysts has been helping small businesses globally with their Mobile App Development Services to create great which will add value to their businesses. To get a free quote for your Mobile Application or to know more about us, please visit our website today.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9542932

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Importance of Cloud Computing in IT Services

The word cloud computing has become very famous today and has been adopted by most of the IT infrastructure management firms. Cloud computing is actually an internet based computing technology where centralized remote servers and internet is required. This technology allows the businesses and users to share and save their files and applications without installing on their own computers and it can be done in many ways.

The process of storing your data with the help of external sources, website hosting with an internet service provider, processing of your data and disk storage can also be termed as cloud computing. Example of cloud computing is if you like to send email just open the website of the service provider like Rediff, yahoo etc. login and start sending mails, for this you should have an internet connection. Organizations must have a good knowledge of cloud infrastructure, security and threats like issues for running the business smoothly and for the reduction of costs.

If you are making a cloud infrastructure whether yours is an IT support company or any other firm you should know about the security issues because the data is going outside on a remote location. It is very important to insure about the devices connected are secured. There are many benefits to follow the cloud computing model as follows:

• Organizations can save their operational costs by cloud computing without investing on the hardwares.
• It helps very much in data center management and software development.
• It provides the feature of mobility like the user can work from anywhere in the world.
• More data can be stored than a personal computer
• More flexible with time saving.
• Organizations can share their resources remotely.

These are the some common benefits which companies get by following this concept. It is being growing and used by many private and government organizations. They are able to minimize the costs and increase productivity. The main reason for users to choose it is pricing because many times it is offered on a per user basis. It is updated by the services provider so there is no headache for the users to update. It is a very fast spreading concept across all the industries whether they are consultancy services, energy & power, communication, finance & banking or any other service provider. Cloud computing also integrates with recently used and latest software, social networking sites and web based services. In this way it connects the users and customers in a single location.

Proximity MX is the most advanced retail location based services technology that helps retailers with customer engagement and behavior insights

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/6044683

10 Reasons Why You Should Outsource Social Media Optimization Services

Today, Internet is one of the widely used marketing arenas. Social Media Optimization services help you with well developed marketing strategies using social media websites. Today, SMM (Social Media Marketing) has become a part of SEO (Search Engine Optimization). This type of Internet marketing is a part of SEO service as they have same contribution to a website in search engine rankings. Therefore, there are many reasons behind outsourcing social media optimization services.

1) Link Building: Media Websites like Digg, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Squidoo help in promoting your content over the Internet. Communities in websites like Facebook, Orkut have features of making comments and forums. Proper use of keywords from content is one of the main features of Search engine Optimization. All of the above are parts of Social Media Marketing.

2) Blog Submission: Search engines are undoubtedly a considerable boost that results from Social Media Optimization. This wide impact of SMM on SEO has many worthy reasons that prove their benefits.

3) Quality and Relevant Links: The Search engine ranking of a website is the prior aspect that brings traffic to its visitors. SMM is a way that enhances your search engine rankings. Organic links from Media websites deliver a lot of traffic to your website. These links can neither be bought nor can they be reciprocated.

4) Social Media Marketing: When your website gets linked by another well known website on the Internet, both visitors and search engines give preference to that. A certain amount of traffic from well known websites get delivered to your website via links. Search engine algorithms also track this and increase ranking based on this very concept.

5) Getting notified by social Media Websites: Targeting at specific keywords via media websites are more effective as they target more visitors. Better specified keywords can also help you geo target visitors. Social Media websites are places where people visit often during their leisure time. So, you can expect longer visits from them on your websites.

6) Video Promotions: Catchy Videos promoting your website spread the word more effectively. It might not help you rank your website but it definitely brings targeted visitors to your website. These new dimensions help new websites increase their visibility and in a faster and effective way.

7) Picture Promotions: This is quite similar to Video promotions. The difference lies here that as compared to videos, people see pictures at a glance and their attention is diverted if it is a wonderful one. The watermark along with the hyperlink would definitely attract more visitors.

8) Links from Search engine Crawlers: Newly added social media is often crawled by search engines. Therefore, links from these newly posts are directed to your website.

9) Viral Marketing: Viral Marketing by social media optimization services is another effective way of Internet marketing. It is a way of marketing in which visitors spread the word themselves, by their own will.

10) Free E-Books: This marketing is generally done in the form of some free e-books. The word you want to spread is induced in the free product. People download it, share it and the product gets spread along with your ad on it. It must be catchy which people would love to read and share.

Proximity MX is a location-based services platform that empowers you with proximity marketing and mobile customer engagement at your physical locations

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/2062702

Facebook Vs Google: Which Is The Best Place To Market Your Products

The social media is gaining huge popularity. Within a very short span, huge portion of the population in the world has accepted different social media platforms. They are using these channels to communicate with the people of different geographies. Before discussing anything more, let us have a view on the statistics. The Facebook is the largest social media platform which has around 2 billion active users. Other platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn also have huge number of users. Among all of the platforms, the Facebook has emerged as the best social media platform to brand your products.

Before discussing this, we should discuss different features which are provided in the Facebook Page. In the recent update, the Facebook has added new features in its page in order to add functionality. Look wise and feel wise, the page appears as a PHP based website. It has different sections in the menu bar like the home, about, store option, location, official website, etc. Among all the features, let me discuss the store option. In this, you can upload the images of your products. From here, your followers can make purchases using this platform.

Let me discuss, the marketing strategies which are used in this platform. The Facebook provides an excellent opportunity to market your products among its users. The algorithms which it uses for marketing are considered as most effective. It provides you the opportunity to advertise your product based on geography, age, gender, interests, etc. You can use filters to advertise your products in the cost-effective manner.

Which Is The Best Place To Market Your Product? FB or Google

The Google is considered as the largest marketplace. This is the most popular search engine and provides you the largest online platform for marketing. It not only shows advertisements during the searches but also advertise your products on the websites of its affiliate partners.

It provides you the flexibility to run different advertisements. It has a tool popularly known as Google AdWords, from where you can easily get the ideas on how to run the ads. The keyword planner is also provided to give you the best results in regard to the searches. If someone is aware of the marketing techniques, then (s) he can easily run very effective campaigns.

Now to pick between the two, both have merits as well as demerits. To run an advertisement on FB is a very simple task. For companies having low-budget can opt for this. If you are selling products like apparels, footwear, home appliances, etc, then it is definitely the best place.

Google AdWords are for those who have huge budget to advertise their products. Here, you have to pay for each click. Moreover, you need to bid very high in order to advertise your products on the first page of the searches. It provides flexibility to advertise your product demographically.

We can infer from the above discussion that if you have low-budget, then you should opt for Facebook Ads. The reason behind this is that it gives clicks at very low price. You don’t need to have huge amount to run ads on this. If you have a huge amount to spend, then go for Google. Being the largest marketplace, it will help in online advertising of your products in different geographies.

Industry’s most advanced location-based services technology that works on WiFi, Beacons & Bluetooth. Proximity MX is a proximity marketing and customer engagement platform that makes it easy to engage, inform and entertain your customers

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/9593379

The Winning Mobile Application Testing Strategy

Here are five key factors to developing a winning mobile app testing strategy that will ensure that your quality assurance activities align with customer expectations, business goals, and industry best practices.

1. Mobile Device Selection

The leading concern before beginning mobile app testing activities is to choose the ways of testing the app. This primary testing method can be a difficult decision to make as it corresponds directly to the market and reach for your app.

Within device selection, there are two choices to be made: selecting the gadget model or choosing between emulators and substantial devices. The factors below require consideration during device selection:

  • OS Version: test your mobile app on all stable OS versions
  • Screen Resolution: use a mix of different screens to test by size and resolution
  • Form Factor: if the app is compatible with smartphones and tablets, test for form factors

As needed, numerous other factors such as memory size, connectivity options, etc. need to be accounted for while selecting the device model.

2. Emulators vs. Physical Devices

You can also decide among physical devices or emulators. Predominantly in the opening stages of development, device emulators are extremely useful because they assist rapid and efficient testing, especially in an agile development environment.

Device emulators are also very cost-effective. Mobile device emulators are very useful for basic application functionality testing and during feature development. They provide excellent options for network bypass, a pseudo-live environment, and test scripting languages.

Using mobile device emulators does not mean that you should avoid using physical devices altogether. Testing on physical devices is imperative; it allows the understanding of application activities in real-life scenarios. Mobile device testing is all about using a right mix of emulators and physical devices to get the best results, quickly, and efficiently.

Physical device testing leads to beta testing as an extremely helpful method of mobile app testing which gives you admittance to real-world testers, real devices, actual networks, and a wider geographic coverage.

Beta testing is a major area where emulators fail in comparison to physical mobile devices. Beta testing gives you a chance to test your mobile app for factors like:

  • Network density
  • How the app behaves on specific devices
  • How real-world users interact with the app
  • Different battery states on the devices
  • Multiple networks (Wi-Fi, 4G, 3G, etc.)

The real-world testing environment in beta testing is nearly impossible to create in a test lab.

3. Mobile App Testing on Cloud

Cloud-based mobile application testing makes potentially infinite scenario combinations easier to manage. Cloud-based testing is a desirable option for testing mobile applications.

Cloud computing provides a web-based mobile testing environment where applications can be deployed, tested, and managed. Besides providing on-demand access to the diversity of mobile devices, cloud testing environment helps curtail the project costs while increasing ROI.

Cloud-based application testing delivers the following benefits:

  • Highly synchronized and pre-configured architectures
  • Reduction in defects associated with unstable test configurations
  • Saves businesses from setting up on-premise test conditions that take lots of time
  • No additional needs for advanced tools, server settings, licensing
  • Supports complex applications, which solves the problems of testing in-house
  • Scalability to leverage an application’s capacity threshold
  • Results in real-time, which means defects can be analyzed while tests run

Cloud-based mobile application testing reduces time to market (TTM) and significantly augment testing competence.

4. Network Connectivity

Network connectivity significantly affects mobile applications. The majority of mobile applications depend on network connectivity to work correctly. Therefore, testing mobile apps in actual network environments is necessary to get the real picture of the application’s behavior.

There is a multitude of network simulation tools available to test mobile apps against network speeds, bandwidths limitations, connection drop outs, and more. These network simulation offerings add exceptional value to the testing activities. For a mobile app to win, it needs to deliver consistent performance across diverse network environments.

5. Manual vs. Automated

Manual Testing vs. Automated Testing—who wins? Automation is key to successful regression testing during development stages. However, automated testing requires a substantial amount of initial investment.

Therefore, test automation should be done only in scenarios where:

  • The application is growing
  • The mobile development lifecycle is long
  • The scale and frequency of regression testing are high
  • A significant portion of test cases includes obtainable functionality test cases

With automation, mobile application testing for the following becomes easy:

  • Verifying application compatibility with newly released operating systems
  • Validating backward compatibility during application upgrades

 

6. Mobile App Performance Testing

It’s good practice to test your application for performance and scalability issues. With large storage capacity being available at affordable prices, it’s not uncommon for users to have large amounts of data or content on their smartphone. Have you checked to see if the performance of your mobile application degrades with an increase in the size of mailboxes, albums, messages or any other content relevant to the application?

Users even store SMS for several years on their smartphones. If your application has user generated content or data associated with it (e.g. photos, music, etc.) which can grow to enormous proportions over the application’s lifetime. Your testing should include these scenarios to see how the application performs. In case the application has a server side component, you should also test the application with increasing number of users.

7. Mobile App Security Testing

Security and data privacy aren’t optional. Users are worried about their data and credentials being exposed through vulnerable applications that happen all too often. These are eight questions you’ll need to answer if you’re aiming to win at mobile application testing:

  1. Is your application storing payment information or credit card details?
  2. Does your application use secure network protocols?
  3. Can they be switched to insecure ones?
  4. Does the application ask for more permissions than it needs?
  5. Does your application use certificates?
  6. Does your application use a Device ID as an identifier?
  7. Does your application require a user to be authenticated before they are allowed to access their data?
  8. Is there a maximum number of login attempts before they are locked out?

 

Last Things About Mobile Application Testing

We can’t ignore the significance of a smooth mobile application testing as part of a mobile app’s success. Despite that, the mere occurrence of a testing strategy does not ensure the mobile application’s quality and performance. By planning your selection of target devices through a mix of emulators and physical devices—combined with other mobile testing strategies—you move towards a successful release.

7 Smart Strategies for Location-Based Tech

 

Location, location, location.  While real estate agents have always known the importance of that saying, in recent years, the hospitality industry has also adopted the mantra. Location-based technologies are — in a word — hot. While most hospitality uses so far are tests and pilots, 2016 will see rapid adoption: 20% of hotel operators queried for HT’s 2015 Lodging Technology Study revealed that they plan to roll out the technology within 18 months, and 28% of restaurants surveyed in the 2015 Restaurant Technology Study intend to add beacons to their technology strategies.

The Location-Based Marketing Association (www.lbma.org) calls location data the cookie for the physical world because beacons, GPS, WiFi and sensors on phones add context to data by identifying location, just as Web cookies do online. Knowing a guest’s location at a specific time helps hotels and restaurants tailor messaging and experiences and yields deeper insights into customers’ behaviors and patterns.

“Ten years ago guests expected a consistent experience across the brand,” says Chip Rogers, president and CEO of the Asian American Hotel Owner’s Association (www.aahoa.com). “Today they are looking for a tailored, individual experience. An individualized offer creates loyalty, and hotels can do that using location data.”

While hospitality has been slightly slower than other industries to fully embrace location-based opportunities, here are tips from experts both in the hospitality field and beyond to help define a technology roadmap that includes location-based elements.

1. Start small. Even though the range of opportunities is wide, from sending a welcome to a guest when he or she hits the airport geofence to finding them at the pool with their order, don’t try everything at once. Gravy , a location-based behavioral analytics provider, urges its customers to start without preconceived notions, because others have found unexpected value in surprising places.

With that said, don’t make pilots too small either, cautions Turnstyle Solutions, which leverages WiFi for location-based marketing. Start with several sites to benchmark against each other and provide more data to spot trends. Try that for six months to A/B test, identify KPIs and fine-tune the project.

2. Have a goal. Don’t deploy because competitors are doing it. Tie location projects to corporate goals. A group of 54 Subway stores (www.subway.com) in Northern Ontario, for example, sought more consistent Wifi, better understanding customers and increasing loyalty and redemptions in a TurnStyle Solutions’ Wifi program’s first four months. Subway is able to drill down to know actual consumer behavior by linking to specific WiFi devices that opt-in to a particular location. The project delivered a 17% redemption rate and customers responding to the first offer subsequently visited 5.2 times more often.
Just as the Chicago Cubs were starting to surge last summer, Sports World (www.sportsworldchicago.com) saw an opportunity to capture more traffic and fan info from across the street at Wrigley Field than they were getting via Twitter hashtags. They used Geofeedia (www.geofeedia.com), a location-based social media monitoring platform, to place a geofence around the park and neighboring businesses. “We’re building a huge list of followers from Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etcetera, and are able to engage them to come into the store or shop later,” says Bradley Rosen, Partner at Sports World, making a positive impact on revenue. “It’s more cost effective and it’s microtargeted.”

3. Prepare your environment. Thanks to open APIs, most companies dealing in location data say they can integrate with most any CRM, PMS, POS or other legacy system. Digital ordering and engagement company Tillster  says modern platforms and maintaining a common version across the chain make it easier. By outsourcing to vendor partners that can leverage modern technologies such as Hadoop, NoSQL or MongoDC, hospitality companies can sidestep inflexibility in internal software and gain fast access to sophisticated segmentation and personalization technology, adds experts at mobile platform developer Smith Micro.

To prepare, vendors advise taking a close look at data quality. “I use Regal Cinema’s locations’ data and technology to accurately target consumers based on their whereabouts,” says Michael Carroll, manager, mobile, web & emerging media at Regal Entertainment Group (www.regmovies.com). Regal uses digital marketing platform MomentFeed (www.momentfeed.com) to deliver geo and behaviorally targeted messaging. “The two go hand-in-hand, because if our own data is inaccurate, then we won’t be able to accurately target the right person at the [right] place.”

On the hardware side, consider boosting Wifi or cellular signals and bandwidth throughout the venue.

4. Choose vendors carefully. Understand the vendor’s business model, which ranges widely. Zonetail (www.zonetail.com), for example, offers its app and geofence services for free and makes its money charging local businesses to show up on the app when guests look to see what’s around the hotel.

Some vendors charge monthly service fees for beacons; buy them instead and pay for software and service. That’s what many companies, including geomarketing and mobile software company Roaming Around do, the company advises.

5. Make sure the solution will scale. At $30 a pop, a beacon is cheap. But 10 beacons each across a thousand sites adds up. Gimbal (www.gimbal.com) a mobile engagement platform, recommends that companies consider installation and support costs — if they don’t run on USB power, for example, beacon batteries only last about 18 months.

Cloud architecture goes a long way toward helping scale across a brand and the multiple solution providers involved in location solutions, according to Cisco (www.cisco.com), while helping guests enjoy a consistent experience.

6. Set the right metrics. Incremental revenue, return visits, guest satisfaction rates, bookings – all are important no matter the marketing approach, but location-based marketing can also be measured in things like dwell time or how frequently customers pass by and DON’T engage, or visit a competitor.

7. Make data actionable. Create and automate rules via marketing and operations platforms to instantly act on location data. Mobstac, which uses beacons for proximity marketing, suggests integrating location data with existing customer service and sales staff to enrich their interactions with guests. Hyatt Regency Santa Clara uses tech provider Cisco’s locationing solutions with heat mapping to dispatch staff when a certain percentage of guests congregate at a location, or targets guests with dynamic digital signage. Geofeedia recommends integrating location data with a social media command center, so staffers can quickly match a site to a guest’s social media comment. Also apply rich analytics for longer-term insights, such as using heat mapping to detect guest movements to shape space planning, vendor rent rates, and so on.

http://hospitalitytechnology.edgl.com/news/7-Smart-Strategies-for-Location-Based-Tech104686

Location Based Social Networking App – How It Functions and Its Significance

With almost whole globe accessing the online social networks via mobile devices, location-based social networking applications have become an important part for extending the communication and expanding the social channels. The widespread utilization of positioning technologies like GPS on Smartphones and many other mobile devices has fostered the use of real-time location updates in mobile applications and location-based services. Geolocation based networking provide a seamless platform of updating user’s location, which is visible by friends on clicking and searching for a set of venues in the geographical proximity of the current location.

What is Location-Based Social Networking Applications?
Location-based apps or proximity based mobile apps work in a manner to deliver informative and true online content based on user’s physical location. There are various technologies that count for the progress of such geolocation apps like, GPS, mobile infrastructure, wireless access point, etc. Such technologies point to identify the active devices in proximity of your location, and you get leverage to choose & share that information with location-based social networking applications.

Such applications provide you with resources such as your location mark on the city map, reviews for places in the city visited by your friends, a nap alarm that triggers when you reach specific stop on the commuter train or notifications about nearby bottlenecks in traffic. Proximity-based mobile apps also notify your location to your friends in a social network, tempting those nearby to meet for a dinner or coffee.
While such applications create a great opportunity for users to get connected, they also provide highly targeted marketing opportunity for retailers offering social-rich content to the customers. Location based apps provide position-based & filtered online information to the customer, thereby enhancing their business opportunities.

How the Application Functions?
Location based app is very easy to install on your Smartphone and other mobile devices. Depending on the GPS, cellphone infrastructure, carrier towers or wireless hotspot, the effectiveness of position tracking will be defined. Each of these methods has trade-offs, and the most accurate and reliable services use more than one method.

When you elect to use a location service, the notification is sent to location-aware application that functions to provide resource based on your geographical location. Also, the app forwards your positions to all the active members in your social friend-list so as to connect and share content with them.

Importance of Location-based Social Networking Applications
In the era, where users are finding new ways to interact with their physical environment, such application provides an interactive and educational platform that connects and guides users with new places and people. Finding places and meeting people of your interest was never so easy. Moreover, while exploring a new city or country, the app acts as a travel guide helping users finding places and famous landmarks of their own.

The app even allows users to share their experience and drop a review for their peers to know more about that place. Alternatively, app avails users with nearby events, deals or gatherings from retailers via push notifications. Hence, location-aware content offers promotion of goods and services tailored to the convenience of users.

Conclusion
Offering great amount of data about the physical environment through which user moves, location based apps have become effective at predicting what user want when? Leverage of air-posting i.e. adding own comments, has made nearby geolocation very much handy to users with a little contribution. Thus, the convergence of social networking and location based services has driven significant change across the mobile computing landscape.

Technologists are formulating new methods and delivering new versions of such apps to ensure that accurate data is shared and provided on the air. With the motive of connecting and educating people, geolocation based mobile apps are increasingly being downloaded and adopted by users. Providing real-time data and location-specific offerings, location based app is widely being employed as on the go companion among its users.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/8140892