Author Archives: Deepika Murty

Guide to the Internet of Things

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Humanity has arrived at a critical threshold in the evolution of computing. By 2020, an estimated 50 billion devices around the globe will be connected to the Internet. Perhaps a third of them will be computers, smartphones, tablets, and TVs. The remaining two-thirds will be other kinds of “things”: sensors, actuators, and newly invented intelligent devices that monitor, control, analyze, and optimize our world.

These opportunities tend to fall into three broad strategic categories, each reflecting a different type of enterprise:

  • “Enablers” that develop and implement the underlying technology
  • “Engagers” that design, create, integrate, and deliver IoT services to customers
  • “Enhancers” that devise their own value-added services, on top of the services provided by Engagers, that are unique to the Internet of Things

How will your company build value in this new world? That will depend on the type of business you have today, the capabilities you can develop for tomorrow, and, most of all, your ability to understand the meaning of this new technology.

Evolution and Opportunity

At present, the Internet of Things remains a wide-open playing field for enterprises. It’s young, heterogeneous, and full of uncertainty. Estimates of potential economic impact by 2020 (as tracked by the Postscapes information service) range from about US$2 trillion to more than $14 trillion. Companies small and large, old and new, are scrambling to stake out their territory. Expectations are high: One in every six businesses is planning to roll out an IoT-based product, and three-quarters of companies are exploring how to use the IoT to improve their internal operations and services. (See “Embedding the IoT in Your Business,” by Chris Curran.) Much early work is likely to focus on boosting efficiency and cutting costs, but the greatest long-term business value of the Internet of Things will involve getting to know customers—both consumers and businesses—more intimately, and providing new digital services and experiences to delight them.

Rarely, if ever, has a single technological platform combined this much complexity, speed of development, global reach, and novelty among customers. Consider the range of interconnected systems, products, and services the IoT will enable, from simple monitoring of home temperature and security to the “quantified self” (the tracking of personal health, diet, and exercise metrics), to fully networked factories and hospitals, to automated cities that respond to the movements and interests of thousands of people at once.

1. Endpoints are the single-function sensors and actuators that reach out and touch the world around them, monitoring for changes and providing feedback to adjust to those changes. Their connectivity enables two key capabilities: gathering and analyzing data from the environment, and reaching out through the Internet to control objects.

2. Simple hubs are the devices that connect endpoints to broader networks. When integrated into products such as vehicle engines; washing machines; or home heating, venting, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems, the computing intelligence and storage embedded in a simple hub allows these products to adapt over time to the user’s behavior and to optimize for efficiency. The Nest is a good example of a simple hub. It acts as a joining point for a relatively small number of sensors and actuators, typically located near one another.

3. Integrating hubs that connect simple hubs and outside connections are relatively complex devices providing a diverse array of services that fit more or less seamlessly together. In May 2014, Apple introduced one of the first truly integrating hub offerings. Called the HomeKit, this platform is designed to bring together simple hubs from different vendors and present all of them in a single user interface on a smartphone or tablet. A HomeKit hub might integrate functions such as electric power (SolarGuard solar power systems), security (Goji smart locks and Leviton motion and video monitors), HVAC (the Nest), appliances (LG smart refrigerators), window shades (QMotion’s electric shading systems), entertainment (Roku audio and video streamers, which use set-top boxes as hubs), and personalized lighting (Hue). A family member might press the “bedtime” button on his or her iPhone, and the service would then dim or turn off certain lights, lock the doors, set the security system, close the garage door, and lower the thermostat, all at the same time.

4. Network and cloud services provide the infrastructure of the Internet of Things. They can either be public (accessible to the population at large) or private (protected behind an organization’s firewall). These services deliver the seamless and transparent connection to the Internet that hubs require, along with the cloud computing power needed to collect, store, and analyze vast amounts of data from myriad endpoints. They can also provide the infrastructure needed to build or connect to social networks, so that users of the IoT can compare experiences and share data.

5. Enhanced services is a nascent category, comprising the most technologically sophisticated components of the IoT. Enhanced services will make use of the information collected and analyzed by other platforms and services to deliver broad-based interactive functions. For example, today’s single-company telematics systems, like Progressive’s Snapshot system, are integrating hubs, connecting monitors on automobiles with software that links insurance rates to driver performance.

These five technological options, from endpoints to enhanced services, provide a menu of diverse opportunities for companies building IoT businesses. Some might start making stand-alone endpoints, and move up to producing hubs. Others might parlay their expertise at integrating hubs into providing network and cloud services—or vice versa.

One virtue of the IoT is the degree to which companies lacking in technological expertise can lean on the devices and platforms that others build. Even so, the creation and delivery of IoT services will require you to design and prototype their new services, to manage them once implemented, and to analyze the resulting wealth of data.

As new and challenging as today’s IoT is, it offers a large and wide-open playing field. The companies that gain the right to win in this sphere will be those that understand just how disruptive the IoT will be, and that create a value proposition to take advantage of the opportunities.


Testing Strategies for Mobile Applications

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Mobile app testing is time consuming and expensive, yet critical to ensuring your consumers have a positive experience when they use your mobile applications. It is vital that you make sure that the experience is a great one for every consumer every time they use your application, starting with the very first time. If you fail to do a good job app testing, this will result in your customer doing it for you—and unlike your testing team, your customers do not have the tools or the time to report back problems. Also, keep in mind that your customers do not want to be treated like guinea pigs. When they find a flaw, you’ll never hear a word from them and they certainly won’t come back.

Native Applications

For many people, “mobile apps” have become synonymous with native applications (and hybrid applications). Commonly downloaded from an app store, they offer the user a unique experience that maximizes the capabilities of the device and operating systems for which they are developed. The app download is often controlled by the gate-keeping app store, with mechanisms in place to charge potential consumers. This simple and proven monetization model has fueled native app popularity within the development community. Beyond their acceptance in the consumer market, they also allow enterprises to deliver productivity tools to an increasingly mobile workforce..

Testing needs to determine whether the app can be successfully downloaded to the device, executed on the device, and interact with the supporting back-end content infrastructure. When updates are made, you need to be sure that the application can be pushed out to and accepted by the end user. There is a misperception that successful testing of app functionality on one device provides assurance across all others of the same operating system.

Devices: The Biggest Mobile Testing Challenge

The mobile devices used by consumers create the most obvious challenge to mobile testing. Potentially tens of thousands of different client devices could be used to access your mobile app or website, and they must therefore all be considered when testing your mobile applications. Add to this the different versions of operating systems, and the permutations get crazy-big! You can sacrifice coverage across device/OS combinations to an extent, but when you reduce the number of device types that you test against, you are taking a chance that your application might not work for a number of potential customers. To handle the device challenge, you have three options: You can test exclusively using real devices, you can test exclusively with emulated devices, or you can use a combination of both.

Network: A Regional Challenge

There are well over 400 mobile network operators in the world.

Each mobile operator may support multiple network technologies including LTE, CDMA, GSM, and some use less common or local networking standards such as iDEN, FOMA, and TD-SCDMA. Each network has a unique combination of network infrastructure that tunnels the packet-based protocols used by mobile networks into TCP-IP protocols used by the mobile web. Each network operator has implemented systems that behave slightly differently from vendor to vendor in order to perform the required tunneling. Lastly, most network operators have inserted mobile web proxies (that is, the gateway) to dictate how, when, and if you are able to connect to a particular site. When a network operator implements a mobile web proxy, it can restrict the flow of information that travels between your server and the test client. Some proxies limit the sites that can be accessed via a phone to only those approved by the operator in what is often referred to as a “walled garden.” Other proxies might use “transcoding” in an attempt to scale down fixed web content to better fit onto mobile phones. As you can see, the network challenge is quite complex.

Network Bypass

When you bypass the network’s lower layers, you use TCP/IP to connect directly to the server and you ignore the GPRS tunneling systems used by network operators. Since most real devices are not capable of doing this, you will need to use a device emulator to perform the bypass. Not all device emulators support this feature, so you may want to look for a device emulator that can perform network bypass via the Internet. Some device emulators also have the ability to access the operator’s proxy (but only if it is exposed to the Internet) to allow a more realistic test. Although the operator’s web proxy is available to only its customers, there are test proxies on the Internet that can be used. Even if you don’t have a test proxy, you will still be able to test directly against your origin web server.

Real Networks

Of course, it is possible to test against real networks. One method is to use real devices at the target location, although you will face many of the problems already discussed. Alternatively, many device emulators support modems that allow you to use your emulated devices on the local network—but again, there is the cost of traveling into range of the network. But there is another option.

One piece of useful test equipment is a real device in the cloud. This type of testing solution consists of a physical handset mounted in a remote box with a remote control unit and a remote antenna. The remote control unit is physically connected to the device’s screen and keypad control circuits and is capable of pressing keys and collecting screen images. Exposed to the Internet, this solution lets a user on a local PC or web client control a device with their mouse and keyboard, thereby seeing what is happening remotely on the screen. These devices provide an elegant solution that can be connected to live networks.

Hopefully, you now understand a lot more about the challenges associated with mobile testing of native and web applications. But what do you do with this information? What should be your testing strategy for mobile application testing?

It is not a matter of choosing one tool or technique because there are simply too many compromises that must be made. Most likely you will need to use a combination of testing tools and techniques to meet your quality requirements.


How Omni Channel will Benifit Your Business

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1. Walk in Your Customers’ Shoes

Regularly review the experience your customers go through in order to research, purchase, and connect with your products. Test the experience by placing orders, interacting via all available channels, submitting a support case, and more. If possible, these tests should be performed by external and internal testers. Does everyone have a delightful experience? Are there any unnecessary barriers?

2. Measure Everything!

Data is everywhere (and apparently very “big” these days), and marketers are becoming increasingly savvy about the best ways to leverage it without becoming invasive. Julie Bernard of Macy’s summed things up at last year’s Data Driven Marketing conference:

“We can now measure success in terms of the response of real people over time, in addition to measuring individual campaigns.  We have enough data at the customer level to see how she interacts both online and in the store, so we can tailor messaging and offers to her appropriately by channel. We strive to balance the use of customer data to inform content relevancy with the use of consumer insights to ensure that the relevancy is coupled with a sense of discovery and inspiration.”

3. Segment Your Audience

Understand which data points are useful to you, and segment your audience accordingly. Which data points actually help you better understand your audience? Using marketing automation, you can capture this information to build very rich profiles about your customers and the customer journey – you can even partner with companies like Acxiom or DSPs to enhance your data with more intelligence.

This kind of rich data can be translated into customer use cases, and also used to build buyer personas. For example, male iOS users who work in the tech industry and are between the ages of 25 and 35 are more likely to buy based on technical specifications. If you discover you are marketing to that audience, you might highlight technical specs in your landing pages and nurturing strategy.

4. Develop Content/Messaging that Addresses Use Cases and Behaviors

Content and messaging is key. If a customer has previously engaged or purchased your product, you probably want to consider that in your marketing. If a customer has put something into a cart, but hasn’t yet purchased, use your content to reference that intent.

In my sixth recommendation, I discuss the great content that Zappos creates to address use cases. I’ve also received emails from Bonobos referencing previous purchases, and recommending complementary products.  This type of content and messaging makes consumers feel personally spoken to, and helps drive much higher engagement, loyalty, and purchases.

Here’s an email I received from Bonobos, recommending a shirt to pair with jeans I’d recently purchased through the site:

bonobos jeans tshirt rec

5. Don’t Limit Use Cases to Marketing/Sales

Consider how listening and responding can help your support team, product team, merchandising teams, and even your customer service efforts. In a recent article on Digiday.com, GM’s head of global social media strategy was quoted as saying:

“A lot of it is about being able to provide a better service for our customers. If we can plug social into all the other CRM [Customer Relationship Management] data we have, then we have a full portfolio on the customer. If we know their VIN [Vehicle Identification Number], if we know their name, if we know their Twitter handle, and we know whether they like to go to the dealership or they don’t like to go the dealership, this helps us treat them in a way that they want to treated.”

First of all, what is omni-channel marketing? The term “omni-channel” may be a marketing buzzword, but it refers to a significant shift: marketers now need to provide a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device. Consumers can now engage with a company in a physical store, on an online website or mobile app, through a catalog, or through social media. They can access products and services by calling a company on the phone, by using an app on their mobile smartphone, or with a tablet, a laptop, or a desktop computer. Each piece of the consumer’s experience should be consistent and complementary.

 


Examples of Omni-Channel User

The more technology advances, the more it’s integrated into our daily lives. Even as you read this article, I’d venture a guess that you have several internet-connected devices within arm’s reach.

As we continue down these innovative pathways, we’ll continue to see technology become more important to our day-to-day living. The lines between what we do online and in real life will begin to blur.

And as people change their behaviors, marketers will need to react. Instead of thinking of a desktop experience, a mobile experience, a tablet experience, and a Apple Watch experience, we’ll need to pursue one, holistic approach — an omni-channel experience.

Omni-Channel

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At its core, omni-channel is defined as a multichannel sales approach that provides the customer with an integrated shopping experience. The customer can be shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, or by telephone, or in a bricks and mortar store and the experience would be seamless.

It’s important here to distinguish an omni-channel user experience from a multi-channel user experience. Essentially, it comes down to the depth of the integration.

All omni-channel experiences will use multiple channels, but not all multi-channel experiences are omni-channel. Remember that. You can have amazing mobile marketing, engaging social media campaigns, and a well-designed website. But if they don’t work together, it’s not omni-channel.

It’s one thing to discuss the theory and practice of omni-channel user experience. But it’s something else entirely to see brilliant companies that are already implementing it in their strategies. Here are a few that I admire most.

1) Disney

Disney gets omni-channel right, down to the smallest details. It’s starts with your initial experience on the entertainment giant’s beautiful, mobile-responsive website. Even their trip-planning website works well on mobile — that alone is something you don’t see happening very often.

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2) Virgin Atlantic

Robert Fransgaard  shared an account of his amazing experience with Virgin Atlantic’s omni-channel customer service experience.

In his anecdote, he shares the story of his personalized experience with a representative named Dan, who, after being the unwitting recipient of Robert’s frustration over a missed engineer appointment, encouraged Robert to reach out to him directly in the event of any future issues.

Dan didn’t  say to call customer service, or to post another tweet to get attention. Dan reached across the company’s different marketing channels to give Robert a personalized service experience.

It’s amazing what a personal touch like this can do, especially when it comes to consoling customers that have had a poor experience with the company.

3) Bank of America

Bank of America takes their omni-channel development seriously. As one of the biggest brands in their industry, they’re setting the standard for a dynamic experience, which — as of today — allows for everything from check depositing to appointment scheduling to be handled by the company’s mobile and desktop apps.

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4) Oasis

Oasis is a U.K. fashion retailer that’s fusing their ecommerce site, mobile app, and brick-and-mortar stores into a simple shopping experience.

If you walk into one of their stores, you’ll find sales associates armed with iPads that are available to give you on-the-spot, accurate, and up-to-date product information. The iPad also acts as a cash register, making it easy for associates to ring you up from anywhere in the store. And the cherry on top? If it appears that something is out of stock, the staff can instantly place an online order for you to have the item shipped directly to your home.

6) Starbucks

A quick look at the Starbucks reward app will reveal why many consider it one of the top omni-channel experiences out there.

First, you get a free rewards card that you can use whenever you make a purchase. But unlike traditional customer loyalty programs, Starbucks has made it possible to check and reload your card via phone, website, in-store, or on the app. Any change to the card or your profile gets updated across all channels, in real-time.

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But personally, I don’t think we’re that far away from a world where omni-channel is accessible to brands of all sizes. Technology has come a long way over the past decade, and there’s no doubt in my mind that future changes will make it possible for even the smallest of companies.


Hybris and SAP Business By Design

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The wave of a booming eCommerce industry brings with it an immense pressure on small and medium firms to go online quickly in order to stay relevant  and sustain. Businesses looking for a “ready to use” solution that can help them reorganize quickly are at an all-time high, but their main concern is how much room do these solutions leave for flexibility?

How can one solution cater to the diversity of multiple businesses and their requirements?

If we are to say there is a perfect solution to these questions, a ready to use solution that is flexible enough to accommodate a multitude of requirements and business goals of small to medium organizations, better still – with lower administration costs and higher revenues!! Sounds too good to be true?

Hybris

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Hybris is a software company headquartered in Zug, Switzerland, that sells enterprise multichannel e-commerce and product content management (PCM) software. Hybris was founded in 1997 by Carsten Thoma, Moritz Zimmermann and Klaas Hermanns and is a subsidiary of German software company SAP. The company currently has over 500 companies as customers, including General Electric, West Marine, Thomson Reuters, 3M, Toys “R” Us, P&G, Levi’s and Nikon.

Hybris (Acquired by SAP) has been recognized as a leader in its Magic quadrant for Digital Commerce 2014. Furthermore, Hybris has received the highest rating in Gartner’s report of Critical Capabilities for Digital Commerce across all three categories – Multi-channel Enterprises Selling to Consumers, Large Enterprises Selling Globally to Consumers and Enterprises Selling to Other Enterprises or SMBs. It is a best-in-class software suite providing exceptional direct selling capabilities and unified experience to its customers.

Hybris+ Business By Design

Hybris Commerce, with its pre-configured and seamlessly integrated multi-channel commerce solution complements SAP’s Business ByDesign perfectly. It enables organizations to reach new customers, improve sales efficiency and provide enhanced support and services through an enterprise-class eCommerce solution. A constantly updated Cloud-based software eliminates your hardware costs and ensures your business is running on the latest technology.

Benifits

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  • The business can focus on sales without worrying about the technology which is constantly updated and has minimal infrastructure costs or IT maintenance overhead. Seasonal peaks and random traffic surges are easily managed to maintain consistency in performance.
  • Hybris’ deep commerce expertise and tools help quick deployment and easy management of high quality eCommerce sites that are pre-integrated with SAP Business ByDesign.
  • Self-service portal capabilities (managing account details, viewing order history, creating service requests, etc.)
  • A single, integrated business application that helps you manage all commerce solution and scale according to your business needs
  • Increase revenue through effective marketing, promotions and cross-sell or up-sell opportunities
  • Streamline operations and reduce administrative overhead by offering customers self-service capabilities
  • A single platform that helps you manage your global presence. Managing country, language, currency, channel, tax rates, prices, shipping details and other variables is a whole lot easier.
  • Pay-as-you-go model helps you control costs
  • As Hybris Commerce is pre-integrated with SAP Business ByDesign, there is no setup or configuration requirements to facilitate real-time exchangeof customer and account information between them.
  • Superior product Search and Navigation. (Fully integrated, error tolerant and with filtering technologies to help customers get what they want within three clicks.)
  • SEO capabilities include automatic generation of key meta-tags and site maps, product export for shopping and price comparison search engines, search engine friendly URLs and optimized content.

Challenges:

The diagram below shows an abstract view of communication between SAP ByDesign and Hybris. The challenge while integrating with interface systems would be to get the statuses in sync (Even though communication would be stateless) and also handle errors / exception gracefully. We had to introduceJava Message Service (JMS) / Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) components into the mix to handle errors / exception, the worker was solely responsible for Routing, Protocol conversion, end point managements, JMS message listener, status sync, retries etc. Sample flow for the message arriving from SAP would be as below:

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  1. SAP would make a call to endpoint exposed on ESB which would then be consumed and pushed to JMS on a request queue.

2. Listener on ESB identifies the incoming messages.

3. Protocol converter runs and converts the message from Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to JavaScript            Object Notation (JSON).

4. Routing logic identifies which method is to be called on Hybris and makes that call.

5. Hybris method call makes the necessary entity modification (status change).

 

 


Which Edition of Magneto suits your Business

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  • Magento Commerce is the leading provider of open omnichannel innovation. Our open source digital commerce platform and cloud-based omnichannel solutions empower merchants to integrate digital and physical shopping experiences.
  • Magento is an open-source e-commerce platform written in PHP for e-commerce web sites. The software was originally developed by Varien Inc., a US private company headquartered in Culver City, California, with assistance from volunteers.
  • Varien published the first general-availability release of the software on March 31, 2008. Roy Rubin, former CEO of Varien, later sold a substantial share of the company to eBay, which eventually completely acquired and then spun off the company.
  • The Enterprise Edition (EE) on the other hand is for users who need more than what CE has to offer. Users looking for additional features and customizations that CE can’t offer, turn to EE. EE is a subscription-based service that comes with a Service Level Agreement. Subscribers get full support from the Magento team accessible through phone or email. It also has exclusive product enhancements and special features apart from the security updates.

 

  •                                               Magento versions comparison

 

  • Varien built the Magento commerce Community platform as an open-source system. Instead of relying on developers around the world to add “cool” features (but ones that weren’t actually that important to eCommerce website owners, and often contributed to software bloat), Varien designed the Magento system to have:
  1. Magento File StructureDesigned by Marketers & Website Owners vs. Designed by Techy Programmers. Unlike OS Commerce, the Magento Community platform was built with marketing, SEO, reporting and the customer in mind first. OS Commerce was often built by techy programmers who didn’t always realize what key features mattered most. Things like multiple storefronts, coupon codes, discount modules, the ability to cross sell and upsell easily.. all of these tools were built into the Magento Community version from the outset.
  2. Modular Code Base. There are a set of core code files. Both the Community and Enterprise system share some of this core file code base, although much of the Enterprise system has more advanced features, and offers better, bug-free code. The system requires these core files to run. If you want to upgrade the system, you simply need to upgrade the core files.
  3. Object Oriented Code vs. Procedural Code. The Magento system is complex, and uses what is known as Object Oriented Code that allows the system to run a collection of interacting objects, as opposed to other systems (like OS Commerce) where a program runs a list of tasks or subroutines to work. Object oriented code allows the eCommerce site to run more efficiently, more securely, and allows for a lot less bugs in the system.
  • Advantages of Magento Community vs. Magento Enterprise:
  • Out of the box (not really a box, because it’s a digital download), the Magento Community Platform gives merchants and store owners amazing features and flexibility:
  1. Magento Community Edition is free, open source software.
  2. No yearly license fees. Zip. Zilch. None. Tough to say too much about this.
  3. Magento Community is designed for developers and tech-savvy merchants, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty building and maintaining a site.
  4. You pay only for your domain name, web hosting, and pay for a qualified Magento programmer to build out the site, and maintain it.
  5. Out of the box, Magento Community’s ecommerce system has an amazing array of features, including:
    • 1. Code-level access to the files. If you want to modify the system, you can do so easily. Unlike the Magento Go platform that is hosted and “locked down” (similar to Volusion, Shopify and other hosted solutions), the code runs on your web server. Because of this, nobody has access to your client information, products, pricing, etc.
    • 2. Web Services API, allowing you to connect to other systems easily.
    • 3. Mobile HTML5 Theme is pre-integrated with the out-of-the-box theme. Mobile commerce is exploding – so if your site doesn’t work from an iPhone, iPad, Tablet or other smart phone (i.e. Android), you are losing out on a lot of business.
  • If you want to have a large, successful retail store on the Web, you need to make many investments:
  1. Hosting. Don’t go cheap with your web hosting. A cheap web hosting company usually piles a ton of sites onto the same server. This means your site loads very, very slowly. The faster your site, the more likely people are to place an order. Google likes sites that load fast, too, and rewards them with better search rankings. The takeaway: a $10 per month hosted website may hurt your long-term business prospects, because it can’t handle the load. However, you don’t need to spend $500 per month either.
  2. Products / Product Description / Shipping. With so many options out there, top eCommerce website invest in fantastic products, with well-written product descriptions, aggressive pricing, and deals on shipping.
  3. Website Design. You need to make sure your design is attractive, has strong calls to action, and loads quickly. A good design builds trust and confidence. It’s not something you throw together in a weekend.
  4. Search Engine Optimization / Inbound Marketing. Just because you build a great site, and have great prices, doesn’t mean that everyone will magically visit your site. You also need to invest in great content on the site, social media outreach, and inbound links from relevant sites.
  5. Ongoing Marketing to Past Customers. Past customers are one of the best assets any online store has… but you have to actively engage with them to come back.
  6. Community vs. Enterprise Code Base. I’ve attempted to answer this question, in an unbiased way. You can also call for a free consultation, too. We’re here to help and would love to work with you, regardless of your platform.
  • If you are the kind of person that keeps rolls of duct tape everywhere, and likes to patch things together to make them work, Magento Community is a good fit.
  • If you’d rather have an all-in-one package that is fine-tuned from the get-go, Magento Enterprise might be a better fit.
  • Drop an email to sales@veltrod.in for business enquiries.

All about Sales Funnel

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  • The idea of sales funnels is nothing new. They exist within every business model. However, in the digital age, sales funnels have become a fundamental visual matrix to understand consumer behavior and improve overall sales. If you are an online or digital marketer yourself, you might already have your own funnel set up in Google Analytics. In this post, I would try to touch upon the fundamental use of funnels and multi-channel funnels along with their applications to make your app more profitable.
  • Why use a sales funnel?
  • For starters, sales managers can use this information to prioritize the opportunities that sales reps should be exerting most of their effort on. Opportunities that are more likely to close – based on current stage and how long they’ve been there – should be engaged with most heavily. Second, breaking opportunities by stage leads to more accurate closing probabilities, which ultimately produces more accurate sales forecasts. Now, if users often enter from multiple places that are not a part of the existing funnel, how do you record their behavior? This is where multi-channel Funnel comes into play.
  • Multi-Channel sales Funnels

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  • In Analytics, conversions and Ecommerce transactions are credited to the last campaign, search, or ad that referred the user when he or she converted. But what role did prior website referrals, searches, and ads play in that conversion? How much time passed between the user’s initial interest and his or her purchase?
  • The Multi-Channel Funnels reports answer these questions and others by showing how your marketing channels (i.e., sources of traffic to your website) work together to create sales and conversions.
  • For example, many people may purchase on your site after searching for your brand on Google. However, they may have been introduced to your brand via a blog or while searching for specific products and services. The Multi-Channel Funnels reports show how previous referrals and searches contributed to your sales.
  • Multi-channel funnels are extremely useful for companies like us that have many interlinked web pages with differing purchase intentions. It is also applicable when you are drawing users from a large number of channels. For example- an e-commerce site getting users from PPCs, Banner ads, organic search, QR codes and various other channels. Here the user can enter from any medium as stated and may generate a sale.
  • Funnels are extremely useful for mobile apps and games

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  • In-app purchase within apps and games have become the fundamental mode of revenue generation. Monetization strategy of apps and games often involve ‘n’ number of steps for users to make an in-app purchase. Let’s keep goal completion here to in-app purchase itself and figure out how funnels play out in the entire process. When users try an application, they may get confused. Funnel analysis helps you identify where people drop off so you can increase your conversion rates.
  • A sales funnel is a great tool that has been in use since quite a while. An increasing hunger for app analytics in the recent times have only increased their value. As compared to the web, monetization pathways in apps are more pronounced and specific. This is where the right funnels in your app can enlighten you in ways you could never imagine. Not only you can increase your revenues, but also figure out features that you want to update in future and a lot of other things too. Together with Cohort Analysis, you can have everything that you need to know about your mobile app/game.
  • Sales Funnel Overview

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  • In review, here’s the who, what, when, why, how of sales funnels:
  1. Who: All businesses should have a sales funnel in place to help them turn leads into customers.
  2. What: A sales funnel is a plan to allow a person to become aware of your company, learn about it, and make a decision on whether or not to buy.
  3. When: Start funneling people into this process from day one, so you can slowly move them toward a sale.
  4. Why: Sales funnels allow you to track your ROI and work on better customer retention practices.

Have a safe Optimization of your App @ App store

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  • Developers working on keyword optimization always find themselves struggling with the final selection of keywords. Since the App Store search engine doesn’t scan the App Description, all you have to work with is the 100-character Keyword field, the App Name and the IAP Display Names. You could even work with the Publisher Name, but only if you haven’t published in the App Store yet.
  • Your app will only appear in the search results for keywords and key phrases present in those fields, so it’s a hard decision to make. For instance, each one of my games required hours of keyword optimization study. To help you out and hopefully save you a lot of time, here are some tricks I’ve learned over the past years to get the most out of your App Name and Keywords fields.
  • Choose right words in your title and in your description. Use relevant and frequently used words. App title can contain a maximum of 255 characters. If your users are browsing the App Store with their iPhones, they will only see the first 25 characters of your App’s name. You need to state carefully what your app does in the shortest way possible when you write its name. You have 100 characters for keywords. Don’t repeat your keywords. If you’re aiming for the key phrases “amazing silver hero” and “incredible hero battle,” you don’t need to repeat the keyword “hero” Leave the list as amazing,silver,incredible,hero,battle.
  • Icons are important. Consider them a digital equivalent of your brick and mortar store’s signage. Your icon needs to convey who you are. You need it for your marketing purposes. It needs to look good. It will be installed in various menus and screens therefore it is important that you test your icon in multiple sizes and contexts. Avoid using text in your icon. It will be illegible in smaller menus.

 

  • Optimizing the icon
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  • The same works for keywords in the App Name. If the app is called “The Silver Hero,” you don’t have to repeat the keywords “silver” and “hero.” Your keyword list just got shorter:amazing,incredible,battle.

 

  • Get your keywords right
  • The colours you use in the app can be the colours you use in the icon. You want the icon to pop out of the backgrounds people would be using. Make sure you use the colours that do not merge with the backgrounds of the apps stores you would be selling your apps on. Make sure your icon is, well, iconic. It should do more than give users a sense of what the app is all about. Here’s a way of turning a flat logo into an eye-catching one: create a smaller picture surrounded by a frame, and allow your logo to “break” the frame and create a cool 3D effect.
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  • Work on Links Properly
  • For app developers to fully understand what drives potential users to install an app, think of your app page as a storefront on the busiest boulevards in your area and apply each part of our guide as if were a way of attracting window-shoppers. Focus on creating an emotional shopping experience for users and you’re bound to see the results right away. If the app is installed in device then Google deep links the search results back to the specific content of the app.It’s always good see what the current standard is, and then do something completely different to become an App store superstar.

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  • Create great screenshots
  • Many apps out there think of screenshots as a features list, which is unfortunate and inefficient. Instead of using simple in-app shots, which are probably not that brilliant to begin with, make the most out of this space and look at it as another advertising platform.
  • Unfamiliar brands should pay extra attention to this opportunity to shine. Just like you would never use a bland, simple banner, don’t let such a crucial part of your app page become boring and predictable. Use screenshots to tell a story.You get a few seconds to impress. Great screenshots are the beacons that attract the users, engage them and then encourage them to download the apps.
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  • Make an informative video
  • Having a preview video of your app at the play store is a very wise strategy. It shows visitors and potential users what your app is all about in a few seconds. The views you get on your videos count as views on You Tube. The more views you gather the higher you rank in search results.
  • You can localize your video and reap benefits.Your trailer allows users to see not only what your product does, but also how creative the people behind it are. Keep potential users both informed and entertained.
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  • For app developers to fully understand what drives potential users to install an app, think of your app page as a storefront on the busiest boulevards in your area and apply each part of our guide as if were a way of attracting window-shoppers. Focus on creating an emotional shopping experience for users and you’re bound to see the results right away.
  • Optimization is not a perfect science. There are hundreds of factors. It takes time and a lot of experimentation to find the right mix. Trust your data. It will tell you what you are doing right and where you are going wrong. You will need to tweak your strategies, read up on the new policies of the stores and keep yourself updated. Don’t go for black hat tricks. It is a never ending, ongoing process.

Myths to be stop believing when it comes to CRO

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  • Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of optimizing your sponsored search ads, landing pages, and overall website design to raise your conversion rate. In other words, the goal is for the highest possible percentage of visitors to your site to convert, or complete your desired action.
  • Conversion Rate Optimization Is…
  1. A structured and systematic approach to improving the performance of your website
  2. Informed by insights—specifically, analytics and user feedback
  3. Defined by your website’s unique objectives and needs (KPIs)
  4. Taking the traffic you already have and making the most of it
  • 1: A/B testing equals conversion rate optimization

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  • Probably, the most common myth about conversion rate optimization is the one that equates the process with A/B testing. Simply put, A/B testing is about tweaking website, landing page or email elements in terms of position, color, size, and then testing different versions against each other to see which one will produce better results.
  • There is so much debate nowadays as to which button color converts best – green, red, or perhaps orange? But for the majority of businesses that experience problems with CRO, that’s not even the question. The real questions are: Do we understand how our customers purchase? Do we know what kind of information they will be looking for on our website? Have we provided them with everything they need? These are really just a few issues that could be hindering your website conversions. So, rather than beginning and ending the CRO conversation with A/B testing, businesses should strive to address major issues first.
  • 2: We can simply guess what our customers’ needs are
  • Oftentimes, businesses assume they know all there is to know about their customers’ needs and, therefore, it is not so important to ask customers anything. While these assumptions and hunches could be the starting points for a CRO, but they certainly shouldn’t be taken as facts. Without any factual validation, they remain mere guesses that can take the whole CRO process in the wrong direction.
  • CRO uses a data-driven approach to determining what it is that makes a visitor tick, what it is that is needed for them to convert. Instead of guessing these things, CRO utilises user feedback tools to ask current and potential customers directly. Although analytics is a vital piece to the puzzle, we can’t overstate the importance of user surveys and testing enough.

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  • 3: Too much coping is unhealthy
  • You can copy a successful business’s website, but you can’t really copy their success along with it.In rare cases where mimicking someone else’s web design results in more conversions, the design itself usually isn’t the real factor of change. Rather, the improvement is most likely a result of an unintentional removal of a problem or several problems that were obstructing conversions. For this reason, you should carefully evaluate your focus to see if you wrongly expect to increase conversions solely through website design.
  • Good design communicates a business’s professionalism and credibility. But it’s important to remember that it’s not the only thing that matters. You might need to dive deep below the surface, to the core values and objectives of your business, and reassess whether they’re aligned with the needs of your customers.

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  • 4: We can just find some tips and do it really quickly.
  • Regardless of some of the hype you can read on the Internet, the process of improving conversion rates takes work and time. It’s not a matter of just applying a few quick fixes. Significant results can be achieved only through a systematic approach. Naturally, you’d have to test each one of them.
  • In most cases, a successful A/B test takes two weeks to complete, so just imagine how much time you would need to spend on testing a hypothesis that can prove to be completely irrelevant, or even harmful to your CRO process. But if you back yourself up with data and have a well-developed process to follow, in the very early stages of CRO you will be able to set your priorities and invest time in that what matters.

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  • 5: You might think that Conversion rates are the only thing that really matters
  • Conversion Rate Optimization turns out, is no longer something nice to have, but it’s turning into a must for every company. A lot of marketers are a bit sceptical at first, though, about a service that sometimes sounds too good to be true. If you’re the person responsible for lead generation in your company, or if you’re running an e-commerce website, implementing different experiments and learning from the results can dramatically improve the number of leads or orders you’re generating from your site.
  • When implementing these processes in your organisation, you will find that although a lot of the tips and tricks online look rather easy, it’s not such a simple process as expected. If you’ve been thinking of implementing different experiments on your website, but still have a few reservations, this article will help you set some misconceptions straight so you don’t waste your time.
  • The goal here is not to try to convince every visitor by any means that your product or service is right for them and nudge them into converting. What effect is that going to have in the long run anyway? They will purchase or subscribe once, figure out they didn’t get what they were expecting and then they’ll make sure everybody knows about their negative experience with your business. So, it’s important to always stay true and constantly seek ways to improve your message so that it inspires prospects to take one step at a time.

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  • However, when talking to people in our area about the potentials of CRO, we still find that there are a lot of misconceptions about Conversion Rate Optimization.
  • CRO can make a significant difference in your conversion rates, but only if you’re willing to take a structured and systemic approach that relies on qualified data points. If you think you might encounter another misconception and are not sure, keep one thing in mind. Anything that promises quick wins, without taking into consideration everything that makes you unique as an organisation is probably too good to be true.
  • Real optimization is not a one trick thing, real optimization requires hard work and figuring out what’s right for your site and your customers.

Secure your ECommerce store with Veltrod

security

  • Security is an essential part of any transaction that takes place over the internet. Customer will loose his/her faith in e-business if its security is compromised.
  1. Information should not be accessible to unauthorized person. It should not be intercepted during transmission.
  2. Information should not be altered during its transmission over the network.
  3. Information should be available wherever and whenever requirement within time limit specified.
  4. There should be a mechanism to authenticate user before giving him/her access to required information.
  5. It is protection against denial of order or denial of payment. Once a sender sends a message, the sender should not able to deny sending the message. Similary the receipient of message should not be able to deny receipt.
  6. Information should be encrypted and decrypted only by authorized user.
  7. Data should be recorded in such a way that it can be audited for integrity requirements.
  • Measures to ensure Security

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  • It is a very effective and practical way to safeguard the data being transmitted over the network. Sender of the information encrypt the data using a secret code and specified receiver only can decrypt the data using the same or different secret code.
  • Digital signature ensures the authenticity of the information. A digital signature is a e-signature authentic authenticated through encryption and password.
  • Security certificate is unique digital id used to verify identity of an individual website or user.
  • Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
  • It meets following security requirements −
  1. Authentication
  2. Encryption
  3. Integrity
  4. Non-reputability6 dimensions of e-commerce security 
    1. Integrity: prevention against unauthorized data modification
    2. Nonrepudiation: prevention against any one party from reneging on an agreement after the fact
    3. Authenticity: authentication of data source
    4. Confidentiality: protection against unauthorized data disclosure
    5. Privacy: provision of data control and disclosure
    6. Availability: prevention against data delays or removal
  • HOW TO MINIMIZE SECURITY THREATS
  1. Perform a risk assessment à list of information assets and their value to the firm
  2. Develop a security policy àa written statement on:
  • *       what assets to protect from whom?
  • *       why these assets are being protected?
  • *       who is responsible for what protection?
  • *       which behaviors are acceptable and unacceptable?
  1. Develop an implementation plan à a set of action steps to achieve security goals
  2. Create a security organization à a unit to administer the security policy
  3. Perform a security audit à a routine review of access logs and evaluation of security procedures
  • Threats to E-Commerce
  • Threats to E-Commerce servers fall into two general categories:
  1. Threats from an actual attacker
  2. Technological failure.
  • In terms of the former, the motivation is primarily psychological.  The intent is to garner personal information from people for the sheer purposes of exploitation.  With the latter, anything related to the Internet can cause problems.  This can be anything from a network not configured properly to data packets being lost, especially in a wireless access environment.
  • Even poorly written programming code upon which your E-Commerce site was developed can be very susceptible to threats.  Most E-Commerce Servers utilize a Windows Operating System, a Web Server Software to host the E-Commerce Site (such as Internet Information Services, or IIS), and a database which contains your customer information and transaction history.

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