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How to harness and take advantage mobile technology for your business

The landscape of the digital marketplace is fast growing and evolving while the reach of traditional retail remains stagnant. It is evident more than ever that if you want to stay ahead of the competition – or stay in the competition at all, for that matter – you need to be able to predict and adapt with the trends and new channels that are shaping this fledgling form of commerce. Your digital strategy will need to adjust to major market forces that will reshape how your company sells, delivers and services its customer base.

In this article, we will have a look at the rise of mobile as one of the megatrends in digital commerce. We will examine the opportunities attributed to mobile technology as a fast-expanding channel of doing business with your customers, and different options you have to achieve mobile integration for your company.

The rise of mobile

When put together, the Internet, mobile devices, data analytics, and cloud computing are transforming how companies operate and compete. In particular, the “rise of mobile” is one of the major market disruptors, forcing companies to find ways to translate their online experience to mobile mediums.

Those who believe traditional enterprise commerce will remain their primary digital channel will soon realize that they’ve erred. The hard reality is, mobile commerce is fast supplementing – and in many cases replacing – the traditional approach altogether.

According to  , in 2014, over 125 million people in the U.S. carried out their research through mobile devices. As for commerce, mobile accounted for 19% of total online sales. That figure is fast changing, and by 2018, mobile will have the lion’s share of online commerce at a whopping 54%. That’s a 184% increase.

As the numbers speak for themselves, the future and fate of online retailers and businesses will be decided by their ability to adapt to this fast evolving trend.

What does this mean for you?

In a nutshell, the mobile revolution means that capabilities that were once offered online now need to be duplicated for mobile devices or altered in a way that conforms to the mobile experience. You have to ask yourself the following questions to figure out if you’re moving at the pace the mobile market is changing:

  • Is your business model scalable to meet the mobile trend?
  • Do you have the engineering and skills needed to operate both channels together and handle their different risks?

The truth is, transitioning to the mobile platform is not something that happens overnight, and needs to be planned meticulously and carefully; otherwise it becomes a self-destructive goal.

What practical steps do you need to take?

Porting your capabilities toward mobile can be done in a smooth way, allowing you to adapt with the IT, HR and customer service needs as you expand and delve into this new medium. Here are a few options that can help you achieve this goal.

Convert to responsive design

If you already have a website, make sure the design is responsive. Basically, this means that the layout and size of the elements in your site must be able to adapt with mobile displays. Responsive websites get much more traffic since they offer a seamless experience across desktop workstations and mobile

responsive design

To check whether your site is responsive or not, you only need to point your smartphones browser to its URL and check the result. If the elements displayed on the page are too small and the text is too tiny (or put in another way, the site is unusable), then you’re faced with an unresponsive site. But if the layout changes to offer an experience that conforms to mobile display size and standards, then the site is responsive.

Hopefully, if your site has been developed by experts, or if you’re using a well-established CMS, changing the design to become responsive can be done with little effort.

Responsive design is the shortest and most cost-effective path to mobile realization, but it isn’t necessarily the most efficient one.

Develop a web app to complement your site

Web apps are the next step in mobile integration. A web app is a version of your website tailored for mobile device experience. The twitter mobile web app is a good example. Web apps usually eliminate the clutter and excessive details that are more suited to desktop and laptop computers. Entry forms are culled to contain fields that are absolutely necessary, page flows are reduced and steps are integrated. The overall goal is to increase speed and allow users to achieve their goals in less steps.

Adding a web app to a website that already has a solid base is easy enough and your main website can be configured to be redirected to the web app when accessed by a mobile device.

Web apps will offer a far richer experience than responsive designs, but still lack the ability to leverage the full power of mobile computing.

Invest in a mobile app

Mobile apps are the culmination of mobile commerce technology. They are standalone applications that are installed on user devices, offering the user a richer experience which allows for the leverage of device capabilities and OS technologies. Mobile apps have several advantages over web apps and responsive sites, including the following:

  • Ability to store offline data to offer unbroken experience when the user is experiencing spotty internet connection
  • Ability to target users with push notifications and in-app messages in order to improve user engagement and conversion
  • Ability to be integrated with mobile analytics tools, which can give you invaluable insight about user interaction and performance efficiency

Mobile apps are by far the most effective solution for mobile integration, and although they cost a little more than the two other options, they make up a more strategic investment. To obtain a mobile app for your business, you need to hire the expertise of app developers, and subsequently launch your app in one or several app stores.

Who can help you go mobile?

How do you decide which option suits you best? There are many IT companies with mobile app development services who can help you lay out your roadmap to mobile success. Comelite has extensive experience in this regard and can help you by examining your current digital commerce solution and counsel you on which parts of your system need improvement and what steps you need to take in order to achieve full mobile integration. With the speed, agility and expertise offered by Comelite, you are guaranteed to get the biggest bang for the buck.

Conclusion

If you already have a well-settled eCommerce solution, but are lacking in the mCommerce sector, now’s the time to act. The age of mobile dominance is fast approaching. Are you ready?

Author:  Ben Dickson, Software engineer and CTO at Comelite IT Solutions.Contributor to TechCrunch, AppsZoom and CanadaFreePress.

Are We At The End Of The Android Heyday?

Over the past years, Google’s Android has come to dominate the world of mobile and tablet devices. Even though sales declined slightly at the close of 2014, Android devices still accounted for more than 75 percent of the market share by the end of Q1 2015. Presently, there is an estimate of more than a billion Android devices being used worldwide.

But news breaking over flaws and security holes in the operating system has caused a general stir about the security of Android phones, and has triggered worries about the integrity and safety of data that we entrust into these Google-powered gadgets that have become an inherent part of our lives. Does this mean that the heyday of the more affordable Android devices is over, and we are better off investing in other technologies, such as Apple’s iOS or Microsoft’s Windows Phone?

In this piece I’ll give you a quick breakdown of recently discovered threats you should be aware of regarding your Android device, plus what to do and what to expect in the future. Of course, tech websites are a treasure trove when it comes to mobile security threats, but they are usually cluttered up with too much overly technical information that usually ends up confusing non-technical readers rather than enlightening them.

Author:  Ben Dickson, Software engineer and CTO at Comelite IT Solutions.Contributor to TechCrunch, AppsZoom and CanadaFreePress.

Published by: TechCrunch

Why your business needs a Mobile App

Business, it’s important to be clear about your objectives from the start and strategize around them.
What are the ways that you can harness the power of mobile apps? Here are four of the most popular routes to choose from.

1. Customer engagement.
The best thing about the mobile channel is that it gives companies the potential to engage with their customers in real-time, by location and complete with profile information.

2. Customer service and support.
Making it simpler and more efficient for your customers to get in touch with your company and offering them tools to make their life easier while using your products or services can be a great reason to develop a mobile app.

3. Promotion.
One of the most popular means to monetize is offering coupons. And mobile adds an interesting layer of location-based push notifications to the coupon economy. Imagine being the owner of an apparel store in downtown New York with thousands of people walking within a one mile radius of your outlet. If they were to get notified on their mobile phones with a coupon from your store when walking by, you’d increase the likelihood of having them visit by providing a timely reason.

4. If you sell your products or services online, a mobile app may be an option worth considering. This gives your customers the mobility to do the same things they would traditionally have done sitting at their desks, but on their phones.
There are many examples for this in which online retailers have extended their offerings to customers who want to shop on-the-go using their mobile phones. If you’re a service company, you too can capture a larger share of the market.
Think of creative ways to capture your existing or potential customers’ attention, enhance your offerings, entice people to buy and make life easier for your customer and you’ll reap the results.

Mobile Apps Will Transform All Business

Over the last 12 months we’ve surveyed over 700 companies, asking them if they have developed any mobile apps internally to help them with such things as supply chain management, logistics, purchasing, maintenance, service, or sales support. At this point, only 4% said “yes,” which is very low considering how many smart phones and tablets are in use by businesses of all sizes today.

The second question and answer was even more enlightening: “Do you think that at least half the businesses in your industry will have their own mobile apps for functions like that within the next two years?” The response was amazing: 100% agree that half of the businesses in their industry would. Let’s face it, two years is a short amount of time considering there’s such a low percent of mobile apps for business functions today.

So, what does all this mean for your business? It means that mobile apps designed by businesses for their internal use and competitive advantage will explode over the next two years. Therefore, all business leaders need to ask themselves: “Two years from now, do I want to be one of the companies that is not developing mobile apps to transform business processes?” Once you see the hard trends driving this software revolution, it would be hard to answer “no.”
Remember, a hard trend will happen; a soft trend might happen. The hard trend is that businesses will be developing mobile apps customized for their company for various functions. The soft trend is whether your company will be one of them.
Here’s something else to consider: The number of smart phones and tablets in all sizes of companies has obviously exploded in the last couple of years, and this hard trend is picking up speed. At the same time, the cost of being able to deploy business intelligence in every function is dropping off a cliff just as the capability of our smart devices, of our wireless and wired networks, and of both private and public clouds grows. So with costs decreasing and capabilities increasing, the time to act is now. The question is, “How?”
The key is to assess whether you have the in-house capabilities to develop mobile apps. Some companies do, and some companies don’t. It depends on the size of the business and your IT department. However, a lot of young people do have the capabilities needed. Therefore, I would suggest that you hire or “rent a kid.” In other words, if you don’t already employ some talented young people who have both the interest and knowledge to develop mobile apps, it’s time to bring some in. They have a lot of present and future value to offer.
You need to get ready for the mobile business app revolution now. Remember, we have two revolutions taking place: a hardware revolution (where our primary personal computer is shifting to our mobile devices like smart phones and tablets) and a software revolution (which is the mobile apps that will run on those devices). That means the rise of mobile apps for all business functions is a hard trend you can’t ignore. So you need to have the core competency of developing your own mobile apps that can give you competitive advantage, rather than relying on off-the-shelf apps you and your competitors can get through various app stores. The companies that transform their business processes using mobility will achieve new levels of success. The time for business process transformation is now.