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Business Strategy Trends to Consider in 2017

A new year, a new beginning. For many, a fresh start brings hope and inspiration. You can start your business in the New Year, with a new business strategy 2017, with big dreams in your mind, pursue them and then work to convert them into reality. So, what does the New Year bring us in terms of our corporate strategy? Below are some considerations and trends that will be dominating 2017 that you need to think of for your business growth, whether you’re a small, medium or enterprise sized business.

Dream big, it’s the first step to success…

Inbound Marketing Tactics in your Business Strategy 2017

When it comes to marketing and sales, the most popular trend rising is the tactics of inbound marketing. So think again when optimizing your annual marketing strategy. Do you need to update your personnas? What is your content marketing plan? Have you set a monthly budget for your marketing plan? Whatever the case, and whichever methods and tactics you’ll be using in 2017, make sure you have updated your steps, online tracking and personnas, and embrace the power of inbound marketing and organic SEO.

business strategy 2017

Proactive Lead Capturing

As a method of inbound marketing, capturing leads on the spot is vital for service providing companies. How can you keep up with who comes to your door? Well you can use many tools to capture leads coming to your website, analyze them, and now, even talk to them through their favorite messenger. With a proactive chat system, you can convert leads into your goals and always be prepared to respond to incoming visitors. In this example, a telegram chat bot is used to reply to customers on multiple channels, getting constant updates, with special features, such as multi-channel control, analytics, and use of your favorite messenger apps.

Visualize Your Business Strategy 2017: Visual and Video Content

The year 2017 will mark the expansion of visual and video content and how businesses will use videos for their presentations, intros, education and much more. Videos are popular and can be seen on your mobile on the go, and can “tell the story” you need to tell in a matter of minutes. Videos are effective and will capture the audience watching instantly.
Video content is on demand, and informative to use, and attractive to look at, so think about making one for your corporate strategy today.

Make Use of Social Media

Social Media plays a significant role in our lives today. Businesses use Facebook for transactions, Twitter for twitter cards, and of course LinkedIn to communicate and proceed on projects. So how should you use your social media? In addition to your website as your 24-hour online marketing tool, social media will fulfill advertising your website and services silently while you focus on your techniques and projects. You will need to get familiar with the most popular apps, schedule and program your usage of social media and use social media for its real purpose to expand your business growth.

Still – Is your Website Responsive?

Believe it or not, even though we are in 2017, up to this day, I have found over 5 websites of clients, who still DO NOT have a responsive website. In the age where tablets and mobiles dominate usage of desktop PCs, we need to consider how our website looks on mobile and put the sufficient amount of energy to revive and facilitate our website experience for our clients. So if your website is not responsive, you need to consider this as a priority in your business strategy 2017.

Business Automation

This is one of the most important trends to look out for your business growth in your corporate strategy. These days, with the methods of marketing and business changing, every business needs to be automated to prevent iterative work and double timings spent, manual processes and non-usage of technology in your business. So what is business automation? Very simple, to have your customers, leads and prospects in one database, to be able to rely on one data source, keep track of your sales, projects, accounting and more.

Comelite is supporting Enterprise Solutions and Salesforce solutions as the demand and rise in these two areas are growing and most customers are switching to Salesforce or Odoo as their selection for their business.

Go Digital, Go Mobile

Last but not least, get into the digital era. If you’re a business, small or big, you will need to setup an app to represent your business, to think of how your customers can make payments through mobile, and to see how you can bring your business into the palm of your potential and withstanding clients. With a mobile app you can provide your business for your clients with real-time information, and provide services according to their location, their activities, and their taste. So if you don’t have an app for your business, mark this as something to consider in your business strategy 2017.

Conclusion

These are just a few ideas to think of in your strategic planning for your business strategy 2017. Basically, start planning each month and think of the trends and obstacles ahead, and see how the new technologies will facilitate and lift you up in the path to success.

Follow Nadia Kamil on Twitter 

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The 7 rising logo trends [Infographic]

Logo trends

Almost halfway into 2016, we take a look at what the logo world is telling us. Your logo, choice of font, colors and shapes are what your customers will remember you by. It is important to have brand elements that can be deployed and displayed in different settings and environments without breaking the general design. A good logo is distinctive, appropriate, practical, graphic, simple in form and conveys an intended message. Trending now are these seven styles of logo. All provide details and main specifics of your brand so you must work wise.

Art plays a key role and there is a wide range between simple Monoline logos to Dramatic Typography. That is how designers have managed to incorporate elements like geometry and negative spaces into these featured icons.

 

The 7 rising logo trends

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Renovate Your Business: Embrace the Change

Many people shiver when it comes to the word “change”. They think of the different strange things they have to face, and fear the unpredictable…But wait, if you’re in a business, if you own a company, or work in a store or restaurant, change and renovation is vital for you, a mere thing that will help you to not fade away in the back, and stand heads high in the front line.

embrace-change

There are many reasons people and business avoid change, but first, you have to keep in mind that most successful businesses and company moved forward and reached the top because of their innovation strategy.

Change is learning. Learning is growing. Growing is living. So live.

When we say innovation, it doesn’t have to be something big. It can be anything that will help you stand out from the crowd and competition. Maybe a new head banner if you’re a restaurant, maybe a new brochure for your new product, or just a change of layout in your store. Change and innovation helps attract new customers and keeps your old customers loyal as well. New customers equals to more sales which is more income and revenue.

So for the upcoming New Year, think about what will take your business strategy to the top. Maybe if you have an online business, a new app will reflect your company services, or if you sell products, maybe a brochure of new photographs of your products will attract the crowd. So depending on the type of business model you have, plan your business renovation.

innovate

A piece of advice as well, if you want to plan out your renovation strategy, gather your employees, your key staff, even your customers, and get a quick feedback. Ask them what they think will bring change to the company, and what will help in your sales and income. Usually just listening to all the new opinions will spark new thoughts and ideas in your head.

By the way, always remember, staying long in business is not just about making money and sales. It’s also about being a brand that people remember and come to at the time they need it. So with new ideas you make new impressions and new impressions means people will remember you. Think of ways you can present your unique change ideas and embrace all change opportunities to create your new look.

As a conclusion, I invite you all to put one step out of your comfort zone and see the new world. In this world, the people around you are your new customers, the visitors and viewers of your social media and website are your future contacts, so take hats off for them and impress them. Get out of the boring everyday look you have and create excitement in your company. Show a new look, a new brand, and stay up to date and fresh. Once you conquer the fear of the unpredictable, then you will see the benefits it has for you, and you will be one step ahead of your competitors, and feel good about yourself and your business.

By Nadia Kamil , Technical & Project Manager at Comelite IT Solutions

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How Technology Impacts your Restaurant

Technology is surrounding you. Anywhere from your business life, to social life to everyday life. Now, in this series we want to just checkout what an impact technology has had on the restaurant business and how it has moved it uphill towards top customer service and creating a facilitation in business. Just a few examples to point out, is using an app to take orders, instead of your normal notepad, or using a responsive modern website to present your services, and get your tables booked. Some restaurants have apps for their customers to use within the restaurant as a menu, and to take images and share on social media. The use of technology has made payments smooth and encouraged easy online paying. So how can it impact your restaurant? Take a look:

Mobile Ordering: one of the trends in the restaurant industry are using a mobile to order your food. Surveys show that more than 41% will use a self-ordering terminal if available, and customers would rather connect to their mobile app, make their order, and have it delivered or go pick up then to use the old fashioned way. Take a look at these examples to get more info: Starbuck mobile ordering and the Easy Order app.

multi-restaurant-menu-surfer

Digital Menu: many restaurants prefer to use a digital menu, where they can easily update menu items, prices, and pictures and design of course.

E-Waiter and Checkout: since more than 52% of customer prefer to pay online, this is a strategic move for restaurants to allow payment through the internet. Most diners don’t like to pay with their credit card, and prefer the safer way, which is through their PayPal or whatever their e-card is. Faster, safer payments will draw customers to you every time. The E la Carte restaurant has gone to the top in this field, and taken one step forward…

• Loyalty Programs: of course one of the best ways technology is impacting restaurants is the use of discounts and coupons to attract customers. Most customers prefer to use loyalty programs such as the sum up of points to earn a freebie, or discount coupons to gain more. Loyalty programs have always attracted customers back and will continue to do so.

• Restaurant Management: when we say technology is impacting the restaurant business, we don’t just mean the front end. What happens to the management of sales orders, inventory purchases, and finance management? There are many ERP systems or Restaurant Management Systems that will allow the management of your restaurant and will provide the manager with an overview of sales, customers, accounting reports and much more.

• Online Reservation: These days there are also many online reservation websites such as Open Table, ResDiary or BookTable that will save your time by allowing you to surf for just the right place and the right time, and reserve your trips. These platforms use an electronic reservation book (ERB) to gather the live info of availability at restaurants and have them ready at your fingertips when and wherever you want to go.

• Beautiful Websites: last but not least, restaurant websites are the center of attention with glamorous high quality pictures, simple presentation, responsive layout and informative content. By including info such as your reviews, open hours, picture gallery, you can be sure to attract more customers. Also many tourist websites such as TripAdvisor or Booking.com can show your website to tourists, and you can present your reviews in your very own website.
So if you’re a restaurant and you’re not taking advantage of what technology offers today for your business, then think again. You can drive more business with technology, and that’s the bottom point. In our next series, we’ll elaborate more on this industry.

By Nadia Kamil , Technical & Project Manager at Comelite IT Solutions

Why Faster Websites Make More Money [Infographic]

Everyone likes fast websites.
Believe it or not, so does Google. And… faster websites make more money!

We all know that slow loading websites are annoying and you can’t count how many times you have hopped to another website just because the first one you visited loaded too slowly.

Well, it’s actually interesting to know that slow websites not only damage your site ranking in Google, they come to be a failure to attract visitors to your website.
A fast site is a good user experience (UX), and a satisfying UX leads to higher conversions. Very slow sites are a bad user experience – and Google is all about good UX these days.

You lose visitors, you lose conversions. You lose dollars!

Who would have thought that page speed played such a big role in website revenue?
If you don’t deliver fast enough, your visitor will probably get the same thing somewhere else and you’ve just handed over your potential customer to your competitor.
That’s why it pays to make a website fast.

Use a tool like Pingdom or GTmetrix and test the load of your website.

By improving the speed of your website, you can increasingly improve your conversion rate. In fact, on average, just one second shaved off your load time can boost conversions by 7%!
The faster you can make your site, the more likely your visitors are to stick around and buy something from you. While those extra one or two sales or leads per week may not seem like much, over time, they’ll definitely add up!
As our infographic shows, website speed can lead to some dramatic changes.

fast-website-page-load-time-conversions-infographic

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YOUR BRAND: Who do you stand for?

A brand is worthless if it doesn’t connect with the right audiences in a relevant way

Many people think corporate identity is your logo…but that is a strong misconception.

Corporate identity represents your brand, visually. It’s not your logo, your website, your name or your product. It’s your company’s identity. It’s the physical expression of your brand, the image to represent your business. It’s exactly what sets your business apart from the competition. It might include color schemes, designs, words, slogans and the personification of your brand. It’s what you promise to your customers.

What should it contain?
First of all, it should represent your exact purpose, and what differentiates you between others. It’s your company’s vision, and commitment to its customers.
Second, you should keep it consistent. This will add to your brand recognition and people will recognize your brand upon seeing it. For example, take the Facebook brand. It’s a simple “f” but anywhere you see it, you will recognize it. Or the Nike swoosh, McDonald M, and so on. So keep consistency in style, color scheme and the main design.
Third, be flexible. This is not in contradiction to my second point. You should be consistent to the standards of your brand, but flexible to be distinguished from your competitors, and to create audience interest.

Why is it important?
A lot of strong marketers believe that using your corporate identity in the right way, will help you achieve your business objective.
Surveys show that companies with a strong identity outperformed others by 25%. So look at why it’s so important:
1. It’s the first impression your customers see, and how they remember you.
2. It’s a sign of your customer loyalty, and what people trust, that’s why they come back to you.
3. It’s your professional business reflection, and influences consumers in their decisions.
4. It’s your business longevity, showing that you are here to stay and serve.

What does it include?
Brand identity development is something every company invests in. So hiring a professional agency to build your identity will be investing in your business strategy. These are some of the elements to include in your brand identity development:
LOGO: an image is worth a thousand words, and this is what your target audience will see at first glance. Be sure to have it include your main message and what you represent.
BUSINESS CARDS: a business card should represent your main design and company colors, including the logo and main info to get back to you.
STATIONARY: all companies need to use letterheads, send invoices, envelopes and more. So why shouldn’t your printed material market your brand?
COMPANY WEBSITE: a company website is your most inexpensive and most effective way to market your brand. Maybe up to now, your competitors were your local guys, but now, the competition is international, on the World Wide Web. So you can stand out, get organic SEO results, social media marketing and started on your online marketing strategy.

Conclusion
Now that you know about the importance of your business identity and how it effects your sales and marketing, you can start making decisions. Regrettably, a lot of companies look to save money by leaving the work to acquaintances, not knowing the negative affect. My advice: this is your business longevity and strategy, invest in it, and give it to someone professional.

Restaurant Marketing: How Big Dreams Can Come True

A friend of mine from Paris asked me last week: “Tell me how many patrons I will have when I spend a thousand bucks in your digital marketing plan and how many will have if spend for two thousand?” And I stood there with my mouth wide open, hesitating what to say. Alack, I couldn’t.

I wish I could demonstrate an interface enabling the smell of a specific dish to reach the client once I send a special “smell push notification”, whereby I would incite the strongest temptation in him or her, inviting the guests to my table. But again, I have to admit I can’t do it…yet.
Till I put my dreams into reality, today I can name a few tips and tell you how you can attract new guests to your humble restaurants. For now, the answer is… social media marketing. Don’t feel awkward. There was a time when connecting to people oversees was as unimaginable. But in order to take your reach that far, we need to move forward, step by step. Most restaurant owners lack proper online presence and still they keep asking themselves why they don’t rank the highest numbers by Tripadvisors. I suggest you start today, before thinking about tomorrow.

The Rules

One of the first steps in successful marketing is to know who you’re communicating with. This is particularly true in social media. You need to think like your customer, and about why they would want to visit you. Create such a tone for your social media. If you want your place to be known as the neighborhood hangout – create a tone (or even character) that you’ll consistently use across all of your social media platforms. Then post it in a friendly, neighborly tone.

Facebook

Facebook provides an incredible opportunity for dining establishments to connect with their clientele. You’d be hard pressed to find a patron of yours who is not on this site – and most of them are checking their updates a few times a day. Facebook is a place where people go to ‘hangout’ with friends. That’s why they go out to eat too, right? You can see here (Bahama Breeze Island Grille) and learn here how to use Facebook for you restaurant marketing. Also, here’s an example of some tasty-looking tuna tataki from Milestones.
Here’s an example from a client using our sweepstakes app. Wayne Gretzky’s Toronto ran a geo-targeted sweepstakes through Facebook to successfully generate awareness of their newly renovated digs, and their brand new menu.
Geo target your ads – Facebook ads let you do all kinds of very specific, niche targeting. This is ideal for restaurants and diners. You can target your ads to be seen only by Facebookers in your particular geographic location. You can also target your ads to be seen by those with specific likes, and by those who like certain pages.

YouTube
Videos are very cool when embedded directly into an update, or in a tab. If you have videos about how your dish is made, or you have an interview with your chef, food suppliers, happy customers, include them in an update. You can weight posting them in your Facebook or YouTube account.

Instagram
Instagram is an enormously popular photo sharing platform. Enjoying seamless integration with Facebook, it’s used about 95% of the time when your patrons are posting images to their Facebook friends. You can use Instagram in conjunction with your Facebook tactics, or use the site on its own. Hashtags are huge on Instagram. They’re very prevalent and relevant. To increase awareness about both your Instagram profile and your restaurant, include relevant trending hashtags. For example, if it happens to be #nationalcheesecakeday and your culinary delights include cheesecake, then post a scrumptious photo.
Instagram is a site of photos. Use this opportunity to post delicious photos of your menu items. Engage with menu items – take photos of your menu one step further – get your customers to upload their favorite items, to help build your menu of images on the platform. It’s an amazing way to get your customers talking and sharing your amazing with friends. That’s word of mouth marketing gone viral!

Twitter
Twitter is a very successful marketing tool for restaurants, both large and small and from high end to fast food (including street trucks). With only 140 characters per update, tweets get read and shared at a phenomenal rate. Twitter is also used a lot through mobile.
Here’s an example from Domino’s Pizza

Domino's Pizza

 

 

 

 

You should definitely include images of your dish. Although Twitter is a text based site, updates with photos get shared, rendering more followers on Twitter, and directing traffic into your establishment. Here’s an example of a scrumptious and delicious looking image from La Dolce Vita.
Promoting your establishment through coupons and discounts has long been a part of successful marketing. Add in a social element, make it a group deal and you can have a viral campaign on your hands. You could, for example, run a group offer for a free appetizer. This will encourage your patrons to share your group offer and tweet it to their friends, and it will drive people into your eatery.
Hashtags are very popular on Twitter, too. Include them in your updates. Use similar tactics to the ones mentioned above with Instagram.
Tip: You don’t want too many (given Twitter’s character constraints) and you should leave room in your tweets to get RT’s and shares with @mentions – so a friend can send your tweet to their friend.

Final word
Of course, there are many more tactics you can use, such as trying out Foursquare or Yelp, or creatively marketing on other platforms. In this piece we tried to tell you one thing: instead of dreaming for super-creative interfaces and ultra-elegant applications that care for long lines of guests and patrons, you should stand up and dig your own marketing strategy by using the tools available. As the wise man always says, “You reap what you saw.”

 

The benefits of mobile ecommerce

Ecommerce has already become the de-facto way of doing business for large companies and is fast gaining popularity among small businesses as well thanks to considerable decrease in the development and hosting of web applications.

I already discussed in a recent post the benefits of having an ecommerce website for retail businesses and how it can help improve a company’s reach and availability, which will in turn result in better lead generation, customer support, conversion rates and, ultimately, revenue.
But the future of online business and ecommerce is already here, and it’s mobile ecommerce apps, aka mCommerce. The     ecommerce industry has burgeoned exponentially thanks to mobile innovations and progress, and with mobile app usage and revenue skyrocketing in recent years, a healthy and successful business will be one that will harness and leverage this technology.
Already, many ecommerce-wielding companies are going mobile by investing on mobile web design and introducing mobile apps to their business model. Ecommerce apps are one of the most popular types of apps that are downloaded on handsets and it is a well-known fact that mCommerce apps are used more frequently that its equivalent website.
So if you have an ecommerce website, complementing with an mCommerce app will give you all the advantages of traditional model plus the following added benefits.
Improved access to users through push notifications
While an ecommerce website will enable your customers to reach you any time of the day, an ecommerce app will enable you to reach your customers any time you like. Mobile phones are very personalized devices, and users carry them on their person all the time. After having installed your application, you can use push notifications to improve user engagement or to re-engage inactive users by informing them of special offers or important sales and new products.
Offline availability
In contrast to desktop and laptop computers, mobile devices can be carried and operated anywhere. And not every location can provide an optimal internet connection. This is where mobile apps shine, since they’re tailored to work in environments where users are experiencing spotty internet connections or don’t have an internet connection altogether. Naturally, some of the functionality of the app will be unavailable in such settings, but users will at least have access to previously-visited product pages, purchase history and other profile information that can come in handy when they’re not specifically looking for a purchase.
Improved performance and network usage
The amount of information exchange in apps is very minimal when compared to websites which need to download complete web pages. This functionality provides for quicker load times in app usage and lower networking costs, especially for users that are connected on a limited data plan. This can be a decisive factor in improving user experience and encouraging them to return to your app.
Enhanced usage
Since mobile apps are developed for small screen sizes, they can help improve the user experience dramatically by culling entry forms, improving scrolling and navigability based on mobile usage patterns, and adjust the size and location of user interface elements to improve ease-of-use.
Moreover, mobile apps are compatible with a slew of new APIs and technologies, such as the easy-to-use One Touch Shopping payment technology, which improves and facilitates online payment for goods.
Leveraging mobile features
Smartphones have many features such as camera, gyroscope, GPS and microphone. Each of these features can help improve user experience when integrated with your mobile app. For instance, using the mobile GPS, you can help users locate the nearest franchise of your chain while using your app. Another example would be to use augmented reality technology and allow the user to preview how a cool new furniture will change the look of their living room
Conclusion
The future of retail industry is in the hands and pockets of consumers. The mobile trend will continue to encroach over all aspects of online retail business and shopping as we move forward. Mobile ecommerce is an opportunity to provide increased value very quickly. If you already have an ecommerce platform in place, building a mobile app that integrates with your solution will be an easy task, and you and your customers will have a leg up in getting started on this new model. If you don’t, get one today. It’s better late than never.

Why eCommerce Websites Matter [Infographic]

Are you a shop owner or a retailer?
Do you have products or services that can be sold online? If yes, then why not set up your own online shop? With the growth of Internet activities and the convenience of online shopping, it is quickly becoming more and more typical.

If you haven’t set up an eCommerce website for your business, read some interesting facts below that could change your mind!

 

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How can your retail business benefit from an e-commerce solution?

An article written by Ben Dickson

With the internet and connected devices becoming more and more involved in every aspect of daily lives, consumers are increasingly expecting to find every product and service they need online, and they’re more likely to choose a vendor or company that can be reached on a whim when they’re comfortably sitting behind their laptops and PCs at home, or when they’re tapping on their phone while riding the train.

E-commerce allows retailers and service providers to provide an all-in-one solution to their customers, enabling them to browse and purchase their wares all through their desktop or mobile browser.

This type of service, which is usually developed as a website or mobile app, has revolutionized the way companies are doing business and is fast gaining popularity as more and more users are inclined to make their purchases online.
Here are some of the benefits of e-commerce that have made it known as the “holy grail of retail.”
Accessibility and ease of use
With e-commerce solutions, customers are no longer bound by geographical constraints and store opening hours. You can be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and your customers can shop from you wherever they are, at whatever time they choose to. All they need is a browser and an internet connection. Viewing products, filling shopping carts and paying for goods all take place in the same location in a quick, convenient and user-friendly environment. And customers don’t need to push their cart through the aisles to find their product of need – all they need to do is a quick search within the site.
Your e-commerce website can offer users all the information and images they need about their products of choice, which will help them better decide whether what they’re buying will fulfill their needs.
Online presence will help attract more customers
Having an online presence through your e-commerce website will give you a very important channel to drive more customers to your business: internet search engines. More than 80% of the online population has used the internet to purchase something. Users are buying online at an increasing pace, and the most likely place they start from when making an online purchase is their favorite search engine. Once you have your e-commerce solution in place, search engines will start indexing your website, and if you have a good SEO and digital marketing plan, you’ll increase the chances of users finding you when querying for products they desire, giving you a great source of lead generation for your business.
Get useful insights on customers’ browsing and shopping habits
With the help of analytics tools, e-commerce websites can give you invaluable information about how users are reacting to your site’s design and contents, which products are generating more hype, how users’ shopping habits are changing over time and in different seasons. This can help you plan your special offers and pricing strategies based on realistic data and feedback from your customers and tailor them on a per-customer basis.
By keeping track of customer purchase history and browsing habits, you can also setup a loyalty program and make special offers to customers who make timely or frequent purchases. These options are much more convenient than their traditional physical equivalents such as bargains and coupons.
Putting your data to good use can go a long way to improve customer satisfaction, build trust with your audience and improve your sales rate.
Expansion at a low cost
In a brick-and-mortar model, a business’s expansion is bound to investing in new real estate, staff and logistics, a time-consuming and expensive endeavor. A simple e-commerce solution will help you reach out way beyond your direct vicinity at a very low fee and in a quick and painless process, and you don’t need to expand your workforce. In fact, with an e-commerce solution, your business can quickly achieve global levels, and you’ll only need to deal with the extra shipping process. There are many success stories about small local businesses turning into worldwide sensations thanks to e-commerce technology.
Bottom line
From both a vendor and a customer standpoint, an e-commerce is a definite must-have for every retail business. It will result in extended brand reach, improved online presence, increase in customer satisfaction, better lead generation, and at length, a huge boost in sales and revenue. If you don’t have an e-commerce solution, maybe it’s time to think about getting one.

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