Monday, 19 October 2015

How Location-Based Mobile Apps are Revolutionizing the Retail Landscape

Gone are the days when you walked into a large retail store, headed straight for the sales section, but left empty-handed because you couldn’t find the thing you were looking for.

Emerging mobile technology and smart solutions have revolutionized the retail shopping experience, and location based mobile apps have made it easier for customers to find a retail store nearby with what they need.

Retailers have begun to grasp the idea of location-based mobile technology to their advantage and seem ready to climb onboard.

Forrester believes that, in 2015, mobile technology will transform the entire business model and “will both change the cost structure and revenue models for business.” To better understand the evolution of the retail landscape from the perspective of location based solutions, let’s first take a look at the evolution of consumer habits over the years.

Evolving Consumer Mindsets Creates New Opportunities

Today, over two-thirds of all US consumers own a smartphone and the impact of mobile technology on the retail industry is undeniable.

According to an IDC study conducted during the Christmas shopping season, 70% of respondents said they check prices on their phones, and 53% looked for deals.

Another research on the habits of mobile users reveals significant number of redeemed mobile coupons. “41% of mobile coupon users said they had redeemed coupons at the grocery store, 41% said they redeemed coupons at department stores, and 39% at clothing stores,” according to Business Insider.

With the proliferation of mobile technology in our daily lives and the widespread adoption of mobile solutions in the realm of retail sales; retailers, marketers, and service providers are at an ideal point to capitalize on the opportunity to revolutionize the classic brick-and-mortar retail shopping experience.

Reebok, the athletic goods company, has used a customized location-based mobile app to drive conversions at a pop-up store in Paris by participating in a two-day fitness event with LesMills.

The fitness center pushed a welcome message with a discount offer for the Reebok pop-up store to its app users, and as they moved around, they kept on receiving messages based on their location or interaction. A 35% conversion rate was recorded at the pop-up store that year – that equals about 350 purchases over two days.

Extra Features and Services Compel Customers to Use Apps

Realizing the massive response of customers to mobile technology, every other retailer now has a custom location based mobile app, or is in the process of developing one. Most leading retailers have begun to add various other services and functionalities into their apps to make customers want to use them on and in between visits.

Geo-Fencing and In-Venue Marketing Draws In Customers

Using Geo-fencing, a GPS technology that creates a virtual fence around your possible location, retailers are sending out opt-in text messages with current and upcoming promotions to consumers as they enter a marked area.

Coupled with location data, retailers are also leveraging business intelligence in the form of consumer buying behavior and preferences obtained from their app to streamline their marketing activities.

An in-store mobile technology senses a customer’s current location, tells the store owners who is at a particular aisle, what are they looking at and what may eventually be purchased. This helps retailers sell products the moment a consumer enters a relevant aisle. Large malls, expo centers, and even airports now provide in-venue services.

Location-based apps are creating waves in the retail industry and have affected how business is conducted. While large retailers are already using it to improve their bottom line, smaller cafes and restaurants have also started experimenting with the technology.

Are you thinking about deploying in-venue or location-based apps/services for your business? What could be the most challenging aspect of the implementation in your opinion? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Why Choose QuickBooks for Your Small Business?

Intuit QuickBooks (QB) is a well-known accounting program that helps businesses and individuals to manage their finances. An accounting program can help enterprises play a greater role in managing its financial performance while ensuring that all transactions have been accounted for in an efficient manner.

A large number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) prefer QuickBooks over other accounting solutions available in the market. If you're considering an accounting program for your business needs,
QuickBooks should be your top choice. Let us take a closer look at the advantages provided by this market leader.

What Makes QuickBooks Superior?

There are a number of factors that have led to Intuit dominating the small business accounting market with their product. Some of noteworthy ones are:
  • Effortless Setup ProcessQB is very easy to set up and install. The software includes a wizard that guides users through the installation process. Additional steps are suggested when a user answers a set of questions. Once you set it up, you can very quickly sync business contacts from your email client or use Microsoft Excel. In addition, QB's online version can auto-download important financial transactions from business bank accounts for accurate performance tracking.

  • Excellent User Support – What makes QB stand out from its competitors is the amount of support enterprise users are presented with. For instance, if you are a new business just getting started with QuickBooks, you will benefit from the 'Interview' mode that can take you through the installation activity with the help of 21 simple steps that don't require more than a simple 'Yes' or 'No' answer. Also, when you first use QB, you can very quickly create your company's profile within the program and add transactions if needed. All these actions are streamlined, courtesy QB's user-friendly interface.

  • Efficiency Enhancing Features: QB has a lot to offer to SMEs. One of the attributes that enterprises will find very useful is being able to track expenses. There are a number of tools available within the program that aid in expense management. For instance, QB Pro lets you track pending vendor bills and even print checks directly from the program using your computer. Another advantage is being able to manage customers, vendors and employee data through a single application. Some organizations may also choose to integrate QB and other popular CRM systems like Microsoft Dynamics to further enhance business efficiency. Finally, businesses can save time as QB allows you to easily delete transaction history and all the data related to firms you're no longer dealing with. You do not need to erase individual entries one by one.

Potential Drawbacks?

QuickBooks is no doubt a great product for financial management. However, there are some aspects that you should consider before investing in it. With cloud based applications gaining importance, think about whether you need an on-premise system or an app that is hosted on the cloud? Fortunately, QB offers both. So, ultimately cost and other business factors come into the picture when choosing one QB product over the other. Additionally, QB is targeted at SMEs mainly. What happens when your business grows in size? If you are not using QB on premise and not on the cloud, your business may face a little trouble scaling up.

Despite the concerns expressed above, QuickBooks does remain to be favored by SMEs world-wide. The range of features offered, 60 day money back guarantee, 30 day free trial, community support and automatic data backup make QB a formidable competitor among all other industry players.

Choose QB if you want a fully customizable, reliable and robust enterprise solution to streamline financial management and accounting processes.