What is Near Field Communication and How Does It Work?

Near Field CommunicationNear Field Communication, (NFC) is a form of contactless communication between two devices such as smartphones and tablets. The technology works by allowing users to simply wave one NFC device over another NFC compatible device to complete a transaction or data transfer. NFC facilitates the exchange of information between the two devices without the need for touching each other. It also eliminates the cumbersome process of a user having to go through the multiple steps required for pairing two devices, like when using other wireless technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

NFS technology has been around for quite some time. However, more people are becoming aware of it now, with the proliferation of smartphones and tablets into the mass market. Device manufacturers have also begun to make it a standard feature in most of the current generation smartphones and tablets. Near Field Communication technology is what is being used in things like smart cards, commuter cards, and print advertisements.

Near Field Communication technology works in two ways:

Two-way communication: In this scenario there are two devices, both of which can read and write to one another. E.g. using two Android smartphones to transfer data such as photos, music, video, links or contacts.

One-way Communication: This type of NFC technology has been around for quite some time. Here one device is powered (such as a credit card reader, computer card terminal or a smartphone) and can read and write on an NFC chip. This is what happens every time you swipe your commuter card on the terminal. The terminal powered by NFC subtracts the money from the balance written on your commuter

Think of NFC as a Bluetooth connection, but one that uses far less power compared to connect two devices. Considering smartphones are soon set to replace your wallet, commuter cards, ATM cards; it is imperative that the technology uses less power and puts the least drain on your phone’s battery life.

Another advantage of NFC over Bluetooth is that it doesn’t require you to go through the hectic pairing process: Turn on Bluetooth…Make your device discoverable… Search for Bluetooth devices…enter the passcode… This would be inconveniencing if you had to do that every time you want to pay when you are out shopping or paying for your commuter fee.

Near Field Communication can also work with Bluetooth devices.  For instance, when you want to play music from your mobile device to your Bluetooth speakers, just tap your phone to your speaker. The speakers will play music via NFC from your phone, and you won’t have to go through the complicated Bluetooth pairing process.

It is only a matter of time before mobile payment becomes mainstream, and NFC will be the vehicle to this future. Considering the number of reported cases of credit card frauds, it would be a good idea to find a technology solution that shield users.

Big retailers already have installed NFC-based contactless pay terminals, making mobile payment easier. Smartphone that are compatible with Google Wallet can use these terminals, so can iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

How To Avoid Wasting Money And Time Building Bad Mobile Apps

How To Avoid Wasting Money And Time Building Bad Mobile AppsMany businesses, driven by all the media hype have taken to the mobile platform like it’s the proverbial silver bullet, but not all get the results they expected at the end. Businesses are making significant investments in terms of money and time in building mobile sites and apps. Some businesses despite doing all these they find themselves lagging behind their competition.

The owners soon start asking themselves where are all the mobile friendliness advantages they heard about from the marketing experts? Well, the problem is not with the technology, but how it was implemented. Otherwise, it would be just a waste of time and resources.

The following are some tips on why mobile apps are not an automatic win as some believe:

Develop an app with your audience in mind:

Just developing an app for the sake of it may do your brand more harm than good. Stats show that up to 40% of mobile users say; they were completely dissatisfied with the apps created by their favorite brands. Often businesses get carried away with the euphoria of mobile space’s innovations, technology, tools, and possibilities. Thus, in an attempt to make their app slick and sexy, they compromised on functionality and suitability for the end users.

Don’t economize expenditure over functionality:

We understand that in business there are many expenditures, and you need to save as much as possible on However, if you are going to build a business app, don’t economize on the expenditure to the extent the budget doesn’t satisfy the threshold for a practical and interactive app. The last thing you want for your business is to spend on an app that will not assist your business in any way. You are better off spending extra on an app that will have Return on Investment.

Failure to market your app:

After rolling out their app to the market, a lot of the businesses stop at that. Few go the needed extra mile of marketing and creating awareness of the app to the targeted end users. For the app usage to pick up, your target market must first know it exists. It sometimes requires some convincing on your part for them to start downloading and using the app.

If you want to build a good and effective app that will not waste your time and money. Then you need to ask yourself the following questions:

  • What do you need the mobile app for?
  • Who stands to benefit from the app?
  • What are the incidences when a mobile app will have more impact on the business’s operations?
  • What are the pros and cons of a non-mobile option that does the same purpose you want the mobile app to do?

If you can answer all of the above questions, write them down on a list and always refer to that list as time moves along. It will serve to remind you why you want an app in the first place. You should also ask other well-informed people if your reasoning is sound.

A lot of businesses assume the latest widely practiced technology will be the ultimate fix for their organization. That is rarely true, and you need to combine your mobile friendliness strategies with the traditional ways of marketing. You should never think that you can abandon the other traditional ways of reaching out to your customers.

7 Facts That Proves Mobile Marketing Is Now The Leading Marketing Strategy

Mobile MarketingMobile marketing has been growing at a very explosive rate and is showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. The power of mobile marketing has already dawned on many businesses, and more are adopting mobile strategies by the day.

As a business owner, are you planning on joining the mobile bandwagon and capitalize on this growing trend? The best time to do so is now. The following are seven facts to show why you should be going mobile:

  1. Mobile platform is now the leader:

    Back in 2014, Google predicted that by 2015 mobile searches (85.9 billion) will surpass desktop searches at (84 billion). Google further said, mobile search ad spending will experience more growth compared to desktop search ads. It is also predicted that by 2015, there will be nearly 2 billion smartphone users around the world. Currently 57% of people in the United States own smartphones. Considering all that stats, it clearly evident that mobile marketing is indeed an already lucrative market that is still growing. This prediction was officially confirmed on April 21st and was termed mobilegeddon.

  2. Mobile searches are more local:

    Stats show that local searches make up to 40% of all mobile searches. 77% of these searches take place when users are at work or at home. The power of mobile-on-the-go is highly appreciated by everyone, and smartphone owners are using mobile search to look for information on local businesses.

  3. Mobile platform records faster conversions:

    81% of conversion takes place within the first 5 hours of mobile search. The power of searches can’t be underestimated since they lead up to other actions such as calling, visiting the business premises and the ultimately, sales. But the conversions rate is largely dependent on you as the business owner; you not only need to be available on the mobile platform you also have to market yourself in the manner that will lead to conversions. You have to make your business accessible to customers via mobile and give them great product/customer services.

  4. Mobile give users new ways to stay connected:

    If you ask yourself what are the top uses for smartphone by people. Statistics show that users use their phones 83% of the time to make calls, 74% to check their emails, 67% to do searches, 62% to take pictures and 57% of the time for social media. Now as a marketer, you should think of how you will leverage on these stats. In terms of email marketing and social media marketing and putting out pictures of your products and services out there for users to see.

  5. Use Mobile peak times to your advantage:

    Stats show that most people are using their mobile between 8pm to midnight. Knowing what time users are on their mobile devices the most is an important marketing tool. It is also a known fact that mobile searches double during the holidays. With these stats you can make your marketing strategy to coincide with the time when most users are on their mobile phones, thereby making the most out of your ad campaigns.

  6. Growth in mobile usage cuts across the board:

    Mobile phone is now not just a thing for teens and kids anymore. In fact, stats show that the 55-64 age-group is currently the fastest growing age-group joining social media. While the 45-54 age-group is the fastest growing demographic. If you conduct tailor-made mobile marketing campaign using these demographic stats, you stand to be more effective in your marketing.

  7. Users prefer mobile apps to mobile sites:

    Stats show that 85% of users prefer using a mobile app, compared to using a mobile website. Currently, iOS apps make four times as much revenue as Android apps do. In terms of social media apps, Facebook is the leading downloaded app, followed by Google+ and Google Search. As a marketer you should design a smart mobile marketing strategy using these stats.

Mobile marketing is here to stay and is fast becoming a powerful marketing platform. If you are not already on the mobile platform, what are you waiting for? iBuzz Local can help your take your business  mobile.

6 Things To Get Right Before Developing a Mobile App For Business

6 Things To Get Right Before Developing a Mobile App For BusinessIt’s a fact that these days virtually all businesses are making a mobile app. But only handfuls come up with a mobile app for business that gives the desired results. Most businesses are losing time and money on apps that not only won’t benefit them but also are made by outdated processes.

The first thing you ought to get right is the answers to these questions: what do you want the app to accomplish? What benefits is the app bringing to users?

Perhaps the most important question, is will the app help your bottom line? If the app does not address all these questions, you are likely building a mobile app for business that will disappoint you in the long run.

The best indicator that your app is ineffective is when after launching it in the app’s store, the adoption rate is quite low. The following are some six steps that will help you build an effective app and just as important, enable you avoid creating a useless app:

Step 1 – Define the goal to be achieved by the app:

Just like when starting a business, you should ensure everybody onboard the team creating the app is up to speed on exactly what the app is intended to achieve. You should identify the goal if you can come up with goal quantified with numbers it will help you understand the measurable strategic goals you want the app to achieve.

Step 2 – Establish a workflow that forms the process:

You should identify the process and the workflow in your business that the app will be able to accomplish. Take, for instance, the app is intended to increase your business’s revenue, you must think about the outside and inside sales process. If it’s about making your organization more efficient and cutting down on costs, then you must think about the manufacturing process, service delivery and the operation cost for the business. The next step would be to map out these workflows and clearly identify the steps involved.

Step 3 – Identify the problems in the workflow:

Step 3 is the most important step in the whole process. This is where you identify the inefficiencies facing the process. These inefficiencies manifest in term extra resources, time, costs and people to hire. This is where much attention should be focused on, and be resolved in a detailed manner. For instance, if you identify your production team spend 30 percent of their time doing unnecessary routine tasks. Then you can equate this to unnecessary cost of production and the potential efficiency you stand to gain once you free them from doing that 30 percent unnecessary routine tasks.

Step 4 – Come up with ideas for the app:

Here you should be asking yourself, for the problems identified in the workflow, which are the various types of mobile apps that could solve these problems? You should never talk about an app, before identifying the problem it is addressing in your organization. Otherwise, you might end up creating an app that completely adds no value to your business.

Step 5 – Quantify the Impact of the app:

In terms of dollars and cents in revenue, the potential cost savings, and the resultant efficiencies. This is the step where a business can rule out an app. If the app is not is not adding any value to your business, then there would be no need to develop one.

Step 6 – Rate and prioritize your apps:

You should make a list and determine which apps you want to create first. In step 4 above, you should have come up with various ideas, and prioritize the ones you need the most depending on how you rate them. You should also ask yourself how many times you will need to retrain people on using the app. Does your IT system have the necessary data to support the app? The result of this is that you will have prioritized the dozens of apps, ranking them from which you need the most to which can wait for a while.

At iBuzz Local, we will walk with you through all the above six steps to come up with the most comprehensive plan to come up with a  mobile app for business that will deliver the results you want. Call us or email us today, better yet visit our offices at 4249 E State St. Rockford, IL 61108.

How Mobile Apps Can Help Improve Your Customer Service

If you are a business operating in an industry whose products don’t have much differentiation, the differentiating factor between you and your competition will be the quality of your customer care. How well you trial your customers could either make or break the business. In such a scenario the quality of your customer service can be a major determining factor.How Mobile Apps Can Help Improve Your Customer Service

If you do not have the best relationship with your customers, this can spell the death of your business, as they will simply turn to your competition offering better customer experience. The following are some tips on how to improve your customer service through use of mobile apps:

  • Mobile apps enables customers to serve themselves: You have to be careful with this one, as it could easily be misinterpreted to ignoring your customers. What this actually means is that you should make it easy for customers to find the answers they want. Give them helpful guides, menu navigation that enable them to easily find what they’re want, simply enable them experience great self-service but always be on-standby ready to provide them the answers and information should they encounter any difficulties. You can easily achieve this through a mobile app. Customers can simply go to the app and find the information they need from the convenience of their phones. But you have to make the information in the app easy to read and have an intuitive format. The app will be available to the customers on their smartphones 24/7.
  • Mobile apps minimize the number of customer service questions: One thing you should understand is that today’s customers are always-connected and have a great demand for on-demand services. Striving to meet these demands is what sets you apart from your competition. As a small business, you may not afford to hire a staff for call center to work around the clock. If you have a mobile app, customers are likely to first go to that app, before contacting your customer service center. If or when they do, they will have fewer questions since most were already answered at the mobile app. A mobile app enables you to answer your customers questions fast, cheaply and at any time.
  • Create brand loyalty through great customer service: Providing great customer service can enable you earn brand loyalty from your customers. Successful companies have been able to achieve this by combining mundane customer service with some personal communications. There are a number of choices available for doing this, ranging from mobile loyalty programs, incentives and personalized customer services among others.
  • Mobile apps can help you keep tabs on your customer: A good business should be able to anticipate their customers, and the only way to do this is by keeping a watchful eye on customers’ habits and behavior. You should observe what is working and what is not. Always ask for feedback from the customers and ensure you adjust accordingly, a mobile app will enable you achieve this better since it’s always available to your customers around the clock and from the convenience of their own phones.

You should pay a great deal of importance to the customer service, sometimes this is all that makes a difference between you and your competitors. As far as reaching out to your customers via a mobile app, iBuzz Local gives you the best mobile apps and mobile-friendly sites development in the market. Talk to us today, by clicking here.

Dusk for the Computer Age and the Dawn of the Mobile Age

Dusk for the Computer Age and the Dawn of the Mobile AgeThe human species has undoubtedly proven itself to be a species of seasons. We moved from the stone-age, to the iron-age, industrial age and now we are in the technology age. Within this technology era, we are experiencing fast-paced digital evolution, where people are fast adapting new technology based on what works for them there and then. It is for this reason that the computer desktop space is losing ground to mobile space. For the simple reason, that conventional desktop PCs and laptops are not as practical as mobile devices.

A study released by comScore backs this; more Americans are spending more time consuming digital media through mobile apps on their mobile devices than they do on the conventional desktop computers and laptops. The following is a highlight of findings in this report:

US users spend more time on apps than any other digital mediums:

According to the comScore report, users are using mobile apps 52% of the time to consume digital media. Put together with mobile web browsing, the usage of mobile devices account for 62% of the time spent consuming digital media. The conventional desktop computers and laptops account for only 40% of that time. These stats clearly shows us; consumers are evolving from computer-age to the mobile age.

Usage of Mobile apps is fast on the increase:

The comScore report also shows that the majority of the growth in mobile usage is attributed to mobile apps. The report distinctively says that 7 of every 8 minutes spent on digital media consumption on a mobile device is through mobile apps. It further outlines that these mobile apps usage are 88% of the time on smartphones, and 82% of the time on tablets.

Users prefer using Mobile Apps better to Mobile sites:

The report also shows exactly how US mobile users are using both the mobile apps against the mobile websites. A third of mobile users said that they download at least one app per month and on average, a smartphone user downloads at least three apps per month. But these stats is concentrated: the top 7% mobile users account for as much as 50% of the downloads in any given month.

Smartphone owners use Mobile Apps on a daily basis:

The study also distinguished just how often smartphone users engage with their mobile apps. Over 50% of those surveyed said they engaged with their mobile apps on a daily basis, putting it at a minimum of 26 days in every month.

Social Media apps are the most frequently used Mobile Apps:

Smartphone users are using their apps mostly for social media compared to other reasons. The leading social media app is Facebook – accounting for 42% of all times users use apps on their smartphone. Other leading apps are YouTube, Google Search, Google Play, Gmail, Instagram, and Pandora among others.

While social media apps top the list of most frequently used apps, it is closely followed by entertainment apps, communication apps, news apps, email apps and shopping apps.

Judging from the comScore study report, it is clearly evident that mobile apps are the preferred choice for interaction by mobile users. This trend is expected to grow over the coming years at a much faster rate.

If you are a business selling digital content, you must jump onto the mobile bandwagon sooner rather than later, or risk being obsolete. At iBuzz Local, we know just the things to leverage the mobile age to your advantage. We are only an email or phone call away.

Get on the Mobile Apps Bandwagon, or Abandon the Business

Get on the Mobile AppsIn the tech-savvy world of the 21st century, for any business to survive the heat of the competition it must incorporate the use of technology in its operations. A business needs to employ as much of the latest cutting edge technology as it can. One of such technologies is the use of mobile phones.

“Why the mobile phone?” you may ask. Well, stats indicates that customers are on their mobile phones around the clock. Thus, it would be a prudent business move for any business wishing to compete in this already viciously competitive market, to make their operations adapt to the mobile platform. Failure to do so will be equal to surrendering to your competitors who have already identified this and are making the necessary changes.

In a very short period, smartphones and tablets have completely revolutionized the way we get information for all types of business. The current generation is increasingly turning to their mobile devices to get the news, current events as well as get some entertainment.

To prove this for yourself, read the following stats about the giant leap in the use of mobile phones for this year alone:

*By January About 58% of adults in America owned a smartphone.

*The number of Americans owning a tablet grew from 3% to 42% for only this year.

*Mobile phones are what consumers spend the most time on per day, coming second only to the Television.

Keeping the above stats in mind, eMarketers are also predicting that in 2018, mobile marketing would make up 26.4% of the $220 billion US ad market.

Now considering all the facts and figures mentioned above, the next question you should be asking yourself is, how does your company benefit by joining the mobile phone bandwagon? Equally as important, how does your business go about doing this?

To answer this, first let’s look at more stats given below:

*25% of Americans use tablets to browse the internet.

*Shockingly, 45% of companies do not have a mobile-ready website or content.

*The numbers of small business with mobile-optimized websites stand at just 26%.

Did the above stats give you some hints on how to begin? If you run an SMB or work with an SMB client, the use of mobile apps (and/or mobile-optimized websites) will help you capitalize on the mobile bandwagon.

Simply put, most SMB are not tapping into this market and are afraid of joining this market by fearing that adopting the use of mobile apps is too expensive and complicated.

Well, surprise! It is neither that expensive nor that complex. If anything, designing mobile apps is quite simple and surprisingly cheap nowadays. There is nothing preventing your SMB from capitalizing on this mobile phone ‘goldmine’.

However, before you start developing your mobile app, there are some few important things you should keep in mind. These are as follows:

*Always keep it simple, viewable and very functional

*Make your customers always want to come back (by awarding them loyalty rewards, coupons, special deals, great customer services among other things.)

*Ensure you have an excellent marketing strategy tailor-made to the given specific location

*Strive to stand out from the crowd; give your customers something they can’t get anywhere else

Now, are you interested in developing mobile app for your business? You can get started right away by contacting iBuzz Local.

Mobile Purchase Behavior (Awareness)

In the overview of this series we discussed at a very high level how a mobile marketing strategy can assist a consumer down the path to purchasing your product or service over your competitors. Here is a quick recap:

  • Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices to assist them in the consumer buying process.
  • There are 6 stages in the consumer buying decision flow:
    1. Awareness: The recognition of a need, this is really an analysis of maslow’s hierarchy of needs in combination with marketing efforts.
    2. Consideration: The creation of an evoked set of alternatives. This is a mental short-list that the consumer creates based on internal and external influences.
    3. Preference: Based on the criteria that is most important to the consumer he/she will narrow down the list to a preferred brand.
    4. Purchase: This is where the consumer will actually buy a product or service
    5. Loyalty: After the purchase the buyer will enter into stages of post-purchase evaluation where they will re-evaluate the purchase they just made and file the experience away (in their minds) for future reference
  • A complete mobile marketing strategy can assist in every stage of flow because of the proximity to a mobile device for the consumer and the marketing efforts a brand undertakes.
In this post we will dive a little deeper into the Awareness stage.
mobile purchase behavior
The Awareness stage is when a consumer recognizes that they are missing something that they want or need.
There are a lot of factors that influence this realization:
  • Self-expression – Reflection of personal tastes
  • Affiliation – Be a part of a group
  • Independence – Stand out from the crowd
  • Novelty – Be Awesome

How does this tie into a mobile marketing strategy?

When designing your mobile marketing strategy you need to consider QR codes as your first line of communication with your buyers. QR codes or Quick Response codes allow you to engage with a consumer in a specific and measurable manner.
Specific – QR codes can be placed anywhere and can have built-in context or some text around it to give it context. The power of the QR code is that it allows you to understand and track the intention of a buyer. So when they are in the Awareness stage you can grab their attention at the right time and place.

Measurable – If implemented correctly QR codes can help you track a lot of valuable data about your consumers. Things that can be tracked are:

  • Number of QR scans
  • Geo-location
  • Date
  • Type of mobile device (brand)
  • Mobile operating system (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc)
  • Other Custom Events that help track campaign performance
By reaching consumers at the Awareness stage through the use of QR codes brands have the unique ability to understand who, what and where they need to engage consumer so they will spend more money and always have that brand on top of mind.

 

How to build a massively successful mobile web site

HTML5 is considered by many the future of mobile web design. It has been heralded as the mobile web’s saviour by more than a few bloggers and fortune 50 companies (Silicon Angel, Mashable and Apple).

Leveraging a post from a fellow mobile web app advocate (Pinch/Zoom) I am going to quickly walkthrough what it takes to build out the correct infrastructure for a massively successful mobile web app. This is not meant to be a technical discussion but more of a commentary on the key point made in the original blog post.

HTML 5 mobile and web app stack graph

Device Detection

The core to device detection lives within a file that outlines all the different user agents (mobile software provider). Your user agent script needs to always be updated to reflect the changing market conditions, especially now thatGoogle has purchased Motorola.

Offline Browsing

15% of all mobile browsing is done offline so it is important to think about how the data is cached on the phone and how many levels deep someone can browse. By having a offline mobile data strategy you can guarantee that your users’ experience is optimal even when data connectivity is lost.

Interactions and Transitions

Javascript and CSS are the main building blocks to a solid user experience. With tools like jQTouch, Sencha Touchor jQuery Mobile making mobile sites look and interact beautifully is easy. However, these libraries are just a base to build off of, the first step is to identify the your mobile business objectives. After you have identified your business objectives you can pick and choose the components that support those objectives, giving the customer what they want, when they want it.

Conclusion

When considering your mobile marketing strategy you should consider:

  • Device Compatibility – Native apps only work on 1 device type, mobile web apps work on all devices
  • First identify business objectives, then build interactions to fulfill those goals
  • Have a offline mobile data strategy to ensure your visitors experience is consistent whether they have connectivity or not.
  • Consider the options. Without proper planning any technology project can be expensive, especially a mobile one. By focusing on what your customers need you can optimize your marketing and technology dollars in the most efficient maner.

 

The Time For Mobile is Now

Google released this great video, here are some highlights from the video:

Mobile is so big that it is changing and creating consumer trends
125 Years of Angry Birds are played everyday
1 in 3 Mobile searches have mobile intent
59% of mobile users visit a local store after searching for it on the mobile web
Mobile is huge in niches that you would expect, and some you dont expect
17% of all Auto searches are mobile
15% of all Finance and Insurance searches are from mobile devices
30% of all Restaurant searches are from mobile phones
What does all this mean?

with 79% of all large online advertisers not having a mobile optimized site, people are becoming frustrated with the brands that do not take mobile into account.