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HOW THE IMPORTANCE OF E-COMMERCE PLATFORMS GREW DURING THE PANDEMIC

Never in history has the world relied more on the internet than during this Covid-19 pandemic. With governments imposing lockdowns and other social distancing measures everywhere, disruption to the traditional demand and supply systems has been inevitable. Today, businesses and the world population at large are turning online for solutions to this sudden paralysis. This is where the importance of e-commerce platforms is manifesting.

While the concept of online shopping is nothing new, its importance has grown several folds during these Covid times. The increasing limitation of movement and international border restrictions are some of the reasons more people are opting to do business over the internet. Put otherwise, e-commerce is helping the world to cope in various ways that we discuss below.

 

Facilitating service delivery

Think about this; the education system is a service delivery sector that plays such a crucial role in the growth of the world. It facilitates discoveries, sharing of knowledge, employments, and interactions among people. Unfortunately, all this was severely interrupted by the pandemic, with most schools now closed down to minimize the spread of the virus.

E-commerce platforms are offering alternate places where learning can take place. For example, schools are now actively setting up websites where students can enjoy remote access to tutors and learning materials. This has seen businesses go on as usual, but with the exception of physical interactions.

 

Empowering the product industry

Any business, whether new or established, small or large, can sell its products over the internet. Today, some of the world’s largest e-commerce platforms, including Shopify and WooCommerce are making it easy for entrepreneurs to set up online stores. Use them to diversify your marketing channels, reach more potential customers, and make more money.

A properly set up online store is just as effective as a land-based one, with the added comfort of operating it from anywhere. You no longer have to stress about business closure and staying jobless. It also offers an alternate way for your customers to find your products, pay, and provide feedback for future improvements.

 

Providing entertainment

Statistics show that digital streaming services like Netflix and YouTube are thriving more now compared to pre-Covid times, but why so? With people spending more time indoors, there’s an increased demand for streaming content including music and movies. So, if you have any exciting projects that you’d like to share with the world, now is the best time to do it!

Governments everywhere are barring traditional entertainment as a measure to minimize human interaction. Luckily, there are a few effective ways to go around these restrictions with e-commerce. For example, you can build an audience and make money while at it by sharing ideas through articles, making online videos, or even promoting other people’s content.

 

Offering venues to sell intellectual property

The internet offers an excellent platform to sell your skills, insights, and expertise. For instance, think about readers and students; where are they getting reading materials with book stores now closed?

You can bridge this gap by joining online stores like Amazon to sell your hardcover books, magazines, and any other intellectual property. If you’re a musician, this is also a great time to ramp up your marketing by focusing on platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify and SoundCloud among others.

 

Creating alternate supply chains

E-commerce platforms are offering alternative supply systems for delivering necessities to consumers. For example, with the traveling restrictions imposed in some places, it means business owners have to rely more on the online supply systems to deliver goods.

In the same vein, online shops are providing safe ways to restock supplies; consumers no longer have to walk to groceries, chemists, or shops to pick the necessities. Less movement translates to reduced chances of getting infected, and a step in the right direction in the fight against Covid-19.

 

Providing channels for crowdfunding

If you have a revolutionary idea or activity that you’d like people to support you on, this is a great time to promote it online. For example, people discovering foods and drugs that help to manage Covid-19 symptoms are getting a lot of support in donations.

To get started, all you need is to set up an account on e-commerce platforms like GoFundMe or Kickstarter. If your idea resonates well with your target audience, then you’re all set to do something you love while uniting people for the common good.

 

Conclusion

Covid-19 is nothing like we’ve seen before and is sure to change how we live and view most things. Luckily, e-commerce has enabled people to lead near-normal lives, given that you can order, buy, or sell pretty much anything without necessarily interacting physically. With no end in sight for this pandemic, it’s safe to say e-commerce is here to stay!

Business

HOW TO SAVE MONEY WHEN DEVELOPING AN APP FOR YOUR COMPANY

Creating the perfect app for your company is vital in ensuring growth and success. In fact, with 3.8 billion people owning a smartphone, phone apps are steadily becoming the quickest and easiest way of connecting with a customer base. Not only does it boost overall customer recognition, but it also increases customer satisfaction. As 70% of buying experiences are influenced by how a customer feels, increasing satisfaction can be a good way to boost sales.

However, creating apps can be extremely expensive and complex to design, especially on a small budget. While they are extremely important for small businesses, many do not have the adequate income to spend on app design. But don’t worry! Our 6 hassle-free tips will allow you to have it all! The perfect app that doesn’t break the bank – it’s almost as if Christmas has come early.

 

Research Well

The perfect app won’t just appear out of thin air. In fact, the majority of successful apps would have taken years to create. So, before doing anything, it’s important to have a solid idea of what you want. This will also mean you won’t have to spend extra time explaining to a professional when it comes to building the app. And we all know, time is money. So, sit down with a big piece of paper and don’t stop writing till you have the ideal idea. Although creating an initial idea is already a big step, it’s also always beneficial to look at the market and check for similar apps. Small similarities can be good as it means the app code won’t have to be completely new, but you don’t want to be creating an exact replica! Try and stay as unique as possible.

 

Stay Simple

No one likes a fiddly app. Try and keep your app simple and focus on the overall goal. Is the app primarily for selling? Or is it for customer feedback? It’s always good to fully understand why you’re making the app before investing the time and money into the process. This idea should lead how the app will work and what features will need to be used. Going for something simple will usually cost less money, as it will take less time to develop the code and for the code to be tested. Just remember that there are often tweaks to be made after an initial version of the app is created, so making your design simple will ensure these stay to the minimum. Additionally, keeping the interface simple may also have a positive effect on customer experience – no one likes an app with too many features that it’s impossible to find what you’re actually looking for. Simplicity is a key way of keeping costs down, while also boosting overall customer satisfaction.

 

Try a Responsive Design

To put it simply, responsive design is a design that works on all devices. Be it the smallest of smartphones, to that 90-inch wall tv, your app should merge seamlessly from one to the other. Many companies wrongly opt for creating non-responsive apps, which means that they must design new interfaces for every different sized device! Not only is this time consuming, but it also means a lot of time with a professional creating lots of unessential code. Although the professional you choose may not mention this outright, you should always ask for them to make your app a responsive design. Most developers can do this quickly and easily, saving you both money and time. Don’t make this mistake – ask your developer from the get-go!

 

Use Automated Testing

Testing an app is one of the most lengthy and expensive parts of the process. But, as annoying as it may seem to test and re-test the same code, it’s something that just has to be done. You don’t want your app to suddenly have a meltdown just as a customer goes to make a big purchase. In fact, this part of the process is probably the most important, as it helps iron-out all the small issues to ensure that your app stays working at optimum for a longer period of time. As a result, this also means you will have to spend less money on app maintenance in the future.

While it does have to be done, there are easier and more robust ways than manual testing. We highly recommend using automated testing services from a company like Global App, which is a method of testing that uses specialist software to execute pre-scripted test cases. So, in essence, it tests the app by checking the code for thousands of potential bugs that could affect it in mere minutes. If this is something that interests you, you can read about the best practices here. This super simple site explains all the benefits to automation testing, and where and how you can apply it to your app. They also offer an easy online guide to ensure this step doesn’t get too overwhelming.

 

Avoid Push Notifications

It’s important to avoid unnecessary expenses such as push notifications. These pop up like text messages or mobile alerts for your customers. While many apps may have this feature, they actually sap up a lot of money and, in the end, aren’t worth it. Why do they use up so much money? Well, not only do these require more intricate coding, which will take longer, but they also need a lot of maintenance. As they’re constantly sending and receiving information, they can often end up failing and causing more problems in the app. Additionally, push notifications can clog up the general operating of your app and make it look messy. Many customers may prefer a more clean, simple look, as it shows professionalism and indicates ease of use.

The most important tip for creating your app is to stay focused. Make sure you build a design that is in line with the apps purpose. While many developers may try and sell you additional fancy add-ons, don’t be swayed. Sticking to a simple, easy design will ensure your money stays right where you want it… safe in your bank!

 

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Business

BACK TO SCHOOL – CEOS NEED TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE, FAST!

By Simon Axon, Financial Services Industry Consulting practice lead in EMEA, Teradata

 

Chief Executive Officers of banks know all about change. Leading responses to new challenges, new opportunities, new regulation and new markets is all in a day’s work. But the existential challenge posed by Big Tech requires a totally new set of skills. It is an entirely different beast that inhabits a totally new environment and speaks its own language. CEOs now need to learn the language of data to survive in the emerging digital world.

Learning a new language later in life is hard. CEOs need to fully commit to accomplish it. Becoming data literate means mastering the basics of vocabulary and grammar. Gartner defines data literacy as the ability to read, write and communicate data in context, including an understanding of data sources and constructs, analytical methods and techniques applied — and the ability to describe the use case, application and resulting value.” Extending the language analogy: the building blocks are an understanding of logical data models – the basic vocabulary; meta data providing rules and information about data is the grammar.  Learning needs to go beyond parroting a few key phrases and acronyms. To really communicate in this new language CEOs must not only be data literate – but data cognitive. Language shapes thinking, and to succeed, today’s CEOs need to think data like digital natives.

Simon Axon

As anyone who has learned a language will recognise – practise makes perfect. This means rolling up your sleeves and getting into the data ‘lab’. Run some queries, experiment with data to test theories and learn how data can, and should, inform all aspects of business management. It is daunting, and different functions are fiercely protective of their data. But that’s one of the big cultural shifts the CEO needs to lead. Data is more valuable when it is used across the business. Developing safe and secure ways to combine, refine and analyse data at an enterprise level is fundamental to competing with Big Tech. The Chief Data Officer can help. Spend time with them and use them as a teaching-resource to get more familiar with what can and cannot be done with your data.

As you practise you will build confidence and move from school-level conversations to business-class data fluency. Spending more time looking at and working with data and you will begin to recognise ‘quality’ data, identify attributes and flag anomalies. This will build confidence and essential trust in data. Last year KPMG found just 35% of CEOs trusted the data in their organisations. This shocking stat undoubtedly stems from a data skills deficit among CEOs themselves. If they don’t know what to ask for, and can’t recognise what they get, they won’t trust it. To stretch our linguistic analogy, if you are not confident in the language then you’ll be anxious ordering food in a restaurant!

Ultimately, no one expects the CEO to personally implement data-analytics programmes across the business. But unless they have the confidence and the skills to accurately communicate what’s needed, to sit at the head of the table and ask the right questions about the menu, then the organisation is unlikely to put the right emphasis on the data strategy.

In How Google Works, former Google Chairman Eric Schmidt outlines how every meeting revolved around data – it is simply how Big Tech works. Banks need to adopt the same approach. Exploiting data in all scenarios must become second-nature. By modelling the use of data across the business – dissolving silos rather than sticking to narrow data sets that reinforce them, the CEO can define a powerful data culture. Operationalizing data strategy will, just like using language skills, stop data literacy from becoming rusty.

Entering any new market requires investment in understanding the language, culture and business environment. In the Big Tech world, data is the lingua franca informing every decision. Bank CEOs need to learn from them and invest in building their knowledge to become data fluent. There are no short cuts. Throwing money, bodies and tech at the problem will not get you there.

 

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