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An Evolving Thing Called M-Commerce

M-commerce, also known as mobile ecommerce, is conducting business through Internet enabled mobile devices, particularly for the promotion and sale of goods.

In essence, M-commerce facilitates business transactions over wireless mobile devices. M-commerce relates to the sale of goods and/or services, which is initiated by using smartphone technology such as mobile apps and interactive mobile shopping carts.

Consumers are using their mobile devices to carry out their shopping needs. And even more prominent than actually making transactions, people are using their smartphones to research and comparison shop. Overall the opportunities to funnel sales using M-commerce are plentiful.

The applications for mobile ecommerce are vast. Below are just a few examples of how M-commerce has been put to work:

  • Purchasing and downloading music, games, and other form of media
  • Pinpointing goods and services in a local area
  • Researching and trading of stocks
  • Booking travel tickets
  • Managing financial and banking accounts

Mobile ecommerce has gained huge success in many markets and is projected to be the next major wave of ecommerce.

Consumers are headed toward an increasingly fast-paced lifestyle, and demand more efficient means to go about their daily tasks. That is why M-commerce is destined to be a major player in how we do business.

How To Adopt to Mobile Ecommerce

Mobile devices and social media are transforming the way consumers interact with both businesses and each other. The keyword here is "Social," because for many, the sharing information is what's important. In addition, the sharing of information is what facilitates greater awareness and unbiased promotion of certain products and services.

To get a jump on M-commerce, businesses should increase their presence in social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, and Foursquare, since most consumers get connected to social media sites through their mobile devices.

Most mobile users are checking product prices, searching for store locations, and reading product reviews through their mobile devices. Therefore companies should design their websites so that customers are able browse their websites from their mobile browsers.

Furthermore, businesses should integrate their social media presence right along with their mobile-friendly optimization, because users are not only checking prices, but they are also "checking in" to tangible locations via smartphone apps like Foursquare.

M-Commerce is on the horizon to be the new front of how we handle business. Some speculate that the smartphone will soon replace the need for owning a wallet.

Entrepreneurs should start weaving mobile ecommerce in their strategic plans and start capitalizing on the mobile movement.

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Yahoo Focuses on Mobile First

Yahoo announced earlier via a blog post that they are going to implement changes that will enhance the personal digital experience of its users. Yahoo stated that their aim is to go "mobile first," in which the company will focus on areas that are ripe for innovation drawn from their existing services. 

In its effort to revolutionize its mobile presence, Yahoo had made some rather surprising sacrifices. The company has recently decided to shut down 10 of its existing mobile applications to give way to its mobile first ambitions. The list, which includes a mix of BlackBerry, Android, and iPhone apps, consists of those apps that are not performing as well as the company hoped.

The 10 apps for Android, Blackberry, and iOS that are being shut down are the following:

  • Yahoo Meme for iPad and iPhone
  • Yahoo Mim for iPad
  • Yahoo AppSpot for Android and iPhone
  • Yahoo Answers for Android
  • Yahoo Shopping for iPhone
  • Yahoo Deals for iPhone
  • Yahoo News for Android
  • Yahoo Finance for Blackberry
  • Yahoo Movies for Android
  • Yahoo Sketch-a-Search for iPad and iPhone

On the other hand, the company's mobile apps like Yahoo! Mail and Messenger, Sportacular, and Flickr, will not be affected by these changes. Yahoo's mobile team stated that people can expect more new Yahoo mobile services in 2012. Some of which includes a mobile TV companion called Livestand and an iPad magazine-style application called AppSpot.

Everyone is keeping their eyes close to the Internet giant as their new CEO Scott Thompson takes charge, it seems like the Yahoo is cleaning house with him. We'll see by the end of the year if the efforts and changes on Yahoo's business structure will result in it becoming more pop, or knock on wood, will make it flop. What do you think?

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Shopify Tapping Into Mcommerce Talent

A big player in the ecommerce industry has recently made significant move toward mobile ecommerce.

Shopify, which specializes in ecommerce technology that enables almost anyone to create an online storefront, has recently acquired Select Start Studios.

Select Start Studios is a company that specialized in mobile apps and gaming, and will be of great value to Shopify as it continues to expand into mobile ecommerce, or "mcommerce."

Although Shopify already offers mobile optimized ecommerce stores and shopping carts, the acquisition of Select Start Studios will add over 20 new engineers to the team at Shopify. And all of this new talent has specific expertise in the mobile realm.

This is a big shift as smartphones continue to grow and dominate the consumer shopping industry. Even ecommerce for small and medium sized local business has offered new opportunities to expand and connect with relevant consumers.

And its players like Shopify that make ecommerce (and mcommerce) affordable and easy to implement, without a specialist.

Shopify is unique because it operates a web-based platform for its services. This enables virtually anyone to establish an ecommerce store and online shopping cart with ease. Storefronts can be fully customized to match the brand and the platform has reputation for its highly level of security.

As more game-changers like Shopify continue to expand and cater to innovative ideas, such as mcommerce, expect the world of online business to continue thriving.

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Responsive Web Design: What it Means & How to Leverage it?

Mobile Web DesignResponsive Web Design (RWD) refers to an approach used by a web designer to create a web page that resizes itself depending on the device type the web page is being viewed on. This can be anything from a 4-inch smartphone screen to a 7-inch tablet, or a 10-inch tablet to a 17-inch laptop, or even an oversized desktop computer monitor.

Responsive web design became one of the hottest trends in 2013 – attributed (partly) to the rapid growth of smartphones and intelligent mobile devices. However, most people use smaller screen devices to browse through web pages.

The Importance of Responsive Web Design

The main objective of having responsive web design is to have a single website, but with varying elements that respond differently on different devices of varying sizes. For illustration, let us consider a traditional “fixed” site. When viewed on a PC, the site will show three columns.

However, when the same layout is viewed on a smaller tablet, you might be forced to scroll horizontally in order to view the whole page, which most users don’t like. Some elements may even be hidden from view, or look distorted. To make it worse, the impact is even made more complicated by the fact that most tablets can be viewed in both landscape and portrait orientation.

Only some professional web design companies are adapting to this trend. Yet, more than just a trend, it's a demand (and virtually a requirement in today's digital age.) For instance, Peoria web design company, OIC Group, Inc. has taken mobile-friendly responsive web design to the next level. Not only does this web design company in Peoria, IL provide responsive web design for its local clients in Peoria, but the website design company also offers custom mobile app development.

Keep it Mobile-friendly

A tiny smartphone screen poses even greater challenge when it comes to viewing web pages. Large images often “break” the layout. Heavy-graphics websites can be slow to load on smaller gadgets such as smartphones. However, with responsive web design, a site can auto-adjust on a tablet to display two columns only, making the content more readable and easy to navigate.

Note that on a smartphone, the same content might appear on a single column, most probably stacked vertically. It may also enable the user to swipe over in order to view other columns. Instead of distorting the original layout or being cut off all together, the images will resize. Ideally, responsive design is leveraged to automatically adjust the site based on the type or nature of device viewed on.

How to Leverage Responsive Web Design

Responsive websites use fluid grids, whereby all elements of a page are sized by proportion and not the traditional pixels. Therefore, with three columns, you won’t be able to tell exactly how wide each one of them should be, but would instead be able to tell how wide they need to be in relation to the remaining/other columns.

For instance, you may decide that column 1 should take up 30% of the page, column 2 to take up 50%, and column 3 to take up the remaining 20%. The major advantage of this is that media, including images, is resized relatively. So an image can remain within its relative design element or intended column.

Since many people are currently using mobile devices, small businesses should switch to responsive web design. If you check your traffic, you will be shocked at how many people – among the visitors to your site –use mobile devices. Use your Google Analytics to see the proportion of traffic that comprises mobile device users/ visitors. You may even drill down to view the devices that are sending the traffic.

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AdWords "Store Visits” Feature Measures Ad Influence on In-Store Traffic

If an individual buys clothing from Amazon.com then they can receive it as fast as the next day with overnight shipping. You might be surprised to learn though, that even in this age of smart phones and online shopping, in store transactions account for over 93% of all the retail sales in America. Shopping in the store will be around for quite some time.


Google Adwords

Because of this Google has launched a new metric as part of exploring marketing solutions linking AdWords back to in-store traffic. The way this works is through the sharing of smart phone location history combined with clicking of ads on the phone.

How it Works

A simple example would be you clicking on an ad for Macy’s on your smart phone. Then later you actually visited the store and allowed your phone to share its location with google. Of course there is so much more that goes in to these calculations and collection of data, but that is essentially how it works.

Of course, since Google has indeed been in trouble for privacy violations in the past, this brings up similar questions. Is this violating user privacy? The short answer to that is no. Not only is this feature carefully designed to maintain security of private data, but the smart phones submission of data will be sent in anonymously. This should be a sigh of relief for many who are insecure about their privacy being violated online, and we will see as time tells if Google is able to maintain this high security if controlled data.

Lacking Statistical Relevancy?

A problem with this marketing relationship is that it only measures in store visits, not actual purchases. So if a company wants to see the correlation between their AdWords clicks and actual revenue from product, they’ll have to wait a while longer. Google is actually working on a separate test to see if they can measure the relationship between purchases and the retailer’s data. However, as of the moment no such thing is available on the market.


Store Visits Traffic

Currently Google is looking for additional data to sample so if you are running a big retail business; it might be worth it to check it out. Google is very open about letting companies in to their trials so contacting a local rep to get more information is definitely an option. The future of this program is unsure but if enough companies show interest, then it could expand beyond retail and become quite large.

Again, this program is a new metric testing the relationship between clicks on AdWords and actual in store visits as recorded by smartphones location tracker. If this program is successful then it could have a quite a large impact on modern marketing strategies and be a great asset for the retail industry to increase store visits.

We live in the digital age of instant gratification. If you are sitting at home and get the sudden desire to see that one movie you loved as a child, all you have to do is pop open the online streaming service of your choice and watch it. This works for video games and TV-shows as well. Almost anything can be received extremely fast now days.

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Bing to Soon Roll-out a Mobile-friendly Search Algo Update

Bing Mobile SearchBing will be following in Google’s footsteps and updating their search ranking algorithm to benefit mobile friendly websites and persuade others to optimize their content to be viewed by mobile users. Unlike Google, however, Bing is making a conscious effort towards helping webmasters understand what is going to happen and improve their content, thus not announcing a definite date for the launch of the algorithm.

What should happen with the new algorithm is that websites which are recognized as mobile friendly by Bing will show a specific label, which Bing has already been testing and getting great feedback from, and rank higher in search engine results because of that. Although the new algorithm by Bing sounds a lot like the one from Google, the team behind the search engine wants to give webmasters a chance to assimilate the news and improve their websites taking their guidelines into account, so they are probably not releasing the new update anytime in the nearest future.

What to Expect With Bings Mobile Algo Update

As for the algorithm itself, Bing says websites will still be primarily ranked by how relevant to the search query they are, whether they are optimized for mobile devices or not, which means that a mobile friendly website might still be outranked by another whose content is more relevant to the query. The key to the success of the algorithm will thus be in balancing both aspects to create the best search results possible for mobile users.

So far, Bing is being incredibly cautious not to create a media frenzy like the one that resulted from Google’s algorithm, so they are revealing very few details about their own, including the impact they expect it to have on mobile search queries. They do say, however, that the date of the algorithm launch will be revealed ahead of time, so there will be no surprises, unless maybe a good one: Bing’s algorithm will operate in real time, so if a website becomes mobile friendly, it will benefit from the new label as soon as the new version is indexed into the search engine.

New Tools for Bing Webmasters

In addition to the new algorithm, Bing will also be launching a new tool for webmasters in the summer, which is supposed to tell them whether their websites are mobile friendly or not and how to change their situation. These tools will help webmasters go beyond just mobile optimization by looking at data and metrics that influence their web presence optimization strategy.

Meanwhile, it is a good idea to look at the criteria Bing uses to determine whether a website is mobile friendly or not, which are how easy buttons and navigation are to access with a finger, how easy it is to read the information on mobile devices without zooming in, need to scroll to the sides, which is not to be expected on mobile devices, ability to load fully on mobiles and finally not having files blocked from Bing, as that will prevent them from acquiring information to determine your website’s ranking.

Bing promises this will be no 'Mobilegeddon,' but whether that is true is still to be seen. To learn more, visit Bing Webaster Blog for the latest news.

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