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How Mobile Apps Will Change ECommerce

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2016 has seen remarkable changes in how people view online shopping as a whole. In 2015, physical stores were full of people swarming to grab the lowest Black Friday deals, but in 2016, we’ve seen tides change as people now turn to online shopping because of its hassle-free benefits.

Even though sales were expected to go up, but that’s no longer the case. “In 2016, consumers can find most of those deals online over the course of a couple days, and they don’t have to brave massive crowds to do it,” Fortune concludes.

Online shopping has indeed reshaped people’s buying habits. Before, Black Friday sales were anticipated as its date comes near. However, in 2016, Amazon dared to change the status quo as they started their Black Friday deals as early as November 1.

TechCrunch has crunched the numbers for us, with a report on Adobe’s final numbers on Black Friday. They figured out that the year’s sales surpassed estimates, with $3.34 billion – 21.6 percent growth, year-over-year.

Thanksgiving and Black Friday mobiles sales were over the top, with top online retailers like Amazon, Target, and Walmart releasing numbers that mobile has opened a new era of online shopping, with its tumultuous contribution on their online sales via exclusive mobile app deals.

2016 was indeed the year of mobile ecommerce began taking over ecommerce websites.

They added that, “in 2020, mobile apps are projected to generate 188.9 billion U.S. dollars in revenues via app stores and in-app advertising.”

Moving app: from web to app

Binny Bansal’s gamble on going app-only earned mixed reactions. It did not take too long before Amazon India caught up with their growth.

Flipkart has dared to go where other sites won’t try; an app-only ecommerce store in India. Despite the revenue and its ruling power in India, this only gave Amazon India the asset it needed to get ahead of the competition. Perhaps it was too soon to leave the desktop-only audience, however, Flipkart paved the way that it is possible to run a store that would reach any user from any part of the country (or the world) via a mobile app.

While shutting down websites in favor of mobile apps hasn’t been a prerogative for most companies online, mobile apps has shown remarkable performance in this year’s sales report.

A mobile app only environment does wonders for an ecommerce site, but as we’ve seen with Flipkart’s current condition, it is without its own cons as well.

Data is consolidated in the app environment. We are used to tracking sales both in desktop and mobile. Through a mobile app, efforts are more targeted and user experience is consistent through and through. What you collect is raw data; no need to think of other common factors that are in conflict with desktop usage. Because people spend more time on apps than on a mobile website, you can learn more about their shopping behaviors; use this to your advantage.

In addition to that, consider your mobile app as a direct marketing channel for your brand. It does not create friction since you solely own your audience’s attention. There are no distractions that may pull him out of the sales funnel.

However, if a user cannot find what he’s looking for in your app, it is only natural that they shift their attention and use search engines to find other options aside from your own. Did you know that users browse 286% more products in apps than on the mobile web? A poorly designed mobile app can significantly reduce interest among its audience.

Perhaps one of the main benefits of mobile app usage is faster loading times. Because a mobile app is considerably lighter than a desktop website, user experience can be improved. However, if fast loading times are countered by a poor interface design, bounce rates are still expected to increase due to audience’s disinterest.

Why customers prefer mobile apps over mobile websites

One of the biggest considerations if you are panning on setting up a mobile app to complement your mobile website is your users. Studies have shown that customers prefer mobile apps over mobile websites. Some of the reasons are the following.

Using the features of smartphones, everything is almost automatic with mobile apps – especially with regards to payments and checkout. With mobile apps, it is much easier to pay whether it be by using mobile banking apps, scanning your credit card, or by digital wallets.

Mobile applications are truly dedicated to make things easier for consumers to do their transactions.

Mobile apps offer improved flexibility for its users. First of all, apps are way more responsive than mobile websites. Also, there are fewer connectivity issues – if you have a stable internet connection, your dedicated app would almost never have a problem working. Mobile apps can also make use of smartphones’ features such as Bluetooth, GPS, and the phone’s camera.

Aside from that, mobile apps for ecommerce sites are far easier to navigate than mobile websites on a phone’s browser. So even when the user is moving, he can comfortably use the app to shop!

Again, a lot of consumers are utilizing apps nowadays. They actually expect more known brands to have a dedicated app. That being the case, companies should see the need to come up with a mobile app to increase their reach and engagement, on a channel that is used by a lot of potential customers.

Another beauty of mobile apps is the personalization that it offers. Mobile apps personalize the shopping experience of customers by sending push notifications (whether it be for news, or promos).

With mobile apps, it will also be easier to collect data from the user for you to be able to understand their behavior better. With the help of mobile analytics tools, you can make use of these data to further personalize the shopping experience of mobile app users. ecommerce-aside, you can even use mobile apps for fundraising events, and more.

That’s why you should see it beyond its icon – this is the closest you can get to be in touch with your audience, and your customers.

Mobile apps will continue to change how shopping is done

True enough, these reasons are enticing consumers to utilize mobile apps instead of mobile websites. And this is not just a fad – it is seen as an actual change brought in by the development of mobile devices. And as we further dwell into the mobile era, it is expected that mobile apps will continue to change the way online shopping is done.

Businesses need not to look further if they want to have a mobile app of their business. Should they want to use it for lead generation or sales, there’s a wide range of mobile app builders that they can choose from. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution, look no further – Bizness Apps can take care of the work for you!

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About the Author

This article is written by Andrew Gazdecki, the founder and CEO of BiznessApps.

Entrepreneurship

Why Angel Investors are Shaking Up the Global Startup Scene

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Candace Johnson is someone who has made a global impact on our modern international telecom and broadcast business. She co-initiated the foundation of SES-Astra and SES Global, which today owns a fleet of 54 satellites and broadcasts 6500 TV channels. And she founded the world’s first Internet-based online service, Europe Online, making it into one of the first broadband Internet services.

But it was in her role as president of EBAN, the European trade association of several hundred business angels, which brought her to Eindhoven’s High Tech Campus recently. She explains why angel investors are making a difference to the global start-up scene and explodes several myths that surrounds the way they do business. She spoke with StartupDelta’s Jonathan Marks.

Building the match between angel investors and hardware startups

“People often think that angel investors are people who do investments around the corner, locally, or in services like e-commerce. To be frank, when the HTCE management told me that they were focussing on the hardware side of things, I was thrilled.”

“What I’m trying to do as President of EBAN, and having incubated MBAN (MENA Business Angels Network) and ABAN (African Business Angels Network) under my presidency, is to extend the scope of angel investments. The vast majority of angels are already tech savvy. But we need to educate our successful angel investors to invest more in hardware and infrastructure. We also need to help start-ups develop a pitch that speaks to the interests of angels, so they can get funding for their initiative.”

“We run the EBAN Training Institute with the goal of raising standards. We’re seeing more and more that the best angel investors are serial entrepreneurs. They bring their trusted network, expertise and experience to the table.”

“Money is important too, but it is not at the top of the list. Business angel investors are high net worth individuals who usually provide smaller amounts of finance (€25,000 to €500,000) at an earlier stage than many venture capital funds are able to invest. They are increasingly investing alongside seed venture capital funds.”

Angels are more important than most people know

“We follow the guidelines and standards developed by the European Venture Capital Association. For over seven years, during the depths of the financial crisis in 2008 until the recent recovery started, it was the angel investors who took over the role of early stage financing. More than €7.5 billion are being invested annually in Europe, with a sustained growth in recent years. Of that €5.5 billion comes from angels. In fact we have had to professionalize our profession to meet the demand of the growth in this early stage ecosystem.”

We always have an exit strategy

“Angel investors can only continue to invest if they have exits. I hear many people talk about investing. Only a few discuss exits. I want to change that. I also stress that proven entrepreneurial success is essential in order to become a member of our association. We need to ensure that useful “lessons learned” are shared with the start-ups. They are always based on hands-on real-world experience. We have no time for people who are using new blood to try and correct mistakes they made in their own failed companies.”

“EBAN was started in 1999 together with the European commission. For the first ten years, I think people were too focussed on the investing part. Now we need to focus on exits and returns on investment. Without returns, business angels are out of business. And remember there is only a short window of opportunity during which start-ups can scale-up to becoming global success stories”.

“Our feeling is that you should not make an investment in a company unless you can see the path for the exit. The exit may be a trade sale, an IPO, etc. The exit also does not have to be 100 %. It does, however, have to bring you a return on your investment so that you can continue to invest. This approach helps you focus on building great companies. There’s always competition in healthy markets, so no-one can afford to waste time. We’re not a charity; we’re doing this because we love building and financing global success stories. We’re therefore looking for companies with a real marketable product, not a prototype or a collection of well-presented ideas.”

Is there specific advice you can share with high-tech startups?

“In the last few years we’ve seen the rise of the accelerators alongside incubators. They have helped raise standards because a good idea needs to be validated by the market before it is the basis for a high-growth company.”

“As investors, we always need to see a start-up demonstrate that they have first clients and initial revenues. We’re not saying that they have had to scale or show market traction. But if we are going to put in our personal money, then we expect the founder to be resourceful enough to work out the first product, to have found the first clients and show us evidence of the first revenues.”

“The incubators who help get an idea into reality and the accelerators have been good at making startups better prepared for angel investment, offering the right coaching to turn an idea into a validated business. That means angel investors are better able to select the growth companies and focus on making a good return on their investment.”

Hanneke Stegweg

“We recognise that young companies need to present their business proposition to the angels attending our annual conference. So we’ve created ways that teams get immediate, honest feedback on the quality of their business presentation. We have one full day of preparation and coaching followed by a Global Investment Forum. The best go on to pitch to the entire network. This year, the “company to watch” category was won by Hanneke Stegweg, who is the Dutch CEO of the iLost company. Together with Neelie Kroes, I am keen to see more women founders lead entrepreneurial teams.”

What needs to change for things to move faster?

“We held this year’s EBAN congress in Eindhoven at the recommendation of several members. They all work in the innovation and financing of innovation field. But this region also came up in our discussions with StartupDelta. We have worked closely with Neelie Kroes when she was with the European Commission.”

“We were tipped off to the High Tech Campus specifically by our Russian members: the Russian Business Angels and the Skolkovo Foundation who are building the Skolkovo science park just outside Moscow.”

“And last, but not least, I know Eindhoven from my work in telecommunications and broadcasting hardware field. We often came here to work with Philips on the establishment of the DVD and MPEG-4 standards.”

“During our visit to the Brainport area it was clear that there is more than enough money in the region and a healthy appetite to invest in innovation. But there are some caveats that we feel need to be addressed.”

“Frankly, I think we are rather tired of the “nice-to-have” e-commerce companies. We would prefer to reinvest in world-class companies who are building something tangible, solving a real-world challenge. They need to demonstrate they can scale and become global.”

“We can see that the efforts by many have helped to raise the bar in the Netherlands and that’s good news for everyone. But remember there is a difference between entrepreneurs and SME’s. Entrepreneurs are the only ones to change our world. They create large companies, worthwhile employment, and that grows into large revenues.”

Failure is not an option

“We should get rid of this talk of failure being an option. If you’re taking angel money, it is NOT OK to fail.”

“If you take third party money, you have a responsibility as an entrepreneur to do everything you can to make a return on the investment of your business angel. The media keeps talking about friends, family and fools. But that’s nonsense! Founders, families and friends build great companies!”

“I have always been a free marketer at heart. Europe and The Netherlands need to create nations of investors. I believe in the power of private sector-led investment. Government needs to follow the leads set by business angels, not the other way round. We are investing our own money and using our years of experience to scale up these companies. An entrepreneur who is not willing to work and dedicate her or his lives 24/7 to achieve the goal should look elsewhere for money!”

“We’re fortunate that the EBAN network acts as a magnet for excellence. We were honoured to have the President of the European Research Council and the Head of Technology Transfer of the European Space Agency address our Congress to show us where the technology trends are going and where we should invest.”

“From a venture and entrepreneurial financing perspective, we were most grateful to our colleagues from the United States who joined with our European, MENA, and African colleagues to set the bar high in creating, building and financing global success stories. Amongst those joining us in Eindhoven from the United States were the president of the Global Accelerator Network from the USA, the president emeritus of the Angel Capital Association of the USA, the President of Start-Up Angels and Board Member of Up Global from the USA. We also welcomed the President Emeritus of the Crowd funding association of the US as well as the chairman of New York Angels. And we were delighted with the presence of David S. Rose, the president of GUST.com. These are some of the world’s best experts in angel investing.”

“They all said they were pleasantly surprised by the high standard of the startups that came to Eindhoven from all over the world. It was well above what they had expected. Start-ups from Africa, Middle East and Europe traditionally explain what they do, rather than explaining to investors why their idea is important. But that’s changing rapidly for the better. Entrepreneurs are also getting better at defining what they need in order to scale-up.”

NEXT STEPS : It’s all about active networking

“I should explain that in expanding our reach in Europe, with have formed alliances with the European Space Agency and the European Research Council. They also have their own accelerators and incubators. I think the onus is on the angel investor community to help bring this scientific community to a higher level of entrepreneurship. They need to think about the market for their inventions from the beginning. I believe we can help these organisations filter out the very best ideas and give those the attention they need to scale ideas into real businesses. There needs to be a validated market need for the technology they are developing.”

“We have two main events. There is the annual EBAN congress, this year in Eindhoven and next year in Porto, Portugal. And we run the EBAN Winter University, this year running from November 17–19th in Copenhagen. We’re doing this with leading organisations active in Europe’s creative industries. And all this is in addition to individual events and competitions organised by EBAN members at a local, regional and national level.

Increasingly we’re assembling cross-border syndicates, both between European countries and increasingly inter-continental networks linking Europe with innovation hubs in Africa, Middle East and North America. As companies scale and go global, it is important they have access to an international shareholder network. It’s a softer landing when they cross continents.

We also believe there is a way in which we can build partnerships with techno-business parks around the globe, led by the flywheel initiatives shown by High Tech Campus Eindhoven over these very fruitful days in the Netherlands.

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About the Author

This article was written by Jonathan Marks, Executive Director at Photon Delta. See more.

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Entrepreneurship

Myths & Facts about Entrepreneurship

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Today, there is a pervasive and nearly deafening mantra insisting that you quit your job and become an entrepreneur. The collective says you should do it today because every day you wait brings you closer to a life of poverty and regret.

A central theme in the entrepreneurial world is challenging the status quo and questioning conventional wisdom in search of new and better ways of doing things. If you’re just going to follow the pack, you may as well just get a real job and call it a day.

Entrepreneurship can be incredibly rewarding. Starting your own business may be the best decision you ever make. But it’s not for everyone. There’s a lot to consider before you take the plunge and a lot of myths to expose, starting with these.

Let’s take a glance at some of the Myths of entrepreneurship:

1. You’ll be Happier

Entrepreneurship can be incredibly rewarding. Starting your own business may be the best decision you ever make. But it’s not for everyone. There’s a lot to consider before you take the plunge and a lot of myths to expose, starting with these.

2. You’ll have more freedom, control and work-life balance

If you’re on your own, chances are you’re going to find yourself wearing all sorts of hats and working 24×7 for a very long time. Work will become your life. There’s nothing wrong with that, but not everyone feels more freedom and control that way.

3.You’ll be more fulfilled

Do we know what just about everyone loves to do? Great work that accomplishes goals they can be proud of. One can do that working for a big company, a small company, or their own company. Fulfillment has nothing to do with business ownership. If one wants to manage, lead, or run a business, it’s better off learning the ropes in a good company before starting your own.

4.There are no jobs; technology and outsourcing killed them all

It is shockingly untrue. If technology destroyed jobs, then which one will you call the most lucrative and fastest-growing industry on the face of the earth.That’s right: technology. If you can’t find a job, chances are you lack in-demand skills or education, in which case, yes, you might want to consider starting a small business which does not require much of exclusive skill sets in particular.

5.Entrepreneurs Live a Glamorous Lifestyle

That’s again untrue. Most entrepreneurs do not live a glamorous lifestyle; if they do, their investors should cringe. Entrepreneurs are notoriously frugal, hard working and opportunity-obsessed with little time for outside activities. These qualities are not hallmarks of the glamorous life.

Now,Let’s look at some of the facts of entrepreneurship.

  1. Most successful entrepreneurs succeed by exceptional execution of ordinary ideas: See Jiffy Lube, Starbucks and Charles Schwab.
  2. Most successful entrepreneurs concentrate on minimizing risk rather than taking huge risk at the time of starting their companies.
  3. Successful entrepreneurs use their innovative passion in many ways, such as buying companies, creating new ventures within larger companies and re-strategising nonprofits.
  4. More than 80 percent of new ventures are boot-strapped from personal savings, credit cards, second mortgages and the like. The median start-up capital is about $10,000. Waste Management began with a single truck; Sam Walton started with $5,000. So, in short access capital is not required to startup.
  5. Being first to execute well and delight customers is not at all important for success. A lot of startups have entered quite late in a particular startup industry and have done well.

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About the Author

This article was written by Utkarsh Sharma.

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