Hottest Programming Trends

Here we are at the end of another year – and what a year it has been! From big events in the political sphere to the passing of many notable stars has left a noticeable impact on all of our lives. But while it’s been a rough year in the public sphere, the world of tech has made some amazingly huge advancements.

Artificial Intelligence, Virtual/Augmented/Mixed Realities, Smart Homes: all three of these new tech tools will forever alter how humans interact with their environment – digital or otherwise. And as a tech development company, we’ve tried to keep you as up to date as possible with these changes.

But sometimes things fall through the cracks, especially when it’s not as sexy as a Home AI. So we thought we would cover one of those less sexy things today – programming languages! Don’t click away just yet – changes in programming languages are a big deal to any company using advanced technological tools. The code is the very foundation upon which all of this new tech is built and it behooves the savvy businessman to be aware!

Docker and Containers

Programming containers are essentially self-contained blocks that allow programmers to store code in such a way as to follow rules specific to that container. It’s basically a way for developers to manage contained objects so you the programmer don’t have to initiate the task.

Docker is a type of container, built on top of a Linux Container. It contains all the rules needed to create standard applications. What this means as a practical measure for entrepreneurs and business owners is that an app built within Docker can be developed, tested, and launched with mind-blowing speed. Plus, it’s open source (free to use) and (as all containers are) a step above standard security encryption.

Want to learn more about Docker? Contact our developers now!

Bots

You may have heard of Messenger Bots; from Facebook to Allo, Bots are cropping up all over the place. And they’re only going to become more common, likely replacing the standard User Interface and Experience. It’s likely that by 2020, most websites and apps will utilize Bots to one extent or another, for a whole variety of things. Heck, Mark Zuckerberg just built a whole interface for his Home AI system with his Facebook Messenger Bot Dev Kit.

Bots are basically tiny mobile apps that use limited Artificial Intelligence to automate routine tasks – like greeting new website visitors or guiding new users through the signup process. Bots can even be used to help grow business, as both Google’s Allo and Facebook Messengers have shown us.

The Evolution of Responsive Development

Responsive Web Development (RWD) was all the rage a few years ago and for good reason. It essentially opened up the door to a new internet market using new devices (SmartPhones). But now, programmers need to code for many different devices. So Responsive Design means that coders need to consider all the ways users will access your website or app.

This means coding for phones, tablets, Smart Speakers, even wearables. At SDI, we require our programmers to know how to code for all major devices and we strive to stay ahead of the curve. There have been plenty of advancements in this field in the last year, from the Apple Watch Series 2 to the soon to be released and highly anticipated Dr. Watson. This AI dev kit allows expert coders to turn any wearable into a functional health sensor.

Real Time Analytics

Data analytics are the single most important tool for sustainable, smart growth. SDI’s training process for our programmers is specifically geared towards this because of that very reason. But Big Data has been around for a while, what’s new in the last year is twofold:

1. Better code and advancements in programming capabilities mean real-time data reporting. This means that Business owners can learn about their organization as it happens – not a month down the line.

2. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning give our coders the tools to provide clients with predictive analysis (the ability to see where your organization is headed, not just where it’s at) and better metrics.

Real-time Data Analytic Reporting was an amazing business tool before these new advancements. With improvement to Machine Learning algorithms and better real-time analytics in the last year, it is indispensable to the smooth operation of any business.

So those are some of the biggest changes in Programming, if you want to get your business ready, give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

Top Apps For Christmas and The Holiday Season

It’s that time of year again: Christmas when millions of disparate families come together to exchange gifts and joy (and the occasional instance of drama!). But it’s also a time of shopping craziness, of mayhem, and – of course – hours of slaving over delicious food. Fortunately for all of the hosts out there, modern digital tools like apps can make crazy times more sane – and the fun times even better.

So why don’t we take a look at some Holiday app categories and which apps are providing the most value in the best ways.

Gift Shopping Apps

Obvi this should be first. Let’s be honest the holiday season are all about buying things; even you don’t celebrate Christmas, you probably still have to buy gifts for a Secret Santa or Gift Exchange at work, or with friends. No matter what, most Americans in the US are buying more than usual in the month of December.

1. Gilt on the Go

This is for those people in your life who appreciate the finer things in life. Gilt on the Go helps you find Luxury Brands for basically any type of gift. But don’t worry, it won’t break the bank – the app finds discounted brands (don’t worry, the gift recipient doesn’t have to know!)

2. Santa’s Bag

This app has a wonderful design that makes sure you remember everyone in your life. It keeps all your gifts (and the people to whom they belong), allows you to track the people you’ve already checked off. But the best part of this app is that it tracks all of your spendings, so you know exactly how much money you’ve gone through. It even lets you enter a budget and tells when AND how much you’re over/under budget! Plus its free!

3. Christmas Gift List

This is very similar to Santa’s Bag but is available on Android devices. This app also lets you track gifts by person and lets you check them off the list so you know when they’re done. Its design isn’t as clean as Santa’s Bag; but it does let you set a budget per person, which is a pretty sweet feature (especially for Work Gift Exchanges with a price limit).

Time Management Apps

The one universal truth about the Holiday season is that we all seem to pack 28 hours of errands in a 24 hour day. So, one thing we all need is something to help better manage what little time we have. That way we can have all the time we need for shopping, family/friends, cooking, and – importantly – yourself!

1. Google Calendar

Google Calendar is an amazing and understated app. It’s not overly sexy; it doesn’t wow you with showy tech. But it is a workhorse, hands down. It allows you to create dynamic events, showing time and location (which is naturally linked to your Maps App for easy navigation). It functions and integrates excellently with most 3rd party apps (take that Apple!).

2. Picniic

Google Calendar is great, but the Picnic is 100% designed to help people manage the family lifestyle. This is more than just a holiday app; it helps parents balance their busy lives with their kids’ busy lives. Plus, it’s not just a family planner; it also has a Shopping list feature and a Recipe Planner feature. These last features require a $12 monthly subscription, but those of you with large families and kids, this is 12 bucks well spent.

FOOOOOOD!!! Apps

Cooking for large groups of people is another staple of the Holiday Season. It all begins on Turkey Day, when that bird better not come out dry and hopefully ends sometime around New Years – when those appetizers better are spot on. So clearly it’s a good idea to talk about some of our favorite recipe apps. Keep in mind, these are relegated to the Holidays!

1. Yummly

Are biscuits Gluten Free? Does honey have sugar? Are there nuts in a Rocky Road Ice Cream Cake? These are all questions the modern home chef needs to ask themselves, especially when cooking for a large group of people. Yummly is a recipe aggregator that has probably the most robust set of allergen filters of any Recipe app I’ve seen. That way you don’t have to worry about substitutions or concerns of contamination -just put in your restrictions and the app will find the appropriate recipe. With clear directions and the ability to easily transfer ingredients into a great shopping list, this is the perfect app for a home cook who does all of the shopping too!

2. Out of Milk

We love this app due to its great price calculator. It allows users to enter prices of goods (manually or with a useful barcode scanner feature) and saves them for later use. That way when you create your shopping list in the future you can auto-populate goods, with the price. This allows users to have a good idea of what the total bill will be (it even auto calculates tax for appropriate reasons!).

It lets you put items in a specific category to optimize time at the store and it even has a recipe feature. The one downside is that it’s not easy to share the list; this is important in a family just in case you have one who does the shopping and one who does the cooking/stocking. To be clear, you can share, the button is just buried in a menu.

So those are our picks of 2017 – but the story doesn’t end there. Maybe none of these quite match what you want. Why not get yourself a gift this year and start your own mobile app empire? All you need is an idea and the right development and design team on your side. Give SDI a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

How to Build a Smart Home System Like Mark Zuckerberg’s Jarvis

From Google Home to Amazon Echo, Home AI systems are all the rage right now. These require “Smart Speakers” and tend to function mostly with devices that are Smart Home-ready (or have apps that provided added value like Smart Home connection). While these devices are really cool, there are limitations, namely that for Echo or Home to hear you, you need to be in the house.

But recently, Mark Zuckerberg showed us that you don’t need this hardware. Over the past year or so (for a sum total of about 100 hours) Zuckerberg has spent his off time creating a massively intelligent Smart Home System that he controls with nothing more than his computer and his Smart Phone.

This AI system, named Jarvis in an homage to Tony Stark and Iron Man, is possibly the most intelligent of the three Smart Home systems. While many of the features Mr. Zuckerberg discusses in his post are currently available with either Alexa or Home, there is one big advantage Jarvis has that the other two don’t: according to Zuckerberg, Jarvis is capable of recognizing his taste in music.

This might seem like a minor thing, but it isn’t. In fact, it’s long been an issue for AI systems due to the complexity that music often presents. Sure, there are algorithms that can pull out similar bands in the same genre (both Spotify and Pandora are examples of these) but Zuckerberg’s system is a little more complex.

First, it can play songs based off a prompt as ambiguous as request for “light” music, or by asking for something similar to a preferred artist. But the really cool thing here is that Jarvis can recognize if it is Mark or his wife Priscilla who is asking; this allows it to play music in keeping with the tastes of the asker.

What Jarvis really proves is that your don’t need the hardware associated with Alexa and Google Assistant. Jarvis is controlled via a custom Messenger Bot for text control, and a custom iOS app for speech control (plus a pretty cool door camera that recognizes faces!). Jarvis shows that a single coder with knowledge of common Programming languages like Python, PHP, and iOS’ Objective C.

All of SDI’s programmers are more than skilled in these languages; and the other technologies Zuckerberg used are tools our coders use, day in and day out. In other words, entrepreneurs don’t even need Zuckerberg’s undeniably vast coding skill; all you need is to hire the right development team.

So let’s talk about the two big programming methods Mr. Zuckerberg used and how they can be applied to any AI Smart Home System.

Natural Language Processing

NLP is one of the underlying premises behind any AI system. It’s how any AI can recognize what a user is asking of it. Not necessarily the actual speech recognition itself (Zuckerberg did note some problems with his system here; never fear though, recent advances in the tech give us a step up over where Zuckerberg was there a year ago), but how humans actually converse.

For instance, when you ask Google where to find the best tacos, it understands that you mean locally, and that best means best tasting. That’s NLP. One of the best examples of this presented by Mr. Zuckerberg was the need for Jarvis to recognize that the living room and the family room were two names for the same thing.

Additionally, Smart Home systems present other challenges for AI not present with Smartphone Digital Assistants (Siri, and the Google Assistant on your Android devices): Smart Homes have multiple users. It needs to understand that when I say “turn on the lights in my room” it knows that it’s me, and not my partner or my child. This is possible, but requires professional coders with years of training.

The Bot Interface

While using Facebook’s own Messenger platform was clearly self promotional, it was still a clever move on Zuckerberg’s part. Bots, also called Micro-apps, are essentially very skimmed down apps that perform routine basic tasks. Many actual apps incorporate dozens of these little guys for the simpler tasks.

Using a Bot here was clever because it takes care of coding those simple routine things that can drive a coder mad. And, as Zuckerberg points out, Facebook’s own Messenger Dev kit provides a perfect tool for creating bots. We should point out that Bots can also be leveraged in many other ways, like helping to promote local businesses. In fact, all on their own, Bots represent a really awesome money making opportunity – contact us to learn more.

Silicon Valley’s AI Developers

SDI knows how to build apps, websites, and custom software programs with Natural Language Processing, Speech Recognition, and other advanced AI algorithms. We can use AI to build anything from Smart Home systems like Alexa, Assistant, and Jarvis to improved Business Analytics that will grow your Startup beyond your dreams. To get started, give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

Why You Should Build an App for Mixed Reality

I know, I know, you’re just getting used to Augmented and Virtual Realities and now we’re throwing another reality at you. But we would be remiss in our duty to keep you up to date on the hottest trends in tech, and that includes apps for Mixed Reality!

But first we should clarify the differences between these three Digital Realities.

1. Virtual Reality

VR is a wholly new reality existing solely in a Digital Environment. Think Tron or The Matrix. When we work on VR app projects, we encounter unique hurdles, like compensating for binocular disparity and disorientation. But we believe that VR apps are going to be a multi-billion dollar industry by the end of this decade – and then they will really take off!

2. Augmented Reality

AR is basically a digital overlay of actual reality. This is the less sexy version of VR but has the potential to be worth even more as an industry than VR. While Apps like Pokemon Go are all the rage right now, AR apps have the most potential in the field of business. Think about it: We can build an AR app for your business that provides digital information just by looking at your factory line – and provides you with ways to directly interact without ever pulling out a device.

3. Mixed Reality

Mixed Reality is (you guessed it) a combination of both VR and AR. MR keeps its users firmly grounded in actual reality, but adds virtual elements to it. This is the driving impetus behind Microsoft’s Hololens. This differs from Augmented Reality because MR is supposed to create virtual elements that are indistinguishable from actual reality. AR makes virtual elements as an overlay; there is no attempt to make it seem as part of the real world.

All three Digital Realities are in their relative infancies, but MR is brand new. In fact, we really know nothing about the major companies that are tackling this issue. Except of course that they are some of the most closely watched Startups in tech.

Magic Leap was recently called “the World’s Hottest Startup” by Wired Magazine and Forbes called it “the Hottest Ticket in Tech. But we know virtually nothing about this company, other than its base in South Florida; and of course that it’s a Unicorn startup, recently valued at 4.5 billion bucks. In fact, it just raised nearly a billion back in February, bringing its total investment up to $1.4 billion (including a hefty sum from Google – you may have heard of them…).

So what does that alone tell us? Well, it means that VCs – people who make money by anticipating tech needs in the future. And that the world’s biggest tech company thinks that they have something.

But since its founding, Magic Leap has operated under massive secrecy, to the point where employees were barely allowed to even say the company existed. For years, it was hard to even understand what applications could even come from MR. However, the Wizard finally gave us a peek behind the curtain.

This Wizard happens to be Rony Abovitz, CEO of Magic Leap. Abovitz recently gave an interview, where we finally learned a little of this innovative and disruptive Startup, including the fact that they are preparing to move past the Prototype phase and will be soon making their tech available to the general consumer.

Abovitz calls his project a “new kind of contextual computer.” Basically, Magic Leap has created an optical hardware. This hardware, which will eventually resemble transparent glasses, will literally send an image directly into your retina. It replicates how the human eye views images naturally, thus making projected images indistinguishable from the normal world. It doesn’t block your view and isn’t a massive piece of hardware.

The applications for this are quite literally incomprehensible. Navigation apps will direct users by project arrows directly onto the road itself; Computer screens (and screens in general) will be a thing of the past. Anything we normally interact with visually can be projected into our eyes. More than that, the hardware is constantly collecting data.

Everything from where you’re directing your eyes or head, to recording and analyzing your external environment (sounds, objects, images, etc). This makes it an interactive piece of technology that is your constant digital guide, providing details and information on whatever you need. This isn’t a Gadget like Google Glass. This is, like Abovitz claimed, a new computer and a new way of interacting with the digital world.

This is big news to the entrepreneur out there. We’re standing at a crossroad, a change that will likely surpass (and replace) the Smartphone in disrupting the world of Human-Computer Interaction. For more than 15 years, SDI has studied how new technologies disrupt the market; the one thing we can say is that disruption always also means opportunity.

We also know that while MR and Mixed Reality will change how we think of computing, we will still need apps to make the world go ‘round. And we’re even seeing the tools to make it happen, with Microsoft releasing a Dev Kit for its own Mixed Reality (they’re pretty insistent that it’s MR, not AR) platform, HoloLens.

So to answer the question posed by our headline, You should start your own MR App Startup because it’s likely to upturn the entire world of technology. What if you knew the day before Steve Jobs announced the first SmartPhone how drastically the world of computing would change in less than 10 years? How much money would you have in the bank today?

Want to get a head start on your own MR app project? Give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

How to Build an App like Amazon Go for Your Mom and Pop Store

Amazon just announced that it will be opening up its first brick-and-mortar retail store in the first part of next year. While they’ve only announced a single location (in Seattle), there is little doubt that more will follow, especially if the first is the rousing success it will likely be (though Amazon has flatly denied rumors of thousands of planned locations).

Amazon’s store will have no cash registers. No Cashiers. No payment lines. Just walk in grab what you need and walk out. Don’t worry, there aren’t police waiting outside for you: a sophisticated surveillance system within the store tracks your every movement (in a non-disturbing way).

This system, combined with AI and Deep Learning, keeps an eye on everything you pick up from the shelves. It will add what you put into your physical shopping cart to your digital cart. Change your mind? No problem, put it back on the shelves and it will remove the item from your digital shopping cart as well!

The other part of this store is a robust consumer-facing mobile app, also named Amazon Go. Shoppers will download the app and use it to notify the store that you are getting ready to shop. When finished, shoppers will simply leave the store with their groceries and the app will charge the users saved payment method.

But why is this relevant to the local mom and pop store, or to the small local grocery chains? Because for once, you have an advantage over Amazon: You already have an established location – or locations – with an already consumer market. Plus, you have SDI’s AI for app development experience;).

There are further advantages to building an app like Amazon Go, even (maybe especially) for small local businesses. So let’s talk about some of them, and the tech that makes this whole project viable.

How Amazon Go Works

Amazon’s Explainer video was heavy on words and light on the explanation. But really, it appears to work using a potent combination of Microphones and cameras throughout the store. When Shopper opens up the App, the store identifies their location using these devices and then tracks them as they move through the store.

These Cameras track the shoppers, capturing pictures of consumers when they pick up something or stop in front of a shelf. Then, the Amazon’s advanced algorithms (similar to those used in Digital Assistants), sorts through the photos of the products you’ve picked up comparing it to saved photos and stocked items. When it finds a match, it’s added to your virtual shopping cart.

Microphones and other sensors are also used to confirm when something is picked up, and to mark when something is set back down. The AI/Deep Learning is so advanced that it can determine who a customer from a snapshot of their hand. Every step has been made to make this system as sophisticated and effective as possible.

But there are some real applications beyond its value as a grocery shopping tool for consumers.

How an App like Amazon Go can Help Your Local Store

This tool does something else for business owners: it gives you a massive amount of data. It basically takes digital Analytics offline: Amazon Go watches shoppers constantly (again, in a totally non-creepy, non-Orwellian way; try not to think about it too much), just as internet users are tracked everywhere they go.

Think about what that can tell you as a retailer? Traditionally brick and mortar restocking decisions are made by determining what has been selling and what hasn’t. But with this level of data, you can figure out what consumers looked at; what they changed their minds about; what products were studied; what products were exchanged for other brands; and so on.

But this is only part of the data collected and only part of what you can collect. After all, this type of system knows who the users are, which provides the perfect opportunity for more data collection – and re-engagement. And that doesn’t even touch the potential it provides for better smarter insights and risk management!

For instance, if customer #1 pulled an item off a shelf, but ended up putting it back, a retailer wants to know why. So why not email Customer #1 and ask? All they can do is say no. Even better, SDI’s AI and Deep Learning experts build algorithms that can automate this process; it will notice the potential for more data, pull from a database of stock email templates, and shoot one off to the customer.

With these follow-up emails, you can ask why they decided not to get the returned item; or if they would have purchased it something we’re different about it (ingredients, brand, price, etc). Or you can push engagement by offering a discount on discarded items. Or you can turn the whole thing on its head and figure why Customer #1 bought what they did buy. Positive information is useful too!

Other advantages to this digital solution exist, including a reduction of staffing overhead and automatic restocking based on preset indicators or even predicted needs. But to learn more, you’re going to have to give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us. Don’t worry, it’s a free quote and consultation and we’ll protect your idea with an iron-clad NDA.

How to Make an App Go Viral

Going Viral is an app owner’s dream – it means that millions of people have downloaded their app – and it means they’re going to start making Scrooge McDuck amounts of money [Note: Diving into the pile of cash made off a viral app is not recommended]. But how do you make an app reach that sweet spot? How do you get people to download your app – and to keep downloading it?

There are some accepted methods to creating an app that goes viral, including:

1. Research;

Researching the market is vital. A successful enterprise venture researches everything from competitors to influencers to the target user population.

2. Conversion;

Using modern data analysis tools, App owners can test multiple iterations of their app download page; these tools allow webmasters to really determine what design has the most successful visitor-to-user conversion rate.

3. Innovative Marketing tactics;

Marketing is vastly different today than it was even 20 years ago. The internet provides app owners with access to billions of potential users; but an app need to make some noise to be heard.

4. User Engagement;

User Engagement is majorly important to an app going viral. In order for an app to go viral, people need to talk about it. To get people talking, an app needs to hook them in. The more a user is on an app the more they will talk about it

5. Design

A well thought out design is crucial to a viral app marketing strategy. An app cannot go viral without Social Media. Not only that, but the social sharing aspect of the internet is massive; people love sharing things with friends and family for all sorts of reasons. Make Sharing buttons prominent, so users can’t miss them.

6. Content

We won’t cover this in too much detail because this is pretty clear. Create content that is engaging, fun, and clear. Nobody talks about crappy content (except negatively).

But these are all some common methods and we’ve talked about them before. What we want to do today is to drill down into some real specific strategies; not just use social media, but how you can use Facebook and Instagram to drive installs.

One more thing before we dive into this: The timing of this post is no coincide. As early as 2012, industry leaders were talking about how the holiday season drives install. No joke, there was a 60% increase in app downloads on December 25-31, 2012 as compared to the week before Christmas! And that was 4 years ago!

The holidays mean sitting around with family. It means talking about things – like apps that really cool or useful. So if you want to launch a viral marketing campaign, now is the time. Don’t hesitate any longer, just email our team of marketing experts.

How Facebook and Instagram can Make your App Go Viral

Most of us think about these two Social Media platforms, we think of ways to communicate with absent relatives and friends, ways to share our lives with distant loved ones. Or a way to discover new passions and hobbies (or to reinvigorate old ones).

But think about that from the perspective of a Marketer: it’s a place where people go to talk about everything, including the apps they use. It’s where people go to find new toys – like apps. And it’s where they go to find tools to make their lives easier – like…well you get the idea. So naturally, Social media is an attractive resource for marketers.

Posting and Facebook page creations are all industry standard tactics, but one that often goes unused is direct contact of gatekeepers. Think about it: over a half billion people use Instagram. And that’s nothing on Facebooks 1.79 billion users.

Both Social Media platforms have people that create accounts and groups for very specific purposes, such as a Facebook Group for Makeup artists, or an Instagram account that focuses on outdoor activities like hiking. These accounts holders and group Leaders are what marketers call Gatekeepers of Key Influencers

So what the Viral marketer needs to do is to identify these people. Try to find a keyword that best sums up what your app does – this is supposed to be a targeted approach, not throwing things at the wall to see what sticks. And don’t just email the top 10 results. Do some research, see which groups or accounts are the best fit for your product. See which influencers have the most followers.

Once you have a handful of influencers that really match your service, email them. Send them a link to your app, tell them why you’re emailing them, and start the process of setting up a promotional project. On Facebook, this can often be done for free. Many Facebook Influencers will promote you – as long as you return the favor.

But these are low-value targets. You want professional promoters here. There are thousands of top influencers who routinely promote apps they like on their Facebook or Instagram account. Yes, they will cost you. Sometimes the cost is negligible; sometimes it’s not. Use your best judgment to identify which influencers are worth top dollar.

We understand that the temptation is to simply go the free option. After all, who doesn’t like free? But if you want your app to go Viral, it’s going to cost. Of course, the potential rewards are mind-boggling. Again, Scrooge McDuck.

Social Media isn’t the only trick to an effective Viral marketing campaign. SDI has reinvented ways to use AI and extremely targeted direct emailing to drive downloads and improve user retention. We can even build effective referral programs to increase app sharing by rewarding users. Give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!

3 Ways to Build a Successful eCommerce Website

The eCommerce business is one of the most profitable in the world, generating billions of dollars annually. In fact, if trends continue, online retail sales will eventually surpass Brick and Mortar retail. Believe it or not, this is amazing news for the entrepreneur out there.

Traditional retail requires stock, many employees, and a physical location. All of this adds up to a lot of money simply to get your Retail business launched. This puts brick and mortar business owners in a bind: in order to make back their investment, they need to charge higher prices, or operate in a deficit for longer than any of us would find comfortable. And on top of that, you’re market is relegated to locals or passer bys only.

eCommerce on the other hand, requires only a robust website and effective Content Management System. Done correctly management of this system requires a smaller staff, and no investment in physical spaces except for stock inventory storage. And as eBay has shown us, you don’t even really need your own stock!

That isn’t to say that an eCommerce website is a walk in the park. While the low barrier to entry into internet businesses is a massive boon to the ordinary joe, the lack of clear and concise information can lead to poorly managed business (without you even realizing it until it’s too late).

So to help provide you with the tools to succeed in the world of eCommerce, we’re going to write about 3 tricks you can use to create a more successful online retail business.

1. Use a Framework

As a website development company we love building custom websites from the ground up; and, to be frank, we’re damned good at it. But we’re equally good at using eCommerce frameworks like Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce, and PrestaShop to build wonderful websites.

Custom Web development, while resulting in awesome and unique sites, takes a long time to build, incredible effort to make an effective UX/UI, and extensive testing. It’s also costly. eCommerce platforms like Magento, on the other hand, are comparatively inexpensive, with thoroughly tested code – and you can go from no website to launch in 2 weeks!

That’s why we are recommending a Framework in this post; while we might otherwise recommend Custom web development, we are in the heart of retail season. It behooves you to move quickly!

Additionally, Magento and others contain massive libraries for different themes and Plugins. This lets developers rapidly build websites that are unique to our clients and their business. Plus we can always customize a framework with our own code.

2. The Shopping Cart

We all know this: that little button in the right hand corner where all of our goods go, sometimes to be purchased, other times to languish for ever in Retail Purgatory. Shopping Cart Abandonment is the bane of eCommerce. If you compile every major Abandonment report and average them together, you still end up with almost 69% of all goods placed in an online Cart are abandoned (see full report).

While this is arguably just a feature of how people shop, it is still a missed opportunity. The challenge of any eCommerce website is to figure out ways to avoid high Abandonment rates. This is something that can (and should be) designed into your website from the get go.

Tactics include creating an algorithm for automatic re-engagement tools and offering a discount to shoppers the more they add to their Cart (Jet.com is the ulitmate example of this). Another popular option is to offer discounts on items that have sat in a Cart for a given length of time.

3. Go Mobile

Our last tip to building an eCommerce website? Don’t. Consider instead building an eCommerce app, more commonly known as mCommerce. Online retail isn’t going anywhere, but it is clear that it’s future lies in Mobile First. Already, the near majority of web surfers do so from their phone or another mobile website. Apps are the most popular way among users to engage with any business.

And an app lets you create an entire system that can offer all sort of unique features that you don’t get from a standard website. Don’t worry though, SDI’s experts are capable of making a mobile first website or app that works perfectly on any device.

Already got an eCommerce website? Contact us to turn it into a mobile first website!

There are more tricks to a successful eCommerce project, including engagement tactics and an effective marketing strategy; but in order to learn more, you’re going to need to give us a call at 408.802.2885/408.621.8481 – or click to contact us!