Website solutions for your online grocery website

You’ve decided to check out what is out there for you to create your online grocery website. There is a lot of different things you need to take into account when creating it. There are general items which every website must have and then there are those things that are specific to groceries stores. If you don’t do it right or include everything you need, it’s not going to work out well.

Just in case you were wondering it is definitely worth it to create a website for a grocery store, especially if you want to provide a delivery service. Grocery delivery has risen almost 18% from 2016 to 2017. It’s a billion dollar industry you definitely want to take part in.

Before you start Your customers not only want to shop for the grocery items but they want an easy way to access discounts, create a shopping checklist, earn rewards, and more.

Should you build from scratch or use a ready-made framework. Well, that depends. Often times you can find a framework that suits most of your needs and you just need to do some custom work on top it. If your online grocery website needs a lot of things that frameworks can’t provide then doing it from scratch is the way to go. Do keep in mind that using a framework is less expensive and quicker but does not provide much wiggle room for adding unique functionality.

E-commerce There are tons of 3rd party API’s you can use in your website to make it user-friendly and provide what your customers want. Obviously, the biggest piece of your website is the e-commerce portion so you want it to be perfect. You’ll want to use something like Magento because it’s highly scalable and great for larger sized businesses. If you are on the smaller end and looking for something more simple OpenCart or ZenCart would be good options for you.

You’ll want to spend a lot of time deciding on this point because your customers need to have the most beautiful and easy experience if you want to keep them coming back. Also, keep in mind your dealing with thousands of items which means people can fill their cart up with hundreds of items as many do when it comes to grocery shopping. Your system must be able to handle all that and make the checkout process smooth. Deleting, editing items, and saving for later should be easy.

Do not take the payment system lightly. It could look very simple on the front end but in the backend, it better be secure and does what is needed to keep the payments system working correctly. You can do this by choosing the right payment gateway for online grocery websites.

Design Although e-commerce is very important, the design should also be very well thought out. The user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) should be flawless. You only have a few seconds to impress them so your design should be stunning. The e-commerce platforms mentioned above have design templates that you can choose from if you want to make things easier on yourself. There are a lot of options that are simple yet impactful. Again, make sure it’s what your customers would want and need.

The images and videos you choose to use should look beautiful and fit in correctly. Everything must be the right size. If you choose to show a video of your bakery do so because people want to see that but do it right. The right length, the right placement, and the right content are things to take into account.

Customer Service There has to be a place where people can easily get access to help. It’s a good idea to think about Chatbots to help lower cost but provide 24-hour customer care. Do something a little new and different by providing customer support through texting. We see a lot of chat now windows or send us an email, fill out a form…etc. Texting is a newer way but highly interesting to today’s customers.

You can choose to do a combination of these options or just 1 but again, it should be something your users would want and use. Providing proper support should be easy to find. Customers look down on a business that makes it hard to get in touch.

Marketing On the website itself, there should be room for various marketing tactics. Think about AI recommending products based on users search and buying habits. You can upsell by showing options that go with what the user wants to purchase right before checkout. For example, if someone is buying pasta, you can suggest pasta sauce. Targeted discounts are also very important. You want to provide the right amount at the right time. This can be difficult but there are solutions.

There are a lot of options when it comes to marketing but that is something that AI can help with tremendously. All of this is important for keeping customers engaged and interested in other products that relate to their needs. Of course, there are all the other marketing tactics to bring people to your website for which you would want a customized marketing plan. Talk with your development company to see if they provide marketing services.

Delivery Over the past few years, delivery services have taken on a life of their own. Although shopping in the physical store is still the main way people shop for groceries, delivery is coming in strong. Over the coming years, grocery delivery services will continue to rise and then possibly surpass the in-store shopping. If you want to take this on, which you should there is a lot to consider.

How will the ordering process be on your online grocery website? Again, it has to be easy for them to choose what they want, enter their delivery details, set up recurring deliveries if they want, and more. Of course, you need to have the infrastructure to take it on.

Content With any website content is important. You want to get your message across quickly but in an interesting way. Grocery shopping is no different. You have competition so you need to become more interesting to potential customers through your words. Provide them with the information they need but also more. It’s also what helps you rank better on search engines.

Take what is unique about you and tell them. If you support a charity, mention it and show them what items they can buy which will provide a portion of proceeds to that charity. Of course, it’s not just about the words but also how you display them. This is very important and lends to the design portion of your online grocery website.

Responsive You can’t have a website that’s not responsive. Users need to have a fantastic experience not only on the computer but also on their phones, tablets, and iPads. Every detail must be taken into account when designing so that it can also work for the other devices. This is something most people are familiar with no matter what industry you are in.

You may want to consider having a mobile app as well. An app makes things really convenient for your customers where they can access all the most important items they need when it comes to buying groceries.

Your backend should be extensive to support all of this. Making sure you’ve got all the functions you need is important and a smart web development team will be able to provide you answers to that. Lastly, getting the right cloud and hosting solution will bring everything together or make it all fall apart. Remember that it’s about the right solution for your online grocery website. There are many solutions and the right web development team will know what to use.

The best thing to do is find a team who can do both web design and development, mobile app design and development, and marketing like SDI. You need a partner who can do everything and provide your company with the right tools to help your grocery company succeed. When you are ready to get started you can talk to Sakshi Sharma who can discuss your business goals and find solutions that work for you. Call her at 408.621.8481 or email her at sakshi@sdi.la.

What is Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence and how can it help

There’s been a lot going on with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. It’s being used in so many different aspects of our lives. Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it’s not. One thing that people are constantly questioning is what exactly is it. One thing it’s not is The Terminator. It will not be taking over the world, it’s not actually that smart, YET!

Here we are going to break it down into what exactly both of these are, the ways it is being used, and how they can work for your business.

What is Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is simply a technology that can mimic human behavior. It learns through repetitive actions and can find answers and solutions based on that data. It still needs information from humans to be able to properly provide answers. If it has that it can simplify all of the things we do daily.

Siri and Alexa and are the most obvious examples of this. It tracks your habits and makes recommendations based on what you do daily. It uses learning algorithms to do this. It takes the inflow of information and is constantly making and changing its answers with every new bit of information it receives.

It can even take that information and make predictions about things. Amazon is a great example. When you search and look at certain products and/or buy them, AI takes that and then it will recommend other items that relate to that. Based on your continue searching and buying it will adjust what it recommends to you.

Where and how it is being used

Retail – Both brick and mortar and e-commerce stores have become more personalized, provide better customer service, and improve the way they manage stock.

Finance – With so much fraud going on it can flag these fraudulent transactions instantly. It can also help determine loan approvals and amounts.

Medical – helps doctors diagnose illnesses and helps patients manage their health and medication.

Transportation – Smarter scheduling of public transit and ridesharing as well as predicting traffic behavior.

Shipping – improve the efficiency of the entire shipment process from receiving the order, determining better routes, and then delivering it on time.

Manufacturing – Connecting equipment to help improve production time and accuracy.

AI is not going to take over. Humans working with AI allows us to have better analytics in many different industries. It Improves our accuracy and provides us with a better understanding of how to get to a particular answer based on certain data. It also allows us to communicate better with anyone in the world improving our business relationships.

Although AI has a lot to offer just about any company in any industry, it’s not perfect and has quite a long way to go. What’s important to remember about AI is that it always needs data to be given to it. The more data it is given the better the results. It can’t make any decisions without it. This also means that if the quality of the data provided is not good then the results won’t be that great either.

Every company that wants to incorporate AI into their business has to have it made specifically for them. There is no AI package you can purchase to work for you. Your specific company data has to be put in for it to provide you the correct results.

Another important aspect to remember is that AI can only do one task at a time. This is where the Internet of Things (IoT) comes in. With the use of many little devices that are all connected to one another, a bunch of data gets collected. That data can then be analyzed through AI to provide more accurate results and answers.

The whole point of AI is to make our lives easier. To provide us with help similar to that of what humans would do. We still have a lot to discover about AI as it is nowhere near perfect but it is still helping us as we speak.

What is Machine Learning

Machine Learning (ML) is very closely tied with AI. What ML can do which goes beyond AI is learn from itself. Yes, there is data but it can learn from it and make decisions with much less human interaction than AI. It does not need to be fed direct data from humans. It can actually learn itself and find where to get information to provide results.

ML can analyze a lot of very complex data at a very fast speed and it constantly is adjusting as it goes along all by itself.

Where and how is it being used

Websites – This can make our experiences as customers better through convenience, more accurate product recommendations, and more.

Companies – Better results on what customers think about them or what they want with ML because it can scan the internet. Whether that be websites or social media to find comments about that company, it will figure out where to get the information it needs.

Self-driving car – This is a popular one. It constantly adapts to the road based on data it gathers from weather, lights, other cars, the drivers..etc.

Health – Predicting if someone is mentally unstable and determine when hospitals will get hit with a lot of people. This is also where wearables come in because they can help in many different ways including diagnosis.

Banking – Find money launderers by determining what transactions are legit and which are not, find any other fraud, and determine risk levels for users.

Weather – Helping to better predict natural disasters

Credit Score – More accurate results can be given to creditors

Although it requires less from humans than AI it still needs a certain list of things such as algorithms, scalability and automation details, modeling, and data prep abilities. It doesn’t, however, need to be given the correct answer, it can figure it out on its own. It will find the info it needs and come to a conclusion.

If you want to get the most out of it, you do need to make sure the algorithms, tools, and processes you use gel well together. If not, much like AI it won’t provide accurate answers. Also, much like AI, ML has a long way to go but it is still something that is helping us now and will just get better and better.

How AI and ML Connect

You may still be wondering what exactly is the difference and which one would be better for my business. The answer can be either or both. AI simply put is us trying to make computers think like humans. It literally just mimics us. ML is a type of AI that will literally teach a machine how it should think in order to find the answers. AI is very complex but ML is on another level. With ML, if you give it examples it will understand and learn from them. When it finds the answer on its own it then applies that to other instances.

Even if you are not in any of the industries listed above that is ok, there are many ways Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning can help your business. Every business has different needs so you want to speak with someone who can understand that and help you decide which option would be best and how to go about it. Contact Rob LaPointe from SDI at 408.802.2885 to discuss your options.

The right insurance company software to help manage the business

Whether you are a big or small insurance company there is a lot to manage. The biggest piece is managing all the insured. Everything from those first signing up to insurance claims to canceling can be a tall task to manage. Finding the right insurance company software is key to properly managing your insurance company.

If you do a search you will find a list of software options out there for insurance companies. Some of these allow you to manage policies, paperwork, accounting, reports, email, underwriters, and marketing. It’s kind of a one-stop shop. One of the biggest advancements in the use of chatbots for customer service. It’s helped solve customer problems faster, enhance relationships, and decrease costs.

Although there are definitely some good options when it comes to ready-made insurance company software, it’s not perfect. There are a lot of variables in insurance. You need a software that can take that into account and allow you to convert it into something specific to meet your company needs.

On the other hand, most of these insurance company software options have all of these features and functions that can be overwhelming. You may want something that’s simpler and pinpoints just the items you need help with. More often than not that is more complicated to find versus one with all the bells and whistles.

Let’s look at this a little closer:

All the features: if you are looking for something with a lot of functions that can practically run your business you’ll find a software that does A to X but can’t do Y and Z for you because its something that is more unique to your insurance business.

A few features: Maybe you just need something that does A, B, and C but all the software options out there do A to X. You end up paying for things you don’t even want. There are options out there that allow you to a little customization to choose what you want and what you don’t want, however, it’s still not that precise. Many still end up paying for features they don’t use.

After a while paying those monthly fees can get annoying especially if it’s not exactly what you want or it has more than you need. So, what kind of insurance company software can you use that fits your business and budget perfectly?

What is the solution

Your own custom insurance company software is the answer. Yes, that’s right, your own personal software that has the exact features and functions you need, no more, no less. Instead of it working only a certain way you can choose exactly how you would like it to work. You may be thinking that sounds great but how do I go about it and what would be the cost of that.

You first want to create a list of the functions and features that you know you need. Then contact a software development company like SDI who can build it for you. It’s pretty much as simple as that. If your goal is to manage your new clients and documents that can be created for you. The sky is the limit. You can get rid of that monthly fee.

It’s a system that works for you the way you want it. Keeping track of everything is usually the biggest hurdle. Making sure all the right paperwork is filed for each insured person. Being able to organize everything and get notifications when something needs to be sent out. Even having the ability to have things sent automatically can be a huge time saver.

The Cost

You may be wondering how much can I really save building my own software. Well, lets break it down.

For a ready-made software you may start at $250 a month. Then, if you start adding things you need for your business that price goes up. You could end up somewhere around $400 a month on average. That being said it could be less or a lot more. Some businesses pay thousands per month. Of course, there is always that set up fee and data migration fee at the beginning which can be a few hundred dollars. Per year your paying about $4,800.

A customized insurance company software that you create specifically for business could cost anywhere from $3,000 to $15,000 depending on how many features you want and the complexities involved. That may seem like a lot but remember you don’t have that monthly fee so it ends up paying for itself within a year or 2.

SaaS

What’s also great about creating your own software is that you can actually sell it to other insurance companies and agents to use as well. There are others out there in the same boat as you. They will end up paying you a monthly fee to use your software rather than the other way around. That right there will not only pay you back for the amount you spent creating it but also earn you additional income. Custom SaaS is truly the way to go.

Insurance is a stressful business, the software you use doesn’t have to be. If you want to learn more about how this works and what is involved you can call or email Sakshi Sharma at 408.621.8481 or sakshi@sdi.la. She will learn about your needs and help you find the best course of action to make running your insurance company a heck of a lot easier.

The New Way To Build Hybrid Apps Using Flutter

For a long time, most app developers create native apps which makes the user experience very good on iOS and Android. Of course, there are tools that have helped to create hybrid apps which allow developers to build the app once to work on both iOS and Android. However, although the development and cost may be less the user experience is usually heavily compromised.

New technology has made this process easier. Google has released what they call Flutter which has truly changed the game for both app owners and mobile app developers. This comes after Microsoft’s acquisition of Xamarin which also provides a similar function for app development. Flutter, however, may be the better of the 2. Although we won’t compare, we are just going to provide you with the key information about Flutter and why it’s great.

Flutter’s Key Features

1. Run a single design on both platforms well

2. Unique internal and external integrations

3. Integration of 3rd party SDK’s

4. Make and see changes in real time without restarting

5. Create apps from scratch

6. Add and fix features in already existing apps

7. 2D Apps for both iOS and Android

Developers now have the ability to do so much more with hybrid apps. Design can be a lot more complex so that the user experience is better than ever not matter what device it’s on. What’s even better is that its open source so the code can be used however developers and app owners want. There are a lot of amazing technical people who are contributing to this making it such an amazing product.

One of the biggest things to take away is that it pretty much eliminates the compromise that many developers have to make when creating hybrid apps. The most important part of any mobile app or really anything in technology is the user experience and the way it looks. It’s always been a struggle with hybrid apps. Now, with Flutter, it’s not. You get a native experience without having to create separate apps for the various platforms.

There is already major companies like CapitalOne using this amazing tool. You can use this tool for both iOS and Android. This is perfect for any size business or even an individual who wants to build a fun app for the first time. It definitely saves a lot of time and money in development and design.

The SDK

Flutter’s SDK has many different things. It has command-line tools that allow you to do various things to create the app. It also has awesome widgets, is optimized, has API’s for integration tests, and much more.

What makes Flutter unique

Well, if you couldn’t tell already, its the things mentioned above. It does not use the same technology as other options that are out there in the market. Let’s take widgets for example. Flutter has its own rendering engine which draws widgets.

The way it uses code and implements its system is different and it makes it easy for developers like the team at SDI to do what they want. There’s pretty much no limitations which make this one of the best things out there.

The Tech

When creating Flutter apps, developers will be writing in Dart which is similar to Java, Swift, C#, and JavaScript. Using Dart will allow you to use similar syntax and amazing libraries. It has the standard iOS and Android toolchains so the app can run properly.

There is definitely no shortage of what Flutter can do. Mobile app developers are raving over this. If you are looking to create an app for your business or have a cool idea you think people will love you don’t have to pick a platform anymore. Contact Rob LaPointe at 408.802.2885 to discuss your needs and we will use Flutter to create it on both platforms for much less than ever before.