Why Are Apps Like TikTok So Popular?

What is TikTok

TikTok is an app that resembles that of a social media platform. You may also know TikTok by its former name, Musical.ly. This app allows users to showcase their creativity with their followers by uploading short 15 second videos. These videos are often comedic or take the form of a short music video and lip-syncing.

Data on Success

TikTok is a relatively new app that acquired a mass following in 2018. Although it was originally founded in China, by the end of 2018, 40% of its users were located outside of China. Also, at the end of 2018, the app had the most amount of downloads on both the iOS and Android platforms, exceeding those of other more established social media platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, and Instagram.

According to estimates, revenue-wise, the company has tripled their year over year revenue as the app has grown more in popularity. The reason why TikTok is able to compete with these other companies is that they allow users to be creative with their content, just like the other leading platforms.

Audience

TikTok strategically has an audience of 41% 16 to 24-year-olds, which means that their audience is heavily into social media usage throughout the day. Their platform doesn’t just keep the videos within the app, but many of the video creations are shared with other popular social media platforms as well, allowing more users who otherwise would not have heard of TikTok to familiarize themselves with the company name and app.

Competitors to TikTok:

Lasso by Facebook

Facebook quietly released an app called “Lasso” in order to attract its users to staying within their infrastructure more. Like TikTok, the concept of the application is similar in the sense that it is used to craft short-form entertainment videos. Lasso is integrated with the rest of Facebook’s infrastructure to allow for easy TikTok video sharing with users who are already their friends on Facebook. It is perceived that their goal is to retain teenage users since it is reported that only half of teens still use Facebook.

Quibi

Quibi is an app that delivers short term videos to your phone, where you may view content that is either subscribed or unsubscribed by you. It has a monthly subscription plan for this service. The app developers are also reaching out to Hollywood and television stars to develop short shows that fit in the category of comedy, news, reality shows, documentaries, drama, etc. Quibi’s developers will focus more on delivering relevant content catered to each user in order to retain their paying customer base.

MadLipz

MadLipz is another competitor to TikTok. This app is more centered around musical creativity and allows the user to make instant voiceover and subtitle parodies to send to your friends. Within the app, there are social-media like features that allow you to message other users and check out other profiles as well. The app seems to be marketed towards teens, urging users to express their creative side to gain popularity and become the next meme-maker.

VMate

VMate, like TikTok, started out in another country and found themselves also gaining users in the Western markets. VMate is a short video making an app that offers thousands of sticks and songs for users to use in their videos or create lip syncs over. Right now, this app is considered to be India’s top free video maker app. They also have a daily feature that entices users to log in and receive free gifts within the app.

Closing

Even a “young” company just like TikTok has the ability to surpass other well established social media networks that are being used today. TikTok quickly gained popularity by allowing users to essentially advertise the company on their behalf with creative content that went viral.

All it takes is a great idea to get started on your next multimillion-dollar business. Do you have an idea for a new creative social media platform? Reach out to us at SDI! We pride ourselves on providing a personalized process with our clients through all stages of app development and success.

SDI is an established firm that has worked with prominent clients such as Pepsi, Benefit Cosmetics, and Marvell. We have expert team members who are well equipped to execute ideas and handle tasks of all magnitudes. Don’t hesitate to call us at +1.408.621.8481 or email us at team@sdi.la and we will execute a non-disclosure agreement to protect your great idea and a free consultation.

How omnichannel fulfillment services can increase your retail sales

Why should I use omnichannel fulfillment services?

-Increased online orders -Increased sales -Better warehouse management -Better customer service -Decreased shipping costs -Faster order fulfillment -And more

If you have or are starting an eCommerce business chances are your main goal is to increase sales. You spent money and time creating an eCommerce website so you want those sales. Although that is the ultimate goal for just about any business, there is a lot more you should be taking into account besides just marketing to get more customers.

Online sales are expected to increase by approximately 14% each year. It will account for about 15% of retail sales. That number is just going to increase taking over the traditional brick-and-mortar shopping experience. What customers expect their online shopping experience to be has changed over the years. In order to make sure your profits are in the green and you can provide great customer service through improved logistics.

If you focused heavily on your brick-and-mortar business you’re going to face some serious problems. The rise in store closures is at an all-time high. Adding a proper eCommerce website to your company is going to save it but only if you do it the right way. Before we jump right into everything let’s see some options for how you can save on your basic shipping options.

How to save on shipping costs

Any retailer with an online store must create a proper delivery system that not only satisfies your customers but also streamlines your process to lower costs. There has been a huge shift to have free and fast shipping. This can be very expensive and cut into your eCommerce profits.

Amazon for example markets free 2-day shipping which many are happy to have. The reality is it’s not really free. You have to pay a yearly subscription to get that benefit. Of course, for smaller online companies charging $120 a year probably won’t get you many customers. However, having it as an option for let’s say $15 a year is much more enticing especially for those who will buy things regularly. Make sure the price you set matches what you offer.

Offering free shipping on a minimum amount purchase is also pretty common and does work for many eCommerce websites. 2-day shipping is more expensive so giving this out for free isn’t the best idea. 5-7 days is a more affordable option, but that also makes your customers feel like they have to wait too long for their items.

1. Negotiate with the shipping company on costs. The more you ship the bigger the discounts will be.

2. You should also try using region-specific shipping companies because often times you can get better rates with them versus the national/global companies.

3. Look for partners of these companies who offer other significant discounts even on express shipping.

4. The packaging you use makes a big difference. Cut back on the size and weight to help you save.

5. Ask about the cost of shipping supplies. You may be surprised to find out that you can actually get supplies for free. Again, negotiate, negotiate, negotiate.

6. If you are looking to have insurance on your shipped items, you will most likely get a better deal if you do it through a third party versus the shipping carrier.

7. Having an automated system to take care of shipping can save you a lot in the long run. It will cost you more in the initial phases but it will be worth it. This includes doing all your shipping online.

8. Offer store pick-up. Customers should have the option to pick it up in the store if it’s available. Many times people don’t mind popping in and grabbing the item. Having to wander around trying to find what you’re looking for, then having to wait in line to check out can be more time-consuming. The convenience of ordering online and then picking it up in the store is very appealing.

Although these are great options, to truly become relevant and provide the best service you can, it’s all about omnichannel fulfillment services. It will save you money on inventory management, customer service, and more.

Omnichannel fulfillment services

Omnichannel fulfillment services offer one of the best options for eCommerce as it provides internalized commercial transactions. This increases the number of sales because it is faster and easier. It’s a solution for not only online orders but even brick-and-mortar. This helps everyone and keeps your company at the forefront of the shopping experience. It essentially resolves the difficulties companies face with a larger number of orders.

How does omnichannel fulfillment service work?

It uses an automated system which manages the entire buying process. You use 1 streamlined system to manage every single step of the customers buying products. Your business will be provided with a simple way to do the following:

1. Customer Service – From the beginning to get a customer to make a purchase all the way to services provided after the customer has bought the product can be done very simply and cost-effectively.

2. Warehousing – You’ll be able to manage every piece of inventory, the warehousing, and check any merchandise/inventory.

3. Orders – Manage the entire ordering process from adding items to the cart to order confirmation.

4. Packing – The items will be grabbed then put in boxes and labeled so they are ready to be shipped.

5. Shipping – Pick up, on-time delivery, returns, and payments can be done with very little effort.

Every part of the chain works together seamlessly. Even better is how automated this entire flow is to help keep your efforts and costs minimal. Over 80% of the businesses who have implemented this have seen an increase in their sales.

Customers receive numerous benefits from this as well. They have the ability to find products, make price comparisons, purchase and receive the products they want through various channels in a very quick and easy way. This gives customers today what they want.

Although Omnichannel fulfillment services have become a huge trend, the reality is that the majority of retailers have not incorporated this. For the ones who have, many of them have not fully figured out and mastered what these services can really do. Many eCommerce businesses end up spending too much on all their logistics such as shipping and handling and don’t even realize it. This is a big part of what eats up profits.

Trying to figure out all of these logistics and satisfy the demands of customers can be time consuming and expensive. It’s not something you need to figure out on your own. Omnichannel fulfillment services are worth it as it helps improve customer relations and logistics. It has been proven to help the businesses who have implemented it. If you could improve your sales not only through proper marketing but also through lower costs and streamlining the way your business runs wouldn’t it be worth it?

To help you get started on a better retail experience for both you and your customers the first step is to speak to companies like SDI who specialize in improving brick-and-mortar businesses by developing powerful eCommerce companies with more sales and better customer care.

Migrating to the cloud will reduce both capital and operation expenses

Can migrating to the cloud lower capital and operating expenses? The quick answer is yes it can. There are many reasons why the cloud can be more cost-effective than traditional options such as lower setup and maintenance fees, less IT staff, better employee productivity, and more.

Cloud computing is for every size business. In fact, more small businesses use it than large ones. Over half of the businesses using the cloud say they switched to reduce their IT costs. In the end, it did reduce it by over 30%. Not only did it provide them with the tools they needed to run their business but it saved them money. What’s great is there are multiple cloud options for businesses to choose from.

When it is time for you to look at either continuing with the infrastructure you have or switch to the cloud consider the costs. Keeping your current system comes with both capital expenses and operating expenses. Let’s review these and compare it with what comes with the cloud.

Capital Expenses Capital expenditures are what you spend on fixed assets which can include equipment and maintenance. It’s the actual physical items you have for your organization. They depreciate pretty fast as well. Then there are all the maintenance costs if problems occur.

Operating Expenses This is simply the general costs of running your business. It’s more short term items like office supplies that you constantly use up. All the pieces like domain and hosting of your website are part of this as well.

Many companies try their best to reduce both Capital and Operational expenses without changing the companies production quality. This is something that is pretty difficult if you keep using the same infrastructure. The decision of what to purchase and/or get rid of isn’t as black and white as it used to be. The capabilities of the cloud have truly made a huge difference in operational and capital expenses.

Infrastructure The cost associated with creating your own infrastructure is massive. Physical servers take up a lot of space and cost quite a bit to maintain. Setting them up has a pretty hefty price tag as well and requires quite a bit of time. There is a lot required of physical servers which include very strict security measures and various certificates.

The key here is that purchasing any hardware and even software is a thing of the past. The SaaS model can be a better way to go but it can be hard to determine what the real cost of this is.

The Advantages There are many advantages to migrating to the cloud:

1. Everything is bundled together. You’ve got everything in one place. You don’t need to have multiple items from different vendors. It can all be done with one company.

2. The up-front investment is much lower or even non-existent in comparison to setting up your own equipment.

3. Migrating to the cloud is the responsibility of the vendor. Take Amazon Web Services (AWS), for example, they take care of everything for a low cost and it’s a smooth process.

4. Support is completely done by the vendor as well. You don’t need to hire a whole IT team to constantly monitor and make changes.

5. Buying new equipment isn’t necessary with the cloud. Equipment only lasts so long and when its time to replace it, that cost would be yours unless you are on the cloud.

6. The cost is, of course, is the biggest factor. With your own equipment will end up paying more in many different areas. It’s not just about the usage but also the people, the setup, and even the actual employee productivity.

The Cost You don’t pay one price each month but rather you pay depending on your needs and your cost fluctuates based on that. If you are truly looking to reduce your IT costs then this is how it can be done:

1. Flexibility You can access your data from anywhere, at any time, on any device. Multiple people can work on the same project but be in completely different places. Everything is tracked in the cloud and can be reviewed at any time later. This type of flexibility makes the process of completing projects much faster. Employees end up being more efficient and productive because completing a task becomes much easier. An increase in efficiency and productivity means lower costs.

2. Ease of Setup and Management The price comparison of owning your own equipment versus just setting it up on the cloud is no contest. The cloud will save you setup and maintenance costs. The provider already has this for you. Maintenance on the cloud can be either free of charge or a minimal cost. No setup fees or IT teams save a lot.

3. Storage Usage With traditional systems you try to gauge what you might use, sometimes you need more and sometimes you need less. Either way, you could be overpaying or need to go through the whole process of adding more which takes time and more money. The cloud scales allowing you to simply pay for what you actually use. There is no need to call anyone, the system does everything automatically. You can use as much or as little as you want.

4. Security Keeping all your data secure is crucial. Security regulations, paying for a team to keep everything secure, and always having to make updates can be costly. The cloud vendors do this themselves. They keep their systems secure and always update when needed. Data security is one of the most important factors to take into consideration and its why many businesses are migrating to the cloud. In the end, it reduces their capital expenditure.

With all that in mind we are seeing a bit of a decline in the pricing as well, and like anything else, it will continue to do so. The reason is that people are realizing how amazing the cloud is and cost-effective. Since demand is rising we should definitely see even more savings as the years go on.

How to Switch If you want to get set up on the cloud or start migrating to the cloud, you want to use a team who is skilled. SDI specializes in building and migrating websites and systems to the cloud. You have quite a few cloud options out there so a team of experts will be able to analyze your businesses needs and match a cloud company to you. You can contact Rob LaPointe at 408.802.2885 or email him at rob@sdi.la for more details.

Convert Your Private Tutoring or School into a Digital Classroom

It’s very rare nowadays to be in a classroom that uses no technology. There are so many amazing digital tools that enhance how teachers explain a subject to their students or manage their classroom. We live in a world where blended-learning has become the norm. Although many schools and teachers have adapted there is still another level that any school or tutor can go to. Many universities offer online courses which is great but now private schools and tutors should too.

A digital classroom incorporates e-learning tools and can be done a few different ways. It can be a traditional classroom where the teachers use technology to help the students understand the material. Another version is where the teacher has their traditional classroom but is recording themselves for others to view online as well. Then there is a fully online class which involves no physical room. We’re going to focus more on the last 2 options.

The 3 Types

For any 3 of those options you can then choose the type of teachings you want to provide which can be either of these:

1. Synchronous learning which is a live classroom for which you can do live webinars or massive open online courses.

2. Asynchronous learning which has the students choose when they want to do the coursework and they can look to forums and other communications to ask questions and look for answers.

3. Blended learning which uses the above 2 types based on what is being taught and what will work best for those students.

Where you are a major university, an independent private school, or a tutor you can benefit from incorporating this blended or online classroom. Many people have full schedules or live in a location that is far from the school they want to attend. The people who are unable to physically be in your classroom are the people you can go after.

Imagine for a minute you are the owner of an English language school. You get students from various countries to come to the US and learn English in your physical location. Maybe you have 100 students that join your school a year. Now, imagine being able to teach English to students from any country without them having to physically move to the US, something that can be very difficult for many to do.

The same education the students who physically attend can be given to those who are online. Instead of having 100 students you now have 5,000 because there is no space limit when it comes to the internet.

How it can help

Online classrooms can provide educations to those who otherwise wouldn’t be able to learn. It’s also less expensive for students but earns you more revenue because of the volume. You may be thinking does online courses really help students learn as much as being in the classroom. The answer is yes with the use of interactive e-learning groups where students can easily communicate with one another and instructor lectures can be watched multiple times.

Of course, there are right ways and wrong ways of incorporating a digital/online classroom. Just providing some learning materials and a quiz at the end isn’t really going to help them learn much. However, making it truly interactive and using the right technology tools can make all the difference.

Any materials that students may need can be done digitally. Workbooks, quizzes, homework, tests can all be done online easily. Providing this in your physical classroom will also save money on paper.

Digital Options

You can build your community of students more than ever before and it doesn’t require that much tech. Here are some different ways you can incorporate technology into your teachings to increase your student base.

1. One of the simplest ways is to set up a camera in your classroom or tutoring area. You can record yourself while you are teaching. You can upload the intro videos onto Youtube to get people interested in the material then offer a payment for additional classes.

A variation to this is to make a bunch of short 1-2 minute videos which explain a specific task. Provide a bunch of those on Youtube for free. On your website, you can have a purchase courses section which all youtube videos can be linked to. Students can purchase these to learn on their own time.

2. You can do a live classroom that people sign up for. This will require a certain level internet capabilities, website features, and functions which requires more intricate development. It’s best to hire a website development company to take care of this for you.

With this option not only can you still have students physically in front of you but with a proper recording device anyone in the world can join and watch your classroom. You can provide them with a way to submit questions which you can answer after the class as well.

3. You can do a combination of the 2 options above. This will take the longest to set up but it is totally worth it to be able to teach more people. Creating your own masterclass for a subject is the way to go. Many students prefer this type of method.

Providing a Great Educational Experience

Something to keep in mind when choosing any online teaching option is that it’s not just about offering your videos and teachings. You have to go beyond that step and also make the actual educational experience better. Make sure you do things that engage them, allow them to reflect on the material, discuss with them, and have them use apps if they can.

Interaction is incredibly important, so making sure you include that in your digital teachings will make your classroom stand out. Students need that interaction with other students and it is the one thing that online or digital classes struggle with. Creating online study groups and providing open communication with all students can benefit them in so many ways.

That being said, a digital class also provides opportunities for students to interact with one another even more. In a physical classroom, you would speak to and get into groups only with the people in the classroom with you. However, if you use online communication tools not only can your students in the physical space meet but they can also meet with others from around the world who are taking the course too. This means they can have a more well-rounded experience rather than staying in their classroom bubble.

Before and After Implementation

It can be really exciting to get this implemented but before you do you need to do a couple things first. Then, right after you launch you want to ensure what you are doing is correct. Make sure you do the following:

Before

1. Analyze your target audience to determine what their needs are and exactly what they are trying to learn and what you are trying to teach. Match your goals with what your student’s needs are.

2. Decide the best way to present your information based on that. What online tools will work best with what you are teaching. What activities can be replaced by online tools, what kind of interaction tools will your students need, and what learning tools like apps or websites can they use that fits with your curriculum.

After

3. Once you launch your new digital classroom it’s time to beta test it with your inner circle and then market it.

4. Evaluate what works and what doesn’t and make simple adjustments to ensure your students are excited and properly learning the material.

It can definitely seem a little overwhelming to implement some or all of these. The benefits of providing your tutoring services or private school class digitally are vast. So many people want to just click on a link and learn from wherever they are at. You not only increase your revenue but also provide education to those who may not have been able to do it before.

If you are wondering how you can learn more about what you should incorporate and how to do it, contact Sakshi Sharma from SDI at sakshi@sdi.la or 408.621.8481. We can help you take your classroom to the next level.

How To Monetize Your Mobile App

If you’re looking to monetize your own mobile app, you will need to implement well-planned marketing strategies for a successful launch. In this blog, you’ll learn about the best marketing and monetization strategies to increase the number of app downloads and generate revenue in a highly competitive market. If you are at the idea stage of our app you should check out how to build an app first.

Marketing Before Monetization

Displaying an app on the Apple App store is a popular choice, but the process can become a huge obstacle for a small app developer trying to launch their new app. With thousands of apps being submitted each day, the competition can be too overwhelming. In fact, the iOS 11 Apple App store design currently displays fewer apps on the main page, which makes it even harder for a new app by a new developer to be recognized.

As a small app developer, you should focus on making your app easy to find. You can get your app to appear in a web search, rather than focus your time and energy on the app store. This way, you can increase the chances of people finding your app without having to waste time-fighting for a spot on the homepage of the Apple App store.

Having a website that’s easily accessible by mobile devices can also increase the number of downloads and increase the conversion rate. Whenever a user browses through your website, they should see a banner ad with a link that can direct the user to a store allowing them to download the app.

In this case, an interstitial ad won’t work as well. Though banner ads don’t convert as well as interstitial ads, Google usually negatively targets interstitial ads.

In addition to using ads, successful marketing involves connecting with the right allies. One way to approach this is to combine the experience of your individual app with the experience that another app provides. This ultimately creates an app with extended benefits for the user.

Partnerships will allow your app to be viewed and used by a larger audience and can make your app more useful to your users. Take, for example, the partnership between Yummly and Instacart. Yummly (a recipe app) and Instacart ( a shopping app) have combined to provide the user with a complete cooking experience. Yummly users find recipes on the app and then have the ability to shop for these ingredients through Instacart. This is just one example out of the numerous partnership strategies you can implement when creating your own app.

Reaching out to influencers that can post on social media is another great way to promote your app. Alos, be sure to feature your app in emails, social media posts, and blogs, create a demo video, and apply for awards to increase awareness for your app. Encourage people to rate your app and ensure that you provide a great customer service experience.

No matter what marketing strategy you pursue, ensure that you market over a course of multiple months in preparation for your app launch. Many beginners assume that marketing for only a few weeks is enough to increase awareness about the app. A few weeks is nowhere near enough time in the grand scheme of things.

When the day of the app launch approaches, having those months of marketing preparation to back you up will help a lot. People will already know about your app and start downloading it.

There is always monetizing on a global scale. Don’t forget the rest of the world. Make sure your marketing efforts extend to other countries as well. There is a lot of potential for your app out there and you don’t want to miss out.

How To Monetize Your App

Monetizing your app can come in many forms – making your app a pay-to-download app isn’t the only way to generate revenue. Apps such as Facebook, Spotify, Waze, and various other app types are free to download but run ads and other models that make money.

Below is a list of ways that you can use to monetize your app.

1. In-App Ads – Native, Banner, Interstitial

A native ad is non-disruptive advertising. These ads typically are formatted to match the design of the actual app so that the user doesn’t even realize it’s an ad.

A banner ad is a web banner usually consisting of an image or animation. This is more obvious as it does not match the design of the app.

An interstitial ad is a full-screen ad which is usually displayed during a pause in activity or between app pages.

2. “Freemium” Subscriptions

Freemium subscriptions, or In-App subscriptions, offer a paid subscription-based model that gives the user access to better quality and service functionality. This model is usually implemented after the free-downloaded app.

After the freemium subscription, the user can have the opportunity to buy the premium version of the app to get access to the best functions of the app. Certain subscriptions can also be sold which allow the user to experience the app without any ad interruptions.

3. Sponsorship

Another monetization method is sponsorship. With sponsorships, the user engagement level will still be great since the sponsorship content can be valuable.

4. Upgrading to Remove Ads

It’s pretty evident that many people don’t like seeing ads while using an app. This can actually be utilized by app developers that can create a free version with ads and an upgraded paid version without ads.

5. Rewarded Video Ads

These types of ads can be used as an incentive for the user. An example of this would be found in the Spotify app. In the free version of Spotify, the user can listen to half an hour of music and then listen to a couple of minutes of ads. These ads play at half hour intervals. This allows the user to enjoy the app for a good deal of time without the ads being too intrusive on the experience.

6. Free-At-Launch App

Making your app free at launch will greatly increase the chances of users downloading your app. Your app will become much more visible by making it free.

7. Paid Apps

This type of monetization method is pretty self-explanatory. The user pays to download the app. However, with such a huge demand for free apps, you will need to showcase your app’s amazing features and reviews that will differentiate your app from the rest.

8. Combining Great Strategies

You can also combine these monetization strategies to get the most profit possible. However, it’s important to know that too many ads and interruptions can drive your customers away. As a small app developer, it may be hard to launch your app and generate revenue in today’s booming mobile app market. It would also be helpful to take a look at popular iPhone and Android apps to see what they did.

With the help of SDI, you can successfully launch your app and ensure that you generate revenue using the best marketing and monetization methods possible. For over a decade SDI has developed marketing and monetization strategies for apps used by enterprises, start-ups, entrepreneurs, and small/mid-sized firms. We have worked with our clients from the app development process to the launch and beyond, and will work with you to ensure that your app generates revenue, all while guaranteeing you 100% ownership of your app.

Interested in marketing and monetizing your app? Call Rob LaPointe at 408.802.2885 or email him at rob@sdi.la