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Mobile Apps and Websites Have a Big Role in Holiday Shopping

In the busy holiday shopping season just around the corner, mobile apps for smartphones and tablets provide a good way to boost sales.

To help retailers prepare for the end of year rush, American Express Open Forum points out 10 common mistakes that can hurt holiday sales, and provides one piece of advice that recognizes the value of mobile business apps.

Avoid not being “findable” on the web or by mobile applications.

It only makes sense for retailers to go out of their way to be discovered at a time when consumers are doing some serious shopping. For that reason, American Express reminds them to make their brands searchable and memorable and “get involved in the conversations about shopping and gift giving that are happening over social media.”

New study data suggests that shoppers will be using mobile devices in unprecedented numbers this holiday season to conduct research before purchasing products, compare prices and buy gifts.

IDC Retail Insights, for example, predicts that 48 million U.S. consumers will use smartphones in stores, or “showroom” (use those devices to compare prices and features as shop for their holiday needs). That staggering figure represents a 134% increase since last year, when 20.5 million holiday shoppers showroomed.

In the report “Business Strategy: At Hand Versus In Hand — Will Consumers Have the Upper Hand in the 2012 Holiday Showroom Showdown?”, IDC Retail Insights forecasts that showrooming behaviors will influence $0.7 to $1.7 billion in holiday retail purchases this year.

The report also points out that across technologies about 70% of shoppers who plan to showroom this season indicated that they will be “more likely” to purchase from retailers that offer full-featured mobile websites and mobile apps for smartphones, among other amenities.

The 2012 edition of the Mojiva Holiday Mobility Advertising Guide, citing results of a survey of U.S. and U.K. consumers, also suggests a strong role for smartphones and tablets in the upcoming holiday season. In both countries, consumers indicated plans to use their mobile devices to collect information on products, compare prices, look for sale information and coupons, and make purchases.

In fact, nearly 80 percent of U.S. respondents stated they would feel comfortable spending more than $20 on a single item using their smartphone or tablet, while 42 percent of U.K. respondents imagining they could spend £25 pounds on one item using their smartphone or tablet. The Mojiva Holiday Mobility Advertising Guide also provides research data on the different types of products consumers would be comfortable buying using a mobile device.

There’s still time to create a retail mobile app for smartphones and tablets using ViziApps no-coding, drag and drop approach. Sign up for a free account here and get started building a mobile business app for your customers.

Options for Making A Mobile App for Your Business

If you’ve been thinking about creating a mobile app for your business but haven’t made much progress, consider two approaches that could help you reach your goal.

#1 Make a do-it-yourself mobile app.

New, disruptive technologies are making it possible for business people with basic office software skills to develop effective, visually appealing mobile apps. And with a robust DIY mobile app platform like ViziApps, enterprise business units, as well as small and medium sized businesses, can create mobile applications without skilled engineering resources. This approach does not require a sizable mobile app development budget or the technical expertise of an internal IT group or an outside programmer.

Mobile application development platforms that provide a drag-and-drop process for designing and creating mobile apps offer a way to meet the mobile app gap many businesses are experiencing. In significantly less time that it can take to design and develop an enterprise-quality application, a business can design and build a custom mobile app and publish it in the Apple App Store or in Google Play.

At a time when businesses are looking at ways to provide better customer service, the DIY approach offers significant cost and time savings, putting affordable mobile business apps within reach of organizations of all sizes.

#2 Enlist Expert Services to Build A DIY Mobile App

Producing a sophisticated mobile business app that incorporates business data from a Google Docs spreadsheet or SQL server can be accomplished in days on a platform like ViziApps. But for some people, even a day or two is more than they can spare to build a mobile app.

Those businesses can still take advantage of the cost and time savings the ViziApps “no coding” mobile app platform offers. ViziApps app development professionals work with business owners and enterprise managers to design and create mobile apps for a tenth the cost (or even less) than the cost of a traditional enterprise application. Now, those businesses can get a branded web, native, or hybrid app to meet their functional and aesthetic specifications built for them at very low cost.

Depending on their preferences, we can utilize the features of an iPhone, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet and provide access to whatever data our customers require. For example, we work on apps designed to expand revenue-generating channels, incorporating features such as geo-location marketing, mobile payments and mobile social media integration, as well as apps for internal use.

Whichever approach a business takes to creating a mobile app, the DIY path or the route leveraging ViziApps professional app design services, the result is an attractive, low-cost mobile app tailored to meet current business needs and be updated easily whenever those needs change.

 

Make A Mobile App for Conferences and Convention Centers

Taking part in conferences and trade shows can be overwhelming.  Participants find themselves in an unfamiliar, often hectic environment, and typically put in long hours on their feet.

A well-designed mobile conference app can improve that experience significantly.  Serving as a useful event guide, it can provide an easy way to consult session and special event schedules, find a good restaurant, and navigate the conference venue.   By placing all the information participants need right in their hands, a mobile app eliminates confusion, simplifies scheduling and allows both attendees and exhibitors to focus on business.

ViziApps lets conference and convention center management, as well as show sponsors, build custom mobile apps for use on the iPhone, iPad or Android smartphones or tablets. Using a drag-and-drop approach and without coding, they use ViziApps to design and make a mobile app like the sample shown here.

Or, if they prefer, a ViziApps mobile app design professional will build one, tailored to their business requirements.

And now, with newly integrated in-app payment processing capability from ROAM Data, a conference app built with ViziApps can be used for on-the-go payments on a conference show floor.

By offering access to rich data sources, like Google Docs spreadsheets, SQL databases, and web content, a mobile conference app can also provide an easy, convenient way to keep internal users, like convention center staff, informed and productive.

To understand your options for building a hybrid, native, or web conference app, contact us at sales@viziapps.com. Or check out a sampling of the types of app you can build with ViziApps here.

Posted at 11:03 pm

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Interest in Creating Mobile Apps is Red Hot

Around the world, people of all ages are learning to build mobile apps. Some are self-taught and others take classes, at universities, technical schools, high schools or after-school programs.

To comprehend the extent of the world’s fascination with mobile apps, consider some recent data on the mobile app market.

At the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in June, CEO Tim Cook revealed some impressive facts about the company’s App Store, which can now claim: 400M accounts, 650,000 apps (including 225,000 specifically created for the iPad) and 30B downloads to date.

Cook also told the WWDC gathering that the Apple has paid mobile app developers more than $5B for apps sold in the App Store – so far.

And just last week, at the Google I/O Developer Conference, it was revealed that Google Play can now boast 20B downloads and that is has surpassed the 600,000 mark for mobile apps and games.

So, now the two largest markets combined offer 1.25M mobile apps. And if that number isn’t sufficiently stunning, mobile app revenue forecasts may be.

ABI Research predicts that “total mobile app revenues from pay-per-download, in-app purchase, subscriptions, and in-app advertising will soar over the next five years, growing from $8.5 billion in 2011 to $46 billion in 2016.”

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Build Hybrid Mobile Apps With ViziApps

Hybrid mobile apps provide the advantages of native and web technologies in a single application. And now, with ViziApps, you can build a hybrid mobile business app with robust data access using a drag-and-drop approach, without coding.

To users, hybrid apps are like native apps, in that they can take advantage of device features, such as the camera and GPS. And they are distributed through an app market, like the Apple App Store or Google Play, for installation on a mobile device.

But unlike native apps, hybrid apps also seamlessly integrate web content and add web features where needed with coded extensions. As a result, hybrid apps provide the flexibility for mobile business apps to access web content and integrate advanced functionality, such as that needed for mobile games and complex app logic.

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Build Native iPad and Android Tablet Apps with ViziApps

You can now use ViziApps to build both native and web apps for the iPad. Newly integrated functionality for native apps allows for use of the impressive iPad display in mobile business apps. Native apps allow apps to take advantage of iPad native functions like the camera and GPS.

Using the same drag-and-drop approach you’d take to build an app for an iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphones, you can now use ViziApps to produce apps that take advantage of 10-inch screens on tablets running Android 2.2 or later.

If you have already created an iPad app with ViziApps or have been considering one, you now have more choices: you can build an iPad app, an Android tablet app, or both.

Tablets offer a number of advantages for business apps. For sales presentations, they provide a way to display information in visually compelling ways. A 10-inch screen is ideal for displaying business data, product schematics, videos and other types of content that would overwhelm a smartphone screen.

Also, if you have designed an app with ViziApps for a smartphone, it will now look good on both iPads and Android tablets without any design changes. The design will scale up proportionally but keep the crisp edges of fonts in HD.

Differentiate Your Customer Service With A Data-Rich Mobile Business App

If you’re looking for a low-cost way to enhance the service you provide your customers, consider a mobile business app.  With ViziApps, it’s free to design, build and test a mobile app. Then, for modest fees for cloud-based services to maintain your app, your company can provide a branded mobile app that provides customers valuable information wherever they need it.

And because many companies don’t yet have mobile apps tailored to meet their customers’ data needs, you have the opportunity to clearly differentiate your business.

That’s right. Today you can still make your business stand apart from your competitors with a data-rich mobile app. But that climate is changing. Offering a mobile app for the iPhone, iPad, and/or Android devices is rapidly becoming more than a nice-to-have option for companies. Soon mobile apps will be mandatory for a successful business.

Forbes contributor and CRM consultant Gene Marks makes a strong argument for the value of mobile apps for businesses of all sizes in his recent post titled “Your Business Checklist: A Website, A Phone Number, A Mobile App.”

“It’s time to stop playing games,” Marks writes. “Smart, boring, conservative companies are getting serious about mobile applications. Slowly but surely, they’re waking up to the potential..no, the needto utilize these applications to develop more business and keep their customers coming back.”

A cornerstone of his argument is the fact that businesses can provide mobile apps that provide access to the types of data needed to do business – and with minimal investment.

“Think about it: we can all save whatever files, music, videos and photos, for next to nothing on Amazon, Dropbox, or other such services… [People are asking] Why can’t I view product specs, safety information and environmental releases about the products I’ve purchased” on my choice of mobile device?

It’s a fair question. But not every mobile app development platform provides easy robust data access. ViziApps does. With ViziApps, you can easily create a mobile app that provides the data your customers need. And it won’t require an expensive, months-long engineering project.

ViziApps provides a drag-and-drop approach to building a data-rich mobile app for free. (Ongoing maintenance starts at $29 per month for web apps and $49 per month for native apps. See pricing details here.)

What makes ViziApps different from other app development platforms is the way it allows the integration of databases, web services and Google Docs spreadsheets for mobile apps. Without doing any coding, people with minimal computer skills can create mobile apps that make use of backend data resources to provide a rich user experience.  The online ViziApps tool can be used to create mobile apps for the iPhone, iPads, and Android phones and tablets, and to build web apps for any device with a full browser.

Start thinking about building a mobile app for your business now. Because, as Gene Marks says, “every business should be thinking about building mobile applications today. It’s not a fad or a passing trend. It’s customer service.”

Posted at 5:44 pm

Financial Advisory Firm Chooses ViziApps Platform To Create Custom iPad App

Charles Carroll Financial Partners, which manages over $30 million in assets, selected the ViziApps online tool over other mobile development solutions because of its simple, straightforward design process.  The iPad app Charles Carroll created with ViziApps eliminates the need to carry a large set of documents to client meetings. In this way, it has streamlined business processes to the point where employees no longer rely on a paper-based approach to opening and closing discretionary management accounts.
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Posted at 5:40 pm

As Employees Hit the Road, ViziApps Provides A Better Way to Create Mobile Apps

According to a new IDC report, Worldwide Mobile Worker Population 2011-2015 Forecast, we can expect the global workforce to become increasingly mobile in the coming years.

“Our forecast shows that the worldwide mobile worker population will increase from just over 1 billion in 2010 to more than 1.3 billion by 2015,” said Stacy Crook, senior research analyst for IDC’s Mobile Enterprise Research program.
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Posted at 5:39 pm

Financial Advisor Uses ViziApps Mobile App

Professional Investment Advisors are looking to mobile apps as a way to deepen connections with clients. They are also employing them to showcase their brands, with current clients, as well as prospects.

In a recent article in RIA Biz magazine (a publication for registered financial advisors), Bill Hayes, principal of Charles Carroll Financial Partners, described the ViziApps-built iPad application he uses to work more efficiently. Now, instead of carrying around lots of paper, Hayes uses the app to access the various types of documents that his clients need to complete or review and approve when he meets with them.
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