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7 Things You Must Know To Get Your Business Ready For mCommerce

7 Things You Must Know To Get Your Business Ready For mCommerce

We are now well familiar with eCommerce, the on-line purchase of goods and services it has been something which we have been using since the 1980’s in some form. However today, eCommerce is now worth well over $1.3 trillion. (statista.com – eCommerce figures for 2013). From books, toys and presents to major purchases like cars and houses can all be completed securely on-line.

The next natural progression with the vast growth of mobile internet use is mCommerce – mobile commerce, the use of phones and tablets to carry out on-line transactions.

It is expected there will be over 6.5 billion smartphone users by 2020 (Tune) and 64% of users already regularly shop using their phones (Bloomreach). We will see later in this article that, at this stage, a considerable number of transactions are completed in a traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ store with the mobile device being used for research, however, more and more mCommerce is being used for every part of the sales process.

Many organisations are still somewhat unprepared when it comes to presenting effective mCommerce solutions. This article will look at the important pointers to ensure your organisation is ready to support this growing trend.

1. The Mechanics of mCommerce

mCommerce is, in real terms part of your eCommerce solution, we are getting into semantics as it is difficult to pin down a totally clear definition for mCommerce. However, it is, in its most basic form, a mobile device such as a smartphone to complete eCommerce transactions. But, it does not directly follow that, if you have an eCommerce solution in place it will work effectively on mobile platforms. Your organisation may well have a solid eCommerce solution but are you sure that you are in a position to capture the massive mobile market.

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It is simple to overlook some of the potential issues with using your eCommerce system on the screen of a mobile device or tablet. If the screen layout makes it impossible to complete mandatory fields or complete transactions you run the risk of losing those sales to your competition.

The exponential growth of mobile devices means that being able to sufficiently support mCommerce is a vital part of any organisation’s future strategy. Failing to support mCommerce will leave you well behind your competitors.

2. I have an eCommerce site, do I need an mCommerce site?

A recent survey of just one eCommerce supplier showed that over 50% of the commerce traffic is now being delivered via mobile devices.  Pew Research Services show that there is a global median of 68% of adult users in advanced economies now regularly use mobile devices with 18 – 35-year-olds being the largest sector.

iPad tablet

    It is obvious, even without the sizeable numbers of statistics that use of smartphones and mobile internet is growing and will continue to do so. With the increase of the ‘Internet of things’ (everyday objects like refrigerators being connected to the internet), we can easily see a time when you will not only use your smartphone for purchases but will have your domestic appliances also interacting with eCommerce systems for self-supply.

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    Now is the perfect time to review your position as an organisation and how you build scalable and updatable systems to support this hyper-connected future.

    3. Ensuring your eCommerce has the ‘m’ factor

    The most important requirement is to ensure your eCommerce site is optimised to effectively run on mobile platforms. The first step should be to view and attempt to use your current eCommerce solution using various mobile platforms including:

    • iPhone
    • iPad
    • Android smartphones
    • Google Pixel
    • Android tablets

    This assessment must cover all aspects of the commerce process from selection of products to ensuring that you can complete purchases. You should ensure you can easily select, zoom and access all aspects of the screen layout and that there are not areas which are inaccessible due to layout or design.

    • Search for single and multiple products
    • Complete a single and multiple product purchases
    • Ensure that coupon or promotional codes work correctly
    • Ensure that images and product descriptions can be viewed correctly, for example, that you can zoom the images.

    Should you find the site does not respond effectively you should consider working with your web developer to redesign your eCommerce system to support mobile provision to ensure you are not missing out on this vital revenue stream.

    4. Mobile wallets and mobile payments

    An element which is growing is the use of mobile wallets, where a smartphone is used as a transactional tool. More and more people will be using their mobile phones with card terminals to carry out transactions, Apple Pay and Pay are two of the major methods which are used.

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    Mobile payments

      Most of this activity is going to be in-store rather than on-line (at this stage), so you need to ensure your EPOS infrastructure can cope with the new technologies. Otherwise, you will soon find you are being left behind as customers use rivals which support technologies they have come to expect as the norm.

      5. Showrooming and offline sales

      Research by Forrester Research has shown that, in 2015, more than $1 Trillion of total retail sales were influenced by smartphones. Today most sales are still completed in store, however, smartphones and browsers can be used for product research. Forrester expects web-influenced sales will exceed $1.3 billion on 2016.

      Customers are becoming to expect higher and higher levels of service. Ten years ago, you had no way of knowing if a product was in stock at a local store without picking up the telephone and calling them, now we are in an environment where a smart fridge can order food for delivery on you use! More importantly, customers are becoming more used to having an instant response, ‘click and collect’, rapid delivery or even delivery by drones which we will see in the not too distant future.

      At this stage, many customers are using their smart phones to review and research products before coming into a bricks and mortar store to collect it near instantly. However, there is a drive for the opposite in ‘showrooming’.

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      Showrooming is the process of customers visiting a physical store and then purchasing the product on-line. Many retailers see this as a threat, however, this is a natural bridging of the gap between the offline and online worlds, it is up to the retailer to make the gap as small as possible, making purchase attractive in-store rather than the customer having to wait for a product to be delivered. It is a battleground which will be fought not only on price but also by use of technology, ensuring that customers can seamlessly use their smart phones and mCommerce systems to complete the purchase.

      6. The advantages of mCommerce

      mCommerce provides a range of opportunities, customers can be connected to your brand anywhere. The increase of connectivity with 4G means that high-end content can be delivered in a personal form directly to the customer.

      The high level of data available can allow you to provide massively tailored customer offerings even down to marketing your closest branch using GPS connectivity. Customers will keep their smartphones and tablets with them almost all the time, this means, if you get your offering right, that you can be within reach of your customers whenever and wherever

      7. Put mobile first

      The time is right for organisations to put mobile first, you should look to ensure that mobile and tablet-based access is at the forefront of your on-line presentation. The growing trend for mobile internet is not diminishing and the importance of mCommerce and mobile presentation cannot be underestimated.

      Ensure you have reviewed your on-line presence across all channels, ensuring that you are effectively managing social media, mCommerce as well as more traditional web content.

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      Published on September 25, 2020

      10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

      10 Best VPNs to Browse the Internet More Securely

      When it comes to digital security, public Wi-Fi networks aren’t safe enough, making it much easier for hackers to access your personal data. Whether you are studying in a library or scrolling through Facebook in a coffeehouse, it is vital to have a VPN installed on your device.

      VPNs work wonders when it comes to securing your internet connection. By creating an encrypted tunnel between a remote server run by the VPN service, they protect your personal data from prying eyes. There is a variety of VPNs available on the web, and we have collated a list of the best VPNs that stand out from the rest.

      How to Choose a VPN

      • Free trial period – Free trials allow you to try the product risk-free. The same idea technically applies to those with 30-day full refunds as well.
      • Speed – You want your VPN to be just as fast as the internet speed at home. Good quality VPNs are ones where you see little difference between those speeds.
      • Device connection – Of course, the more devices that can connect to VPNs, the better. It increases the customers’ coverage and the product’s value. You also want to consider compatibility since fewer VPNs may work for Mac or Windows only.
      • Number of servers – The number of servers determines how much capacity a VPN can handle while you are connected. The more servers there are, the more users it can handle without running into potential disconnections or slow speeds.
      • Kill switch feature – Having this feature means that your IP address isn’t exposed if the VPN disconnects for some reason. A lack of this feature is a big deal since the whole reason why you’re paying for a VPN is to hide your IP address, among other things. (Find out how to avoid getting tracked online here: Big Brother Is Watching You Online: How To Avoid Being Tracked)

      Why You Should Trust Us

      Our hand-picked VPNs are incredibly efficient and offer such distinctive features that grant you safe browsing. They outperform many VPNs in terms of both speed and security. Their primary aim is to provide you the utmost security, thus enabling you to surf the web safely and prevent any potential threat from causing harm.

      Among the best VPNs’ many unique features include split tunneling, strict logging policies, high encryption level, and availability of international servers. We have gathered them in this article to enlighten our readers and offer the best pieces of advice before you get one. Therefore, take our word for it, and if you go for a VPN mentioned below, you’d be fully appeased.

      1. NordVPN

      The most popular VPN on the market these days is NordVPN, and it’s easy to see why. It has widespread coverage, offering a selection of over 5,000 servers spanning across 59 countries.[1] Due to the high number of servers, its speed is similar to your Wi-Fi at home.

      Lifehack’s CEO, Leon, has been using NordVPN for many years and wants to recommend it for its remarkable server count in different locations with no-logs policy. The VPN perfectly works with Netflix and Fire TV stick, too.

      NordVPN is also compatible with Mac, Windows, and Linux. You can download the app onto Chrome, Firefox, Android, and Mac OS. Thanks to its massive coverage, it’s easy to connect multiple devices onto these servers.

      In terms of pricing, while NordVPN doesn’t have a free trial period, they argue that their plans are considerably cheaper than those of their competitors. For example, a one-year plan for ExpressVPN costs $8.32 per month, but NordVPN only charges $6.99 monthly.

      NordVPN has a new protocol called NordLynx that is based on WireGuard with speed benefits, though it’s still under development.[2] If you’re looking for general quality and affordability, this is one of the best VPNs around.

      Buy this VPN.

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      2. ExpressVPN

      ExpressVPN is the second-best option out there for keeping your privacy while browsing the internet. Like many other VPNs here, they will encrypt your IP address, offer vast coverage, and can have multiple devices connected to their servers.

      Compared to NordVPN, while the pricing point is higher, ExpressVPN’s biggest selling point is the number of countries that their connection covers. Depending on where you are in the world, this may be the only option you have. They have fewer servers — 160, to be precise — but they make up for the low server count by covering 94 countries.[3]

      Cost-wise, your best bet is to go with the yearly plan where they charge $8.32 a month. They also have one- and six-month plans.

      Buy this VPN.

      3. Surf Shark

      With regards to Surf Shark, you can connect multiple devices to its servers, and it’s compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac. It is also available on Android, iOS, Chrome, Firefox, and FireTV.

      Furthermore, Surf Shark can whitelist apps and sites, letting them bypass the VPN. This, along with the lines of split-tunneling, is another feature that many VPNs offer. The difference is that Surf Shark allows you to whitelist specific apps or any website, while most VPNs will whitelist all sites or none at all.

      The other consideration for this app is the price. While lower-tier plans are more expensive compared to others, Surf Shark’s 24-month plan is priced at $2.69 a month, so it’s cheaper than even NordVPN’s equivalent plan!

      Buy this VPN.

      4. CyberGhost

      Another top-reviewed VPN is CyberGhost. They’ve been around for 15 years and have fine-tuned their offers and features to stay competitive. They provide the standard package of browsing the web and logging into accounts safely and give you access to regionally blocked content.

      The network also maintains security from hackers, malware, and phishing. Aside from that, you can connect multiple devices, and it’s compatible with all kinds of platforms.

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      What separates CyberGhost from the others is their extensive coverage. They have multiple servers, and the pricing point is still very low. It covers over 88 countries and has roughly 6200 servers for you to choose from, all while charging $2.75 for their 18-month plan.

      Buy this VPN.

      5. IPVanish

      IPVanish’s prime purpose is to give users online freedom by providing fast speeds and private connections. It’s clear that they can meet that promise as they provide many of the features that have been listed previously from their competitors.

      IPVanish is a part of SugarSync now. What is that, you may ask? It’s a cloud-based service that syncs files across devices and computers for sharing, backup, and many more. What this means is that other devices can access various files and videos so long as they are connected to your specific VPN. Furthermore, it can serve as a backup plan if you get hacked or lose your device for some reason.

      Buy this VPN.

      6. Private Internet Access

      Private Internet Access (PIA) is a remarkably generous company in many ways. Aside from the obvious features, they offer great incentives and discounts for people to try out their products. They claim to be the most trustworthy and reliable VPN around, and we believe that.

      One notable thing is that PIA offers a free two-month trial. Compared to other VPNs to this point, none have provided free trials (though all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee). On top of that, small businesses can avail of their VPN at a discounted rate. There is also the fact that their pricing plans go as low as $2.69 a month for two years, and they let you pay with gift cards.

      In terms of specs, PIA has over 2695 servers that cover 47 countries right now.

      These particular aspects make PIA unique and one of the best VPNs to consider.

      Buy this VPN.

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      7. Hotspot Shield

      Hotspot Shield is all about offering protection while you’re browsing the internet or using streaming services like Netflix. The encryption is military-grade, and its speed is ultra-fast. In truth, it is even marketed as one of the fastest VPNs.

      Hotspot Shield offers a plan that only costs  $7.99 a month; however, it’s one of the few in this list to provide its services for free. Like other Freemium apps, the free version comes with limited features. That said, it gives you a much better feel for the VPN.

      Also, take note that the encryption feature is still there, though the limitations in the free plan include connecting to one location in the US and having limited streaming options and speed.

      Buy this VPN.

      8. TunnelBear

      As unusual as a name choice for an online security protection service can be, TunnelBear is nothing short of incredible. It makes our list of the best VPNs for various reasons.

      The biggest one is that the company goes through a yearly security audit. This is notable because many VPNs don’t bother about independent audits to ensure their systems are secure and safe from any issues. This is critical as VPNs have gotten some bad reputation over the years, as TunnelBear has noted in their post about their security audit.[4] The fact that they are doing this annually ensures that nothing is being compromised.

      Furthermore, TunnelBear offers limited services for free, but even their paid plans are pretty cheap. For individuals, you’re merely paying $3.33 per month. The only catch is that you can connect five devices regardless of which paid plan you pick.

      Buy this VPN.

      9. Norton

      Norton has been on the security scene for some time, and it’s actually one of the founders of the internet security industry. It started with virus and malware protection in 1991 and has since branched off to other sectors as the industry has shifted.

      As you might expect from a company that’s been around for a long time, Norton provides excellent services, and a few of their other services have gone into the VPN package. In reality, Norton is the only one thus far to offer a password manager with their VPN services. They provide 50GB of cloud storage as well.

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      Norton has one of the cheapest VPNs, considering you can get their deluxe plan at $49.99 per year. That comes up to roughly $4.17 a month. It might be slightly higher than other equivalent plans, but you get a lot of extra value that makes it worth the price.

      Buy this VPN.

      10. StrongVPN

      The final VPN we want to cover is StrongVPN. Like many others, it’s great at blocking unnecessary web traffic and providing a fast and simple solution to navigating the internet without any hindrance.

      StrongVPN has over 900 servers. It is available in more than 30 countries and compatible with all devices. Beyond that, the only notable selling point it has compared to others is that it also offers Sugarsync services and 250GB of storage, irrespective of your chosen plan.

      As for the pricing, their year-long plan costs $5.83 a month, while their month-long one is $10.

      Buy this VPN.

      Bottom Line

      Getting online protection is important these days, and companies recognize this.

      With more hacks and breaches occurring every single day, the best VPNs can provide an excellent haven for many people who value their security and privacy.

      We hope that by putting together this list, you’ll be able to find the best VPN that you can trust and enjoy using. As you can see, there are several great options with no real wrong one out there. Pick the VPN that’s best for you.

      Featured photo credit: Petter Lagson via unsplash.com

      Reference

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