Confidence returns to mobile application market followed by sales boom

Extensions of m-commerce have difficulty catching on in some areas

M-commerce has continued to evolve in recent months as consumers experiment with how the technology fits into their purchasing habits. M-commerce has grown over time, with an increasing number of consumers using their mobile devices to research and make online orders.

However, certain branches of m-commerce have yet to be embraced by consumers in Western countries, where the technology is relatively new. For instance, 56 percent of consumers in the U.S. don’t prefer mobile payment methods, according to a survey conducted by Kantar TNS.

Mobile payments, often referred to as “mobile money,” allow consumers to make payments from their phone, most popularly by tapping the phone to a card reader. They often come in the form of platforms in which the mobile device holds credit or debit card information to act in lieu of that card. Companies such as Apple, Android, Mastercard and Paypal all offer mobile payments.

Many mobile payment platforms require specific receptors, which often must be purchased and installed by retailers, in order to properly make a purchase. The willingness and ability of vendors to install these receptors is currently the biggest barrier of entry for mobile payments to properly enter the market. Apple Pay is currently the most accepted mobile payment, with 36 percent of American retailers accepting it. However, for many other payment methods, retailers are choosing to wait and see how the market acts before making the adjustments.

There are certain markets however, who don’t follow the trend of resistance towards mobile payment platforms. Estimations from eMarketer predicts nearly 78 percent of smartphone users in China will use a mobile payment platform in 2018. Of the 56 countries surveyed in the Kantar TNS survey, only China and Mongolia had a majority of participants say they prefer to use mobile payments at 64 and 63 percent respectively.

Dirxion offers app development for both the Google Play and iTunes stores. Within the apps, customers are able to view a business’s online catalogs or download them for offline viewing. Dirxion can also integrate online catalogs into an existing application. Companies without a dedicated e-commerce mobile app benefit from an audience built from a Dirxion online catalog app. Companies have a direct avenue to a captive audience of customers via push notifications which can inform of new catalog releases, upcoming sales and other pertinent company news.

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Ulta Beauty’s m-commerce department continues to experience growth

Dirxion customer Ulta Beauty’s mobile traffic to their website increased by 104 percent with their total traffic increasing by 74 percent, according to FierceRetail. The increase is in part due to Ulta’s investments in online advertising and paid promotion programs through social media platforms.

“We continue to update, enhance our mobile apps which at last count has been downloaded by 4.4 million guests and has a 5-star rating in iTunes app store. Traffic for our mobile app is up 450% year over year with 41 million visits during the quarter.”
– Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty

Mobile ownership and overall traffic on mobile devices has increased exponentially in the last decade. According to the PEW Research Center, 77 percent of Americans now own a smartphone as compared to 35 percent when the survey was first conducted in 2011. While mobile e-commerce, or m-commerce as its now commonly known as, has risen in popularity the platform still falls behind physical retail sales. However, consumers have adopted m-commerce platforms and the mobile experience as a researching method. Mobile devices have begun to influence offline sales at a greater, yet not always entirely clear, rate.

To explore the connection between retail sales and smartphone ownership, Google paired with Ipsos Media CT as well as Sterling Brands to conduct an online survey. The survey results revealed 71 percent of in-store shoppers who use their smartphones for online research say their device has become more important to their in-store experience. Many businesses, especially within the retail market, have steered away from mobilizing and creating an omni channel experience for their customers. According to GeoMarketing, “Retailers appear to view mobile as a channel for direct sales rather than a medium that can greatly shape consumers decisions of what and where to make a purchase. Retailers still don’t see mobile as a tool that can improve the overall customer experience online and offline in their stores.”

Partnered with Ulta Beauty, Dirxion has provided Ulta with new avenues to connect to their customers by utilizing Dirxion’s integration technologies within Ulta’s mobile applications. The format increases the efficiency in which Ulta can interact with and increase the quality of shopping for their customers. Placed on both the Google Play and Apple iTunes stores, Ulta now has a dedicated mobile audience through which they can extend news and deals to via push notifications.

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Amazon Business nets one million U.S. customers, demonstrates growth in the B2B e-commerce market

Earlier this month, Amazon revealed their Amazon Business marketplace passed the one million customer mark since its launch in April of 2015. According to the official website, “Amazon Business provides purchasing solutions that let registered businesses and their designated users shop for business supplies on Amazon. People who have a business user account can purchase on Amazon.com on behalf of their employer.”

While Amazon has an advantage in terms of their large pool of existing B2C customers, Amazon Business’s growth can be partially attributed to the overall trend of the rising popularity of B2B e-commerce. Amazon.com currently has 250 million registered users and roughly 80 million Prime users. In June, Digital Commerce 360 revealed nearly a fifth of all business purchases were made through Amazon Business. Amazon Business’s conversion rate was just as high, with 24 percent of users having not made a purchase off of Amazon Business a year prior.

Amazon Business has been able to tap into some of the rising consumer preferences with regards to e-commerce. For instance, consumers have reported Amazon Business accounts are quickly set up and all products on the platform can be found easily, tapping into rising preferences among consumers for products to have a high ease-of-use. Because of innovations within the market and the new focus on revolutionizing the consumer experience, B2B e-commerce has and is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. According to Forrester Research, the current value of the U.S. B2B e-commerce market is $889 billion and is on course to reach $1.18 trillion by the end of 2021.

B2B e-commerce

 

Dirxion offers tools for businesses to capitalize on the shifting trends and growth in the e-commerce market via online catalogs services. Through differentiation of their shopping experience and engaging in the omni-channel experience, businesses can stake a stronger claim within the market. Dirxion online catalogs are versatile and optimized with HTML5 to ensure cross-platform and multi-browser performance standards are met. Dirxion online catalogs can be integrated into existing e-commerce platforms and live directly on a company’s website to ensure a seamless, optimized shopping experience for customers.

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Facebook bans thousands of online advertisers who are using ‘cloaking’ methods

Facebook recently announced their new initiative to combat misinformation and false online advertising practices. Many online advertisers used “cloaking” procedures that would fool Facebook’s filters and algorithms and circumvent the review process. Typically when a business advertises with the social media platform, Facebook looks at the ad that the business wants to display, as well as the landing page that an ad click leads a user to. This is to ensure that the content of the ad and the landing page a user is sent to are related and not misleading.

The change is part of a multi-tiered program by Facebook to weed out misinformation, clickbait and spam in order to entice businesses to advertise on the site and create an incentive for users to remain on the platform. Pages that don’t engage in cloaking methods will see no change to their pages or their existing advertising plan, as the initiative seeks to eliminate advertisers that use cloaking methods. Scammers manipulate landing pages in a way that creates one landing page that appears legitimate to a Facebook reviewer and a separate landing page where the user will actually end up. These pages are often set up to sell diet pills, false muscle building programs and other scams.

Other businesses have made similar decisions, most noticeably Facebook’s other half of the online advertising duopoly, Google. Earlier this year, the company announced they would block certain types of online advertisements from appearing on their browser Google Chrome in accordance to a study from the Coalition for Better Ads. Additionally, Google did their own investigation into third party online advertising platforms, often known as ad exchanges, and discovered global revenue wasted on fraudulent online advertising traffic might reach $16 billion by the end of 2017.

For e-commerce businesses, growing their websites through organic traffic is sustainable in the long run, cuts costs that would be used to purchase advertising space and raises traffic at a higher rate than a PPC program would. Dirxion online catalogs offer SEO guide pages that involves a process of indexing every page of the printed catalog. This practice helps boost the overall SEO of the online catalogs site, as well as increase the likelihood of someone finding a catalog page when searching a company’s brand name.

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Google no longer scans emails to sell targeted ads, raising questions for online advertising

In a recent announcement through Google’s blog “The Keyword,” the company plans to abandon scanning user emails through Gmail, which helps serve targeted advertisements.This change is planned to occur before the end of the year.

As the largest entity in the market, Google’s decisions set industry standards and affect millions of businesses. Online advertising is a huge marketing focus, with more money invested online than in television, the previous giant of the advertising industry.

The initiative initially began when Google decided to no longer scan the emails of paying customers of their G Suite program. G Suite adjusts Google’s platforms to be more business-orientated by providing services such as unlimited cloud storage, shared calendars and other potential add-ons. Google has made a conscious effort to appeal to businesses in recent years and, according to Seth Schoen of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, many current or prospective business customers were uncomfortable paying for G Suite under the notion that their emails might be scanned.

Google Suite

 

“Consumer Gmail content will not be used or scanned for any ads personalization after this change. This decision brings Gmail ads in line with how we personalize ads for other Google products.” — Diane Greene, SVP, Google Cloud, 2017

With 1.2 billion users, Gmail continues to be a powerful marketing tool for online advertisers. The initiative won’t end ads within Gmail, but they ads will be targeted based on information collected from other Google services such as search of YouTube. While Google’s decision is an effort to achieve consistency across all products, it also addresses some long-standing questions on Internet privacy, especially within emails. According to an article published by the New York Times, users are generally less receptive and more bothered by targeted ads within emails as opposed to ads based on browsing history and other Internet activity. 

Complications and the ever-changing online advertising industry has led many businesses to focus on driving traffic to their sites organically. Through SEO and focusing their website content on a few high-traffic keywords, e-commerce businesses have been able to retain some control of their website traffic. Dirxion online catalogs offer SEO guide pages that involves a process of indexing every page of the printed catalog. This practice helps boost the overall SEO of the online catalogs site, as well as increase the likelihood of someone finding a catalog page when searching for specific products.

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Amazon accounts for nearly half of all U.S. online sales, e-commerce

While Amazon has been a powerhouse in the e-commerce market for years, a recent article published by Digital Commerce 360 outlines the extent of the Internet giant’s reach. The article reveals that in 2016, Amazon-owned sites accounted for 43 percent of all online sales within the U.S., followed by a report from Slice Intelligence that discovered more than half of e-commerce growth in the U.S. could be attributed to Amazon.

 

It is incredibly rare for one company to hold 40 percent market share of any retailing segment. To compare, retail giant Walmart has consistently held only 9 percent of the market share for U.S. retail sales since 2012. About 18 percent of Amazon’s growth is accounted under “electronics & accessories” and 19 percent for “other.” The growth stems from a number of in-house developments and acquisitions of other companies. The amount of Echo devices with the Alexa digital assistant sold to shoppers increased by 173 percent from this time last year. Amazon also recently acquired Whole Foods and launched an “Amazon meal kits” service to reportedly compete with new Internet startup Blue Apron.

Amazon has become a primary destination for people to not only make purchases but to research as well. An Internet Retailer survey conducted in December discovered 52 percent of consumers go to Amazon first when searching for products, with Google as the second-most popular option at 38 percent. Research has been an increasingly important role in the product purchase cycle for consumers, as the Internet has made it easier than ever for consumers to compare different products through a variety of sources.

The market for online advertising is in a similar situation, finding itself in a duopoly with Facebook and Google, who have accounted for 99 percent of the growth within the online advertising industry. Because of the new nature of the e-commerce and Internet markets, concentrations of power are fairly common. Innovations are developed within a handful of industry-leading firms.

Dirxion offers tools for businesses to capitalize on the shifting trends and growth in the e-commerce market via online catalogs services. Through differentiation of their shopping experience and engaging in the omni-channel experience, businesses can stake a stronger claim within the market. Dirxion online catalogs are versatile and optimized with HTML5 to ensure cross-platform and multi-browser performance standards are met. Dirxion online catalogs can be integrated into existing e-commerce platforms and live directly on a company’s website to ensure a seamless, optimized shopping experience for customers.

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Mobile applications grow in numbers, strengthen in security

The size of the global app user base reached 3.4 billion in 2016 and is expected to double in size by 2021, according to business analyst firm App Annie. The iTunes store now hosts 2.2 million apps, according to Slash Gear, andGoogle Play topped 3 million apps in June of 2017, according to Statista.

The increasing marginal growth of both stores brought with it concerns that the mobile app economy had become too saturated. Both the straightforward nature of app development for iOS devices and the “Wild West” mentality of the Google Play store opened the door for a wave of scam and duplicate apps. Developers would take advantage of the stores’ in-app purchase capabilities and try to capitalize on popular in-store search keywords. Recently, an app on the iTunes store, “Mobile protection :Clean & Security VPN,” which had users pay a $99.99 per week subscription via Touch ID, reached No. 10 in the “Productivity” category at one point and was estimated to have made $80,000 a month as of June of 2017.

 

Both Apple and Google have committed to cleaning efforts, eliminating apps from their stores if they don’t meet certain criteria. Apple has claimed they will eliminate apps that aren’t 64-bit compatible or come from commercialized, “one-tap” templates that are often used to create slightly-altered copies of whatever app is currently popular. Google announced to developers that apps without privacy policies or with privacy policies that aren’t easily accessible are at risk of being hidden or completely removed from the Google Play store, according the The Next Web.

For businesses of all sizes, creating a presence within the app store has become a more appealing maneuver over time. But in response to a swathe of untrustworthy mobile applications, consumers have become increasingly skeptical and react negatively if they feel an app doesn’t deliver on advertised promises.

Dirxion offers app development for both the Google Play and iTunes stores. Within the apps, customers are able to view a business’s online catalogs or download them for offline viewing. The catalogs are interactive and optimized with HTML5. Dirxion can also integrate online catalogs into an existing application. Dirxion apps that include keywords such as “online catalog” and outline the app’s performance capabilities and relationship with the company’s e-commerce have historically been better-received by consumers. Companies without a dedicated e-commerce mobile app benefit from an audience built from a Dirxion online catalog app. The apps can give companies a direct avenue to a captive audience of customers via push notifications that can alert them of new catalog releases, upcoming sales and other pertinent company news.

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Google faces fines following EU investigation of online shopping service

Earlier this week, Google found themselves face-to-face with a $2.7 billion fine from the EU antitrust division following a seven-year investigation. The investigation was centered on Google’s search engine algorithm techniques and concluded the company “abused its market dominance” by giving an “illegal advantage” to its own shopping service.

While the fine is aimed at Google’s online shopping comparison feature, the EU’s fine adds to an ongoing list of international antitrust issues. In Brazil, Microsoft claims Google stifled competition in online advertising and the Korea Fair Trade Commission currently investigates whether Google forces Android smartphone makers in South Korea to pre-load their search engines into the devices.

“What Google has done is illegal under EU antitrust rules. It denied other companies the chance to compete on the merits and to innovate. And most importantly, it denied European consumers a genuine choice of services and the full benefits of innovation.”
Margrethe Vestager, EU competition commissioner

Current search engine practices involve a mix of paid advertising, through Google AdSense or Google Ads, and organic search engine optimization practices (SEO). With SEO, website and e-commerce platform builders can attempt to drive traffic to their website by including content and keywords that users are currently interested in. Google AdSense and Google Ads allows companies to engage in a more “pay-to-play” market, where Google places targeted ads within their search engine results and other websites to drive traffic to a particular website.

Google refuted the claims by the EU, stating in a post on “The Keyword,” Google’s blog, that the company’s current practices of displaying shopping links in search results benefits advertisers and users alike. The company claimed revolution and innovation from product comparison sites such as Amazon has lead to a decrease in competition within that market.

Puma Shoes

In response to the claims by the EU, industry analysts predict Google might have to change their search engine algorithms altogether or intentionally display links from the competition. A coalition of Google’s competitors formed “Focus On The User”in order to pursue lobbying efforts within the EU to put harsher conditions and restrictions on Google’s search engine and algorithm practices.

Dirxion online catalogs offer SEO guide pages that involves a process of indexing every page of the printed catalog. This practice helps boost the overall SEO of the online catalogs site, as well as increase the likelihood of someone finding a catalog page when searching for specific products.The Dirxion team keeps up with the changing landscape of Google’s search engine algorithm.

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How IAB guideline changes really marked the end of Adobe Flash

Quickly — think of an industry that is still rooted in Adobe’s Flash technology?

Yes, a technology that has been on a downslide since the advent of smartphones; a technology that is nearing further disability from major browsers for its security vulnerabilities; and a technology that now exists in pseudonym (see “Adobe Animate”) because its creator so desperately wants to move on.There are a few answers that come to mind, like computer gaming and video streaming, both of which are realizing the need to wriggle out of Flash’s development grips and find their way toward a more-reliable future. After all, Chrome and Firefox unexpectedly blocked Flash technology a little less than a year ago today. The block, though temporary, sent a grim message across the web to Flash developers: move on or risk having nothing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The industry that Dirxion is concerned with, of course, is digital publishing. This industry is stubborn and resilient in its use of Flash, even though Adobe wants more to be recognized for its own transition to HTML5. Still today, nearly 10 years since the release of Apple’s first iPhone, most digital publishing kits are brought to you by Flash.

Actually, let me paraphrase the question — what industries sell online advertising for their websites?

It’s not a trick question. Too many to even count.

Each of these industries has been touched by Adobe Flash. Let that passive voice sink in for a moment. Anyone who has posted online advertising in the past five years has likely been relying heavily on Flash. It is that pervasive.

But now, nearly a year has passed since the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) laid out an overhaul to its display creative guidelines that make HTML5 the new standard in interactive marketing. The efforts further encourage agencies to move away from Adobe’s Flash, which for years has been the unofficial standard. It was a hugely-important-but-unsurprising move by IAB. It really marked the end of Adobe Flash, and here’s why.

Google is no longer accepting Flash-based ads on Jan. 2, 2017. Go ahead and put that on your calendar as the execution date for Flash. In the U.S., Chrome is leading the web browser marketshare and trending further upward. It would come as no surprise if the other major browsers followed suit. There is little doubt that IAB’s guidelines precipitated such a plan.

Google said the move will “enhance the browsing experience for more people on more devices.” It will also force a bevy of online advertisers to shape up before next year. Changes will come even sooner, with June 30, 2016, being a prominent date on which ads built in Flash can no longer be uploaded into AdWords and DoubleClick Digital Marketing. If things aren’t clear enough, Google deliberately points out that “it’s important to update your display ads to HTML5 before these dates.”

Some loyalty to Flash is easy to understand: since its invention, Flash has been the lifeblood to industries like digital publishing. Dirxion, along with everybody else providing such services, was at one point deeply entrenched in Flash.

But IAB, Google and a whole wide world of HTML5 developers wants to show us that Adobe Flash is the past, HTML5 is the future and too many of us are stuck in a messy in-between. Fortunately, it doesn’t seem like there is an option, and it is mobile-or-bust in a smartphone-entranced society. HTML5 will eventually prevail.

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