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Archive for June, 2013

Optimize Your Mobile Store for Quick and Easy Purchasing

June 26th, 2013 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

The smartphone isn’t just a phone – it has evolved into the primary communication device for the average person. And not just the usual one-on-one calling communication that a phone entails, but interaction with the world at large. With the Internet access that smartphones provide, users can research, browse, and shop at any time, in any place.

According to Internet Retailer, a report by comScore Inc. titled “State of the U.S. Online Retail Economy, Q1 2013” compared the mobile shopping habits of users in February 2010 and February 2013. The report found that the amount of time consumers spent with online retail rose 104% to 34.9 billion minutes in February 2013 compared with 17.1 billion minutes in February 2010. Time spent with online retail on smartphones exponentially increased, going from 2.7 billion minutes to 12.9 billion minutes. 

With more minutes spent perusing web stores on their smartphones, people are growing more comfortable with making their purchases there as well. Citing Forrester Research Inc., Internet Retailer states that U.S. consumers made $8 billion worth of retail purchases via smartphones in 2012, 3% of total e-commerce sales.

As the smartphone continues to evolve into the future of computing and connecting, retailers need to evolve with it as well. Creating a mobile store that makes shopping and purchasing quick, easy, and painless is crucial for getting mobile users to keep returning. Please read our tips below for optimizing your mobile store offering.

Clean and Compact Layout

When designing your mobile store, remember the screen you’re designing for. Since the typical smartphone screen is much smaller than a traditional desktop or laptop computer, you have to be mindful of what you display and how you display it – you can’t fit everything.

Simplifying and focusing are key to an effective mobile phone layout. When a mobile user visits your mobile store, they should be able to instantly understand how to navigate to what they’re looking for.

Clean and Compact Layout

A mobile store should follow the same design aesthetic as the online store site, but it should be tailored for clear, simple navigation. 

Take the two images above as an example. The Serenity cosmetics store’s mobile store incorporates the design aesthetic of the retailer’s online store, but the layout of both stores are designed according to very different devices. Given that the online store is accessible from a desktop or laptop computer, it contains a variety of different product options that the computer user can browse at leisure. The store displays various images of the products themselves, and offers different entry points to get deeper into site – for instance, a browser can click through the categories at the top, or on the products in the “Featured Products” section, etc.

The mobile store, on the other hand, makes the most out of its limited screen size and shows necessary information in a clear, concise way. The mobile shopper sees what is available on the platform, and can navigate to it accordingly. The simple column layout of brief text and images creates a clean, straightforward site – too much text or too many images would clutter the screen and overwhelm the mobile shopper, which naturally would make them leave. By keeping a streamlined look-and-feel, mobile retailers help shoppers focus on the reason they’re there in the first place – to check out the merchandise.

Straightforward Navigation

With the mobile store home page providing a clear and easy guide for mobile shoppers, shoppers then must be able to locate items quickly and easily.

Once such way is by ensuring that a search box is prominent, and that the same powerful search capabilities that desktop or laptop users enjoy are available for mobile users as well. Not being able to search for an item is very frustrating, and given that mobile phone users are all about instant gratification, hidden search boxes are not going to fly.

In addition to making it easy for mobile users to get around your site, properly showcasing your product pages for mobile viewers are also important. For example, allowing them to see an image of the product, product ratings, and/or additional relevant information – all while continuing to keep the page clean and uncluttered – gives them the information they need, which in turn motivates them to buy. 

Straightforward Navigation

Displaying product information in a “tab view” is helpful for keeping an orderly mobile store product page. Take a look at the mobile image above for an example of tab view format. Product details, instructions on how to use the product, and ingredients that are used in the product are arranged in tabs below the image and the “Add to Cart” button.

This is the same information that’s on the web store (left), but because of the limited space of the mobile screen (and thus its conduciveness for vertical scrolling), putting the information in clearly marked tabs provides good content visibility, as well as makes reading easier. So the mobile shopper gets access to the same information as a web store shopper, but the information is packaged in a user-friendly, easily digestible way.

Making Checkout as Easy as 1-2-3

The fewer clicks it takes to complete a purchase from a mobile store, the better – for both the shopper (getting what he or she wants) and you (increasing your revenues).  

The Ignify eCommerce mobile platform requires users to input log-in information before placing an order – which saves customers time by saving billing and shipping information for future purchases. And once their information is saved, the customer should be able to finish checking out with just a couple more clicks.

Making Checkout as Easy as 1-2-3

Streamlining the checkout process so that it takes the fewest number of steps (and clicks) possible is crucial for driving shopping cart conversion.

By giving your customers a quick and easy shopping experience, you give them an enticing incentive to return – and your competitors are realizing this as well. According to a recent poll conducted by Forrester Research, Inc., 32% of e-business professionals plan to spend at least $1 million on mobile this year compared to 24% who planned to spend that much in 2012.

With other companies understanding the advantage of a strong mobile store solution, it’s time for you to jump in and invest in mobile technology right away.

If you have any questions, or if you would like more information on how to optimize your mobile eCommerce offering, please email us at ecommerce@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

My Experience at Microsoft Windows 8 Design Camp

June 11th, 2013 Kumar Shah No comments

As a Web App / GUI designer, it’s important to keep learning new design tips and techniques, so on June 7th, I attended the all-day Microsoft Windows 8 Design Camp in Pune, India.

Not only did I learn valuable design information, but I was thrilled to be declared a Winner for the camp’s design contest!

Please read on to find out more about the Microsoft Windows 8 Design Camp, the key Microsoft Windows 8 design concepts and practices I learned, and the exciting design contest that I participated in. 

What was the Microsoft Design Camp all about?

This non-technical, no-fluff workshop for visual designers and UX designers, by designers, was about developing world-class apps from experts such as Brandy Porter and Brian Harper from Big Nerd Ranch. They had also developed some bonus content around responsive web design. It was a wonderful opportunity to network with other designers, cook up my own designs, and showcase those designs for the contest.

The time was split between discussing key principles of Windows Store app design and applying what was learned in design exercises. There I was introduced to the new Windows 8 operating system, and the design and UX patterns that exist in Windows Store apps. The day started with an overview of Windows 8, the Modern UI, and the Microsoft Design Language. It led into a series of discussions followed by lab time, where we were asked to draw up wireframes for our application, at each stage implementing the theory we had heard. The camp was a mix of presentation, discussion, and hand-on design exercises.

What was the agenda?

In this design camp, they covered:

  • Principles of Microsoft Design
  • Navigation
  • Layout
  • UI Elements
  • Charms, Contracts, and Extensions
  • Snapping and Scaling
  • Windows Store
  • Bonus Content: Responsive Web Design
  • "Cook up a design" Contest (which I won!)

We had Windows 8 sketch pads, pencils and Sharpies to use. I had my Windows 8 laptop to drive through some of the theory.

What I learned?

I learned how to approach application design for Windows 8, the unique experiences that a Windows 8 user expects from an application, and how I should approach some of the unique features of Windows 8 and bring them to life within my app.

At the Windows 8 Design Camp, the learning was all about Microsoft design language and how to apply it to designing a Windows Store app; understanding the principles of great Windows Store app design; learning the UX guidelines and applying them in my own design.

About the "Cook up a design" contest

The goal of the Windows 8 Design Camps was to guide us through the design of our first Windows Store app, and so for the contest, I designed an app. In each session of the camp, I learned a different aspect of Windows Store app design via a combination of presentation and discussion. After each presentation, we were asked to go through the applied aspect of the theory learned by designing our own app in a design lab on the topic. All the labs were done with paper and pencil. When we were ready for feedback, the Design Camp’s instructors were available to discuss our design.

Me (in front, wearing a black shirt) discussing my design concept with contest judge Brandy Porter (right) while sketching

Me (in front, wearing a black shirt) discussing my design concept with contest judge Brandy Porter (right) while sketching

The criteria for the contest was that contestants had to consider Windows 8 guidelines and come up with a clean, catchy, and innovative app design with a creative app logo, in a 90-minute time limit. The panel of four judges took some time to ponder and determine the five finalists.

I was so excited to hear my name declared first out of the five winners in Microsoft Windows 8 Design Camp as “Most Innovative Design for Windows 8 App Store”, out of 19 designs and 40 designers from TCS, Cybage, Wipro, Fiserv, Congenzent, and the list goes on.

Showcased below are wireframes (sketches) and actual designs (sketches converted into real design) that I made during the competition. Three levels of mock content pages were created – hub, section, and detail pages.

This is the sketch and actual design of the hub page that I created for my app

This is the sketch and actual design of the hub page that I created for my app

This is the sketch and actual design of the section page that I created for my app

This is the sketch and actual design of the section page that I created for my app

This is the sketch and actual design of the detail page that I created for my app

This is the sketch and actual design of the detail page that I created for my app

Please see below for more pictures of that memorable event:

Shaking hands with Mark (left) as he calls my name as winner of the 'Most Innovative Design for Windows 8 App Store' contest

Shaking hands with Mark (left) as he calls my name as winner of the “Most Innovative Design for Windows 8 App Store” contest

Me on the dais receiving prize from Microsoft experts and the panel of judges. My design is showcased on the  screen to the left. From left to right: Brian Harper, Mark, Sandeep Alur, me,  and Brandy Porter

Me on the dais receiving prize from Microsoft experts and the panel of judges. My design is showcased on the screen to the left. From left to right: Brian Harper, Mark, Sandeep Alur, me, and Brandy Porter

Me with Microsoft experts and contest judges – Brian Harper and Brandy Porter

Me with Microsoft experts and contest judges – Brian Harper and Brandy Porter

Winners’ designs will be showcased on the Microsoft website after minor changes suggested by judges.

The Microsoft Windows 8 Design Camp provided an excellent opportunity to learn new Microsoft Windows 8 design concepts and put them into practice. I look forward to applying this knowledge to new design areas!

Kumar Shah is a Creative Expert at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

Find Your Most Valuable Customers Using PowerPivot and DAX for Microsoft Excel 2013

June 11th, 2013 Abi Shende No comments

RFM is a method used for analyzing customer behavior and defining market segments. It is commonly used in database marketing and direct marketing and has received particular attention in retail.

RFM stands for:
Recency: How recently did the customer purchase?
Frequency: How often did they purchase?
Monetary Value: How much did they spend?

In this article we will use PowerPivot and DAX (Data Analysis Expression Language) for Microsoft Excel 2013 to rank customers by their monetary value, based on the sales amount in the last 12 months.

We can start this process by populating the PowerPivot data model from the ERP and/or CRM solutions. Our PowerPivot Data Model consists of the following four tables:

PowerPivot Data Model consists of these four tables: Calendar, DimCustomer, FactInternetSales, DimProduct

PowerPivot Data Model consists of these four tables: Calendar, DimCustomer, FactInternetSales, DimProduct.

Next, we will create the following four calculated columns in the DimCustomer table:

Calculated Column DAX Formula Explanation
L12MSales
=CALCULATE(SUM(FactInternetSales [SalesAmount]),
                       DATESBETWEEN (
                           Calendar [FullDate],
                           DATE (2012,6,1),
                           DATE (2013,5,31)
                        )
                      )
This column holds the total sales amount for each customer for the last 12 months.
RunningL12MSales
=SUMX (
     FILTER (
         DimCustomer,
         DimCustomer [L12MSales] >= EARLIER(
     DimCustomer [L12MSales])
                ),
          DimCustomer [L12MSales]
            )
This column calculates the running total of customer sales, which includes the sales for the customer on the current row and all other customers having sales greater than the current customer. This is accomplished using the FILTER function to filter the customers and the EARLIER function, which ignores the filter context and uses the previous row context to compare all other customers’ sales with the current customer’s sales.
RunningPct
=DimCustomer [RunningL12MSales]/
SUM(DimCustomer[L12MSales])
This column calculates the percentage of running total to the total of all customer sales.
SalesABCRank
=IF(DimCustomer[RunningPct]  < 0.7, "A",
    IF(DimCustomer[RunningPct] <  0.9, "B", "C"))
Finally, this column assigns the rank to each customer based on the Running Percentage as follows:
A = Top 70% of Total Sales
B = Middle 20% of Total Sales
C = Bottom 10% of Total Sales

The following screen shot shows the result of these calculations in the PowerPivot data view of DimCustomer table. The DimCustomer table is sorted by L12MSales in the descending order (largest to smallest) to see that top customers are ranked “A”.

After completing calculations in the PowerPivot data view of DimCustomer table, the DimCustomer table is sorted to see the top customers (ranked “A”)

After completing calculations in the PowerPivot data view of DimCustomer table, the DimCustomer table is sorted to see the top customers (ranked “A”).

Now, we can use this data in Microsoft Excel PivotTable for analysis and reporting purposes. The following screenshot shows the list of customers ranked “A” – i.e., top customers that contribute to 70% of sales.

Data can be put in Microsoft Excel Pivot Table for further analysis and reporting

Data can be put in Microsoft Excel Pivot Table for further analysis and reporting.  

The following PivotTable using the same data shows that the top 3,595 customers generate 70% of sales while the bottom 12,465 customers generate only 10% of sales.

This PivotTable shows the percentage of sales generated by customers in different sales ranks

This PivotTable shows the percentage of sales generated by customers in different sales ranks. 

We can use a similar technique to rank customers by recency and frequency and calculate a combined customer rank.

Also, the PowerPivot tables can be refreshed periodically to recalculate the ranks.

This is just one example that illustrates how PowerPivot for Microsoft Excel 2013 provides powerful Business Intelligence capabilities to analyze operational, financial and sales data from ERP and CRM solutions.

If you have any questions, or if you would like more information, please email us at dynamics@ignify.com.

Abi Shende is a Team Lead in Microsoft Dynamics CRM at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.

Making an Impact: Achieve Customer Engagement Success with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

June 6th, 2013 Ashley Harbaugh No comments

 “Don’t ever go to that bank – It’s horrible! I’m never going back there again.”

My sister Krystal planned to do some shopping one Saturday, and so before heading to the mall, she decided to deposit and withdraw some money at a bank on her way.

But instead of being able to quickly complete her transactions, the bank teller serving my sister had different ideas – namely, by explaining in detail the bank’s new programs aimed at Krystal’s age demographic (my sister was not interested); by describing new accounts Krystal could open (my sister did not care); and by asking repeatedly why Krystal did not do Activity A or Activity B with her account, and then elaborate on the benefits of those activities (my sister was not pleased).

Krystal’s frustration intensified when the teller’s manager came over to chime in with information and offers as well.

“All I wanted to do was get my money, but they would not stop talking. I didn’t even ask any questions in the first place! Seriously, do not go there if you don’t want to be interrogated.”

While the bank teller had the good intention of trying to do some customer relationship building with my sister, she unfortunately didn’t grasp that my sister did not want a relationship – she just wanted her money. By not understanding what her customer wanted, the bank teller unfortunately drove that customer away.

Different Customer Mindsets

According to an article in American Banker magazine titled “Mindset Marketing: Targeting Customers Based on What They Value”, a study by Deluxe Corporation found that customers of financial service institutions and credit unions fall into one of two categories: the “jobs-to-be-done” consumer, or the “eliminate barriers” consumer.

Different Customer Mindsets

Source: www.americanbanker.com
Financial service and credit union customers generally fall into either the “jobs-to-be-done” consumer category, or the “eliminate barriers” consumer category.

My sister firmly belongs in the “eliminate barriers” group: people who want quick, easy, free access to their money without being bothered.

People in the “jobs-to-be-done” group instead view their bank or credit union as an aide in accomplishing their financial goals or objectives. They are open to hearing advice or tips on how to improve their finances, they want to know about new programs or special offers, and they are willing to pay for information or services that will provide value (in essence, this crowd adheres to the “you get what you pay for” philosophy). 

Good Information Leads to Good Interaction

If the bank teller had known that my sister was an “eliminate barriers” type of customer, no doubt she would have tailored her messaging accordingly. But in order to tailor that message, the teller first needed the right information. Ignify’s Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Banks and Credit Unions Solution provides banks, credit unions, and other financial services institutions with a central, standardized customer data repository.

By allowing account managers and customer service representatives the ability to instantly access and update customer information, customer-facing employees are able to dive into the customer’s mindset – identifying what the customer needs now, and what the customer wants in the future.

For example, did a customer call up asking for more information on getting a home loan? Did a customer ask about business financing?  Documenting inquiries and interests creates an important record of the customer’s history, which supports more effective communication in the future. By being able to talk about things that are of interest, and of value, to the customer, bank team members are able to perform better up-selling and cross-selling by pinpointing the most relevant information and services.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM equips customer-facing employees with an in-depth database of customer information, allowing them to see a customer’s account information, needs, preferences, interaction details, and history

Microsoft Dynamics CRM equips customer-facing employees with an in-depth database of customer information, allowing them to see a customer’s account information, needs, preferences, interaction details, and history.

Organizing and Displaying the Right Data

Having all the information in the world at your fingertips is no good if it’s a) irrelevant; or b) hard to understand. With Microsoft Dynamics CRM, team members are able to filter and display data that is most useful in their day-to-day work, giving them a clear view of what’s going on, and which actions need to be performed.

Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM enable account managers and customer service representatives to set up the information panes that are most relevant to their needs, allowing them to see and understand data at-a-glance

Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM enable account managers and customer service representatives to set up the information panes that are most relevant to their needs, allowing them to see and understand data at-a-glance.

Dashboards in Microsoft Dynamics CRM are one valuable way that bank employees are able to easily and efficiently organize data. Employees are able to specify the data they want set up in a dashboard pane, and they can then choose which graphical display they want that data to show up as (e.g., in a bar graph, or a pie chart, etc.) With these graphical displays, dashboards provide an instant, visual interpretation of real-time information that employees can understand and act on.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM’s dashboard panes are also valuable in that an account manager can drill down into the data in the graph if they want to get a more granular view. For example, say I’m an account manager who uses the dashboard in the image above, and I want to get a more detailed look at the different customer accounts I have. To do so, I would simply click the button “View the records that are used to generate the chart”, and a new window containing the records of the different accounts will appear.

The graphs and charts posted in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM dashboard are dynamic – meaning that they update with information in real-time, and they allow the user to drill down into the data displayed in the chart

The graphs and charts posted in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM dashboard are dynamic – meaning that they update with information in real-time, and they allow the user to drill down into the data displayed in the chart. 

I can drill even deeper into the data. For example, if I want to see my customers with checking accounts, all I have to do is click the “Checking” bar – and the same goes for the other accounts as well. This is especially helpful because team members not only get the big picture of customer data (the number of different customer accounts) but they also get into the fine details (the individual customer records).

Big Picture and Fine Details – Both Necessary

Having both a macroscopic and a microscopic view of the customer is crucial to maintaining a good relationship with that customer. The bank teller that my sister encountered had a good macroscopic grasp of my sister – she saw how old my sister is, and so she figured that the bank’s programs for her age group would naturally appeal to her too. This was certainly a logical assumption, but unfortunately, without having a microscopic view – understanding my sister’s individual preferences and needs – the teller’s logic was not correct.

To distinguish the services and offers that are most pertinent to a customer, and to craft messaging that is most compelling to the customer when presenting these offerings, organizations need to have insight into both general and specific details. Armed with this knowledge, bank team members are able to determine the best way to invest their time and resources into customer interaction, and plan interaction strategies that provide value to both the bank and the customer.

For more information on how Ignify strengthens customer relationship management efforts for banks, credit unions, and other financial services institutions, please email us at banks@ignify.com.

Ashley Harbaugh is a Product Marketing Specialist at Ignify. Ignify is a technology provider of ERP, CRM, and eCommerce software solutions to businesses and public sector organizations. Ignify has been included as the fastest growing business in North America for 5 years in a row by Deloitte, Inc Magazine and Entrepreneur Magazine and ranked as one of 100 most innovative companies in the world in the Red Herring Global 100 in 2011.