Six Clever Business That Used Geo-Fencing Successfully

If you haven’t integrated geo-fencing into your business, there is a definite chance you are missing sales, engagement, and ultimately, a more loyal customer base. If you need a refresher on what geo-fencing is all about, here is the simplest way we can explain it.

Geo-fencing is a location-based service that businesses can use to pique the interest of their audience by sending relevant messages to their phones when they enter a predefined location or geographic area.

While a geo-fence provides the framework for reaching an audience within a boundary, it is important to remember that it does not contact the audience for you. The end-user must have location settings enabled so that a notification is pushed to reach the end-user in real-time.

closeup photo of silver iMac

Business That Have Successfully Used Geo-fencing

Here’s a look at six businesses that we think have successfully used geo-fencing to increase sales, engagement and loyalty.

1. HotelTonight
HotelTonight is famous for providing its app users with information about the best open accommodations, using GPS data to deliver accurate, location-based content. HotelTonight’s app has two stand-out features: the rate drop tool and the bonus rate. The rate drop is enabled after 3 pm if the customer happens to be a few miles away from a participating hotel and pushes a discount of 10 – 40% on accommodation. Bonus Rate entices remote users to see better discounted rates for a hotel than the users nearby, encouraging them to travel a bit further.

2. Whole Foods
Recently, Whole Foods used geo-fencing to improve its click-through conversion rates for mobile ads enticing potential customers by placing geo-fencing around several store locations, targeting ads at mobile users who walked by.

Whole Foods went so far as to use geo-conquesting tools (placed near competitors’ stores) to target ads at shoppers near competing grocery stores, encouraging them to rather shop at Whole Foods. The cheeky campaign yielded Whole Foods a 4.69% post-click conversion rate – more than three times the national average of 1.43%.

3. JetBlue
JetBlue was able to improve its already very popular app by introducing geo-fencing features, which recognized a traveller’s location and automatically sent them a digital boarding pass.

It also went one step further, by letting the traveller know about their in-flight entertainment options before they even boarded the plane. It is these small touches that can really improve customer satisfaction and loyalty in the future.

4. Taco Bell
Taco Bell uses their mobile app and geo-fencing as a way to drive sales. Whenever a customer drives by a store, they receive a push notification, which encourages them to order food. After launching this campaign, Taco Bell reported a 6% increase in sales and the average order amount from the mobile app was 20% higher than in-store orders.

5. Sephora
Sephora’s “store companion” geo-fencing feature is an example of a smart location-data solution. The feature turns on as soon as the customer walks into the store and gives them access to their past purchases, product recommendations and reviews and limited-edition offers.

Using geo-fencing technology, the app increases customer satisfaction and loyalty through the creation of daily mobile content, including location-targeted messages.

6. Burger King
We have saved the best for last; The Burger King Whopper Detour campaign that made use of geo-fencing in one of the smartest ways imaginable. During the campaign, Burger King boosted downloads of its mobile app by 1.5 million with its “Whopper Detour” campaign that offered 1-cent Whoppers to smartphone users who visited the competing McDonald’s locations.

Customers had to download the upgraded Burger King app and get within 600 feet of a McDonald’s restaurant to activate the offer.

After customers placed an order, the app rerouted them away from McDonald’s and toward the nearest Burger King to pick up their food. Not only were sales dramatically boosted, the campaign made the Burger King app the most downloaded app in Apple’s App Store for several days in a row.

If You’re not Geo-fencing You’re Fenced out

Overall, geo-fencing is a great technology at the disposal of marketers and brands, enabling them to improve upon the level of personalization they provide in marketing. As the above examples show, many companies have successfully used geo-fencing to provide target offers to their potential buyers.

Geo-fencing has proven itself to be a highly effective way to send customers offers or targeted promotions the moment they trigger a search in a certain geographical location, enter certain premises or area. In fact, 61% of marketers rate location data as “important” for targeting.

BIA/Kelsey’s forecast for advertising to and targeting local audiences reports that location-targeted mobile ad spend will nearly triple from 2016 to 2021 -an increase from $12.4 billion to $33.3 billion.

Goodman Lantern is here to assist you to integrate geo-fencing into your marketing campaign to help you yield fantastic and consistent results to transform your business. We pride ourselves on being the experts in location-based app development, having built several fully customised solutions in this particular sphere. In a time where contextual information matters more than ever before, geolocation apps and geo-fencing are predicted to continue to disrupt and dominate the industry.

The location of consumers and users plays a pivotal role in establishing real contexts. People want real-time, value-added information based on their current location; and they want it as easily as possible. If you’re interested in putting your location to work and would like to explore the concept of geo-fencing, get in touch with us today.

How to Increase the Money Your Customers Spend via Your Mobile app

Mobile apps are big business. When we say big business, we mean SERIOUSLY big business. According to stats from BuildFire, between 2016 and 2017 there was a 35% increase in spending via mobile apps.

This means that if you don’t have a mobile app for your business, you need to get one. If you do have one, you need to maximise the amount of money your customers spend with you using your mobile app because, as can be seen by the numbers, people are keen to spend money using their smart device – be it a tablet or smartphone.

In this post, we’ll share six tips with you about how you can increase customer spending via your mobile app.

person holding black iphone 4Implement A Customer Loyalty Program

Researchers, from 2006 to 2016, looked at the growth patterns experienced by customer loyalty programmes in the United States and found the growth to be staggering – from 3.3 million to 3.8 billion – in the last two years of the 10 years.

This means that people are willing to be a part of these types of programmes in which companies reward loyalty from customers, though only if they receive tangible benefits.

So, to stimulate customers to spend on your mobile app, why not incentivise them to do so with, say, for instance, a 10% voucher off their in-app purchases? As they are getting tangible benefits, they’ll be more likely to keep on coming back to your app.

Monitor in-app Behaviour

The beauty of having customers purchase via your app is that you can monitor their behaviour. For example, if they keep on browsing goods in a particular section of the store, and leave without making a purchase, you can target these customers with targeted ads. In addition, you can also upsell them on various products – in their preferred departments – when, for example, there are specials on the products or there are new products on offer.

Ask for Customer Input

You need to take care of your customers. If you don’t – and they feel it – they’ll leave you for your competitors. If they are impressed by your competitors, they won’t come back. The stats back this up. More than half of people in the US have not gone through with a planned purchase because they received bad customer service.

The best way that you can make your customers feel that their opinions matter to you is by posing the question to them of what they think of your company. If you’re not getting a good uptake on your survey, give a little bit of an incentive. We guarantee that this will get them racing to fill in your questionnaire.

Strengthen Your Branding

One of the critical things that you can do to get people to start buying via your app is by building a strong brand. A lot of people are hesitant to make any purchases through an app as they feel that these platforms are not secure. However, if people recognise your brand in the marketplace, and you develop an app, they will be more likely to make purchases as they trust you.

Encourage Mobile App Downloads

If you want to increase customer spend through your mobile app, you first need to get people to download the app. A fabulous way to do this is to advertise your mobile app on your mobisite. Have special offers available to people who make purchases through the app to encourage these types of purchases.

Harness the Power of Push Notifications

Push notifications are powerful on mobile apps as these devices can prompt people to take immediate action on your mobile app. However, use these sparingly as the more push notifications that you send out, the more likely it is that your users will become irritated with your app and uninstall it.

As with all marketing strategies, it’s never a good idea to only try one approach. The same goes for marketing mobile apps. So in your quest to increase the visibility of your mobile app and, in the process, increase customer spend on this, make sure that you try a variety of techniques to help you achieve your ultimate goal.

How to Build an Enterprise SaaS MVP

If you want to build a Software as a Service (SaaS) product for your enterprise customer, then you must first think of a way to streamline the process. Building complete enterprise products from start to finish can be ultra-demanding from both a security and functionality point of view, and will require you to first conduct a deep dive into the specific industry workflows.

So, to do this you need a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), to validate the value proposition of your product with a minimal development effort. With MVP a new product or service is developed with core functionalities, to test how the target audience would respond. Then, the actual product, with a full set of features, is developed after feedback is received from the early adopters.

Here’s our step by step process to help you build an initial version of your Enterprise SaaS product, and some of the biggest potential pitfalls.

Identify the Problem

Really take your time to narrow down your focus to one important problem affecting the industry your customer is in. Really hone in on identifying a specific niche, a workflow process, or a department where your solution could really make its mark. By identifying a real problem, you would have created an opportunity for a viable SaaS solution.

Do your Research

Regardless of whether you are a startup or an established software vendor, it is critical that you conduct market research. You may think that your idea is the best thing since sliced bread, but is it actually? Might sound harsh, but in order to answer this question, you have to get in the heads of the people who may one day be your clients. Otherwise, your application most likely won’t take off.

Part in parcel with doing your research is, of course, evaluating the competition. Researching your competition also helps you define your own product, and analyzing what features your competition does or does not offer can be very useful in deciding how to design your application to make it better.

Keep the End-User top of mind

Once you’ve identified the problem you’d like to solve with your MVP, the second step would be to learn about the people whose work environment you’re about to improve. Who is the person or people that are most frustrated with the identified problem? Let’s say it’s a human resources manager in charge of drafting contractual agreements. How is this department going to benefit from the SaaS product?

Understand Team Dynamics

Employee tasks are very rarely performed in isolation. Usually, they are dependant on factors from other departments, meaning that one person’s task may be affected by another person completing theirs. Learning about the existing processes will help you design an Enterprise SaaS MVP in a way that can be harmoniously merged into the department with minimal changes to the team dynamics.

Think back to the HR example: an HR assistant is in charge of drafting a contractual agreement, but the creation of this work contract would also involve collaboration with top management and the finance department. Thus for MVP to be successfully adopted, it needs to account for other employees, while designing a solution to the problem.

Formulate the MVP Prototype

Once you have identified the problem and got super familiar with the team dynamics and workflow, it’s time to sketch out what your MVP would actually look like, which basically means formulating a prototype.

While this is not a full-fledged model of your product, a prototype is the first step in reaching your goal. It will help organize your ideas in a visual way and can be used to test the viability of individual features.

Develop the MVP

Now for the most time and resource-consuming part of your MVP’s lifecycle – the development phase. This stage involves getting designers and developers to work together to move your MVP from the design-and-prototyping phase into development. Having a good prototype ensures the developers to hit the ground running, as your application’s structure is already set up and all the design elements are ready for implementation.

In order to build the smallest functioning version of our product, we need to identify the core features that we can’t do without, and the ‘nice to have’ features we need to save for later iterations. To do this effectively, cut out features that are not solving a key problem and deploy the solution with minimal design. Focusing on the impact the MVP will have, rather than the number of features, will help to effortlessly prove to your end-users that it makes their lives easier.

Analyse and Tweak the MVP

Now that your MVP is ready, have the intended user’s test drive it and monitor how they respond to it. Gather and analyze all the feedback and data to make iterations and changes, prioritize feature suggestions, and track usage patterns to inform the next steps of your MVP roadmap.

Enterprise SaaS is not just a product, it is a package. One of the great advantages of building an MVP and adopting an agile approach to development is that you involve actual users in the process, creating the basis for your future vendor-client relationship.

As mentioned at the outset, achieving success with Software-as-a-Service applications can be full of pitfalls, but by following these steps, your chances of success are a lot higher.

How Much Does It Cost to Create an On-Demand Delivery App?

On-demand delivery apps – the model which has been popularised by Uber – have become commonplace across many industries. Features of these apps include the:

  • Ability to place orders

  • Capability to schedule deliveries

  • Facility to track deliveries on a map

  • Ability to pay for deliveries

  • Facility to rate or provide feedback on deliveries

Many businesses are hopping on the bandwagon, secure in the knowledge that this is exactly what users are looking for. These apps are a fantastic way to get your company on the map and make sure that you’re (quite literally) in your customers’ back pockets.

Is it worth it? How much does it cost?

Let’s take a closer look.

Several Industries Have Been “Uberised”

Uber isn’t alone in the on-demand sphere. These apps are taking almost every industry out there by storm.

Package Delivery:

The model that certain companies in this industry (such as Shyp, Uber and Doorman) have adopted – in order words a driver going to a pick-up location for a package – is not cost effective. As such, they have not been successful.

However, there have been companies (such as Hitch and Roadie) in this space who have been successful. Their model uses people who are going in the direction that the package needs to be delivered to drop off the goods.

Local Food and Grocery Delivery:

Two companies who play in this space are Instacart and Postmates:

  • Instacart which provides same-day grocery deliveries from the stores that you already shop at. The app hires personal shoppers who purchase the goods for you and deliver them.

  • Postmates works similarly but instead of using personal shoppers to deliver the goods the app uses their own delivery people.

Delivery for Retailers:

With the popularity of online shopping on smart devices, many retailers have jumped on the bandwagon and have developed apps in order to facilitate their customers’ experiences. Amazon is one such retailer.

Other apps – such as Deliv – work on the same model as instacart and Postmates – but in the retail space. Apps that focus on food delivery or grocery shopping should include the following features:

  • Wish lists

  • Product search

  • Real-time messaging or calls.

The popularity of these genres of apps is not waning. In fact, it’s growing exponentially. According to Appinventiv:

  • 86.5 million Americans have used a service which operates along the same lines as Uber does,

  • 45 million Americans have been, or are, service providers in the on-demand service industry, and

  • 22.4 million people spend $57.6 billion – every year – on on-demand services.

And these are just on-demand delivery apps in the U.S. In other parts of the world, similar industries have been revolutionised using the always-on mentality. However, in order to ensure a successful business it’s not enough for on-demand delivery apps to create me-too businesses that mimic Uber.

In fact, Uber itself fell into the trap of mimicking their model too much when they innovated new products:

  • Uber developed UberRUSH which was an on-demand delivery service. It was based on the assumption that consumers want their packages delivered fast but they don’t mind paying extra for this. However, what they failed to do it realise that consumers do indeed want packages delivered quickly but they don’t want to pay extra for this.

  • The tech company took what it learned from UberRUSH and developed Uber Eats, the food-delivery service that uses the Uber network of drivers to deliver food from a restaurant to a customer when an order is placed.

What Makes an On-demand Delivery App Successful?

Before we answer the question of how much it costs to develop an on-demand delivery app, we need to look at the three factors that you’ve got to get right to build a successful on-demand delivery app. These are:

  • User acquisition

  • Transportation

  • Delivery costs

User acquisition

In order to build a successful on-demand delivery app, you first need a good base of users who will use the app’s services. This is because on-demand services apps’ competitive advantage is cheaper and faster delivery.

Here are some tips to building your user base:

  • Start small: Begin servicing a small area that is densely populated. If there is a massive uptake, you can start expanding your area. If not,

  • Start marketing before you launch. Examples of ways you can do this include social media, public relations and referral programmes.

  • Create strategic partnerships. Creating strategic partnerships with the companies – whose services you’re going to be delivering – is another good marketing channel.

Just as it is important to acquire new customers  for an on-demand delivery app it’s vital for you to keep your business attractive to customers. Here are some ways that you can do this:

  • Be responsive to customer queries. This will make them feel that they are important to you, that you value them. As such, they will remain loyal to you.

  • Create a rating system in your app so that customers have confidence that they are getting service that is the best of the best.

  • Make it known to your customers that you are meticulous about screening your contractors. This will give your clients added confidence when using you.

  • Institute a loyalty programme. People will keep using you if they know that they will be rewarded.

Keeping your contractors happy is extremely important too. Here’s an idea how you can do this with you

on-demand delivery app:

  • Pay your contractors competitively. This will keep them happy and prevent them from looking for work elsewhere.

  • Consider subsiding fuel costs. Even if you pay your contractors a competitive rate, if most of the earnings go towards fuel costs they might reconsider working for you.

  • Find ways of motivating your contractors to constantly achieve more and give the best service that they can.

Transportation and delivery costs

Here are a few tips to cut delivery costs:

  • Synchronise your routes and don’t make contractors travel more than they should. For example, Uber drivers are only alerted of ride requests in the area that they are currently in.

  • Decrease the delivery radius. This also saves on time and fuel.

  • Another way of decreasing fuel costs is to adopt greener forms of transportation. For example, start a bike delivery service.

Costs Involved in Developing an On-demand Delivery App

In order to calculate the total cost of developing an on-demand delivery app, you need to multiply the number of hours by the vendor rate. It’s estimated that the time it takes to develop iOS and Android apps is roughly the same – between 3 276 and 4 794 hours.

The costs of delivery are high so make sure that your profitability models cover all of your expenses. Remember that you need to ensure that you walk away with a good amount of profit that justifies the time, money and effort that you put into the app.

How To Measure And Increase Your App Users’ Happiness

As a mobile app maker, if this question hasn’t crossed your mind from time to time, it really should:

Am I doing everything in my power to keep my customers engaged and happy, all while leaving them with a positive and memorable experience?

If you’re wondering why user happiness ranks above all other metrics, it’s as simple as this – if your users are happy with your app, they will engage more, convert more and spend more. They will talk about your app to friends and family, forgive the occasional technical glitch and most importantly, these happy app users are going to be the ones who become loyal customers. Let’s unpack some of the ways that you can ensure your app users are happy with your app.

Make onboarding painless

First things first – users downloaded your app for a reason. Help them address that reason as quickly as you can. Onboarding is a crucial process for app developers to get right: no bugs, no crashes, no usability problems allowed. The faster they get to using your app and fulfilling their needs, the better .

If they are there to play a game, then don’t have a billion pop up screens telling them about your other apps. Skip the upselling get the game started right away. Get to the point quickly, and first finish the primary task they downloaded your app for. All the other chores like logging in, creating an account and learning the new features can be done later.

Check the Metrics

One of the easiest ways to check that your onboarding process isn’t sending users away is to check the action cohorts tool, a visual that shows the relationship between one event in the app and another. By setting a filter to see how many users signed up for the app and then went on to complete a purchase in the same week, you can really measure happiness.

You can also keep an eye on app sessions, which will show the level of session user engagement. Keep in mind though, a shorter session duration does not necessarily have to mean a bad app. If the user got what they were looking for in your app fast, it can actually be a good thing.

Ask with Intent

When formulating survey questions, don’t ask about features that you don’t actually plan to develop for the app. That will just let the app user down as they will be expecting you to activate this feature in the future. Ask questions with intent, with the end goal being to improve the end users experience.

Short and Sweet Surveys

When surveying consumers on if they like an app, remember they don’t want to be given the 3rd degree. Get to the point with short precise questions, such as: Do you like this x and y feature? If the app is more complicated in terms of functionality, then in the next session on the app, ask another question, like: “Would you recommend this app to a friend?”

Reward Participants

There may be times where app users are not opting in to give you feedback. You could give them a nudge by offering incentives like a month free of the premium version of your app, or extra credits or points that can spend in-app.

Customer Service is Key

It is vital to make your support team easily accessible to the users at all times. Live chat, phone support, whatever means available to chat to consumers, just be there when the users need you.

Many consumers will uninstall an app that provides no support or is slow in replying to user queries. In online spaces like social media, public forums and app store reviews, how well you interact with a user will establish your persona with every other user who sees it. Answer questions, resolve problems and offer solutions promptly to make users happy. A mobile app with tons of poor reviews and dead silence from the developer spells trouble.

Another way to improve customer service is to create a community who can chat to each other or even solve each other’s queries within the app. By creating a community for your target market within the app, you can listen to your customers and then deliver.

Make Sure the App is Working at all Times

This is the most obvious way to increase the app users happiness – making doubly sure that the app works flawlessly. Make sure it is up to speed, loads up quick, no bugs and crashes. If you secure all ends and get the work done, your users will stay happy. Besides the obvious workings of the app, keep content short and sweet, and avoid practices that make reading on a small screen harder to do, such as columns of text or lengths of text that involve a lot of thumb scrolling.

Happy users make for successful mobile apps, which is why it is of paramount importance to make sure that above all the dozens of KPIs you manage, user happiness remains your core focus. Use the above guides to effectively measure and increase your users’ happiness and keep your app thriving in what is always going to be a competitive space.

Web Scraping Services: What's So Great About 'Em?

Somewhat of a clean up and gathering crew, web scraping is a term used for gathering information off of websites on the Internet. These services are geared towards clients with specific goals in mind, namely information extraction, gathering statistics, or comparing facts.

Like harvesting the honey from a honeycomb, these services are becoming more and more attractive to businesses around the world, especially those in major admin roles.

So when there’s tons of data on your forum, who you gonna call? Web Scrapers! (Perhaps not the most elegant way to insert the Ghost Busters theme song, but we do try…)

web scraping services

Why People Use Web Scraping Services

There are many reasons why people use web scraping services on a regular basis, proficiency has always been the aim of the game in the working world. Over time society has become adept at finding ways to streamline even the most common practices including information gathering.

Some of the most common uses for web scraping services include:

Research Purposes

In many ways research is the syrup that makes any topic worth consuming, it is essential to get relevant, accurate research on which to base your writing upon. By using web scraping services you are able to achieve this relatively easily. Instead of combing the web for facts and information yourself, you could try using web crawling software instead.

Marketing Purposes

The analysis and management of working relationships. Marketing is a business process of creating relationships with and providing to customers. Because its main focus is on the customer, it is a fundamental aspect of business management. By using web scraping services for this purpose one is able to scrape pricing and other information on products from eCommerce websites, thereby providing the best content for any business approach or package.

Stock Or Cryptocurrency Rates

Cryptocurrency has become a major means of security in the vast wide web, and when working with replicated, shared, and synchronized digital data geographically spread across multiple sites, countries, or institutions you need to be able to navigate between them quickly. In this sense web scraping is an advantageous tool.

Transferring Data From The Old To The New

As technology improves and businesses grow, it is becoming more common for companies to create bigger and better websites to facilitate their gleaming new empires. In this scenario there is always mass data that needs to be collected and moved over to the new platform. With web scraping tools one can identify specific data and move over information seamlessly while keeping all relevant details together.

Tools Of The Trade

Now when one thinks of scraping, you tend to picture taking icing off of a cake or evenly spreading concrete when building, and just like these instances web scraping also uses specific tools designed to make your job easier. Called web crawlers these seek and find software programs are like little spiders that travel the web like well a web and help do the work for you.

Web crawling tools can be broken up into two groups namely custom web crawlers and web scraping software.

Custom Web Crawlers

Typically built by programmers in a variety of languages, including JavaScript and Python. Custom made web scrapers or crawlers can be tailor designed to meet any specific needs, also when the creation of a custom web scraper is outsourced to programming professionals you are  able to save time.

There are one or two downsides to these custom makes though, they can be difficult to maintain if you do not have any programming knowledge, and an entirely new scraper will have to be created for each website.

Web Scraping Software

There are many different programs available today that allow the user to scrape the web for information without any needed programming knowledge. These programs are pre-written according to specific website types and capabilities and so it simply comes down to which one suits your needs best. These programs include: Portia and Diffbot.

The downside to using this option is that some software can struggle with more complex websites, and in some cases there is some programming details one will need to learn in order to use the more complex versions or functions.

Reasons Behind Web Scraping Popularity

The global demand for Web Scraping is high and is increasing with each financial year. A web search shows that there are currently over 833 web scraping jobs available on the net, this is understandable as the 21st century has been labeled the time of technology and intelligence.

The main benefits behind this process are speed, accuracy and data monitoring. Because time is money and everything needs to be fast web scraping does give one that added advantage in keeping in step with father time.

  • A scraper can scrape as much data in a day, as a man could have in a year

  • If you are using a good web scraping service, you can count on accuracy levels, that even your best employee can’t guarantee.

  • Bad reviews or a bad incident can close a company, because of this you need to keep an eye on what is happening regarding the name of your business. By using web scraping software, you can scrape media sites to check if your company got featured in any stories, positive or negative. Maintain a good public perception and possibly predict a future path for your company by comparing stats.

Reaping The Rewards Of Successful Web Scraping

Whether you’re setting up a new business or growing an existing one, accurate data storage and insight is a necessity when walking the road to success. Be it information about your latest competition, statistics on company growth or pitfalls, stock exchange or industry potentials the fact is that these are all things that make up the working body of business and chances are your corporation is already doing it in one way or another.

So just because you felt that great sense of achievement upon completing your latest project having manually found all the interesting facts and showcasing them yourself, doesn’t mean you wouldn’t have achieved the same level of work with a little assistance.  Web scraping software works for you, in fact one can go as far as saying it will even improve how things are done in your daily grind. More time means more freedom to concentrate on the other aspects of your business.

As they say, work smarter not harder and let those little crawlers do the leg work for you.

Enterprise SaaS Churn Rates: What’s Acceptable?

The constant worry of most enterprise SaaS companies is their churn rate and how to decrease it. Interestingly, the “acceptable” SaaS churn rate isn’t something many people agree on, so if you’re wondering whether you have a churn problem, this article is for you.

What is SaaS Churn Rate?
The percentage rate at which SaaS consumers cancel their monthly subscription, churn rate is a crucial metric for revenue forecasting and analyzing historical business performance. With regards to forecasting, churn rate can be used to determine the probability of customers cancelling their subscriptions.

Kathy Lord, Senior Vice President of Sales & Customer Success at San Jose CA.-based Sage Intacct, explains that SaaS churn rate can be measured over a “given period of time, whether monthly, quarterly or annually,” also mentioning that though there is “no official calculation”, the dollar churn rate and the logo churn rate are the most common calculation methods.

Dollar churn rate consists of dollars lost both from customers leaving and downgrading, while logo churn rate represents the percentage of customers that have left your service.

The formulas for both calculation methods are as follows:

Dollar Churn Rate = [Expected Renewal Dollars]/[Actual Renewal Dollars]

Logo Churn Rate = [No. of Customers That Left Your Service]/[Total Number of Customer]

What is an “Acceptable” Enterprise SaaS Churn Rate?
Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, an acceptable enterprise churn rate is between 5 and 7% annually, or approximately 0.4% monthly.

Another opinion on “acceptable” churn comes from research published by Tomasz Tunguz,a Managing Director at Menlo Park, Calif.-based Redpoint Ventures – while enterprises should be aiming for an annual churn rate of between 6 and 10%, the SMB market could face between 31 and 58%. Mid-market SaaS companies, understandably, are somewhere in the middle, with a figure of between 11 and 22% being desirable.

According to research by Pacific Crest, a survey of 336 SaaS companies, revealed that the annual median SaaS churn rate was around 6% for companies earning more than $2.5 million in revenue.

With all these sources agreeing that acceptable churn should be between 5 and 10% annually, should enterprise SaaS companies with double be concerned?

There’s No Magic Number
When asked what an acceptable enterprise SaaS churn rate is, Kathy Lord has this to say: ““There is no magic number. Instead, [brands should be] looking at [their SaaS churn rate] in conjunction with customer growth rate, expected customer lifetime and CLTV (Customer Lifetime Value) to determine if you have a sustainable business model.”

CEO and Founder of Arlington VA-based ChurnZero, You Mon Tsang, agreed, adding “I’ve seen a lot of churn rates in my [time] and having just a churn rate is not enough to explain if it’s good or bad. On the SMB side, I’ve seen churn rates [between] 20 percent annually to 35-40 percent annually and they can still [operate as] a healthy business. [For businesses that] sell to small businesses (B2B) that pay monthly – I’ve seen churn over 50 percent on an annualized basis, [but] if you get all your customers via word-of-mouth, you could [still] survive high churn rates.”

Indus Khaitan, Chief of Growth at San Francisco, CA Chargebee, also shared some insight into “acceptable” churn rates, explaining that “for high growth SaaS companies that have achieved a product market fit, and are looking to double their revenues in successive years, and are planning to raise venture investments, an acceptable churn rate is a ‘net negative revenue churn’.” A net negative revenue churn indicates that “increased revenue from existing customers is outstripping [the revenue lost from those who] have canceled their accounts.” This could range from 0 to 2%.

Is There a Different Benchmark for B2B SaaS Churn Rates and B2C SaaS Churn Rates?
A bad churn rate, according to Lord, whether B2B or B2C, is “not closely tied to a company type,” and according to her, “the real indicator comes from understanding what average customer life expectancy is, what a company’s CLTV is, and at what rate the company is acquiring customers.” She continued to explain that churn rates greater than customer acquisition rates are bad, whether the company is B2B or B2C.

Khaitan supported this claim with him own, that it is “hard to quantify a generic bad churn rate” as every industry will have their own objectives and requirements, with each company also serving different segments, also add that “an email marketing software sold to SOHO (small office, home office) segment at a low price point could have a 20-25 percent annual churn, but the same company selling to the enterprise segment could have a 5 percent annual churn. The seasonality of buyers in the SOHO may come into play where they use it for a few months, cancel their accounts and probably come back again, as needed, whereas, enterprise customers may lock-in for multiple years.”

At What Stage Should SaaS Companies Be Alarmed By Their Churn Rate?
According to Jake Mastrandrea, Head of Marketing at Sunnyvale CA.-based Checkbook.io, brands should be advised to look out for the following red flags:

Churn rates higher than they were previous year.

The monetary value of customers leaving your business being equivalent to or greater than new business acquisition.

Churn rate is increasing each month.

Unbalanced Lifetime Value (LTV) : Customer Acquisition Value (CAV) ratio (also known as LTV : CAV).

Low LTV

Lord also suggested that brands keep a close eye on their churn, urging them to investigate the reason for churn no matter the annual rate and stating: “Companies need to closely monitor and take action to mitigate churn as soon as they complete their first renewal cycle.”

Khaitan also shared that, though there are a number of reasons that customers might leave the business, if the cause is within the control of the business, it must be addressed, stating that “customers leave for a variety of reasons; however, it is alarming when the [churn is] high and [is] due to issues that are within the control of the business and related to one of marketing, sales, product, support.”

Watch This Space– What’s Hot and Happening in Web App Development

Sometimes mistaken for an extension of standard software engineering techniques, web app development has become so much more than that. Centered around the early 1990’s It was first started as a means for people around the world to be able to communicate from any computer to any server and vise versa while using a worldwide system of computer networks aka- the internet. This break through lead to massive computing domains like Gmail, yahoo, Facebook and more.

As things stand today, we’ve come a long way since the days of client–server models, where the processing load for the application was shared between code on the server and code installed on each client locally.

A few fantastic examples of this include:

In 1995, the well known and revolutionary JavaScript was created- that irreversibly changed the way a program was written. E commerce like Amazon and eBay were released and now we’re looking at the realities of cloud-based storage and interactive applications.

It has been said that before a man can run, he must first learn to crawl. This is a novel idea to be sure, but not really one that has been adhered to in terms of our technical advancements. We are running like forest! Gaining more and more speed with every step.

Its intense! Its exhilarating! It leads to the only natural question one can ask – What’s next?

Expected Trends in Web App Development Moving Forward

Serverless Trends Are On The Rise

Up until this point the larger resource heavy providers like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon have been at odds when it comes to market space. They all have mass industry influence and moving forward would naturally like to increase that. The problem comes in when one looks at the server space available around the world. The internet may seem like a limitless and vast platform that is immeasurable but in actual fact it is not. At current standing these providers hold 1.2 million terabytes between them, and when the internet was first created they included enough “space” for 4.3 billion web addresses.

In 2018 it was announced that the internet was in fact running out of space. In order to contend with this problem, many companies are starting to look into “serverless” solutions. Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Functions are two great examples of this.  Azure offers a comprehensive set of development, deployment, and management tools. … Event-driven applications are now possible using CloudEvents with the Event Grid event-routing service, so moving forward it is safe to say that this will definitely become mainstream and sooner than you might have thought.

Javascript is planned to become one of the most prevalent coding languages in use

Yes, it’s a fact that Javascript changed the way programmers do what they do best. The main reason for this and the main difference between this specific programming language and others is mostly due to the fact that Javascript is what it is called a scripting language. It doesn’t have to be compiled to be executed, like other languages including C++ and Java.  Instead JS is dynamically typed unlike C+ and Java which are static typed. This one difference makes it a much faster language to use.

Because of this, Javascript has been voted the most preferred programming language for six years in a row, and moving forward there is an anticipated use increase in certain Javascript extensions including Vue.js, ReactJS and Angular 7.

AI technologies and machine learning are becoming more user friendly  

Up until now, in many ways the concept of AI and machine learning has been somewhat of a myth. Through recent development the strength of these concepts can now be brought down to a plug-in. By importing or making use of various programming libraries, simple applications can now be enhanced dramatically. For example AI assistants on web portals, the continuous advancement of advertising and immersion in virtual reality.  

An increased use in fringe technologies

Communication is broken down into two things – questions and answers. Programming is no different. Interacting with a website is nothing but quaring information, by using fringe technology and scripting languages like GraphQL and Typescript you can add ease of development and robustness to the applications. Especially for developers who don’t want to deal with writing complicated queries, while delivering scalable & optimized results.

Because of this there is a usage increase expected in regards to these types of programs and enhancements.

JAMstack is expected to become one of the popular kids

JAMstack stands for JavaScript, APIs, and Markup, and can be described as a modern web development architecture based on these features. The JAMstack is not about specific technologies. It’s a new and innovative way of building websites and apps that deliver a better performance, a higher security, lower cost of scaling, and a better developer experience.

Popping into existence in the early 2000’s, it has slowly been gaining momentum mostly due to its ability to provide pre-built files over a CDN, using caches for lighting fast content loading and 3rd party APIs where required to generate dynamic data.

There is a major usage increase anticipated in 2019 and later. So best keep an eye on this one.

Adaption is the key to every form of evolution – in order to master one’s circumstances you need to be able to not only make them work for you but in a sense actually outgrow them. Looking at it in this manner could go a long way in expressing why humanity has become so determined to advance themselves technologically as fast as possible. We have already made unbelievable leaps and bounds in this regard and I am sure that moving forward will be no different.

2019 is looking to be a year of streamlined programming, faster development and enhanced capabilities. It’s exciting! So open your mind – watch this space and lets get going!

How to Make a Successful New App With a Used Idea

App creation has taken the world by storm and all but changed the very fabric of how we see the world around us.

For the last eleven years the world has gone from enjoying the simple pleasures of the infamous Snake app on Nokia phones, to using an app for practically anything you can think of; from checking the weather and news events all the way to monitoring bodily functions, shopping, and socializing.

In fact, app creation has become so prolific that startups can understandably feel daunted and pressured when wanting to make their own mark in this vast industry.

Measuring Up Against The Giants

There are so many big players on this court including Facebook, Instagram, Google, and Twitter, all offering numerous facilities that wow the masses already – how could you possibly hope to compete? The answer is simpler than you think.

As massive and glorious as these developments may seem, they all started in the same place and the shocking truth is that these corporate giants weren’t actually the first ones! Facebook stole the limelight from predecessors including Myspace and Friendster. Twitter did the same thing to former apps including Hipstamatic and Instagram.

With so many methods already mixing together in this pot of profit, it’s extremely difficult to invent something completely new. And honestly, in most cases it’s unnecessary. The trick is looking for loopholes or ways to do something common better than before. Tricks And Tips For Successful App Development

Tricks And Tips For Successful App Development

Working with a used method can take a little more effort and forethought, but with the right steps you can take any idea and make it your own. This avenue can also grant you the added benefits of a tried and tested industry and audience, and when done right it can be more beneficial and faster than starting completely from scratch.

Here’s what you need to do:

Find Your Gap

No matter how good an app may seem, there will always be pain points or weak areas that could be improved on in one way or another. One of the first steps to getting into this industry is finding these weak spots and looking for the opportunities within them. This is a fantastic way of taking a used idea and making it an improved facility in your own creation.

Create Better Designs For Limited Options

Product design has always been one of the most fundamental aspects of a successful app. However, there will invariably be one or two aspects that could have been designed differently or more proficiently.

One of the main reasons why Facebook has done so well and risen to the very top is not because they are new and exciting; they actually use the same concept ideas their predecessors did. The difference is that they designed their app better and developed it for a little longer. So, while they may have been out of the gate a little late, the way their app has been designed is their biggest success. Right from the beginning it included syncing features earlier apps lacked and ran much smoother than any others did. Faster development is not always better.

Tailor-Made Monetisation Strategies

Now as different as you may want to be, some app details will always stay the same. Making money is making money after all. On a general basis, there are already numerous ways in which businesses are using apps to generate extra income, including sign up fees, click baiting and adverts, upgrading packages, and content packages.

The trick to making your own mark is finding an income strategy that not only suits your product concept but is also user friendly. A great example of this is image editing apps that offer professional content for a select price by simply purchasing in app. It’s convenient and therefore users tend to be more open to paying.

Multiple Platforms

If you take a closer look at master apps like Facebook and Instagram, you’ll notice they are never just on their own platform or a singular platform. The more platforms your app is featured on, the better known you will become. Just because you are trying to outdo the big boys doesn’t mean you can’t use their platforms to give yourself a bigger boost. Advertising is still the majordomo and thanks to current upgrades, syncing is the new big thing. Placing links of your app on other more popular apps can lead to higher user traffic.

Relevance Is Key

One of the most important facts about supply and demand, even when it comes to apps, is that relevance is everything. You could have the fanciest hardware, the most complicated programming, and the most streamlined user interface and still not achieve your goals. If your audience can’t relate to what you’re offering, chances are they will be less interested and this will reflect in your app’s popularity.

A general rule is that keeping it simple yet capable is the best way to go. Just because you are using an old idea doesn’t mean you have to go overboard with your delivery to make up for it. In most cases convenience will always trump a flamboyant approach.

Realising Your Success Success

As of 2019, there are over 2.1 million published apps available to the public. With such a massive shoes to fill, tip toeing will not get you far.

It is possible to create an app of your own even if the idea has already been used by dozens of others. It all comes down to how you do it and more importantly how you make it your own.

Don’t let the numbers scare you. If you want to make an app then go right ahead and make it. Just do it well.

Web Apps Are Only Getting Better, So Make The Most Of It

The web wasn’t always the massive, interactive sprawl it is today.

When it was first created, it was basically just a collection of hyperlinked documents and the beginnings of its interactivity started in the early 2000s with the hype of “Web 2.0”. From the early IRC chat boards and plain HTML pages, the Internet evolved to its current form, in which users can shop, email, work and collaborate, all through the use of web apps such as Gmail, Twitter, Google Docs, Slack and Trello.

Some of these apps allowed collaboration or traditional desktop apps to move online, while others such a Slack and Twitter’s embeds, retained the nature of a hyperlinked document.

Despite the interactivity they’ve added to the web, the golden rule of web apps is that the native version is probably better.

Currently, native apps – the apps that are specifically designed for platforms such as Windows, iOS or Android – have many advantages over web apps, because no matter how many JavaScript is piled onto an HTML document, there is no way it could ever match the quality and performance of a native app. Though building web apps is quicker, and distributing them is simpler, those advantages mean very little in the face of the advantages native apps offer.

However, the web is a constantly evolving thing, and certain upcoming web technologies could give native apps a run for their money.

iPhone X beside MacBook

Progressive Web Apps

Essentially, a progressive web app is a website with a ‘manifest’ file which dictates the app icon, name of the app and whether it should show the browser UI or take over the full screen, which basically allows users to add the website to their home screen or start menu and launch it like a regular app. Instead of loading from a website though, PWAs are typically cached on the device to provide some form of offline functionality – from saving the CSS and Javascript to allow the website to load faster, to saving everything a user does locally, just like a traditional app.

 PWAs also support push notifications and other background work thanks to ‘service workers’ which sync local changes to remote servers and cache new content – meaning the app is as up-to-date as a web app, but as responsive as a native one.

The best example of a progressive web app right now is the Twitter Lite client which is minimal, fast and comes with a toggle to minimize data usage.

Though Microsoft’s February announcement of Windows’ support for progressive web apps made a big splash, iOS added PWA support in Safari 11.3, meaning they can be created and shipped to Chrome OS, Windows, Android and iOs.

The caveat at the moment is that Google and Apple seem to have different visions for how much a progressive web app should be capable off, and Apple’s support standards are scattered and incomplete.

WebAssembly

As computers have become faster and JavaScript performance has been optimized, the scope of work you can do on the internet has expanded from emails and writing text documents to creating music and intense graphic design.

However, an app written in Java or Swift for Android or iOS, or written in C or C++ will be much faster and more responsive than anything written in JavaScript. The speed of an app’s underlying code defines not only how responsive an app feels, but also limits what the app is capable of. Even something as simple as a Snapchat filter utilizes massive amounts of CPU and GPU power, and JavaScript just can’t compete.

WebAssembly, a binary format for the web, is beginning to change that. Being a binary format, it isn’t translated to CPU understandable machine code “Just In Time” like JavaScript is. Pre-compiled before being shipped over the web and full compiled by the browser once downloaded, parsing WebAssembly code isn’t as much of a burden on the browser, allowing it to run at near native speeds and almost as consistently.

Designed to work intraoperatively with JavaScript, web apps can have the majority of their logic written in JavaScript with only the speed sensitive parts such as the image processing algorithms running in WebAssembly.

One of the benefits of WebAssembly is not having to learn an entirely new programming language, as high performance code written in C and C++ can be compiled to WebAssembly, with even Unreal Engine and Unity having been ported to WebAssembly.

While many web technology proposals can sometimes get stuck in standards committees for years, or only enjoy spotty support, WebAssembly is already supported and shipped by all major browsers apart from Internet Explorer, and who uses that anyway?

Houdini

Though not many people say that native apps look better than websites, it is a fact that they do look different, and even if PWAs performed just as well as native apps, they would still look and feel like a website because web apps are limited by their CSS and HTML.

One of the web technologies that has, unfortunately been stuck in standards committees for years, Houdini is a set of features that would allow developers to talk directly to a browser’s CSS rendering engine. Rather than creating a set of style rules and letting the browser handle it, Houdini would allow developers to create custom styles, animations and layouts.

To understand just how powerful this might be, look at Google’s Flutter app development framework. Flutter simulates the feel of native apps with pixel-perfect accuracy, though it’s not for websites, it’s for making Android, iOS and Fuchsia apps. Fuschia uses the Skia graphics library, the same engine that powers Chrome’s browser rendering to do that styling and animation.

When creating a website, the content is defined an HTML and the style in CSS, but rendering engines such as Skia paint the pixels – meaning you can tell the browser to create a blue circle, but it’s up to Skia to decide how.

Houdini allows you to talk to these rendering engines, but instead of writing custom Skia code and shipping it as a native app, the CSS and Javascript can be written to talk to each browser’s rendering engine.

Houdini’s code will coexist with traditional CSS, providing another option should you need something to look a specific way.

Unfortunately, most of Houdini’s specs are still in the air and only Chrome allows you to test many of the ideas, but if web apps are ever to mimic the feel of native apps, Houdini is probably how.

To recap:

  • Progressive Web Apps offer home screen icons, push notifications and offline support

  • WebAssembly provides native or near-native performance

  • Houdini will provide the fancy style

What About Native APIs?

Native apps will always have a place, and native apps can take advantage of platform-specific advantages from Google’s Visual Core chip, Apple’s ARKit, native graphics APIs and all the other features which keep operating systems competitive.

However, for apps that value convenience and ubiquity, web apps are set to grow in both number and importance., though it’s difficult to predict which next-gen web apps are set to make the biggest impact.

While Twitter Lite is a prime example of Progressive Web Apps, lightweight WebAssembly-built games might soon be everywhere.