2017 Top 4 Retail Technology Trends.

Creating a unique, personalized shopping experience for their customers is the primary objective of most retailers today. Over the past two decades, the shopping experience has undergone massive changes including the introduction of e-commerce and mobile shopping. The introduction of these two things has completely changed the way people shop. When it comes to shopping, today’s tech savvy consumers demand personalized touches and seamless experiences. If a retailer cannot ensure these two things, the consumers move swiftly onto the next one.

For retailers, staying updated on the latest retail technology trends is a necessity rather than an option. Each year, new technology trends in retail emerge and things are going to be no different in 2017. By staying updated on the latest retail technology trends, retailers will be able to take on 2017 with increased confidence. Following are the top 4 retail technology trends to watch out for in 2017.

The evolution of social commerce

In 2016, on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest, ‘buy’ buttons became a standard feature. During 2017, the trend of purchasing items directly on social networking sites is likely to intensify. This is reason Facebook has announced that it’ll be adding the ‘buy’ button to its messenger sometime this year.

A natural social media progression that was long overdue, the aforementioned feature will allow retailers to process and accept payments directly from their messaging thread. The ‘buy’ button on the Facebook messenger is likely to grow social commerce and the adoption of social media amongst retailers. Retailers that don’t adopt this trend will be left behind.

Biometrics

Biometrics is a natural fit for retailers as it uses technologies such as facial recognition, voice identification, fingerprint systems, and iris recognition. Biometrics can help retailers to boost security and improve targeted marketing efforts. It is predicted that by the end of this year, millions of people around the world will be using a Smartphone equipped with biometric technology. The day isn’t far when customers will be able complete e-commerce transactions with just a selfie. This is a technology trend retailers definitely need to look out for in 2017.

Drone delivery

In 2015, many people predicted that 2016 would be the year drone delivery finally takes flight. Unfortunately, the feds had other plans and drone delivery remained a prototype during the previous year. The same is unlikely to happen in 2017 so retailers must watch out for the aforementioned technology trend if they wish to keep pace with the competition.

The increased use of digital assistants

Alexa, Siri, and Cortana are digital assistants most of us already know about and use. While the use of digital assistants isn’t a new trend, the technology is still in its infancy when it comes to helping users perform shopping activities. Though, this is likely to change in 2017 as Samsung and Nokia are set to introduce their digital assistants this year. Moreover, Amazon is making it possible for Alexa to order groceries for us. All of these things are likely to increase the use of digital assistants for shopping activities.

The aforementioned technology trends are the top 4 retail technology trends to watch out for in 2017. By keeping these trends in mind, retailers will be able to take on 2017 with increased confidence.

To find out how Percento can assist making your company technologically ready for 2017:  CLICK HERE

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How Customer Portals Improve the Customer Retention Rate!

A customer portal is a vital component of software technology used in business websites to enhance customer experience. If you have ever shopped online, you might have an idea; it is platform that enables you to purchase products or services, save your favorite items, submit support and help tickets, edit your billing address, etc.

Customer portals play a vital role in enhancing the customer experience, driving greater number of sales, and retaining those customers as well. How has this technology affected businesses in a positive way? Let’s take a look.

It Provides Information to Customers Quickly

You are living in the age of information where you want information and you want it fast. When you go to a website to shop, what’s the first thing you do? You try searching for the product or service you want. Businesses that have customer portals on their websites allow you to seek out the product or service you want in a timely manner and you know where to look.

Many customers state that businesses should be able to supply them with the all the important facts about their products and/or services quickly; with a customer portal, they can not only do that, but also provide information quickly on their mobile devices as well. This makes them happy and happy customers are the ones that keep returning for more.

It Engages Customers and Clients

Businesses engage customers through a variety of different ways, one of which is by using a customer portal. A customer portal provides interactivity with a business at any time and any day of the year; suppose if you want to purchase a particular product at 3 in the morning, you can easily do so through the portal and you won’t have to wait till business hours.

Furthermore, customers can read reviews on the product they choose through the portal and decide whether to buy or not. A portal also allows you to make payments safely and securely. You can check for taxes and shipping costs as well.

Through a customer portal, clients and customers can lodge their issues, complaints, and concerns by submitting tickets and sending personalized messages to the support team. The team will be able to handle their complaints on time and resolve their issues quickly. When a business can provide you with a great service such as this through a customer portal, who wouldn’t be satisfied? Of course, you would be and you would keep going back for more.

It Adds Value to a Customer

Customers respond to value and that’s what a customer portal does. With a portal, you can access certain vital documents and fact-sheets about a company’s products or services to gain insight. Moreover, you can track your shipment and see the estimated time remaining. You can change your billing address and credit card credentials anytime as well. These amenities give customers a sense of freedom, thus ensuring they return.

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Tips to Securing Your Business Online

Your business’s IT infrastructure is a vital component in ensuring its success, but what would happen if that very same technology was attacked either internally or externally? Of course, it would result in a disaster; vital information like financial data, client data, etc. would be lost or corrupted or it might even get stolen. This can also destroy your reputation and cause loss of customers and revenue.

Therefore, you should take certain steps to secure the digital assets of your business. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

·        Implement Security Policies

The first step in securing a business is to setup a security policy which is clear, foolproof, and strong. The policy outlines the rights of users when they access your organization’s network such as the limitations and privileges of employees. For example, the policy may restrict employees from downloading and installing risky applications or changing the network settings.

·        Use a Strong Password

You may heard this before, but let’s stress this further because it is one of the key factors in determining how secure you are on the internet. Never use easy to remember passwords like birth-dates or telephone numbers; instead, use strong passwords which are lengthy and have different characters like upper and lower case characters combined.

Furthermore, such passwords should expire every 3 months, so that the complexity does not change.

·        Keep Software Updated

Software and applications often have loopholes and bugs which can be exploited by hackers to gain access to your business data. To prevent this, always update your software as soon as the new update is released. For example, keep your anti-virus, drivers, firmware, operating system, etc. updated.

·        Install Firewalls

Firewalls prevent unauthorized access to your organization’s assets by filtering incoming and outgoing traffic and data. It prevents malware, keyloggers, viruses, etc. from gaining access to your system. A firewall also restricts hackers from trying to hack into your IT systems.

·        Do a Backup

Most people backup their personal files like pictures and videos to a removable flash drive; the same must be done with your business information as well. You can utilize cloud solutions for this purpose as it is reliable, safe, and cheap. Your data will remain protected even during a natural disaster, accidental deletion or theft.

·        Prevent the Installation of Third Party Software

In many organizations, employees cannot download and install software freely, but in some businesses, there’s no restriction on this and that can cause undesirable results. Hence, it’s important to educate your employees on how to differentiate between a safe website and an unsafe one.

Therefore, you should limit your employees from downloading certain types of software; even if they have to for some work, ensure that the software is from a trusted developer and publisher.

To discuss how Percento can help your organization, call 800-614-7886 or CLICK HERE.

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Implementing New Technologies to Enhance Your Business

When computers were invented for the first time, many businesses took advantage and started using them to automate their everyday manual tasks. That improved productivity and boosted revenue. The same thing happened when the internet was born. And now a new wave of technologies is upon us, one that will change the face of the business world forever.

Most businesses have already adopted these new technologies to improve their marketing, product development, and customer retention and engagement tactics. However, there are still some which haven’t especially small and medium-sized businesses. If you want to take your business to warp speeds, here are some of the most important technological advancements you need to incorporate.

·    Cloud Computing

Simply put, cloud computing offers hardware and software services through the internet. It has revolutionized the way businesses are being conducted. When you shift your business to the cloud, your technological capital costs are reduced as you won’t have to deal with hardware and software maintenance, for example. This happens because cloud services offer inexpensive storage, processing, and network solutions.

It’s more secure and you will observe an increase in productivity, which will increase your revenue.

·    Mobile Applications

Mobile phones have changed our lives and they have indeed shaped the way businesses are run. Before the advent of the smartphone, mobile phones were only used for calling and texting. When the smartphone arrived, businesses started developing applications to offer their services to customers constantly on the move.

Nowadays, mobile apps are used for trading, buying products or services, etc. People want business websites to be available on their mobile phones as well; hence, you should start developing mobile-optimized websites and appealing apps if you want to expand your reach and boost your sales.

·   VoIP Apps

You might be using apps like Whatsapp, Facebook messenger, Viber, etc. These are VoIP applications or voice-over-IP applications; in layman terms, it means communicating with another person over the internet. Such apps have taken over the world by storm because it reduces your monthly phone bills.

Businesses are also using VoIP apps like HipChat and Slack for real-time communication; this has cut down their monthly communication costs and has decreased email volumes.

·   Video-based Customer Support

Customer satisfaction is the goal of every business and customer support goes a long way in influencing it. Of course, providing customer support through live chats and telephone calls is a good way to connect to your customers; on the flipside, using live videos to deliver customer support changes everything.

When your customers can talk to representatives through face-to-face interaction, it engages them and boosts customer satisfaction levels through the roof. Furthermore, it streamlines the entire process by providing faster solutions and lesser confusion.

·    Software

Businesses have started using advanced software solutions like accounting software, inventory management software, web-based catalogs, database management systems, interactive websites, and customer relationship management systems. Incorporating such software will increase your business productivity and improve the workflow.

Technology is also utilized in enhancing the marketing of products or services like using videos for promoting a product. Mobile devices like tablets are often used to offer instant customer support. And let’s not forget using social media platforms to attract potential customers and obtain more exposure for goods and services. Combining all of these will ensure your business takes off at the speed of light!

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The Importance of Message Alert Notifications for Mobile Apps

We are pretty sure most of you have used apps recently on your iPhone or Android device and have heard notification sounds from popular apps like Facebook messenger and Whatsapp. Although you might consider those ding and dang sounds annoying, they are equally important as well. Why? That’s because they inform a user of important things like received messages, updates, unlocks, bonuses, reminders, etc.

Mobile app developing companies incorporate message alert notification sounds in their apps, often with the ability to choose from many different sounds. And as you know, mobile app development has been on the rise ever since the invention of a smartphone. The earning potential from making apps for smartphones is tremendous and if you are interested in getting a piece of this pie, you should consider developing your first app as well.

But since this will be your first app, you should understand the importance of implementing message alert notifications in all your apps.

Why is it Important?

Okay if you still think that putting notification sounds in your mobile apps is just a time-consuming activity; understand that there are more benefits to it than just notifying your users about something. Here are three primary reasons why they are needed:

  • Alright we have already mentioned this: they inform users of any new content or pending tasks.
  • Your users are engaged and it builds a sense of interactivity within the app.
  • New content doesn’t need to be refreshed manually.

How to Choose the Right Kind of Sound?

Notification alert sounds can be useful, but at times, they can be troublesome as well. Hence, when incorporating a sound, make sure you provide the option of switching it off. Secondly, ensure you use a sound that is pleasing to the ears; don’t use rock music, heavy metal music, or battle cries as sounds. Thirdly, the sound mustn’t be so soft that it cannot be heard. So, avoid using sounds of the wind or waves as notification alerts.

When it comes to producing a sound, you can either do it on your own or hire the services of a freelance professional to generate the sound for you. If you decide on making your own sound, make sure to utilize a high quality microphone while doing so; it doesn’t matter if you are singing or playing an instrument, the sound recording equipment must be accurate and fast.

If you are feeling lazy and instead, go for a professional DJ or artist like Tom Jones, ensure they are reliable, amazing, and cost-effective. You can also use more than 400,000 sounds at Audio Jungle; all of the sounds have beautiful effects, are inexpensive, and royalty-free. The prices are low as well; sometimes you can get a sound effect for only a dollar! Most of the sounds have been produced by renowned artists and sound engineers from all over the world. Hence, select a particular sound you like and implement it within your app.

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The Top VR Headsets of the Year!

persons are developing a projectWe have finally reached the age where virtual reality is no longer classed as science fiction. All the big names in the tech industry have come out with their own Virtual Reality head sets. However, it remains to be seen whether Virtual Reality platforms are really a long term thing and are as widely accepted as it is predicted. With so many in the market, it will take some time to catch on with each one. We are going to save you the time so that you can try the best of the lot.

PlayStation VR

Sony’s PlayStation VR is the current choice for a lot of editors. It offers the most if you fancy polished, sleek looking devices over anything else. The headset is available for a reasonable price. However, the limitation about it is that you can only play propriety titles on it. The theater mode allows you to play any PlayStation game you want, it is like sitting in front of a large television screen as you play those games.

Oculus Rift

The Oculus Rift headset has fast become directly related with the idea of VR, more than any other device in the market right now. However, many skeptics have caused it to lose its luster against HTC VIVE and PlayStation VR. This particular headset costs $200 less than the Vive and does not have the Rift’s entire room Virtual Reality experience. We get what the low price is for; for you to hold on to that $200 because that goes into the upcoming controllers for the headset.

Samsung Gear VR

This is one of the most easily accessible ones. The Virtual Reality system works with a compatible Samsung Galaxy smart phone. However, people who already have Samsung compatible phones may be able to use it.

Daydream View by Googleheadset

This one has a lot of hype about it, but it has not come out yet. The Google Daydream virtual reality platform is a lot like the Google cardboard concept. You get to put your phone in an inexpensive headset, which functions as your display because of the set of lenses that separate the screen into two different images. There is a sync-able remote that you can hold in your hand which controls everything in your virtual reality world. The one thing that fans have been able to find about the Daydream device is that it comes with relatively stricter technical requirements.

HTC Vive

The HTC Vive has comprehensive packaging which has a headset, 2 motion controllers, and a couple of base stations that make the entire room into your virtual reality space. The workings of this VR headset are super impressive. It is probably the only one that tracks movement from beyond your seat, with you getting 10 cubic foot of space. You get motion controllers with the headset as well.

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The Technology Trends We See Coming Our Way!

The whole world is turning into a more intelligent, digitally aware and smarter place to be in, where people are more informed than ever Autonomous car interior conceptbefore not just about local trends, but things that are happening in places they have never been to. In the business world, technology will take the face of everything, we know that much for certain. Here is everything that we see making the tech trends with a combination of content, devices, people, and services.

Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent Apps

Machine learning and artificial intelligence have skyrocketed to what might be a very import point, where they will keep on extending every technology enabled service and application. They will create digital systems that help you learn, adapt, and act autonomously, instead of simply being able to execute predefined instructions. Smarter learning options are a prediction for the year 2020.

Think about it, apps that act as virtual personal assistants, these can transform workplaces by making everything easier and immune to human error. It might be more user interactive and therefore more efficient in use too. Artificial intelligence providers will most likely be focusing on advanced analytics, autonomous business processes, and conversational and immersive user interface. In two years time from 2016 we might be looking at big corporations exploiting these intelligent apps.

Other Intelligent Things

Usually, the first few things we think of are drones, robots, and autonomous vehicles. Each of these areas are evolving to impact a larger segment of the market and to support a whole new phase of digital business. However, these also represent a portion of market. We will be employing intelligent devices in medical facilities, factory floors, offices, and our homes.

What is more interesting is that we know that intelligent things will keep on evolving and will become more popular over time. They might move from a standalone to a collaborative model, where intelligent things may even communicate with each other to perform tasks.

Digital Twins

It is possible that down the road, many things may be represented by their digital twins, which is a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system. You can use physics data on how components of everything work and respond to the environment, as well as the data that is provided by sensors in the physical world. The digital twin aids in simulating and analyzing conditions in the real world, how to respond to changes, and how to add value and improve operations.

persons are developing a projectAR and VR

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality can entirely change how people interact with other people and with software which creates a very immersive environment for them. Virtual reality helps in creating remote experiences and training scenarios. Augmented reality, however, allows the combination of real and virtual worlds. It means one can overlay real scenes with graphics; think about looking at hidden wires in a wall before you.

 

 

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You Can Actually Optimize Your Vacation Through Your Phone

Portrait of woman in Carpathian MountainsYou probably hear about how there is an app for everything. While we are bombarded with intrusive advertisements for apps we never knew and which convince us that this is the one, we made things easier for you by listing the digital tools that will really help you optimize your vacation this time around.

Adioso

This is a search app that does a great job at finding the lowest costing fares for you. You can search airfares by region, country, and continent, but here is where it gets better. This is a very flexible app and allows you to be able to browse by type of trip too; for example, whether you are travelling for adventure, cultural exploration of a city etc. This makes it easier for the app to narrow down the choices it presents to you.

Seat Guru

If you are the type of person who pays attention to detail and is pretty picky when it comes to the seating, Seat Guru is a great choice. The search tool in the app lets you look for seats that have everything you want, including wireless internet connectivity, in flight entertainment, power outlets etc. If you want to shop like a seasoned professional, make sure that you check the site’s plane charts before you book your ticket to make sure that you are not sacrificing two seemingly good seats.

KayakYoung woman  typing message on smart phone

You may have probably heard of this app. This is the handy best friend you look to when you have no idea of what makes a good vacation package. What seemingly may be a good deal could be a rip off. Kayak lets you search for bundled deals on everything from air fare to hotels where you can stay. The thing that gives this app an extra shining star is that it allows users to book directly through the app. If you find a place that Kayak cannot put you through to the reservation form, it will get you in touch with third party providers with a click through option. This is one site that offers the best price, right, left, front and center. The app comes with a lot of valuable extras, including an itinerary manager, a currency converter, and a flight tracker too.

Route Happy

This app makes sure that just because you are on a budget, you don’t have to go through the hassle of taking flights that take you everywhere around the world before you reach your final destination, so that waiting at airports tops your loathe list forever. Route Happy works through with Happiness scores which focus on itineraries which are shorter, have simple layover logistics, and some of the best prices. The app has a very user friendly design which makes it easy to see the benefits of every route that you can take on your trip. You can also book a trip directly from the Route Happy app.

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The Latest Business Technology Trends

Business People Using Computer Working ConceptThe ever evolving and adaptive technology is transforming and driving business all around us on a daily basis. The progress is so consistent that we have reached a point where no one really notices it any more. In order to stay on top of the game, businesses need to gain a competitive edge that these technology trends offer by embracing them sooner rather than later.

Communication

Now, communication can be embedded into your phone apps easily. Applications, such as Skype and Whatsapp, are great for video, chat, and audio file sharing, but they still need you to open a separate app. Web Real Time Communications is changing this with emerging embeddable communications. 11.3% of all internet users rely solely on mobile devices to get online. This year, you will be able to see more of the click-to-call buttons embedded directly into apps so that they may cater directly to a growing mobile minority. When customers have questions as they shop for anything on an app, all they have to do to talk to a customer support representative is to tap a button on their smart phones.

Payments

While businesses accept credit cards and transferring money via paypal, which frankly a lot of people who aren’t that tech savvy have learned to love, this friction that is caused for making payments will go down. Apple Pay and Google Pay are the next big things in the field this year. They make payments as easy as a click of the button. The best part is that people are able to reverse transactions too, and those actions are made super easy as well. People are also able to send automatic invoices via email.

Receive Updates in Real Time

Think about it. Would you not love to be alerted every time inventory was low, or that before you check for problems in field equipment or something goes wrong the machine signals to you? Aircraft manufacturers and companies, such as Rolls Royce, are building aircraft sensors. These sensors not only collect data, but send it immediately to the user. These are helpful in detecting if anything is going to break down; therefore. allowing business owners and project managers to avoid calamities.

SecurityBusiness People Office Worker Working Concept

Digital security is just as important as making sure that your inventory is locked indoors and is safe. Emails are never really secure; employee mobile devices do prove to be unprotected in several cases. The VoIP phone systems are not fully encrypted, and many websites have gaping holes that we don’t even know about. When embracing technology, we leave this factor out, which might cost us a lot.

Over the years, 5000 company data breaches have compromised 815 million records that contained information about a person’s medical history, social security number, and bank data.

The biggest technology trend, therefore, is using encryption in both data transportation and at rest, using effective enterprise mobility management, especially when using mobile devices, and installing containerization so that a single hack does not affect entire systems.

To find out how Percento can help you optimize your business technology, contact us today:  CLICK FOR CONTACT PAGE

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Awesome Apps for Educators to Use in Classroom

Concentrated students - technologyTeachers are always on the hunt for the next best tool that will make it more efficient, easier, and better for them to convey concepts and ideas with students. Check out this year’s top app list for sparking curiosity amongst students, literacy skills, and so much more.

Slack

This is a collaborating app which works wonders. As a teacher, you can use this to assign group projects. This particular app works in a variety of settings. It is as easy as using a Facebook group except here, you can also incorporate Google Hangouts and Google Docs.

Explain Everything

This app is everything that the name suggests. It is, technically, an interactive whiteboard that connects with all the students. It may also be the most versatile app that you use when teaching. It makes use of the presentations and mic in your device and lets you animate, annotate, and narrate everything. The best thing about the app is that it works well in collaboration with other apps that you may have used, like Evernote, Google Drive, Dropbox, and YouTube. If you have anything you want to import to these apps, Explain Everything won’t give you trouble.

Class Dojo

The Class Dojo app helps in a lot of ways to not only engage students, but also keep their parents in the loop. It is more of a classroom management tool and motivates students to do their best in class through a virtual reward system where everyone earns points.

Hopscotch

Students can learn great computer science fundamentals through this app. Their interface and design is exceptional. However, a step further for serious students who want to learn more in this niche would be the app named Scratch, which teaches core coding concepts.

EvernoteApps for Educators

This is the app that will be appreciated by every teacher. The reason behind this is because it allows you to completely forego the task of giving handouts. Students, on the other hand, don’t misplace their notes either. Teachers can also make a notebook through this app for assignments which will be shared with every student. The best part about this is that paper is not wasted and can serve as a sort of a ‘Green way of learning’, where the students don’t trash their handouts at the end of the year.

Moodle

Moodle is an open source platform. It comes with a questionnaire platform where students complete tasks and anonymously give feedback on their online learning experience.

Subtext

This app fully embraces the transition between the digital reading world and the traditional book reading practice. Through the app, teachers can layer web links, embed videos, and make notes for quizzes and assignments. This is a very interactive and simple-to-use app that improves your writing and thinking skills. It also assesses the progress of a student within the Common Core State Standards.

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