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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Hotels Drive Revenue and Guest Satisfaction with Mobile APPS


Hotels often play a much more important role in our lives than we often realize. We may often think of Hotels as just a home away from home for the business travel, or simply a place to sleep and leave our stuff while we’re on vacation. They often play many other roles, whether it is as a place to stay during family events like, weddings, holiday gatherings, a family member’s sickness, or even when a loved one has passed. Whether it is a child’s athletic event or searching for college, your hotel room is often where you go to relax and feel a little pampered.

The hospitality industry is embracing Mobile Apps as a way to make their guests stay even more pleasant and memorable.
In the article, Optimizing Hospitality Industry Mobile Apps in HotelExecutive.com, Michael Kasavana, NAMA Endowed Professor at the Michigan State University School of Hospitality Business, shared several ways Mobile Apps are being used in the Hospitality Industry. Mr. Kasavana shared "Forrester Research predicts by 2015 eighty-two million people will rely on mobile devices as a primary reference tool. Through the use of a mobile device, consumers are able to receive timely announcements, alerts, promotions, discounts, and a host of concierge services. 

Some of the specific capabilities found in some of the top hospitality industry mobile apps include:
  • weather conditions
  • navigational/directional mapping, including routing and landmark indexing 
  • business directory, based on proximity or destination querry
  • entertainment activities and venues
  • hospitality specific business indicators, with ratings and physical descriptors
  • local news, with alerts and warning information
  • notification of offers by event, promotion, price, discount, or reward

In the Hotel Executive article "Driving Revenue Through Your Mobil App_, Tom O'Rourke, CEO & President, O'Rourke Hospitality Marketing, made several additional great observations on how the Hospitality Industry is beginning to see the potential of Mobil App marketing to their properties' success.
"In most cases, mobile bookings will be your biggest opportunity for increasing direct revenue. First and foremost, before you can make money with your hotel mobile application you need to put it in the palm of your guests’ hands. Increase app downloads with careful planning and strategic marketing tools, and you’ll be well on your way to driving revenue through your mobile app.
Our clients have seen spikes in downloads, mobile bookings and revenue from effective marketing, As smart phone adoption rates continue to climb, your app’s downloads and mobile bookings will steadily climb as well.
If your hotel offers room service, how would you like to see an 18 percent increase in orders? A study from buuteeq, a Seattle, Washington-based digital marketing company, revealed that hotels with a mobile presence have seen increases of this magnitude in room service orders. Some hotels offer room service payment options within the app, while others add room service charges directly onto the room bill; either method provides easy tracking and a seamless, efficient process for your guests.
Many hotels are also using apps and their on property tablets and mobile phones for other in room purposes. Hotels are adding convenience to the guest experience by taking everyday activities and putting an app behind them. At some properties, it is now possible for guests to bypass the check-in desk and use a hotel mobile app to unlock the door of their room. Some hotels provide iPads in rooms with preloaded applications that can regulate the temperature or change the channel.
Every hotel has something special to offer, and you can utilize your app to highlight this unique feature. Are you known for your exceptional weddings? As part of your App, inform you wedding couples about the app as a wedding planning tool. With features such as custom itineraries, room block booking capabilities, directions and maps, the bride and groom can easily help their wedding guests make travel arrangements, book rooms, find local activities and restaurants, and much more.
If your hotel has a restaurant or spa, you can highlight that you have them within your app and distinguish yourself from the other area hotels. A mobile app makes it possible to take an active role in pushing reservations and can help you dramatically increase reservations and revenue at your spa and restaurant.
Hospitality is the number two industry for mobile engagement, second only to retail. This mobile audience carries vast potential to drive revenue. Your current and future hotel guests are already in the mobile space, and they are searching there for their favorite brands and new places to discover. Your hotel could be missing out if you aren’t mobile-friendly and ready to meet the needs of these tech-savvy guests. If you are at the beginning stages of contemplating a mobile strategy, instead of thinking of it as an expense, think of all the lost revenue you are missing out on because you are lacking a mobile presence. And when you launch a mobile app, you can reach an untapped audience with limitless potential to drive additional revenue.

On average, how many rooms are vacant at your hotel every night? By offering special pricing with push notifications to last minute travelers who use your application, you can start selling those empty rooms. A slightly discounted rate offered exclusively to app users has the potential to bring in nearby guests within a few hours of your hotel. This type of marketing will not only serve to help you fill empty rooms, but also builds guest loyalty."


Still have yet to build you own hotel a mobile APP? Snappii’s platform can help you build an App in just days or even hours. Use one of our two Rich hotel templates and your App can be built even more quickly. Just edit the template to reflect your property and your client’s needs.





Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Mobile Device Apps Rule Cyber Monday


Yesterday, Appnewser's Dianna Dilworth reported on  the results of IBM’s Benchmark Cyber Monday report. By noon on Monday, the report measured  22.4 percent of consumers were using their mobile devices to visit retail sites and 12 percent of consumers used mobile devices to make purchases. By 3 pm,  the number of consumers using mobile devices for retail visits was still at 21% and 10.9 percent were still making purchases. 
The IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark’s tool is a cloud-based Web analytics platform that tracks more than a million e-commerce transactions a day. 
APPS to find coupons were popular.            
The report also found that the iPhone was driving more retail shopping than any other mobile devices. iPhone traffic to retail store websites represented 8.7 percent, whereas only 7.2 percent of traffic came from the iPad and only 6.3 percent from Android devices. The report also found only .2 percent of all online sales on Cyber Monday came through social networking referrals.
On the same day, Ms. Dilworth reported that "cumulative mobile app revenue is expected to reach $30 billion this year, according to a new report from ABI Research. This number is almost double the app revenues in 2011. The number does include revenues generated from app sales, in-app purchases, subscriptions, and in-app advertisements."
With the numbers I shared in my Monday post regarding mobile sales activity from Black Friday and the rest of the first real shopping weekend of the holiday season, it is certainly growing increasingly clear how vital having a mobile APP presence is for every retailer and, frankly, any business dedicated to the consumer market. Learn how quickly you can build your own at http://www.snappii.com.
Tomorrow, I will share with you how the hospitality industry is making great steps in revenue and customer satisfaction all with the use of APPS, both with off site customers and customers while they are guests on the property.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Snappii 2.0 is Available for HTML5 Web Apps

Good news, an updated, feature-rich Snappii 2.0 release has expanded your APP design possibilities. Now it is available both for  the iOS and HTML5 platforms. We'll have even more updates for building Android APPS very soon. Web apps are incredibly flexible and offer some advantages over native apps. Let's review them:

- No long, time consuming review process. Your web app will be published once it is submitted. Rejection is simply not possible. This alone will save you and your development team quite a lot of time.

- HTML5 web apps work in any browser, both on mobile devices and PCs. Native apps, as you know, can usually only be installed on devices only. Yet, most people still use PCs at home and work and will find it tremendously convenient to open your app in their PC browser. Especially if they happened to leave their mobile device at home. Web apps are easy to add to your home screen on gadgets, which will make them look the same way as iPhone or iPad app do.

- Using Full Service, you will notice that web app development is 3 times less expensive than the cost of developing just one native iOS app. If your budget is limited but you desperately need an app,  a HTML5 solution sounds like perfect fit for you.

- You have no need to purchase Apple and Google Developer accounts (that is $99 and $25 annually). Save the money and time for their setup as well.

- You will be able to test your app without installing the Snappii preview app on your device. That can be especially useful when there is no iOS gadget at hand.

If you'd like to Do It Yourself with the Snappii platform, you can ensure that the web app development process is the same for native iPhone and Android apps, as well as HTML5. So, if you are eager to try the Snappii 2.0 release, upload your data sources, add Advanced List, then the Advanced Form tabs and buttons the same way you did for your iOS apps. All the necessary information to answer any of your questions can be found in our Frequently Asked Questions, as well as our many previous blog posts. If you don't find the answers you were looking for, don't hesitate to email your questions to support@snappii.com.

Let me take a moment to just remind you of the many things Snappii 2.0 allows you to do:

-    sort any data inside the apps
-    search for any data inside the apps
-    control the appearance of any information organized in list view
-    control the appearance of  any detailed screen
-    control group access to various levels of functionality
-    ability to extract data as PDF reports and email it
-    categorize
-    and much more

Visit the Snappii website today to learn more about mobile and HTML5 web app development without needing programming skills using the Snappii visual WYSIWYG Editor . A real app for your and your company is literally just a few clicks away.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Retail APPS Receive Heavy Black Friday Use

In my post last Friday, I wrote on how Retail was Finding APPS Important Throughout the Store. As much of a role as I anticipated, internet retailer editor in Chief Don Davis, reports e-commerce sales increased 17.4% over last Thanksgiving alone. Davis' figures and those in an article on MediaPost publications by Laurie Sullivan, refer to data released by IBM's Smarter Commerce division, which measures about 500 of the largest online retailers in the U.S..

Some of the most interesting statistics Mr. Davis shared from the IBM report included:
  •  "At the end of the day the iPad drove more retail traffic than any other device with traffic reaching 10.7% versus the iPhone at 9.1% and Android at 5.8%."
  • "Visits to retail web sites also broke records, with Akamai Technologies Inc. reporting a peak of 7.63 million page views per minute from North American consumers to the web sites of its retail clients at 8:55 p.m. Eastern Time on Thanksgiving Day."
  •  the central image on Macys.com Thanksgiving Day declared: “Shop Black Friday specials on your phone or tablet!”
Some of the other important information the IBM report revealed was shared by Ms. Sullivan in her story, "Smartphones, Tablets Spark Searches, Purchases On Thanksgiving Day."
  • At PriceGrabber.com, research shows that nearly 17% of online traffic came from smartphones during the Thanksgiving week
  • Tablet traffic also remained strong -- up 1,004.5% compared with the week prior.
Shoppers have clearly sent a message loud and clear to all retailers. Regardless of your size or product offering, your customers are using APPS.

According to Ms. Sullivan,  the PriceGrabber research put Clothing took the No. 1 spot for the most-searched items across smartphones, tablets and desktops. Electronics took the No. 2 spot on smartphones, compared with indoor living items on tablets and desktops. Indoor living took No. 3 on smartphones, compared with electronics on tablets and laptops. 

With Snappii, you can build your own APP using our visual WYSIWYG Editor, our Rich library of ready made industry specific templates. Our LiveBuild Preview APP lets you and your development team test the APP before making any final decisions.

Best of all, Snappii can help you have your APP completed 30 times faster than APPS requiring traditional, manual coding. Most Snappii users are able to see a prototype within 48 hours and release a fully functional APP in just weeks.  You can make use of push notifications, shopping carts, forums, and even track downloads of your mobile apps, whether from Apple devices, Android devices, or devices using HTML5. Contact us today and see your APP come to life while the holiday shopping season is just getting started.




Friday, November 23, 2012

Enterprise Mobile Device Security

In the United States, today is known as Black Friday and some retailers even began opening Thanksgiving night. I couldn't think of a better subject to address today than security suggestions for both companies and consumers to consider.  While many people are braving the challenges of finding a parking space and standing in long lines in hopes of finding a great price on some clothing and/or electronics, many are likely to use their smart phones to make purchases even while still standing in a line.

Securing both your enterprise mobile device's security as well as ensuring your consumer and business app data is secure is a significant issue of concern. For the businesses that provide apps, it is essential you ensure all partners in the cloud and throughout your infrastructure are employing industry standards to ensure you and your customer data is kept safe through the highest user authentication standards.

I highly recommend that all systems responsible for the storage and use of data employ OAuth standard for authorization. OAuth is now in version 2.0 and focuses on client developer simplicity while providing specific authorization flows for web applications, desktop applications, mobile phones, and living room devices.

I was recently reading an article by Information Week's Matthew J. Schwartz on the 7 Ways to Toughen Enterprise Mobile Device Security. Mr. Schwartz summarizes the general risk by stating "realize that employee-owned mobile devices, in the wrong hands, could provide anytime, anywhere access to corporate secrets. Accordingly, they must be secured, and your business secured against their potential misuse."

Here are Mr. Schwartz's Seven Tips for Toughening Security around Enterprise Mobile Devices.

1. Create Strong Security Policies.
While it might sound basic, having mobile device security policies in place is a necessary first step. "Establish the appropriate controls, aligned with your corporate policies, and that make sense for your organization."
Again, this is where I'd encourage employing the OAuth 2.0 standards.
2. Apply Existing Security Policies To Mobile Devices.
When crafting mobile device security policies, carry through existing policies. For example, if you require that passwords for accessing the corporate network have 15 characters, mixing uppercase, lowercase, and at least one symbol, then the same should be true for any mobile device.
3. Enforce Security Policies.
The next step is to enforce your organization's policies, typically by using mobile device management (MDM) tools. Regardless of the approach selected, without enforcement, employees will see your mobile security policies as optional, especially if you have a bring your own device (BYOD) to work policy.
4. Inventory Mobile Devices.
Keep an inventory of all mobile devices that are being used to connect to the corporate network. For example, if only iPhones and Androids are supported under your BYOD program, but some employees are trying to use BlackBerrys, then maybe it's time to reconsider your policies, or else verify that the devices are being appropriately blocked.
5. Proactively Wipe Devices.
When fashioning mobile device security policies, beyond requiring devices to be locked with passwords, consider spelling out how and when devices should be automatically wiped. For example, devices can be set to delete all of their contents after 10 failed login attempts, and security tools can be used to wipe any device that hasn't connected to the corporate network in a specified period of time, such as 30 days, or after an employee reports it as being lost or stolen.
6. Weigh App Whitelisting.
One technique for preventing mobile devices from being exploited is to restrict exactly which apps employees can install on their devices. "If a company allows installation of any app whatsoever, in the iPhone arena it could still be bad. In the Android arena, you're just inviting a malicious application into your organization." So a lot of companies look toward whitelisting, and from a security perspective, that's really great. Notably, if the in-house process for getting new apps approved requires weeks or months of waiting, employees will rebel.
7. Beware New Breach Notification Laws.
Almost every state now has data breach notification laws, which require that any exposure of sensitive data involving state residents be publicly disclosed. There are two states--Nevada and Massachusetts--that have laws that at least have indications that you need to encrypt data. Does your business have customers in either of those states? If so, security managers, with help from their IT staff and legal staff, need to determine if  this requires encrypt of all customer data on our devices.
As more and more transactions and client data is transacted over mobile APPs. It is imperative that protecting that information is a key concern of an business, large or small, to protect this information. Snappii can not only guide you though the building of an APP for your business or corporation, but we can help advise you of the security steps to consider to ensure that all of the information accessible or gained by your APP remains secure.
If this Black Friday finds you and your customers without an APP to access on their mobile device, go online and learn how easily Snappii can help you build your APP inexpensively, without the need to learn code and with all the functionality you, your employees, and your customers need. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Live App Build Solution For Businesses

When companies are looking for talented, experienced developers capable of creating a really powerful and useful mobile app, they often can be taking a big risk. First of all, it is expensive, as you will have to pay the majority of the whole development fee. This is regardless of the received result, or if the developer can use the code you paid for on future app development jobs for other clients. And it could be worse. If you do not like the results you get, you will likely need to start all over again and resume searching for a new developer. If you announced to your customers and staff when your mobile app would release, it will be almost impossible to meet that schedule with a new developer. Both your money and time have likely been consumed. Unfortunately, client relationships are also jeopardized.

So what choices do you have left, especially when you are already outside your time frame and your original budget is already compromised. Thankfully, there is one proven way out of this situation available to you. It is Snappii Mobile Application Enterprise for Business. Snappii offers DIY(Do It Yourself) as well as Full Service solutions. Soon, Snappii will be releasing a special program for Mobile Enterprises too. The Snappii DIY (Do-It-Yourself) platform enables you to create native iOS,Android and HTML5 web apps without the need to have programming knowledge. You and your development team can use the Snappii platform's WYSIWYG Visual Editor to just drag and drop the elements you need onto the screen. You can also choose from the Rich library of pre-built industry specific templates to begin filling in your content. You can graphics and content you want to create just the APP you want.

With the Snappii Platform, there is no need to write code from scratch. You simply benefit from the one carefully written for you in the WYSIWYG Visual Editor by Snappii's development team. You can free up your internal developers to work on your own in-house APP needs and other back-end systems. You will not only save tremendous time and money; you'll also get more profitable development work done for both your customers and your internal personnel.

Another significant factor when you work with Snappii is that making and testing mobile apps is totally free. Quick testing is possible with Snappii Preview app, available both in the AppStore and Google Play. By simply downloading and installing this app on your devices, you will be able to instantly view changes made to your app and also review lots of demo and live apps created by Snappii. If you are interested in becoming a reseller, there is also an option for you called Web2Phone copy. It is a Live app builder like Preview, except it adds the additional ability to white label your APP designs. White label will remove all Snappii ads, "Powered By" references and will allow you to upload your own Splashscreens. The app functions and looks like a live app downloaded from any online stores. Show your designs to any of your potential customers and simply complete the app after their approval. No app development companies can offer anything similar for you. Deploy the app and  it will be running on devices in just moments.

Choosing Full Service support, you can have the Snappii development team design the app for you. Just fill out the App Request Form. In just 48 hours, you will get a Prototype of your app running on any device. This is convenient and economical, especially if you are tight on time to create an app yourself. 

In any case, you will benefit tremendously by choosing Snappii Mobile Application Platform for Business to get your applications live.  You'll have apps for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in just hours and days, rather than months if you need to hire developers. Save money and spend your time on expanding your staff, inventory, and perhaps even locations, based on the new prospects and customers your new APP will help you gain.  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Advantages of Snappii 2.0 Release. Part 6. How To Update Data in DataSources

Snappii 2.0 release is really huge and offers a great number of new features for app creators. I have already written 5 blog posts on this topic. You can find them all in our Blog. Today I will try to capture the options I didn't describe in the previous posts or shed too little light on the them.

First of all it is important to know how everyone can update the data being stored in the datasources uploaded in apps. The spreadsheet which was uploaded for the first time can be edited, added or even deleted. A click on Download Data button will save the datasource on your PC. You will make changes and upload it again. Please ensure that you save the app every time you make any change. As well you will have to bind Advanced Lists/Forms with newly uploaded datasource again. There is a way however to avoid doing it. For this use Append Data button. Keep in mind the spreadsheet you upload must contain only new data as the datasource won't detect that such data already exist in the app and add it again anyways. The spreadsheet should contain the same fields as initial datasource does. Once uploaded the changes will be available.

Next to Test data there is another division called Production data. The main disparity between them is that production data are the data in already submitted and accepted apps. Once your app goes live in the Appstore (and later in the Google Play) all the information is stored in the Production part. After you make changes to the data in the datasource for your live app you will need just to tap on Update Actual Data button and the data will be updated instantly and be available in the live app at once. No need to resubmit or publish changes in the app itself and go thru Apple review process.
No programming background is required to create custom and feature-rich apps in minutes. Visit Snappii WYSIWYG editor already today to know everything about iOS and Android app development.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

5 Great Tips for Developing an Enterprise Mobil APP

This past Friday, Mayer Anadkat shared 5 Mobile Application Success Stories for CRM.com. Mr. Anadkat prefaces the article with this sub-head "A pretty app is nice, but the key is giving customers a reason to come back." I couldn't agree more. The most important part of developing a enterprise mobile app is taking the time to ensure it will provide real benefit so your customers will not only download it, but use it, among all of their other previously downloaded apps regularly.

To reinforce the important of mobile apps, Mr. Anadkat offered these statistics. "The United Nations recently announced that there are as many mobile phones as there are people in the world—6 billion to be exact. To support these billions of devices, there are more than 1.2 million mobile apps in existence, and those are just the ones in the Apple App Store and Google Play store."

Mr. Anadkat reinforces his concern about the speed of some retail app development by making this statement. "Even companies that typically have security and risk concerns, like banks, are charging full steam ahead with mobile app development and innovation. In their haste, many companies are simply designing the latest "me too" app to have a place to send customers." 

That is why it is so valuable to use Snappii 2.0 to build your application. All of your development team can work together to build your App using Snappii's Drag, Drop and Configuration modules in a visual WYSIWYG Editor. When you feel what you've built may be ready, your development team can use the Snappii LiveBuild Preview App to have Development, QA, Sales & Marketing, and IT Security staff sit together to do the usability testing together. All without paying exorbitant fees to hire outside app specific developers who have no understanding of your business and its customer's needs.

Here are Mr. Anadkat's  five simple tips for anyone building a transformative enterprise mobile app.

1. Declare your long-term goals. What happens after you've got a loyal customer base on your app? How 

does it help your business? Is your objective to drive attention, innovation, or revenue; cut costs; or offer the 

best service possible? By clearly stating the goals of the app, you can provide an experience more suitable to 

the customers.Is your objective to drive attention, innovation, or revenue; cut costs; or offer the best service 

possible? By clearly stating the goals of the app, you can provide an experience more suitable to your 

customers.
.
2. Connect the app to service. Not doing this is the biggest mistake that most brands make. Don't dead-end 

the experience. You've made the investment in creating the app. Now take that one last step and make 

customer service easily accessible—and simply providing an 800 number isn't enough.


3. Leverage alerts and notifications. Mobile alerts allow for a new way of sharing that has been 

unprecedented in the communication between enterprises and their customers. While we saw the beginning 

of this with social, mobile allows businesses to directly communicate value to their individual customers like 

never before, on their terms.


4. Present dynamic in-app information. Brands have a unique opportunity to connect with customers in a 

way they never have before. A smartphone is a personal device, and by providing personally relevant 

information to a customer, a brand is able to make a connection that may not otherwise be possible on other

channels. It is important for a brand to keep the customer wanting more.

5. Continue the conversation. Many interactions between customers and companies have become more fluid; they cross channels and no longer fit into clean little resolution codes or help tickets. These types of positive interactions create long-lasting impressions. In order to continue the fluid conversation, use the customer data you have at each touchpoint. 

I'd like to close this post with Mr. Anadkat's challenge to every company seeking to build an app or has one currently available that may desire to review their app after considering these 5 points. "Ultimately, the apps that succeed in the marketplace will provide a compelling utility, not just to download but to use repeatedly."

Alex

Monday, November 19, 2012

"Squeeze In" Shows Restaurants APP Marketing, SNAPPII Shows You How

On Thursday, November 8th I shared a post on “Why Every Restaurant Must Have Their Own App”. The same day, I also shared “5 Ways Your Restaurantcan be Using Technology to Gain Customers”. 

This weekend, someone shared an article in the New York Times written by Melinda F. Emerson on September 28th titled, “How a Diner Gets the Most Out of Social Media”. In the article, Melinda focuses on Squeeze In, a modest little breakfast-and-lunch diner with four locations in the greater Reno, Nev. area. In addition to its Web site and a custom mobile site. Squeeze In also promotes the business using Foursquare, TwitterFacebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
 
In 2010, the company, led by company president Misty Young, invested $2,500 in building the app for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry phones. It took four months to develop and to date, 2,795 people have downloaded it. Certainly, given the number of downloads, the investment seems to already have paid off. Yet, your restaurant or other consumer or commercial business may not have a clientele likely to draw that many downloads. If you use Snappii 2.0’s visual WTSIWYG Editor to design your APP, there is no cost and you can utilize one of the industry specific templates in Snappii’s Rich library to speed up your APP development.
There is much more to learn from the materials Misty and the team at Squeeze In have included in their APP.
1.      You can not only  browse the menu on the way over, you will find app-only deals to show your server once you’re seated. These deals have already been redeemed nearly 2,000 times.
2.      Servers have been trained to offer to take a group picture if they see a smartphone on the table. This, of course, is a terrific way to generate Instagram and Facebook photos that are posted directly by guests and then linked to by Squeeze In in its Flickr photo stream 
3.      The app also has a built-in tip calculator.
4.       “Our Foursquare newbie offer for first time check-ins has been unlocked 1,151 times,” said Ms. Young.
5.       “The mayor special has been unlocked 140 times. People are actively using this stuff.”
6.      The restaurant has 6,800 “likes” on Facebook, more than 42,000 views of its YouTube videos, more than 1,000 followers on Twitter and more than 52,000 members of its Egghead Breakfast Club, a guest loyalty program The program also helps lead
7.       The chain responds to every review posted on Yelp.
8.      The chain produced their own You Tube video, “Omma Lette” for just $600.” It’s been viewed more than 2500 times.
9.      The Food Network’s “Throwdown With Bobby Flay.” found Squeeze In while  trolling the Web. According to Ms. Young, the “exposure immediately increased revenue 25 percent.”
10.  The chain also has multiplied their Twitter presence by 450 percent in a year. They run contests, promote specials, post photos and videos.
11.  The chain also uses social media in its internal operations through a  private Facebook group to help communications with their 96 employees.
In order to effectively maintain this social media effort, Squeeze In’s social media efforts are handled by three people. These are all ideas that show Ms. Young and the team at Squeeze In have truly given great thought to how their customers could benefit from an APP, but also how their chain could grow through the information available on the APP. Finally, as Ms. Young says in the story “All our communications tactics are lame and ineffective if we can’t back it up at the table.” Truly, no APP is going to draw customers repeatedly unless you can deliver a fully satisfying experience once they are in your establishment or once they receive the merchandise they ordered and it is as good or, preferably, better than expected.
So, sit down with key members of your organization and plan out what you need in your organization’s APP. Then, go to Snappii.com and begin to build your own APP. Before you know it, you’ll quickly be ready to release your app for use on Apple, Android, and all other devices using HTML5.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Retail Finds APPS Important Throughout the Store

Back in July, I shared how a new wave of mobile retail apps allows customers to use their smartphones and tablets to receive in-store promotions, marketing and purchasing services. In just the past few months, how retailers are using apps is changing dramatically. 

Last June, Sig Ueland wrote an article for practicalecommerce.com on 15 Mobile Retail Apps that Enhance Customer Experiences. In the story. He shared what benefits he found at 4 different retailers. He also takes a great look at how APPS will make a difference in catalog and coupon marketing. I encourage you to read all of Sig's observations.

  • Apple Store. The Apple Store app helps you get the most from your visits to the Apple Store. It does this by allowing you to make reservations for Genius Bar one-to-one assistance and sign-up for workshops and events. When in an Apple retail store, you can request help, check in for reservations, receive meet-up alerts, and get free iPad and iPod engraving and signature gift-wrapping for select Apple products.
  • Redbox.This app enhances your experience with the Redbox DVD kiosks. The most intriguing way it does this is by allowing you to reserve a movie from your phone, so the DVD is waiting for you when you get to the kiosk.
  • Starbucks Card Mobile. With Starbucks Card Mobile, you can display your Starbucks Card barcode and make purchases at Starbucks. View your transaction history, track your reward points, and locate a mobile payment Starbucks near you. In addition, Starbucks also has another app,myStarbucks, that has a drink builder, coffee and food menu, store locator, QR code scanner, and gives you access to Starbucks Digital Network for free music and news content on the web.
  • Target. Target’s app helps you find the right products, making your shopping trip quick and easy. The best way it does this is with a My Lists feature. Make a list before you shop. Manage your lists and registries or find a friend’s. Search your store to get item availability and aisle location. Features also or add product to a list, and coupons for weekly and daily deals.
He also mentioned going to a local mall that offered an interactive mall map with every retailer’s website, map location and phone number. You can save your parking location with a text or voice note. Their APP allows you to create a shopping list. You can see what movies are playing and check show times. For the mall's walkers, they offered the walking distances available.

Among other retailers mentioned, Sig talked about APPS that allowed you to scan QR codes in the store to access reviews and compare product specs.

In an August 27th article in USA Today, Roger Yu shared how box retailers are developing indoor navigation tools to help shoppers find what they want. Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot are all among the retailers who are working on this service.

Some retailers are also working on APPS where you can input your shopping list and the APP will provide you with directions on how to navigate throughout the store in the most efficient way to locate all of your items.

The human resource department of nearly all large retailers have moved their application process to APPs for both full-time and part-time jobs.

In his New York Times article, "Stalking the Retail AislesWith a More Focused Purpose", BOB TEDESCHI shares his experiences shopping with his daughter. After his experience, he concluded "From now on, before making a significant purchase at a big-box store, I will download the store’s app so that I have quick access to their online prices."

Graham Charlton from econsultancy.com, summed his thoughts on why retail must have their own APPS in two significant points.
  1. Price comparison is usually the main reason for using mobile in stores
  2. Looking for reviews is another common reason, which retailers should embrace as it is a sure sign of purchase intent.
Clearly, regardless of whether you are a chain of retail stores or a retailer with a single location, regardless of which line of products you sell, or what consumers you cater to, it is essential customers can find your APP include you in their shopping experience, and receive all of your promotions - both on the go and while they're in your store.

Using Snappii's free on-line visual WYSIWYG editor, you can build, test, and release your store's APP before the official holiday season begins. Check out what you can do at http://www.snappii.com. There are a Rich library of industry specific templates that can excellerate your APP development even more quickly.

 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Snappii can Cure the Enterprise Mobile APP Development Migraine

An article by Graeme Burton titled "Analysis: mobile development migraine" on computing.co.uk really drew my attention. I'd like to restate several of the points Graeme made, as I believe his points to be spot on.

First, Graeme mentions how "10 years ago, the web browser was going to render the operating system obsolete." Graeme goes on to say "The Apple iPhone happened and the epicenter of popular "app" development shifted to the proprietary environments provided by major mobile platform vendors.: Graeme is right, but I would even go a little further back to the 90's when Windows came up and was the focal point for all app development. Later in his article, Graeme went on to agree when he said "there isn't the kind of eco-system of tools that helped to establish Microsoft Windows as the de facto standard on the desktop in the 1980s and 1990s."

Trying to develop apps for Android, Apple iOS, as well as HTML5 environments is, as Graeme put it, "like taking a plunge... There are plenty of challenges."

That's why at Snappii, we've made our visual WYSIWYG Editor so easy, so that you don't have any code to write. 30 times faster than traditional programming, you can simply build your app by dragging, dropping, and configuring the modules you need for your app. You can even include high level modules like Shopping Cart, Forums, QR codes, and many more.

To emphasize the value of Snappii's Live Build Preview App versus trying to learn app coding in your own IT department, Graeme states, "the peculiar demands of mobile app development may come as a surprise to developers more used to conventional application development. ...the language that you write your apps in is not your choice."

Mr. Burton has addressed many key challenges in organizations trying to address app development on their own, never mind the cost of paying the costs to hire in app developers or outsource app development at costs literally in the 10's of thousands. App development as well as testing is totally free with Snappii. With Snappii's Live Build WYSIWYG Editor, the entire development team can work in parallel to insure your app's content and functionality meets your business needs. In addition, Snappii's Rich library of ready made industry specific templates will give the development team a great starting point.  Best of all, by working together with Snappii, development, QA and usability testing all occurs at the same time. Our Web2phone copy option allows you to make a white labeled version of your app, something you may not get or may pay considerably more for when you hire your typical app development company.

Don't let enterprise mobile app development give you a migraine. Let Snappii be the cure for you today.

Alex

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

How Medical Centers Can Benefit From Snappii 2.0 Release

Doctors in hospitals have to perform a lot of activities beyond just their direct responsibilities. To examine a patient, it is usually necessary to fill out numerous paper forms containing the patients' name, date of birth, contact info and so on. Sincerely speaking, it was not convenient. PCs and laptops gradually began to take the place of paper forms, though not everywhere. Application forms, prescriptions, and insurance forms have all become easier to fill out and store digitally to always have easy access to every medical patient's history. Even these more modern medical practices are undergoing a change. Mobile devices are getting more popular and their rapidly growing use emphasizes the point that they have become an indispensable tool in our lives.

IPhones,IPads and Android devices are being used by different people when they are on the go and it appears to be the main advantage of mobile devices. They are easily kept in pockets and bags and can be utilized whenever or wherever a user is. Doctors are not an exception. Their need for up-to-date technology results not only in the opportunity to be online, whether in the office or the operating room. It also saves specialists a lot of time contacting each other or other members of their medical team, which is extremely important when it comes to people's health and lives.

Snappii specializes in enterprise mobil apps development and is ready to supply every hospital, medical   practice or  individual physician with feature-rich mobile apps to hit their special needs. Let's take a look at the opportunities Snappii 2.0 can offer to medical specialists:

- an ability to fill in all the information regarding patients in their iPads, not only names and contact info, but also important indicators like blood level, temperature, previous illnesses and medicines taken by the patient on a daily basis
- an ability to store the inputted data directly on devices, providing quick, easy access to it
- an ability to add/edit/delete information, only actual data will be available
- an ability to locally store the data
- an ability to send entered information to other doctors or the patient
- no piles of paper, no time wasted filing or searching for necessary files, no money expenses thrown away on constant stationery orders or filing cabinet purchases

All of these options are important for medical staff and taking into account the already existing features in Snappii, it goes without saying that each doctor will be happy to use this powerful mobile app. Snappii offers a DIY(Do It Yourself) platform that doesn't require previous programming skills, or a Full Service support  choice where we will make an iOS app according to your specific needs quickly and inexpensively. You can ensure a prompt response by visiting Snappii's Website. Fill out the form to request an app today and receive a Prototype of your app within the next 48 hours.  Get an app to help ensure your medical practice runs smoother, more accurately and even more efficiently with a customized mobil app from Snappii.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Apps Coming to a Fitness Center Near You

An article titled Working Up An APP-etite  in the Business Sunday section of the Portland Press Herald by Chicago Tribune writer Ellen Jean Hirst really caught my eye. In the story, Ms. Hirst talked to representatives from fitness equipment industry leaders Life Fitness and Precor about how their latest treadmills will all come equipped with touch screen tablets. Many of the Fitness Center spokespeople she'd talked to indicated they would be phasing out their current equipment in favor of these new tablet equipped versions. And why not?

According to an article on mobile technology in the health and fitness industry, back in 2010, mobile application downloads related to the health fitness industry generated a total of $100 million in revenue. Among these applications was"RunKeeper" by FitnessKeeper, Inc.. RunKeeper was also named on of Times top ten iphone apps in 2009.

Fitness Business Apps says keeping customers engaged in a health lifestyle is one of the top reasons for Fitness Centers and Fitness Instructors to have their own apps for customers to access. They also recommend having your own apps as it is also a powerful way to keep your customers up-to-date on upcoming classes and events.

Think of the advantage it would be to have each of your instructors be able to set up every client, their critical goals, then be able to track it throughout their workout. Imagine how much easier it would be to motivate your customers when they can see their progress by accessing their app on each piece of equipment as they move through their workout.

Even if they do part of their workout at home, they could access your app and look at their goals from home or work, then track their progress for your fitness instructors to see their progress in between visits and change their goals accordingly.

Don't have an app?  You can easily create your own app using Snappii 2.0. You can either use our Do It Yourself WYSIWIG editor and begin building your app using one of our Fitness App templates. Upload your own logos and edit the tab menus to be customized to your Fitness Center. You can use the new Data Entry features to load up your clients and specific data related to their goals.

According to Healthcare Global, there are 23,000 Health Apps on iOS and Andoid alone. By building your App with Snappii 2.0, you can ensure your customers always choose your Fitness Center for their workout center wherever they may workout.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The Advantages of Snappii 2.0 Release. Part 5. How to Categorize Data in the Advanced List

Data Categorization will be especially helpful in case you have a lot of data and are planning to use a separate button for each item. To do this it will be necessary to upload an Excel spreadsheet for each button and bind them in the properties. Frankly speaking it is not convenient and besides time consuming. If you are going to update info frequently it can become a real nightmare for you. To avoid all the troubles there is Categorize option in the DataSource properties.
Just fancy you have a list of cities and some companies to be entered in each of them as well as their websites, contact info, logos etc. To be able to use them easily and add new data to the app you will have to do the following:

1. Create an Excel spreadsheet with 2 fields: cities and city ID. Fill in city names and corresponding IDs accordingly.
2. Upload it using DataSource option in the editor and call it let's say "Cities"
3. Start creating another spreadsheet with the info you want to be reflected in the app. Add fields with cities names and their IDS which match the data given in the first spreadsheet you uploaded
4. Bind both lists. For this open "DataSource", check "Categorize". Parent datasource – choose created list of categories.
Parent category ID field – matches your number.
Parent category Label Field – matches your header.
Binding (Child) Category ID Field – matches your number.
Usually once you choose the parent datasource the rest of the fields are filled in automatically, so you don't need to select them manually. It simplifies the whole process too. 



5. Save the changes and open Advanced List properties. There you will enable categorizing by checking "Use to categorize" option and selecting the data source uploaded.


That's it. No programming knowledge required to use Snappii 2.0 release. You will get a list of cities in your app with all the details you want to display by uploading only two spreadsheets. In my case I had to enter 44 cities that meant 44 various buttons and datasources and most of time wasted in vain. Due to categories option I managed to build my app some times faster and without a headache. If you are still not  sure how it works please check Snappii FAQ or contact Support team for clarification. Feature-rich iPhone and iPad apps are just some click aways from you.

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Advantages of Snappii 2.0 Release. Part 4. How To Add Data Using Advanced Form

In our previous blog post devoted to Advanced list options we discussed how to add, edit and delete new information in the app. Today we will shed some light on how to do the same thing by using Advanced From controls. You will probably find this option easier and more convenient to use. In any case knowing both ways will help you create your mobile apps faster. 

As usual you will have to upload a new datasource or use already uploaded spreadsheet to bind it later with Advanced Form tab or button added to your app. Read how to create data sources in our latest posts.
In the Advanced List properties choose the datasource you will retrieve data from. In my case it is called New Test. You can specify the file format in the settings by checking the required one. At the moment Snappii editor offers 3 formats: email body, spreadsheet or PDF file. In the nearest future Snappii is planning to support also connection to various web services which will make the feature unique. UTC values will allow you to set up any time according to your time zone to be displayed in receiving reports.  


Once you bind the Advanced Form with datasource you can start making a form to add data. For this drag and drop text areas and call them to let users know what to enter. Then add text, location, datetime, multichoice fields etc. to collect the info. Don't forget to bind each field with specific value taken from the datasource. After all the data is entered in the form you submit the information to the email address you mentioned and the data appears as well in the Advanced List being used with the same datasource (see screenshot). That is really convenient to update your Advanced List with recent data with the help of Advanced Form. Later the input can be modified and deleted in the Advanced Form. 



Visit Snappii website to learn more about Snappii 2.0 release and create your own database in minutes. You will make sure how easily it is to build iPhone and iPad apps without programming skills. For more info please refer to our Blog and FAQ.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

5 Ways Your Restaurant Can Use Technology to Gain Customers

Is your favorite restaurant wired for your convenience? Check out the following ways your local establishment is keeping in contact with you.
1. Now more than ever, restaurants need to be aware of their web footprint when it comes to reviews and ratings on sites. Instead of diners using on-line sites for ratings and comments, develop your own apps to let diners send comments directly to you. Then, you can respond directly.
2. Don’t let independent sites like Open Table make reservations for your guests. Create your own app for taking reservations and keep diners from comparing you to other restaurants near you.
3. Learn about your guest’s birthdays, anniversaries, graduations through your app, surprise them with a little surprise when they arrive. Trust me, they’ll think of you in a very special way from then on.
4. With your own app from Snappii, the GPS feature will allow guests to let their friends know they’re at your restaurant so they’re more likely to meet up and join them for a meal, dessert or beverage.
5. Imagine diners being able to peruse appetizers, main courses, beverages on line through your app. All of that is possible with Snappii 2.0. Any staff person can set the menu up and change items and prices whenever you want. Your diners can not only download your app to their smartphone, but they can also place it on their desktop. Whether at home, work or on the go, they’re just a click away from your menu, placing a take out order or setting up reservations.

Go to Snappii and start building your app today. Soon, the tables will be filling.

Why Every Restaurant Must Have Their Own App

In an article written in November 2010 for Nation’s Restaurant News, J.J. shared in “More consumers using mobile apps for restaurants” that, in the first 6 months that Kudzu Interactive’s Snapfinger app went live in 2009, it generated $10 million in aggregate take-out and delivery sales for the 28,000 plus chain restaurants on the system at the time.

OpenTable Inc., which launched in May of 2008, says that, as of September 30, 2012, more than 5 million diners have been seated via app made reservations. Some San Francisco restaurants now believe 10% of their reservations are made through their app.
With the numbers continuing to grow, Technology research specialist Gartner Inc., estimated by the end of 2010, 1.2 billion people will carry phones capable of mobile commerce. In The State of Mobile Apps, written for the Application Conference w/ Insights from the Nielson Company's Mobile Apps Playbook, states that 1 in every 4 adults have a Smartphone, pocket-sized device.
If you are the owner of a restaurant chain or an individual restaurant, what does this mean to you?  Given the number of customers showing their willingness to us apps to place orders and make reservations, you can’t afford to not ensure you have your own app or you’re likely to lose your share of this lucrative market to another local dining establishment.

Yet, you don’t have to pay a third party an exorbitant amount of money to build and maintain your site. Using the latest release of Snappii 2.0, any employee can easily create an app for your restaurant. You can easily let your dining guests let you know the time they’d like a reservation and the number in their party. By looking at pictures, descriptions and even prices if you choose of your entire menu item, they can even order ahead.  Check out this video to learn even more about how Snappii can help your restaurant grow its business and client loyalty.
 
You can also use the information collected by your Snappii 2.0 app to reduce food waste. With a list of diners and the menu items they like, if you are having a Lasagna special today, you can even send those specific diners a special price for the Lasagna just for them to ensure you don’t have any leftovers you’ll possibly need to discard.

Start building your app with Snappii 2.0 today and you can be filling more tables tonight.