How Application Development Services for Social Media Can Benefit Your Business

Application development services for social media are very much in vogue these days. From retail, health care, real estate services, quick service restaurants and car rental services, applications are enabling business enterprises of diverse verticals to penetrate deep into the market and reach out there services and products to the end users. Mobile applications have allowed businesses to personalize their product offerings like never before. It has allowed businesses to offer an entirely new plank to position their products on digital platforms. The question that we seek to answer now is the utility of application development service for social media. Can social media and applications for Facebook and its likes create value for business? If yes, then how?

To begin with social media is ahead of the conventional forms of electronic media. Social media unlike any of its predecessors has democratized content creation, distribution and editing because social media works on user generated content. Second, social media enables content in any form-textual, audio, video and photographic content to be shared across the globe in very short time. In other words seen from the economic perspective the additional cost incurred in producing an additional copy of content on social media is zero unlike its predecessors. This additional cost of producing an additional unit or copy of that content is referred to as marginal cost in the language of business and economics. It is this very feature of social media that allows viral marketing of content to take place. Third social media allows for the distribution of content to take place in geometric progression with a minimum impact of triple scaling. The reason behind this is plain and simple. Social media allows for what is called “closing the triangle” in the language of network economics. With this background in context, we need to examine the utility of social media application development services.

Metrics for SMART Algorithm Based Marketing through Social Apps

Social media applications like Facebook Apps allows businesses to put in place a streamlined digital marketing strategy of their product offerings through a simple algorithm called SMART- standardize, monitor, asses, rethink and transform. In other words, social apps enable business enterprises to set metrics for targeted values and consistently monitor their progress and see how close they get to the target. Real time information availability ensures that the clock of metrics keeps ticking every second as and when things happen. This allows companies to go back to the board room, rethink and transform their strategy for positioning their offerings through app development by exercising not just operational control but strategic control.

Measuring Attitudinal and Behavioural Loyalty to Strengthen Customer Relationship Management

Does your customer love your brand? If yes, to what extent is he willing to go to show his love for the brand? In situations when he is not purchasing anything from the business does he take any initiative to show his love in an indirect way? Does he take the pains of introducing or recommending your brad to a new prospect? These questions assume a lot of significance in the context of Face Book applications and its likes.

In the first place the value of CRM practices has already been testified by the rank and file of corporate leaders and beyond doubt is one of the foundational pillars of customer retention and higher sales generation. In the revised digital landscape social applications take the game forward to the next level by allowing customers to control the relationship by allowing them to decide the intensity of the relationship they want to share with a brand or company. Social app development allows customers to gain control of what is now known as customer managed relationship. While traditional CRM practices like cold calling and email marketing allowed customers to get in touch with the company when the company approached them, social apps let customers decide the timing of conversation. Indirectly this means greater power to the customer. Conventional CRM practices were about measuring behavioural loyalty only. Social apps allow businesses to measure both behavioural and attitudinal loyalty.

To conclude then development of social apps is not just about enabling customers to make purchases. It is something beyond that, Businesses would do well to realize that the intensity and warmth of the relationship between a customer and business is lost not during purchases but during periods of abominable lull with little or no interface. In such situations both the business and the customer end up behaving like friends with benefits. Social app development not only allows businesses to keep the cement concrete mixer going but also allows them to encrypt the latent potential of building sustainable communities of people around the business.

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Advanced User Interface Features of Modern Smartphones

With the advent of the Apple iPhone and Android phones, the mobile user interface has witnessed a paradigm shift. Sliding, flip and keypad phones are a thing of the past as most of the modern smartphones work on the basis of touch inputs. Leading cell phone manufacturers like Apple, Samsung and HTC are producing smartphones with large touch-screens that are capable of converting user touches into meaningful actions.

However, the innovation does not stop there as a lot of advanced features are now being offered with the latest products. One of the new concepts that most high-end smartphones provide is the face unlock feature. The device front camera captures the photo of the person trying to unlock the phone and matches it with the pre-configured photo of the original user. This feature uses advanced image processing techniques to determine whether the person in front of the camera is the same as the authorized user.

Apart from using face recognition techniques, some devices have installed features that liberate the user from even providing touch based inputs. The latest device in the Samsung Galaxy S series, S4 provides the “Air gesture” feature, which allows you to control your device by waving in front of it. The device contains a motion-sensing chip that can recognize sudden hand-movements and react to it. For example, if you move your hand above the sensor, the device shows you a snapshot of the current notifications, including the current date and time, new messages and missed calls. Furthermore, gestures can be used to scroll a web page while browsing, make calls, shuffling songs on the music player and many more. While only a few external apps currently support the Air gesture, there is a lot of potential in this technology to make touch inputs redundant in the future.

Another area where new smartphones have really advanced is the use of contextual information to provide more relevant services. The user’s location can be obtained from the GPS sensor and then used to determine what apps he or she may need at a particular place and time. For example, modern smartphones can detect if you are going out somewhere and provide you with navigation apps that are installed on your phone. Similarly, some advanced dialer apps analyse the calls you make by plotting it against the time of the call, and provide you with a list of contacts that you are most likely to call at a particular point of time.

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Finding Time-Saving Yoga Studio Management Software

Running and building up a yoga studio requires coordinating scheduling, marketing, accounting, class registration, class attendance, sales and credit card processing, inventory, payroll, staff management, documents, and so much more.

When you started teaching yoga, you wanted to teach yoga. Sure, you knew running a yoga studio or teaching classes involved administration, but perhaps running your yoga business is taking over your life.

Ask yourself:

How many software applications are you running to keep it all together? Are you using a fleet of spreadsheets?

The fact is there is some pretty cool software options available specifically designed for yoga studios that take care of all your yoga studio administration needs in a central, online location.

3 Fundamental Elements of A Great Yoga Studio Software Service:

  1. Cloud computing capability (web-based software); and
  2. Comprehensive, all-in-one yoga software that centralizes all your yoga studio administration operations.
  3. Automation – the more the better. Typically this is easier with comprehensive, all-in-one software.

1. Cloud Computing Yoga Studio Management Software is Where It’s At

Cloud computing is web-based software. You simply log-in to your account and manage your entire yoga studio on the Web. Stop with the downloads, installations, networking, and upgrades that plague desk-top software applications. Seriously consider putting your entire yoga studio software management needs on the cloud.

2. Centralizing Your Yoga Studio Software

Integrating separate pieces of software is a never-ending headache. When one application is upgraded, it then doesn’t sync with other applications. What you get is a mish-mash of software that more often than not malfunctions. Instead of saving you time, you burn up time trying to get it all working together.

If you can, get yoga studio software that is comprehensive and meets all, or as much of your computing needs as possible.

3. Automation

The more you automate, the more time you save which lets you teach more or take more time off. The fact is, running a yoga studio is managing a large number of variables – students, staff, teachers, schedules, inventory, sales, etc. The goal is full classes and regular students. Automation helps you take care of the menial tasks so you can put your mind and time to activities you enjoy and that let you build your yoga business (and take a vacation).

Yoga Business Software Features to Look For

Not all yoga studios have the same needs. The remainder of this article sets out yoga studio software management features available. Go through them and see what it is you need.

1. Yoga Class Scheduling

Online class scheduling – this is an extremely customer-service friendly feature for your students. Consider the following functions you might want:

  • Wait-lists: let your students add their name to a waitlist. With software, save yourself the time of managing these lists. Let the software do the heaving lifting.
  • Student self check-in: spare your students standing in line waiting for you. Let your students scan their ID card and get to class. You also get time to set up and prepare for class.
  • Printable sign-in sheets: maybe you prefer physical sign-in sheets. Get software that offers a print option with sign-in templates. You can load the data later… or not.
  • Equipment and room rental scheduling: do you rent out rooms and/or equipment? Why not automate the process and make it easy for your yoga clientele to book your rooms and equipment themselves.
  • Recurring bookings: nothing builds a business like recurring customers. Make it easy for yoga students to book multiple classes and commit to your classes.
  • Class attendance statistics: You only know how your business is going if you can measure results. Software that produces easy-to-read reports on class attendance statistics gives you tools at your finger-tips to assess your money-making classes and classes that may not be worth having.

2. Scheduling Ease

  • Drag and drop functionality for booking is a real luxury. In fact, drag and drop anything is great. Make it easy for your clientele to book classes and appointments with you.
  • On the Cloud (web-based): Not only does cloud computing save you networking costs, upgrade hassles, and installation nightmares, but you can access your entire yoga business anywhere.
  • Multiple schedule views: daily, weekly, by name, service, gender and more. Birds-eye views of your schedule can be very handy when looking at the big picture.
  • Color coding scheduling: sure, you must memorize the colors, but in time the colors will speed up your viewing of your schedules.

3. Yoga Studio Enrollment Options

Perhaps you offer more than just yoga classes. If so, look for yoga studio management software that has the flexibility to schedule all types of events such as:

  • Courses: still a popular yoga class structure – a series of classes building on concepts.
  • Seminars / special events: do you ever have a speaker or teaching events? Make it easy for people to sign up and a breeze for you to manage the scheduling.

Plus software that enables:

  • Payment plan processing: yoga studios usually offer a variety of pricing packages. Make it easy to sell packages (without the hand-held calculator) by considering software that tabulates and accepts payment for yoga packages.
  • Payment status information: every business has some customers who owe money. Yoga studios are no exception (generally). See at-a-glance who owes you money (and how much).

4. Payment Processing

  • Credit card integration. Some yoga software includes credit card processing “on the cloud” sparing you the hardware to pay for and set up.
  • Link payments with services. This way you can produce financial statements any time to see the financial status of your business.
  • Membership cards (i.e. swipe cards for signing in) and ID tag capability: Lose the paper and look professional with swipe cards enabling self-check in and much faster client tracking.

5. Online Store for More Revenues

If you sell retail, why not create an online store? It’s simple to do with the right yoga studio software. There is software that includes e-commerce capabilities so that not only can you track your in-studio retail sales, but you can actually start selling off your website.

In fact, you could consider partnering with yoga and health products suppliers to provide you products to sell on your online store. You can carry inventory or enter drop-shipping arrangements. The sky is the limit.

Moreover, with e-commerce, you can sell gift cards, yoga class packages, event tickets, etc.

6. Yoga Gift Card Selling Option

Gift cards are BIG business. Why not sell your own gift cards? You’ll earn revenues and get more students in your yoga studio. Some yoga studio software has the capability to provide gift cards and program them with the software so that you can create them, sell them, and track usage. Other considerations when implementing gift cards for sale include:

  • Prepaid gift card options.
  • Able to track student account balances.
  • Loading gift cards with flexible amounts of money.
  • Selling your gift cards in your studio and online.

7. Email Marketing for Your Yoga Studio

E-mail marketing can give your yoga business a huge boost. If you get yoga studio software, see if you can find a product that integrates with e-mail marketing software. This way you can leverage your yoga studio software contact database with your e-mail marketing rather than having separate databases. Trust me – when you can centralize, it’s worth it.

Not only can you use e-mail marketing to get more students or encourage regular attendance, but you promote sales, encourage referrals, sell products and yoga packages, promote events, send out class reminders, and more.

When you centralize your yoga studio student database with e-mail marketing software, you can segment your students so that you send the most appropriate messages to each person.

For example, if a student signs up online for a class, you can automate reminder class messages. This way you improve your class attendance, and in a worst case scenario, if the student can’t attend, they’ll be reminded to remove their name off the schedule opening up a spot for the wait list.

Then your e-mail system will produce an e-mail to the wait list alerting them to the open spot. Imagine doing all this manually. Automation is key.

8. Yoga Studio Inventory Tracking

If you sell retail, tracking inventory digitally can save you a lot of time. However, you need software that tracks the stocking and sale of items. Moreover, if you get software that includes inventory tracking, look for the capability to track in-store and online sales.

Again, this goes toward centralizing your operation. By tracking inventory with your yoga studio management software, you’ll integrate inventory with sales which lets you produce up-to-date financial reports… not to mention save you time syncing inventory with sales and re-ordering.

9. Yoga Student Account Management

When you use cloud software, you can create accounts for all of your students – so both you and they can log-in to their accounts. This way you and your students can track purchases, their profile, class attendance, referrals, etc. This is very convenient for you and your students.

Liability: What about the dreaded waivers. Necessary, but not a lot of fun. If you let students sign up online, be sure you offer an e-waiver for them to agree to. This too is available with some yoga studio software.

10. Yoga Studio Staff Management

Whether you love managing staff or not, consider saving yourself time and the ability to manage your staff “on the cloud”. Some yoga studio software enables you to do some or all of the following features:

  • A staff dashboard portal where you can send instructions to staff and to-do items.
  • Individual staff log-in accounts for each staff member.
  • Permission levels to various portals of your software. Again, this is where centralization works for you big time.
  • Staff scheduling – lose the monthly printouts and create staff schedules online where your entire staff can access it anytime from anywhere. Scheduling staff with software is much more convenient than on paper. Beside, how often does the schedule change in a month? Save yourself a few erasers.

11. Look for Payroll Management

Do you know how much you’re paying out in wages, commissions, fees, etc.? It’s not so easy to track with a yoga studio business given the variety of remuneration options yoga teachers opt for. There’s hourly, commissions, flat rates, and combinations of these payment options.

Again, a quality yoga software product will track all your pay-rates for all your staff – no matter how complicated. It makes tallying the amount you owe easy.

Take for example, a yoga teacher that earns a flat rate plus a per student rate after a class attendance threshold is met. Okay, one class with one teacher isn’t too hard to track, but imagine 30 classes and 5 teachers.

It gets complicated. Look for software that will track and tally all of this for you – all calculated with the swipe cards issued to your yoga students (if you opt for swipe cards – now you’re starting to see how beneficial swipe cards can be).

Another payroll feature to look for is a punch clock for hourly employees. I’m not talking about a wall-mounted contraption. I’m talking about staff being able to quickly log into the cloud software and entering start and stop times at the touch of a button.

Finally, you want to be able to export all this payroll data into your accounting software saving you reconciliation hassles come tax time (and saving you lots of money in accounting fees).

12. Track and Measure – Look for Reporting Capability

You won’t know where your business is going if you don’t know where it’s been and where it’s at. This boils down to the financials – but not just the usual income statement, balance sheet, and cash flow statement.

I’m talking about in-depth class attendance, payroll costs, number of students per yoga teacher, yoga student and employee retention rates, no shows, product returns, and sales figures (past, present and forecasts) – to name a few reporting capabilities to look for.

13. Scalability – Get Software that’s Priced to Your Studio Size and Needs

Okay, not every yoga studio wants to expand and build a huge business. That’s why yoga software that scales is key. What I mean by this is yoga software that accommodates both small and huge yoga studios – and is priced according to need.

Look for software that offers different pricing packages so you can get a software package that serves your business as is – but has the capability to accommodate your growth – if that’s what you do with your studio.

Where Do You Go From Here?

I’ve covered a lot of ground. Sure, you may not want or need all that capability. That’s fine – but you might need more functionality in the future.

One thing is certain, you want to choose your yoga studio software carefully. Why? Because you’ll spend a good amount of time implementing it and getting it going just right for your yoga studio. The time investment, with the right software, will certainly be worth it.

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Choosing the Android Platform To Build Mobile Apps For Your Business

Android apps are available for a wide range of categories and are very popular among users. There are more than a million applications available in the Google Play Store. One of the reasons for the popularity of Android apps is the enormous Android user-base. As per the research made by Strategy Analytics, Android leads the smartphone market with a whopping market share of 81%!

A Large number of businesses prefer to have Android apps, to connect to its huge market. Let us look at some key benefits that a business can avail by choosing the Android platform for creating mobile apps.

  • Developers prefer the Android platform due to its open source nature. The platform offers many easy to use tools and intuitive Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to carry on development. Many skilled and experienced Android app developers are available in the market due to easy development options.
  • Android is the most popular and the most used OS, helping businesses to reach a wider audience, increase sales and enhance revenues.
  • Android is a preferred platform to build custom mobile apps. Its development environment allows creating applications tailored to meet the exact requirements of a business.
  • Creating an Android app is cost-efficient as compared to an iOS app. You can reduce your development costs and offer affordable apps to a large number of Android users, thus leading to an improved ROI.
  • The short Android app development cycle helps businesses to quicken their time-to-market and ensures the realization of returns in a short time-frame.
  • Android is an excellent platform for start-ups and small businesses due its low cost of development and easy process, thus helping businesses to enter the mobile app market quickly.
  • A wide range of Android applications is available in Google Play Store free of cost. As customers prefer free mobile apps to paid ones, there are chances of more downloads. You can keep your app free on the Play Store to attract more users and include the in-app purchase option or choose in-app advertising model, to earn revenues.
  • Android OS has a variety of ingenious and handy features, which assist developers in building exquisite applications. For example, developers efficiently use features like accelerometer, SQLite, magnetometer and more, to create a highly functional app.
  • There is an intense competition in the Android app market. Your business might lose many potential customers if you fail to tap this lucrative market. You thus need to get an Android application built to get a competitive advantage.

The future of the Android OS looks optimistic owing to its immense popularity and user-friendly features. Businesses can avail the benefits of this platform by getting innovative Android apps developed, to reach its millions of users. Android applications thus serve as a competitive tool for your business for market penetration.

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