Swapp Blog

One App. Many Roles.

Author: Ashwin Panicker

Exchanging Business Cards – Go Away from Paper, Retain the Gesture

There are 10 Billion Business Cards printed in the US annually. 88 percent of the Business Cards that are handed out gets thrown away in less than a week. Yet, 57 percent of those who were surveyed feel that having business cards is essential to their business.

It isn’t the physical card but the art of exchange that people are not willing to let go. There is something about this time warped tradition of exchange and seeing a person’s information represented in a graphic form. Swapping the card leads to an icebreaker at meetings and helps one remember whom and when they met.

If you are like me, you would remember the time when you held your first business card. The culmination of your entire life till then, in preparation for that career start you wanted, all symbolised in that neat little rectangular piece of paper. Business cards have a long history and existed in all parts of the world. But its the 20th century that cemented its role in the world of business. The act of exchanging these cards itself is a serious act. In some parts of the world the exchange is a ritual by itself.

One would think that in 2017, with self-driving cars, auto-piloted personal drones and AI taking control, these pieces of card would have disappeared. But it has lingered on. You would probably be carrying a few on you, right now. Tree huggers would note that it takes almost one whole mature tree to print the name cards an active sales man would use in his lifetime. Why has name cards survived? Why hasn’t the smart brains of the tech world, disrupted this age old practice?

business card exchange | digital business card

The answer is blowing in the wind. Not really. I just got carried away. The fact is that many did. Or came close to, like the popular app called CardMunch – acquired by LinkedIn in 2011 for a neat $2.4M. They rode well on the 135 Million strong LinkedIn member base then. More dramatic than that was Bump, an app that came out in 2009, a crowd puller with its interesting manner of connecting people with a physical gesture – one had to ‘bump’ their phone with that of the person they needed to connect or share documents with. Bump was picked up by Google in 2013 for a cool $30M. And there are many digital business card  providers, like BizCard – a personal favourite.

The point I am making is that none of these has had that virality big enough to place it as an ubiquitous application on every phone – a la FaceBook or WhatsApp. Certainly not to the point where one could confidently leave his cards home before leaving to a trade fair. You just cannot expect everyone to have a digital card exchange app, at least not one compatible to the one you have subscribed to.

The reasons attributed to the early demise of some of these ‘would have been game changers’ are many, but a simple lateral analysis of the history of these – given that some of them were bankrolled by deep pockets – can only lead to one conclusion – User Engagement.

This is where the card apps failed to achieve its universal appeal.

A traveling Salesman living on trade fairs, might have to pull out his business card a few times in any given day, but for others, that would be a gesture that is repeated fewer times. Much fewer. The card apps are therefore relegated to as less frequently used and eventually it gets killed. Further, for the more traditional users, the simple act of exchanging cards and taking time to appreciate it, is still cherished. A quick click to exchange a CSV file would not give that necessary pause.

While exchanging cards can be digital, it is the utility of the app beyond exchange that make it stick. If the act can mimic that of a traditional exchange then it would be just awesome. That’s the beauty of Swapp.

Swapp is an app platform that not only enables exchanging of digital business cards in its true graphic form but also helps the user to do much more in his routine life.

Users can use it as a platform to open individual apps of businesses that matter to them in their daily life, from one place. Order food from their favourite restaurant, do takeaways, buy grocery, book appointments with their doctor, view their kid’s class schedules, receive daily thoughts from their church, so on and so forth. Bringing in that engagement factor is what that would make an app desirable for the users. Quite possibly the one that you would reach for, the next time you want to exchange your business card.

Why small businesses should have their own mobile application

An average person spends 174 minutes on mobile devices every day. 60% percent of millennials buy products on their smartphones. Based on a research done by Morgan Stanley, 91% of adults have their mobile phone within arms reach 24/7.

Whether you are a florist, a retail store or a fish monger, your customers still need to reach you. Gone are the days of traditional advertising where you open shop, put an ad in the newspaper and wait for customers to come to you. People are transacting on mobile phones more than ever. Small businesses should have their own mobile application to grow their business. By 2017 mobile search will generate 27.8 billion more queries than desktop search. If you are a small or a medium company, group or an organisation and don't have your own mobile application, imagine what you are losing out on?

Traditional advertising is expensive and not affordable for small and medium business owners. Big businesses, even today, spends thousands of marketing dollars online to create, engage and retain their customers. How does having your own mobile application help you?  

Your App is a Direct Marketing Channel

When you have your own mobile app, it is easier for customers to reach you. When you make it easy for customers to reach you, you are able to market to your existing client and also acquire new leads. Not having your own app would make you rely on bigger brands who would promote 1000s of similar business such as yours. Chances of losing your customer to your competition is high.

Did you know?

 

Average cost of a lost customer amounts to $243 according to a report from Kissmetrics. 

 

 

Increases Engagement with your Customers

Customer experience is the new battlefield. Your own app provides a powerful customer experience. You can be in control of what you want to show to your customers, change offers, products in display, share updates and more. You are also able to answer to queries sooner than any other marketing channel. When your customer knows that you are available to respond to their queries, they engage with you frequently.

89% of businesses shall now compete mainly on customer experience.

Helps you foster Customer Loyalty

 

Statistics prove that mobile apps are crucial for customer loyalty. According to a report from Apptentive, 66% of companies that saw a decrease in customer loyalty did not own a mobile app.

Your own mobile app will helps you understand your customer through advanced analytics. Tracking their visit and purchase pattern and understanding the kind of content that attracts them would help you create and modify communication better. There is no more shooting arrow in the dark. Have a customer loyalty programs and keep them coming back to your for more.

 

Establishes you as a Recognised Brand

 

By having your own mobile application, you are establishing your presence in the digital world. Unlike advertising which is based on the ad spends you are able to do, your app will remain with you for years to come. You can now attract new audience and engage with existing ones easily. Customers are access your app easily, buy from your, spread the word about you, boosting demand and eventually become loyal customers.

 

Saves you Tons of Money

Building an app need not be expensive. Gone are the days where mobile apps were for big businesses who could allocate huge marketing dollars in creating it. Swapp, an app platform helps small and medium businesses have their own app for the cost of a taxi ride. The platform hosts apps of multiple businesses and consumers can use swapp, a single app to open multiple apps that are part of their daily life. Be it the neighborhood grocery, restaurant to order food, school, drycleaner, dentist or more. One App, Many Roles.

Get your own mobile app and build your business today!

Strangers can now be your neighbours

 

 Did you know that 90 percent of consumer's mobile time is spent in apps? In a world that has turned digital, we humans spend a majority of our time on mobile devices. We are constantly seeking answers, entertaining ourselves, educating, and interacting with people, groups, and businesses that matter to us. We read the news, watch our favorite movies,  listen to music, chat on social platforms, and so on.

 

According to the research done by Hitwise, F&G category gets 72% of the total search volume through mobile devices. Health, Sports, News & Media and Lifestyle follow closely.  

 

Percentage-of-online-searches-on-mobile-devices-by-sector.png

 

With the growing numbers of 'digital presence' and big players entering our market, we are presented with so many options that we tend to forget those in our neighborhood. Not that it is bad to use our mobile phones. Mobile devices have actually eased our lives and there are a lot of apps that help us do specific things. If you look at the online shopping behavior in the last quarter of 2016 by Monetate, it is evident that shopping behavior is leaning towards smartphone and tablets than traditional methods.

 

Monetate.png

 

I mean, when you look for a restaurant to eat, there are platforms that provide you 100 + options. When you look for groceries to buy, one google search and you find a plethora of information! When you look for a laundry service, the same thing happens. You are flooded with information.That is great and we all want to have options in front of us.

 

But what if, you are trying to do your daily stuff and so many options are not necessary? What if you want to connect to few and have a meaningful relationship with them? Let me explain.

 

 

I buy groceries from my regular grocery store.

 

I order takeaway from my favourite restaurant on my way home.

 

I send my kids to their regular tuition center.

 

I go to exercise in my regular gym.

 

 

When I have a set of places to turn to for my REGULAR stuff,  I am not keen to be bombarded with options.

 

What if you could have one app to take care of your daily needs?

What if you could open that app and do multiple things?

Things that matter to you?

 

We are living in an 'app world' and the ones who catch the wave will succeed.

 

 

What if you can own or be part of a closed group/(s) to interact with your community members in a structured format. It builds your relationship with people and business that are important for you. Strangers are now your neighbors 🙂

 

Download Swapp, your next generation one app to do multiple things in your daily life! Those things that matter to you. I swapp. Do you?

How to Win Back Your Customers and Keep Them

It doesn't matter if you are a neighborhood grocery store, restaurant or a cafe, if you are a small local business, you are losing your customers to big brands. There was a time when customers didn't know better than the corner shop around their house. They would walk to the shop/cafe, greet the owner, shop for stuff/buy a cup of coffee, pay in cash at the billing counter and leave. Fast forward to today, the world is digital. Customers are turning to online platforms for every need – to order a meal, shop for clothes, or grocery and have it delivered to their doorstep.

With an estimated current market size of $38 billion, e-commerce in India is expected to grow to about $120 billion by 2020.

Big brands with deep pockets have leveraged on this digital wave and are even driving it, to increase their market share logarithmically But all that is at a large cost, to the smaller businesses. With the trend of consumers going mobile, small businesses are compelled to go digital. Many start with simple information websites, but still inadequate, increasingly turn to big brand e-commerce platforms. These platforms provide them with an instant online presence and an unprecedented exposure to an explosively big consumer base. That brings them a new stream of business of course.

A platform that helps me to grow my business That’s great! But am I losing my customers to them?

The answer is a yes. Especially if you are a small local neighbourhood merchant/service catering to a local consumer base. If you think about it, most consumers have certain habits and follow a set routine on a daily basis. The daily or weekly grocery stop, the takeaways or restaurants they call for home delivery, the dental clinic the family visits every few months etc are all pretty much fixed. If you are one of those neighborhood merchant/service in that scenario then it is you who are being relegated in their priority of things, when you go online. Or if you do not go online. Ironic, is it not? Let’s break it down and see. You do not go online – you lose customers to your competitor who is online. You go online by listing yourself on an aggregator platform – you lose your customers to the big brand. Customers will slowly but surely migrate their loyalty from you to these platforms. You list your brand, amongst your competitor brands in the same space, only to get a fraction of the business from the aggregator. While some business does bring in new customers during the short run, it does not help your business in the long run. Because aggregators are hardly a dormant yellow page, they are dynamic platforms using cutting edge algorithms to churn customer information. They use that immense insight to interact with the customers directly, presenting them with a wide variety of choice on a regular basis, tuned finely to each customer’s subliminal craving. You as a merchant is irrelevant in that scheme of things. The certain eventuality, of course, is that the customer loyalty shifts from you to the big brand. Your customers are stolen from right under your nose and you have no clue!

What can you do?

Well, the writing on the wall is clear – ‘stand on your own in the digital space’. Having your own website or mobile application is the straight forward answer. You are seen where your customers are. You are providing an opportunity to directly interact with you. You are creating a sense of personalization and building your customers loyalty. But then, what is stopping small businesses from having their own digital presence? The cost of development of a website (which is passe) or mobile application perhaps. It just doesn't end with building an app which is costly enough, but maintaining it, regular upgrades, bug fixing and more – all of which, a small company doesn't have the time and resources to dedicate for. Couple all of that with the fact that customers abhor downloading apps for every single need.

The Average App Loses More Than 75% Of Its Users After One Day

Digital Economy May 20th, 2016

What if you can, now, create your own app and share it with your regular customers? What if it doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg? What if your customers can connect with your app on a single platform that allows them to have multiple apps? That’s what Swapp is. A single platform where businesses can create and host their own app, in minutes. Swapp offers a suite of template mobile apps each of which gives a specific business or service the advantage of having a state of the art mobile app of their own. Not just a nice interface for their customers to interact with, but also an administrative control to the merchants that could increase their productivity with automation, database management, customer analytics etc. Hold on to your customers for yourself. Get on Swapp today!

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