September 23, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Standard Chartered Bank Kenya has partnered with ecommerce software provider Cellulant to grow its mobile ecommerce clients.
The new mobile banking platform, called Release 3.0, will allow the bank to create applications that will allow clients to do their banking and make online bill payments or other transactions from their smartphones. Release 3.0 integrates into various core banking systems and combines ATM and Internet banking channels. The platform is versatile enough that Standard Chartered Bank will be able to custom-design products for different markets throughout Africa.
Standard Chartered Bank has been quick to jump into the mobile commerce market and has launched its own Apple app store for its clients and employees. Mobile commerce is finding a strong foothold in Africa and quickly gaining popularity. The bank has already doubled its number of mobile banking clients and won an award within its global network. Kariuki Ngari, Standard Charter Bank Kenya’s Consumer Banking Director, had this to say:
“The bank’s aim is to more than triple mobile commerce usage as an alternative delivery channel for our range of services as part of our strategic commitment to meet our discerning customers’ needs more conveniently. Cellulant has managed to meet our international demands to provide a technically superior, robust and scalable solution and we are proud to continue this journey with them.”
Cellulant is responsible for providing mobile ecommerce solutions in more than 30 mobile networks throughout Africa. It has a presence in a variety of industries including banking, utilities, insurance, retail, manufacturing, and music. Its presence also extends across twelve countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Mauritius, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia, Botswana, Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique. Paul Ndichu, Cellulant’s Chief Business Officer, had this to say:
“We have built a mobile commerce network that is connected to different platforms across different value chains in Africa such as MNO wallets, banks, merchant bill payment gateways and content delivery channels to deliver a transformational experience on mobile.”
Cellulant is at the forefront of mobile commerce in developing countries in Africa. Ndichu also stated that the company invests 15 percent of its annual revenue towards research and development to create innovative mobile ecommerce software for its variety of markets.
The partnership between Standard Chartered Bank and Cellulant will allow clients to use ecommerce software created with the Release 3.0 platform in order to do everything from card-less withdrawals to receiving SMS alerts regarding their bank accounts. The platform utilizes encryption and monitoring features for secure online payments and transactions. Ngari stated that the bank is eager to see its clients begin using the new technology as it begins to release a variety of new services.
September 21, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Hung-over college students everywhere will soon be just a few clicks away from having all the food delivery options they want at their fingertips.
GrubHub is a website that allows users to enter an address and view menus for all of the restaurants in their area that offer delivery or pickup. Searches can be narrowed by type of cuisine, distance, or delivery-only. The actual process of ordering items from the menu is done through GrubHub as well, so the customer never needs to leave the website or make a phone call. Users can also keep records of past orders, favorite menu items, and leave notes for delivery drivers.
Restaurants have to sign up with GrubHub before the service will allow customers to order from their menu and start sending them orders. Restaurants then pay a commission to the ecommerce solution on each order that gets processed. The site will also promote affiliated restaurants through social media and let customers know about deals and coupons. A restaurant using GrubHub is viewed an average of 165 times a day.
GrubHub is currently live in 13 cities including Seattle, San Francisco, Portland, Chicago, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, Boulder, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, DC. The company has recently acquired Dotmenu, a New York-based food delivery network and parent company of Campusfood and Allmenus. With the acquisition, GrubHub will now begin to do business in 50 major U.S. cities and college towns.
The primary users of GrubHub are college students and young working professionals. These young college-educated customers are on-the-go (or immobilized on Sunday morning) and frequently looking for the easiest, most convenient food options. This target market is providing a significant portion of the company’s business through smartphone apps. The ecommerce solution expects to become an increasingly mobile service during the next several years as it expands its reach throughout the U.S., with more than 20 percent of orders coming through mobile apps by the end of 2011.
The company was founded in Chicago by Matt Maloney and Mike Evans and, according to the website, the idea began in a bar. The two started GrubHub based on a question than many a hungry young man or woman has asked themselves at one point or another:
“Why, given the available technology on this earth, is there not a website that will tell us who delivers?”
Now that the company has reached 13 major cities, acquired Dotmenu, and oh, just raised $50 million in funding, food lovers in dozens more cities and college towns will be ordering from GrubHub soon. The company, newly combined with Dotmenu, will have provided more than $200 million in revenue to independent restaurants by the end of 2011. In June alone, the ecommerce solution saw 173,000 unique visitors to its website. Whether it’s facilitating late night delivery orders from the computer, or daytime smartphone orders for pick-up, GrubHub is giving many people what they have been asking for for a long time.
September 21, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
The credit card scanning technology that Card.io provided for iOS back in June is now available for Android.
Card.io is a software development kit that developers can integrate into their apps to aid payment processes. The San Francisco based company was founded by former Admob employees Mike Mettler and Josh Bleecher Snyder. The tool allows users to simply place their credit card in front of their smartphone’s camera to scan it and upload the data, rather than manually entering it all in. 80 iOS apps have integrated the ecommerce solution since its recent release and Card.io says more than 750 additonal developers have signed up to start using the platform.
The hassle of entering payment information on a relatively small device is one of the biggest challenges to mobile commerce. The type of technology offered by Card.io makes the process much easier for smartphone users who wish to quickly purchase items in their shopping carts. Anytime credit card information is involved, there are obvious issues with security that become a concern. Card.io uses 128-bit SSL encryption to protect consumers’ data and doesn’t save an image of the credit card on users’ phones.
Major competitors in the field of mobile commerce and mobile payments are Google and Square. There are however some key differences between the types of tools that these companies offer and what Card.io provides with its SDK. The major difference between Card.io and Square is that users have to plug in an additional piece of hardware to their smartphones in order to use Square to accept credit card payments. Card.io targets the developers rather than the consumers and is actually integrated into apps to allow for easy payment options.
The newly released Google Wallet is a bigger threat to credit card scanning technology because it replaces the physical credit card itself. However, Card.io is more specifically targeted for use as a mobile ecommerce solution rather than as a replacement for an actual wallet to be used in everyday transactions. The launch of Google Wallet and impending release of other mobile payment technology from companies such as PayPal may make plastic credit cards obsolete sometime in the next several years. If this happens, ecommerce software like that offered by Card.io will no longer serve a purpose, but for now the company shows no sign of losing steam as developers sign-up to integrate the platform into their apps.
September 15, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Red Robot Labs, creators of the Life is Crime app, is a start-up devoted to developing games that realize the potential of location-based mobile gaming.
Players in “Life is Crime” can fight each other at real locations on their city’s map for control of properties in battles where the winner is determined by weapons and stats. Players can also pick up and drop off virtual “goods” from each other around the city, a mutually beneficial action. The game launched at Seattle’s Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) back in August and quickly gained a following. For the duration of the convention alone there were more than 20,000 virtual “crimes” committed, including 4000 fights for control of the Convention Center and $1 million in contraband trafficked through the Convention Center.
Seattle is one of the first fully developed and mapped cities to be released for the game. Users can add the Life is Crime app to their shopping carts for free but it is currently only available on the Android. An iPhone version is set to be released soon and there is talk of allowing gang fights between iPhone and Android users to battle it out for supremacy of their cities.
Toronto based developers Massive Damage, Inc. created another example of location-based gaming, called Please Stay Calm, in which players battle hordes of flesh eating zombies at locations that they check-in at. Players can earn credits to purchase new weapons in order to better combat the undead. Location-based, or real-world, mobile gaming is still in its early stages but games like Life is Crime and Please Stay Calm provide a glimpse into the future potential of location-based gaming to change how people interact with their Smartphones and with each other at popular locations. Massive Damage’s Garry Seto had this to say:
“Our game is just scratching the surface of the emergent gameplay possible by implementing features like implicit teamplay and ad hoc group missions that occur when multiple players are in the same location.”
Please Stay Calm is currently only available through ecommerce solutions in Canada and only for the iPhone. The game will be released in the United States sometime next month and for the Android later this year.
Red Robot Labs announced Wednesday that it has raised $8.5 million in Series A funding. The funding was led by Benchmark Capital with participation from Shasta Ventures, Playdom co-founder Rick Thompson, and Chamath Palihapitiya, a former Facebook executive. Red Robot Labs will use the new funding to work on developing its location-based gaming platform, create new games in-studio, as well as forge partnerships with third-party developers. Mike Ouye, CEO and co-founder, had this to say:
“We recognized the enormous opportunity presented by location gameplay on mobile devices — location games are very sticky. We’ve developed a significant game and platform strategy that appeals to both core gamers and casual audiences seeking a high quality social gaming experience built around their daily routines.”
Smartphone users can expect to see more and more location-based mobile gaming apps available for their shopping carts in the near future. Red Robot Labs hopes to have three more games out by then end of the year.
September 12, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
PixelMags is an online publishing powerhouse that specializes in taking your magazine or catalog for you ecommerce solution and bringing it into the 21st Century. They can help you add other media, interaction, and other advanced features to what used to be a static document. Keeping things fluid and dynamic is the name of the game for online publications and ecommerce solutions alike. We were lucky enough to sit down with Ryan Marquis, co-founder and COO of PixelMags:
So right off the bat, let’s get into this. PixelMags is unique in that you provide a powerful service for two very different groups: retailers who want fully-featured catalog apps for their businesses, and also publishers who want sleek, functional, sharp-looking publications (I’ve got that right, right?). Can you talk a little bit about the processes that your team employs when serving these two different groups, or are they more similar than one might initially think?
They are as similar as they are different in terms of magazines and catalog clients, depending on what the publisher/client is looking for. Most clients that we have worked with haven’t evolved into what we call “interactive tablet content.” This means building an HTML5 catalog, or by using a provider such as Adobe or WoodWing. A majority of publishers are sticking to the standard PDF format, and producing a replica catalog. Where we come into play with that is we take the PDF, and with our CDS (content delivery software) tool kit, we make these PDFs into fully interactive catalogs.
We like to call the tool kit we have developed “unlimited.” Clients can have videos, slide shows, catalogs, links, 360-degree product rotation and so forth. Some of the catalogs that are utilizing these features are Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, FrontGate and LampsPlus. All of our catalogs have utilized our white label solution, which is basically saying that our logo and name are taken out of the application to make it appear is if the magazine or catalog themselves made the application out of their own office. It gives the publisher all of the identity, giving the consumer more confidence to shop and buy.
We have also integrated the catalog ecommerce system, which allows people to shop and purchase products right from the application. I am not going to put any numbers out, but Pottery Barn has seen a rise in sales and has seen millions of dollars in increased revenue. You can touch a couch on the interactive catalog, read more about it, and decide if you want to buy it without ever leaving the application.
When it comes to magazine publishers, a lot of those same features are available and have been utilized by using our CDS tool kit. Being able to pull videos from YouTube is a great feature that allows readers to take the reading experience farther than before. Of course, all of our apps are compliant with Apple’s new polices for iOS5 and the upcoming Newsstand. With all the features of auto-renew subscription SKU’s, background downloading and other specifications. We put a press release out announcing this recently in August.
Magazines present their material differently than catalogers. Magazine publishers I would say are little more adventurous than others as far as trying new interactive content. That is one of the unique things about PixelMags compared to any of the providers in our space. We have designed our approach to be a digital distribution company. When I say that, I mean publishers have the choice to upload any form of content they wish. They can start with a PDF, and three months down the line they can transfer over to Adobe. Using the PixelMags destruction platform for a publisher, it allows them to start with a PDF and evolve into interactive content, meaning Adobe, WoodWing or even HTML5. Our reader within our application accepts all forms of input, which is very critical for both publisher and consumer.
We are the only provider in our space that is currently offering this evolution process. Typically, if you have been live for a year, and you try to switch from PDF to WoodWing or HTML5, you are not going to be able to just substitute one format to the other. You would have to shutdown that application completely, build an entirely new application, and then try converting the consumers that you already have to your new application. It is not an easy process, and it can have very big consequences. With our platform and distribution model, we have alleviated that nightmare of having a consumer transfer, making the process seamless.
Who are some retail clients that you’ve found it particularly interesting to work with?
Pottery Barn has been great to work with. LampsPlus is a great client, and they are doing a lot of innovative stuff, both with their digital content and even in their store. We also offer a web-based reader for our clients, where consumers can read their catalog on a website, like a page flipper. What’s unique about our platform is that whatever a publisher creates in our CDS tool kit will automatically upload to the application and onto their web base version too. They create in one location, and they can distribute it to multiple outlets. With LampsPlus, we have built a kiosk for them. So when consumers go into their store, and they do not have an iPad with them, they will be able to go to a kiosk in the store and be able to view the same interactive content on a web based kiosk that we developed for their iPad. Once again, Pottery Barn is great, Restoration Hardware is great, FrontGate is great, and same with LampsPlus. All great clients to work with as far as retail clients go.
How was the integration with Apple Newsstand? What have your customers been saying since you brought your services to that platform?
They have all been pretty ecstatic about it actually. We have a couple hundred clients now, and it’s a very big transition. We are focusing on the bigger clients right now, like Hearst UK and other ones to help integrate into Apple Newsstand. There is a lot of confusion though on Apple Newsstand. A lot of people actually think its an application, when in essence it’s a folder that is going to aggregate auto-renew subscription SKU’s and organize your magazine subscription. We have been working with Apple now for almost three years, and recently working more closely than before, making sure that we are doing everything right for when the Newsstand launches.
But beyond Apple – your website says “Android coming soon.” The Android OS is growing crazy-fast. I know that you and your team decided to focus on the iPad and iPhone because they are such well-designed devices and use such similar operating systems (I actually read a previous interview where you talked about the complexity of writing what is essentially two different apps in one). Android has some problems in that arena: a million different devices, different versions of the OS running all over the place, etc. How are you and the team dealing with that?
Great question. Android OS is growing very rapidly, and we are getting a ton of inquires from publishers about consumers wanting the app and magazine to be available to them on the Android. You have to take a step back though, which is what we have done, and evaluate the space. To develop on Apple, Android, Blackberry or any other OS system for tablets and smart phones out there, you need to know the install base, (how many consumers have this installed) and also the user experience. Android is an open source OS that tablet manufactures no matter if you are Samsung or some random developer out of China, can run and install this OS on their tablet device. As a digital distributor, I can go to China tomorrow, have a tablet built with Android OS running on it in a few weeks. Does that mean I am going to have a big install base or quality tablet? So getting back to the question, we are focusing on Android, but we are going to developing Android OS that running 3.0 or higher, like Honeycomb, and will narrow it done to specific tablets. We will use tablets with a good consumer adoption rate and a good quality name behind it. The Samsung Galaxy tablet and Motorola zoom are the first two tablets in that market that we are going to focus on.
Speaking of the team, how big is your group, all offices included? How quickly have you had to grow? What advice can you give our readers about adding new members to your team?
We have offices in the US, UK and in the South Pacific. In the US, we have ten employees. In the United Kingdom we have 13 employees, and three people in New Zealand and Australia. We have had to grow very quickly. The company is still relatively young, we are almost three years old. It has grown from my partner Mark and I to 26 employees now.
The advice I can give to readers about adding new members to our team, or in this industry in general is that we are always looking for good people. When we interview people, we go off their work and their work history. We don’t really focus on where someone went to school; we choose to focus on performance. You need to have a strong digital background, and be on top of what is going on in our industry, especially in the tablet world. We are currently looking for Java script developers, iOS developers and Android developers.
What has been one challenge that you and the team have had to overcome that gave you all a huge sense of accomplishment? How did you do it? What was so significant about the challenge? What did you all learn through the experience?
The biggest challenge in this space is the iOS platform. When we first started the business, it was just my partner Mark and I. Our biggest challenge, to be honest and totally upfront, was just starting the business. It took us nine and half months to get our initial software application developed and approved by Apple. We probably went back and forth with Apple with dozens of revisions of how our database works with the Apple infrastructure, and how a new issue is delivered, and how notifications are delivered. Setting up the whole infrastructure, the whole content delivery network was a challenge. We actually use Amazon as our delivery method. So when someone clicks download on an application, that content is actually streamed from Amazon’s cloud streaming network. There were a lot of different pieces that had to be put together. The biggest challenge was to build the initial platform, and the ongoing challenge is of course, maintenance, and adhering to Apple’s new regulations, especially when a new OS launches. Through this process we have learned how to work hard and how to drink a heck of a lot of Redbull!
September 1, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Marketers are increasingly reaching out to smartphone-using consumers with apps and ads in their mobile browsers.
The average smartphone user spends approximately 7% of their mobile usage time engaged in shopping, according to eMarketer. Nearly three out of four consumers adding items to their shopping cart via smartphone are doing so through their mobile browser rather than an app.
Data shows that although the amount of time users spend engaged in mobile shopping is relatively low compared to time spent using other smartphone functions, this is the best time for marketers to reach them with advertisements. 65% of respondents recalled seeing an advertisement while shopping, and 35% reported actually clicking on an ad.
When users aren’t taking advantage of ecommerce solutions through their mobile browsers they are using them for search and entertainment purposes and are less likely to pay attention to or click on advertisements. The highest percentage of smartphone users’ time, 38%, is spent connecting with others through voice calls, text messaging, email, or social media. Respondents were less likely to be reached by marketers during these activities because they are either using their phone’s built-in functionality or an app to connect with friends and colleagues without the distraction of ads.
Next to shopping, the activities during which smartphone users are most likely to see an ad are gathering information, entertainment, and searching. Users are more likely to use their browsers for searching and entertainment but more likely to use an app for information. Approximately one out of four respondents reported that they clicked on an ad while engaged in one of these three activities.
By the end of 2011 advertisers will have spent more than $1 billion on mobile ads. As smartphones become more widespread, marketers will continue to increase their mobile ad spending to reach a growing target market. The figure for mobile ad spending is expected to increase to $2.5 billion by 2014, according to VatorNews.
Even as many marketers step up their mobile click-based ad spending, data suggests that these kinds of ad campaigns may not be justified by a high ROI. More than half of the respondents to a survey of Fortune 500 marketers either still didn’t use or were not satisfied with their use of click-based mobile advertising, according to BizReport.
Despite the debates about the effectiveness of mobile advertising, the data shows that while consumers are using ecommerce software from their smartphone browsers a significant percentage of them are being exposed to and engaging with ads.
August 30, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Near Field Communication (NFC) is widely considered the next frontier in the mobile payment world. Multiple tech heavyweights are preparing their NFC solutions, including Google. Eventually, even online purchases may be possible via NFC scanners. Today, the three major US wireless carriers announced their plan to invest $100 million in a joint NFC solution, called ISIS. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile also say they are willing to invest more money in the technology if it gains momentum in the near future.
ISIS is not the trailblazer in this scenario, however, and will face some stiff competition from companies that have had a bit of a head start. Isis will have to catch up with Google Wallet, an open NFC platform launched by Google, with the backing of MasterCard and Citibank. Google’s payment system was announced in May and is set to enter the public arena very soon. Google Wallet allows consumers to add items to their shopping carts, and pay for them by waving their NFC-enabled Android phone at point-of-sale terminals that are equipped to handle MasterCard Paypass purchases. You’ve likely seen this technology embedded in MasterCard and some Visa credit cards in the past few years. You just wave your card in front of the scanner, and go on with your purchase. However, Google’s NFC offering is limited in supported hardware. Right now, only the Nexus S from Sprint is supported, and Google hasn’t announced new credit card or banking partners apart from MasterCard and Citibank.
ISIS, meanwhile, is backed by credit card companies MasterCard, Visa , American Express and Discover. The fact that Visa is supported gives ISIS a bit of a leg up on the competition. The first trial runs for the new technology won’t begin until next year in Salt Lake City and Austin, Texas. That timing will, however, put it behind Google Wallet. But with few NFC-enabled devices available so far, it may not be that much of a disadvantage.
The question on investors’ minds seems to be just how popular the NFC technology will be amongst the consuming public. The technology has been around for a while, embedded in selected credit cards for years. People could of paid for items in their shopping carts with their NFC enabled MasterCard or Visa. A lack of retailer participation, expensive necessary hardware, new Point of Sale programming, and general consumer apathy limited the success of NFC technology back then. So what’s so different now?
For all NFC suppliers, including Google Wallet and ISIS, the key to attracting consumer attention appears to be in enabling digital offers and discounts via smartphone devices. Google isn’t taking a cut of transactions made through its service, and is looking to instead link up Google Wallet with its recently released Google Offers program. Google will then make money from offers made to consumers. ISIS is looking to make its digital wallet a platform for delivering targeted mobile offers to users based on their preferences and behavior. Both platforms hope that by offering deals to consumers, it will not only get more items and deals into shopping carts but will also promote the use of NFC technology and potentially replace physical purchases altogether.
According to Juniper Research, NFC technology is ramping up for an explosion in popularity. By 2015, 1 in 5 consumers adding a new phone to their shopping cart will be getting an NFC enabled device. Mobile payments are expected to be worth $670 billion dollars by 2015. The market seems to be there, and the investments from major backers are not lacking.
August 26, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
We always love it when we get a chance to sit down with a dedicated ecommerce professional and get some inside insight on their unique part of the ecommerce world. This week we’re lucky enough to have Peter Caparso, President North America for Adyen, an electronic payment solution.
You started as “President North America” for Adyen about three years ago. How did that come about? What about Adyen attracted you?
I first entered into the payments world back in 2003 when I joined Bibit, a Dutch global payment company. Bibit had come up with a strategy of connecting into local major acquirers around the world to allow them to offer localized payment methods at a minimal cost. Bibit was very successful on executing on this strategy and was eventually 100% acquired by the Royal Bank of Scotland. At RBS I headed up the global ecommerce sales and account management for the card not present division for the U.S. From these experiences, I culled from merchant interactions how payment solutions needed to be more “merchant friendly” and flexible. Merchants wanted a real-time, transparent and user friendly service that did not put them indentured for multiple years. In the spring of 2008, I was attending a conference in Brussels and ran into some of the former founders of Bibit. An invitation to have a cup of coffee resulted in a four hour discussion regarding what is missing in today’s ecommerce solutions and what would make merchants selling efforts easier. In essence, Adyen embraces that philosophy while being disruptive to the legacy providers. The fact that Adyen has a significant amount of former Bibit employees working there (and the infectious can-do spirit) it was an easy decision for me to sign on board.
What are some landmarks from your time so far that you are especially proud of?
Helping our rapidly growing international customer base with innovative ways to augment and enhance their online payment process while in parallel working to maximize their online conversion rates. In parallel, opening new markets rapidly (South America and Asia) to serve merchants’ needs while actively building out the U.S. operations.
There’s a lot of goldfish imagery on the Adyen website. What’s the deal with that? For me it seems to say, “Hey, it’s safe in your little bowl, but if you want to compete in the larger world, then you need to get out of there, and we can help you.” Am I reading too much into this?
You are spot on! In today’s payment arena, often it is the merchant that is placed in a contained space, confined by legacy platforms and crude reporting mechanisms. If you have the courage to jump out of your comfort space, you can discover a whole new world of capabilities out there. This is the spirit of Adyen, a tech company that happens to play in the payment space.
Adyen seems to have a lot of certifications (Visa, MasterCard, PCI-DSS Global, etc.). What do these certifications mean for businesses that partner with you?
These are the important certifications that give our customers the safety, protection and options in their payment offerings. Adyen strives to have the right compliance in place so that our merchants can focus on their core business. For example, “Verified by Visa” means we offer a password-protected identity-checking service that takes the risk out of online retail for merchants and for their customers. Merchants get protection from fraudulent transactions and the costs associated with it and their customers get the reassurance they need to spend with confidence. Adyen supports Verified by Visa for all merchants. Another common one is MasterCard SecureCode which is a simple and secure way to protect transactions. Adyen supports MasterCard SecureCode for all customers.
The most important is being PCI-DSS certified. We host this important compliance for our clients if they opt into this service. PCI is a credit card standard for data security, aimed at preventing credit card fraud, cracking and various other security threats. Every company handling credit card data has to comply with certain levels of the PCI standard. Adyen is fully PCI certified by Trustwave.
Earlier this year, Adyen was granted a Payment Services Directive (PSD) license. This is a very exciting certification for us as it is an EU regulation designed to ensure that payment companies follow a very strict set of processing rules and confirms our commitment to be fully compliant and up to code on present requirements.
You are based in Boston, but it looks like you have staff in other places. How does the international nature of the company impact you personally, and North American operations in general?
Our multiple locations complement each other well. The breadth of our team in the Netherlands provides U.S. customers the capability to get up-and-running quickly and offer an expansive amount of payment methods all over the world. In parallel, we have local staff in Brazil, Singapore, Germany and France as well as our two locations in the U.S. Our payment platform currently encompasses a portfolio of over 75 different types of payment methods in the U.S., South America, Western and Central Europe, Russia, South Africa, Israel, and Asia. We continue to add new payment methods every month and with one of our key strategic accounts helped place them into 20 new markets in the past six months. At the same time, the U.S. presence has provided Adyen with big name customers that include, but are not limited to, ShoeDazzle, Getty Images, PopCap Games, and so on.
Do you have a number one business tip for our readers regarding ecommerce, online and mobile payments, or anything of that nature?
Over the past years we have seen many changes in the international payments industry – more and more regulation around data security, the rise and fall of various alternative payment methods and ongoing developments around the authentication of credit card payments. These developments require you to continuously review and adapt the way you accept payments from your customers. Outsource as much as you can to alleviate unnecessary disputes or breaks in your business.
Also, always remain focused on maximizing conversion. Adyen considers payments to be an integral part of the customer experience. Payment pages should be easy to use, seamlessly integrated into your site and branding and optimized per market and device for highest conversion.
Lastly, expand your revenue internationally, in convenient payment methods. We see that this international expansion is happening in a much faster pace than before. Also, the focus of the expansion is now beyond the well known international markets: emerging markets are now really delivering significant revenues.
We believe a payment service needs to support these international markets. It also needs to be flexible: the platform has to be able to deliver new international payment methods within reasonable time frames to support that momentum.
What’s next for Adyen? What can we expect in the near future?
Mobile. With the convergence of smart-phones, coupled with social networking element, I believe that our handheld phone devices will serve as portable payment vehicles even more quickly than anyone thought. We’re seeing good partnerships and leadership in this space by companies like Google and Visa, but Adyen will serve as a mobile platform for these transactions. I believe a lot of our advancements and partnerships will continue to support this $640 billion market.
August 26, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
We’ve all been there. You hear a song on the radio or in a bar or restaraunt and you think: “What’s the name of this song? I want it!” Well, the people behind the mobile app SoundHound have come to the rescue of many music lovers. They offer an app that listens, analyzes and ultimately identifies the song you’re hearing and gives you the option to add the song to your iTunes shopping cart or watch the video on YouTube. Now, for those in Europe, Spotify has teamed up with SoundHound to offer instant streaming of search results.
Music search and discovery company SoundHound has signed a deal with digital music service provider Spotify to allow SoundHound users in Europe to instantly access Spotify’s catalogue (over 15 million tracks). At this point in time, users in the States will not have access to this new feature. Those who followed Spotify will recall that the company’s service was exclusive to European users until earlier this summer, when Spotify released a US version of its music streaming service.
Starting today, European SoundHound users on iOS and Android devices who have also added a Spotify Premium subscription to their shopping cart will be given the option to ‘Play Now in Spotify’ after identifying a song through the music discovery and recognition service. While all SoundHound users will have access to the streaming option, only Spotify Premium members will be able to actually listen to the songs. Those who are not Premium members will be redirected to a purchase page where they can add a subscription to their shopping cart.
“Spotify is a natural fit with Soundhound, the most groundbreaking mobile music search and discovery platform in the world,” said Katie McMahon, VP of Soundhound. “Our European users have been requesting seamless access to Spotify, and today they can enjoy Soundhound’s fast, beautiful and unlimited music search and discovery with instant access to listening to full tracks.”
The two companies did not immediately reveal financial details of the partnership. The two services compliment each other so well that it’s actually not surprising a deal was made. There’s still room for expansion, however. The two companies could open up the Spotify feature to free users, instead of limiting it to premium users only. Of course, allowing the newly formed American user base to access the new feature would also be beneficial for both companies in terms of exposure and market share.
The online music industry is becoming increasingly competitive, as new companies arise to take on the big dogs in the industry. Pandora, the mobile and Desktop Internet radio company, recently went public with a mixed reception on Wall Street. Today, the company that struggled to become profitable has unveiled its largest gains ever. Apple is set to launch the iCloud this fall, which will allow iOS and Mac OSX users to stream their music libraries to mobile devices. The idea of remotely accessing a music library from anywhere in the world is not exclusive to Apple. Google and Amazon also recently unveiled their cloud music offerings.
It will be interesting to see how long it takes Spotify to allow its American users to access the new features. Extremely popular in Europe, Spotify took years to land in the US as the company negotiated licensing deals with record companies. Spotify currently boasts more than 1.4 million users and 175,000 users have added a Premium subscription to their shopping cart.
August 26, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
The world of gaming is constantly changing, and the industry has started to show significant support for a change in content delivery. What used to be an industry dependent on physical media delivery is now a business focusing on online content delivery, via the “cloud”. A new service called OnLive recently teamed up with Eidos and Square Enix to offer a special coupon to those purchasing physical PC copies of the developers new release Deus Ex: Human Revolution. According to reports, GameStop, a brick-and-mortar retail game distributor, decided that the coupon promoted a competitor and is opening copies of the game, removing the coupon, and selling the tampered-with items as “New”.
OnLive is a service that allows PC, Mac, iPad and eventually Android users to access purchased games from anywhere, at any time, without the need for physical media such as a DVD. The coupon included in the physical copies of Deus Ex were good for a free digital copy of the game. Gamestop said that the OnLive service competes against Spawn Labs and Impulse, the cloud based gaming services which Gamestop acquired in April. “As OnLive is, at its core, a source for games (as GameStop is), it truly competes against all of our distribution channels,” the Gamestop representative wrote.
According to the promotion, a code for the OnLive version of Deus Ex is included in the retail copy of the game sent to retailers. Gamers need to connect to the free OnLive Game Service, punch in the code included with their disc, and begin playing. OnLive works on both the PC, Mac, and the OnLive MicroConsole, a small router that serves as a cloud-based video game console.
GameStop has been in search of viable alternative to its brick-and-mortar stores for quite some time now. The company recently purchased Kongregate, an online Flash-based gaming community. The company competes heavily with Steam, an online game marketplace that sells the hottest titles, often at cheaper prices than their physical counterparts. So what’s OnLive’s added value compared to Steam? No downloads. Just add a game to your shopping cart and play whenever and wherever you want.
On the whole, it seems that adding a digital copy of a video game to your shopping cart is not as simple as it used to be. It’s apparent that the marketplace is moving away from physical delivery and towards digital content delivery. Just by comparing CD sales compared to iTunes or Amazon MP3 sales, one can spot the trend. As competition between established names like GameStop and up-and-coming companies such as OnLive continues to heat up, the drama will likely continue to develop as well. As of right now, it is probably safer to purchase a copy of the Deus Ex: Human Revolution game from ecommerce solutions such as Amazon.
The relatively disturbing news of brick-and-mortar stores opening products and tampering with end-user experience is not limited to Gamestop. Slashdot recently reported that a Best Buy customer purchased a laptop that had been opened and “Inspected by Best Buy”. What the consumer ultimately discovered about their shopping cart purchase was much more than that. Best Buy had gone ahead and set up recovery disks and user profiles. In what seems like an obvious marketing ploy, employees had also taken it upon themselves to install a trial version of Trend Antivirus on the customer’s seemingly brand new laptop. So check those items in your shopping cart before checking out!
August 26, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
It was just in March there were murmurs about a new startup under the name Jumio raising millions of dollars from one of Facebook’s co-founder, but remained in stealth mode, piquing the interests of the tech world. Then last month, people were introduced to why Jumio was flying under the radar as the company plans to disrupt the digital payments space with Netswipe, an ecommerce solution that gives online merchants the ability to process online and mobile transactions by having customers virtually ‘swipe’ their credit cards using a webcam.
Jumio has now unfolded another layer of its strategy and released an extension of the Netswipe technology into a WordPress plugin turning any blog or website on its platform into an ecommerce platform.
The new Netswipe plugin will have the same functionality as the original ecommerce solution and is designed for simple and quick implementation, allowing blog and website owners to receive payments for products, settle debts, or take donations.
Although Jumio has introduced an innovative form of payment, the ability to pay digitally is not a new concept. Considering that banks have basically adopted the same idea letting mobile users to take snap shots of their checks as a way to deposit money into their accounts, saving them a trip to the bank and Card.io, which launched in June, allows mobile users to take snapshots of their credit card as a way to enter their credit card information online.
However, Jumio’s technology differentiates itself from other competitors as it doesn’t take a snapshot of a user’s credit card, but rather through secure video streaming, allows users to simply hold up their credit card to a webcam while its details are being recognized and verified to be used as payment, which prevents any personal data from being stored on the computer.
With emerging technologies, including NFC-enabled smartphones and the digital wallets from Google, PayPal, and Visa, the battle to dominate the digital payments space seems to be in its infancy as ecommerce merchants and retailers have not fully adopted such payment solutions, which may be the very reason why Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin spurred on a $6.5 million round of funding in March and now sits as a member on its board.
The company seems to be covering its grounds and plans to release a two-part mobile solution later this year. This part of the Jumio’s system will include a mobile app and developer library.
Users can download the Jumio WordPress plugin either through the Jumio or WordPress website. Activate the plugin in WordPress and configure the settings. With the plugin users get a Netswipe “PayMe” button to put anywhere on their website or blog. All payments are managed through the Jumio account, registration is required and free of charge.
August 25, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Travelers have been making hotel and flight reservations over ecommerce solutions for many years. One of the earliest market sectors to catch on to internet sales was travel. It gave shoppers the ability to compare prices, airports, and different travel options to find the best deal, shortest trip, or some combination of the two. As smartphones started penetrating the mobile phone market, hotels and other travel companies are finding that more and more travelers are using them to make accommodations while on the road. In response to this trend, Marriott has released mobile app and a more fully featured version of their mobile site to help users get the best deal and book their rooms faster.
Apps are becoming increasingly important to ecommerce solutions and business of all kinds, really. They are great for boosting customer engagement inside stores and out. Users can check prices for their favorite products, compare them against other retailers or online outlets, and find the best prices. Mobile phone payments are becoming more and more common – either as an electronic wallet like Google and some credit card companies are trying to pioneer, or else through native apps and mobile sites.
Marriott’s ecommerce software app – entitled simply “Marriott Mobile” – is billed by the company as “the perfect travel companion.” It launched simultaneously for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android devices all at once as a result of Marriott’s involvement with AT&T’s “Mobile Enterprise Applications Platform.” This novel group features a platform called “Write Once, Run Everywhere.” The name says it all: in cooperation with Kony Solutions, the platform allows users to create a single universal application definition that can be launched on multiple operating systems.
For loyal Marriott users, Marriott Mobile gives them unprecedented access to hotel reservations as well as tracking their accounts and other information on the go. Besides quickly finding a hotel in the local area (including pictures), users can also check for room availability, book one, or check their upcoming reservations (made online from a conventional computer or on the phone). If you have points, you can keep track of your balance, or cash some in when making a reservation.
Shafiq Khan, senior vice president of eCommerce, Marriott International said this:
“We know that more than half of hotel reservations made using mobile devices are for same-day stays. This shows how rushed mobile travelers are; speed and choice are critical. With a few taps, you can now get immediate access on-the-go to our 3,600 hotels across 13 brands in 71 countries.”
Booking on the Go
Information gathered by eMarketer, a leading online data collection agency had a lot of light to shed on the hotel booking habits of travelers on the go. By their estimates, 2012 will see almost 30 million consumers plan out some aspect of their travel via the mobile internet. This is a fifty percent bump from 2011 levels. Travelers booking hotels, tickets, etc. on mobile ecommerce software systems is expected to jump to 15 million by 2012 – more than doubling its present rate.
The need for a comprehensive mobile app for Marriott is obvious. Up into June of this year, their website was experiencing more than 2.5 million hits per month with property-level revenue of more than 20 million dollars per month. This is a three-fold increase from a year ago.
August 23, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
It’s that time of year again when students of all ages are getting ready to head back to school. Of course, what goes hand in hand is the marathon season of back-to-school shopping which includes finding (and being overloaded with) brick and mortar retailers and retailers set up with ecommerce solutions offering up the ‘best’ sales and discounts on clothes, books, and technology. It’s quite the daunting task for both retailers and shoppers, however location-based mobile gaming app SCVNGR, which gives users task challenges when they check-in at a location has recently teamed up with UK-based retailer Topshop to make this season’s shopping more rewarding.
Beginning September 5, SCVNGR users checking-in within 500 meters of a Topshop location can participate in a variety of tasks designed to interact with Topshop’s back-to-school line of products. Topshop will be offering a 20% discount and a chance to win a £500 shopping spree to users who participate in the SCVNGR fashion-themed tasks like spotting out the best season trends and taking snapshots of the best “back to college” outfits, in addition to other on-location challenges that they will have to do in order to receive enough points for the rewards they want.
The SCVNGR partnership serves as a smart strategy for Topshop to test drive before the major holiday shopping season arrives. In the current retail climate, retailers are not only having to compete with their fellow brick and mortar counterparts for foot traffic but also those packing ecommerce solutions. Not to mention with the growing amount of deep discount and coupon sites to choose from, has created in some ways, a form of shopper’s attention deficit disorder; focusing the targeted consumer demographic on a specific brand has always been a challenge but proving to be even more so now than before.
Social networks, ecommerce solutions, and mobile are various channels that are bringing the “discovery shopping” experience to increase brand engagement for businesses, SCVNGR has succesfully leveraged this in the U.S. and will be making its foray into the U.K. market with the Topshop campaign. The mobile-based app has in the past teamed up with Neiman Marcus, Harvard, M.I.T. and the Smithsonian National Zoo.
SCVNGR is available for iPhone and Android devices.
August 22, 2011
By the ZippyCart Content Team
Everyone knows that smartphones and the precious, precious apps that go with them are big business. The ecommerce solution where you download the apps gives developers a chance to extract their money up front, or get it on the back end via in-game shopping carts (an increasingly lucrative and widely-used model called “freemium”). Well if you’ve ever wondered who or what sets up these vast app marketplaces that you and other smartphone users take advantage of so regularly and to such lucrative effect, wonder no longer. Appia is the name that you are looking for, and they recently passed a landmark of one million app daily downloads from the native marketplaces that they run.
That’s Appia’s game: they get a relationship going with a phone company, then set up their app ecommerce solution. Customers log on, put apps in their shopping cart, and somewhere along the line, everyone profits (the customers get a nice app out of it). If you think one million daily downloads sounds impressive, consider that they run the ecommerce solutions for four of the top five phone makers: Verizon (who has been very aggressive when it comes to pushing the Android OS), T-Mobile (also very Android-heavy), AT&T (a fairly large telephone company, sources tell us), and Samsung.
With this much market share, it’s not hard to see how they’ve racked up so many app daily downloads. However, buzzkills will be quick to point out that Apple gets a billion app downloads per month from their own, tightly monitored, boxed-in ecommerce solution app marketplace. So what does Appia have to try to even the score? Well, for starters, they have 32,000 developers contributing over 140,000 apps. Beyond the mobile phone demographic, they also run Opera Software and Telcel’s as well.
Also, the “one million daily downloads” is just a milestone. In July they actually exceeded that on average. The ecommerce solution pulled down 40 million+ in toto. That’s only 38 months after the company was founded. Pretty radical growth by most standards. On top of the immense growth of their ecommerce solutions, they have also diversified their services to offer sponsored promotions, where companies can pay per download to get their apps listed in special spotlights, hoping to drive more customers to put them in their shopping carts.
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