See the bigger picture with Telnames! Now you can see the bigger picture with Telnames. Bigger, clearer pictures you can swipe on touchscreens. Make sure you update your pictures in your Telnames control panel to project the best image of your business online and on mobiles today.
In case you missed it, we’re delighted to be able to announce that we’ve now integrated PayPal into the Telnames service, so you can set up a shop, take payments for services or donations for clubs or charities.
If you’ve got your voucher set up, it’s pretty much as simple a process as that, with the only difference being that you need to associate your PayPal account (by typing in your email address) and choosing a payment currency. We don’t take any commission or charge anything additionally for integrating PayPal into your Telname, so why not give it a go?
So, if you’re like half of e-commerce companies in the US who know they don’t have a mobile-ready solution for people to buy things on the spur of the moment on their mobile devices, or the 17% of these companies who don’t actually know if they’re mobile-ready or not, why not put up a Telnames site, using our free divert code, and start getting those customers buying from you!
It’s amazing to think that the first handheld mobile phone call was made on this day in 1973. According to the history books (commonly known as Wikipedia.org today!), the first hand-held mobile phone was demonstrated by Motorola Dr Martin Cooper to his rival at Bell Labs Dr Joel Engel, using a handset weighing around 2.2 pounds (or 1kg) which later became known as ‘the brick’.
The huge strides that then took place in just 20 years, enabling miniaturization to deliver better chips and memory and display technology that led the the launch of the first smart phone in 1993. There’s a great (but a little out of date) infographic here regarding the timeline for the evolution of the smartphone.
Of course, we rather like our infographic showing how today the smart phone is so much more than just for calls but which can now effectively be your ‘office in your pocket’.
Today, there are more sales of smart phones than there are of PCs. In the UK, there are more smart phones in use than there are basic or feature mobile phones.
Where will the evolution in the next 40 years take us? How will we communicate, find and do business? Will there be devices at all?
It’s important to ask these questions as one needs to think about the delivery mechanism for information when it comes to how it is formatted and handled.
At Telnames, we believe that it’s important for businesses to deliver information in the right format for today without requiring it to be significantly changed to cater for the needs of tomorrow.
We have a ‘data first, presentation follows’ philosophy. To put this in simple terms, this means that the most important thing - your business information - is the key and most important part of your Telname, providing useful information to visitors, search engines and other potential entities. The presentation layer - the added juice that makes the information look professionally presented - becomes more of a skin rather than the base from which to build from. As it’s a skin, it can then cater for multiple different devices or formats as they begin to emerge.
Given the innovation in the mobile phone over the past 40 years, it’s good to be flexible when it comes to thinking about how your customers will want to interact with you in the not-so-distant future…
We’ve updated our Mobile Website Builder app in the App Store and it can now be managed using French.
To find out more and to download the app, which was in the overall Top 20 Business apps and in the Top 10 Grossing Business apps in the French app store last month, see http://telnam.es/iphone.
…to make it even simpler to edit your Telname.
Thanks to all of you who have fed back over the past couple of months on the service. Following on from your very useful comments, we’ve added two hints on the Dashboard.
Firstly, when you enter the information it’s automatically saved, so we highlight that.
Secondly, once you’ve added the information, we’ve added a simple link to click to fire up your browser to take you to see it so you can then modify any content you’ve put in quickly and easily.
We hope this helps! If you’ve not started adding information into your Telname yet, why not have a go today? It only takes 5 minutes.
We’re delighted to see our Telnames Mobile Website Builder iPhone app listed in the UK App Store as Hot! Why not check it out yourself at http://telnam.es/iphone
We’re quite pleased with being #14 in the UK App Store for our iPhone app in the Business category as rated independently by AppData.
As the dust settles on the New Year and the snow (hopefully) stops settling on the high street, now is the time to really start refreshing how you present your business, products and services to your customers. After almost a month, the majority of us will have broken our various New Years’ resolutions and will be on the look-out for something to either cheer or chivvy us up!
It’s a great time therefore to try to promote your business to new customers, and a great way of doing that is through the utilization of special offers through the publishing of coupons and discounts.
Over the past few years, we’ve seen the emergence of a whole new way of delivering ‘deals’ to customers, through sites like Groupon and more recently ebay, but we’ve also heard some horror stories too and it’s entirely possible that this type of site will turn out to be a passing fad. Whether that particular service is right for your business or not, what sits at the heart of its popularity is the fact that these are now firmly ingrained in customers’ shopping habits.
Vouchers have been around much longer than most of us realize – for well over 100 years in fact. According to the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association, the first voucher – The Book Token – was issued in 1932 in the UK, but the first coupon was created for Coca-Cola in 1887 (the same year in which the gramophone was invented incidentally).
In fact, that Coca-Cola link has a (relatively) fascinating timeline regarding the development of coupons and vouchers up until today, really showing how people have got used to integrating new forms of discounts into their daily lives.
Another key point is that people really embrace coupons and vouchers in times of economic difficulty (not the 1930’s), which pretty much bring us right up to date. In effect, people almost expect – like having a website – businesses to offer some kind of deal, whether for new customers or established ones.
In fact, rather than a negative connotation regarding the health of the business, many customers view a discount or offer as a positive marketing activity. A recent study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of VoucherCodes.co.uk showed that 78 per cent of voucher-users feel positive towards a brand offering vouchers as an incentive and 62 per cent feel that offering vouchers improved a company’s brand image.
Up until now, enabling small businesses to manage and publish their own vouchers and coupons has been neither cost-effective, under their own control or an easy experience. Today we’re pleased to reinforce one of the predictions from Constant Contact by announcing that Telnames customers using the Offer section in their mobile-ready websites will now have automatic integration into the Apple Passbook app.
Over 200 million devices had downloaded iOS 6, which has Passbook built in, back in October 2012, so given the maps debacle has now faded we anticipate many millions more now have access to this.
So today, small businesses can publish daily, hourly or minute-by-minute deals to customers with Passbook access and they will be alerted whenever their offer changes. At no additional cost. With no additional requirements. Simply keep your offer up-to-date and compelling, and the customers that save your coupons and vouchers to Passbook will automatically get alerted.
Only someone living in the Big Brother house would have missed the intense focus on the retail sector here in the UK over the past few weeks.
With large chains collapsing, value foods from certain supermarket chains finally being dissected and revealing exactly why they are ‘value’ labelled, and overall spending on the high street shifting dramatically online, there’s bound to be a crisis of confidence when it comes to physical bricks and mortar businesses.
It’s not a unique problem to the UK, nor is it one of a lengthy recession. Just look at the statistics from the USA; according to IBM, nearly half of all 2012 holiday online purchases resulted from “showrooming,” where customers visit stores, browse the products and ultimately make the purchase online. And for 75% of those showroomers, the reasons they made their purchases online were price and convenience.
There are some extremely strong lessons to be learned and now is exactly the right time to focus on them. There’s also no lack of punditry and advice out there.
By no means is there a lack of desire by people to find new shops, services and products. After all, why would Facebook invest over a year of expertise and development in creating a recommendation engine based on friends recommendations of local businesses and services if they didn’t think there was money to be made or the opportunity to ‘own’ a service that’s potentially (arguably) lacking and therefore unique if they can get it right?
The opportunity for small businesses to learn from the mistakes of less agile, less adaptable giants of retail is of huge benefit. So here are some questions that you might like to ask if you’re not getting the business that you’d like currently:
1) Are you selling a commodity? If so, why would people come to you to buy it? With access to the internet reaching all but a few million people here in the UK, the increasing competition for commoditized goods and services which offer free delivery, combined with the huge growth in discount sites, budget apps and couponing, means that there’s no such thing as an uninformed customer these days. Take a look at what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and whether you can continue to afford to do it.
2) Do you offer a unique product or service? If so, that’s great. You then need to ask yourself “Why aren’t people buying it?” How and where are you marketing it? Distributing it? Pricing it? Is it slightly or extremely unique (does another product or service do something similar which is more competitive or desirable when compared to yours)? Sit down and take a long look at its strengths, weaknesses, the opportunities and potential threats.
3) Can people get the product or service you offer or a similar one cheaper online if they group together or wait? Group purchasing sites seem to be in vogue at the moment (although who knows how long this will continue), enabling group discounts for overstocked products to be gained. Whilst this may not appeal to a vast audience, it might be a factor.
4) What emphasis do you place on service? What makes shopping at your place unique? Let’s face it, what did for HMV and Comet was the degradation of the shopping experience as much as competition online. Apple is incredibly successful with its retail experience, taking a huge amount of money in its real world stores. However, of course it sells products through multiple different suppliers and outlets. Their store acts a browsing experience, a place of worship, knowledge (the Genius Bars), where products can be taken to get mended (or replaced). The stores are a retail-based realization of what made Apple products ‘innovative’ and ‘cool’. How can you take those learnings into your retail store and differentiate your service ethic and experience?
5) Do you actually need your own shop? Is it better to sell through another retail outlet? Could you cut your overheads down by clubbing together with a similar provider or two, or a complementary group of products and services and share a space together? Is your product better at selling seasonally? If so, why not consider only opening a pop-up focused on your product or service for a couple of months supported by an online presence available all the year round? Can you take your product or service to your customer?
6) If you can’t beat them, join them? Consider selling on Amazon, EBay, Etsy, Fancy, etc to supplement the downturn in physical footfall. Utilize their marketing strengths; use their platforms to reach people. Don’t waste money building your own e-commerce site; the world has moved on and there are plenty of services out there that can save you significant investment with a small transaction fee.
7) What are you doing to minimize the costs and maximise the amount of publicity? Take a look at our recent infographic – did you know how much you can actually do with a smart phone? You can pretty much run everything from it from sales inventory through to point of sale commerce taking credit card transations. Experiment and invest in new affordable technologies that change people’s perspective of your products and services or surprise them in different places. You can now sell anywhere.
8) Are you being seeing where people are looking? How do you look? Take a long hard look at how your brand is seen and found online. Be discoverable, in as many places as you can afford and especially through mobile devices. Highlight positive services such as Call and Collect, which costs you nothing and which are working well for companies such as John Lewis and Argos. Remember, customers are walking around with powerful research devices in their pockets.
As a small business, you have a huge opportunity now to reassess how you’re delivering your retail experience. These are just some of our thoughts – let us know what you think and if you’ve got any recommendations or lessons for others?