Posts Tagged ‘e-commerce’
Artificial intelligence gives us more and more opportunities every day. Chatbots and their developing for client-communication are the hottest topics today. Many experts say that chatbots are the future. Let’s get a short review.
Who are they?
Chatbots are essentially programs pretending to be people that you can interact with through text or even voice. They are closely connected with a wide messenger’s distribution and I believe everyone has been already acquainted with them. It’s obvious that chat- bots’ popularity is starting to take off.
How can they enhance e-commerce?
1. First of all chat bot doesn’t get tired, being late or absent – it assists your clients 24/7 365 days per year and get significant workload on its shoulders. That is why they seem to be the best answer for e-commerce business owners to manage thousands of one-to-one conversations with customers.
2. The second point is that chat bots can understand natural language and communicate with people in the same manner making conversations realistic and trustworthy. So chat bots give online shop owners an opportunity to provide pleasant shopping experience for customers.
3. Chatbots are proactive. They can understand what the particular customer wants not only through a simple conversation, but also through analysis and collecting of personal and profile page data ( smartphone data, cookies and so on). All this information might help to improve the marketing strategy and provide customers with the best user experience.
4. Additionally, chatbots simply save customers’ time. You don’t need to waste time for searching the appropriate item, click on mass of characteristics, study a market and etc. You can simply say : Hey, I want to buy an efficient computer for my child. Bot does it for you with a great pleasure and at a quick pace.
5. Finally, all this points give more advantages for businesses: services become much more better and faster, the conversion becomes higher, sales increase, operational costs and salary charges reduce.
The most outstanding example is already occurring in China, where consumers are using WeChat to fulfill their daily living and commerce needs. Soon, this system will gain prominence in the United States.
Further more brands like Walmart and Hyatt are testing customer service and shopping within apps on the new Facebook Messenger for Business App. A free messaging app, called Kik, has a bot shop for companies such as Sephora, Vine, and H&M. So it can be said that the part of the technology is already there.
Amazon’s voice bot messaging has brought the idea of personal assistant to the next level. Customers can talk to the bot and ask it to order items through Amazon Prime, get a pizza, purchase flowers and call for an Uber. Voice commands are making shopping easier than ever, but there are still many issues to work out.
Voice-based AI and mobile chatbots are the dominant trend right now, but it’s not crazy to think that this could evolve into something more personal and user-based. E-commerce data is there to help you segment and automate email messaging to certain customers, so it’s not silly to assume that this data will eventually merge with bots.
Imagine a personalized bot that talks to you, and only you, when you shop on the Target website. They’d know the last items you bought, deliver the most relevant products and even stock your shopping cart with suggestions. The days of taking hours to shop online will soon knock the pad. In the near future, all the work will be done for you.
Are you ready for this?
Business Development Manager
Professional Software Development
Bitcoin: from idea to successful business
The idea of creating an international virtual currency was first described in 1998 when the messages from Wei Dai and Nick Szabo were published. The currency development began in 2007, the file with description of the principle of project’ operation «Bitcoin: Peer-To-Peer Electronic Cash System» was published in 2008. All in all, the network was launched in 2009, the project was developing quickly by its first founder, and by the end of 2010 it was presented to the online community for further tune-up by joint forces of software developers from around the world. Bitcoin is not just a replacement of actual money with their digital equivalent to speed up payments, but rather creation of countertype of actual money, or gold to be more precise.
Nowadays Bitcoin digital money is on the way to be officially acknowledged as a unit of monetary payments.
The difference between Bitcoin and other e-currency
- Bitcoin does not relate to the debt obligations of the issuer.
Bitcoins are not material. It’s enough to meet certain conditions for carrying out the operation of paying with Bitcoins: to use a Bitcoin address and Bitcoin system. The exchange rate is defined by the balance of supply and demand.
- The process of controlling is simply impossible.
Peer-to-peer communication takes place within the system that works as an organized community. Every participant interacts directly with others. There are no intermediate banks or any other form of a central server. Thanks to such principle one can receive transactions any time, regardless of the computer being turned on.
- The aggregate number of Bitcoins cannot be manipulated.
Transactions processing and emission of new money are done by mining, a process which uses users’ hardware resources that conduct mathematical calculations. Participation in such process earns users a reward in the form of newly created Bitcoins. Mining process becomes more and more complicated and resource-demanding over time, because data massive to be processed becomes larger.
- The maximum number of Bitcoins is limited.
Emission of new Bitcoins will continue until their total amount reaches 21 million Bitcoins, after which the emission will be stopped completely. Participants foresee this happening in 2030.
- The system is programmed at reducing their number by 2 times, about once every 4 years.
During its history since 2009 Cryptocurrency has seen several rapid growths and similarly unexpected losses of value. Currently 1 Bitcoin costs approximately $350. It is determined through trading on specialized exchanges.
- The absence of control on the part of any issuer, and no restrictions on the turnover of the currency.
- Bitcoin is one of the safest systems in the world.
System security is ensured by several key factors: irreversibility of transactions, impossibility to repeatedly spend money (making payments to two users simultaneously), cryptographic signature, procedure for transaction confirmation, private digital key for access to the wallet. Besides, system decentralization makes it impossible to compromise.
- Bitcoin wallet cannot be blocked as your bank account, and the currency is almost impossible to withdraw from the market due to the lack of the emission center.
- Transaction fees in the system are very small or equal zero. Miners receive their remuneration in the form of new Bitcoins, and there is no central intermediary in the system.
- The speed of the payment transaction is rather high: maximum – 1 minute. The system does not provide a chargeback, so you may be asked to provide your Bitcoin wallet for paying for the goods, and if the goods are not received, the funds will not come back.
- Both new user as well as new participant of e-commerce can easily start using Bitcoin system to make transactions. To do so, user simply needs to setup a wallet at his or her computer or mobile device. Installed wallet will generate a Bitcoin address. In the future one can create new addresses and transfer money as well as to pay for goods and services.
- The Payer’s data is not disclosed. Terrorists, drug mafia, and others take advantage of this – they can buy drugs, weapons, sell human organs and etc.
- With the help of Bitcoins money laundering and evading taxes may occur.
- No safety against thefts. It is impossible to prove the fact of theft and to return the stolen currency.
Successful businesses with Bitcoin currency
A few years ago almost no one knew about Bitcoins. Today, interest in this virtual currency is huge. In recent years, more attention is paid not on its instability, but opportunities. Now a number of interesting projects already operates on the basis of Cryptocurrency. Here are few of them.
- ATM machines: Robocoin
There are several reasons why people relate to Bitcoins apprehensively. The essence of one of them is the fact that Cryptocurrency has no physical expression, and the practical benefits of such money for laymen are equal to zero.
The founders of Robocoin solved this problem in an original way – with ATMs.
The new devices allow you to make instantaneous exchange of the currency with the current exchange rate and receive cash. Exchange is possible in both directions, i.e. one can not only buy dollars / euro for Bitcoins, but also – Cryptocurrency. Today such ATMs have been installed in 13 countries around the world and they may offer to exchange up to 12 currencies.
- The commercial YouTube: WatchMyBit
YouTube is the most popular video-hosting in the world. Thousands of people are using advertising to make money on it. But the founders of WatchMyBit project believe that you can do without advertising.
The startup idea is simple – you pay money and watch videos. The main problem is that very few people are willing to spend ten or more dollars to watch videos online. Small micropayments from one dollar or less is a good solution, but it is impossible to offer such payments under the traditional system – through the payment with credit cards and PayPal, because additional costs are too high.
That is why founders rely on Bitcoin payments for the implementation of this idea. This format allows you to pay for content with one click and without transaction costs.
- Play And Earn: Leetcoin
Hundreds of young people around the world spend hours playing computer games. Many of them dream to generate revenues with this. But not everybody can become a competitive cyber sportsman who really makes money.
Leetcoin developers have come up with the idea how to integrate e-sports and Cryptocurrency, giving people an opportunity to earn money with a game. After registering on the website of this project via Steam-account you need to select the server with suiting player bets and receive the agreed amount of Bitcoins to your wallet.
- Instant Lottery: Daily Bitcoins
The next project is notable not so much for its essence but for its geography location.
Instant Lottery DailyBitcoins is founded by the Russian company.
The principle of the lottery is simple: there is an opportunity to participate in the raffle of the prize fund for a fee, but even in case of failure, the “consolation prize” is transferred to user.
- Exchanging Bitcoins: Coinbase
There is a great variety of services for exchanging Cryptocurrency. But this project was able to attract investors as a “classic” business usually does.
Coinbase company from San Francisco became the most popular service for exchange Bitcoin in the United States. The project has received the largest amount of investments ($ 31 million) among the start-ups in this sector in 2013. Today, the company provides services to 16,000 stores, including OkCupid and Reddit.
Bitcoin is a new concept, but it’s in the process of being understood and adopted by a growing number of consumers, merchants, and investors around the world. As this process continues, the reasons to start using Bitcoins are becoming more compelling.
Recently, as we see at Altabel Group, projects related to Bitcoin (like purchasing goods from an e-commerce site or auction) are among the hottest and most discussable topics with the clients, and judging by the current currencies situation in the world Bitcoins may become a viable solution that opens new opportunities.
Are you thinking of implementing Bitcoin into your project? Do you foresee bright future for Bitcoin and will they gain extensive usage soon, and why yes or no? Feel free to share your thoughts about this subject and leave your comments here or send me a message.
Business Development Manager
Professional Software Development
Posted February 19, 2013on:
Ecommerce is a term used to denote a type of business where purchasing , selling and exchanging goods and services is conducted over electronic systems such as Internet and other computer networks. Since 1991, the year when the Internet became open for commercial use, it has become possible for customers to electronically exchange goods and services with no barriers of time or distance and e-commerce has started to develop.
If you would like to implement an ecommerce website it can be useful to take a look at the following list of open source ecommerce CMS which can help you to select the appropriate ecommerce platform for your project/s.
In my article I’ve tried to perform some investigation and identify what are the advantages and disadvantages of these CMSs. So let’s have a closer look at the list J:
1) Magento takes the first place. The coding is based on the latest PHP 5 object oriented coding standards and Zend framework. Without doubt, the platform is a huge success thanks to its feature-rich administration panel, huge flexibility over the design, layout, control and feel and other qualities allow to handle large inventories, more complex functionality, big number of in-built features and themes and exceptional technical support. Also I`d like to draw your attention to the fact that Varian, the company that backs the cart is very active in updating the code and fixing bugs. All these factors make Magento a truly established leader in ecommerce software that powers some of the most innovative ecommerce stores online. But as you know , there is always a fly in the ointment and this CMS has a couple of disadvantages: it requires a good high end server; has heavily layered and overly complicated coding style; requires a lot of time to learn and do customizations; it`s fairly slow. However all these disadvantages do not prevent Magento of being on the first place in our list.
2) X-Cart. It is one of the most competitively priced and easy to modify e-commerce platforms. X-Cart is commercially supported and has very few bugs (I doubt if there are any indeed), it uses smarty templates system which many programmers like to work with for laying out the web site. Unfortunately the solution has licensing fees for system and some add-on modules and the price can be really high. However the core open source platform can be downloaded for free (either X-Cart Gold or X-Cart Pro).
3) Zen Cart – I may call – the art of e-commerce. Free, user-friendly e-commerce software. The ecommerce web site design program was created by a group of like-minded shop owners, who believed that the projects and design eCommerce-sites could and should be different. Zen Cart has a very nice wide array of features based on Oscommerce but has gone its own path. It has no licensing fees, it is stable, has many Oscommerce contributions already installed, and all these factors certainly please the audience. Still sometimes it`s not possible to use Oscommerce contributions, because they must be converted to Zen Cart, and the admin interface may seem a little messy in certain areas because of contributions installed.
4) OpenCart is an open source PHP-based online shopping cart system. The CMS offers an ‘out of the box’ solution with minimal manual intervention and configuration. OpenCart is an excellent choice for anyone looking to get started with selling online quickly and easily, with a wide array of extensions, both free and paid too, there is plenty of opportunity to customise your store cost effectively to suit your business needs. Their own website is clean, easy to navigate, clear and concise – plus easy to find support, tips or anything else you might be looking for. And as such, you can find similar practice deployed into their ecommerce software.
6) osCommerce – a solution for creating an online store. It is free under the GNU General Public License . The product includes a lot of opportunities “in the box” (has the most available number of contributions and modifications, recent security update brings osCommerce up to date with MySQL 5 and PHP 5), allowing the owners of online stores to install, configure and maintain the service with a minimum of effort for free and without restrictions. Still it can take a lot of time and money to install all the contributions the customer wants (add-ons), and there is no graphic template system that means it is harder to modify the design.
7) Nopcommerce. Nopcommerce is a relatively new script online store and it is ASP.Net solution . I may tell you in confidence J that one of our recent projects was connected with this CMS: we`ve transferred the e-shop to Nopcommerce CMS with the possibility for synchronization of data from the web service (here you may find the description of the project). During the project implementation we noticed such advantages of the system as ease of deployment, integration of live chat, text messages on sales and contacts. Still a couple of little disadvantages were taken into consideration too: Microsoft licensing is required, the platform has some bugs needed to be fixed and support is rather weak.
Hope it will be of interest and helpful to you, in case your experience shows another picture and you have anything to add, I will be happy to read about your comments. 🙂