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Does Augmented Reality Make Sense for eCommerce?

Augment Reality for eCommerce 3.0

(4 min read)

 

Every new technology has it’s “A-Ha!” moment. Think of Edison’s light bulb, the Wright brothers’ biplane and 3-D glasses for moviegoers in the 60’s.

The watershed moment for augmented reality was the Pokémon Go phenomenon in 2016. In case you don’t recall, it was a video game played outside using smartphones to find little creatures. People were running around like crazy in public areas staring into their phones searching for animated creatures that they could only see with their phones.

 

AR continues to make headlines, and heads turn, watching products magically appear in smartphone apps. However, does it make sense for eCommerce to adopt this newcomer to the marketing arena?

Letting Customers Try Before They Buy Reduces Returns

According to a poll taken by Adobe, 54% of retailers said the customer experience is their most important area of focus. Of those retailers, 33% said “targeting and personalization” were in the top three marketing priorities. As a personalization tactic, AR has become the tool of choice.

Augmented reality has become a new and potent marketing strategy for personalizing products, both in-store and online. Customers can visualize furniture or wall colors while standing in their homes. It lets customers try on, experience or interact with products that they can’t physically touch. It is an interactive shopping experience topped only by physically handling the merchandise.

The National Retail Federation states that eCommerce retailers are stuck with 8% returns of all sales (2016). Clothing returns are as high as 40%. By offering AR apps that allow customers to visualize themselves wearing any item in the catalog, it eliminates the customer’s doubts and should reduce the number of returns.

Memorable and Unique Experiences Lead To Sales

BigCommerce says that 96% of Americans have made at least one purchase online in their life and 51% prefer online shopping to brick and mortar stores.

To keep customers glued to the site and coming back, retailers need to provide unique and personal experiences. It doesn’t get more unique than trying products through augmented reality. Retailers who have integrated AR to enhance their web development and design are automatically ahead of their competition. It provides an innovative way to interact with customers that will soon become the norm, like mobile-friendly pages.

Advantages of Leveraging Augmented Reality

Retailers who offer AR apps provide a better customer experience which leads to more sales. Here are four more reasons why customers are taking to AR like ducks to water:

 

Better Visualization of the Product
The online retail environment is mostly a two-dimensional world. That’s not good if you’re selling physical products. AR lets customers visualize the product from all angles. They can virtually try before they buy. Dresses, furniture and cars are a few ways customers can see how a product fits without having to visit a store.

 

Instantly Show Options
Merchants can include product details and specifications that the customer can absorb while simultaneously viewing the product. Customers can immediately change options such as colors, allowing for a faster buying decision. Better visualization creates ownership, moving the buyer closer to a sale.

 

Broaden Your Reach Globally

IKEA proved that AR works with their furniture catalog. Customers from around the world use the app to visualize IKEA’s products right in their homes. By merely moving their phone, customers can imagine what a bed or sofa will look like in a room.

Any retailer can have the same global potential and reach by adding AR to their marketing strategy.

 

Keep Them In Your Store Long

The AR experience keeps customers in the store longer, and The Wall Street Journal reports that engaged shoppers can spend up to 40% more.

A UK research company showed that new visitors to a retail site spend an average of 2 minutes and 31 seconds browsing, but sites with AR increased the browsing time by five times longer. Longer shopping times mean increased sales.

Is Augmented Reality Suitable For Every Business?

 

Online merchants, both B2C and B2B, who sell physical products will benefit by offering their customers an augmented reality experience. However, if your business sells digital products or is service oriented, AR may not be the best choice of marketing tactic since it is more about visualizing a 3-D product.

 

It lets shoppers interact with products online, at home or in the store. Wowing shoppers with a personalized experience is vital for the future of any retailer. AR does that while removing uncertainty from the shopper’s mind.

 

BigCommerce also reports that 67% of Millennial shoppers and 56% of Gen Xers would prefer to make purchases online than in a store. AR provides them with the interactive, gamified experience with which most of them grew up. U.S. 2018 sales revenue from AR was $1.26 billion. It’s estimated to grow to over $15.5 billion by 2020 (Statista).

 

You should seek a full-service eCommerce development outsourcing company to partner to help plan and implement AR, to stay ahead of your competition; contact us and we can help!

Conclusion 

 

Towa Software has over 20 years of experience as a leading software development outsourcing company in the USA and Mexico, we have extensive experience in many fields including fintech, banking, payments gateways, e-commerce, retail, marketplaces, health care, omnichannel, and many more.

 

We have eCommerce Specialists and Innovation Consultants along with top talented teams who have delivered awesome products to customers in U.S.A, Canada, Mexico, London, and Australia.

 

You can contact us at support@towasoftware.com or give us a call via (+1) 210-787-4525 for more information.

 

You can Book a 15-min call with one of our Customer Success Managers for a conversation.

Online Survey Concept. Tiny Male and Female Characters Filling Digital Form on Huge Laptop and Smartphone Application

Nearshore Agile Software Testing Services

Quality Assurance & Software Testing

Today digital transformation of businesses and lifestyle have an increased need for software products and services of outstanding quality. In combination with the current fast-paced world, companies expect faster time-to-market and continuous delivery of software solutions.

Which can be provided with effective quality and software testing service, the Nearshore offering of software testing services is a response to the increased demands of the local market. Nearshore software testing services can reduce operating expenses while increasing productivity and ensuring the quality of delivered services in the development lifecycle.

Agile Software Testing Services

What is Nearshore Agile Software Testing Services?

Software testing services refer to the process of verifying a system to identify any errors or gaps in a software application or program so that it functions according to the client and end-user requirements. 

 

Every product deserves to be delivered to the full specifications required by the client, which means quality assurance needs to be thorough, deliberate, and efficient. The traditional means of software development is known as the Waterfall method, which splits the build process into a series of steps. This linear design provides a clear course of action, but sacrifices versatility and seamless delivery.

 

Agile Software Testing can be implemented at the start of the project with continuous integration between development and testing, something the Waterfall method cannot deliver. Rather than being sequential, Agile software development is continuous.

 

And, nearshore refers to the geographical location used for outsourcing projects and services to partnered companies. Most business-minded people are already familiar with offshore and onshore outsourcing, which leverage overseas partners and in-country third-party companies respectively to supplement your software development teams.

 

Nearshore, by comparison, is used for outsourcing companies that are situated within the same time zones used by your company but reside within the borders of a separate country. This allows you to have your quality assurance and software testing extended teams be in a location that is close to the country of your headquarters. A great nearshore location for companies in the U.S. would be Mexico.

What is Nearshore Agile Software Testing Services?

Nearshore is a form of outsourcing that refers to services delivered from an adjacent or nearby location.
Any outsourcing location “near” to its primary market (i.e. Eastern European countries to Western European Countries). Some analysts describe it as services delivered from an adjacent or nearby country.

 

Manual and Automated Testing

Testing can be done both manually and automated. Manual testing utilizes the input, inspection, and attention of human software testers. Automated testing, uses several tools and scripts to do the work.

 

Manual testing is done by a tester to make sure all use cases are working as expected and requires time to validate each case scenario. The software tester works with the application or software, clicking through it to find errors. Manual testing takes some time, but it provides the unique insight of a hands-on experience to help validate the product quality checks.

 

Automated testing is performed by a software tool that executes a test script written in advance. Since each test is pre-programmed, the quality of the tests depends on how well the scripts are written. It’s more reliable and robust than manual, but poor programming may lead to missed bugs in the product.

Benefits of Nearshore Agile Software Testing

Creating software products is a complex task, any project or product in the first iterations is difficult to make bug-free. Quality assurance and testing are crucial in solving these errors, preventing potential system failures that result in higher costs. Having the right nearshore software testing services will guarantee that a dedicated team will work from the beginning of the project on identifying and removing errors on time. This will increase software quality and reduce maintenance costs.

 

The initial development stage is critical for identifying errors, and issues before they become bigger problems. Quality should be one of the main concerns for all software projects from the early stages, ensuring that potential mistakes are minimized.

Principles of Agile Software Testing

Here is a list of some fundamentals of agile software testing. These principles should drive every team’s software development process, reporting, and determining the most effective team strategies.

 

Everyone Should Tests

There are no individuals within your software development teams that are exempt from testing the product. This means that all developers are tasked with interacting with the application and systems, putting more hands on deck to potentially pick out any vulnerabilities and weaknesses within the design of the program.

Continuous Testing

Agile development requires the team to test the software regularly, any product increment should demand running testing use cases again, and again. New issues could arise at any moment, so that is why testing help to reduce bugs quickly and effectively. Both manual and automated testing techniques are very useful for delivering continuous releases of the software product. 

Testing Improves the Team and Project

The feedback generated through the continuous testing process repeatedly informs how you can meet the requirements of a software product. Each time you test, you learn more about what needs to be done to improve the project. The more testing is done, the better the team becomes in all the specifications of a given project.

Faster Feedback Response

Continuous feedback translates to more immediate response times. With every project iteration that comes across, testing reveals more feedback about what needs to be improved. Constant attention to product incremental during each sprint will increase the team’s capability to address any issues, creating a faster cycle of development with greater quality.

Good Coding Practices

Each time the project moves through on a continuous testing cycle, your team of developers fixes any new defects. Every iteration delivers a better, improved version, effectively improving, and optimizing the final code. Adding up new features and having a continuous testing practice will help the end product and end-user have a better user experience.

Minimmum Documentation

Creating documentation for every phase, iteration, or testing cycle is extremely time-consuming. The agile manifesto states that people, interactions, and working software over comprehensive documentation, there is no real need to document every single step. Agile software development and testing promote the use of checklists rather than filling documentation templates per cycle. These checklists focus on the essence of the test and results.

Test-Driven

The agile process for software development is executed with the corresponding testing before releasing functionality. Agile in comparison with waterfall does not wait for the whole project to be finished in order to do testing cycles to see if it functions properly. Every product incremental during the agile building process is done through testing, ensuring continuous participation in the quality of the product.

Nearshore IT solution provider

At Towa, we are certain that these elements serve as a great foundation to build a powerful value proposition for users of IT services.

 

The Nearshore model is much more efficient in achieving higher percentages of work performed at a lower-cost location than offshore.

 

Value propositions

  • Leverage proximity 
    • Proximity and time zone
    • Cultural affinity and ease of doing business
    • Cost savings
  • The total cost of engagement

Although nearshore rates tend to be higher, the overall cost of nearshore engagements is equivalent to or less than offshore, because of the efficiency gains that working in close proximity to the US and in the same time zones can bring.

 

Productivity gains

  • Global nearshore 
    • World-class cost-efficient services
    • Fill the gap left by India centric global sourcing
    • Outstanding customer services
    • Reduce the complexity of IT services management
    • Globalize IT operations
    • Optimize costs
    • Support the evolution of the business

 

Nearshore software testing 

Increase software quality, reduce costs

 

Today’s software applications are increasingly intricate, often operating within multi-layer, multi-platform environments, and shaped in rapid and agile conditions, with increasingly ambitious requirements.
In this complex scenario, software testing becomes even more critical as a means to assure quality and minimize risk, while meeting the market and organization’s needs.


Towa provides a robust and comprehensive testing practice that identifies the correctness, completeness, and quality level of software products. Towa enhances productivity and increases communication with the development teams while helping clients achieve significant cost savings.

 

Services 

  • Quality assurance
  • Software testing
  • Test automation
  • Performance testing
  • Mobile testing
  • Security and penetration testing

IT Services Nearshoring 

 

Towa´s goal is to improve the efficiency of all processes throughout the application lifecycle from vision and development to implementation and continuous maintenance.

 

Services 

  • Application development services 
    • Application modernization
    • Business intelligence
    • Custom application development
    • System integration
    • Ecommerce services
    • Open source
    • Mobile

 

  • Application value management 
    • SLA Management and monitoring
    • Requirements management
    • Configuration management
    • Transition management
    • Communication management
    • QA management
    • Risk management
    • Change management

 

  • IT infrastructure services 
    • End-user support services
    • Server and datacom support
    • IT business process support

Nearshore cloud solutions

Cloud technology maximized


Leading organization are controlling their futures by using the cloud to drive change and innovation, build new business models, and follow new opportunities. 


Towa takes a holistic approach to leveraging the cloud with our architecture and advisory Services, Cloud Migration and Application Development Services, Managed Services for Cloud Hosting, and Cloud Application Support Services. We combine all these services into one package and deliver a solution that allows you to phase your implementation of the cloud relative to the business requirements you have. Our approach to the cloud combines both business and technology, ensuring a positive result.

 

Services

  • Cloud architecture and advisory services
  • Inventory application portfolio
  • Cloud roadmap and strategy
  • Build business case
  • Architect solution
  • Cloud migration and application development
  • Cloud application migration
  • Cloud application development
  • Managed services for cloud hosting
  • Cloud hosting
  • Software as a service
  • Managed storage and database services

Conclusion

 

Agile development is a proactive strategy for delivering the highest quality assurance for every project. Constant assessment maintains a system that continuously improves the product, polishing its design until the code, functionality, and interface are performing as expected. Combining agile quality assurance with the convenience of a nearshore outsourcing team delivers premium digital products at an affordable cost with accessible collaboration.

 

Towa is a leading firm across the United States and Mexico for software engineering and outsourcing, including QA and testing. We offer from Mexico our over +300 engineers capabilities as nearshore delivery model service offerings. If you want to learn more about what we can do for your company, contact us here.

 

Towa Software has over 20 years of experience to guarantee the quality of every line of code, we are proud of our products and services delivered. We recommend starting small and build trust with your provider before scaling. 

 

We have expert Project Managers and Innovation Consultants along with top talented teams who have delivered awesome products to customers in U.S.A, Canada, Mexico, London, and Australia.

 

As a leading software development outsourcing company in the USA and Mexico, we have extensive experience in many fields including fintech, banking, payments gateways, e-commerce, retail, marketplaces, health care, Omnichannel, and many more.

 

You can contact us at support@towasoftware.com or give us a call via (+1) 210-787-4525 for more information.

CottageNosh Launches Marketplace for Home Bakers Implemented by Towa

Cottage Nosh is a unique and compliant marketplace designed to meet the needs of home bakers operating under state and local Cottage Food laws.

BRONX, NEW YORK – December 15, 2021 – As the trends of online shopping and buying locally become increasingly prevalent, one business is looking to merge the best of both worlds – one baked good at a time. Recently launched food marketplace, Cottage Nosh, aims to connect those looking for homemade, artisanal baked goods with local bakers. Powered by online marketplace builder, Arcadier with the help of the Towa eCommerce expert team, Cottage Nosh launched its beta marketplace in September with a focus on the New York State market. 

Speaking on the inspiration and impetus for creating such a unique offering, Cottage Nosh Founder Ari Hoffnung shared that, like many other families amid the COVID pandemic, his own family relied on baking for comfort. He then started wondering if it was possible for talented home bakers to connect to a broader community without retail stores or shipping across the country. Along with the recently passed  ‘Cottage Food Laws’ that allow for the legal sale of homemade foods, Cottage Nosh was born.  

Getting up and running quickly was vital, but more importantly, was building something dependable. Hoffnung stated, “We needed software that was reliable, customizable, and affordable to launch. Arcadier’s marketplace solution not only checked all of our requirement boxes but was also supported by a team of experts who helped us every step of the way”.

Believing that hard-working home bakers deserve the best tools to grow their businesses and support themselves and their families, Cottage Nosh set out to create an eCommerce solution designed to meet the unique needs of home food businesses. Specifically, Cottage Nosh focuses on supporting the individual foodtrepeneur achieve success with the right set of features, such as zero transaction fees to minimize margin loss, targeted advertising to optimize site traffic, seller support to help troubleshoot any issues, sales tax collections to streamline purchasing, customer & home-baker chat to create transparency between each party, and customized settings to create a personal shop for each seller.

Remarking on Cottage Nosh’s business and the growing industry, Brian Conn, Arcadier’s Director of Sales for North & South America, stated: “We’re thrilled to see Cottage Nosh go live. It is a terrific example of what Arcadier believes in: the accessibility of technology and ability to rapidly implement marketplace solutions to meet business goals, as well as supporting innovative marketplaces in growing industries.” He added, “We’re especially pleased to see our partner ecosystem at work, with our expert development partner, Towa, having helped Cottage Nosh realize and build their vision.”

As the expert development partner for the marketplace, Towa Software played a pivotal role in ensuring its successful launch. The firm worked closely with Cottage Nosh throughout the project development process, from discovering user journeys and UI/UX design to defining all features and providing quality assurance. Adrian Lopez, Towa’s Senior eCommerce Consultant, commented: “We worked on the project from the ground up, iterating on previous ideas and using all the findings from the earlier discovery and design stages to build exceptional customizations on top of Arcadier’s technology. By using both their APIs and plug-ins capabilities, we were able to make truly unique customer and seller experiences, and our certified team of engineers was able to integrate third-party services such as Avalara, Stripe, Customer.io, Twilio, and OpenBadges.” 

The F&B industry has seen dramatic changes in the past two years and cottage foods is a niche within it that is on the rise. According to the Modern Farmer, “Since the start of 2021, roughly a dozen states have either eased or eliminated safety restrictions on the sale of food products made in home kitchens, known as cottage foods”. With 26 states in total reviewing their cottage food legislation, businesses like Cottagenosh are likely to be growing in the years to come. To learn more about Cottagenosh, visit https://cottagenosh.com.

 

About Towa Software

Towa Software is a custom e-commerce development and consulting firm that helps startups and companies build unique customer and merchant experiences for the digital era we live in, with customers in North America and Europe. Towa’s Value Proposition to the clients is to deliver Software Projects with Certainty, delivery without defects, which fulfill all of the business requirements efficiently. Our mission is to become an agile co- innovation strategic partner with all our customers. 

Visit https://towasoftware.com/ecommerce 

 

About Arcadier Marketplace

Arcadier is the world’s fastest-growing online marketplace
builder and is the recognized global leader of multi-vendor e-commerce marketplace technology with users from more than 170 countries. Founded in 2013 in Singapore by senior PayPal executives, it has offices in 5 countries, including Singapore (HQ), Australia, the Philippines, the United States and the United Kingdom. Arcadier enables Enterprises, SMBs, Governments, and Start-Ups to build their own white-labeled marketplaces efficiently and cost-effectively. Arcadier’s platform supports various eCommerce models, including B2B, B2C, P2P, Service & Rental, across industry verticals such as retail, consumer goods, commodities, wholesale, manufacturing, and services 

Visit https://www.arcadier.com 

 

Towa custom ecommerce

TOWA SOFTWARE INC.

MSc. Adrian Lopez
Customer Success Manager
+1 ‭(210) 787-4525‬
adrian.lopez@towasoftware.com

 

“Towa is helping entrepreneurs and SMB to innovate and develop custom marketplace experiences, our engineering and consulting team is ready to build awesome platforms for today’s challenging times,” states Carlos Mendoza CEO of Towa.

 

“Arcadier is pleased to provide a platform for Cottagenosh to grow a marketplace where local artisans can provide their communities with delicious baked goods,” says Director of American Sales, Brian Conn. 

 

Company Summary

Cottagenosh.com is the marketplace for home-bakers and cottage foods lovers that offer unique features to help your home-food business thrive. The startup is based in the Bronx, New York serving soon all United States of America. 

 

Release Summary

Cottage Food Enterprises Inc, announces marketplace launch and invites home-bakers to join the community and get the advantage of all the great tools and features available to grow that side-business into a personal Shop, for their customers to enjoy a unique experience for those Nosh days.

 

Social Media Profiles

https://www.instagram.com/cottagenosh/

https://www.facebook.com/cottagenosh/ 

https://twitter.com/CottageNosh 

 

Blog

https://cottagenosh.com/blog 

 

Towa Software Media Contact

To learn more about Towa Software – Engineering Culture of High-Performance Teams or to speak to Sales, contact support@towasoftware.com, or book a 15-min call here

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    How To Start an E-Commerce Business

    (10 min reading)

    So, you are thinking about building your own business, or maybe you and your partner are having a great idea and would like to find how to build a business from it?

    How to launch your online business?

    Data shows that, by 2023, e-commerce revenue is expected to reach $800 billion in the U.S. alone. Now is the best time to start your e-commerce business and build your own tribe.

     

    There are many things to consider like the business plan, what is the product or service you like to sell, how would you deliver it, what technologies are there, what is the brand differentiator, when would you like to start selling? 

    Read all 10 bullets to find many answers.

    1. Choose your Tribe

     

    To start a successful online business, you have to find the right tribe. What’s your area of expertise? What marketable knowledge or skill do you have? Where do those skills or products fit in the market? What type of products or services do you want to sell?

    You must have an idea of what kind of business you want to build, start by researching the market. Look at other businesses in your area and see them as joint opportunities. When looking at an example of a successful e-commerce business in an industry, ask yourself:

    • How are they reaching customers?
    • What appeals to you about their website?
    • What’s their business model?

    Some logistical questions you’ll need to answer when finding your tribe includes:

    • Is your product or service? 
    • Is physical or digital? 
    • Do you deliver local or international?

    Will you base your business around one-time orders, bundles, or a subscription model?

    Get as many business ideas as you can, the online business is super competitive. You’ll want to do some serious thinking about what sets you and your business apart before starting your own e-commerce business.

    If you have expertise that’s in high demand, capitalize on that. If you have years of experience in music or baking, for example, start a blog to write about that skill and establish yourself as a knowledgeable person in the market. You can use your e-commerce store to offer your products or services, on-demand online courses, or local deliveries of experiences in your area.

    2. Do your research

     

    Find the top competitors in your space and do some research on their history and business model, and get products ideas by researching trending products. Ask yourself what they’re doing that you can follow. Find out what people are looking for in your business and figure out how you can provide it in your unique way.

    You’ll also need to identify the barriers to entry in your field and how you can overcome them. Will you need to invest in paid ads?  What is the cost of an e-commerce platform? Need for expensive equipment? Where do you manufacture your products? What other challenges will you face when going to market? How much do you need to invest? Can you start small and then scale your e-commerce business?

    Identify any opportunities in the market your product or service can fill. Even if it is something not new, try to deliver it in a way that is unique so you can add value.

    Once you’ve identified your opportunity in the market and know what value you’ll bring to the customer, consider doing a SWOT analysis — which stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, 

     

    Opportunities, and Threats. This modeling technique can help to identify potential challenges so you can plan ahead your strategy for your e-commerce business.

    Strengths and weaknesses are typically things you can control, like:

    • Company culture
    • Your reputation
    • Your customer base
    • Geography
    • Partnerships
    • Intellectual property
    • Assets

    Opportunities and threats, are things not in your control, but you can plan ahead, like:

    • Regulation
    • What suppliers are in your market
    • Your competitors
    • The economy
    • Market size
    • Market trends
    • Gaps in financing
    3. Choose your product and target market

     

    There are several ways you can use to choose your e-commerce product or service. You can provide a solution for a problem in any marketplace, local or worldwide. Lean on your passion. Try these options for finding a product or service you can sell online.

     

    Think about your personal experience. Have you worked in a certain industry that gives you insight others don’t have?

    Is there an opening in the market for something that people will need soon based on trends in your industry? Recognizing a relevant trend can make you a leader in the market. Something that fulfills an existing need in a new way. 

     

    You can spot trends in many ways:

    • Social listening. Hang out on social media where others in your industry post or where your target customers spend time and see what they say. Browsing trending hashtags or using social listening tools to gather data over time can also provide valuable insights.
    • Following search trends. Google Trends is a great place to see what trending products people are searching for. It can also tell you the keywords used most commonly in search, and what problems people are commonly trying to solve.
    • Browsing e-commerce websites and aggregator sites. Pages like Trend Hunter or assorted subreddits for your niche can help you sight into developing trends before they get big.

     

    Customer reviews also provide a wealth of data on what your prospective buyers expect from a product. Browse reviews of products similar to the one you have in mind and see what people say. They are a great resource to get new products ideas. Addressing an unsolved need is one way to differentiate your product in a market.

     

    When researching keywords, make sure you look outside of Google. While Google is the search engine most people use, online marketplaces like Amazon, Wish, eBay, or Alibaba have their search functions.

     

    If you’re thinking about selling a product, type in the product name on these sites and see what keywords come up. Say you’re selling guitars. Typing that into Amazon’s search bar turns up suggested search terms like “guitar lessons” and “guitar experiences”. Those results can give you more ideas of what you can do to differentiate.

     

    Finding a market

     

    As you’re gathering product information, study your target market. Who is your ideal customer? What characteristics do they have? This is where creating customer personas is useful.

    Personas are fictionalized versions of your ideal customers that allow you to try and predict how they’ll behave. You can create a picture of the person you consider would be best served by your product or service, and figure out how to attract that person.

     

    Answer questions like:

    • How old is this person?
    • Where do they live?
    • What is his/her job? 
    • What do they care for?
    • What problems do they face?
    • What is most important for them?

     

    With all of this, you can find ways to reach them online and what messages they’re more likely to respond to. The information will help you market your product or services more effectively.

    4. Validate your product

     

    Now you have an idea for your product or service, and you know who you might sell it to, now you need to validate whether you are right and how to execute the business idea. You need to see whether your business idea is viable in real life. 

    You can use several criteria to evaluate your product’s viability. Evaluation criteria can be split into two main categories: market-based and product-based criteria.

     

    Market-based criteria

     

    These are market factors that will influence your product and business model. You’ll want to look at:

    • Market size and demand for your product/service
    • Who your competitors are and where are they
    • Is this a trend, fad, growing market, or flat market
    • Whether customers will be able to get this product/service from other sources
    • Who your target customers are

     

    Product-based criteria

     

    Once you have an idea of where the market is going and who you’re marketing to, you can move on to the next set of criteria:

    • Your selling price
    • The potential markup for your product or service
    • How many products you’ll stock
    • Will you offer a subscription
    • The size, weight, and durability of your product, if you’re selling something physical
    • Whether you’re likely to experience seasonal buying variations
    • Whether your product or service solves a pain point or is more of a passion
    • Whether your product is consumable, disposable, or perishable
    • Whether your services are re-purchasable or 1 time only
    • Regulations or restrictions around your business

    Looking at the market and product-based criteria can give you an idea of how much it’ll cost you, how you can sell it, to whom and how many times. 

    These criteria can give you a good idea of your product or service’s potential, and help you avoid common mistakes. If you’ve determined that there’s enough market for your product and services, you can move on to other aspects of your business model.

    5. How you will source your product or service

     

    If you’re selling a physical product, you’ll need to figure out a model for obtaining it and shipping orders to your customers. There are a few models you can explore here:

     

    Make it

    You make the product yourself, by hand, and get it to the customer. This is a highly favorable option if your product is something you can get the ingredients for and make cheaply, like home-baked foods or hand-crafted gifts. You’d need to purchase ingredients in smaller batches to start, you can control the cost and the risk, then scale up when you have more sales.

     

    Manufacture it

    If your product is something you cannot make yourself, you could partner with a manufacturer. This alternative makes sense if you have a product you plan to sell in large numbers, as manufacturers normally require you to order in large batches. You’ll need to be able to cover the cost of those initial purchase orders.

     

    Wholesale and resell

    Buying your desired product and selling them through your store with a markup. You don’t have complete control over pricing, as the manufacturer sets the price of purchase. Margins for selling wholesale products are around 35%.

     

    Dropship it

    A good option if you don’t want to deal with inventory, dropshipping involves partnering with another company that would ship the product for you after purchase. There are no startup costs to make the product on your end, your margin is only about 15%. 

     

    Digital

    Guides, eBooks, Blog posts, templates, online video classes, selling your expertise. Anything people can download has the potential to be a product. Digital products can also be a service like consulting, coding, writing, therapy, social media management, or graphic design.

    Digital downloads or services are suitable for customers and, depending on what you’re selling, they usually have a low overhead cost too. Experiment with different things until you hit on the product or service that’s right for your business and passion.

    6. Do your business plan

     

    You’ll need a road map to follow to keep your business on the right track. Once you’ve defined all the basics, writing a business plan will help you establish goals and get into the details of what you’ll need to run your business and sell to your customers.

    If you’re going to get a business loan, lenders and investors will require you to have a business plan. Make sure you make your plan as detailed and professional as possible.

     

    Your business plan should include:

    • What your business is
    • What you’re selling
    • What is the market
    • How your business model works
    • SWOT analysis
    • Company structure and roles
    • Financing and capital
    • Other resources

    Keep your target market and buyer persona in mind as you develop your plan. 

     

    The outline for your business plan will look something like this, from beginning to end:

    1. Executive summary
    2. Company overview
    3. Market analysis
    4. Products and services
    5. Marketing plan
    6. Logistics and operations plan
    7. Financial plan

     

    If you’d like something more detailed to start with, it’s easy to find free business plan templates online.

    The most important thing is to know what your goal is when you write your business plan. It’ll look different if you’re writing one to obtain startup funds than if you’re outlining the business plan for yourself.

     

    Make sure you keep your tone consistent throughout the document. The best way to ensure this is to have one person write and edit the whole document, completely edit the document before presenting it to anyone.

     

    Finally, keep your business plan short and to the point. It should be 15 to 20 pages max. Make sure it’s long enough to communicate the relevant information.

    7. Business name and legal structure

     

    Naming your store is one of the creative aspects of starting an e-commerce business. You’ll need to come up with something that catches the eye, describes your brand, and hasn’t already been taken by somebody else.

    You can typically search for domain name availability on Godaddy or CheapDomains. It’s also good to run a search with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to avoid future problems. 

    A good business name will set the tone for your online store. The name plays into the company’s branding, and the product itself.

     

    When it comes to making your business name, remember to:

    • Keep it simple
    • Differentiate yourself
    • Get creative
    • Be original

     

    You’ll also use your business name when you register your business. How you choose to register will affect you legally and financially down the road, so it’s worth doing a little homework to determine which type of legal structure is right for you.

     

    You’ll register your business as one of the following:

    • Sole proprietorship
    • General partnership
    • Limited Liability Corp
    • Corporation

    Each one will have benefits and drawbacks. You should consult an attorney or other legal expert to determine which one you should choose.

    8. Permits and licenses

     

    Some business types need an employee identification number (EIN), it can help keep personal and business finances separate. It’s free to apply through the IRS, and the number is usually assigned right away. You can also apply for an EIN by mail or fax.

    You’ll also want to apply for any permits or licenses your business will need to operate in your state. If you’re operating your e-commerce business entirely from home, you won’t need the same kind of permits as a traditional store.

    You’ll want to make sure you’ve got it covered. Check your local government’s website or get professional advice for permits or licenses you might need to operate in your state.

    Types of permits or licenses you might need for your business include:

    • Sales tax permits 
    • Professional and trade licenses for certain industries
    • Health, safety, and environmental permits
    • Signage permits

    If you need permits or licenses, be aware you’ll have to pay a fee for them. Add those expenses into your business budget upfront so you don’t have to deal with any financial surprises.

    9. Create your eCommerce

     

    Now that you’re finally ready to launch, it’s time to choose technologies and build your online store. There are many e-commerce platforms out there to choose from like Arcadier, BigCommerce, VTex, Shopify, Wix, and many more, so you’ll want to research which fits your needs better.

    Depending on your need for a custom unique experience, a headless API eCommerce SAAS is best suited for entrepreneurs and large companies who want to have full control over their online business and but also have everything to effectively market and sell products online.

    Remember once your customer makes a purchase, keep them engaged with post-purchase follow-up. You can configure a campaign to users who visit your site, send them offers, specials, best deals, or recommend other products your customers might be interested in.

    10. Marketing your new business

     

    Now that your shop is planned out and set up, it’s time to tell your potential customers about the new business and start selling. The research of your target audience will suggest where you’ll run your ads and what content you’ll create to bring in customers.

    Don’t be afraid to use multiple channels to market to your customers. If you’ve got a blog, promote it on multiple social media outlets. Put out content relevant to your niche on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. Try out different tactics in your marketing strategy, like Facebook ads or partner up with affiliate marketers. Use landing pages that make it easy for customers to buy your products.

    Be careful about your page copy, product description, and make sure it adheres to current SEO best practices. Make sure your site is simplistic and easy to navigate.

    You should consider investing in CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tools for following up with customers, building email campaigns, and keeping them up-to-date with your business offerings, keep your tribe alive is a continuous delivery process.

    Get started with Towa e-Business Services

     

    Many things will happen when starting an online business. With the right team, proven process, agile practices, best technology you can make it a success! 

    Towa integrates as part of your team to build awesome eCommerce Experiences.

    We can build great ecommerce plataforms together

    Towa Software has over 20 years of experience to guarantee the quality of every line of code, we are proud of our products and services delivered.

    We have expert Project Managers and Innovation Consultants along with top talented teams who have delivered awesome products to customers in U.S.A, Canada, Mexico, London, and Australia.

    As a leading software development outsourcing company in the USA and Mexico, we have extensive experience in many fields including fintech, banking, payments gateways, e-commerce, retail, marketplaces, health care, omnichannel, and many more.

     

    You can contact us at support@towasoftware.com or give us a call via (+1) 210-787-4525 for more information.

    You can Book a 15-min call call with one of our Customer Success Managers for a conversation.

    Six Keys to Positive Communication

    C

    ommunicating better can help you achieve your goals and deepen your relationships.

    When I was 15 years old, I enrolled in a program to study English in what seemed like the middle of nowhere, also known as Iowa.

    Having grown up in France and Switzerland, I spoke zero English. In Iowa, I couldn’t understand what people were telling me, and I couldn’t express myself. I couldn’t connect with people, I couldn’t create interactions, I couldn’t build friendships. I faced some of the most difficult months of my life because I was in some ways mute, and in some ways deaf.

    But that experience taught me the most beautiful aspect of human communication. As I learned to speak, as I learned to listen, as I learned to connect, I was able to create a social network around me. It was human communication that set me free.

    Fast forward to today, and I have spent my whole career researching and sharing what I know about effective ethical communication. Some questions that have animated my work include: What communication behaviors exemplify our best potential as humans? What are some small actions that will help us interact more effectively? What communication behaviors have a butterfly effect?

    Based on my research, I’ll share six concrete behaviors that you can enact in your life today to improve your communication. At work or at home, these tips can help you start to inspire and influence the people around you. They can help you grow and change yourself, allowing you to deepen your relationships and create a better social world around you.

    1. Greet to create human contact

    In most people’s minds, communication is a mode of transmission: You have an idea to send out, and once the message is sent, you have accomplished the goal of communication.

    But communication is more than transmission; it’s also creation. It creates experiences and builds relationships. If we take away communication, we take away relationship. In fact, I would propose that when you communicate, you are doing the work of relationship. You are relating.

    The work of communication often starts with greeting, which is a simple but significant behavior: the moment when you initiate the process of making contact. One of the most disrespectful things a doctor can do when they meet with a patient is not greet them. When educators greet their students, it actually affects learning. And the best managers and leaders create opportunities for connection: They check on their employees and ask how they’re doing. They’re constantly in the process of building relationships.

    As part of the New Zealand Language at Work project, researchers studied over 500 emails from two organizations: one company that was experiencing a lot of conflict, low morale, and turnover, and another with a very positive culture. After looking closely, the researchers noticed something striking: In the organization where people did not get along, the emails sounded like this:

     

    The meeting is at 3:00 p.m.

     

    That’s it. But in the company where people were getting along, the emails sounded more like this:

     

    Hi everybody, hope you are doing well. Looking forward to seeing you at our meeting on Friday at 3:00 p.m. Have a great week.

    Warmly,
    John

     

    The content is the same, but the little details that we add help us manage our connections with other people. Communication oils the social wheels; it is not just a mode of transmission.

    To put this into practice, try initiating contact with three people that you do not know very well, but who are stakeholders in your organization; they can be anybody in the organizational hierarchy. Greet them. Ask them how they’re doing; set up a Zoom call or a lunch; take a little bit of time to connect with them. If you practice this, then you’d be able to create deeper connections with people around you and expand your network of influence.

    2. Ask to discover the unknown

    When we ask questions, we are going on a quest. We are putting ourselves in a position to discover more, to learn from a position of humility and curiosity.

    On a basic level, we can distinguish between closed-ended questions and open-ended questions. Closed-ended questions—“Do you like blue or yellow?”—tend to narrow and control human interaction. Open-ended questions, on the other hand, tend to expand and give people freedom to decide what to share and what not to share—like “Tell me about some of your favorite experiences in your life” or “What conversations have impacted you?”

    One way of improving your communication is to learn to flip your questions from closed-ended to open-ended.

    On annual reviews, for example, it’s very tempting to say, “Did you have a good year?” But what if we flip the script and ask, “What can we do to help you reach your potential? What can we do this year to serve you and help you grow?” I learned this from an organization called Performance Group Management in Little Rock, Arkansas. With those questions, not only was the organization able to retain their employees, but they were able to find ways of helping them grow internally and build what has been widely celebrated as a very positive culture.

    As another example, I do some research with Heifer International, which is trying to help create personal transformation in individuals around the world and help them end poverty in their own communities. Instead of asking, “Do you need help?,” they begin the process of change by asking people, “What are your dreams? What are your hopes?”

    3. Compliment to affect people’s sense of self

    The single most important truth in the field of human communication is that what we say, what we do, affects people. It affects who they are, in the moment, and it affects who they become. I think a lot about this as the father of three young children.

    Complimenting is just one behavior among many that illustrates our capacity for affecting people in a positive way.

    Sometimes, when I do trainings, leaders ask me how many compliments they should give to get their staff to do what they want. But compliments should not be used in a robotic way. Instead, I am advocating for a way of being. Complimenting is the choice to affect who people are and who they become, their sense of self. In fact, research suggests that we underestimate how good compliments make people feel.

    “What we say, what we do, affects people. It affects who they are, in the moment, and it affects who they become”

    ―Julien C. Mirivel, Ph.D.

     

    What is the best compliment that you have ever received? What has someone said to you that has positively impacted you? In my research, we have found that often those moments come from leaders, managers, supervisors, or teachers. When people we look up to say something about us that resonates, we take it in; we integrate it.

    To put this into practice and make your own mark, you can think of three people that you really value around you, and deliver a meaningful compliment to them about their strengths. Or you can send an email to your team and say, “I want to celebrate the work that you’ve done, the strength that you’ve shown, especially as we respond to a global pandemic.” Communicating positively is about being intentional. As a leader, a parent, a partner, or a friend, we can all choose to use our words to do a little good.

    4. Disclose to deepen relationships

    The second important truth about communication is that the connection and closeness we feel with others is not a state that we can hold on to; it’s something we do. And the way we go about enacting this sense of love and collegiality is by the act of disclosure: revealing how we think, how we feel, and who we are in an authentic way.

    Not all disclosure has the same function, but it does have some common elements. First, the disclosure needs to be authentic. It has to reflect this congruency between what you feel on the inside, and what’s happening on the outside. It has to be communication that’s truthful, honest, and personal, that reflects what you think and what you value.

    It has to have integrity, and, more importantly, it has to be human. The more your experience can reflect our common humanity, the more it’s likely to resonate with other people when it’s spoken.

    Research by Robert Ulmer, who is an expert in crisis communication at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, suggests that when leaders practice open and honest disclosure, they’re able to respond much more effectively to crises. In one case he studied, Malden Mills CEO Aaron Feuerstein immediately responded to a fire affecting several manufacturing buildings by communicating openly and publicly with his stakeholders: “We’re going to continue to operate in Lawrence. . . . We had the opportunity to run to the south many years ago. We didn’t do it then and we’re not going to do it now.” Being open and honest shows that we care about our stakeholders and want to learn from the crisis.

    To put this into practice, think of somebody that you can text right now to share that you’re grateful for them. Be open and be honest with them. You can just say, “I’m thinking of you, and I just wanted you to know that I’m grateful to have you in my life.” Pay attention to the feelings and thoughts going on inside of you—should I do it, should I not do it, how are they going to respond? Despite all that, in this moment you can choose to express your gratitude. That’s disclosure.

    5. Encourage to give support

    Human communication, I would argue, is just as tangible a way of giving as giving money. We use communication to give love. We use communication to give affection. And when we choose to encourage others, we are using communication to give people the social support they need to develop and succeed.

    I believe that we can transform any ordinary moment into an extraordinary one by what we say and share with other people, no matter what our role is.

    Here’s an example from my own career. For many years, whenever my students struggled, I would always say, “Hey, why don’t you just ride the wave a little?” Then, during one incredibly hard year of work, I got to my office and found an email from my wife. Inside was the message, “Ride the wave, baby,” with a Photoshopped picture of me on a real surfer. I remember that moment to this day.

    That is the power of encouragement. What we say and do can make an impact not only in that moment, but as a source of support for years to come.

    6. Listen to transcend differences

    Learning how to become a better listener is not a small feat, but experts agree that it’s a common trait of good leaders. If you can choose to listen deeply, you can transcend the perceived differences that exist between you and other people.

    You can learn to listen more deeply by maintaining a high degree of openness to other people’s perspectives and viewpoints. It also requires withholding judgment of people and their actions. Psychologist Carl Rogers called this “unconditional positive regard”: a way of looking at people with warmth, without any conditions. In order to listen deeply, you have to cultivate deep empathy, the ability to look at other people’s perspectives not to see whether they’re right or wrong, but to understand their vantage point.

    Finally, you have to learn how to give somebody your full attention. Physically leaning in with your body will start the process of deeper listening. If you get really frustrated, take your hand, put it underneath the table, and open it slightly—a physical gesture of openness. Listening can be uncomfortable, but there is a lot to learn if we quiet everything going on inside of us and turn our attention to other people.

    I believe that if you practice positive communication, it’s going to help you grow as a professional and as a person, create high-quality relationships at work and at home, and lead more effectively. When you take these small actions, you’re beginning a butterfly effect. You’re starting to change the script on your interactions, which affects the relationships that you care about, the groups you work in, and the communities you belong to. And if we do this together, we will co-create a better society for ourselves and our children.

    This essay is based on a talk that is part of the Positive Links Speaker Series by the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizations. The Center is dedicated to building a better world by pioneering the science of thriving organizations.

     

    Source: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/the_six_keys_to_positive_communication

    Positive team building

    Qué es el flow?

    Q

    ué es el flow: otros niveles de productividad

     

    • Una persona entra en estado de flujo (flow) cuando se enfoca totalmente en la tarea…
    • …que básicamente no existe nada más
    • ¿Cómo podemos estar en ese nivel?

    Dos días y medio. Ese fue el tiempo que le llevó al novelista irlandés John Boyne (Dublín, 1971) escribir del tirón el primer borrador del que hasta la fecha es su mayor éxito editorial, El niño con el pijama de rayas (Salamandra, 2007). Dos días y medio de escritura frenética, sin apenas comer ni dormir. El autor declaró más tarde que había tenido la sensación de que el niño protagonista le susurraba al oído las palabras que debía escribir, empujándolo a llegar hasta el final de la historia. Con apuntador imaginario o no, probablemente lo que Boyne experimentó durante esas sesenta horas de éxtasis productivo es lo que los expertos organizacionales llaman “estado de flujo”.

    El estado de flujo (flow, en inglés) es uno de los conceptos estrella de la llamada psicología positiva, esa rama de la ciencia que ahonda en el bienestar psicológico de las personas y que tanta aceptación tiene en el management actual. Según uno de sus máximos exponentes, el norteamericano Mihály Csikszentmihalyi, el flow sería “un estado subjetivo que las personas experimentan cuando están completamente involucradas en algo, hasta el extremo de olvidarse del tiempo, la fatiga y de todo lo demás excepto la actividad en sí misma”. En otras palabras, el flujo es una especie de trance durante el cual una persona logra una inmersión total en su trabajo, obteniendo los más altos niveles de rendimiento y calidad de ejecución.

    Como en el caso del Boyne, el estado de flujo suele asociarse a labores creativas. Sin embargo, pintores, escritores o músicos no son ni mucho menos los únicos capaces de amarrarse a la mesa de trabajo para rentabilizar la vista de las musas. En realidad, cualquier profesional, del ámbito que sea, puede experimentar en algún momento esa mágica sensación de “estoy que me salgo”. “Conocí a un directivo del área comercial que solía levantarse a las seis de la mañana los sábados para trabajar en su casa hasta las nueve. Me confesó que esos momentos, en los que había completo silencio y conexión consigo mismo, era cuando más placer obtenía de su trabajo”, cuenta Pilar Jericó, presidenta de Be-Up.

    “Un empleado feliz es más productivo, comprometido, creativo e innovador”

     

    Y es que el flujo tiene mucho que ver con el placer. Para Manu Romero, fundador de la startup Departamento de Felicidad, un trabajador que fluye es un trabajador feliz, con el impacto que para cualquier organización supone contar con un profesional así en sus filas. “Diversos estudios y experiencias profesionales confirman que un empleado feliz es más productivo, comprometido, creativo e innovador, lo que da lugar a mejores resultados de negocio, mayores ventas y mejores calificaciones de los clientes”, asegura.

    Quizá feliz, sí, pero también sacrificado. Porque la satisfacción que proporciona ese ‘fluir’ va frecuentemente acompañada de atracones de trabajo. De hecho, que a un trabajador se le pasen las horas en un suspiro, sin apenas darse cuenta de que el cansancio empieza a hacer mella en él, es un claro síntoma de que está empezando a fluir.

    Claro que sarna con gusto no pica. Y es que, advierte Pilar Jericó, el esfuerzo es un requisito innegociable para llegar hasta ese punto de excelencia. “Las cosas que valen la pena siempre requieren esfuerzo, especialmente al principio. En esas fases iniciales el trabajo duro es lo más importante. Pones mucho empeño porque llegar al objetivo es tu máxima motivación, tu sueño o porque te pagan por ello. Pero después, llega un momento en el que de tanto aplicarte en la tarea desarrollas cierta maestría en ella, y ahí es cuando comienzas a fluir”.

    Naturalmente, que te guste lo que haces es un plus. “Tener la oportunidad de desarrollar aquellas actividades en las cuales nos sentimos más realizados nos ayuda a disfrutar de nuestro puesto de trabajo”, dice Manu Romero. ¿Quiere decir esto que quedamos exentos de hacer aquellas otras partes del trabajo que nos resultan menos apetecibles? Desde luego que no, puntualiza este experto. “Pero el prisma es totalmente distinto cuando sabes que esas otras cosas forman parte de unas responsabilidades que, en términos globales, te satisfacen”.

    Honorio Jorge, experto en Recursos Humanos y Organización, cree, en cambio, que no es imprescindible que una actividad te enamore para realizarla muy bien o incluso con brillantez. “Lo que nunca debe faltar es que la persona disponga de las habilidades necesarias para ejecutar esa función con un resultado exitoso. Y para esto es clave tener a la persona correcta en el puesto correcto“, explica. Otras condiciones necesarias para llegar a ese estado deseable son que “las tareas sean moderadamente desafiantes y requieran de concentración y enfoque, tener objetivos claramente establecidos y ofrecer datos que permitan al trabajador autoevaluarse”, resume este especialista.

    Empresas con flow

     

    En las cosas del fluir no todo depende exclusivamente del protagonista. El entorno puede tener una influencia notable. Positiva o negativa. “La empresa ha de saber que no desmotivar a sus empleados es rentable, que sus empleados (algunos) saben hacer bien las cosas y que para que, además, quieran hacerlas tienen que poder utilizar sus habilidades y su talento”, comenta Luis Colmenero, creador de la marca Coachingümer. Según este coach, “cuando te complican las cosas en el trabajo y tu única emoción es la de no querer volver el día siguiente, es imposible que se de el estado de flujo”.

     

    “Cuando te complican las cosas en el trabajo y tu única emoción es la de no querer volver el día siguiente, es imposible que se de el estado de flujo”

     

    El problema, comenta Honorio Jorge, está en que en muchos casos las propias dinámicas laborales dificultan esa manera de funcionar. “Imaginemos a un trabajador que en pleno estado de flujo es interrumpido por la asignación de un nuevo encargo… Esto tiene un impacto negativo en la productividad, y está relacionado con una mala planificación y con el hecho de que en muchas organizaciones lo urgente se come a lo importante de forma recurrente”.

    También el espacio físico juega su papel. Los ‘fluyentes’ necesitan cierto aislamiento y alejarse de las distracciones para entrar en modo flow. Unas condiciones que parecen chocar con las últimas tendencias en diseño de oficinas. “Los espacios operativos diáfanos, por ejemplo, aportan muchos beneficios a las empresas en cuanto a la cohesión del equipo, pero no son los más adecuados para la realización de determinadas labores para las que se necesita mucha concentración”, reconoce Jorge.

    ¿Qué pueden hacer las empresas para ayudar a sus trabajadores a alcanzar ese Nirvana productivo? “Facilitarles que hagan aquello en lo que son realmente buenos y que disfrutan haciendo; definir objetivos claros y alcanzables a los que se pueda dar seguimiento; trabajar por dichos objetivos, impulsando la autogestión del tiempo, y reconocer los logros“, sintetiza Manu Romero.

    La empresa puede allanar el camino poniendo las condiciones adecuadas. Pero al final es el profesional quien debe cruzar ese umbral por propia iniciativa. Luis Colmenero: “Si somos buenos en lo que hacemos, si a la vez estamos motivados y podemos emplear nuestros recursos, el desempeño en nuestro trabajo será el óptimo y rentable para nuestra empresa. Porque cuando estamos sumergidos en una tarea por la pura satisfacción de hacerla bien, es cuando nos suele salir mejor”.

    Do something great at work

    Liderazgo Positivo en Organizaciones

    Liderazgo positivo en las empresas

    El Reporte Mundial de Felicidad indica que los jefes tienen un efecto importante en la felicidad de los miembros de un equipo de trabajo.

     

    Por Rosalinda Ballesteros

     

    En marzo de 2017 se publicó el “World Happiness Report”, que incluye un capítulo sobre la felicidad en el trabajo. En él, Richard Layard, economista de la London School of Economics, nos invita a pensar en el nivel de productividad que tendría un país si las personas fueran felices. Por ello, sugiere diseñar espacios llenos de felicidad para todos. Ante este interés mundial por el tema, la primera gran pregunta a hacernos es: ¿Qué es la felicidad?

    Martin Seligman, de la Universidad de Pennsylvania, encuentra cinco elementos que nos hacen más felices: la positividad (sentir emociones positivas), sentir un estado de absorción con lo que hacemos, sentir que contamos con una red de apoyo, entender el significado de la vida para nosotros y tener una sana evaluación de nuestros logros en la vida.

    La Organización Mundial de la Salud calcula que uno de cada cinco individuos sufrirá de depresión o ansiedad durante su vida, así que trabajar en prácticas de felicidad también es una estrategia preventiva para estos males que nos aquejan en la vida laboral.

    Estudios de la Universidad de Colorado han encontrado que, cuando las personas están felices en su trabajo, se reduce la rotación del personal y se enferman menos; y que, cuando lo hacen, se recuperan más rápido, lo que reduce el ausentismo.

    Finalmente, la productividad aumenta hasta en un 13% cuando una persona se encuentra en un estado emocional positivo. En este sentido, se cometen menos errores y se es más productivo en las horas de trabajo.

    Algunas compañías piensan que la felicidad en el trabajo implica tener chefs cocinando los caprichos de los empleados 24/7.

    Sin embargo, el reporte mundial de felicidad indica que los jefes tienen un efecto importante en la felicidad de los miembros de un equipo de trabajo.

    Por ejemplo, recibir un premio o tener un reconocimiento monetario tiene un efecto positivo, aunque no de manera sostenida.

    En un estudio, desarrollado durante seis meses, se encontró que hay mejores resultados cuando el líder otorga un reconocimiento verbal positivo de forma sostenida, en lugar de un premio monetario o físico.

    Con toda esta información y la moda por la felicidad en el trabajo, no faltan fórmulas para lograr los beneficios de estas prácticas. Una manera sencilla y sin alto costo es la que sugiere Kim Cameron: comunicación positiva, clima positivo, relaciones positivas y crear significados positivos del trabajo.

    En el tema de la comunicación positiva, una de las cosas que el líder puede hacer es enfocarse en la transparencia y en el reconocimiento de las fortalezas de su equipo. Todos los seres humanos tenemos un sesgo hacia lo negativo y constantemente estamos corrigiendo. Esto está bien, pero también es necesario apreciar y destacar lo positivo de manera diaria y constante.

    Un clima positivo es aquel que está lleno de emociones positivas. John Gottman, en sus estudios sobre evaluación de las relaciones humanas, encuentra que nosotros debemos experimentar al menos cinco emociones positivas por cada negativa para evaluar que tenemos un día positivo.

    La gratitud es una de las emociones más sencillas de crear en el ámbito laboral. Como líderes, podemos ser agradecidos con las pequeñas cosas y también generar rituales de agradecimiento de lo que cada miembro del equipo hace por los demás.

    Entonces hay que crear un ambiente de alta energía donde la confianza de los miembros del equipo esté siempre presente. Para generar confianza es necesario compartir la información valiosa para los empleados, así que el líder debe encargarse de integrar espacios de colaboración, más que de competencia. Otra forma es implementar prácticas de conexión, como jugar juntos.

    Finalmente, la última pieza clave de esta fórmula es entender el significado del trabajo y que lo que hago en él tiene un efecto más allá de mi trabajo. Para ello, los líderes de los equipos pueden hacer ver a los colaboradores el efecto de su trabajo, ya sea para el cliente o para el propósito de la compañía.

     

    *Rosalinda Ballesteros Valdés es directora del Instituto de Ciencias de la Felicidad.

    Contacto:

    Página web: cienciasdelafelicidad.mx

    Las opiniones expresadas son sólo responsabilidad de sus autores.

     

    Fuente: https://www.forbes.com.mx/liderazgo-positivo/

    Outsourcing the IT Service Desk

    ITIL defines Service Desk as

    A single point of contact (SPOC), which meets the communication needs of both users and IT employees, but also satisfies both customers and IT provider objectives.

    IT Service Desk

    With the introduction of the PC in 1981, the IT support center industry has grown. In the mid-’80s Help Desk was known as the “helpless desk” due to the poorly trained employees who had access to none of the tools that a twenty-first-century service desk now enjoys.

     

    In reaction to the immature state of IT, The Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) was developed by the UK government. This set of best practices introduced the concept of an integrated service desk that is the single point of contact for all IT-related customer inquiries.

     

    Research shows that the most frequent technical service at a service desk is ‘password changes’ and ‘user generation’. More and more institutions have automated those processes, but they still consume substantial manpower sources. 

     

    Most Service Desks try to increase the first-time fix rate. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, the faster the incident is fixed, the quicker workers can start being productive again. This saves the organization time and money. It has been shown that customer satisfaction is related to the first-time fix rate. Secondly, first-time fixes also save the Service Desk money within the constraints of their budget. If the incident can be fixed at the first level and not escalated, there is no use of second or third line resources.

     

    This means that the Service Desk has to provide the training and development that all staff performing jobs needs to acquire and maintain the skills and knowledge required for their positions.

    Towa Service Desk

     

    Now more than ever, cost pressures on the business are driving the need to migrate support to lower-cost channels and nearshore delivery locations. The IT Services organization must continue to minimize the cost of downtime to the business by providing clients with a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for all technology incidents and requests, maximizing resolution on first contact through great troubleshooting capability, and managing all escalated incidents and problems through to resolution.

     

    If you are a business owner you must have considered Technical Support and Service Desk outsourcing for your company. Although there are some benefits to having in-house staffing to field the types of phone calls and emails that come through to the Service Desk, there are several advantages to Technical Support and Service Desk outsourcing that you cannot afford to ignore.

     

    Over the past ten to twenty years there has been a move to outsource the Technical Support and Service Desk function, and it appears that recently there is a move to bring the function back in-house, why is this?

     

    I would like to propose two main reasons that organizations are unhappy with their outsourcing arrangements, and why there is a trend to reverse the situation.

     

    Firstly, many of these outsourcing arrangements have been offshore – out of the USA, taking advantage of low labor costs in India and Eastern Europe. To the customer of your IT Services, when they call the Service Desk, for help with some sort of technical issue they should feel they are calling someone next door. Whether they are transferred to Bangalore or Ukraine it should be completely transparent. However, that has not been the case.

     

    The Service Desk agents in these offshore locations are technically well trained; they are even given English names and receive elocution lessons. However, outsourcing the Service desk to an offshore location may yield cost savings, but customer satisfaction is not great. Generally, customer satisfaction with these offshore facilities has been low.

     

    For the IT Services organization, the Service Desk is the window through which their customers build their perception of the value of both the IT Services department and the people who run it. So if Customers are not satisfied with the service they receive at the Service Desk, it will have a negative effect on the overall organization.

    Gartner identified four factors as the main contributors to customer dissatisfaction with the offshore Service Desk and the drive to bring them back in-house:

    Client knowledge: When a Service Desk is in-house, whether or not it is run and managed by the host company’s employees or an external provider, these people have access to internal communications which enable them to clearly understand the business and, therefore support end-users more knowledgeably. When the Service Desk is offshore, a good service provider may try to capture the information into a knowledge database, but the information is not always kept up to date or easily understood.

    High turnover: A recent Gartner survey for all IT services showed that the worldwide dropout rate was 14.7 percent and offshore it was 22.1 percent. Although this can be a problem anywhere in the world, it can be extremely prevalent in low labor-cost countries where many IT job opportunities exist and many IT Service Desk agents will switch jobs for a small salary increase.

    Cultural differences: If a client has a problem, he or she will relate the problem over the phone, but because of cultural differences, the Service Desk agent may not interpret the problem and react in the most appropriate manner. For example, a client employee may have a problem on a PC and want to know how to fix it. Instead of explaining how to fix the problem, the offshore agent may take control of the employee’s PC and fix it without explaining how this was accomplished because the agent doesn’t want to bother the client. However, the client employee may be dissatisfied because he or she doesn’t know how to fix the problem resulting in another need to call the help desk again in the future.

     

    Cultural issues and dialect were the factors rated highest when discussing dissatisfaction with offshore Service Desk facilities

     

    All this doesn’t mean that offshore facilities are all necessarily bad. Mexico and Central America for example have been receiving some fantastic reviews and increase demand. Mexico share 3 time zones with the USA, it is culturally more aligned, English is the ‘second language and the accent is very similar, and labor costs are super competitive.

    The second reason for bringing the Service Desk back in-house is that the providers are based in technology solutions, and not a customer service focus, and this shows itself in their approach to market offering and results in negative perception for both the IT Services organization and the people running it.

    Do you relate to this business case?

     

    One company recently asked Towa to provide a Service Desk Analyst to work with their main Service Desk provider – as a pilot to test our approach. We had been selling to the organization that our approach of delivery Service Desk from a Customer design-centric focus, backed up by robust ITIL processes, so they invited us to do a 3-month trial. The main provider had been supplying IT infrastructure to the organization for many years, and a few years ago the organization asked if they could provide them with Service Desk. Of course, the answer was yes. But shortly after the contract had begun, complaints started to come in. This situation became more of an issue and eventually raise concerns about the CIO’s performance, and the overall value of the IT organization was being questioned. The main provider had a background in technical IT solutions. The people on the desk were good, technically very good engineers, but had no sense of customer service and satisfaction.

     

    In a quick period our CSR (Customer Satisfaction Rate) started to show a trend, the company increases our team to 10 staff and more results started to be reported, better satisfaction, first-time fixes, and consistent friendly support for level 1 employees. Then fast forward 10 months later, the organization grew our team to provide more staffing for level 1 and level 2 Service Desk services. 

     

    Many companies get more focus on technical skills than actual customer-centric mindset.

    outsource service desk analyst

    Outsourcing your Service Desk to a Customer-centric provider 

     

    The right partner for your company will depend on many factors, like culture, language, time zone, size, and many others. Outsourcing is a good option with the right partner.  

     

    Service Desk and Technical Support outsourcing is an efficient way to reduce costs and increasing customer satisfaction – which can ultimately increase the profitability of your company.

     

    The main benefits of outsourcing the Service Desk and IT Technical Support are as follows:

    • Better financial leverage.
    • That is because it can lower fixed costs and at the same time bolster return-on-investment.
    • A known fixed cost.
    • Improved Net Income Per Employee.
    • No Training costs – your company would not have to spend money on training its staff to learn and master the use of new software or even hire more professionals to do so.
    • No recruitment costs, and the inherent management time involved in the recruitment process.
    • If the facility is off-site, savings on office space and consumables can be made.
    • Management Issues.
    • Frees up time to spend on key competencies and applications, and focus more on the Customer – leaving the provider to deal with office support, operating systems, and other non-core tasks/functions.
    • No need to worry about the constant ‘churn’ of employees.
    • No worries about being able to provide career progression – the provider will take care of this.
    • No worries about cover for sickness and holidays.
    • You will be able to create a better customer experience – this is the business of an outsourcer with Customer-Centric designed services.

    Increased positive perception of the value of IT Services and the people who run it.

    A company can move its help desk outside for many reasons. Help desk outsourcing can be a strategy in itself. On its own, it can help a business achieve specific and numerous targets or goals. But logically, the practice you have to manage the partner relationship.

     

    For the ‘cons’, Service Desk outsourcing can make a company lose its control over training, although the contract would stipulate what skills and competencies are required – it is up to the provider to ensure its employees have the required skills. It would also have to turn over specific parts of its operations to an external vendor, which can raise issues in terms of privacy and trading secrets, but with the right contract, this should be taken care of.

     

    Some companies express their worry that Service Desk outsourcing employees may lack concern for the customers. This logically is a serious concern because most clients are sensitive over Customer Satisfaction ratings. If Service Desk representatives of the outsourcing provider are not professional and educated, it can reflect not on the outsourcing firm but on the company that pays for the service.

     

    Finally, in a Service Desk outsourcing the setup is off-site, the company would have to get used to having remote personal. The provider can be operating in another country. As described above, there can be cultural differences that may show in the service. Businesses that prefer to keep their staff socially and culturally intact will also have inevitable issues with offshore outsourcing.

     

    When looking for a Service Desk or Help Desk provider is a far better option to consider a neighboring country like Mexico, with lots of well-ranked Universities, proximity, cultural affinity, English as a second language, competitive and fair rates, same time zones, are a good value proposition.

    Towa Software has over 20 years of experience to guarantee technical skills and outstanding customer support. 

     

    Starting small and build trust with your provider before scaling. 

     

    We outsource Service Desk services for companies in the USA for more than 10 years now.

     

    You can contact us at support@towasoftware.com or give us a call via (+1) 210-787-4525 for more information.

     

    You can Book a 15-min call call with one of our Customer Success Managers for a conversation.

    Contract Tips: In Software Outsourcing Agreements

    All company sizes, any business can potentially benefit from outsourcing talent. Instead of taking an in-house approach for a team of developers, outsourcing top talent and management skills can save enormously in the software development budget.

    It’s a win-win, you will have more time to focus on your core business strategy. And you will hire a dedicated team of skillful engineers to carry on the heavy work of development and launching software products. 

    Keep in mind that any contract for software development is different for each type of company. It will be good to have a lawyer to tailor and structure the core areas such as fees, expenses, the scope of services, and costs from time to time.

    Why software development agreement is important?

    By signing a software development contract, you can protect your business from some downfalls. If not carefully doing it right, you can time-draining legal dispute. Don’t worry. The contract is your best protection against inevitable conflicts over things like:

     

    • Specifications. This is one of the most important elements of the contract. A well-written scope of work (requirement specifications) defines out exactly what the finished product will be like.
    • Payment. What payment terms are agreeable to both parties and when.
    • Work phases. Determine how much work needs to be completed at each stage of the project.
    • Intellectual property rights. Ver important, who owns the software, source code and technology.
    • Copyrighted material. Who owns the copyrighted material that goes into software development.

     

    At Towa Software, we have more than 20 years of business experience. When developing a new project for our clients, we will outline the specific requirements like audience research, deadlines for particular areas, prototyping, UI/UX design, coding, testing, DevOps, and many other activities that are needed. The software development contract helps many clients ensure that the software outsourcing company and the client are on the same page, clearly stating development services, timelines, payments and more.

    What you should take into consideration when hiring an Outsourcing company?

    Watch for contract loopholes in an IT outsourcing contract. There are dozens of common mistakes you can make.

    Before the master contract is signed, ready carefully.

    Let’s learn what to watch in contract loopholes in software outsourcing, from personal experience. 

    Most Popular Types Of Outsourcing Contracts

    First, you should be clear about what types of software development contracts are available.

    When outsourcing a development team, it is hard to have full control over the work process. Before the project begins, the most important thing you can do is to clarify all the requirements of the contract in detail, most importante is the scope of work.

    What costs are involved? Is there any hidden cost? What price rates will be agreed upon? 

    Let’s find out the features of each contract for outsourcing services, most commonly used.

    Towa Software Agile Remote Teams in Mexico

    Fixed Price Contract

    A fixed-price contract determines the price of a certain scope of work, regardless of the actual time of end-to-end implementation. Moreover, this type of IT outsourcing model can provide financial incentives for achieving specific project milestones and reach goals.

    • A good option for short-term projects
    • Client and Outsourcing provider agree on a ‘fixed price’ for the service
    • The price is estimated by outsourcing company based on the well-defined scope of work (requirements)
    • The downside is little or non-flexibility under this type of contract for adding or changing the scope of work

    Time & Materials Contract

    Different from the fixed price project, the T&M model does not need a detailed estimate of all the features and requirements. The client pay for the hours spent on the development of a determined scope of work. Ideal for long-term collaboration: 

    • The Client pays the outsourcing company for work time and used materials monthly.
    • In contrast, to Fix price, T&M allows a great level of flexibility in development, to change requirements, and to allocate resources according to business needs. 
    • Ideal for long-term cooperation.

    Dedicated Team Contract

    This software development contract model will fit better for all kinds of development tasks. A dedicated team will only focus and work with your software project to achieve results and become a high-performer team in little time.

    At Towa Software, we have been proving this model of contract for some time now and believe it is the best way to consolidate an outstanding team, with top talent, dedicated only to your product.

    • More for a long-term project with flexibility and potential to scale
    • The whole team is in one place or remote, same time zones and cost savings
    • The team is managed by senior experts and specialists to guarantee results
    • Highly motivated team members quickly react to any issues and changes
    • The whole team is dedicated to your success

    Now that we have discussed in general terms the most used models of contracting with a Software firm, it is time to bring some light to the most common mistakes people suffer when hiring a team of engineers, watch for these loopholes.

    How To Avoid Contract Loopholes In Software Outsourcing?

    It’s usually the client’s choice to select between Fixed price, Time & Materials, and Dedicated Team for hiring a software development company.

    All types of outsourcing models have their risks and opportunities. Even with all things being considered, we strongly recommend watching for these key points to reduce the risk of contract loopholes.

    Define Development Specifications

    Specifications are the main part of any software development contract. If you don’t clarify what the final product looks like, how it will look, or what customers expect, it’s hard for the development team to build a product that meets your need.

     

    Your contract should clearly define:

    • All the functions integrating with your product.
    • Write down the details of the project, be as specific as possible.

     

    Also, the contract should describe the development services that you expect your partner to provide. It also shows the procedure of making changes to the scope. Ideally, we recommend stating any changes proposed by each party as following:

    • How many times you can change a request.
    • A description of the change.
    • What is the result of the change has on the project cost and time.

    Project Timeline

    Every project should have a defined plan. The project should state the hourly rates, development phases, milestones, and deadlines. Defining each stage also helps you and your software provider. Just make sure all supplementary documents are signed by both parties.

     

    There are project management tools that help you to manage an effective timeline such as Asana, Smartsheet, Trello, Monday, there are many tools for tracking these activities.

    Payment Time

    As we mentioned before, the most common forms of payment agreement are:

    • Fixed-price means the price is paid for an entire project. It can be helpful for you to know upfront what the project will cost. This type is less flexible for changes but gives more certainty on how long it will take to develop.
    • In Time and Materials, you have to pay for the time spent and the cost of materials. Time and materials contract is easier to kick off. Because it requires less preparation and planning. Besides, the development team has more flexibility to maintain the high quality of the project.

     

    Your contract should detail a schedule of payments including:

    • The date that each payment must be made.
    • How payments will be made.
    • Additional fees that may be incurred.

     

    Planning payments ahead of time is always a better practice, know your cash flows and payment due dates in advance.

    Cost Estimate 

    Cost savings is arguably the major reason to outsource services and staffing. However, one of the common contract loopholes in IT outsourcing is also about the cost.

    It’s easy to fall into the temptation of selecting the least expensive providers to save money. Unfortunately, sometimes the lowest bid comes with poor quality.

    Nobody wants to provide a negative experience for a customer. So you and your software outsourcing provider should be made clear what are the communication channels, deadlines for payments, and if there is flexibility.

    To avoid mistakes in your contract, you have to set all the rules for payment and service.

    User Acceptance Testing

    In general, acceptance testing is done at the end of each development phase or Sprint. If your provider has a specific QA process that should form part of the testing, it should be documented. The agreement should also note the time assigned for testing, fixing bugs, and warranty time after launch for proving support for any defects or incidents. 

     

    For Testing, you should note the following

    • Who does the testing?
    • How long does it take?
    • What is the warranty for bug fixing?

    Measure KPIs

    Your outsourcing contract should specify the key performance indicators of the project. When the contract clauses are misaligned with the business objectives, problems arise

     

    You should consider SLA, service hours, and service elements, human resources as well as technical resources required. This allows you to prevent contract clauses and have a flexible approach to describing the service.

    Duration of Contract

    When you signed an outsourcing contract, it means the provider is the right one at that moment. However, things can change with time and business strategy. Maybe, you wish to transfer an outsourced service to another vendor or bring it back in-house development. Contract loopholes relating to exit management should be clear, but they are often ignored. 

     

    Therefore, from the establishment of the contract, the exit option must be integrated. What are the elements that will be transferred back to the customer? What are the knowledge transfers that will be provided in case of not outsourcing anymore? When and why could you decided to end the services provided must be stated in the contract. 

    Security on Top

    Many of the most commonly outsourced processes require the transfer of data. Therefore, it can carry significant contract loopholes with data protection.

    First of all, to ensure data protection, there are questions that should be asked:

    • Are the outsourcing company’s services compliant with good data protection?
    • What are the security measures in place to prevent abuse of data?

    Outsourcing agreements should cover key data protection issues. Then, the provider has to compliant with the legislation.

    The contract needs to cover the extraction and removal of your data.

    It’s also highly recommended you take advantage of how the transfer back to your systems can be made securely.

    Conclusion

     

    When starting outsourcing with a new outsourcing partner, many companies tend to sign the contract without having the resources to manage the agreement. As an Owner, CEO, CIO, or CTO you should know how to follow up on a detailed outsourcing contract. But we highly suggest that you write a simple contract through a clear and structured model of cooperation. Both client and software outsourcing providers should consider including timeline, the scope of work, payment terms, data security, clarify service description, ending clause, and notice periods.

     

    Towa Software has over 20 years of experience to guarantee the quality of every line of code, we are proud of our products and services delivered. We recommend starting small and build trust with your provider before scaling. 

     

    We have expert Project Managers and Innovation Consultants along with top talented teams who have delivered awesome products to customers in U.S.A, Canada, Mexico, London, and Australia.

     

    As a leading software development outsourcing company in the USA and Mexico, we have extensive experience in many fields including fintech, banking, payments gateways, e-commerce, retail, marketplaces, health care, Omnichannel, and many more.

     

    You can contact us at support@towasoftware.com or give us a call via (+1) 210-787-4525 for more information.

     

    You can Book a 15-min call call with one of our Customer Success Managers for a conversation.

    How to Build an Online Marketplace

    How to Build an Online Marketplace: Custom Development with Marketplace Software

    Got an idea for a marketplace you want to implement?

    Here you will learn how to build it, the options you have and important considerations for creating an online marketplace.

     

    Two main options to build your own marketplace: 

    • Custom development
    • Off-the-shelf solutions
    Custom development of your online marketplaces

    Custom development means building software for a client from scratch, all new or with API services. In this case a custom marketplace software. You can hire an in-house team of developers or outsource your marketplace development.

     

    Custom development is a good choice to:

    • Commit to build a long-term project
    • Raise investment and solve a specific pain
    • Have greater flexibility
    • Add more features and specific customization 
    • Have control of your project
    • Integrate with any external APIs and services
    • Have a scalable solution
    • Build a custom UI/UX
    Pros of custom marketplace development
    • Compatibility: your marketplace can be made compatible with different devices, technologies, external API services and other tools.
    • Personalization: you can build the marketplace to your specific business needs and requirements.
    • Scalability: a custom marketplace can handle any number of listings and users, no limit in growth.
    • Security: custom development allows more tools for securing your marketplace against fraud and malicious activity.
    Cons of custom marketplace development
    • Time: to build something great requires time and commitment from a team, finding the right partner and dedicated team is essential. 
    • Cost: custom development requires bigger investment. The bets practice is to build an MVP to gain traction, find investors to raise money for further product development.

    With consumers consuming content and making purchases through many touchpoints traditional eCommerce platforms are in need to accelerate innovation.

     

    Marketplace solutions

     

    Off-the-shelf software is a ready-made solution. They can be a good quick start for validation of the business. 

    Off-the-shelf solutions are best suitable for

    • Validation of business idea
    • Easy to implement solution
    • Use out of the box features 
    • Less investment

    Types of marketplace software builder:

    1. SaaS – Software as a Service
    2. CMS – Content Management System
    3. Vendor-hosted
    4. Self-hosted (open-source or closed-source)
    5. Headless API – Application Programming Interface
    6. Marketplace Builder with SDK
    7. Marketplace with a basic front-end template
    8. PaaS – Platform as a Service
    1. SaaS – Software as a Service

    SaaS is a software model where software is as subscription, rather than bought and owned, and is centrally hosted.  

    The Saas marketplace platform could be the most suitable for marketplaces with a relatively simple business idea, or a niche & non-technical team. 

    One of the most common pricing models for such services is a monthly and yearly subscription fee. The exact price may depend on the number of transactions made through your marketplace, the number of listings (published goods or services), or the total number of users that have been registered on your platform.

     

    Pros of SaaS for marketplaces
    • Little or no technical effort to start from the founder’s perspective
    • Experienced technical support from SaaS provider

     

    Cons of SaaS for  marketplaces
    • Low flexibility in terms of both functionality and UI
    • High price after reaching some number of users, listings etc.

    Hosted version:  

    • The provider takes care of servers and tech support.
    • You get regular updates of version and latest features
    • Some payment gateways are available
    • Little technical knowledge is need
    • Little or no customization the backend
    • Limited customization frontend (CSS, HTML, and JavaScript)

    Self-hosted version:

    • You are responsible for installation
    • You are responsible for the technical skills
    • The level of support depends on many factors
    • Some code can be re-written
    • Requires bigger investment

     

    Best choice Vendor: Arcadier Marketplace Builder – Scale version 

    2. Content Management System (CMS)

    СMS is a software used to create and manage digital content. Marketplace CMS gives more flexibility than custom SaaS in terms of logic and UI customization. The developers for the marketplace team have more control over the code base and can create pages and transaction flows with more complexity. To build the marketplace you must hire a team of developers who have experience with this specific CMS or tech stack on which it is built.

     

    Pros of CMS
    • Flexibility for UI and business logic customization
    • Can access a pool of vendors 

     

    Cons of CMS
    • Need to find the right developers with a particular CMS tech to customize it (if a vendor doesn’t offer any customization support)
    • Additional development cost, if it doesn’t feature public API or integration with external APIs.

     

    Vendor-hosted

    • Vendor offers hosting and deployment services. 
    • Vendor provides backups and updates for your marketplace
    • Access a team of dedicated developers through the vendor to customize it according to your needs.

     

    Self-hosted

    • open-source marketplace CMS or it can be a commercial lifetime license
    • You control deployment, scale and customizations to meet your needs
    • You are also responsible for technical support.
    3. Headless API

    Marketplace Headless API (or so-called API as a service) is the evolution of SaaS marketplace technology. An API is a set of requests and methods between a server and a client.

     

    All the vendors of Headless Marketplace APIs provide great flexibility for customization to build your marketplace idea. A great solution can be built with APIs. They are also great to customize the UI and logic.

     

    Some vendors offer an SDK marketplace library (or set of libraries for different programming languages) that wraps low-level calls to your API from marketplace front-end over HTTP or GraphQL, this can accelerate your development. 

    Some marketplace API providers offer a frontend template that uses their marketplace API (+ SDK). A particular marketplace developer may use it as a starting point and customize or even rewrite it from scratch later if needed.

     

    Pros of Headless API
    • Totally customizable UI and maximum business logic flexibility (with the API endpoints)
    • Easy to integrate Headless API into existing website or e-commerce sites (Some API vendors offer connector scripts for some target e-commerce platforms)
    • Full flexibility for marketplace builders in terms of API support, QA and DevOps

     

    Cons of Headless API
    • The UI and UX for the marketplace need to be created from scratch or based on a frontend bespoke template. 
    • Some vendors manage hosting, deployment, and backups of the front-end. 
    • Need for a dedicated team of engineers to build your marketplace

     

    Top Vendor: Arcadier Marketplace – Enterprise version 

    4. Platform as a Service (PaaS)

    “Platform as a Service” or “Marketplace Platform” is the new enterprise type of a marketplace tech approach. PaaS is a digital platform that allows people to build marketplaces and services by using the API services.

     

    Paas is a great toolkit for a marketplace builder, means more flexibility for the UI/UX and logic are APIs, the deployment and administration are done through the platform portal interface. It is a mix of open-source, API as a Service and Infrastructure. 

     

    Here you gain much more flexibility for customization. Here you have access to the frontend and backend. The downside is that you’re tied to the platform’s grid of deployment and scaling servers. For some, you need your vendor to provide DevOps and support. Other vendors will help to provide Tier 1 services for scaling at a cost. 

     

    Pros of PaaS Marketplace Builder
    • All pros of the Headless API
    • Plus some Vendors provide support and consulting for both front-end and back-end parts of a marketplace

     

    Cons of PaaS Marketplace Builder
    • There is some Vendor dependency in terms of long-term commitment 

     

    Best Vendor: Arcadier Marketplace Builder

    What to consider when deciding to develop a marketplace?

     

    Budget

    Is your capital under USD $25,000? An off-the-shelf solution could be an option of low-budget to start with limited functionality. Another option available to you is starting with a discovery phase and building PoC, if you plan to pitch your idea to investors to raise money.

    Do you have USD $25,000+? We suggest building something with a Saas, Paas, with Headless API to customize your Marketplace. 

     

    Deadlines

    Want to launch a marketplace MVP in less than three months? Your options are SaaS Of-the-shelf. 

    Have more than three months? Go custom, build something with a Headless API option, create our unique ecommerce experience. 

     

    Investments

    Have limited funds? Go with a pre-build Saas or Paas, with litte customization.

    Are you willing to fundraise further? Custom development is better to innovate, using a Headless API vendor will be the best way to go. Hire a dedicated team of experts. 

     

    Size of your marketplace

    Less than 100,000 users in your marketplace? SaaS or PaaS are a perfect fit. Find if the vendor is able to scale when needed.

    Planning to have more than 100,000 users? A Headless API with scalability or custom development with a Team of experts are the best approach for scalability. 

     

    Technical Skills

    Not Tech founders? You can hire a Team of eCommerce experts to build a custom marketplace with SaaS or PaaS. The top value of custom development is personalization. By building a marketplace with the right tools, you will be able to design it exactly the way you want it to be. 

    Want to hire a dedicated team of eCommerce experts? We might be able to help you, depending on the stage of your eBusiness we can jump in, build a team of experts, to provide the right mix of tech skills, innovation and business sense.

    custom maketplace with towa

    Summary

    When planning to build an online marketplace you have two options: custom development or an off-the-shelf solution. 

     

    Off-the-shelf software for marketplaces comes in four different shapes: SaaS, CMS, Headless API and PaaS.

     

    While deciding what is most convenient for you business, remember these questions:

    • What is your budget?
    • When are your deadlines?
    • Do you plan to fundraise?
    • What is the desired size of your marketplace?
    • Do you have the technical skills?

     

    If what you need is a fast and less expensive option? 

    Then an off-the-shelf solution is the way, we are the right partner to help you build your MVP with best time-to-market and with little investment. (SaaS, PaaS, Headless API) 

     

    But if you want to build a marketplace to your specific needs, scalable, more secure, hyper-personalized?

    Then custom development is what you need. Here at Towa Software, we build custom marketplaces with highest-standards of quality, best rates in North America and with an expert team of developers, ecommerce consultants, innovation manager, UI/UX designer, QAs testers and Scrum Masters.

     

    Book a 15-min video call with us. 

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