Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Online Shopping: What is the Connection?

November comes with much hype about Black Friday and crazy discounts from major retailers. You can hardly use the internet without ads popping up about it.

The ads come to your phone, email, and social media timelines. Retailers go a step further and advertise Black Friday sales on billboards and through media houses.

Where did these holidays begin and what is their connection with shopping?

The History Black Friday

The term “Black Friday” was first used to refer to a financial crisis. On September 24, 1869, the US gold market crashed.

Two financiers in Wall Street, Jim Fisk and Jay Gould caused the crash after purchasing gold in large amounts. The day of the crash was a Friday, which was referred to as Black Friday after that.

The term has also been associated with profit and loss accounts. In the US, retailers recorded their profits in black while losses were marked in red.

The story goes that throughout the year, the accounting books for most businesses were in red. However, the situation changed on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Retailers would record a boost in sales on the Friday after such that their books changed from red to black.

People travel to be with their families on Thanksgiving. Family gatherings are partly associated with increased shopping.

Black Friday in Philadelphia

Philadelphia has a different story about Black Friday. In the 1950s, police officers throughout Philadelphia called the Friday after Thanksgiving “Black Friday.”

The city would host the Army-Navy football game, which attracted tourists from all over. It was hard to control the crowds and the chaos that came with it.

The officers had to deal with increased traffic jams. In addition, some people took advantage of the chaos and started shoplifting.

It was simply a chaotic Friday and police officers would hardly get time off. The term helped described their day after an exciting Thanksgiving evening.

Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday is the Monday after thanksgiving. The term was first introduced in 2005 and has slowly gained popularity.

Ellen Davis, a leader at the National Retail Federation (NRF) coined the term, which retailers and shoppers adopted quickly. The Federation had noted a trend in online sales on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Online retailers experienced a significant increase in traffic and revenues. Davis first thought of calling it Black Monday but the term sounded too sad.

The Federation settled on Cyber Monday and issued a press release statement on the same. True to their expectations, the world took on the term fast.

Association with Online Shopping

The travel and social habits around Thanksgiving lead to increased to shopping before and after the holiday. Every holiday is associated with shopping as people gather to celebrate.

However, Black Friday and Cyber Monday come with the best deals and discounts from retailers. Entrepreneurs have used the holidays over the years to encourage shoppers to buy even more from their stores.

Today, the world has better access to the internet than when the holidays were first introduced. Hence, online stores record almost the same amount of traffic as physical stores.

In fact, Cyber Monday was coined after increased online sales. One myth about the increase is that most shoppers were home for the holidays.

Buyers have access to fast and secure internet at home where they can easily shop online. In addition, shopping online helps family members to surprise their loved ones with random gifts.

E-commerce today comes with the option of delivering gifts to the recipients’ location. Shopping together in a physical store limits the fun on exchanging gifts.

In the US, retailers record billions of dollars in sales from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday. The sales increase every year.

Tips for Kenyan Entrepreneurs

Kenyan businesses have been adopting the culture of offering crazy deals and discounts on Black Friday. Although the holidays are considered as “western” or white, retailers have made them popular locally with discounts.

The spread of e-commerce in Kenya has enabled entrepreneurs to increase online sales during these holidays. However, some stores are yet to catch up or maximise their sales during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

If your store falls into this category, try these strategies in the coming year and taste the difference:

1. Prepare your online store

If you are reading this and operating without an online store, you are in the right place. Muva Technologies can design an amazing e-commerce website for your business. Your first step will be to create the website and promote it.

Gone are the days of relying on websites alone. Your business needs a mobile app as well. Many buyers are considering purchases via an app if the quality and pricing are consistent with the e-commerce website.

Again, we can help you develop an app that suits your business.

Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive and fast. Audit all pages to identify and clear any errors. Ensure that all listed items are in stock.

2. Start early

A new term has been coined after Black Friday, that is, Black November. Retailers are no longer waiting until the week of Thanksgiving to market their products and discounts.

The sales start at the beginning of November. Do the same. Prepare the deals and including the ads before November. Run the ads throughout the month on as many marketing platforms as you can.

3. Retarget

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great opportunities to drive traffic to your online store. The holidays are already associated with a shopping craze as described above.

However, you will have hundreds of visitors to your online store that will not purchase anything. Many will browse your deals and not place any order while some will abandon their carts halfway.

You may have the same experience in the physical store. Some buyers may contact you about the deals without any purchases.

Follow up on all new contacts that you get during this season. Have retargeting marketing strategies to sell to them even after the deals are over. The buyers already know about your business and are likely to buy from you in the future.

Final remarks

Your success in driving sales on Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Cyber Monday depends on the state of your online store. Allow expert developers at Muva to optimize your e-commerce website or create an e-commerce app for your brand. It is not too early to plan for the next holiday!

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Web Design Tips: How to Keep Visitors Longer On Your Website

Are you frustrated by a high bounce rate? You are not alone.

Many website owners experience this challenge, especially after launching a new website.

The frustration comes when you cannot figure out the reason for the high bounce rate.

You check your analytics every week and hope the situation changes.

The web design tips below will help you reduce your bounce rate.

A low bounce rate will not only improve your conversion rates but also your website ranking.

1. Highlight important information

Your visitors come for a specific reason: to find information about your business.

If your website has a blog, the title of the blog could have attracted them to your website.

The first impression will determine if they will stay or go back to the search results.

Use bold headlines and bullets to underscore the most important information.

Using long text may help with your SEO but your visitors have no time to read every line.

Ensure that the information on each page is relevant.

The content should match the headline; otherwise, your visitors will be frustrated.

2. Add high-quality images

Images get more of your visitors’ attention that text.

You may start with free stock images but with time, you need to consider professional photographs.

The nature of images will depend on your business or brand.

For many online stores, the best images to add are those of top products.

Upgrade the quality of images as you upgrade your product line.

If you have no product images to add, look for professional photos relevant to your business.

Here is another trick in case you have no images on your website.

Create quality infographics to present important information about your business or industry.

Use the infographics to highlight reasons why visitors should consider your brand or products.

If you already have images on your website and still getting a high bounce rate, it is time to review the quality and relevance.

3. Embed videos

We cannot give web design tips and leave our videos.

Quality videos are not just good for marketing but for improving your site performance as well.

We bet that your visitors will watch an embedded video before reading any text.

One thing to note about images and videos is they can slow down the loading speed.

Let us pause for a second and ask, could that be the problem with your site?

No one has time to wait for more than 4 seconds for a page to load.

Hence, as you add visual content on your website, consider its effect on the loading speed.

Choose a reliable video platform like YouTube that loads video content fast.

In addition, consider the size of the files before uploading them on the website.

Ask your web designer to minimise the files if you need help.

Again, ensure the video content is relevant to your business.

4. Bold your main keywords

The old trick still works to date. Make your target keywords bold.

Sometimes, actually, most times visitors skim through a page looking for highlights.

You cannot have images and videos alone on all pages. You need text.

In addition to using headlines and bullets, the bold text will keep visitors engages for longer.

Do not stuff your keywords but distribute them evenly throughout the page.

Visitors are likely to scroll down and click on the embedded link on the keywords.

The links should lead to other pages on your websites and not just external sources of information.

Hyperlinking any text makes it stand out even without a bold keyword. Use it.

5. Be direct

The first sentence that your visitors read matters more than you think.

Be direct from the beginning. Use short, clear and concise sentences when creating content.

Put the most important information right at the beginning of a page. Avoid long introduction paragraphs.

You may need to discuss the strategy with your content managers.

Sometimes website owners have the right content that visitors need but fail in the presentation.

Do not shy away from being upfront about your services or products.

You created the website for that reason, right?

6. Simple language

Do not try to impress your visitors with complex words or expressions.

Use plain language and simple sentences.

Your visitors will appreciate the simplicity with which you communicate complex issues.

Also, try to include a playful language in your posts.

Balance your humor with professionalism. You still want them to perceive you as a serious business owner.

You can add humor to your website to a limit. What may be funny to you might offend someone else.

Avoid expressions that target certain groups of people or any offensive language.

The rule goes for social sites, which sometimes overlook a professional language in efforts to keep visitors entertained.

7. Match the content with the title

Web design tips will always include clickbait. In most cases, content creators use the headline as the clickbait.

A lot goes into picking a title or headline for a page or blog post.

Internet users judge the relevance of search results with the title and meta descriptions.

It is acceptable to use attractive headlines. After all, you want as many internet users as possible clicking on your website.

However, the content on the page must match the headline.

Always deliver your promise on your title and meta description.

Otherwise, visitors will leave as soon as they realise the content is irrelevant. That takes seconds.

8. Add a call-to-action button

A CTA button gives visitors a reason to stay longer. Place it at the end of each post or page.

Highlight the button in a way that visitors do not miss it after reading the post.

The button could be anything from ordering a product to sharing the content.

Pick the fitting action depending on the content. Some website owners add a subscription box to collect visitors’ data.

Test the button to ensure that it works and links to the right page where applicable.

Use a creative tag line that encourages visitors to click on the button.

For instance, you will come across expressions like “before you go…” or “just a second” at the end of a post.

In short, lead visitors to take the actions you want.

Final remarks

We have highlighted the top web design tips that will keep your visitors longer and improve your bounce rate. Do you have additional tips to share with our readers? Feel free to share them in the comments section.

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21 Kenyan Statistics for Mobile and Web App Owners

Data analytics is a big word that some entrepreneurs are still struggling with today. The long and short of it is making decisions based on data.

The best time to apply analytics is before starting a business.

In our case, we want to give you key statistics that you should consider when thinking of a mobile or web app.

The big question when doing the initial market research is if there is demand for the product or service.

A good product or service should solve a problem.

Research also helps you identify new opportunities in the market.

As you read these statistics, think of the opportunities that exist in software engineering in Kenya.

Recent statistics on mobile usage, internet, population, and social media usage

1. About 8.2 million Kenyans are social media.

The most popular platforms are WhatsApp (74%), 70% on Facebook and 50% on Twitter.

2. Kenyans spend an average of 3 hours a day on social media

3. Mobile penetration stands at 91%, which is equivalent to 46.94m.

The overall penetration in Africa is estimated at 80%.

4. 43.3 million Kenyans have access to the internet (84%) of the total population.

The 3G network covers 85% of the population while 4G covers about a third of the population.

5. The Kenyan population is young with an average age of 18 years. About 26% of the total population (51.58m) lives in urban areas.

6. By 2018, Kenya had 47.6m mobile money accounts with an estimated transaction value of 3.6 billion US dollars.

7. There are more than 300 loan apps in the market.

8. In the first quarter of the financial year 2018/2019, Kenya surpassed the 100 per cent mark in mobile penetration.

The statistic indicates the total number of active SIM cards in the country as a percentage of the national population.

Kenya joined Tunisia, Morocco and Namibia in reaching this milestone in Africa.

9. Safaricom has the largest percentage of market share. However, the share reduced from 71.9% in June 2017, to 65.4% and 64.2% in June 2018 and September 2018 respectively.

10. In the same period, the Airtel Network Limited increased its market share from 14.9% to 21.4% and 22.4% respectively.

Telkom grew from 8.4% to 9.0 in the same period.

11. The total cyber threats increased from 3,462, 480 between April and June in 2018 to 3, 824, 068 between July and September of the same year.

Over 1.8m were malware attacks, 1m web application attacks, and over 900, 000 botnet attacks

The attacks increased to more than 11m by March 2019.

12. The number of domain names registered increased from 75,096 in June 2018 to 77, 671 in September 2018.

The numbers are limited to dot.KE domain names. The majority are company domains (co.ke).

13. Mobile subscriptions increased from 49.5m to 51.0m from the Oct-Dec 2018 quarter to Jan-Mar 2019 quarter.

14. At least 93% of Kenyans owns a mobile phone. About 43% use smartphones and 21% use laptops or personal computers.

Tablet usage is still low but significant at 7%.

15. Wearable tech devices are at 2% penetration in Kenya

18. 72% of Kenyans access the internet every day while 15% access the internet at least once a week.

19. News and betting sites dominate the top websites in Kenya.

20. An independent report rank Whatsapp (82%), Facebook (80%), YouTube (61%), Instagram (48%), FB Messenger (41%), and Twitter (33%) as the most active social platforms in the country.

21. Facebook has a total advertising audience of 7.9m while Instagram has 1.9m.

Facebook audience increases by 3.9% every quarter.

Notable lessons from the data

1. Social media is a great platform to advertise any product or service in Kenya.

The majority of Kenyans are social media and spend at least 3 hours on the platforms.

2. Kenyan Business owners should consider using WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger as channels of communicating with their clients.

3. The Kenyan market offers great opportunities for mobile apps and e-commerce platforms.

The country beats other African countries in internet connectivity and mobile penetration.

Any person who can identify a pain point that an app can solve has an opportunity to make money.

Even with the Kenyan apps in play stores, there are still opportunities for growth. Mobile app developers in Kenya can help new entrants in identifying such opportunities.

4. The Kenyan population is young (an average of 18 years).

Any mobile and web solutions should target young people even in design and functionality.

Young people value speed in transactions and operations. Social and dating apps should on top of the list of considerations for new entrants.

5. Cyber threats are on the rise including the reported cases.

Software developers must consider the security of users when creating new apps.

As more and more Kenyans turn to the internet for quick answers and transactions, hackers are busy looking for loopholes.

In addition to creating online platforms and solutions, developers need to educate users on security issues.

6. Although the government has been cracking down on betting companies, betting apps and sites are still a gold mine.

The young Kenyan population is looking for quick cash given the hard economic times.

Similar to other nations of the world, Kenya loves football. Hence, betting will always be part of it even with government regulations.

7. Nearly 100% of Kenyans have an active SIM card.

Notifications through SMS present a good opportunity to keep users or clients engaged.

The large mobile penetration and social media audience present marketing opportunities for new products.

Final Remarks

Assumptions in any type of business are costly. Entrepreneurs must always look for ways to measure their performance and follow market trends. Data should always guide decisions in every business. The data presented here shows great opportunities in the software business for new entrants.

Any mobile phone service that meets a pressing need in the Kenyan market is a gold mine. In addition, it is important to keep track of the latest trends. Some ideas become uneconomical over time. Government regulation is also an important consideration in software development in Kenya.

Data Sources

https://ca.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Sector-Statistics-Report-Q1-2018-2019.pdf

https://www.jumia.co.ke/mobile-report/

https://ca.go.ke/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Sector-Statistics-Report-Q3-2018-19.pdf

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Google Maps Integration: Benefits of Using Maps on your Website

Have you considered Google maps integration for your business website? Embedding maps on your site does more than giving directions. Try to search for your top competitors online. Alternatively, search for the most competitive keyword in your niche on the search engines.

The first result you are likely to get on Google is a map with the location of different competitors. When you follow them to their website, you will find a location pin on their home page and contact page. Compare the results with your own website. Which business are customers likely to choose?

Sometimes business owners miss opportunities to grow their businesses because of a lack of knowledge. If you are still unsure about this, let us look at the benefits that your business is missing for operating without maps.

Marketing your business

By embedding Google maps on your website, you increase the visibility of your business. As mentioned in the introduction, search engine results often start with maps depending on the search query. If your business is within the location of the client, it will pop up among the results.

Do not allow your competitors to outdo your business on this. Seek Google maps integration services if you do not know how to use the API. The advantage of using developers is that the integration will be done within a short time. Your team continues with other operations while developers handle the technical bit.

Building trust

Sometimes it helps to think as a client while trying to get into the mind of your target audience. In a world on online businesses, many clients still trust companies with a physical store. You have an advantage over online businesses that have no physical location.

It is now time to use that advantage well. This does not mean that you ignore of online transactions. Most of your customers will still search for more information about your business online. However, they will gain trust in your brand since they know where to find you. Some will complete their orders online but a good number will visit your store.

One of the reasons why clients trust businesses with a physical location is handling complaints. If you have your ears on the ground, you will notice that many online shoppers are disappointed because of unmet expectations. With an embedded map, clients know where to return products or ask for a replacement when disappointed.

Connecting with your target audience

Your target audience includes potential clients in your neighbourhood. If not, you need to rethink your marketing goals and approach. Consequently, your marketing strategies should include local search engine optimization. Search engines sometimes recommend service providers based on the user’s IP address. Your business will rank high by location to clients in your area.

After the aggressive marketing campaigns to drive internet users to your website, let them know where to find you. Your target clients will easily connect with you by following the map on your site. Ensure that the pin is correct and visible.

Google maps integration goes hand in hand with other contacts. For instance, clients need a phone number to call in case they get lost while following the maps. Some will want to chat or send an email before visiting your store. Ensure that the working hours are clearly displayed as well.

Google maps integration

Suggesting transportation modes

Google Maps gives users all the transportation modes available to their destination. In some cities, it is possible to view bus and train schedule directly on the maps. For those using public transport, the drop off points or bus terminus are critical.

The routes for private vehicles and nearby buildings are visible as well. In other words, your clients can pin point the location of your business and have a clear path of their way to that location. The maps help them determine the best mode of transport to use.

On the flip side, the location of your business on Google maps can help you make some decisions. For instance, if you are in area that is not visible on maps, it might help to move to a new location. You do not need to change cities but find a more visible building within the same area.

User-oriented service
Google maps integration for WordPress websites and other sites gives users a personalised experience. The service presents your business as an easy and available service. Clients are looking for the easiest and fastest way to get a product or service.

Maps integration gives clients that impression. Your business appears as an easy way of meeting their need.  In other words, you are making life easier for your clients. You might not be the best in your industry but the ease of access will give you a cutting edge.

Google has made it so easy for users to use maps. Your clients do not need any advanced skills to use the plugin on their devices. Your part is to include the right pin on your website and make it visible. Have you not received enough calls from clients asking for directions?

Cost effective

Do we need to mention the cost of maps integration? It might be the cheapest marketing strategy you have invested in since your business began. In other words, you have no reason for leaving out Google maps. The cost of integration is low.

Developers will help you integrate maps on your website at an affordable rate. Do not shy away from asking for help even if your business is old. Knowledge is only useful if you apply it. You do not need the technical skills to embed maps. Let developers do it while you keep growing your business.

Final remarks

It is evident from the discussion that your business is missing growth opportunities without maps. Do not wait until your business grows to implement market strategies. Right now while you are trying to build your client base, use all means to attract customers. Google maps integration in Kenya is for both large and small businesses. The returns are incomparable to the cost of investing in this service.

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13 Warning Signs to Look For When Hiring Web Designers in Nairobi

Gone are the days when you had to walk into a physical office to get a service. Technology allows professionals to work as freelancers including web designers in Nairobi. The same technology has opened a door for the unqualified web designers to join the industry.

You will come across many designers that promise what they cannot deliver. If you do not do your background check well, you are likely to end up in the wrong hands. The individuals may ever have some papers to show but still lack the skill.

How do you know that you are talking to the right person? Can you read past the marketing gimmicks and identify flaws? Well, let us make it easy for you. Look for the following red flags when interacting with a new web designer.

1. The designers do not have a website

Run from any designers that make too much noise about their skill but have no website. The least they can do as they look for clients is to design a website for their business. If all you see is social media buzz, messages and calls, you are talking to the wrong people. Insist on seeing a running website and then check the next sign.

2. They have a shoddy website

Let us say they pass the first test. They have a running website. Go a step further and analyse the quality of their website. Run if you find a poorly designed website. Otherwise, you will end up with the same if you hire such designers

3. No portfolio or testimonials

It is okay to hire new web designers in Nairobi. However, the decision comes with very high risks. A portfolio shows that the designers have already applied their skills in real projects. If the designers have been around for a while, there is a reason why no clients trust them with a project.

4. Poor customer service

How does the designer address you and your questions? Do you feel safe and comfortable when talking to them? If you must wait for days for a reply or get a bad attitude, you are better off with another designer. Excellent customer service is critical in every profession.

5. The designers lack an online presence

Here is another tell tale sign that you have landed in the wrong lane. You have a name but no online presence. You cannot find the designers in any social media platform. If such accounts exist, they are rarely updated and the information given is scanty.

6. They want to complete your project fast

Time is a critical factor but does take the place of quality. Be worried if find website designers in Kenya who want to rush through the process. The designers will promise to complete your website within days even without considering your unique specifications.

7. Very aggressive with pricing

Have you ever come across an advert for the cheapest or most affordable web design services? Well, there is no problem in offering affordable prices to attract customer. The problem comes when the designer insists on cheap services instead of quality service. If you hear the term “we are the cheapest” repeatedly, acknowledge the red flag and move on.

8. Asks few or no questions about your website or business

You are looking for a new channel to market your business or brand. Your website gives your audience the first impression of your brand alongside your social media accounts. Then you come across a designer who cares little about your business or brand. The goal for such designers is completing a project for the paycheck. Do what is right for your business; look elsewhere!

9. Big on plugins

Plugins add to the features on your website that makes it easier to manage content and monitor performance. However, if all the designers talk about is the plugins to add, you are in trouble. Some designers have mastered different plugins but cannot design a good website from scratch. You can add plugins without a designer. Look for skills and not design tricks.

10. Ignores your conversion goals

You are in business to make money. A website should contribute towards that goal. The right web designers in Nairobi will focus more on building your business than on developing a website. Hence, the chosen features will be based on your conversion goals. Do not trust anyone who ignores the business side of your website no matter how skilled they sound.

11. Lacks knowledge in SEO

You cannot mention web design today without mentioning Search Engine Optimization (SEO). A web designer may not be an expert in it but should have the basic principles in place. Check if their website is well optimised. The ranking on search engines including the domain authority can help you judge the designers’ knowledge of SEO.

12. No architectural strategy

Talk is cheap. If you all you get are promises but no solid strategy, you are free to explore other options. A good designer will give you an architectural strategy that suits the kind of website you need. With such a plan, you can compare the results after the development process to determine if they deliver what they promised.

13. Your gut says no

Have you ever had a chat that felt wrong? If your gut tells you to run, then run. Sometimes negotiating a deal feels wrong even when you do not have the facts. The designers answer your questions but you still feel like you are making a mistake. Do not ignore that feeling. If it feels like there is a loose end or missing link somewhere, try another design company.

Final remarks

Hiring web designers in Nairobi is only an easy journey if you know what to look for in the process. The secret is to have as many chats as possible, whether physical or virtual, before hiring. The field has many competent freelance designers. However, you will also come across individuals or companies with huge promises but no skills. Beware of subcontractors and check for the tell tale signs shared in this article.

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