British SME owners on remote work, software and the future post-pandemic

British SME owners on remote work and COVID-19

With the UK facing a slow return to the workplace, it has been reported that there could be a second wave and another lockdown.

In London in particular, this is a big concern, since if the new rule of six (no more than six people are allowed to gather together in the same space to help reduce the spread of COVID-19) doesn’t work out as expected, the future of office working is pretty much still up in the air. 

British SME owners on remote work and COVID-19

We wanted to hear from SME owners about their experience with COVID-19  and how software has helped them overcome the hurdle of managing a remote workforce.

#1: Adapting your business model to survive

51% of businesses had to implement new software as a response to the pandemic. Remote desktop software, live chat software and video conferencing software are the three most popular software solutions purchased by SMEs. In addition, 76% have had to change their offering to adapt to the crisis.

We asked them how this impacted their core business model and to describe any major changes they have experienced. 

Richard Westhead,CEO, One Digital Signage

“We placed three elements at the core of our response to COVID-19: the enduring viability and success of our business, the wellbeing and support of our people, and providing the solutions needed by our customers and the general public. These factors were vital in steering a business strategy that has seen the company design, develop, and manufacture a range of new COVID solutions.”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek:

There has clearly been a significant impact on the market and going forward new business development will no doubt be challenging. Difficult market environments change business priorities and create opportunities for innovation, and it is important to be ready to adapt to meet client needs.”

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected:

“Detected origins came about while working on another business I have. The more we helped both buyer and seller, the more we saw issues with suppliers. There wasn’t a way to verify a seller’s authenticity and we encountered plenty of unscrupulous parties. We realised business verification was something every company and marketplace needs. Detected was then born.”

Charles Henri Becquet, CEO, My Social Book

“We saw a large increase in sales during global lockdown. People were online more and took to social media to stay connected with friends and family. Customers were also after creative activities to spend time on. After all, there’s only so much Netflix you can watch.”

#2: Remote work and taking care of employees

Retaining employees (45%) and maintaining employee productivity (49%) are two of the main concerns for managers during the crisis. 

One of the key successes of collaboration tools is that they replace office interactions by allowing users to work together via virtual interaction. However, it’s important to make sure that communication between teams is efficient and well planned to avoid messaging saturation.

We asked British owners how they have handled the transition of their staff to remote working and how have their employees responded to the change.

Richard Westhead,CEO, One Digital Signage

We have supported our team to work remotely, and for all of our people we have emphasised the importance that they feel comfortable in their working environment. There has certainly been no downturn in performance and we will continue to support remote working as a choice for them if they want or require it.”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek

“For many employees, working from home on an almost permanent basis has been challenging and while the company operational objectives can be met, we also recognise that it can be difficult for individuals. The workplace is not only important to people from a career/employment perspective but is often part of their social lives where they support and are supported by their friends and colleagues.”

Charles Henri Becquet, CEO, My Social Book

“For us, habits, routines and structure are crucial. We keep in touch and share information as much as possible – it’s crucial everyone knows the team’s priorities. Each of us works in a different way—some of us are good at holding ourselves to account, others need more guidance. Leaders should take this into consideration and keep adapting.”

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected:  

“The most important thing is having everybody know everyone else’s role and ensuring we are all heading in the same direction. Remote working stumbles when people don’t know what others are responsible for.”

#3: Using new tools remotely (and how to get everybody on board using them)

A new software tool shouldn’t add an additional layer of responsibilities, it should remove them. 

When choosing collaboration software, there should be a good understanding of the workflows, how teams work on projects, and how a tool can help improve either of those. 

Richard Westhead , CEO, One Digital Signage

“We have invested time in ensuring our people are comfortable using Microsoft Teams. Within our business development operations Teams has also been crucial to building strong relationships with new partners.”

Charles Henri Becquet, CEO, My Social Book

“[Before COVID-19] we were already communicating via Slack, Google, Zoom and other collaboration technology before the pandemic. We are investing in our SEO and using some online tools to guide that process, however that wasn’t prompted by COVID-19.”  

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected: 

“Google Hangouts is free and that’s the main tool we work in since we operate in a very lean business model”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek

“A lot of our employees were already set up for the odd working from home day before COVID-19.  However, we did have to do additional VPN testing to measure how well it worked with everyone working from home. So in this case, we were quite fortunate in that it wasn’t a  huge transition.”

#4: Business continuity and the future post-COVID-19

The lack of business continuity plans meant for many SMEs had to invest in software looking at ensuring employee productivity.

The COVID-19 crisis has shaken up businesses and pushed some of them into making emergency software decisions meant to help in the short term. However, as restrictions ease and workers start to go back to the office, companies need to think about a more longer-term strategy.

We asked owners how they see the future post-crisis and how it will affect continuity plans.

Richard Westhead, CEO, One Digital Signage:

It’s important to emphasise the impact COVID-19 will continue to have on the economy and everyday life and then devise plans accordingly. In many instances, it [COVID-19] has simply accelerated changes in consumer behaviour that were underway already.”

 

Liam Chennells, Chief Executive Officer of Detected: 

“Businesses have been forced into more astute decision-making and are far more selective about who they work with, so you have to put your best foot forward. COVID-19 has created a culture of clarity and transparency.”

Gordon McHarg, Managing Director, AutoRek: 

“Significant market disruption is [obviously] a major challenge for most business owners. However, it is the case that market disruption creates a business opportunity. This is already the case for some organisations who have moved to digital channels for distribution and who are experiencing growth above the levels they would have expected prior to the pandemic. 

Understanding the changing needs and priorities both in the short and long term of your customer market is critical to identifying these opportunities and planning for your business in the future.”

Looking for Collaboration Software? Check our catalogue

 

VR shopping adoption in the UK: 4 insights to take into consideration

When you think about virtual reality (VR), one thinks about something rather futuristic, but, in fact, it has been around for quite some time. American computer scientist Ivan Sutherland invented the first headset in 1968  and since then it’s been a long journey for VR. 

VR shopping adoption in the UK

The use of VR has extended to many industries like gaming or sports throughout the years, however immersive technologies such VR in shopping are experiencing an increase in adoption— especially since some retailers are incorporating the technology into their offering to customers. 

What is VR?

Gartner defines it as:

“Virtual reality (VR) provides a computer-generated 3D environment (including both computer graphics and 360-degree video) that surrounds a user and responds to an individual’s actions in a natural way, usually through immersive head-mounted displays.”

Consumers may be familiar with gaming headsets like Oculus Rift or HTC Vive or perhaps have used Samsung VR/Gear or Google Cardboard using a mobile phone.  But who is actually using VR for shopping in the UK?

VR shopping adoption in the UK

We wanted to understand how UK consumers use VR for shopping (or if they do at all), and what is their opinion on the technology. 

For this study, we asked 5,080 respondents in Europe (over 1,000 based in the UK)  to also understand if consumers in Europe have adopted VR shopping and what is their view on using this technology to shop.*(full methodology at the bottom of this article)

Highlights of the study: 

  • In the UK, only 13% of respondents have used VR for shopping.
  • Food & drinks (63%) and clothes & accessories (59%) are the most popular items bought using VR.
  • 60% state that 360º videos help them understand the product better.
  • 54% of respondents in the UK state that the perception of VR and willingness to use it has changed because of COVID-19.

Below are the 4 key insights from our study that retailers looking to adopt VR software should take into consideration:

#1: A quick look at who uses VR for shopping

The use of VR for shopping is still in its infancy, in the UK only 13% of respondents state having used VR to shop. This is not much different from users that have used augmented reality (AR) in the UK, with 15% of them have used this technology to shop.

So what does the current user persona look like? Respondents aged between 18 – 45 state having shopped in a virtual environment, 58% are male and the average income is above  £26,000.

Food, drinks and clothes are the most popular items bought using VR

63% of users that have used VR to shop have used it to buy food and drinks, and clothes and accessories (59%). A third of consumers surveyed (34%)  have also used it for real estate virtual visits

When asked which device they have used for buying using VR, almost half of the users (45%) used dedicated VR glasses and 38% a smartphone with a VR app and a VR headset for the device.

The most popular VR headsets used by consumers in the UK are the Samsung Gear VR (52%) followed by Google Cardboard (17%). In Europe, the Samsung Gear is also popular with users in Germany (43%), Netherlands (49%) and France (36%) using the device for shopping. 

Users in Spain (27%) and France (29%) have higher use of Google cardboard than in the UK.

Helping to understand the product better with 360º videos

Approximately half of the respondents in Spain have used  360º  videos (51%), whilst in the UK only a third have used it.  However, the number of people interested in using this type of content is higher in the UK than in other countries in Europe, with 37% of respondents interested in doing it.

Respondents consider that  360º  videos help understand the product better (60%) and add entertainment to the shopping experience (51%). 44% say it can improve the perception of a brand and 45% state that this content helps to make a better purchase decision.

#2: The VR user of the future

Looking at who is interested in using VR in the future, there are a number of factors that make for the (possible) VR shopper of the future:

  • Women: Women respondents are more willing to try VR for shopping (55%). 
  • Over 56 years old: State being interested in shopping in a virtual environment.
  • Interest in clothes and accessories: 74% of consumers that haven’t used VR would be interested in trying it in clothes and accessories followed by food and drinks (69%)
  • Income: Respondents who state being interested in trying VR for shopping have an income between £15,000 and £25,000 a year.
  • Free headset preferred: 24% of respondents would only be willing to use it if these were provided for free. 

#3: What is the perception of VR shopping by users in the UK?

Consumers would like to use VR to have a similar experience of going to a store but without leaving the house. This is important as shoppers have changed their habits due to the pandemic, being more cautious when looking to go to a physical store and using online shopping instead. 

In fact, 60% state that using VR would minimise the risk of infection as there is less interaction with people or trying clothes that someone else has already tried on.

54% of respondents state that the perception of VR and willingness to use it has changed because of COVID-19. Out of these, almost half (45%) state that they are more willing to use it than before the pandemic.

The UK is among the countries that are willing to adopt VR due to the lockdown

In Spain and France, respondents state that it has changed their perception of VR, perhaps because these countries, as well as the UK have had stronger lockdown measures have pushed people into considering other technology available to shop.

Almost half of UK consumers surveyed (46%) state feeling comfortable or very comfortable using AR and VR formats in the future for most of their shopping.

#4: Immersive technologies are here to stay

Our study showed that immersive technology such as and VR are finding a place in society thanks to allowing shoppers to experience the product before buying it.

The pandemic has changed consumer’s shopping habits and has accelerated the adoption of these technologies since they allow more distance. 60% of users state they can have the same shopping experience using VR as they would in a shop.

Providing consumers with a tailored shopping experience where they can shop from the comfort of their home or in a physical store will become pivotal for retailers if they want to stay in line with the latest demands from consumers.

Looking for VR software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “GetApp AR/VR Survey 2020” study was collected in August 2020 from an online survey of 5,080 respondents that live in the UK, Germany, France, Spain or The Netherlands.

Out of these, 1,006 participants who qualified to answer in the UK.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Freelancer
  • Full-time student
  • Retired
All participants come from different industry sectors.

The future of retail: How to shop in a contactless world

the future of retail in the UK in a post-COVID world

The beginning of lockdown meant for many a dramatic change to their daily routines. Both work and education were shifted towards online education and remote working. For retailers, this meant that physical shops had to close down and shoppers had to readapt to the online world.

the future of retail in the UK in a post-COVID world

We asked 1,045 respondents in the UK to understand if their shopping habits had changed since the beginning of the lockdown and what does the future of retail looks like for UK retailers and consumers. (The full research methodology is at the bottom of the article.)

The future of retail: 5 new ways of shopping 

We have identified five new ways that are starting to be used more by UK consumers, some of them accelerated by the pandemic, and could hold the key to the survival of smaller retailers. 

#1: Shopping by chat 

At the end of last year WhatsApp unveiled the ‘virtual catalog’ in the UK, allowing customers a new way to browse what a shop has to offer. The business can add information on price, images, description and product code. Users can switch from the personal app to the business app. They can’t run at the same time, but it allows business owners to have that app running without having to lose all of their personal one.

You don’t need to add a website, so if you are a traditional physical store, you can add to your products. However, if you use eCommerce software , then you can take the user through the whole journey, from browsing to purchasing.

 

whatsapp for business as a new way of shopping

 

Only 5% of respondents state having shopped using this WhatsApp virtual catalog, however, it could become an effective way for small businesses to reach out to younger consumers. Users can now see the entire catalogue of goods right from within the app and not having to switch to a website.

#2: Shopping by voice

This is a trend that has been around for some time (Amazon’s Alexa was launched in 2016 in the UK), however, it is still taking off—only 12% of respondents state shopping using voice assistants.

According to a poll from YouGov, consumers are using the devices such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home to play music and ask general questions, however, these are not being used for buying. 

Despite the low adoption, it is worth keeping an eye on this. AI virtual assistants can help SMEs with the customer journey, by personalising their experience and also provide a post-sale service.

#3: Social media buying

16% of respondents state using social media to buy. This, also called social commerce, differs from social media marketing in that in social commerce  the buyer’s journey (from browsing to purchasing) is done on social media platforms.

At present Instagram is the most popular platform, with buyers landing on a product and completing the customer journey on the platform. 

New research shows that consumers in the UK are keen to use social media for buying. For example, 79% state they buy more products via social media compared with two years ago.

#4: Shopping without paying in-store

Amazon Go, the ‘Just Walk Out Shopping’ model, was implemented in 2016 in the US. Here’s how it works: Users need to have an Amazon account, download the Amazon Go app, add items to their shopping cart via the app, and then purchase the items. Then, they can walk into an Amazon Go store, pick up the items they added to the app’s shopping cart, and walk out without queuing or paying at the tills. 

Amazon uses computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, which means that the items have a weight sensor so when a product is taken from the shelf it automatically updates the stock. There are also sensors and cameras that a machine learning system is showing in real-time what the user is actually putting in the bag. 

In the UK, it has been reported that Amazon will open at least 30 physical stores in 2020. With a third of consumers (24%) in the UK avoiding going into physical stores as a measure of prevention for COVID-19, Amazon Go it will be interesting to see the adoption of this new way of shopping.

#5: Shopping using AR/VR

The use of Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual reality (VR) in retail is expected to grow in the next few years. According to Gartner, by the end of this year, almost half of retailers (46%) planned to deploy either AR or VR solutions to meet customer service experience requirements.

A number of retailers have already started offering it to its customers, focusing on clothing, furniture, accessories (such as handbags) and make-up. A recent survey showed how UK consumers are willing to use AR technology for shopping, with over half of them stating they would be happy to try it if it was available online or in-store.

A change in customer behaviour towards online shopping and mobile payments

The pandemic has accelerated digital adoption and some of the methods above have seen a boost since the beginning of lockdown. Health has become a priority issue for consumers and avoiding physical contact the key focus for them when looking to incorporate new ways of shopping.

However, the pandemic has impacted consumer behaviour for both online and in-store shopping:

  • Long-term change: 62% of respondents state that their shopping behaviour has changed for good since the crisis. 
  • More online choice: 24% state buying more online than they did before in physical stores, with 13% stating this choice is due to the reduced risk of infection.
  • Cashless payments preferred: The preferred method of cashless payment is by debit card (55%), Paypal (49%), and credit card (40%).
  • Brick-and-mortar shops chosen to support the local economy: (53%) that prefer to shop at a retail shop, (34%) stated that they would choose a physical store to support the local economy.

The crisis has also impacted the way in which consumers have adopted cashless payments since the beginning of the crisis.

  • Mobile wallet usage on the rise: Over half of respondents have a mobile wallet installed (55%). 
  • Health reasons behind choosing mobile wallet: 30% consider is safer to use a mobile wallet during COVID-19 to avoid contact.
  • 100% cashless society: 43% would feel comfortable in a cashless society only if 100% of stores would accept a cashless solution.

Building resilience for the future

Businesses that traditionally had been brick-and-mortar retailers saw how they had to rapidly switch to an online model to survive.

In fact, over a third of companies (39%) didn’t have a business continuity plan in place before the crisis. In addition, 51% of SMEs have had to make an investment in software in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

So what does the future of retail look like?

The future of retail should look at combining emerging technologies that can help retailers bridge the gap between the online and in-store experience. 

Retailers that were traditionally offline have had to quickly adapt to be able to continue doing business online at a time when physical shops were closed. These unexpected changes have left many traditional retailers struggling to find different ways to serve customers effectively using other channels.  

Those retailers that already had an online presence have adapted quicker, either using an eCommerce platform or as part of Retail Management Systems

We have seen how for many consumers the crisis has meant a change in shopping habits. As restrictions ease and consumers start to shop again, retailers need to think about a  long-term strategy. 

Looking for Payment Processing Software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “Capterra Cashless Payments Survey” study was collected in July 2020 from an online survey of 1,077 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,045 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Freelancer
  • Full-time student
  • Retired
  • Participants that lost their job as a result of COVID-19 crisis
All participants come from different industry sectors.

 

1 in 2 consumers are willing to use AR technology for shopping

AR in retail for Australia

Augmented reality (AR) technology has been around for a while. In reality, most of us have seen it, possibly without realising. For instance, every time you use a Snapchat filter or chase a Pokemon using Pokemon GO, you are using an AR experience.

augmented reality used in retail to improve shopping experience

However, how are shops using AR technology to attract consumers and how is this technology perceived by UK consumers?

We asked over 1,000 consumers based in the UK (*full methodology at the bottom of this article)  to understand if British consumers have adopted AR technology and what are their shopping habits.

Below are the main highlights of the study:

  • The majority of respondents haven’t used AR technology before to buy something online (53%) or in a physical store (51%) but are interested in trying it.
  • Women are more interested in trying augmented reality experiences in both online and physical than men.
  • Men aged 18-35 have used more augmented reality apps in both online and physical stores.
  • Clothes and accessories are the most popular items bought using augmented reality in both online and physical stores.

What is AR?

Gartner defines augmented reality (AR) as:

The real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects.”

 

Augmented reality technology works by superimposing a computer-generated image on a user’s view of real life, using a person’s phone camera on a mobile device. Gartner estimates that by the end of this year, 100 million consumers will shop in AR online and in-store.

UK consumers are willing to try augmented reality

Only 15% of consumers in the UK have used AR technology to buy something online. However, out of the 85% that haven’t used the technology to buy online, more than half (53%) would be willing to try it.

uk population using AR

When asked about using augmented reality in physical stores, only 11% have used AR to buy something in store. Out of the 88% that haven’t, 51% are willing to use it.

This poses a great opportunity for retailers. Offering augmented reality to consumers can help increase brand loyalty, as well as transform the way a business works by providing another way for shoppers to experience the products.

example of ar technology in shoes
Example of AR technology Source: WWD

AR technology can help enhance the in-shop experience, like virtually trying on new products. It’s even possible to try them on before they are physically available in the store, so the customer can see how it looks and place an order to purchase it once it is available.

In recent years, a number of British retailers have incorporated AR technology to its offering. For example, John Lewis, launched last month a new feature to its augmented reality app that allows users to visualise how a sofa or an armchair would look in their living room before buying it.

More women consumers are willing to use it

A higher percentage of men have used the technology in both online and in-store. 53% of the respondents that have used augmented reality online are male, and 62% of men have also used it in physical stores.

However, the results reveal that there is a high percentage of women respondents expressing a willingness to try the technology in both online (55%) and physical stores (56%). This could mean there is an opportunity for retailers to offer more targeted products to women using AR.

In fact, the results show that AR technology is also used when buying cosmetics like make-up in physical stores (40%).  In recent years, there has been an increase in the offer of augmented reality apps in beauty and accessory items like handbags. 

Global make-up brands like L’Oreal or Sephora have started using AR to help customers visualise the lipstick on them before deciding on buying it in stores. 

Cosmetics have a lot of potentials to attract new consumers using augmented reality. British make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury used the magic mirror as a new way of attracting customers. These would sit in front of a mirror that, using AR, would scan their face and be able to see a number of the brand’s looks on them, without wearing any real make-up.

Clothes and accessories are the most popular items

90% of respondents agree that AR is most useful when buying clothes online, followed by 70% stating accessories (handbags and glasses) and 59% stating furniture. 

type of product most used AR to buy

Visualisation is the key driver for choosing AR online

When asked about the reasons to choose augmented reality for online shopping, 60% of respondents state that they can visualise the product better and/or visualise it in the right place (makeup on their face or furniture in their apartment, for example).

Health, one of the main drivers behind choosing augmented reality

Minimising interaction with people is another key reason to choose augmented reality, as highlighted by half of the respondents. 

reasons to choose AR for shopping

Other factors behind choosing AR technology include the ability to choose from a wider range of products that may not be in store (45%) and also making purchases faster (43%) are the other two chosen by respondents as main reasons.

78% of the people that have started using augmented reality stated that they see themselves buying in a physical store a lot less or a little bit less since they have tried the technology.

For the respondents that have not used it, those aged 46 and over, stated that being able to try and touch the product (47%) is the main reason. Requiring the installation of an AR app (45%) is the second most important reason for not having used augmented reality yet.

COVID-19 has made people more aware of AR

Almost half of the respondents (47%) have changed their perception towards augmented reality and are more willing to use the technology. 

people are more willing to try augmented reality

The crisis has impacted all (or most of) aspects of our daily lives, accelerating the digital transformation of companies and changing our own habits. AR technology can be a great opportunity for retailers when looking to expand the current shopping experience to their customers.

Looking for augmented reality software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “GetApp AR/VR Survey 2020” study was collected in August 2020 from an online survey of 1,406 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,006 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Freelancer
  • Full-time student
  • Retired
All participants come from different industry sectors.

 

 

Tips to make your LinkedIn for business page stand out from the crowd

tips for Linkedin for business

LinkedIn for business has become a crucial platform for companies of all sizes, and for a b2b marketer looking to make valuable connections. 

linkedin-for-business

Launched in 2003, the social media platform became recognised as a “social network focused on people who want to find jobs” and has evolved into one of the world’s most well-known tools, especially useful for businesses.

Currently, LinkedIn’s activities for business and b2b marketer concentrates on different fronts: editorial; recruitment and selection; business generation; and marketing actions.

Just to give an idea of the platform’s scale (according to the data collected by the company itself): LinkedIn has around 50 million registered companies, and 675 million users distributed globally, of which 29 million are in the UK. That makes this country the fifth-largest platform market, followed by France (20 million). 

Therefore, creating a LinkedIn company page provides an opportunity to show a company’s brand, find talent, gain authority through relevant content, make connections with other businesses, and interact with their community.

In this post, we explore key tips for you to build a powerful brand presence on LinkedIn for business with a company page, and explain how to use such tools as marketing automation or video editing, and the production of live videos, which can help you make an impact.

How to create a LinkedIn business profile 

Registering your company on LinkedIn is easy. The first step is to create a personal LinkedIn profile and, from there, register your company. You will need to complete a form to begin, submitting all of the requested information about your business.

At this stage, you can’t be vague or skip information, as this can significantly decrease the chances of your page gaining visibility. According to LinkedIn, when companies insert all of the information required, profile views increase by 30% per week.

Pay attention to the crucial data that you must provide carefully, to ensure your profile is relevant on your business page:

1- URL definition: Keep the same username that you’ve utilised on other social networks. By doing so, you maintain consistency and avoid confusing your customers.

2- Choosing categories: It’s very important that you choose the right categories to which your business belongs, both those related to the size of the company (small, medium, or large) and your company’s area of expertise. This will help users find your business when using search filters.

3- Set a tagline: For this field, choose a phrase that reflects the essence of your company. When your business appears on Google searches, part of the tagline is also displayed, so the first few words are crucial to help users identify your brand quickly.

4- Add hashtags: LinkedIn has a Hashtags field for you to enter terms related to your business. You can even add a hashtag of your own, but it’s important to insert some hashtags that associate your brand with existing terms, to boost your visibility.

Another important aspect is the visual content, which must have a good resolution to ensure the highest standard of visibility and avoid any accusations of amateurism. For a good level of visual quality, the logo should have the following dimensions: 300 x 300 px, while the cover image must be 1584 x 395 px.

When adding brand information on your LinkedIn business page in the Overview, describe your mission, objectives, and values, as well as the products and/or services your business provides. Always continue the tone of voice that your brand uses to communicate, for consistency.

Take advantage of keywords, as they can help your company gain prominence in the LinkedIn search engine. With the help of SEO tools, it’s possible to list relevant keywords for each segment.

How does LinkedIn for Business work?

LinkedIn offers a complete range of services for Company Pages, all based on the social network’s purposes mentioned at the beginning of this text.

To choose which one to use – after all, except posts, content suggestions, talent solutions, stories, analytics, and live content, all other features are paid – you’ll need to identify which strategy your brand will follow on this social network.

If the idea is to strengthen your marketing strategies, just use the features that allow you to produce and share content, and that are based on the following principles:

  • Posting and sharing:

    Like any other social media platform, LinkedIn allows you to share textual and audio-visual content, with options for emojis, hashtags, external links, and mentions of other users or companies. With so many resources, the best thing to do is diversify the messages to attract followers’ attention.

  • Content suggestions:

    One way to discover the most engaging topics for your company’s audience is to consult the Content Suggestions tool. Using segmentation filters, you can gain great insights into different subjects. You also have the opportunity to estimate the audience size for a given topic. This is an excellent thermometer for you to identify which types of content are aligned with your product or sector, and to achieve more engagement when they’re published.

However, if the focus is on supporting the recruiting team, it’s worth taking advantage of the talent solutions search resources.

Below, we list all the features for business profiles offered by LinkedIn.

Main features 

Check out our summary of the main features available on LinkedIn, and how to use them.  

LinkedIn Stories

Brazil was the first market in the world to receive the stories feature on LinkedIn when it launched in April 2020. Today, Australia, France, Netherlands, and the United Arab Emirates already have access to the feature, which is being gradually released. Despite this, only selected Company Pages can use the functionality, as it is still in the testing phase.

The content published in this tool (which can be in the form of an image or video) is available to all followers for 24 hours. Each video has a maximum duration of 20 seconds, and the dimensions used must follow the following pattern:

Videos: 1080 x 1920 px, 30 Fps, Square pixels, H264, MP4 files; 9:16 full portrait

Images: 1080 x 1920 px, JPG/PNG; 9:16 full portrait

Check out our list of software to create videos that can also help you produce your stories.

LinkedIn Lives

LinkedIn Lives work differently. That’s because companies can only broadcast live video content to their followers if LinkedIn approves. For that, it’s necessary to submit a form to the platform, which may or may not be authorised.

Check out our list of streaming software that can also help you to make your live content.

LinkedIn Page Analytics

This feature allows you to evaluate the performance of your Company Page. When analysing the available indicators, you learn about what types of content are most effective in your engagement strategy. It is also possible to get to know your followers and visitors better. 

Check out our list of web analytics software that can also help you when evaluating results.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

This is a sales tool focused on the B2B market. Using this, salespeople can search for profiles of potential customers or decision-makers and contact them.

Check out our list of sales automation software that can also help you sell.

LinkedIn Recruiter

LinkedIn Recruiter is the tool focused on finding talent on LinkedIn. If the company’s focus is hiring, this tool is ideal for you to search using advanced filters. 

Check out our list of applicant tracking software that can also help you find candidates.

LinkedIn Ads

LinkedIn ads are a way to increase the number of followers your page has, bring it to wider attention, generate more leads, or promote an event. By segmenting the audience by job or function, the ad appears on the timeline or directly in the target audience’s inbox – it’s up to you to define the approach.

Check out our list of graphic design software that can also help you create ads.

Career Pages

Career Pages is an option offered by LinkedIn to make the business page even more comprehensive. It has some more in-depth features, such as the Daily tab, in which the company can show a little more of its culture and take followers behind the scenes to see its daily routine.

In addition to this, it also features the Jobs tab, in which the company can publish job opportunities, inviting interested parties to send their application information.

Check out our list of project management software that can also help you manage all your tasks.

Tips for managing your business page on LinkedIn

It’s no secret: relevance on LinkedIn is gained by making posts containing unique and exclusive content frequently, and exploring the different formats and possibilities the platform offers. Below, we help you understand how to diversify your message and win the attention of followers.

Create a content production routine

The LinkedIn algorithm prioritises the publication of relevant content, to increase the credibility of a Company Page. To organise yourself, define at least three content editorials: for example, this could be a day dedicated to inspiring phrases, another to industry news and, finally, another to images from behind the scenes of your company. Plan these editorials in a publication calendar. 

Once you have a broad view of the type of content you must create, it will be easier to write.

If you need help with making the editorial calendar, you can use a marketing automation software that allows you to distribute these texts on the days you choose to post. Another advantage of using these tools is that you will no longer have to worry about accessing LinkedIn to post your content, as the software will do it for you according to the day and time you stipulate.

Maintain your image

LinkedIn is not just about the text – the visuals are vital, as well. Here, the difference is that you can’t use selfies (as you may prefer on other social channels). Instead, use images of the team and pictures of the company. It’s crucial that they’re good quality and mature, as their content can affect how people view your business’s credibility and professionalism.

You can also think about creating videos, even if they’re made from photos or recorded with a mobile phone. Today, there are video editing programs that allow you to easily create content for publication on social media platforms.

Another fairly common practice on LinkedIn is to insert logos or frames into photos using design software. In addition to differentiating your content from those published by other companies, this shows that your business understands the power of visual language. After a while, people will be able to identify your brand at a glance. 

Practice your social selling

If there’s a platform that gives you the opportunity to practice social selling (or relationship selling), it’s LinkedIn.

Whether using the Sales Navigator feature or manually expanding your connections, your sales team can use LinkedIn and your profile search tool to get in touch with key professionals from other companies and approach them to present your service/product. As a result, they can increase sales.

Even if you already have CRM software – or intend to use this solution to manage customer relationships and store sales data – it’s possible to integrate it with Sales Navigator, which will share information from the contacts created through LinkedIn.

Build a powerful team 

A significant part of the recruitment work is done by human resource automation software. Using this type of platform, your company’s HR can easily manage the hiring process, analyse job-specific skills, and select the right candidates.

If you already use recruitment and selection software (ATS), you can associate it with Recruiter by viewing LinkedIn candidate information on your own ATS. When combining one tool with the other, your HR team has more information to help them choose the candidates that can help your company grow. This reduces the risk of hiring the wrong people to fill important roles.

what to and not to post on your linkedin page

It’s time to advertise your Company Page

With the page built and running at full steam, now’s the time to be known and gain more followers. 

The fastest and most immediate way to increase your number of followers is to invest in advertising on LinkedIn Ads – but remember that you must invest a significant amount to achieve good results. However, the investment will pay off when you start to notice a real difference in your visibility and engagement.

However, if you’re not in a hurry and want to save money at this stage, you can take other actions without necessarily incurring an expense. The first thing is to add your Company Page profile to your company’s email signature – all employees must have that same signature. Just insert the LinkedIn logo next to the logo of other social networks if you already use this subscription format. It’s a simple technique but it can make a positive impact.

Another way to increase your range and attract more followers is to encourage your employees to add your company to their profiles as professional experience. LinkedIn promotes interactions between users when an employee starts working at a certain company or completes a work anniversary cycle, which allows your page to gain indirect visibility.

Besides, whenever adding content, especially that which includes photos of events with professionals from within or outside your team, take this opportunity to tag their profiles. This way, you’ll promote interaction and your content will gain more likes. It’s a simple process but it can make a positive impact. Whenever someone recommends or reacts to your content, LinkedIn shows the activity on the users’ timeline, making your company even more visible to third parties.

Finally, take advantage of LinkedIn’s option to invite members of your own network and invite your first-degree connections to follow your business. 

These tips will help you boost your Company Page’s engagement and gain visibility on LinkedIn.

Are you looking for marketing automation software? Check out our catalogue!

 

6 consigli fondamentali per il tuo processo di onboarding digitale

Processo di onboarding digitale

Le prime impressioni sono importanti, soprattutto quando si tratta del luogo di lavoro. L’esperienza di un nuovo dipendente durante i suoi primi giorni di lavoro può essere decisiva per quanto riguarda l’opinione che si farà dell’azienda. 

Processo di onboarding digitale

In assenza di un buon processo di onboarding, i nuovi assunti potrebbero non sentirsi a proprio agio con il nuovo lavoro, ad esempio per non aver ben chiaro quale sia il loro ruolo, non sapere a chi rivolgersi e, di conseguenza, essere incapaci di iniziare con il piede giusto.

Nel caso del lavoro da remoto, fare un buon onboarding può essere ancora più difficile. I manager non sono presenti per accogliere fisicamente i nuovi dipendenti sul posto di lavoro e, pertanto, devono fare uno sforzo in più per aiutarli a mettersi in pista.

Se stai cercando come preparare l’onboarding digitale per i nuovi membri del tuo team in telelavoro, abbiamo le informazioni che cercavi. Questo articolo funge da checklist per l’onboarding da remoto per darti tutto il necessario per elaborare un’esperienza di onboarding semplice e trasparente.

Che cos’è l’onboarding digitale?

L’onboarding digitale o virtuale è il processo attraverso il quale le aziende accolgono un nuovo lavoratore nel suo ruolo a distanza. A differenza dell’onboarding tradizionale, che si svolge normalmente di persona in ufficio, quello virtuale avviene mediante un software per videoconferenze e strumenti di team collaboration.

Un processo di onboarding digitale ottimale prevede:

  • Una panoramica del ruolo del dipendente
  • La presentazione del nuovo membro ai suoi principali colleghi
  • Un riepilogo di tutti i sistemi interni necessari per il lavoro
  • La revisione del vademecum dell’azienda
  • La presentazione della cultura aziendale

Perché è importante l’onboarding digitale, anche da remoto?

L’onboarding è importante in qualsiasi realtà lavorativa per fomentare nel nuovo membro del personale la fiducia nel proprio ruolo e un’approfondita conoscenza dell’azienda. Serve anche per risparmiare tempo sul lungo termine. Se i dipendenti ricevono tutte le informazioni corrette sin dal primo momento, i manager non dovranno dedicare molto altro tempo a rispondere a domande e dare spiegazioni in un secondo momento.

Nella realtà dello smart working, l’onboarding diventa ancora più importante. I dipendenti che lavorano da casa non hanno la possibilità di avvicinarsi a un collega per fare una semplice domanda. Anche l’assenza di eventi di lavoro presenziali può rendere più difficile sentirsi parte dell’azienda.

Fortunatamente, grazie alle moderne tecnologie e ad alcune soluzioni creative, è possibile migliorare il processo di onboarding digitale per far sì che i nuovi assunti si sentano ben accolti e sicuri di sé fin dal primo giorno di lavoro.

Quali sono i migliori strumenti per l’onboarding digitale?

Per creare un processo di onboarding da remoto ottimale è indispensabile innanzitutto disporre degli strumenti e della tecnologia appropriati. Esistono in totale cinque principali tipi di software che dovresti implementare e avviare prima di poter effettuare un corretto onboarding per i tuoi smart worker.

1. Software di collaborazione aziendale

Per prima cosa, avrai bisogno di un software di collaborazione aziendale. Programmi come Monday.com e Asana permettono ai dipendenti di lavorare insieme ai progetti da remoto, organizzare il flusso di lavoro e garantire gli uni agli altri la trasparenza sullo stato delle attività. Monday.com dispone anche di un template per l’onboarding dei dipendenti che potrai sfruttare per muovere i tuoi primi passi con il processo di onboarding.

2. Software per videoconferenze

Lavorare a distanza può provocare una sensazione di isolamento, che tuttavia può essere mitigata con l’uso di un software per videoconferenze. Con piattaforme come Zoom o Webex, puoi riunirti “faccia a faccia” con i tuoi nuovi dipendenti in occasione della loro prima giornata di lavoro. Un’iniziativa importante per aiutarli a relazionarsi con te e con gli altri colleghi da un punto di vista più umano.

3. Software per comunicazione interna

Le videoconferenze sono ottime per le riunioni, ma può capitare che durante il processo di onboarding i nuovi membri del personale abbiano delle domande da porti al volo. In questo caso, strumenti come Slack o Workplace by Facebook, sono molto comodi poiché permettono ai nuovi arrivati di ottenere le risposte di cui hanno bisogno dalle persone giuste e al momento giusto.

4. Gestionali HR

Il dipartimento delle risorse umane riveste un ruolo importante nell’onboarding dei dipendenti da remoto. Per riuscire a tenere traccia di ogni cosa relativa al personale, dai permessi ai contratti di assunzione, puoi dotare il dipartimento HR di software come BambooHR o Calamari.

5. Software per la firma digitale

In un ufficio convenzionale, un dipendente trascorre la maggior parte del suo primo giorno di lavoro a firmare contratti e compilare moduli. Tali pratiche possono essere complicate da gestire a distanza, a meno che non si disponga di un software per la firma digitale come eSign Genie o DocuSign. Con piattaforme di questo tipo non dovrai più scansionare o stampare alcun documento, che verrà invece digitalizzato consentendo di apporre la firma con un semplice click.

6 consigli per l’onboarding digitale e la nuova esperienza di assunzione

1. ‘A tu per tu’ virtuali

Anche se difficilmente riuscirai a incontrare di persona i tuoi lavoratori da remoto, assicurati che possano associare un volto a un nome. Non esitare a riempire le loro prime giornate di lavoro con videochiamate con te o con chiunque lavorerà con loro.

2. Distribuisci le responsabilità

Un buon processo di onboarding non dovrebbe essere gestito da una sola persona. Delega i vari aspetti della formazione a membri del personale che lavoreranno con il nuovo arrivato. In questo modo potrà conoscere molte persone e imparare svariate abilità direttamente dagli esperti del settore.

3. Spazio a cultura e vita sociale

Con tutte le attività amministrative e formative previste durante l’onboarding virtuale è facile dimenticarsi degli aspetti culturali legati alla tua azienda. È importante anche organizzare delle videoconferenze con i responsabili di ogni dipartimento, in modo tale che i nuovi dipendenti possano conoscere i membri del loro team e farsi un’idea della cultura aziendale.

4. Prevedi un piano d’emergenza

Un processo di onboarding che si rispetti dovrà comprendere un piano di emergenza nel caso qualcosa vada storto. Per esempio, uno dei formatori potrebbe non essere disponibile oppure qualche problema di connessione potrebbe rendere impossibile lo svolgimento di una videoconferenza. Prepara dei piani di emergenza per tali evenienze. Ad esempio, potresti fornire ai tuoi nuovi dipendenti dei numeri di telefono da chiamare quando le videoconferenze non funzionano.

5. Offri una formazione presenziale ove possibile

A seconda del tipo di contesto di telelavoro, puoi dare ai nuovi membri del personale l’opportunità di conoscere i colleghi di persona. Ciò può essere possibile attraverso una giornata di formazione presso la sede dell’azienda oppure mettendo in contatto i dipendenti di una stessa regione in modo tale che possano costruire un legame umano più solido con gli altri lavoratori.

6. Ripensa il contenuto per adattarlo a un ufficio in casa

È necessario ripensare le parti del processo di onboarding sulla salute e la sicurezza per incentrarle sul lavoro da casa anziché sull’ambiente d’ufficio. Per fare un esempio, non ha molto senso spiegare la procedura antincendio in questo momento in cui tutti lavorano da remoto. Piuttosto, è importante pensare a come creare un ambiente di lavoro in casa che sia sicuro e confortevole.

Vuoi saperne di più? Consulta il nostro catalogo di software di team collaboration per scoprire tutti i prodotti.

62% of UK consumers change their shopping habits during lockdown

online shopping habits

Retailers worldwide are going through a turbulent period. Offline activity largely ceased due to the pandemic, while shopping habits changed, with online shopping rocketing. However, the latest figures by the Office for National Statistics are optimistic—retail sales rose by 13.9% in June compared with May as demand from consumers returned close to pre COVID-19 levels.

online shopping habits

We investigated how much shopping habits in the UK have changed since the beginning of the crisis: Has more been bought online since the pandemic and what products and services have been purchased online? Has the purchasing behaviour of consumers in the UK changed permanently?

This survey took place in July 2020 among 1,045 respondents in the UK that qualified for the survey.The full research methodology is at the bottom of the article.

A shift in shopping habits towards online

Since the beginning of the lockdown in March this year, the shopping habits of consumers in the UK have shifted towards online shopping.

Shopping habits before and during covid-19

The vast majority of the respondents (95%) admitted having done online shopping this year.  In the period before the pandemic, over a third of respondents would purchase online 1-2 times a month (37%) and 29% would 3-5 a month. 

When looking at the items customers were purchasing online for the first time, clothes (17%) and food (14%), the two items most sold online for the first time during lockdown. 

Looking closely at habits during lockdown, shopping habits changed during it; the number of people purchasing online 3 -5 times has increased to 34%, and buying 1-2 has decreased to 25%. 

This may suggest that people that have purchased online for the first time have had a positive experience and are willing to continue shopping online. When asked if respondents will continue to buy these products online, clothing (34%), household goods (27%) and food (26%) were the three most popular chosen by respondents as the three they are keen to continue to buy online. 

products bought online shopping during lockdown

Amazon reported earlier in its latest financial statement  a total of $88.9 billion over this period, compared to $63.4bn in the second quarter of 2019, totalling  a 40% growth in net sales.

Retailers that were traditionally ‘offline’ have had to quickly adapt to be able to continue doing business online at a  time when physical shops were closed. These unexpected changes have left many traditional retailers struggling to find different ways to serve customers effectively using other channels.  

Those retailers that already had an online presence have adapted quicker, either using an ecommerce platform or as part of Retail Management Systems.

changes in shopping habits since lockdown

62% of respondents state that their shopping behaviour has changed for good since the crisis. Out of these, a 24% state buying more online than they did before in physical stores, with 13% stating this choice is due to the reduced risk of infection.

Physical shop experience is still preferred 

Despite this, the results of the study show that there is a percentage of respondents (53%) that prefer to shop at a retail shop. 

When asked for the reasons for choosing shopping at a physical shop as opposed to an online one, the main two reasons are because they prefer the shopping experience (e.g., to touch the garment and to be able to try it) and also because it allows them to have the product immediately  and not having to wait for it (44%).

consumers prefer physical shops

A third of consumers (34%) stated that they would choose a physical store to support the local economy.

The future of shopping experience

As online shopping continues to consolidate itself as the new ‘normal’, pushed by the pandemic, there are other channels that are also growing, like voice-activated AI devices and social media.

For example, 56% of respondents would be interested in trying walk out shopping apps in the future due to time-saving and innovative ways – however, only 2% of respondents have actually used it in the UK.

new shopping experiences preferred

The ‘just walk-out shop’ (like AmazonGO) consists of having an app installed on the mobile phone and in-store shoppers buy products without having to queue at a checkout till.

The technology automatically detects when products are taken from or returned to the shelves and keeps track of them in a virtual cart. When the customer has finished shopping, they can just leave the store and will be charged to their account. 

Paying habits are also changing

The preferred method of payment is debit card (55%), Paypal (49%) and credit card (40%). 

However, the results of the survey show that consumers are becoming more aware of security threats when buying online. For example, 22% of respondents are a little or not concerned about the security threats when buying online – despite this, a third of them (29%) has been victim of an online scam.

payment methods used in the UK during lockdownn

54% of respondents ensure the website they are purchasing from is encrypted with SSL before making a transaction. The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) provides some tips and advice to consumers when looking to buy online. 

In particular, the NCSC recommends using a two factor authenticator and  password manager that can help keep passwords safe in a digital vault and prevents attackers from accessing sensitive information.

Online reputations matter more than ever

Reputation of the shop (36%) and checking third-party reviews (28%) are also used by consumers before making a final decision about the security of the online shop they are looking to buy from.

Online reputation matters. In fact, 62% of users trust online reviews more than expert’s opinions when looking to buy a new product, according to a previous study.

Our study also found that 92% of companies are not using software to evaluate online customer reviews.

Now that consumers are shopping online more than before, investing in a  review management software can help collect reviews, respond to negative feedback and improve customer perception of the product or service that the business offers, leading to an increase in reputation and sales.

Looking for Payment Processing Software? Check our catalogue

* Survey methodology

Data for the “Capterra Cashless Payments Survey” study was collected in July 2020 from an online survey of 1,077 respondents that live in the UK.

The survey data used for this article comes from 1,045 participants who qualified to answer.  The information in this article corresponds to the average of all surveyed participants.

Note: There were several answer options available for the graphics so that the total of the percentages exceeds 100%.

The criteria for participants to be selected are:
  • Employed full-time
  • Employed part-time
  • Freelancer
  • Full-time student
  • Retired
  • Participants that lost their job as a result of COVID-19 crisis
All participants come from different industry sectors.

 

GDPR after Brexit – what’s next for SMEs?

GDPR after Brexit

After the UK government’s withdrawal bill was passed following a great deal of difficulty in parliament, the future of Brexit was set.

This placed a deadline on the UK’s departure from the European Union on New Year’s Eve, 2020. Although – in theory – this deadline could be extended to ensure a future trading agreement between the EU and the UK is reached, the government has said it will not do so under any circumstances. 

GDPR after Brexit

GDPR after Brexit

For SMEs, this means that how they will trade with suppliers and customers in EU states is likely to change.

In the field of data compliance, there are currency tools available to help businesses, like compliance software or even specific GDPR compliance software –  however, there are likely to be some changes, too. 

This is because SMEs have had to comply with GDPR (General Data Protection Regulations) which first came into force in May 2018. 

The UK had its own data management laws before GDPR. However, their introduction meant that every UK organisation handling customer records needed to take much more care over data protection. For example, which information was kept, how long it was held for and how it should be destroyed. 

Many SME owners and digital directors will know a great deal about GDPR already since it often meant a big change in data management when it first came in. Anything from cookie policies to the digital destruction of confidential customer records fell under its auspices.

So, what will happen to GDPR after Brexit? Will it no longer apply to UK-based businesses or will it still have an impact? If so, will it matter to businesses only operating in the UK with no European trade or will only larger organisations need to pay attention to it?

 Read on to find out more about GDPR after Brexit and what you can do to plan for it before the new regime starts in January 2021.

Why was GDPR introduced?

Before progressing to GDPR after Brexit, it is worth noting exactly why GDPR came in and what it is for.  Some SMEs saw it as nothing more than a lot of additional administration that they could do without. However, the idea was to protect everybody, from individuals to small enterprises.

Any data collected on you became accessible to you. Only files that were reasonable to keep could be stored and everyone in the EU gained the right to be ‘forgotten’; in other words, to have their digital records destroyed. 

By forcing organisations to keep their data more securely, it also meant hackers found it much more difficult to get hold of customer files – something that has undoubtedly led to SMEs taking more care with cybersecurity measures. In turn, this has helped them to maintain a better reputation for corporate governance than they otherwise would have.

What does GDPR cover?

Currently, GDPR covers all organisations in the ways they handle online storage, their websites and their business apps in compliance within a single legal framework. 

Compliance with GDPR after Brexit may, therefore, continue to be a case of best practice. UK-based businesses are still going to need to manage all of the data they keep on the public, customers and suppliers. 

At present UK companies currently bound by GDPR are also under the regulations enforced by UK law, specifically the Data Protection Act of 2018

 Indeed, this law already includes the ability to interpret its regulations in accordance with those of GDPR.

As such, GDPR after Brexit is likely to apply even when the UK is no longer subject to any EU directives. Of course, the UK parliament may well repeal the Data Protection Act and replace it. That is a question for the government, however. 

For now, the initial interpretation of the law will be similar to the regulatory framework that businesses currently operate in.

How should businesses act now?

SMEs that are confident they are compliant with GDPR rules need to look to future changes by the UK legislature. This will mean differences between the UK and the EU start to occur. 

In the immediate future, however, there are no known government plans to alter the law. Of course, any breaches of GDPR rules will be subject to UK law in UK courts.

 Those businesses who sell services to EU citizens in Paris, Turin or Cologne will still need to be GDPR-compliant anyway. The EU treats businesses accessing their markets from places outside in just the same way.

Those SMEs which need to know more about how they will comply with GDPR after Brexit as the UK departs the EU can get help with the right compliance software and GDPR compliance software

Such software tracks policies and procedures to ensure they are compliant with the regulations.  

There are plenty of software packages and apps to choose from that are suited to SMEs. Effectively, they automate many of the processes needed under GDPR to help SMEs get on with their main business functions.

Looking for Compliance Software? Check our catalogue

 

Business card scan: 4 super practical iPhone apps

business card scan software getapp iphone app

In the course of your work, you regularly meet new people and accumulate many business cards as you go along. You’re already looking forward to contacting and reactivating your contacts, but first, you’ll have to register their details and the business cards you’ve collected won’t digitise themselves! All the more so as they can quickly be lost and with them, business opportunities. 

business card scan software getapp iphone app

To make it simpler you can install a business card scan applications on your iPhone. And it’s even better if this app works with your CRM software. Not only will you be able to save your data, but you can also make sure that it is easily accessible where you need it the most, i.e. in your CRM.

It will help you to store and organise your contacts intelligently, improve your customer relations, boost your sales and, in absolute terms, save paper.

4 applications for scanning business cards

In this article, we present four iPhone business card scanning applications that integrate with a CRM (except Covve which works as a CRM in itself). 

The applications are presented here as listed on GetApp UK by search volume (from higher to lower). You will find the full methodology used to select them at the bottom of this article.

Adobe Spark 

adobe spark

Adobe Spark overview (source)

Overall rating: 4.5/5

Adobe Spark allows users to create graphics, web pages and video from its mobile app or web page. Adobe Spark offers three options: Spark Post, designed to create engaging content for social media posts; Spark Page, designed to create web pages with tailored content and visuals; and Spark Video, to create custom videos.

The free version of Adobe Spark allows users to have an initial try creating free templates using Adobe’s free image and icons. The Individual plan offers two months for free (*offer at the time of writing this article) and includes a few more features. For example, with this plan, users can invite other creators to work on the project, use already made templates from Adobe and personalise projects with colours and branding.

Key features:

  • Customisable card templates
  • Allows project synchronisation across web and app
  • Professional themes available

Rates :

  • The free version allows choosing from a number of images and icons
  • The Individual version costs €12.09 (around £11) per month.
  • The Team version costs €24.19 (around £22) per month on an annual plan.

Read more

Haystack

Haystack

Haystack overview (source)

Overall rating: 5/5

The free version of Haystack includes all the essential features of a business card scanner: unlimited scans and contacts, contact sharing via QR code or URL (handy for sharing with someone who doesn’t have the application) and card personalisation using social links and images.

The Business version includes more advanced features such as customisable templates, dashboard and data analytics, permissions, customer service and integration with third-party software.  Haystack integrates with many communication tools or CRM software such as Gmail, Hubspot, Slack, Salesforce or MailChimp to name but a few. It is possible to integrate a Haystack card as an email signature, allowing the recipient to directly access all the information and links that one has chosen to share.

Key features :

  • Business card scanner
  • 25 recognised languages
  • Customisable card templates
  • Dashboard and analytics
  • Intelligent email signature
  • Integration with many tools

Rates :

  • The free version allows an unlimited number of scans and contact sharing.
  • The Business version costs $7.95 (about £6.09) per month and $3 (about £2.30) per additional user and offers more features (see above).
  • An Enterprise version is available for a price quote and offers tailored functionality and advanced customer support.

Read more

Covve

covve

Covve overview (source)

Overall rating: 4.4/5

Covve is a business card scanning tool that can scan up to 30 languages and allows you to add notes and reminders about your contacts. These can be exported to Outlook, Excel or Google Contacts.

The application also offers a contact enhancement function: suggestions are made to complete or update a person’s information (company, social media, places…). Its engine based on artificial intelligence selects news about your contacts’ companies on the web. These notifications may suggest an opportunity to contact or recontact someone.

The free version includes the scanning of 10 business cards per month, alerts, notes, reminders and labels, as well as export, news and contact enhancement.

The Pro version is a real little pocket CRM: it includes all the free options and offers an advanced version of the news and contact enhancement features, daily information backup and customer support.

Key features :

  • Business card scanner
  • 30 recognised languages
  • Managing and sharing contacts
  • History of activity
  • News Feed
  • Smart notifications and suggestions

Rates :

  • The free version Business Card Scanner by Covve allows you to scan 10 business cards per month.
  • A $2.99 (approximately £2.29) version allows you to scan up to 50 cards per month.
  • The Pro version with unlimited card scanning costs $15 (about £11.50) per month, or $89.99 (about £68.9) per year.
  • Teams of more than 50 people will need to inquire for a custom price.

Read more

ABBYY Business Card Reader

abby

ABBYY Business Card Reader overview (source)

Overall rating: 4.6/5

ABBYY Business Card Reader is a free business card scanning application that recognises 25 languages and up to 3 languages on a single card. You can save the extracted data to your phone’s phonebook and retrieve the scanned cards with the iPhone’s search function. The information is synchronised on all devices.

When scanning, OCR technology highlights “unusual” characters and asks for confirmation before saving. The application can also fill in incomplete fields and automatically add the profile image of a social network they have shared. Locations, when they have been shared, are also gathered on a map.

Other features are available if you decide to pay, such as unlimited scanning, export to Excel or Salesforce.

Key features :

  • Business card scanner
  • 25 recognised languages
  • Managing and sharing contacts
  • Automatic filling
  • Voice recognition via Siri Shortcuts
  • Integration with Salesforce (Premium version)

Rates :

  • Free version available.
  • Paid versions: $7.99 per month (about £6.12) or $29.99 (about £23) per month on annual billing.

Read more

Need to organise your contacts?

Found the right business card scanning app for you? Now you need to manage your contacts. If you don’t have CRM software yet, or if the one you use doesn’t convince you, check out our CRM tools catalogue. Many are compatible with these business card scanning apps!

Would you like to know more? Take a look at our business card software catalogue.

Methodology

  • The iPhone app has a compatible business card scanner functionality
  • Overall score of at least 4 out of 5 in the business card software category on GetApp.co.uk
  • Most reviews in this category on GetApp UK
  • Free version or trial available

 

What Is a Digital Signature and how to create one?

what is a digital signature and how to create one

Digital signatures have been around for some time but they have been recently coming into their own. Many companies, both large and small, have discovered just how convenient digital signature software can be for all sorts of reasons, including signing off on reports, putting a digital name to a contract and even for crucial business procurement. 

what is a digital signature and how to create one

Read on to find out what using one entails, how you can go about creating a digital signature for your enterprise and which digital signature software will help you to do so.

The use of digital signatures in a socially distanced world

The global pandemic has changed the way that some enterprises do business forever. Even when social distancing restrictions are relaxed, many firms will find that they keep doing business as they do at the moment. 

Of course, face-to-face interactions will still need to occur for certain aspects of commerce but, increasingly, they won’t be needed for signatures.

This is because the use of digital signatures, electronic signatures and digital id is now much more widespread than ever before due to the change in working lives that many people have gone through.

For example, in Canada a bill was passed to allow an electronic signature to be used in many situations in place of a written signature. 

In much of the UK, the legal status of digital signatures has received a boost from the Law Commission. Only very specific examples of certain types of documents – such as those connected to the Land Registry, for example – need to be signed in person. For everyday commerce and transactions, digital signatures are considered just as good as in-person ones.

Clearly, this has been advantageous for many enterprises needing to sign off on documents or to provide authentication with a digital id for their procurements and orders. 

Keeping people apart from one another has been the driver behind the uptake in digital signatures. However, since electronic communication is virtually instantaneous, many SMEs and even larger corporations have realised that using a digital signature instead of manually signing physical paperwork saves a lot of time, travel and effort. 

In other words, they offer a boost to business efficiency and few organisations will turn back from their use even when social distancing comes to an end.

How do digital signatures work?

As mentioned, digital signatures are electronic versions of a handwritten signature. They serve the same purpose in the digital realm for authenticating an authorised signatory and certificate authority, ensuring the signature is correct even when they are not kept as a pdf file or word document.

 Indeed, digital signatures ensure more efficient workflows for processes such as client sign-ups because no paperwork needs to be printed or posted.

They can be added to point-of-use sections (with a signature field or a signature line) on forms or contracts and even automated to make them simpler to use when multiple signatures might be required, for example.

In addition, some software systems that provide digital signature services will create logs for when and by whom a document was signed. 

They can also ensure contracts are correctly signed off by ensuring the signature(s) always appear in the appropriate spaces within documents. 

Digital verification methods can also be employed to ensure that the e-signature that is used is from the authorised person, the signer, a key anti-fraud protection that is worth knowing about.

Various authenticating systems are in use with modern digital signature technology. These might rely on e-mail verifications or two-factor authentication with a pin code sent to a mobile phone as well as geolocation data being used. 

Some mobile digital signature apps make use of a PDF document which is generated automatically from real paperwork that a signer can then add its signature to digitally.

This is excellent for dispersed workforces or when contractual arrangements need to be resolved in the field.

Nowadays, very advanced cryptographic methods are used to keep digital signatures private and beyond prying eyes.

Some use Bluetooth devices to ensure that a signer is the person they claim to be when signing a document, helping to identify them even if no other party is present. 

Furthermore, blockchains are also now widely utilised so that it is possible to verify when and how a document is signed so that it can’t be inappropriately back-dated, for example.

But how do I create my own digital signature?

Even for large companies – let alone SMEs – creating your own proprietary digital signature software is likely to be far too expensive and time-consuming, especially when you consider all of the relevant security measures that ought to be taken into account. 

Thankfully, there are plenty of high-quality digital signature software packages around specifically developed as turnkey solutions for enterprises that want to take advantage of them.

Of course, choosing which e-signature app will be best for your organisation is another question. Helpfully, the Capterra digital signature software guide contains a list of all of the relevant software packages with ratings for each one. 

Here, you will find e signature software packages such as DocuSign, PandaDoc or eFileCabinet (*see note at the bottom of the article) among others. Whether you want an app that is appropriate for legal documentation within a certain jurisdiction, a cloud-based app or one that offers customisation options, you will find it here.

Bear in mind that not all businesses will have the same requirements when adopting a digital signature software system. Some will only need a few e-signatories within the enterprise while others in the business-to-consumer sector may need to handle multiple digital signatures from the public every hour of the day. 

The packages on offer cater for all sorts of business needs with pricing structures to match.

Look out for those with free trial periods if you are not yet sure how you will use this technology since it allows you to try them out before committing.

Looking for Digital Signature Software? Check our catalogue

*Note: The software selected in this article is chosen by the following criteria:

  • The highest number of reviews on Capterra.co.uk
  • Rated 4+ on Capterra.co.uk
  • Highest search volume in the UK