Innovative Use of Tech to Make Shopping and Banking Easier

using tech for ecommerce

using tech for ecommerce

What innovative ways have you seen technology employed in stores or online? We’ve noticed a few notable ones this month, where companies have harnessed digital devices to make their processes simpler and more accessible to consumers. One such example is Argos, who are trialling tablets in one of its UK stores in place of the infamous Argos catalogue, which has been a central part of the home store for 40 years.

Chief executive of home retail Terry Duddy explained that the brand aims to offer “digital concept” stores where customers can use tablets to browse for stock with the hope of combating online competition.

Duddy continued: “The Argos transformation is well underway, including the introduction of new smartphone and tablet apps, the extension of the ‘hub & spoke’ trial, the launch of a digital Christmas gift guide and the development of digital concept stores.

“As we look ahead to the second half of the year, we expect consumer spending will remain subdued, and whilst some macroeconomic indicators are improving, these have not yet led to an increase in household disposable income. Overall we are making good progress and are in excellent operational shape as we approach the key Christmas trading period.”

Home delivery will also be removed as a service, along with the paper catalogue, reaffirming the hope that consumers will continue to shop in store rather than solely online.

Another tech development – this time in the banking world – comes from Barclays, who have revealed they plan to offer customers a ‘cheque imaging’ service to enable them to scan and cash cheques from home using a mobile phone. This system is already in place in France, Asia and the US with JP Morgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America, where customers use a smartphone app to pay in their cheques. To use the imaging service, customers scan the front and back of their cheque and the details are sent electronically to the relevant branch and verified using a computer system. Barclays confirmed its intention to add the service in response to its YourBanking project which allows customers to offer suggestions on how the bank can make its services easier. An additional bonus of cheque imaging is a reduced waiting time for clearing the deposit, cutting the waiting period from two days to 24 hours.

We’re always looking for clever ways for companies to improve their productivity and customer service – and so should you! How can technology help your business run more efficiently?

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Will Wearable Technology Ever be Fashionable?

‘Wearables’ are currently seen as a substantial opportunity for technology development by companies like Apple. CEO Tim Cook said at a recent conference that wearables like Google Glass will prove to be “a very key branch of the tree”. But will technological eyewear ever be able to compete with wristwear? Even Cook himself said that he was more excited about a wrist-based product than glasses.

Although glasses – whether prescriptive or not – have been sold as a fashion accessory for many years, the general response to Google Glass is that eyewear remains a step too far when it comes to an everyday technology device. The fashion industry begs to differ, however, with prominent audience members like Sergey Brin and Diane von Fustenberg wearing their Google eyewear at New York Fashion Week, and Vogue’s Futuristic Vision of Fashion shoot displaying the technology as a desirable accessory – but there’s a stark difference between haute couture and daily functionality.

When it comes to wearable products, smartwatches like Samsung’s Gear and the iWatch concept are not only more socially acceptable but easier to use. Smartphones are becoming a constant presence in our hands – but given the choice of how to make your phone more easily accessible, would you rather it were strapped to your wrist or your face? A wrist-based device also allows us to disengage when we need to, whereas the reliance that might develop with eyewear technology can feel like the plot of a sci fi disaster movie. One argument against smartwatches is the fact that increasing numbers of young people don’t even wear a watch in the first place, preferring to check the time on their ever-present smartphone instead, but surely it’s a shorter jump from hand to wrist than hand to eye?

One of the latest wristbands, the Jawbone UP, is marketed to people looking to keep track of their health and fitness, allowing you to measure your sleep, activity, rest periods and even what you eat. The device can also connect with an app on your smartphone to show you a daily graph of your progress, but while this may be intriguing on a novelty basis, technology with just one focus is unlikely to survive for very long compared to a multi-function device like a smartphone. Besides, it’s not all that difficult to work out how many hours’ sleep you got without a special wristband, is it?

Smartphones have steadily increased in size until they morph into tablets, leaving a potential gap in the market for smaller, more versatile solutions. But for a wearable device to rise above the realm of fashion accessories it will need to provide the same (or better) capabilities as a smartphone; it will need to be comfortable and unobtrusive; it will need to be aesthetically appealing; it will need to link seamlessly and wirelessly with other technology – and for me, such a device does not belong on my face.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Facebook Trials Mobile Ads

Facebook is trialling a new mobile ad system by placing adverts on 3rd party apps and mobile websites based on users’ data and information. This ‘small test’ has been limited to US Android and Apple iOS devices for now, and seems to be a positive move for the social network and its shareholders, who have seen stocks rise by 23% in the last two weeks.

Facebook Mobile Ads

Mobile devices have been a priority for Zuckerberg for some time now, requiring an alternative to the right hand advertising column you can see on the full website version of the social network. These column ads have been a multi-billion dollar business for Facebook, along with the addition of Sponsored Stories, enabling businesses to maximise their visibility on the social platform and Facebook to monetise the user data they are able to access.

However, an excess of ads has been notably absent from Facebook mobile apps as of yet, and so the social giant has turned to placing ads off-site – for example on Much like Google, Facebook is using anonymised user data to show relevant ads to mobile users on 3rd-party companies and apps. When you click on a banner or full-screen advert, you will then be directed to an app store or the advertiser’s mobile website – although Facebook have asserted that during the trial clicks will not be made traceable to specific Facebook accounts.

As the number of mobile Facebook users rises, shareholders have understandably become a little touchy on the subject of site revenue. A spokesman for the social network explains: “Growth in use of Facebook through our mobile products, where we do not currently display ads, as a substitute for use on personal computers may negatively affect our revenue and financial results.”

App developers have since been able to advertise products within members’ news feeds on mobile devices. But the difference between this and the new trials is that by placing adds off-site, Facebook is preventing mobile news feeds from being flooded with additional ads.

The trial has the potential to strike a balance between monetising the business and retaining a bearable user experience on mobile devices, without sacrificing screen space for advertisements. Or will it open a whole new can of privacy worms…? What are your thoughts on your user data being used in this way?


About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Keep your Mobile Phone Safe from Wireless Network Hacking

social media monitoring

Apparently there are now more smart phones than people in the UK. Blimey. The big question is: just how smart are they, really? When it comes to security they don’t seem to be very clever! Mobile hacking is on the rise, with viruses capable of hopping from your phone to your computer and back again, putting all your data and personal information at risk.

mobile hacking

Their biggest weakness is wifi – a smart phone can be hacked via a wireless network within seconds! A recent documentary on the subject showed security consultants who were easily able to hack into random phones in a shopping centre, and onto specific phones over a particular wireless network, without any physical access to the phones themselves.

We all log on to open networks from time to time, sometimes our phones do it automatically, so how do hackers get access? Wifi networks are all named, and smart phones store the information of different wireless networks to make it easy and automatic to connect.  This, however, is the weakness in the security. What hackers are able to do is use another wireless network and rename it to match the wireless network on your phone. Once your phone is connected to their wireless network there are in control of the phone, with the ability to copy files and browser history. From this information they could gain log in details to personal information and even financial data. Our advice is to switch off your wireless signal when you are not using it. Although this is not always convenient, at least your data is safe.


IKROH provide a comprehensive internet marketing service, including SEO, PPC, social media marketing and mobile marketing.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.

Facebook Mobile Deals – Rewards on the High Street

FaceBook Places | Ikroh

FaceBook Places | Ikroh

Facebook Places launches a new aspect to their mobile experience for users in the UK today – the opportunity to save money and use special offers by ‘checking in’ to Facebook on your mobile when shopping on the high street.
Designed as a natural extension to how users are already using Facebook Places, the social giant is now adding an incentive for Facebookers to post their location, by offering discounts and vouchers from third party companies.

Similar to the FourSquare template, customers log in to their Facebook profile, telling the world they’re visiting Yo Sushi, Debenhams or Starbucks for example (all verified participants in the scheme), and are rewarded with a kind of virtual loyalty card or coupon. Other British participants include: Mazda, O2, Alton Towers and Benetton, with more likely to follow.

Emily White, spokeswoman for Facebook Places, explained how over 200 million users are already posting their location from their mobiles with no incentive, and the new addition to the service creates, a “chance for businesses to be part of the conversation” and the “opportunity for users to find even more value from Facebook on their mobile phone”. Facebook is not apparently taking a cut from the affiliations, asserting that it’s really just about a “killer user experience”.

Deals available to Places app users also include “golden ticket” rewards and bonuses for users who bring their friends, as well as the chance to help charities – for example, every check-in to Argos automatically donates £1 by the company to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Speculation, of course, surrounds the potential threat to similar loyalty-scheme-based companies: FourSquare, Groupon, Living Social and Quidco to name just a few. White assured that these companies are “not in the line of fire”, that businesses like Groupon are have a different focus to the service Facebook Deals offers. Groupon in particular, she says, is more about discovering new products and companies, whereas Facebook Places is about “presenting offers in places you’re already going to”. True enough with regard to Groupon, or Living Social, but what about the others? Is it a coincidence that Quidco recently launched the option of registering your credit/debit card with your account so that you receive points every time you use it on the high street? As we’ve looked at previously – mobile marketing is certainly the future of commerce, but is it likely to be monopolised by Facebook right off the bat?

From a customer point of view, things seem pretty sweet (unless you’re especially paranoid about the social fat cats/government/martians tracking your every move of course), and with Facebook offering the service for free to participating businesses, the flipside appears to be beneficial as well. So far the scheme is only open to the big guys, though over time Facebook hope to be able to include small businesses as well.

Facebook’s stake in this seems to lie in an increased dependence on the network by its users (we suggest the following tagline: Facebook – more addictive than crack!), with incentives to use the platform for every on- and off-line movement and purchase. Facebook also hopes that advertisers will be encouraged to invest in even more lucrative deals with the social network to assist with physical as well as virtual traffic to their shops.

Will the new incentives entice you get connected? Are you already using Facebook Places? Or are you a die-hard Groupon/Quidco fan? Discuss.

About Ikroh SEO tm

Ikroh has over 35 years of experience in the industry.