Andrew, CEO at Bizness Apps
Andrew Gazdecki’s goal is to develop and create solutions that support small and medium size businesses. He is the founder and CEO of Bizness Apps, a do-it-yourself mobile app and mobile website platform for small businesses, and Bizness CRM, a CRM tool designed to make selling to small businesses easy. A graduate from CSU Chico, Gazdecki has been an entrepreneur for as long as he can remember. At the age of 10, he was selling baseball cards to neighborhood friends, and at the age 15, Andrew created his first for-profit website. In 2009, Andrew founded and bootstrapped Bizness Apps into a global enterprise all while he was a senior in college. Since then, he has gone on to help more than 100,000 small businesses engage with their customers on mobile devices. Today, Gazdecki is the authority on mobile marketing for small and medium sized businesses. He has been featured in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Entrepreneur Magazine, as well as prominent industry blogs such as Mashable, TechCrunch and VentureBeat. A firm believer in education, Gazdecki offers frequent presentations and donations to his alma mater, and contributes to the school’s Entrepreneurship Week, which gives students the tools and resources to bring their businesses to fruition.
Posts by Andrew, CEO at Bizness Apps
This week, our featured app is the Hail Merry app. Who or what is Hail Merry? That’s easy! The company makes delicious and healthy refrigerated desserts that cater to diets of all kinds – dairy-free, low glycemic, kosher, etc. – and they do it all using pure, mostly organic, non-GMO ingredients.
(Oh yeah, the product tastes amazing, too. Nice bonus, right?)
The delectables include Miracle Tarts, macaroons, tasty seasoned nuts and seeds, and something called Grawnola. Hail Merry has won awards, been on TV, and is available in big-time chains and through big-time partnerships.
And now, thanks to Bizness Apps, Hail Merry is on your phone!
Here’s why you need to get the app:
• You can get exclusive app-only recipes and lifestyle tips
• You can enjoy special coupons
• You can get help finding Hail Merry products in stores
• You can submit product orders
• You can learn how to transform your body through nutrition
• And more!
Grab it, but remember: once you taste the goods, you won’t be able to go back!
According to recent data from Branding Brand regarding Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales, about a third of all e-commerce traffic over the holiday came from smartphones. While this may not sound like a lot, the year-over-year gains are what we found most striking.
Smartphone sales are skyrocketing, and are on pace to dominate the market in the very near future. Consider some of the Black Friday increases on smartphone-optimized sites from last year to this year:
• Visits were up 76%
• Views were up 88%
• Average order value was up 22%
• Mobile sales increased 187%
187 percent! The Thanksgiving Day increases were also staggering:
• Visits were up 69%
• Page views were up 103%
• Average order value was up 16%
• Mobile sales were up 258%
258%. We can’t even put an exclamation point on that one. It’s an absurd increase. Mobile device shopping is exploding in popularity, and these numbers show just how drastic the changes are.
Good for mobile sellers, I guess. Why should the average small business owner care?
These data show that it’s more valuable than ever before to offer mobile-optimized sales. With easy-to-implement mobile stores, the profit potential has become much more attractive than in past years. For many small business owners, the idea of offering a mobile store was once a costly proposition that offered little return. Now, the above figures show that generating a significant amount of revenue via the mobile platform has become a lot easier.
There are two forces driving these changes: 1) user behavior and 2) the availability of solutions.
As for user behavior, when only a small segment of the consumer market was shopping via mobile, it simply wasn’t worth it to cater to them. Now, with users flocking to mobile stores and huge volumes of transactions happening on mobile platforms, the critical mass is there. And if trends continue, the majority of online shoppers (or perhaps just “shoppers”) will soon be making purchases via mobile.
As for the availability of solutions, creating and managing a mobile store once required major IT expenditures, took lots of time to implement, and was difficult to maintain and control. Now, there are cost-effective solutions that can be set up and configured in record time, like Bizness Apps!
The mobile sales revolution is definitely here. And if you want to join in the fun before this holiday season is over, we can absolutely help.
Online marketing efforts can be extraordinarily cost effective. Unlike traditional marketing channels, when you’re online, you have the chance to reach the entire world. Online activities are also very low-cost, in general, so the potential for return is huge. For these reasons, small business owners should dedicate a chunk of time each week to marketing their service online. Below are seven tips and methods to help you get started.
Create and share good content
If you aren’t blogging about issues that are relevant regarding mobile apps and small businesses, you should be. The rules aren’t very strict, but one thing is important – you need to create and share content that is somehow interesting, valuable, or otherwise worthy of your audience’s time. If your content is good, you will develop a readership and increase your chances of your content getting shared. This will maximize the impact of your content.
Upload press releases
Press release distribution outlets like PR Newswire and PRWeb are a great way to expand your reach online and potentially get picked up by blogs and news channels online. You’ll need to have something noteworthy to build your press release around, but a new app feature, method of use, success benchmark, or piece of data can all qualify.
The world of business is always changing – let the world know about it!
This is a no-brainer online. Make use of as many social media channels as you can, post regularly, and join the conversations. Don’t be spammy or irritating – just be a part of things. A little bit of participation can go a long way!
A how-to video uploaded to YouTube is a great way to find your audience online. Your videos can be anything about your busines, or can relate to how you potentially are better than your competitors. The important thing will be to demonstrate solid expertise in the your field, so that prospects will come to see that you know your stuff.
Sometimes it’s interesting to get an inside look into a business. If you have something neat to share about your business, put it out there. This can be a short video, a picture, a story about how a customer is using an app, or something else informal and internal to your company. It can bring your audience closer and humanize your enterprise, and that’s often a good way to break the ice online.
This is a time-tested way to engage users online. Many people won’t take an action if there’s nothing tangible in it for them, and holding a contest is a way to give the people what they want. Don’t forget to get something in return for entry into your contest, such as email addresses, likes and shares on Facebook, and retweets or follows on Twitter. A simple prize can be a free month of mobile app and website use for the winner.
With these simple tips, you can go a long way online. Try them out – we’d love to know what you think!
Data recently released by ComScore shows that offering customers the ability to shop via mobile devices has a very high probability of generating worthwhile returns for businesses. The reason for this conclusion, in ComScore’s words, is that (in terms of growth), “Mobile commerce is significantly outpacing e-commerce and bricks-and-mortar spending.”
The growth of m-commerce
The growth of m-commerce is impossible to ignore, and is easy to see given that the amount of time spent on retail shopping on various platforms is rapidly changing. Even just one year ago, desktop retail shopping accounted for 49% of all digital retail shopping time. This year, however, without taking into account holiday shopping beyond September, the number has declined to just 41%. Smartphones and tablets now account for 59% of such time, combined. This season’s holiday numbers, once known, will likely show that this trend has skewed further in the direction of mobile.
More and more, people are turning to their mobile devices for shopping.
Just for reference, mobile commerce is worth $41 billion annually, and is headed for $100 billion by 2017, if current trends hold. It’s not a small niche, and it’s not limited to special products, by any means. Consumers are buying anything and everything through their mobile devices, and a third are shopping via mobile exclusively! The size of this market and the variety of products purchased indicate that almost every retailer can enjoy increased sales by offering mobile shopping.
Taking advantage of m-commerce
ComScore’s data show that m-commerce is still a small percentage of total sales for certain categories, but the key is growth. Even if mobile sales are only 10 or 20% of total digital sales, the increased revenue can be a major boost for small businesses.
As ComScore observes, one of the main roads to earning more mobile sales currently runs through social media. Social media apps are among the most popular ways to spend time on a mobile device. By directing your social media traffic to an m-commerce platform, you can earn new sales and begin to cultivate an area of growing importance to retailers and other industries offering mobile sales.
What’s an m-commerce platform? It’s something that’s incredibly easy to create and manage, and that comes included with your Bizness Apps mobile website and app package.
It sounds cheesy, but increased revenue is truly only a few clicks away.
Learn more here!
Small Business Saturday is a recent invention of American Express that aims to bring the benefits of holiday shopping to small, local businesses. This year, SBS is scheduled for November 30, which is the day after Black Friday. While traditional, big box retailers own Black Friday, and e-commerce outlets own Cyber Monday, small businesses can shine on Small Business Saturday.
How can Small Businesses make the most of it?
For shoppers, the idea is simple – head down to main street and bring your wallet! For businesses, here are a few things you can do to make the most of Small Business Saturday.
• Participate in Amex’s initiatives. Amex has tremendous power and reach, of course, so participating in the event to the fullest extent will maximize your benefits. Signing up and use the marketing materials found here, and you’ll be well on your way to a successful Small Business Saturday.
• Hold an event. It’s doesn’t have to be anything fancy – just something to make the day more interesting and drive a bit more traffic (e.g. free holiday cookies). You don’t have to go crazy with plans and promotions, either. A simple sign on the door will do. Other than that, you can do whatever makes the most sense for your business. It’s a day to celebrate small businesses, and you’re a small business owner, so do what feels right!
• Leverage social media. Small Business Saturday is a nationwide event, but remains an inherently local phenomenon. Connect with your social media followers and network, and get your community buzzing and excited about Small Business Saturday. For something like this, it isn’t too much to ask people to spread the word, either. Share and retweet requests are totally fair game.
It’s also a great idea to connect with your neighbor businesses over social media as well. This is a chance to promote your entire local community, and to bring people together. Cross promotions, or even a community-sponsored event (if you can make one happen in time), would be good ways to harness the power of the local network.
For additional resources, check out the federal Small Business Administration’s page here.
And if you’re ready to get in on all of the mobile, digital strategies suggested there, we can help (but you probably already knew that).
Good luck this Small Business Saturday, small businesses. We’ll see you at the register!
There was a time, just a few short years ago, when having a website was unnecessary. People looked up businesses using the phone book, and asked friends and family for recommendations. Businesses promoted themselves by advertising through traditional channels (like mailers, flyers, billboards, television ads, and magazine ads), or earned new business through word of mouth referrals.
It was a simpler time.
But then came the Internet.
The website revolution
At first, having a website wasn’t that important. It wasn’t a well-developed channel, and the majority of a business’s customers still came from elsewhere. Over time, however, the Internet became more and more significant. Now, most businesses can’t survive without their website. There are, of course, certain exceptions, but if you want to succeed nowadays, even as a small, local business, a website is generally a must-have.
The same change is now taking place with mobile technology.
Why the mobile revolution is the same
Once, mobile phones were just like ordinary phones, without the cord. Now, each one is a miniature computer. And with the rise of smartphones and affordable data plans, consumers have eagerly made the switch from desktop browsing to mobile browsing. In fact, over half of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices in many industries and geographic locations. And even where the 50% mark hasn’t been exceeded, the trend lines generally indicate that it will be soon enough.
The world is going mobile.
So, why is this a big deal? Well, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you might as well not have one at all when it comes to mobile visitors. Sound extreme? Studies of user behavior show that if a site isn’t mobile-optimized, most users hit the back button and rarely return. Instead, they head to competing websites and bring their business with them.
If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you simply “don’t exist” to what will soon the majority of users, if it hasn’t happened already. It’s a harsh reality, but there’s also a huge opportunity to get ahead, if you’re willing to meet the issue head on.
You wouldn’t depend entirely on the phone book for your business, right? Mobile is coming to be the same way. Depending solely on a website that isn’t mobile-optimized is a very costly mistake, and these losses will only grow in the coming year.
For that reason, when it comes to the Internet and digital marketing, you need to think mobile first in 2014. That’s where everyone will be.
We recently came across an interesting post from Sameer Singh over at Tech Thoughts, and wanted to talk a bit about what it means for small businesses and their apps. One of the main points he raised was that the mobile industry is very rapidly becoming more concentrated – much faster, in fact, than the PC industry did many years ago. The implications are worth understanding if your small business has an app (or you’re thinking about publishing one).
What is “industry concentration?”
Industry concentration may be an unfamiliar concept for some, but it’s not a complex metric. The basic idea is that you look at the largest companies in a given industry, and figure out how much of the market they own in the aggregate.
For example, if the four biggest companies in an industry own 90% of the market, the market is considered highly concentrated. If, on the other hand, they only account for 35% of the market, then there are a lot of significant players in the industry and it is not considered to be very concentrated.
How concentrated is the mobile industry?
According to the charts in Mr. Signh’s post, mobile platforms now account for over half of operating system usage, and mobile platform (e.g. Android, iOS) concentration is growing twice as fast as PC industry concentration grew in its first years. This means that smaller players are being squeezed out at an extraordinarily fast rate in favor of the leading platforms.
Let’s put in another way: iOS and Android account for over 90% of the smartphone market now.
There may be certain niches that are committed to the remaining platforms (e.g. Blackberry at 4%, Windows Phone at about 3%), but they are grossly eclipsed by the Big Two. This greatly simplifies things for small businesses that want to publish apps. Unless your target market has an unexpected preference for a niche operating system, you don’t need to worry about a number of platforms and devices. Instead, you only need to worry about three things:
1. An iOS version of your app
2. An Android version of your app
3. A mobile website
Deploy those three things, and you’ve essentially got all your bases covered. Don’t spend another moment worrying about what else is out there in terms of devices and platforms – the chances are, it isn’t at all cost effective to address them.
Okay, so now your problems have been narrowed down to three things. Where can you handle them all in the easiest possible way?
NEW Publish System
We’ve completely revamped the publish pages when submitting your mobile apps.
These changes will reflect clearer guidelines to how long it will take your app to reach the app stores and also show clear pricing on our upgrade options for submissions which include the $50 expedited uploads and the $50 iTunes Updates.
In addition, if submissions are being delayed longer than usual due to high demand, we will list this in the expected time frame boxes for iTunes until upload times return to normal.
Basically, we’ve drastically improved the user experience when publishing your mobile apps!
NEW Reseller Onboarding Tool Bar
We have also enable a new “on boarding” toolbar that will help all of our resellers complete critical tasks in order to become successful resellers. Each step in the tool bar has information on how to complete and an option to mark completed once your are done. These steps include reading our set up guide, branding your client panel, setting up a front end website with your pricing & contact information, gathering sales leads to contact, and asking for DEMO apps from our team.
This will help ensure all resellers are on the right track and understand our program better!
Bizness Apps Web Platform
Oct 31, 2013 to Nov 21, 2013
Getting error message when importing contacts from mailing list tab to mailchimp (Started)
Menu tab- 2nd tier Section titles (Fixed)
IPhone 5 Images Viewport size (Fixed)
Add settings for each section under background Images (Completed)
IPhone 5 slider section (Fixed)
Music tab Error (Fixed)
Add Currency -> Georgian Lari (Completed)
Recurring Events — Added Hour/Minutes (Fixed)
Change Text in Flickr (Completed)
Add Currency -> South African Rand (Completed)
Analytics UI missing change month arrows (Completed)
Update the Campaign Monitor Logos in the mailing list tab (Completed)
Add a Please Wait / Loading — Push Note Dashboard (Completed)
Reseller Admin Design Updates on Bizness Apps only (Completed)
New Publish System (Completed)
New Reseller Onboarding Tool Bar (Completed)
New Instant Website Feature
With Bizness Web, we’ve created a feature that allows you to gather content from step 5 inside Bizness Apps and pull it into a template to create a website for your app in literally seconds.
Oct 31, 2013 to Nov 21, 2013
Offline Content Caching (Completed)
Update Lithuanian Strings (Completed)
Update French Localizations (Completed)
Update Spanish Localizations (Completed)
HTML5 / Mobile Websites
Oct 31, 2013 to Nov 21, 2013
Delivery Radius Issue (Started)
Add Custom global headers (Started)
Add Layouts (Completed)
HTML5 analytics not showing for this app (Fixed)
Merchandise tab — when the user tries to make an order in the “Join/Store” tab, the item disappears (Fixed)
Opening Times -> Web Widget – Food Ordering (Fixed)
Background image not showing up on HTML5 (Fixed)
Food Order is printing duplicate tickets for 1 order (Fixed)
Date for Orders Placed (Fixed)
Mobile Website is showing deleted events (Fixed)
Update Lithuanian Strings for Food Ordering (Fixed)
HTML5 Redirect Slider Images (Fixed)
Food Order email confirmation time (Fixed)
Section Sorting – Enable Drag and drop from Web platform (Fixed)
Tab shows different within the Mobile Website when the more button is not enabled (Fixed)
LIVE Code Push Schedules:
Bizness Apps Web Platform: LIVE code pushes will be Monday OR Thursday (this means we take it from our “sandbox” testing area, and place it live for all of our users — after it has been tested.)
Android: Live codes pushes are instant as soon as the issue is “Fixed” or “Completed”
**Preview App Updates will be Every Monday. (Weekly)
HTML5: Live codes pushes are instant as soon as the issue is “Fixed” or “Completed”
Mobile subscriptions will reach almost ten billion by 2019, according to projections in Ericsson’s latest Mobility Report. The majority of these subscriptions will be tied to smartphones (as opposed to tablets, for example), thanks to a projected tripling in smartphone subscriptions and tenfold increase in smartphone traffic.
Those are some pretty bold numbers, right? Well, you’ll be happy to hear that they didn’t come out of thin air. While smartphones are currently around 25-30% of the mobile market, in the last quarter, 55% of all devices sold were smartphones. Thus, the hard data is already there when it comes to the smartphone takeover.
It’s already happened.
All that remains is for aggregate numbers to begin reflecting the current buying activity in the mobile marketplace.
Why have smartphones become the device of choice?
The change may be due to a few key advances in technology. At this point, the performance of smartphone browsing, gaming, and video watching have brought the experience near enough to the traditional experience to make large numbers of users dedicate a growing portion of their computing time to their smartphones. Coupled with price drops and the availability of high speed unlimited data plans and extensive Wi-Fi coverage, a lot of the necessary pieces have fallen into place to make smartphones the industry leader.
Why is this important to small businesses?
Everything we do comes back to SMBs, and this data drives home our core message (as if it needed further driving home): the world has gone mobile, and businesses must keep up if they want to stay in touch with the market.
Simply having a website doesn’t cut it anymore – not when a majority of Internet visitors will be browsing your site on a smartphone. Sites absolutely have to be mobile-optimized, or when people arrive at your virtual doorstep, they’ll take one look at the place and then turn right back around.
This also shows how big an opportunity mobile apps are. Most of your target market will soon have a smartphone in hand (if they don’t already). Simply because of the numbers that are (and will be) present in the mobile user base, connecting via an app is one of the most cost effective ways available to increase sales (through mobile loyalty programs, push notifications of offers, direct sales and bookings, etc.), customer satisfaction (through mobile support tabs, quick-reference info, etc.), and engagement (through social media, contests, etc.).
Etc., etc., etc. Mobile has it all, these days. Shouldn’t you make the most of it?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last ten years, you know that the mobile industry is fast-growing and is responsible not just for the creation of wildly successful companies, but entirely new niche industries.
As the early settlers of California during the Gold Rush days used to say, “There’s gold in them thar hills!”
Today, the “hills” are in mobile technology, and the “gold” is money to be made, but the same basic principle applies: this is an early time for a booming industry. Those who enter the mobile industry today have an opportunity to get in on something that will in the future become increasingly saturated and difficult to break into.
For today, however, the door is still open.
And we’re issuing open invitations to entrepreneurs through our white label app reseller program!
Bizness Apps is the world’s most popular platform for small businesses to build their apps on. App creation is simple, the features are robust, and the apps function smoothly and look great. We think our product is awesome and judging by the market’s response, a lot of people agree.
There are over 20 million small businesses in the U.S. alone, but less than a half of 1% has published their own apps! With mobile device usage exploding, the opportunity here is incalculably large. Small businesses need apps, and if you can give them those apps, you might just have a fantastically successful company.
I want in!
No prob. That’s why we created our app reseller program. It allows you to run your own app selling business your own way, but to use our platform to provide apps to your customers.
Even though our program offers as much independence as you want, we still offer unprecedented support. Need a slick website for your business? You can make it for free in minutes with Bizness Web. Need leads to get you started? You can find them, contact them, and track progress for free with Bizness CRM.
You don’t have to grasp around in the dark. We give you everything you need to get started and hit the ground running.
Millions of small businesses are waiting for you to help them go mobile. If you’re up to it, we’ve got all the tools you need.