Earlier this week Snapchat announced that it would be launching a brand new service that allows users to send money to other users of the messaging app. The new feature, known as ‘Snapcash’ has been created in partnership with the payment-processing company Square, which offers it’s very own stand-alone payment app called Square Cash.
As it currently stands, the new payment service will only be available to Snapchat users in the United States who are over eighteen years old.
Snapchat has recently unveiled plans to offer a new payment service with the help of Square Cash to users over the age of 18 in the United States.
How will Snapcash work?
If you have used Snapchat before you will know that it is a messaging app that allows you to share videos and images for a few seconds, after which they ‘disappear.’ The new Snapcash service will allow users to enter their banking information into Square Cash’s severs so they can send payments to their friends via private messages on Snapchat.
In order to send a payment, users will simply need to type the dollar sign into a private message and then follow it up with the amount they would like to send. The app will then recognise that the users want to send a payment and identify the amount they would like to send. From here, a green payment button will appear which users can tap to complete the payment.
The payment system is relatively similar to other mobile payment services on the market including Venmo and PayPal.
Watch the video below to see the Snapcash service in action.
Snapcash security concerns
Despite the fact that Snapchat has said that users personal financial information will not be stored on Snapchat’s servers, the new service has already sparked a number of security concerns.
Recently Snapchat has experienced a number of high profile security breaches, so it is understandable that users are wary of this new service. First the app had over 4.6 million of its user accounts compromised by hackers and then in May they had to settle a case with the US Federal Trade Commission over allegations that the company misled users over data collection.
With this in mind, Snapchat has been quick to address security concerns, explaining that users who sign up for the payment service will be required to create a Square Cash account and that they will be working closely with the Square team, who have years of experience in this area.
Getting a better picture of users
Media experts believe that this new payment service offered by Snapchat and Square Cash is their way of forming a more complete picture of the app’s users. Previously, Snapchat was only able to gather basic data about its users such as their username, contacts, IP location, age (voluntary), phone number and the people they follow. Snapchat can only hold this information for a limited time, making it difficult for them to monetise the messaging service.
However by partnering with Square Cash and offering this new service they will be able to get a better idea of who their users are and will therefore be able to created better-targeted ads that are relevant to their users and help advertisers to achieve a better ROI.
It will certainly be interesting to see how Snapcash goes down with Snapchat users and whether the brand will decide to roll-out the app further afield to the UK or elsewhere in the world. What is clear is that Snapchat is working hard to expand the app beyond its core in an aim of branching out into advertising and live events.
It’s only been a few weeks since Instagram introduced adverts into the feeds of its British users and now it looks like another app is jumping on the bandwagon !
Snapchat will soon be using adverts on its app to generate revenue.
Yes this week CEO Evan Spiegel announced that the Snapchat messaging app would soon be using advertising to pay the bills.
Before you start panicking about interruptions to your messaging service, we have some good news. Snapchat will not be including the ads as part of its core ’10-second’ messaging service. Instead there are plans to integrate the adverts into Snapchat’s Stories section. This is the service that allows users to string together multiple messages and turn them into a thread that lasts for a maximum of twenty four hours.
Whilst some brands including Taco Bell in the US have already been utilising Snapchat’s Stories for free, their advertisements currently only reach users who willingly follow the brands. The introduction of paid adverts in the Stories section will therefore allow brands to target a much wider audience.
The company is also rumoured to be working on a new promotional service called ‘Discovery.’ This service would allow users to view stories from major media companies and is likely to include some form of advertising, though Spiegel was reluctant to give away too much too soon.
This is a bold move for Snapchat, which reportedly turned down a three billion dollar acquisition deal from Facebook last year. A decision that suggested they had their own aspirations for growing the app. Of course with growth comes the need to generate revenue and up until now the start-up has yet to launch any revenue-generating schemes to make it a sustainable business.
Whilst news of possible advertising on Snapchat in the near future will allow the company to make money, they will have to tread carefully, ensuring it is not at the expense of their audiences’ enjoyment of using the app.
Image credit: Lucasmf23, Image source
In what was a surprise move to many eBay have announced that they will split as a business from PayPal in late 2015. We examine the implications of this corporate split in this article, with its impact on Magento on our minds in particular.
eBay Ownership of PayPal
eBay acquired PayPal on 3rd October, 2002 in what at the time was a controversial move. Over the years eBay have tried to force (“encourage”) users to manage online payments through PayPal but over the years more payments options have been introduced due to demand from consumers.
eBay announced on September 30th:
“following a strategic review of the company’s growth strategies and structure, has approved a plan to separate the company’s eBay and PayPal businesses into independent publicly traded companies in 2015, subject to customary conditions. Creating two standalone businesses best positions eBay and PayPal to capitalize on their respective growth opportunities in the rapidly changing global commerce and payments landscape, and is the best path for creating sustainable shareholder value, the company said.”
Magento and eBay are still very much strategically aligned following eBay’s split with PayPal
Future Impact on eBay and PayPal
The idea behind the separation is to make both companies stronger by allowing them to focus on their core markets, namely commerce and payments. The two companies trading together has caused claims of “conflict of interest” in the market over the years and a confusion at times as to the distinct product offerings.
What Effect will this have on Magento?
Magento is also owned by eBay following its outright purchase back in 2011. Magento was bought strategically to work with eBay on their xCommerce initiative.
Magento offer the enterprise commerce offering within eBay’s commerce business and their future looks safe in the hands of eBay.
Image Credit: National Retail Federation Image Source
Earlier this week it was announced that Microsoft are developing a new operating system, known as Windows 10. They have decided to skip straight from Windows 8 to Windows 10 to mark a new era for the software.
It is expected that Windows 10 will launch before the end of 2015.
This isn’t going to be your average OS update. No, Microsoft is planning big things for Windows 10, with hopes of it being the most intuitive and powerful operating system to date.
Moving on from Windows 8
A recent study by NetMarketShare found that just 13.4% of users were currently running their PCs on Windows 8 or Windows 8.1. Compare that to the 51.2% of people using Windows 7 and 23.9% of people still using Windows XP and it is clear that Microsoft’s most recent operating system has been largely unpopular.
One of the likely reasons behind users reluctance to use Windows 8 is due to its unique interface. The use of touch screen friendly tiles suggested that Microsoft were concentrating more on smartphone and tablet users and less on PC users. Despite the fact the new user interface was supposed to be intuitive and easy to use, many users found it to be complicated and difficult to navigate using a mouse and keyboard.
The great thing about Microsoft is that they listen to their customers. When they get things wrong, they consult with consumers, find out what they need and deliver it. With this in mind, it is looking like Windows 10 is going to be their most collaboratively designed OS to date.
Windows 10 an OS with the wow factor
The new operating system is packed with a wide range of new features for users to enjoy. It has also welcomed back some of the existing features that were previously scrapped for Windows 8. One of these features is the start button. Microsoft removed the ‘start’ button from Windows 8, but it was clearly missed. It is believed that many users were put off from upgrading to Windows 8 because the start button and menu functionality they were familiar with was no longer there to use.
Another feature that Windows 10 will keep is the resizable tiles used in Windows 8. These tiles will be used in the start menu to provide users with quick notifications from relevant apps (email, social media etc.)
Windows 10 will work across all devices, including two-in-one laptop tablets.
Unlike Windows 8, Windows 10 has been designed to dynamically adjust to the device it is being viewed on. The layout will change to be more desktop or touch screen friendly depending on the device you are using. It will also be able to recognise if a two-in-one device (the next big trend according to Microsoft) is being used. This means that if a user detaches their laptop screen to use it as a tablet, the operating system will be able to adjust itself accordingly.
A more unified approach
Microsoft is planning a more unified approach with the launch of Windows 10. The software will be available to run across all devices from smartphones and tablets to PCs, laptops and even Xbox game consoles. All of the applications will be available to download from a single store and there are also plans to introduce universal apps in the near future.
Winning back business users
One of the main reasons why Microsoft is overhauling its operating system is to win back the business users it lost through the Windows 8 era. What Microsoft have realised is that even though we are seeing an increase in the use of digital tablets and smartphones, PCs are still predominantly used in the work place. There is still a great need for the OS interface to offer easy navigation with a mouse and keyboard.
The company is keen to get enterprise users on board with Windows 10 and will be giving them an early look at the new operating system, before the public, so they can get used to using it before it officially launches.
Offering the best of both worlds
Microsoft’s aim for the new Windows 10 system is to offer the best of both Windows 7 and 8, making it familiar and beneficial to all users, everywhere, no matter what devices they are using. Windows 10 is expected to be released before the end of 2015 and will mark a new era for the OS brand.
Image credits: mj0310 and intelfreepress
Almost twenty years ago, Google was just a concept in somebody’s mind – a way to formulate and create an online archive to store data. The idea was first made concrete on Stanford’s campus. It was so popular storage space ran out. A year and a £100,00 angel investment later, and Google entered the public sphere. It was an experiment, and no one knew, or predicted rather, how far it could go.
In addition to being the largest search engine hub, Google has also managed to create one of the largest email accounts, it competes regularly with companies like Apple to develop creative “hit” technology like the Android phone or the Google Nexus “iPad,” and it is even rumored to have developed an automated car. Now, Google has entered the world of business.
For companies looking to do business to business transactions, Google+ is becoming not only the best social media platform to do it, but the best way to do it period. It’s public, it’s free, and it allows for private circles to expand and be shared in other private business circles. Here’s out it works:
Pinterest and Shopify strategically working together
Back in July, Pinterest and Shopify made a joint announcement about a partnership between the two companies. Now the dust has settled we thought we’d investigate what happened and how this has benefitted Shopify customers and users of Pinterest.
What was the agreement?
As from July 18th Pinterest revealed that they had enabled rich pin functionality for all Shopify merchants. This is an exciting move for Shopify merchants who can benefit from functionality such as stock availability and real-time pricing. Previously rich pins were created by unnecessarily complicated metadata behind the scenes but this can now be achieved through the Shopify API integration with Pinterest.
What are Pinterest rich pins?
Rich pins are enhanced pins on Pinterest. Pins with additional information that make the Shopify customers experience more enhanced. There are currently five types of rich pins, these are i) Article, ii) Movie, iii) Place, iv) Product and v) Recipe.
An example of an article pin
Why are rich pins so important?
Rich pins will enhance the user’s experience. Examples are improved click through rates, price notification emails on Pinterest notifying customers who’d pinned the product where a price drop occurs (this is a free and effective form of marketing).
So why not experiment? If you haven’t already set-up your Pinterest account today at http://www.pinterest.com, it’s a social media channel which is especially effective for eCommerce sites.
A screenshot from the new Pinterest Analytics dashboard
On August 26th Pinterest launched their new notification and analytics dashboard, we review the functionality and features and what this brings for users.
Reason for the new Notifications and Analytics Dashboard
Pinterest has been a tremendous success since its launch in March 2010. No business can afford breathing space in the social market though so to address a gap with competitors such as Facebook and Twitter, Pinterest have launched their new Analytics dashboard.
We are aware that many customers rely solely on Google Analytics but using other sources such as Pinterest Analytics is well worth experimenting with particularly if you have a lot of Pinterest activity.
Pinterest commented about the launch of the new functionality:
“The aim is to enable customers to improve their marketing and product strategies, with meaningful insights about what their customers are interested in.”
Need for a Business Account
Unfortunately only business account holders of Pinterest will have access to the Analytics functionality. Given its value it is definitely worth considering paying for a business account.
Link to Pinterest Analytics
Pinterest Analytics information can be found at http://analytics.pinterest.com/
How to use the Pinterest Analytics Information
The best approach is to study, analyse, tweak and react to the information you see. Continual revision of your Pinterest approach until its fine tuned to perfection will pay rich dividends in the medium-long term. We strongly recommend all customers to investigate Pinterest Analytics and are here to help with any questions or queries.