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Windows 10: A Universal Solution for the Average Consumer?

Friday, August 21st, 2015

Windows 10Microsoft have unabashedly shoved aside number nine, and hopped straight to the tenth version of the world’s best-known operating system. Perhaps it is a deliberate move to distance themselves from what some know as the troublesome and awkward affair that was Windows 8. Others believe the name choice is to do with coding confusion with 95 and 98, whilst another group argue that due to the large presence Microsoft has in Japan it was best to avoid the number nine, which is unlucky in Japanese culture.

So, What’s New With Windows 10?

Regardless of its name, Windows 10 has made a splash, with around 50 million devices now running it. The main, key improvement is that version 10 is significantly more user-friendly than 8, bringing back dependable features that were inexplicably absent on the last system design. What many people have been particularly happy to hear about is the return of the classic Windows start menu.

A search box is also integrated into the task bar, making looking for things significantly easier than it was before. Finding particular files is also extremely simple thanks to the invigorated “File Explorer” function – where you can pin/unpin any folders you like. The app menu hasn’t gone forever eithe. Instead it now pops up alongside the start menu for maximum convenience, and mercifully no longer feels like the irritating obstacle it did in version eight.

A Multi-Platform Universal Operating System

Whilst the team at Microsoft appear to have held their hands up and acknowledged the removal of important features, the latest version of this operating system can’t simply be considered a throwback to the days of old. In fact, it’s considerably more advanced than previous systems and represents a step forward in terms of technological prowess.

Microsoft are branding the latest version as “universal”. What this means is that it can be installed and used on a wide variety of electronic appliances – not just on desktop PCs or laptops. This variety of appliances include tablets, smartphones, and even gaming consoles like Xbox. There’s also a feature known as continuum included, which allows users to switch between PC mode and tablet mode at the click of a button.

New multimedia apps are also included in the new system, simply named “Music” and “Movies & TV”. These are easy to use and are both connected to the Microsoft Store to allow you to purchase fresh content for download quickly and simply. The system has been widely described as being suitable for the ‘average consumer’ which has disgruntled some tech-savvy Windows fans, but ultimately makes sense for targeting a wide audience of varying technical competencies around the globe.

It’s unfortunate that Office doesn’t come as part of the system, but chances are that you will have already purchased a bundle and can transfer your existing Office programs onto 10 without encountering too much trouble.

Cortana Makes the Jump

The latest version of this operating system also incorporates features that you’d ordinarily find on Windows phones – such as the personal technology assistant known as Cortana. You can simply type a question in the “ask” bar, and she will help. This is pretty useful, especially when you’re initially feeling your way around the system. As you become more confident it is easy to use Cortana to do things like set yourself reminders and obtain directions to a certain place.

Windows 10 is easy to use but perhaps the most exciting facet is the fact that it is ripe for upgrades. Microsoft have plans to continue to make gradual improvements to the system over time, soothing the pain of the technological teething problems and creating the world’s most advanced and capable operating system for the average consumer.

If you currently use version 7 or 8 as an operating system, upgrading to version 10, for now, is absolutely free.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10? If you’re a technical expert or consider yourself the “average consumer” we’d love to hear what you think in the comments below.

Why Should You Build a Brand Story for Your Small Business?

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

brand storyWithout a unique story, customers can often struggle to distinguish your business from others which offer a similar service. In an ever-increasingly competitive marketplace it is important that your business finds a way to rise above the pack and stand out. If you can make people care about your business and what you do, your product and/or services will become elevated and a bond will be created with customers.

What is a Brand Story?

A brand story helps a customer to understand what your business offers and what the business’s background, motivations and aims are. This helps your customers align themselves with your brand values and helps develop brand affinity and loyalty. Once you have created an effective brand story your business can become stronger and more streamlined and you will have paved a way for future developments of your marketing plans. Brand loyalty will help your customers become repeat-purchasers and advocates who will in turn promote your brand both through word of mouth and through social media.

Why Is It Important to Build a Brand Story?

Brand loyalty begins when consumers feel a connection with your company and trust your service above that of your competitors. You can initiate this connection by explaining what your business does and what you stand for. Here are four ways to build a compelling story, which communicates effectively with an audience and helps your business to grow.

1. Show your customers what you’ve done, don’t just talk about it

Rather than using dry descriptive content on your webpage, take the opportunity to give examples of how you’ve helped people and made a difference to their lives. You can include quotes from past customers, plenty of quality images and descriptions that provoke an emotional response. Ensure that each example you use follows a linear structure – start with someone who had problem or concern, introduce your product or service, and then finally explain how you were able to help them.

2. Be aware of your audience

When you’re writing for the web you have a potentially global audience, but in order to access the consumers who might be interested in what you offer, you need to know them. Think about what your customers can relate to, the things they enjoy doing and their aspirations. This puts you in a better position when explaining how your product can make their lives better, or easier.

3. Stay true to the real benefits of your brand

Consumers are barraged by numerous advertisements every day, they know when sales patter is starting and often will turn off when they feel they are being manipulated. Instead of using a hard-sell it can be more effective to be open and honest about what your business is doing – by keeping your branding authentic you’ll earn more respect. Better still, you will avoid the kind of complex and confusing messages that can kill a product or service. There is nothing wrong with a little creativity, so long as you always stay true to your company’s ideology.

4. Make it sharable

If people love your brand and want to pass on the good news to others, social media is an ideal platform. The most relatable and human stories will be shared many times or could even go viral; it’s free advertising and can create a huge amount of interest in what you offer. To have an impact on social media, consider how your brand story will be received, does it make people feel good and will you be seen the way you’d like to be seen? The market place is highly competitive, but if you can identify a way of making your service meaningful, your audience will respond by sharing it out to the people they love and care for.

Do You Need Help With Your Small Business?

Many businesses, examples include TOMS shoes and Red Bull, have built compelling brand stories that fully engage their customers. They have used their brand stories to help elevate their business to the forefront of their market and are able to further their narrative with new products launches and marketing campaigns.

If you currently operate a small business, or are looking to begin a start-up, then you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work involved in creating a full brand, website and online presence and establishing yourself in your marketplace. Adeo Group have over 10 years’ experience in web design and development. Our team offer on-going support to ensure our clients can adapt to market and economic changes. To find out more about our services and how we can help you, contact us today.

 

‘Critical’ Security Flaw Found in Adobe Flash

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Flash security flawRecently leaked documents indicate a serious security vulnerability within Adobe Flash software.

The new information shows how hackers have the ability to take over computers with even the possibility of following password keystrokes. Following the news, and after various attempts to fix the issue, Internet giants Mozilla and Google have ceased support for the plugin on their browsers, Firefox and Chrome respectively.

What is Adobe Flash?

Many websites now use a markup language (HTML 5) to display multimedia on the web. However Adobe (Shockwave) Flash was once the prominent software for displaying such multimedia items including video, animations, games and graphics. HTML 5 has proved to be a more secure and advanced system that does not require plugins, which are prone to security breaches.

The movement away from Flash has progressed since 2010 when then Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, noted that the platform was “no longer necessary.” YouTube also made the switch to HTML 5 as its default player earlier this year.

Why is Adobe Flash Software Vulnerable to Hacking?

A cyberattack on Hacking Team, an Italian government-sponsored group, leaked documents which show how flaws in the Flash software could be utilised to hack into people’s accounts and take over their computers. More worryingly, it is thought that these exploits have been active for at least four years. Due to the fact the software is a plug-in, it requires updates regularly, which leaves it open to potential security breaches.

How Can the Security Flaw Affect You?

After information from these leaked documents was made public, many have noted how potential hacking and cybercriminals can take advantage of the flaws. The security lapses can be utilised by cybercriminals in a number of ways including installation of malware of PCs, stealing personal details and even the ability to monitor keystrokes.

Adobe have released a series of updates to Flash Player since the news was made. They have also released news that they will be partnering with browsers to improve Flash Player security and to help support HTML5 and JavaScript.

How Can You Remove Flash From a Computer?

Disabling or removing Flash from your PC can effect certain websites and you may find that you are unable to use particular features on these websites without it. However many security researchers are suggesting that this is the best path until the issue is patched.

If you are looking to remove Flash from your PC you can simply go to your Start Menu, type Programs and Features and in right click and uninstall Adobe Flash Player from the list. For Mac users, there are different uninstallers depending on which OS X version you are using. As mentioned previously both Google and Mozilla have already seemingly blocked the plugins for the time being.

Russian Malware Attacks WordPress Sites

Thursday, December 18th, 2014

Internet VirusIn a frightening turn of events for WordPress users and the blogging and app developer community in general, a Russian virus called SoakSoak may have infected as many as 100,000 WordPress sites. The SoakSoak.ru domain is its source, which is how the malware gets its name. It was first spotted by security firm Sucuri and the gaming site Dulfy was one of the first affected.

Dulfy managed to remove the code and went behind a firewall which took care of the matter in a timely manner. But many other admins who are not so vigilant may not have it so easy. Even sites that removed the malware code were re-infected. Dulfy admins also aren’t sure if the firewall is a permanent fix, since it’s not known yet what exactly is causing the infection or what the purpose is.

What does SoakSoak do?

SoakSoak modifies a file in the WordPress installation of the affected site, and uploads a JavaScript malware onto it. According to Sucuri, the virus is using a vulnerability in a slideshow plug-in for WordPress called Slider Revolution. The developers have fixed this with some updates, but the old version of RevPlug has been packaged into many themes that are still in use.

Since the infection began spreading, Google has done its bit to blacklist 11,000 sites to check the spread. But the big problem according to Sucuri is that many site owners don’t even know that they have the plug-in bundled in their website.

What can you do?

At the moment, if you think you’ve been infected you will need to remove the infected code and also update the premium version of the plug-in. If the plug-in is there on your site as a part of a theme, it won’t update automatically, which is when site admins have to get hands-on with updating.

Why did this happen?

As Sucuri explained on their website right after SoakSoak made its appearance, the vulnerability in the RevSlider plugin was spotted by them months ago in September but “patched silently” by developers. Developers failed to openly warn users of the problem, thus the fiasco.

The biggest lesson to be learned from SoakSoak’s invasion is for the developers: it’s important to let users know about bugs or possible vulnerabilities in plug-ins or apps, before things get out of hand.

If you would like to find out more or get any help contact Adeo Group today.

Sage 200 integrated websites that work for your business

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

If you have sage 200 system running your business, why not look and selling online with full integration to your sage 200 system?

We have over 5 years experience in designing, building and managing successful sage 200 integrated websites.

If you are selling B2B or B2C then we have a tried and tested solution that will work for your business. ECommerse, mobile commerce or customer ordering portal we have a solution that will work.

Integrating your website into sage 200 will save you time, money and reduce errors, this increasing the efficiency of your business.

If you want more information have a look at:

http://www.adeogroup.co.uk/sage-200-integrated-websites-cat-104

Call for a chat about your requirements and how we can work with you to make your business more profitable.

Mobile sales are going to grow

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

This year has been dubbed ‘The Mobile Christmas’ and with 48% growth in mobile shopping, retailers are increasingly targeting shoppers through digital devices.

British retailers will spend nearly £400m on advertising during the last three months of 2013 and consumer spending via mobiles and tablets is worth about nearly £8bn a year, according to research firm Verdict.

But over the next five years, the spread of smartphones and tablets will see our spending on these devices triple to £23bn.

Two thirds of that shopping is done at home, as buyers often wait until they are logged in to a secure network before purchasing items.

Matthew Rubin, retail analyst with Verdict Research, said: “While we are expecting growth in successive years, we are expecting this year to be the highest level of growth. Retailers really need to invest in their mobile websites now.”

John Lewis announced its £7m Christmas television advertising campaign on Friday. The ad is set to a cover of Keane’s 2004 hit Somewhere Only We Know sung by Lily Allen.

Supermarket chain Morrisons launched its Christmas TV advertising campaign during the prime-time slot of ITV’s Coronation Street.

Asda says 20% of its home shopping business is done via a mobile or tablet, and that figure is growing by 1% each month.

The living room is becoming a key location for retailers to target consumers, as 67.2% of all online shoppers making a purchase from their home do so in their living room.

Wealthy young shoppers currently dominate mobile and tablet expenditure, but with increased access to cheaper, high-specification devices, older shoppers will have a much bigger impact over the next five years, Verdict research shows.

Still, window shopping hasn’t entirely given way to digital methods yet.

Around 38% of online shoppers still research goods by viewing them in a store before purchasing them online.

http://news.sky.com/story/1166095/mobile-spending-could-be-worth-23bn-by-2018

ecommerce product descriptions: Key Words are the Key

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

The internet has become one of the most popular product information search platforms. Search engines such as Google and Bing are now storing vast amounts of data that can be reached with just the click of a mouse. Today’s consumers can spend less time searching for their wanted items than ever before. As a result, it is vital to make your brand digitally available and findable. If you already have a website this might be reasonably easy to achieve, however, if you are selling through eBay or Amazon you might need to put in more effort. A well-written product description mixed with specific key words can help to sell the product and boost your search engine optimization (SEO).

Research undertaken by Ofcom revealed that internet shopping in the UK is more popular than in any other major country. UK consumers tend to spend an average of £1,083 per year each on online shopping. In order to get a fair share of that annual spend it is important to establish strong brand presence and make it more desirable to the target market. One of the ways that can help you to achieve this goal is by telling your brand story through the product descriptions. Story telling product descriptions help to engage with the customers on a personal level, because consumers can relate to the brand and express their own identities through it. As it can be rather complicated to convey key benefits and a marketing message for a product within 60 or 70 words you need to consider the main factors.

  • Know your industry and key competitor offerings. What do they do better than you? What can you learn from them? What do your customers like about competitor brands? Learn about the industry and adapt the best of it to your business.
  • Research your target market. Find out all you can about your target audience in order to identify their needs, wants and demands. Only by knowing your customers you will be able to communicate with them at personal level and create a dialogue that will essentially help you to sell
  • Tell the story of your product in order to relate to your consumer needs and make it irreplaceable. In other words tell you customers how your product will fit into their lives and make it better.
  • Make the text quite simple and don’t use elaborate words to explain the concept of your product.
  • Use bullet points to describe key product features. Always think about your target audience. Do they value that particular benefit? What features do relate to the target market? What are they looking for?
  • Be accurate in your product descriptions. Make sure that the information about the product or service is correct. Don’t make mistakes.
  • Fill the content with the key words that will help to boot your SEO. Imagine that you are a customer and you are searching for a new pair of glasses. Which words are you the most likely to type into Google? Glasses, shades, sun glasses, Ray Bans or any other brand?

One of the best examples of an engaging, ‘storytelling’, product description is Aussie shampoo. Aussie is a famous hair care brand. It is marketed as a product of Australia, but in reality it is an American brand manufactured by the multinational Procter & Gamble company. It is fair to say that the hair care industry is saturated with millions of products and yet the Aussie brand has recently managed to stay different and on a spotlight. The success of the brand lies within the ability to relate to the target market and tell the brand story as unique as the ingredients of the shampoo itself. The brand represents the key personality features of the target audience; including traits such as practical, witty, smart and down to earth. The Aussie shampoo is more than just a simple hair care product offering the same features as other shampoos. It is branded with its own philosophy, values and beliefs. This is exemplified in the product description (below), which contains the key words that link the product to the key target market.

aussie shampoo product page

 

Scottish Youth Parliament win ‘Campaign of the Year, 2012’ at the Scottish Charity Awards.

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

In June, 2011 Adeo Group unveiled the marketing for the Scottish Youth Parliament’s incredibly successful ‘Love Equally’ campaign for marriage equality. The campaign aims for equal marriage rights for everyone. Alongside campaigners from LGBT charities, Love Equally helped to initiate the Scottish Government’s plan for a new law.

SYP were worthy winners from a group of four which included Befriend a Child, Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and STV Appeal. Congratulations to SYP!

SYP Love Equally campaign

SYP Love Equally campaign

Google starts charging for Google Shopping Basefeed Clicks in the UK

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

So as of the 14th February Google UK has started charging for shopping results pretty much the same way that they charge for standard PPC adwords.

Could this effectively shoot Google in the foot or simply increase their profits.
I have to say after speaking to a client that puts a lot of work in to their site and has multiple channels that they sell through, but relies very heavily on traffic via Google shopping, the impact has been incredible, possibly even crippling.

Based on the figures we worked out from analytics, they would have to spend around another £11,000 – £13,000 per month to achieve the same sales.

As a small business working on small margins they just don’t have the budget to compete at that level. They already spend around £5000 per month on PPC so these additional funds just make the business not viable.

Could Google have killed a lot of small businesses? Will they stop spending on PPC? How will this effect Google overall?

What effect has this had on US companies as this has been active for a few months there?
I have already found this Facebook page saying Google shouldn’t charge for Google shopping clicks.

www.facebook.com/GoogleToCancelChargesForGoogleShoppingResults

Why mobile commerce, why now?

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Shoppers are becoming more mobile and want to shop from the comfort of their arm chair or sofa.

Over the last few years, smartphones and tablets have been the catalyst for a fundamental evolution of shopping behaviour.

Buying on the move has got a whole lot easier. In fact, 38% of mobile users already use their phones to shop with when they are away from their computers. It’s not surprising, given that 92% of the UK adult population have mobile phones.

If your business isn’t ready for mobile, you could fall behind in the race to access the £5.8 billion that’s expected to come from m-commerce in the UK by 2016.

Adeo Group have mobile commerce solutions to meet the ever demanding needs of the modern etailer, features to help conversion, usability as well as direct integration to exiting back office solutions.

Contact us today to see how we can take your website forward with mobile commerce.

Tel: 0845 241 8228

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