Author Archives: Basak Yilmaz Keskin

UberCARGO

ubercargo

Uber is expanding its business from car service for individual transportation to cargo business.

One of the most successful startups of the previous year, US based company, Uber seems to have paid attention to the discussions on the company’s potential on global logistics business. They have recently introduced UberCARGO on the company’s blog. With this service, both individuals and business owners can manage their deliveries by just calling a delivery car and proving the address details of the recipient.

The service is first launched in Hong Kong for beta users. Today Uber’s car service operates in 200 cities and it would be no surprise if the new cargo business takes up the world very soon.

Saving, a Commonly Broken New Year’s Resolution

Save-Money-Sign

We all want to save, don’t we? But most of us find this a hard decision to make.

Every month, we do various mental calculations; I have spent this much, I still have to pay this much of bills, then I have this trip, a bit of shopping, a few dinner reservations, a couple of other payments and yes, here is what I will be left with. And now, how do I save this? Where do I invest my money, which account is the best, will I access my savings the moment I need, will the bank charge me and many more similar thoughts may keep our head busy. Then we find this too complicated and decide to think about it next month. And the next month starts with a similar thought process.

Saving would be very easy if there was someone who would analyze all our current spending, calculate upcoming bills and other expected spending by analyzing the trend during the previous months, calculate our free to spend money and suggest us the portion that we can move to savings this month. In other words, we all need a financial coach that knows as very well, thus can think like we do, replicate our thought processes and recommend us how much to spend or automatically save each month.

Creating such an artificial intelligence should be the easiest for banks and yet only a few are doing this. Banks know about their customers’ spending and income patterns the best; they have all the data they need. They know each customer’s scheduled payments for the month, can analyze their average monthly spending from all accounts and cards, calculate the average incoming money and even guess the total spending by the yearend with seasonality effect. Banks can also suggest the best way of saving for their customer by observing the customer’s existing portfolio, average monthly free to spend amount and previous saving habit. It is all about building this intelligence that can analyze the past data and sense what will happen in the future.

Banks can even get smarter if they can run such algorithms real-time and recommend customers how to utilize their money instantly as they spend or earn. For instance, after a spending with card, bank can instantly send me a push notification displaying the new free to spend amount and if I have enough funds, can suggest me to save on-the-go with one click for a similar shopping need for next month. It always feels good to save after spending.

Recently, I have come across Digit, a San Francisco based start-up that helps users to save by analyzing their checking account, spending habits and income trend and calculate an amount to set aside periodically. If the user has more balance in their account compared to previous months and can survive the month after paying the upcoming payments, Digit automatically saves a certain portion for the user. They not only do the thinking for the user but also the saving part as well. It is all about building the correct algorithm that can do the right analysis. The downside of the service is that the users do not get any earnings for their savings. This is simply a smart digital piggybank and will surely get smarter as more user data flows into their system. Banks can definitely do more than just sending out e-mails with promotions on their saving accounts. They need to get smarter and deliver experiences that can naturally be a part of their customers’ lives.

 

 

 

Everyone Needs a Smart Car

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It is in the news that BMW is working on a smart watch app that will control the self-parking feature in the i3. With this sophisticated technology, the car will automatically park itself. According to the news, BMW will not use GPS technology, which can work poorly in closed parking areas. Instead, laser sensors will capture the image of the entire parking area and scan the environmental hazards creating a digital map, which will assist the car to park itself without any damage. This activity will be connected to the driver’s smart watch.

We also know that Ford and GM have been working on creating digital experiences for the connected drivers by proving them applications that will enhance their driving.

It is very exciting to see that the power of digital is acknowledged in different sectors. Think of a car that is smart enough to smoothly park itself, calculate when you will be back from shopping, start the engine and air conditioning just before you arrive and navigate itself back to your apartment. You will enjoy your driving more by engaging with the in-built connected apps such as listening to the audio news of your favorite magazine. This is easy life! At the end, cars are as mobile as mobile phones; a car can become as smart as a mobile phone once it is connected to the Internet. Let the smartest car win!

mBank on Spot

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mBank, one of the leading banks in Poland (parent company BRE Bank) received the 2014 Bank Innovation Award for their digital transformation project that was launched in 2013 that delivered 200 innovative services.

Having reviewed their online and mobile banking, this reward is well-deserved for mBank. Their transformation project for online and mobile banking channels took around 14 months where they mainly focused on increasing digital sales through real-time marketing, social media integration, online financial consultancy, advanced personal finance management features and their mobile banking. The user experience is outstanding; they transformed digital banking experience to the top league where there are only a few global players. One can refer mBank as the Amazon of banking.

Among the many features that they introduced the video branch built in their online banking is one of our favorites. Partnering with Software Mind, mBank delivers a world-class service for all its customers who would like to contact experts via video or voice call through the online channel. Through video call, end-to-end sales can be achieved where the expert displays the product features, through interactive simulators, both the customer and the expert can play with the rates and simulate the end-product, customer can share the necessary documents for the application while being on the call and even digital sign the application form. This is another chapter in digital banking, increasing sales through humanizing the digital channel is a strong proposition both for the bank and also for the customer.

How to sell on Facebook?

f-commerce

As e-commerce became a standard sales channel for brands, will f-commerce also become a channel for sales? Every discussion of Facebook being a dominant channel for a specific purpose starts with a revisit of the usage statistics on Facebook.  The numbers are so massive that it is worth considering every single time, however, not every time the numbers pave the way to a successful business model.

Facebook publicly shares that it has 1.35 billion active users who drive word-of-mouth every single second. 72% of online adults visit Facebook at least once a month.  Considering that a user spends daily on average 21 minutes on Facebook, we all acknowledge that the social network giant is an integral part of our every day lives. These statistics are massive and promise great opportunities for companies, most importantly making Facebook a huge potential for sales.

There are various ways brands can use Facebook as a sales channel. The most popular is the ‘social plug-ins’, embedding Facebook like and share buttons within the brand’s own website. In this way, brands earn more fans on Facebook where they are actively publishing content about their products and services. Moreover, by sharing the products/services on their own wall, customers of the brand generate content on behalf of the brand, which is precious to reach masses. Social plug-ins become even more engaging, as the users can view which of their friends on Facebook liked the same brand.

Some brands use their Facebook page as a channel to showcase their products and by adding a link for each post, they direct users to their website where the real sales takes place. Amazon does this very well. By publishing interesting content, they aim to earn the curiosity of their fans and generate traffic to their website. Facebook becomes a lead generation tool and the customers then complete their purchase on the company’s website.

Nowadays, brands are being more innovative by turning their Facebook page into a complete e-commerce portal where end-to-end sales takes please. By partnering with intermediary solution providers, brands now can built their f-commerce site and in this way the customer journey is not interrupted, as the customers have a chance to complete their purchase on Facebook without being directed to the brand’s website. More and more software companies are providing solutions to brands to build their own f-commerce site on Facebook in addition to their e-commerce site.

Moreover, some other brands are also adding a human-touch to social selling by adding video-call option on Facebook where the brand representative directly interacts with their customer to complete the sales on the video call. More and more banks are opening their Facebook branches, where via live interaction, they perform direct sales.

The success of f-commerce is still debatable as there is a strong opinion that the users visit Facebook to follow up with their friends rather than shopping. This was the initial purpose of Facebook, which is dominantly adopted by the users. However, we cannot not deny the social factor in shopping and how word-of-mouth on Facebook helps brands engage with their customers and sell more.