Right now, today, Vietnam is the top software development outsourcing destination in the world. In fact, this has been the case since 2016, when Cushman & Wakefield named Vietnam as the number one global destination for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO). This is why companies from all over the world choose Vietnamese providers as their trusted partners, and why so many companies continue to invest in Vietnam. So, how you can select a winning development partner for your business? That’s the subject of today’s blog.
Using the Magento platform to build e-commerce websites is becoming common practice. More than 500,000 downloads speaks to its popularity and to the growing community supporting it. Magento is arguably the most customizable of all e-commerce platforms, with a multitude of plug-ins available to meet virtually any business requirement. In today’s blog we’ll cover some key features and a few considerations developers should keep in mind when deciding if Magento is the right platform for building an e-commerce website.
What is Magento?
Magento is an open source CMS (Content Management System) that helps businesses expand their operations into the online marketplace.
What makes Magento a popular platform for e-commerce developers?
Magento is powerful, flexible, scalable and easy to customize. Additionally, it produces complete website functionality, from content to design to operation. With a comprehensive set of features and a wide variety of available plugins for the e-commerce market, Magento helps businesses of all sizes manage their online operations. Examples of some well-known corporations that have used Magento to build their e-commerce websites include Coca-Cola, Ford, Fox Connect, Warby Parker, and Nike. Because it’s open-source software, Magento users can customize their websites with non-proprietary extensions. Furthermore, Magento offers powerful marketing, search engine optimization and catalog-management tools.
Questions to consider before building an e-commerce website
Website development takes a lot of time and effort no matter the platform. Before starting an e-commerce website project, be sure you’re clear about your requirements and ask yourself a few important questions.
What do you want customers to do when they visit your website?
This may seem like an obvious question, but a surprising number of business owners don’t answer this important question. To answer it, you should talk to the designer and your customers about your website objectives. If the main goal of your e-commerce site is selling the products online, you might concentrate on stressing the design of the product, how it attracts customers and encourages them to click on that “purchase” button. If your main objective is encouraging customers to subscribe to your blog or to increase website traffic, the design will need to accommodate this.
Who is your audience?
This is an important question not only for e-business but offline businesses as well. Determining targeted customer groups will help you build the most effective strategy. Knowing the desires and interests of your target customers help you design a better e-commerce website.
Are you willing to maintain and update your website?
Will you able to actively manage your website and regularly provide visitors with fresh content? Some think that once the site is up and running, it’s done. There’s no need to waste time on building content because the products will sell themselves. This is a big mistake. A good e-commerce website is not static or passive. Having fresh content will both encourage customers to visit your website and improve your search engine rankings. Google loves updated websites! It will rank your site higher in a customer’s search results versys a stagnant website that is not consistently updated and refreshed with new content.
So is Magento the way to go?
Every e-commerce platform has its own characteristics that can make it more (or less) suited for the needs of a specific e-commerce project; Magento is no different. Listed here are some important considerations in deciding if Magento is the right platform for your e-commerce project.
Two different versions
Magento offers two different editions: Community and Enterprise. Each version has a dedicated feature set to best suit different applications, and each is unique in terms of support, scalability, performance, management tools and available features. Therefore, it’s important to research each and compare them to determine which best suits your e-commerce needs. If you find the features and benefits of Magento compelling, make sure the developer you hire to build your e-commerce website is knowledgeable about the platform and can help direct you choosing the version of Magento best suited to your specific needs.
Highly customizable themes
Building an elegant and attractive website is critical in attracting online buyers. With the support of Magento, you can find thousands of easy-to-use themes and designs for a fully customized site and unique customer experience.
Online payment is the must-have function for an e-commerce business. With Magento, you can easily accommodate popular payment methods such as PayPal, Amazon Payment, SagePay, etc., and there are extensions available that can reduce the payment process to a single click. Customer convenience is a huge driver of repeat business, and encourages new customers to make purchases.
Magento Custom Extensions Development
Using the right development platform is critical in ensuring a successful e-commerce website, and for more and more businesses, Magento is the platform of choice. Better ROI, higher sales, increased traffic and greater customer retention are just some of the benefits of getting it right. Having the right development partner is the other critical part of a successful endeavor, and if you would like more information about a project you might be considering, Adamo Digital is always at your service.
With the growth of online businesses and the emergence of the millennial/young professional travel trend, Online Travel Agencies have become a growing segment of the travel industry. While there is already a good number of OTAs up and running there’s always room for growth, and this is still a quite new strategy for boosting the market value of existing travel businesses. In this blog, I will provide a brief summary of what constitutes an OTA, how to build one and ways to best leverage the business assets an OTA creates.
What is an Online Travel Agency OTA?
An Online Travel Agency is essentially a website through which a company can offer a variety of travel products to consumers. This covers a wide variety of travel-related products and services, such as airline flights, hotel booking, car rentals, cruises, tours, vacation packages, and more. The OTA is essentially a middleman, or broker, connecting travel product and service providers with consumers through a user-friendly interface.
Following trends established by the 4.0 revolution, the travel industry has been shifting towards internet-based solutions to reach target customers, which accounts for their rising popularity.
How to get started?
Millions of people use OTAs for business and vacation bookings, which reflects the fact that today, just about anyone can find travel services online. To reach these customers through an OTA, you’ll need to define and refine your objectives and requirements. To do so, you’ll need to determine the following:
- Which platform do you want to build? Mobile app, website, or both?
- What services do you want to provide?
- Which functions/modules do you require for your OTA? (Examples include flight booking, hotel reservations, rental car reservations, transfers, and so on. Also think about payment/finance/insurance options, which customers will expect to be able to do through your OTA.)
These are the basic considerations you’ll need to think about when building an online travel agency.
Next, add these services to your website/application by either having a CMS system for whatever content you have, or you can just integrate the XML/API to get the content from third party suppliers. Choose the right set of travel API for all the travel products you want to sell. There are several to choose from so depending on your specific needs, pick the API that best enhances the user experience for your services.
The next step will be defining the business model. Contact the travel technology partners whose products and services will be featured on your website/app OTA. It’s important to invest the necessary time and effort here, along with your development team, to ensure a successful and user-friendly experience. Be prepared to update the website/app frequently as new technologies become available; you want to present the best and most cutting-edge experience to keep existing customers and attract new ones.
The above graphic shows you the overview of the relationship among functions of basic OTA, which can be customized and set up more modules as the request. These also summarize all standard information that you should collect and prepare for while building an OTA.
Adamo’s advice to effectively apply OTA to boost business
In general, OTAs are in wide use globally, either connected to Global Distribution Systems or individual airlines. Travel startups that want to develop their online business with multiple travel products need to know how to productively integrate OTA principles into their business. As a qualified developer of OTA systems, Adamo Digital can provide some tips and suggestions to integrate OTA technologies for selling travelling products.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
The first objective of any OTA is to attract traffic when people looking for travel services do a search through a search engine like Google. To maximize potential, your website must be visible at or near the top in the top of the search engine results. For this, your website must have good Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools, and that’s why you need a digital marketing team with the expertise to help you attract the most attention.
To succeed, your website/app must be user-friendly and accessible across multiple platforms (PC/laptop/tablet/smartphone, etc.) Additionally, the front or “landing” page should feature attractive offers and deals, such as discounted tickets for special events, vacation packages, and “bundled” discounts. This is important in order to gain the immediate interest of your customers and represents the competitive advantages of your website or app. Again, the goal is twofold: Attract new customers and retain existing ones.
Making these extras available creates more perceived value, but adds complexity behind the scenes. The fact that creating the best customer experience means more complexity on the back end should be invisible to your clients; these functions should be seamlessly integrated into your website or app. This is when a technology partner with the requisite expertise becomes indispensable. .
Your website or app should also include reviews from prior users, which will help your customers in making decisions. Furthermore, building trust via the website/application’s performance is also a smart strategy to impress and retain users. Regularly reviewing and improving the look, quality and performance of your website and/or application keeps it fresh and exciting for existing and new customers alike.
At the forefront of the 4.0 revolution, the OTA segment is considered as a great resource for travellers. According to the 2018 Distribution and Revenue Management Trends Report, most hoteliers being interviewed have implemented an online distribution strategy and they are well aware that despite the daily tasks they need regular optimization.
Key progressive web app statistics
Have you ever wondered about progressive web apps (PWAs)?
As income increases, one of the first little luxuries we tend to enjoy is the occasional evening out at a restaurant, or perhaps more often, ordering in. For the latter, where do we go to find the food we want? Online, of course! Online food ordering is popular because it’s convenient for customers and a proven profit builder for businesses. As more and more businesses are using app-based delivery models it’s worth taking a look at some of the types and features of food delivery apps.
The Singapore software market
Singapore has seen accelerated growth in the information technology sector, from low-cost building companies to innovations in telecommunications, blockchain tech, and more.
However, hiring and retaining engineers in the tech ecosystem is challenging, especially in talent-scarce Singapore. Tech founders are competing against the global landscape where engineers are happy to go where they are most valued.
According to a recent Marketline report, the total income of Singapore’s software market reached a high peak of 2.3 billion USD in 2014. Another survey from BMI Research revealed that the income is expected to see a sharp increase to 9.1 billion SGN (6.7 billion USD) in 2019.
Yet according to Singapore’s Minister for Communications and Information, Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, a significant percentage of Singapore’s 6,000 engineering graduates do not enter the IT sector. In part, this is because most companies are looking for developers with some experience, but there are other factors at play.
While new startups are seeking talent, so are banks and large tech companies. Reports indicate in the next 2 years, programmer positions will account for more than 40% of the expected demand in tech manpower. IT firms in Singapore can, therefore, expect the competition for tech talent to intensify further.
As Singapore grows its technology ecosystem, the availability of local engineering talent has not kept up, and we see entrepreneurs seeking overseas talent and foreign software houses to build their products. This option is reinforced as IT companies in Singapore find the quality they need at lower cost by outsourcing to providers in other countries.
The global IT outsourcing market
Outsourcing today is no longer just about cost. Over the years, outsourcing has resulted in highly efficient, process-driven organizations. Now it’s time to harness that energy to reach the next level of growth and performance.
Traditional outsourcing will continue to decline. As more enterprises join the digital revolution, they require new skills, tools, processes and ways of thinking. Service providers that understand this need, and can support the mega-trends in IT, are the ones that will ultimately succeed.
According to the report “IT Outsourcing -Market Demand, Growth, Opportunities and Analysis of Top Key Player Forecast to 2023”, published in 2015, the global IT outsourcing market reached $314.92 billion in 2015. The market is projected to reach $481.37 billion by 2022, representing a CAGR of 6.2% during the forecast period.
Improved company focus, gaining access to exceptional capabilities and reduced costs are some of the major factors driving the market. On the other hand, factors such as loss of control and reduced employee morale are hindering the growth of IT Outsourcing. New business models, new market opportunities and trends in cloud computing are contributing to the growth of the IT infrastructure outsourcing services market. The Asia-Pacific and Latin American markets specifically are expected to see increased growth due to expansion by multinationals into these regions.
Vietnam’s IT outsourcing industry is perhaps just leaving its infancy. In 2002, Vietnam was considered a newcomer with little experience. But in 2017, just 15 years later, Vietnam ranked 5th on the Global Services Location Index, a ranking of software outsourcing services by consulting firm A.T. Kearney.
Another report, this one from Cushman & Wakefield in 2016, showed Vietnam as the number one destination for Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) in the world. In fact, Vietnam BPO brought in 2 billion USD in 2015 and expected profit increased by 20-25% per year. Vietnam currently sees continuing investment from such global technology giants as Intel, IBM, Samsung Display, Nokia and Microsoft.
Despite being a socialist republic with a history of communist political influence, significant reforms in 1986 completely changed Vietnam’s economic landscape. In fact, since the year 2000—much to the surprise of some Western business leaders—the country has had one of the highest economic growth rates in the world. In 2007, Vietnam joined World Trade Organization (WTO), making it easier for Western companies to do business in and with Vietnam. No longer a junior player, Vietnam is now a global competitor.
Investment in education
In a previous post, I talked a bit about some of the ways the Vietnamese government invests in education, especially in information technologies. Recognizing the importance of technical knowledge, the Vietnamese educational system ensures children are exposed to computers and programming from a young age. As I outlined in that article, the results speak for themselves, verified objectively by the likes of Google engineer Neil Frasier during his trip to Vietnam in 2013.
While the cost of labor may not be the primary consideration when selecting an outsourcing IT provider, it’s definitely up there. Once an IT firm is convinced that an outsourcing partner can provide the quality required, decision making moves on to costs, and the average labor cost in Vietnam is around 90% less than the US, 50% less than China and 40% less than India. High quality at lower costs is always a winning formula.
Despite (or perhaps because of) Vietnam ’s interesting and often complicated history, Vietnamese employees are very loyal to their employers, reflecting the powerful connection the culture places on familial bonds. Vietnam workers are expected not only to provide for their immediate families but also give support to their extended families. It’s a cultural distinction that often keeps Vietnamese professionals close to home and loyal to good employers. As a result, Vietnamese companies typically retain talented developers longer than their international competition.
For companies in Singapore, another reason to consider outsourcing is a cultural commonality. Singapore and Vietnam are only a 2-3 hour flight away from each other. The two countries are only separated by a single time zone, making real-time meetings and consultation during normal business hours possible. Singapore and Vietnam are close geographically, share similar customs and lifestyles, and have a similar work ethic. This means the likelihood of working well together right from the start, with no need for cultural adjustments or acclimation. The process is clearer, easier and much more convenient.
Also, many Vietnamese companies are focusing on Singapore market, like FPT, which founded a software center to serve the needs of the government and large corporations. Adamo Digital, specializing in mobile apps and website development, serves small and mid-size companies as well as start-ups in Singapore. Every month, Adamo employees travel to Singapore to consult with customers and secure new contracts.
All told, Vietnam has important advantages as an outsourcing destination for Singapore’s IT community, including competitors from India, China or Malaysia. A handshake between companies in Singapore and Vietnam creates the foundation for a long-lasting partnership that benefits not just each company, but each country as well.
Compared to its neighbours in South East Asia, Vietnam’s software developers have emerged as global leaders in the fast-paced world of IT. At the forefront of the 4.0 revolution (aka the fourth Industrial Revolution), Vietnam is considered to have the greatest high-tech human resource potential in the region.
According to the October 2017 PwC article “Spotlight on Vietnam”, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) is one of five business areas in Vietnam with the greatest potential for growth and investment in the near future. (The others are solar and wind energy, luxury hotels, modern agribusiness and food, and retail banking).
Vietnam’s BPO potential is backed by an advanced IT infrastructure and a large workforce that welcomes 40,000 new ICT graduates each year. With the continued growth of digital connectivity and market demands, there is plenty of room to develop the BPO sector across the three main channels of service: domestic/onshore outsourcing, nearshore outsourcing, and offshore outsourcing.
Vietnam’s geographic location, its young and abundant workforce, and a stable government committed to economic growth are coalescing into the perfect environment for Software outsourcing development. With the recent implementation of new government policies to boost investment in technology and education, Vietnamese industry is gradually transitioning from a low-cost manufacturing location to an outsourcing destination for international business interests needing well-educated, highly-skilled IT service providers.
High growth potential for IT outsourcing in Vietnam
In Vietnam, the BPO industry has grown considerably. According to figures from the Vietnam Software and IT Services Association (VINASA), IT outsourcing has grown 20-35% annually over the past decade, with last year’s industry revenue reaching $2.2 billion. Based in Hanoi, Adamo Digital is a growing, forward-thinking software company with a well-deserved position in Vietnam’s IT landscape.
With a population of 92 million, 65% of which are under the age of 35, Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia. Given the growing political differences between China and Japan and with proximity and access to Japanese and Korean markets (where India and South America have challenges with time zone differences and culture gaps), Vietnam is well-positioned as a favorable destination for Software outsourcing development. The cost of labor in Vietnam is approximately 50% lower than that of India, China and other Southeast Asian neighbours, and Vietnam benefits from much lower attrition rates amongst its labor force.
In addition to tax incentives offered to investors and new policies benefiting human resource development, the Vietnamese government has mapped out a new master plan in for investment and development in the power sector to meet the needs of increased industrial capacity.
Although Vietnam’s BPO market is still in its early stages, there is reason to be optimistic about the potential for continued growth. According to the Global Services Location Index released by A.T. Kearney in 2017, which analyses and tracks the contours of the offshoring landscape in 55 countries, Vietnam ranked sixth out of 20 emerging markets with the highest potential for BPO growth. It jumped five spots in comparison to the previous year, surpassing the Philippines (seventh) for the first time. Vietnam has even outperformed China, becoming the second largest offshore software R&D partner for Japan in 2016. Yet Vietnam’s BPO revenue only accounts for 1% of the country’s GDP, indicative of the tremendous potential for growth in the BPO industry.
It is safe to say that Vietnam’s growth potential as an Software outsourcing development destination is massive. Aside from software R&D, there is abundant talent available for other outsourcing services such as accounting, payroll management, customer service, and others. If local market players can leverage “latecomer” advantages, Vietnam’s growth in high-end outsourcing could be much faster than that of others in the region. For instance, Vietnamese firms could increase investment in knowledge process outsourcing, which requires higher expertise like market research, data mining, fraud analytics, strategic planning, and so on.
The Vietnamese government is committed to its vision for growth, with new regulations designed to attract foreign exchange and FDI in the IT industry. For example, Vietnam has welcomed the opening of several foreign-invested IT R&D centers, which can be considered the first building blocks of the IT ecosystem needed to support the BPO sector.
BPO service providers in Vietnam hold many competitive advantages and are following a growth trajectory similar to and perhaps exceeding those of India and the Philippines. Continued engagement in large markets such as Japan and China will bring significant foreign investment to boost the development of high-tech outsourcing in Vietnam. Nevertheless, for further advancement in these services, BPO providers in Vietnam will need to transform through industry leadership and innovation to meet the ever-increasing demands of the market. This strategy is a core principal at Adamo Digital.
Searchmetrics has published a new study on travel industry-specific search ranking factors that might help travel brands improve their visibility in Google searches.
It suggests that a focus on browsing experience, making information and comparison simple, and a comprehensive coverage of topics with greater content word counts, while better quality images can improve a site’s standing.
The research is informed by more tailored, industry-specific results, supplied by Google using AI and machine learning technology in its RankBrain system.
Daniel Furch, head of content marketing at Searchmetrics explains:
“Google now more accurately determines searchers’ intentions by analyzing the keywords and phrases they enter in the search box.
“It knows the context of individual searches — including whether they relate to travel, retail, finance or other verticals — and ensures that results reflect the characteristics that meet the needs of searchers.
“For travel marketers, as for marketers in other verticals, this means they can no longer focus solely on generalized, universally applicable rules to drive the best search performance.
They also have to take account of factors that are important in their specific vertical.”
Searchmetrics analyzed the top 20 search results on Google.com for more than 6,000 typical travel-related search terms—like ‘airline tickets,’ ‘vacation rentals’ and ‘budget rental car’.
The company identified the most commonly occurring elements that appear in these travel results, comparing those to a benchmark study of broader Google ranking factors for 10,000 general, high search volume keywords across all industries.
The major take-aways from these reports reveal that travel brands should ignore much of the conventional wisdom for SEO optimization, and instead focus on quality, informative service.
Those who are dreaming of travel want to linger a bit with those dreams, want to find clear and easy-to-follow ways to make those dreams a reality, and don’t mind spending a little time to get the journey just right.
Travel-related pages should focus on the browsing experience, with a concentration of internal links which let searchers click through to find related content on the same site. Travelers will want to find more background information on topics of interest, or information that helps guide their decision by comparing options.
The Searchmetrics study reveals that travel-related pages ranking in Google’s top 10 results have approximately 23% more internal links than benchmark broader industry rankings.
But internal links should follow a logical, relevant and informative structure. Furch says:
“Travel-related brands need to ensure their web pages intelligently link to related content throughout their site, so searchers can easily find relevant content and background to help them compare and decide on their travel plans.
“This is not surprising as planning a vacation for example involves so many details — from flight times and luggage allowance to insurance, car-hire, and seasonal weather patterns.
“Searchers want to be able to find answers to all those questions as painlessly as possible.”
The eyes have it
Unsurprisingly, those dreaming of travel appreciate visuals. While a large concentration of images may be a negative SEO factor for other websites, it can boost the value of travel websites to users—even if that greater concentration of images sacrifices some loading time.
The top ten Google results for travel-related queries use around 38% more images over 200 pixels per page.
Travel-related pages listed in the top ten results have a 40% larger file size and take almost 3 seconds longer to load, 10.6 seconds on average compared to the benchmark 7.8 seconds.
Words should come easy
As content specialists highlighted in our report on travel content strategies published this May, long form storytelling works.
Travel results which make it into Google’s top ten average over 2,500 words per page. That’s a 57% higher word count than the benchmark. The average for the top 10 rankings across all industries is 1,633 words per page.
Even so-called “listicles” should be longer by an average of four bullets. The top 10 travel sites had 18.3 bullets on average, whereas the top 10 benchmark sites had 14.4.
But don’t be repetitive. Searchmetrics finds that keyword (1) stuffing is a killer. Quality travel sites in the top 20 used the keyword (2) in an article about three times, compared to the 7.4 times other industries try to force the keyword (3) in.
Other SEO factors which differ for travel sites from other industries include:
Top 10 pages in the travel industry are less than half as likely to use AdSense AdLinks as pages on average.
On average, travel landing pages are larger than the pages in our benchmark study
URLs ranking highly for travel-related keywords are less likely to use encryption than websites in general, when looking at high-ranking pages from all industries.
The average load time for top 10 travel pages is 10.6 seconds, more than 3 seconds slower than the overall average.
Travel websites have far fewer social signals than the overall average across all industries. In fact, the top 10 only have 609 social signals (likes, shares, etc.) compared to the 5,552 of other industries.
Given the amount of coverage of the social media customer service habits of airlines in particular, this Searchmetrics finding on social signals may be surprising, but it’s very positive.
Brands with the budget to engage more on social media channels will get the edge over competitors, in terms of building a community of fans. But those who do not have the budget for heavy social media campaigns will not be detrimentally affected, at least in terms of their Google search rankings.
Tell a story, be useful, help travelers visualize their trip, don’t try to “game” SEO, and if you’re going to be sociable focus on quality over quantity.
Full report can be downloaded here.
The trade body for hotel distribution knows better than most that mobile bookings for hotels, via brand dotcoms or third parties, are now mainstream. The research accepts this as fact, and chooses to focus specifically on “barriers to [mobile] conversion”.
It has used a customer friction measurement tool – NTT DATA’s recently launched CFF Service – to rank 10 different suppliers according to three specific hotel booking scenarios.
The results do not name names in terms of individual results, but, for reference, it evaluated the mobile search and booking process for Wyndham, Choice, IHG, Marriott and Starwood, while the OTAs under the microscope were Hotel Tonight, Hotels.com, Expedia, Priceline and booking.com.
One of the scenarios was for a brand-agnostic, price sensitive user booking a nearby hotel for one night. Brand dotcoms came out the best in this instance – the average CFF score for all ten was 265, with all the brand.com’s better than the average.
OTAs came up short on engagement, where the evaluators felt that they were forced to spend lots of time on the mobile site looking for information, and on the ecosystem, which forced them to enter previously provided information. OTAs were also penalised for including adverts, pop-ups and cross-selling messages into the booking flow.
The results for the other two scenarios – booking a nearby hotel for a one-night stay based on established guest profile and utilizing a “click to connect” service post booking – also show that brand dotcoms came out better than OTAs.
But there is still a lot of room for improvement. The research found that the biggest gripe from the evaluators and therefore the biggest customer friction point was having to provide the same details at different stages.
Addressing customer friction is a short cut to increased conversions. One recommendation the report makes is that hotels and OTAs curate the search results so that there is less choice, which connects with comments from the evaluators that hotels and OTAs need to have a clearer insight into the intent of the trip.
Its suggestion that hotel and OTA mobile sites should focus solely on selling the room and “get guest in and out of application as quickly as possible” certainly makes sense in terms of reducing customer friction, but clashes with other research which suggests that the best time to upsell is when the booking is being made.
Suppliers have to balance streamlining the customer booking experience on mobile with maximising revenues. As the research says, hotels and OTAs need to create specific flows for mobile because many desktop functions will not translate to the smaller screen and mobile users have a different expectation and mindset.
“Mobile-first” was supposed to put an end to this, but from the HEDNA report it looks as if many OTAs and brand dotcoms still need to really look at how their mobile site works from the customer’s perspective.
HEDNA‘s mobile working group has identified and quantified “customer friction” in the context of booking hotel rooms on mobile.