Archive for the Mobile Commerce Category

Device Permissions in ShopManager™

Owing to a very good question from Sven Brunk on Google+, about why ShopManager™ for OXID seeks the device-permissions it does during installation, we decided to be open about it, and document the reasons for seeking each one of those permissions in this blog-post.

This is one aspect we haven’t paid much attention to as we developed the app, casually helping ourselves all the device-access we needed. But we know better to appreciate users’ concerns about smartphone-apps gaining inappropriate access to user-data on the phone. So here we make a commitment that we will not take any access to the device that we do not absolutely need to enable a particular feature of ShopManager™.

These are the permissions that ShopManager™ requires in the current release 4.6 as of 01.01.16.

ShopManager OXID Permissions in Ver. 4.6


Location – Standort

There is a feature on the product-roadmap to help owners of the shops using ShopManager™ to determine how far they are separated from customers buying products from their online-shops. This helps them organize better logistics, and if applicable, offer pick-up services at physical-shops or warehouses (pickup-points).

Location information on Android is obtained using two methods:

  • WLAN/Network (GeoIP, coarse_location)
  • GPS localization (fine_location)

Phone – Telefon

Managers of online-shops can phone customers directly from the app, for example while reviewing an order, to offer support. This feature will stay.

Photos/Media/Files – Fotos/Medien/Dateien

ShopManager™ allows to access pictures from the device and apply them to article-data on the shop. This way shop-owners benefit from the ability to instantly upload pics from the the smartphone to the webshop.

Camera – Kamera

ShopManager™ allows to snap a picture of the product using the smartphone camera and allows for images to be uploaded to webshop instantly.

Device ID and Call Information – Geräte-ID & Anrufinformationen

This feature is required by Google Play to manage the app across multiple devices as also triggering ACRA (Application Crash Report for Android). These permissions will stay.

Contacts – Kontakte

Grants us access to address-book of the smartphone, which could help us reach new users virally.  This was an original feature-decision, which we will review in the next releases. Also this feature will be reviewed in next releases.

  • Access to Contacts / Kontakte has been removed in version 4.6.3

Identity – Identität

Grants us identity-information of users via our Google Play developer-account.  This was an original feature-decision, which we will review in the next releases.

Stay tuned to weekly releases on Google Play, and let us know what you think on the OXID eSales G+ Community.


Official System Permissions information for Android Developers

Quality Code Metrics: Measure it to Master it!


After over 6 months of development of our flagship Android product for E-Commerce, the ShopManager™ for OXID e-Shop, our marketing-team was surprised at the number of times the App crashed in real use-cases, in spite of our technicians’ best efforts to make stable releases.

We were running high on development cost of the product, and low on time for taking the product to the market. There was a dreaded desperation in the product-team, to fix it’s quality problems, not knowing quite which end of the beast to exactly start from!

At this time, we decided to take a structured approach to breaking down the product’s quality problems, which lo and behold, stemmed from an ambitious feature-plan that had to be accomplished in limited time, on the way introducing a huge amount of technical debt.

We started to measure the most significant metrics using formal static-code-analysis methods and tools, primarily focusing on:

  1. Blocking, Critical and Major code-deficiencies
  2. Technical Debt (in % of total code produced)
  3. Code-Complexity
  4. Lines of Code-Duplications

In addition, we decided to chase a couple of soft-goals (for the time being):

  1. Reduce number of lines of code
  2. Increase the comments-to-code ratio

We dedicated all the developers in the product-team to the single goal of improving these metrics. Our target was to achieve 0 Blocking, 0 Critical and 0 Major issues, 1% Technical-Debt and 1% Code-Duplication**.
The results were amazing.

Within 2 weeks, the product started to show visible signs of stability. Beta users started to give positive feedback. Code-metrics were starting to look acceptable, and to the date of this note stood at 0.8% Technical Debt (down from 7.3%), 1.1% Code-Duplication (down from 16.5%) and 0 critical-issues (down from 15), as also a small drop in the total lines-of-code.

The ShopManager™ product-team now takes great pride in having solved a relatively big quality problem in a methodical fashion, resting-assured that the learnings will be transferred to new Apps we shall be developing in future.

On the subjects of quality & product-perfection you are never really done. We are committed to developing a deeper understanding of Code-Complexity and mark it as the next metric to master. Similarly the ShopManager™ product-team is inspired to compare this product’s code-metrics with the most used Androids Apps, such as Firefox for Android.

Join us!

The topic of static-code-analysis will be discussed at the PHP-Usergroup-Stuttgart on 10.02. If you’d like to be there, here’s where to register!

PayPal Stellt Buzz Bezahlsystem Vor

Vor einigen Tagen stellte PayPal eine neue Anwendung für Android Phones vor, die es Benutzern ermöglicht, durch einfaches aneinanderhalten zweier Smartphones eine PayPal-Zahlung vorzunehmen.

Leider funktioniert das System derzeit nur mit dem Samsung Nexus S, ausgestattet mit einem Near Field Communication Chip. Dabei handelt es sich um eine Funktechnologie, die es Geräten ermöglicht, Informationen wie verschlüsselte Zahlungsdaten auf kurze Distanz zu übertragen.

Ich bin gespannt, wann ich mit dieser Technik im Lebensmittelladen um die Ecke bezahlen kann.

PayPal Introduces Payment Buzz

A few days ago, PayPal introduced a new feature for Android Phones, that enables users to simply hold their smartphones together and wait for a buzz initiating a money transfer between the two users.

The system works currently only with Samsung’s Nexus S phones that contain Near Field Communication chips.  Near Field Communication is a wireless technology that enables devices to exchange information – including encrypted payment data – over a short distance. It can enable a consumer to pay for goods in a store by waving a smartphone with an NFC chip near an NFC-enabled terminal.

To use the new person-to-person payment service, one PayPal user sends a request for a payment to another PayPal user from within a PayPal widget on their smartphone. I’m curious when I can go to the next grocery store and pay with my phone like this!

Google+ Competing With Foursquare?

The last days and weeks, there has been lots of coverage about Google+ features like Circles, Sparks and Hangouts, but there wasn’t that much talk about the Google Check-ins. This features shows up in the mobile app and allows you to check in by attaching your location to a status update. The advantage of Google Check-ins is that it tightly integrates with your Circles to share your checkins with only the people you want to see them. This offers a much more nuanced approach to privacy than services like Foursquare or Facebook are able to offer. If you want to try Google+ for your Android, but you cannot find the App in the Market repository, you can search for the APK file in the web and install manually. This shall work without any problems.

Macht Google+ Nun Auch Foursquare Konkurrenz?

In den letzten Tagen und Wochen wurde viel über Google+ und Features wie Circles, Sparks und Hangouts diskutiert – über ortsbezogene Dienste hingegen wurde kaum geredet. Zu unrecht, denn Google+ bietet auch eine Check-In Funktion wie bei Foursquare oder Facebook. Damit haben Nutzer die Möglichkeit ihrem Status-Update eine Position etc. hinzuzufügen. Das sinnvolle an der Sache ist, dass man Check-Ins nicht mit der ganzen Welt teilt, sondern nur mit bestimmten, vordefinierten Personenkreisen, den Circles. Damit hat Google+ in Sachen Privatsphäre auch bei ortsbezogenen Diensten die Nase vorn. Denn gerade bei den Check-Ins möchte man doch die Kontrolle über die Privatsphäre behalten, oder nicht?
Wenn Sie Google+ nicht im Android-Markt finden können, suchen Sie einfach im Internet nach der richtigen APK-Datei und installieren Sie es manuell – das sollte problemlos funktionieren.

Is Your Business Prepared for Mobile Devices?

According to a report by direct digital marketing software and services provider Knotice, emails from retailers and financial services companies are opened on mobile devices more frequently than any other sector.
Six mobile device operating systems contributed to the 20.08 percent of retail e-mail opened on the go: the iPhone, the iPad, devices using the Android operating system, devices using the Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7 operating systems, Palm, and Black Berry. Knotice studied a sample of 153.5 million Q4 2010 e-mails from 12 industries.


Ist Ihr Geschäft Fit Für Mobile Endgeräte?

In keinem anderen Sektor werden E-Mails so häufig auf mobilen Endgeräten geöffnet wie im Einzelhandel und Finanzsektor. Laut einer Studie von Knotice wuden im 4. Quartal 2010 20.08 Prozent aller einzelhandelsbezogenen Emails auf mobilen Endgeräten geöffnet. Die Studie bezieht sich auf eine Stichprobe von 153.5 Millionen Email aus 12 verschiedenen Branchen: iPhone und iPad liegen klar vorne, gefolgt vom Android-Betriebssystem. Geräte mit Windows Mobile oder Windows Mobile 7 sowie Palm und Black Berry belegen Platz 4 bis 6.


Wie Konsumenten Smartphones zum Shoppen Nutzen

Mobile ShoppingDer Einkauf via Smartphone gewinnt zunehmend and Beliebtheit, doch neben dem eigentlichen Smartphone-Shopping nutzen Kunden ihr mobiles Endgerät auch noch für weitere Produktbezogene Zwecke. Eine neue Studie von BIGresearch fasst diese Anwendungsmöglichkeiten nun auch in Ziffern.

Verwendung Prozentsatz
Geschenksuche 60.2%
Herausfinden von Öffnungszeiten und Adressen 50.7%
Erhalt von Nachrichten und Angeboten 32.5%
Lesen von Rezensionen 34.6%
Einkauf 26.0%

(Quelle: BIGresearch for National Retail Federation: Dezember 2010 Daten)

The Future Lies in Mobile Shopping

Mobile ShoppingShopping via Smartphone is getting more and more popular each day, and besides social media and local based services, mobile devices play a significant role as a platform for shopping on-the-go. But it is not only the explicit act of purchasing products, which makes Android Phones, iPhones and co. an attractive opportuniy for end customers. A new U.S. study recently revealed, how Smartphone owners use their devices for shopping related purposes:

Use Percentage
Browsed for gifts 60.2%
Checked store hours or locations 50.7%
Received text messages and offers 32.5%
Read product reviews 34.6%
Made purchases 26.0%

(Source: BIGresearch for National Retail Federation: December 2010 Data)