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The growth of the drone market is lowering the price point, and making these aircrafts more accessible to the average person. Whether you are buying one as a toy, a hobby or for a business application, you have many options. And of course these options greatly depend on how much you are willing to pay.
As for the future of drone flight, the Department of Transportation (DOT) and FAA just finalized the rules for small unmanned aircraft systems in June of this year, which will create new opportunities for businesses and governments. Industry estimates cited by the FAA believe this new ruling has the potential to generate more than $82 billion in the US, while creating more than 100,000 new jobs over the next decade.
So, here are 20 best cheap drones — all under $150 — any one of which could be a great way for you or your business to learn as much as possible before you upgrade to the more expensive choices. From the whimsical to the utilitarian, you can buy one just for the fun of it, or to help you get ready to get your share of that $82 billion market.List of the Best Cheap Drones Syma X5C
For a drone that costs $40.94 the X5C has all the tools you need to fly, capture video and photos so you can become more proficient. The X5C has a 4CH HD video camera and micro SD card with a flight time of about seven minutes.Hubsan X4 H107C With HD Camera
This small drone comes with a 2MP HD camera $42.49 with a hovering time of nine minutes. The X4 H107C is made by one of the biggest brands in the industry so it has quality even though it is less than $50.Aerix AERIUS
This is the world’s smallest quadcopter coming in at 3cm x 3cm x 2cm or about 1″ all around with an ultra-Compact 2.4 gHz controller and up to seven minutes of flight time. The company has a US Patent pending on this drone, and it has managed to put many of the specs in big drones, including 6-axis gyro-stabilization, 360 degree rotational yaw and more for $45.Black Talon – Micro FPV Beginner Racing Drone
There are some expensive and fast racing drones out there, but if you are just starting the Black Talon has a top speed of 15 MPH with up to seven minutes of flight time for $139. You also have the option of getting the extended flight package so you can fly for up to 25 minutes.UDI U818A HD
If you want a drone with no frills that will give you the necessary skills to learn control, this is it. The U818A is a great pick for aspiring pilots who want to control the flight themselves and take video on a limited budget. The frame protects the rotors and the 4GB micro SD card lets you capture a good amount of video or pictures. The flight time for this $71.98 drone is around nine minutes.Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam
The 1SQ is yet another drone with decent camera and controls for capturing images. It takes 1MP still pictures and records video at 1280×720 30fps on the 2GB micro SD it comes with. Some of the functions include, Auto-FLIP for front-to-back, back-to-front or side-to-side somersaults. The $129.99 gets you up to 10 minutes of flight time.UDI RC U27 FREE LOOP
At only $26 this drone has a 3.7V 450 mAh battery that gives you hovering time of a little more than five and a half minutes. There other micro (50MM) and small (100MM) drones in this price range and cheaper, so if you are a beginner, the FREE LOOP and others in its class are the ideal way to get your feet wet.SeresRoad JJRC H8C
The H8C gives you four speed settings that increase in 25 percent increments. The transmitter also offers an LCD monitor with outputs for signal conditions and battery power, which gives you up to 8 minutes of flight time. The $49.75 price tag includes a 2MB HD camera and a 2GB memory card. This drone is large compared to the other ones, coming at 7.87 x 7.87 x 1.97 inch.WLtoys V686G
At $87.90, the V686G gives you a 5.8G real time image transmission first-person view (FPV) 2MP camera with vibration absorber and eight minutes of flight time. The one key return feature ensures your drone gets back to you, and the missile launcher, water cannon, hook & basket and bubble blower adds more fun to your flying experience.Holy Stone F181
The F181 captures 1280 X 720 images and video at 30 fps with the HD camera. The flight time is around eight minutes, and a key 360 degree 4-way flip lets you do so to the left, right, forward and backward with continuous roll for $99.98.JXD 510G
The 510G has 5.8GHz FPV with high altitude hold mode, Wi-Fi camera, 2MP camera with 720p and optional phone control. The 3.7V 800mAh delivers eight minutes of flight time. The $89.99 price tag varies greatly, so shop around until you get the best price.JJRC H26D
The $109 price tag for this drones delivers some great features, including a 3.0MP Wide angle camera, 2-Axis adjustable gimbal and one button return. The flight time is only seven minutes, but the solid construction makes it a great value.Star Wars Millennium Falcon
If you are a Star Wars fan, this is definitely a great way to have some fun with a drone. The flight time for the Falcon is five minutes, but it does have some special sound effects to add to the realism. The price varies greatly depending where you get it, the $80.36 is one of the lowest prices.Longtian Syma X8G
The camera on this phone is listed at 8MP, which presents great opportunities for capturing high quality images. The 7.4V 2000MAH also delivers one the longest flight times for this price range, with up to 12 minutes. At $147.50 it definitely packs some great features.Cheerson CX-35
The CX-35 is made by a popular brand, and at $145.99 the quality build and the 2MP wide angle HD camera with independent video transmission system will ensure you get your pictures and video as promised. The 1300mah battery provides up to seven minutes of flight time, and the one-key return along with a low-voltage warning will bring your drone safely back to you.Potensic F183W
You can fly the F183 with your smart mobile device when you don’t have the remote using Wi-Fi. A flight time of seven minutes, 2MP HD FPV camera, two control modes and a 3D flipping button are some of the features of this $107.99 drone.DBPOWER U818A
If you want a live video feed in HD from your smart mobile device, the U818A has an FPV Wi-Fi feature to make it possible. The Gravity Induction mode lets you control the drone based on the angle of your phone. And for $139.99, it also has anti-crash safeguards while you are flying for up to 9 minutes with the 3.7V 700mAh battery.Fayee FY560
The 5.8G FPV monitor will let you view your images and video over long distances from the HD 2.0MP camera. The 360 degree accurate localization feature will let you see where your drone is at all times. The flight time for this $140.31 air craft is around eight minutes.MJX X101
The X101 lets you choose three different type of cameras depending on your needs. It has 3D flips tumbling skills, 6-axis gyro stabilization system and a search light are some of the features. With a flight time of 10 minutes, the $149.99 price tag may well be worth it.Helizone
The Anti-Shock System of the Helizone captures high quality shots by stabilizing the camera with the shock absorbers. The Transmitter Control Mode and Throttle Limit Mode give you different flight modes and limits the throttle if you are a beginner. The drone is priced at $139.99ELENKER 509G
The 509G is a 5.8G FPV with an X design that includes a 2.0MP camera, 6-axis gyro and a flight time of six minutes. For $135.99 you get a one-button return and fixed altitude function for better control.
* * *The features on drones in this price range are pretty much the same. And since the industry is growing, there are many manufacturers, so you have numerous options.
While these prices may change, they were accurate at the time of reporting and should give you a good idea of where to get started.
San Francisco Drone Photo via Shutterstock
Smartphones accounted for 45.1 percent of all shopping traffic online in the first quarter of 2016. According to a study from Demandware, phones barely took the lead over computers, which accounted for 45 percent of all traffic.
Fast food chain McDonald's suffered a 3.3% dip in their shares in pre-market trading on Tuesday after missing estimates for revenue and same-store sales for the second quarter. It reported net income of $1.09 billion, or $1.25 per share, down from $1.2bn, or $1.26 per share, for the same period last year.
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has announced a new long-term strategic plan that will require "a higher level of thoughtfulness, creativity and discipline." The company's priorities will now be "driven by the Roasteries, Reserve Stores, Princi and building a new premium business," he added.
In his keynote address to partners on Monday at the annual Sage Summit, held in Chicago, Sage CEO Stephen Kelly introduced several new initiatives designed to build on his company’s partner strategy. These include the Sage Partner, Marketplace, Community and Rewards programs.Sage Summit 2016 Announcements Sage Partner Program
The new Partner Program, launched in November 2015, will replace more than 54 worldwide partner programs throughout 2017. Together with accountants and corporate partners, the program incorporates independent software vendors (ISV), strategic alliances, value added resellers and cloud service providers into a plan designed to make working with Sage better and simpler.Sage Marketplace
The Sage Marketplace will give independent software vendors (or ISVs as they are called in the industry) a place to showcase their developer add-ons. Sage added 150 new ISVs so far since the program’s initiation and will continue to do so moving forward, Kelly said.
“As Partners we have to be focused and specialized,” he said. “We want you to build rich vertical market solutions within the Sage Marketplace. This will expand the reach of our existing solutions and increase our vertical capabilities.”Sage Partner Community
The Partner Community is a collaborative ecosystem that provides access to Sage with exclusive content and support services, marketing development funding and online education and certification. The community also includes an online messaging tool as well as peer-to-peer communication between partners.Rewards Program
Sage will reward top partners with an invitation to join Kelly and members of the Sage executive team for exclusive strategy sessions.5 Strategic Pillars
In addition to these initiatives, Kelly talked about five strategic pillars that underpin Sage’s approach:
Throughout his address, Kelly stressed that Sage’s focus is on driving growth through and with its partners. “We are a Partner-centric organization,” he said.
Kelly highlighted that the partner strategy is designed to enable partners large and small to work together to solve customers’ business problems by building and reselling its solutions collaboratively, both locally and around the globe. He vowed to drive 45 percent of Sage’s worldwide revenue through partners — a 7 percent increase over the previous year (38 percent).
Kelly concluded his remarks as he began — by reinforcing the company’s commitment to its partners.
“So the key message from me today is that we are committed to our partner ecosystem,” he said. “We want to be the most Partner-centric, Partner-friendly company on the planet.”
This article, "Sage Introduces New Partner Program, Marketplace, Community at Summit 2016" was first published on Small Business Trends
At the end of its first year, online marketplace Jet.com has sold about $1 billion worth of goods to more than 4 million customers, reported Business Insider. The product assortment has grown by 20 percent to reach 12 million items for sale.
There’s good news and bad news about customer loyalty programs. First, the good news: Customers who belong to retail loyalty programs generate significantly more money for retailers than other customers do, according to a study by Accenture Interactive. Now, the bad news: Many retailers are focusing on the wrong things when it comes to their customer loyalty programs. Here are three common mistakes retailers make when it comes to loyalty programs, and what you can do instead to make them right.Retail Loyalty Program Mistakes Mistake #1: Not Measuring ROI
Fewer than 20 percent of retailers in the survey say return on investment is a key factor in evaluating the success of their loyalty program. Instead, the study found, retailers are focused more on metrics related to growing and maintaining their loyalty program membership. Some 45 percent measure membership growth rates, 42 percent measure the percentage of transactions by loyalty members and 36 percent measure the number of transactions by loyalty members. In addition, 40 percent focus on measuring the retention rate for loyalty programs.
Make it Right: Sure, you should be measuring all of the data above. However, ROI is where the rubber meets the road. Boil down all of your retail loyalty program metrics to determine whether your investment in a loyalty program is paying off. Assess the costs of your retail loyalty program, both in terms of the fees for the program and the costs of running and promoting it, and compare that against the sales that result from it.Mistake #2: Not Differentiating your Loyalty Program Enough
More than seven out of 10 retailers in the survey believe their retail loyalty program is either “differentiated” or “significantly differentiated” from their competitors’ programs. However, few customers feel the same way. Research cited by Accenture shows that about one-third of loyalty program members also shop at competing retailers, and 44 percent say the competition’s loyalty program could easily replace the other retailer’s program.
Make it Right: Monitor what your competitors are offering when it comes to loyalty programs. You may even want to sign up for the programs (or have a family member sign up, if you’re worried about being obvious) so you can see how they work “from the inside.” Is there something missing from your competition’s programs that you could offer? How can you differentiate your retail loyalty program from theirs? Use all the marketing methods at your disposal to educate customers about the value of your loyalty program. Promote it in print ads, on social media and in your email communications. Even talk it up when ringing up sales at the checkout counter.Mistake #3: Not Keeping Up with Technology
Sophisticated digital loyalty programs are now available to even the smallest business. Many of them include additional features that help you market to loyalty program members in a more personalized way. With many customers using their smartphones through every stage of the shopping process, it often makes sense for retailers to use digital loyalty programs with a mobile component. However, four in 10 retailers in the survey say they struggle to keep up with mobile and digital loyalty technology. The same percentage say finding enough in the budget to invest in loyalty program technology is a challenge.
Make it Right: Do your homework to investigate the variety of digital loyalty programs out there and which one will work best for your retail business. Take your customers into consideration, too. If they’re young early adopters, your program needs to be mobile so customers can do everything from their phones. If most of your customers are older and not so smartphone-reliant, a mobile app may not matter as much. However, that doesn’t mean you can stick with old-fashioned punch cards. Today’s teens are tomorrow’s middle-aged parents, and they’ll be taking their tech habits into the future, so the time to catch up with loyalty program technology is now.
Loyalty Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Three Big Mistakes You Could be Making with Your Customer Loyalty Program" was first published on Small Business Trends
Some small businesses are still not fully tapping into the greatest marketing opportunity of our time: the Internet. Many businesses now have a website and can interact with potential consumers via desktop, but these businesses are still behind the ball because increasingly, online traffic is being conducted through mobile phones. Small businesses are missing out because they either:
a.) Do not have a mobile optimized website or
b.) Do not have a mobile application.
Last year, Google updated its search algorithm to favor mobile friendly websites for mobile Google searches. To mobile-friendly businesses, this was a good thing, but according to eMarketer, 48 percent of small businesses are not mobile optimized and their search listings on mobile have dropped as a result.
Mobile traffic is on the rise. Back in 2014, comScore reported that smartphones and tablets already accounted for at least 60 percent of all online traffic. While much of this traffic was going to social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram even at that time, an estimated 35 percent of organic website traffic came from mobile devices too. So in 2016, a small business ignoring the rising popularity of mobile would be missing out on a tremendous and growing market.
What’s more, the study concluded that 50 percent of online mobile traffic originated from mobile apps, another trend small business owners should be watching. Still, many small businesses are often afraid of the high price of a developer to build their mobile app Fortunately, there is a much more affordable option out there that many users aren’t aware of: do-it-yourself (DIY) application software or app creators.
More and more businesses are turning to DIY apps because they are cost effective and easy to create. DIY apps are made with drag and drop templates and do not require any specially technical skills to construct. The software can be bought with a monthly subscription that gives business owners access to all of the software’s features.
Comparing some of the top DIY app builders, the average monthly subscription is about $62 ($744 a year), which is much cheaper than the average cost of a custom app. A custom mobile app typically requires hiring a developer who charges somewhere around $100 an hour, for a project that, at a minimum, will likely take 250 hours to complete. That’s $25,000 on the low end.
Small businesses will likely find that a DIY app is a more efficient and cost effective approach than developing a mobile friendly website. DIY apps can do everything that a web app can, including integrate with social media and eCommerce, and send push notifications. A DIY app maker can be used to create more personal interactions with customers by providing loyalty systems and rewards for customers who download the app. DIY apps are a great choice for a business with a small, but loyal client base.Conclusion: Why You Should Consider Building a Mobile Application
It is important for small businesses to understand the value of the mobile app audience. Most trends suggest that consumers will continue to shift to mobile as their modality for surfing the internet and purchasing goods. To stay competitive, small businesses need to address this growing market and work to put mobile first.
Smartphone Photo via Shutterstock
This article, "Going Mobile is More Important and Affordable than Ever" was first published on Small Business Trends