Yup, it’s that word again, and this time it’s not just a cheeky Friends reference.
Pivot. The word for 2020, undeniably, is pivot.
When small businesses shut down in early March as a response to the threat of the novel coronavirus, a new normal began to emerge from the changing landscape. Now, midway through August, questions about the future still linger, but business owners — a tenacious bunch to start with — are no longer thinking about short-term solutions.
COVID is here to stay, additional government support is in limbo, and if a small business is going to survive, it needs to embrace the eCommerce pivot, specifically. Business Insider said eCommerce growth is expected to rise 18% this year:
“Our 18% growth forecast for US eCommerce in 2020 reflects a notable increase in both the number of digital buyers and the average spending per buyer. These gains reflect the pandemic’s impact on new buyers joining the online retail space, including 12.2% growth for those ages 65 and older,” Business Insider said.
It didn’t take long for businesses to realize the value of giving their traditional brick and mortar stores a bigger eCommerce presence.Â A report by Square stated that according to their data, may sellers moved online just weeks after shelter-in-place orders took effect. “Sellers in cities large and small are embracing eCommerce as omnichannel selling becomes a necessity for long-term success,” the report said.
Businesses & Consumers Embrace New Habits
Back in March, when shelter-in-place and mandatory shut-downs for non-essential work began, eCommerce sellers reported to Digital Commerce 360 their initial projections for how their businesses would fare. The report was a mixed bag with 38% of retailers projecting increased overall sales and 36% losing sales.
Grocery eCommerce certainly saw the biggest gains in growth with many consumers turning to online ordering as a result of grocery shortages or initial concern of grocery safety. The other industries that did well were household cleaning supplies, pet supplies, beauty/health products, at-home fitness products, and home entertainment. Subscription services also saw an increase in consumer demand.
Consumers increased their spending on groceries by 15-20% and said they increased the amount they spent on at-home fitness by 35-40%. In general, consumers were admitting they were spending more online, even though they weren’t terribly hopeful about the state of the economy.
Morning Consult, a global data intelligence firm, reports that nearly a quarter of surveyed adults said they wouldn’t feel comfortable shopping at a mall in the next six months. (An equal percentage said they had no idea when they would feel comfortable returning to normal shopping habits.) Those trends are holding steady — which means that it’s not too late to embrace the eCommerce trend for your small business.
The market research company Neilsen looked at consumer behaviors linked to the pandemic and their results on markets. Neilsen said consumers were:
Proactively buying health and wellness products (flu medicines; cough and cold medications)
Reactively buying health management products (hand sanitizers; N95 masks)
Buying to stock their pantries
Buying to stock for quarantine
Buying to prepare for restricted living (in the instance of mass COVID cases, communities are relegated almost entirely to online purchasing)
Buying as they live a new normal (preparing for eCommerce to replace many buying options in the wake of the pandemic’s aftermath; accepting a permanently altered supply chain)
Source: Civis Consumer Survey 2020
A survey from Civis Analytics says that while traditional consumer activity has increased since March, most industries are still operating below pre-Covid earnings.
Unsurprisingly, the two biggest eCommerce options that surged in popularity amid the pandemic were click-and-collect and curbside pick-up. And those are likely here to stay as shoppers have continued to show an affinity for using these options even as economies open back up fully around the country. With CDC guidelines asking restaurants to limit contact, many organizations used Square or Toast systems to set-up online or contactless payment systems. A switch to self-ordering kiosks might become the norm in places that do not want to accept the risk of exposing their employees.
Your Business’s Next Steps To Make The eCommerce Pivot
A survey showed that 92% of small businesses have had to pivot in some way due to COVID. And according to our Merchant Maverick post on the subject, “For 58% of businesses, pivoting has included incorporating ‘a new online delivery channel.’ Other common tweaks mentioned in the survey include adding a new virtual service (40%), offline delivery channel (36%), or product (31%).”
For brick and mortar businesses wanting to expand into online options, services like Shopify are even advertising to help provide some type of crisis support to assist owners through the changes. If you are looking into moving into eCommerce, you can follow these steps:
Research and compare eCommerce platforms — decide on the right fit for your business. Compare Shopify and BigCommerce or WooCommerce to other online shopping centers like Etsy.
Research shipping options.
Set up and research the best payments system for your type of business.
Research how to market your new online presence.
The new reality is that has COVID pushed us into the future at record speed. This pivot into the world of eCommerce might not be what small business owners had imagined for 2020, but consumer expectations and pandemic restrictions will continue to shape spending — we want your business to be ready.
Check out our Coronavirus Hub for all things pandemic and small business-related.
Do you have a story idea, tip, or press release for the Merchant Maverick news team? Shoot us an email: [email protected].
The post Small Businesses See Success With eCommerce Pivot appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
It was an eCommerce pioneer back in 2006, then expanded to iPad POS in 2013, and now it basically runs the world. Well, at least the world of cloud retail. I’m talking about Shopify, of course. Besides its global takeover, one of the things I admire most about Shopify POS is that it’s very upfront about disclosing every component of hardware that its point of sale system works with. That makes it easy to source equipment on your own, purchase the right bundle from Shopify directly, or check to see if you can use any POS hardware you already own.
That said, it can take a little time and head-scratching to figure out the best Shopify hardware setup for your business. Your hardware options will depend on various factors, such as your device, your Shopify plan, your credit card processor, and what country you live in. Your particular selling needs will also determine your hardware needs â for example, cashless businesses won’t need a cash drawer.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Shopify hardware: what you need, how much it costs, where to get it, and how you can get the most bang for your buck if you’re budget-conscious.
What Are My Choices For Shopify Hardware?
Shopify offers a variety of options for hardware. Here is some information about supported POS equipment and accessories.
Shopify POS is optimized for iPads for in-store selling and iPhones for mobile sales. There is an Android version of the app that you can operate on Android tablets or phones, but it does not have as many features or hardware options as the iPad version or even the iPhone version. For example, you can’t process offline sales with Android, and the POS hardware bundles Shopify sells are all made for iPads. You also can’t switch to the “all-new Shopify POS” version of the app unless you’re using an iPad or iPhone (Android users will have to use “Shopify POS Classic”). If you do decide to run Shopify POS on Android, make sure that whatever hardware you purchase can work with your device.
Shopify does not sell iPads or tablets directly; you’ll have to buy your tablet elsewhere. For the best hardware compatibility, you’re going to want to buy the latest iPad Air, iPad Pro, or iPad Mini. If you have a lot of products and/or product variants, an iPad Air or Pro will provide superior speed, with the larger iPads providing the most processing power. For maximum performance, get the iPad Pro 12.9″.
If you process payments using Shopify Payments in the United States, you can choose from the following two Bluetooth-connected card readers, which must be sourced from Shopify directly:
Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader
Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader (with an optional charging dock and/or iPhone case)
In the past, Shopify also offered swipe-only card readers that plugged into the audio jack or lightning port. Note that these readers are no longer available from Shopify’s US hardware store (though they are still available in Canada). US merchants can still use a previously purchased Shopify plugin swiper, but Shopify will not replace the reader if it stops working.
Shopify is also compatible with external payment processors (for an additional fee). If you use a processor other than Shopify Payments, you need to use the card reader you purchase or rent from that processor.
If your store is not located in the US, you will have different card reader options; check Shopify’s help center to see your options.
Shopify supports the following iPad stands and model numbers:
@Rest iPad Stand:Â HDAR2 or H234
WindFall Stand For iPad Air(& iPad Pro 9.7″):Â HDWFA1 or H236
WindFall Stand For iPad Mini:Â HDWFM01 or H434
Shopify also sells its own branded iPad stands. If you want to attach your stand to the counter, you can also purchase an optional mounting kit from Shopify.
Here are the cash drawers and associated model numbers Shopify POS supports for US merchants:
APG Vasario 329:Â VB320-BL1616
Star Micronics 13″:Â 37964220 and 37964180
Star Micronics 16″:Â 37965600 and 37965590
Windfall Cash Drawer:Â HDWFCDA and H225
Shopify POS supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, LAN, and USB receipt printers, including the following:
Star Micronics TSP100IIIBI:Â 39472110 (Bluetooth)
Star Micronics TSP650IIBI:Â 39449871 (Bluetooth)
Star Micronics TSP100IIIW: 39464790 (Wi-Fi)
Star Micronics TSP100III LAN:Â 39463110 (LAN)
Star Micronics TSP100USB:Â 39461110 (USB)
Barcode Printers & Scanners
Many retail stores use barcodes for their inventory items. With barcode printers and scanners, you can easily print and scan 1D barcodes (standard barcodes) and also 2D barcodes (QR codes). As follows are the barcode printers and scanners Shopify is compatible with.
Dymo LabelWriter 450:Â 1752264
Dymo LabelWriter Wireless Printer:Â 2002150
1-D Barcode Scanners
Socket Mobile S700:Â CX3360-1682 or CX3397-1855
Socket Mobile 7Ci:Â CX2870-1409, CX2895-1508, CX2885-1484, CX2883-1480, or CX2887-1486
2-D Barcode Scanners
Socket Mobile S740:Â CX3431-1881 or CX3419-1838
Socket Mobile 7Qi:Â CX3308-1528, CX3316-1536, CX3312-1532, CX3310-1530, CX3314-1534
Rather than purchasing your iPad stand, cash drawer, and receipt printer separately, you can opt to purchase a Star Micronics mPOPâ¢ all-in-one kit, which includes an iPad stand along with a combined cash drawer and receipt printer and internal power supply. Choose from the following models:
StarÂ® mPOPâ¢ Basic:Â 39650211 or 39650011
StarÂ® mPOPâ¢ With Scanner:Â 39650310 or 39650110
Shopify has several hardware bundles for sale on its website. Buying a bundle can be an easy, cost-effective way to get all the equipment you need and make sure you get the right stuff.
Here are all of the Shopify bundles and a list of what you get with each one. Note that none of the bundles include an iPad, and the Star bundles do not include a card reader.
Shopify Retail Kit
1 xÂ Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader
1 xÂ Shopify DockÂ for Tap & ChipÂ Reader
1 xÂ Shopify Retail Stand for iPad
1 xÂ Shopify Mounting Kit
1 xÂ Shopify Mini Dock Cable
1 x iPad Stand
1 x Cash Drawer
1 x Receipt Printer
1 x Chip & Swipe Card Reader
In the Custom Kit bundle, you can choose the form factor of the stand to suit your iPad as well as the color of your iPad stand, cash drawer, and printer (black and white). I wish this bundle included the option of a tap and chip reader to accept contactless credit cards and ApplePay, but I suppose you can just purchase that separately from Shopify if you want to accept contactless payments.
Since Shopify’s bundled hardware kits do include Shopify card readers, you must use Shopify Payments if you want to use one of these bundles.
StarÂ® mPOPâ¢ Basic
Star Micronics mPOPâ¢
Universal tablet stand
Internal power supply included
StarÂ® mPOPâ¢ With Scanner
Star Micronics mPOPâ¢
Universal tablet stand
Internal power supply included
Since the Star mPOP bundles do not include a Shopify card reader, you can use them with an external payment processor.
Which POS Hardware Works With Which Shopify Plan?
Shopify’s monthly software plans can be confusing, so please read this section carefully.
All Shopify plans work with Shopify’s card readers (tap and chip or chip and swipe), including lower-tier plans, such as Shopify Lite ($9/month) and Basic Shopify ($29/month).
However, the version of the app you’re using with your plan matters too. For example, if you’re using the older Shopify Classic version of Shopify POS, you’ll need to switch to the “Shopify” plan ($79/month) or higher to connect any other POS equipment, including a cash drawer, receipt printer, or barcode scanner.
If you upgrade to the “All-New POS” version of Shopify, you can connect whatever hardware you want, regardless of which plan you have. That means you can connect a cash drawer, receipt printer, mPOP, etc., even if you’re on the $9/month Shopify Lite plan. Once you upgrade to the new Shopify POS, you can connect any Shopify hardware on any Shopify plan. (You just have to be on iPad or iPhone because the new POS isn’t available for Android yet.)
The new POS version also includes the ability to track hardware connectivity for all of your Shopify POS hardware from within the app so that you can troubleshoot easily.
One more thing to keep in mind is that when you update to the new POS version, you will also automatically be upgraded to the new Shopify POS Pro subscription add-on, which is free of charge through October 31. The add-on includes advanced features, such as unlimited registers and omnichannel selling features that include giving customers the ability to buy in-store and having the item shipped to their home. After October 31, you’ll be charged an additional $89/month (plus your Shopify plan fees) if you want to keep the Pro subscription add-on, but as long as you stay on the new POS version, you’ll be able to keep your hardware integrations.
How Much Does Shopify Hardware Cost?
Below, you can find pricing for various Shopify equipment from Shopify’s website. Depending on your setup, you can start selling on your phone or tablet for little as $29. If you want a full countertop register with a cash drawer, receipt printer, etc., you can save by buying a bundle, which you should be able to get for somewhere around $500, plus the cost of your iPad. You have the option to purchase your POS hardware components separately or as part of a bundle.
Shopify also offers the option to purchase certain hardware in monthly installments via Affirm Financing.
Shopify Card Readers
Shopify Tap & Chip Card Reader: $49
Shopify Dock for Tap & Chip Reader: $39
Shopify Tap & Chip Case (For iPhone X/Xs): $19
Shopify Chip & Swipe Reader: $29
Shopify iPad Stands
Shopify Retail Stand For iPad: $149
Shopify 9.7″ iPad Swivel Stand: $139
iPad Mini Stand: $119
iPad Stand 10.2″: $129
iPad Pro Stand 12.9″: $169
iPad Pro Stand 12.9″ (3rd Gen): $169
Shopify Cash Drawers
13″ Star Micronics Cash Drawer: $139
16″ Star Micronics Cash Drawer: $139
Shopify Receipt Printers
Star Micronics Bluetooth Receipt Printer: $349
Star Micronics Wi-Fi Receipt Printer: $359
Star Micronics Wired Receipt Printer: $289
Shopify Hardware Bundles
Shopify Retail Kit: $229
Custom Kit: Starts at $539
StarÂ® mPOPâ¢ Basic: $439
StarÂ® mPOPâ¢ With Scanner: $569
You can also purchase various other POS equipment from Shopify’s website â barcode scanners, receipt paper, and other accessories. All pricing is listed on Shopify’s online hardware store.
Can I Buy Third-Party Hardware For Shopify POS?
Yes, you can purchase Shopify-compatible POS hardware from a third party, except for card readers, which you must buy from Shopify directly. Since Shopify gives you the exact model numbers of the equipment you can use, it should be easy to comparison shop for items, such as iPad stands, cash drawers, and barcode scanners on Amazon, Staples, or even eBay. Shopify’s hardware prices are pretty good, but it may be possible to find a better price for certain items elsewhere â just make sure you verify the item model number to ensure compatibility.
One benefit of purchasing equipment directly from Shopify is that Shopify offers 24/7 support for that hardware and risk-free 30-day returns. A third-party hardware vendor may not provide those same protections. And even if that vendor does offer support, it’s generally better to receive POS hardware support from your POS software company because it will have a better understanding of how the hardware interacts with the software and payment processing system.
An example: you can buy the StarÂ® mPOPâ¢ Basic bundle on Shopify for $439, which includes 24/7 support from Shopify, free shipping, free 30-day returns, and a two-year manufacturer warranty. The lowest price for this same bundle on Amazon is $444.74, with free shipping â but no support, return policy, or warranty to speak of. POSGuys sells the same bundle for almost $200 more at $625, with free shipping, free 20-day returns, a two-year manufacturer warranty, and lifetime support from POSGuys. Finally, Staples offers the bundle for $20 cheaper than Shopify at $419, but you’ll have to pay another $49.99 for a two-year Staples Protection & Tech Help plan.
Shopify also offers financing options for some of the pricier hardware items, such as receipt printers, label printers, iPad stands, and hardware bundles. Third-party sellers may or may not offer equipment financing, but if you do finance your POS hardware, it’s important to make sure you’re getting fair terms on that financing.
How Do I Get The Best Deal On Shopify Hardware?
So how can you get the best prices on Shopify POS equipment and avoid overspending but still get the maximum functionality?
First, take a close look at your needs to make sure you don’t get more than what’s necessary (if you don’t use barcodes, you won’t need a barcode scanner; if you don’t accept cash, you won’t need a cash drawer). You’ll also need to ensure that POS hardware is compatible with your device, Shopify plan, and Shopify version. Go through the Shopify hardware website and price out a few different scenarios, including the cost to buy items individually and how much it would be to purchase that hardware as a bundle. You can also shop for hardware on non-Shopify websites, but just make sure you check that vendor’s return and support policies and keep in mind that Shopify won’t be able to help you if your hardware doesn’t work as expected.
Interested in learning more about Shopify and how you can use this software to propel your business? Check out the following resources:
Shopify Facebook Stores: The Cheap & Easy Way To Sell Online
Shopify Payments Review: The pros and cons of Shopify’s integrated payment processor
What Is Shopify Pay & Why Does It Matter For Merchants?
The Complete Guide To Shopify Pricing
The 6 Best Shopify Dropshipping Apps & How To Use Them
The post Everything You Need To Know About Shopify POS Hardware: Cost, Where To Buy, & More appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Are you looking to start selling online? With the steady increase in popularity of online shopping, developing your own online store is crucial to ensuring you meet the needs and expectations of your customers.
But for many new online sellers (including those who already operate a brick-and-mortar business, as well as those who are just beginning), the costs of operating an online store can feel overwhelming. There’s the monthly subscription rate that you pay to your eCommerce platform, as well as the cost of transaction fees, payment processing, software extensions, and integrations.
Fortunately, you can ease some of the costs of opening an online store when you use a free eCommerce platform. Although you still have to pay for other expenses related to online selling (such as the cost of payment processing and software extensions), at least you won’t have to pay to use the actual selling software. This reduction in costs can lower the barrier to entry and help many businesses take the first steps to start selling online.
Free eCommerce software tends to come in two forms. Some software is available as a free plan on an all-inclusive cloud-based software. These free plans tend to give users the basic features they need for online selling while placing limits on product listings and advanced features. The other form of free eCommerce software is downloadable open-source software. This software is always free to use, and it does not limit its users in any way. That said, it is not nearly as user friendly as cloud-based software, and the software does not include web hosting or customer support.
It’s clear that each type of free eCommerce software offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Fortunately, both cloud-based software and open source software are great options for sellers who are looking to get started with a free eCommerce platform.
Best Free eCommerce Platforms
In this article, we’ll cover the best free eCommerce platforms on the market. Some of these options are free plans for cloud-based eCommerce software, while others are free open source eCommerce software. All of the free eCommerce platforms in this list meet our standards for security, available features, customer support, and usability.
Best for makers and artists who plan to list only a few items at a time.
Big Cartel is a cloud-based online store builder that is designed specifically with artists in mind. Content creators and makers of all types use Big Cartel to establish a website, build out an online store, and sell their digital and physical products. Big Cartel is incredibly simple and easy to use, which makes it an excellent option for anyone who is new to online selling.
Additionally, Big Cartel is a great alternative to marketplace selling, and their free option makes it accessible for everyone. Using this free plan, sellers can list up to five products on their online stores, and they gain access to Big Cartel’s most basic selling features. Keep reading to learn more of what’s available with Big Cartel’s free plan.
Easy to use
Geared toward artists
Customer support available for all users
Big Cartel Pricing
In this article we will be focusing primarily on Big Cartel’s free plan, but it’s important that you know about their paid plans as well. Big Cartel keeps pricing for their plans fairly low, ranging from just $10/month to $30/month. Each increase in pricing gives users access to more product listings and features. At the highest level plan, sellers can list up to 300 products.
Big Cartel’s Gold (free) Plan includes all of the features you need for basic online selling, although it limits users to just five product listings.
The Gold Plan includes:
One image per product
Use your own domain
Full code customization
Automatic tax calculations
Advanced tax settings
Product option groups
As we’ve mentioned, Big Cartel is a simple selling solution. Its aim is to provide sellers with an easy-to-use platform, and part of the way Big Cartel accomplishes this mission is by including only the features that most merchants need to sell online. You won’t find any fancy bells and whistles here–just the basics. Here are a few of the features you can expect from Big Cartel:
Sell on Facebook
SEO features like plain-text URLs and automatic sitemap generation
There are a few potential downsides to using Big Cartel. The first is the limited feature set and the reduced ability to customize your software. If you have a number of specific needs that you are trying to solve, Big Cartel might not be the right option. In addition, Big Cartel has a fairly small selection of extensions and payment methods. This further limits your ability to customize the software to suit your business.
Fortunately, Big Cartel does a good job when it comes to customer support. Although they do not offer any phone support, they do have a very good response time via email (we consistently receive replies in under two hours) and their self-help tools–such as the help center, the pre-recorded live classes, and the blog–are good resources for figuring things out on your own.Â
When To Use Big Cartel
We think that Big Cartel is best for small businesses and artists. Because of the limits on product listings, the free plan in particular is best suited to hobby sellers or artists who sell only a few pieces at a time.
Best for small to mid-size businesses that want to add an online store to their WordPress site.
WooCommerce is an open-source shopping cart plug-in designed for use on WordPress. WooCommerce is free to download and use, and it allows you to easily add an online store to your existing WordPress site. With over 84 million downloads, WooCommerce is incredibly popular. The software currently accounts for 26% of the top one million sitesÂ worldwide.
Although WooCommerce is free to download, it isn’t totally free to operate. You’ll have to pay for your WordPress account, as well as web hosting, security, and extensions. That said, WooCommerce is still an excellent choice for many businesses. The open-source software is completely customizable and full of useful features for online selling. All-in-all, WooCommerce is one of our favorite open-source solutions. Keep reading to learn more about why we love WooCommerce.
Numerous integrations available
Limited customer support
Site hosting not included
Add-ons often necessary
Steep learning curve
WooCommerce is an open-source WordPress plugin that’s free to download and use.
That said, there are a few expenses you should account for as you implement WooCommerce. You still have to pay for your WordPress site, along with your web hosting and domain name. You also will likely need to purchase a few add-ons and extensions for your online store. These add-ons range in price from free to hundreds of dollars. Fortunately, they are all available as one-time purchases.
WooCommerce follows a Core + Extensions model when it comes to features. In an effort to keep the software easy to use, they offer only core features already built in. These core features include everything the average merchant needs to get started. Any advanced features are available as extensions. Here are a few of the core features that come built-in with all WooCommerce downloads:
Sell physical and digital products
Create coupons and discounts
Although WooCommerce is a generally well-liked software, there are a few downsides to the platform. One downside is the learning curve that users must overcome. While it isn’t the most difficult software to use, it isn’t necessarily intuitive, and it will likely take some time to get the hang of daily use. What’s more, the cost of adding new features via extension can quickly add up. If you aren’t careful, WooCommerce could become more expensive than a cloud-based software with a monthly payment plan.
When it comes to customer support, WooCommerce is like most open-source software. There are very few options for personalized support from WooCommerce representatives. Instead, customer support takes the form of self-help resources. Available resources include a knowledge base, developer documentation, and a community forum. If you need personalized support, you can also hire a WooExpert to help out.
When To Use WooCommerce
We recommend WooCommerce to small to mid-size businesses. In particular, WooCommerce is best for businesses that want to add an online store to their WordPress site. WooCommerce works well for sellers who want a customizable solution and who don’t mind figuring things out on their own.
Best for mid-size businesses that can handle a technical challenge and need a way to sell internationally.
PrestaShop is a open-source eCommerce solution with an international reach. PrestaShop allows users to sell their goods across the globe with multiple available currencies, languages, and international payment processors. As an open-source solution, PrestaShop is free to download and use, although you’ll still have to foot the bill for web hosting, support, and extensions.
PrestaShop is one of the more technically complex options on this list. In order to get the best use of the software, you need a solid understanding of code, or you need the resources to hire someone who can manage the technicalities for you. In exchange for this complexity, however, you gain access to a strong selection of features and customization. Keep reading to learn what we like best about PrestaShop.
Excellent support materials
Strong user community
Expensive customer support
Developer skills required
PrestaShop is free to download and use.
That said, you will still need to account for a few expenses related to running an online store. PrestaShop users pay for their own hosting, domain name, site security, payment processing, and technical support.
PrestaShop offers over 600 features already built into their free software. Here’s a bit of what those features include:
Create coupons and discounts
Reports and analytics
Despite these positives, however, PrestaShop is not a perfect solution. The software shares many of the drawbacks that are typical of open-source software. Although the program is free to download, users still have to account for the cost of hosting and integrations, as well as expenses related to hiring a developer. In addition, in order to get the best use of the software, you really need to understand how to code.
Similarly, PrestaShop is like most open-source software in that support is available primarily through self-help resources. You can use the knowledge base, user forum, and some web ticket support to find answers to your questions about the software. In order to get a dedicated support representative, however, you’ll have to pay an additional cost.
When To Use PrestaShop
Because of the technical challenge involved with using the software, PrestaShop is best suited to mid-size businesses that have the resources to hire a developer. PrestaShop is great for businesses that need advanced features, including the ability to sell internationally.
Square Online Store
Best for sellers who already use Square to process in-person payments.
Square is a payment processing company that has revolutionized the way small businesses are able to accept payments. Now, Square is expanding its offerings to provide sellers with an omnichannel selling platform. You can now create an online store that connects seamlessly with Square’s Point of Sale system. And the best part is, this online store (with hosting, domain name, security, and customer support) is completely free for merchants who use Square.
Square Online Store was designed using Weebly’s website building software. This means that the software is incredibly easy to use. Square Online Store is available for free to anyone who processes their payments via Square, and they also offer a few paid plans that include additional features and payment processing options. We’ve been impressed with Square Online Store as a free, cloud-based option for online selling. Keep reading to find out why.
Easy to use
Ideal for low-volume merchants
Sell in-person and online
Integrates with the Square ecosystem
Only one payment option
Square Online Store Pricing
Square Online Store’s free plan includes a basic feature set, up to 500 MB of storage, and the ability to process payments through Square. Three paid plans are also available, ranging in price from $16/month to $79/month. These paid plans include additional features, storage, and payment processing options (lower processing rates and access to PayPal processing).
Square Online Store’s free plan includes:
2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (via Square)
Automatic inventory, orders and items sync with Square POS
Free SSL security
Order status text alerts
Automatic tax calculator
Square gift cards
Lead capture and contact forms
Support via a community forum, email, chat, and phone
Square Online Store’s free plan gives users access to only the basic features that you need for online selling. Here’s a quick list of some available features:
Sell digital and physical products
Sell memberships, services, and carry-out orders
Sync with Square POS
Automatic tax calculator
Create coupons and discounts
Sell and accept gift cards
As with all free plans, Square Online Stores comes with limitations. You can only process payments through Square, and you do not get access to real-time shipping rate calculations.
Fortunately, there are no limitations placed on customer support. You can reach customer support via phone, email, and live chat. You can also always access the help center, community forum, and tutorial videos. We’re impressed that Square Online Store offers personalized support even on their free plan. This is a very uncommon benefit.
When To Use Square Online Store
Square Online Store is best for merchants who already sell using Square Point Of Sale, and who are looking for a way to take their store online. We recommend Square Online Store’s free plan to individuals and startups, and we recommend the paid plan to small businesses.
Best for individuals and beginning sellers who need an easy to use platform.
Ecwid is a cloud-based shopping cart widget that allows you to add an online store to any website. With Ecwid you can choose to build an entire website from scratch, or you can add an online store tab to your pre-existing website by just copy-pasting a couple of lines of code. Ecwid allows you to sell on multiple different channels at the same time, including on social media sites, on marketplaces (such as Amazon and eBay), and in person.
Ecwid is a very affordable platform, with the highest pricing plan set at just $30/month. They also offer a free plan, which we’ll be discussing here. Ecwid is user friendly, which makes it an excellent option for small businesses and startups. Many individual sellers will likely find that Ecwid’s free plan offers the features and usability they need to venture into online selling.
Suited for startups
Easy to use
Add an online store to any existing site
Basic design tools
Ecwid’s free plan comes with a paired down feature set. In order to get access to the full selection of features, you have to subscribe to a paid plan. These plans range in price from $15/month to $35/month. Each step up in pricing includes more features, more products listings, and more available sales channels.
Here’s what’s available in Ecwid’s Free Plan:
List 10 products
Advertising on Facebook, Google, Pinterest, and Snapchat
Instant Site builder
Sell on multiple sites
Apple Pay (via Stripe)
Self-help support options
Ecwid’s free plan includes only the fundamentals of online selling. You can list up to ten products, market your products on social media, adjust the look of your online store, accept payments, and process orders. Here are a few available features:
Sell on multiple websites and in-person
Social media integrations
List product variants like size and color
Automatically translate your store in 50 different languages
Although Ecwid certainly has a lot to offer its users, it has a few limitations as well. The biggest drawback of Ecwid’s free plan is the limit they place on available features. You do not get access to features like automatic tax calculation, inventory tracking, discount creation, or digital products. You are also restricted to just ten product listings. This makes Ecwid’s free plan only good for the smallest online sellers (those who are just starting out, or artists who sell their pieces as a profitable hobby).
Support for users of Ecwid’s free plan is available via email. You can also find answers in self-help resources like the help center, tutorial videos, and community forums.
When To Use Ecwid
Ecwid’s free plan is best for individuals and beginning sellers who are looking for an easy way to take their products online. Growing sellers will quickly have to transition to a paid plan, but Ecwid’s free plan is a great starting point for many.
Best for mid-size and large businesses that want a customizable solution and can handle a technical challenge.
Magento is a software company that offers multiple solutions for online selling. In this article, we are focusing on Magento Open Source (formerly called Magento Community Edition), which is a free, downloadable selling software. Magento Open Source is completely customizable, and it comes with loads of features already built-in.
As an open-source solution, Magento is not known for its ease of use. In fact, you really need to have a good amount of experience with software development in order to implement this platform. With that in mind, we recommend Magento primarily to mid-size businesses that have a team of software professionals on hand.
Free to download
Impressive feature set
Active, global user community
Developer skills required
Steep learning curve
No customer support
Magento is free for users to download and use.
However, Magento is not a “cost-free” selling solution. In order to get your online store running, you’ll have to pay for web hosting, a domain name, integrations and extensions, and payment processing. Also, if you don’t have experience with code (especially PHP), you’ll have to hire a developer.
Magento offers an incredible number of features, even without any add-ons. Here are a few available features:
Coupons and discounts
Share on social buttons
Sell digital products and bundles
Tax and shipping calculations
Unfortunately, in order to access these features, users have to overcome a steep learning curve. Without the support of a developer, this learning curve may be too much for some businesses. In addition, while Magento is free to download, the platform can quickly turn into an expensive option when you consider the cost of hosting and integrations, as well as the cost of hiring a developer.
Magento is also a challenge for some users because of its limited customer support. Magento does not offer any support through phone, live chat, or email. Instead, you have to figure things out on your own with the user guide, community forum, and developer documentation.
When To Use Magento
Magento is a great solution for mid-size to large businesses that need a customizable and feature-rich selling software. Magento is only a good option for smaller businesses if they have the resources to hire a developer.
Free Shopping Carts VS Open Source eCommerce
All of the solutions we present above fall into one of two categories: a free plan on a cloud-based software, or an open-source downloadable software. Lets take a closer look at these two categories to find out which option is best for your business.
What Is Open Source eCommerce?
Open source eCommerce software are software that are made available to the general public. You can typically download the software for free, and all of the documentation that was used to build the software is available for public use. In general, open-source software is highly customizable, with strong features. Typically, companies that create open-source software make money on software extensions and technical support, rather than sale of the software itself.
The Pros & Cons Of Open Source eCommerce Platforms
Take a look below for the common advantages and disadvantages of open source eCommerce platforms:
Free to download
No monthly subscription costs
Web hosting not included
Users manage their own security
No personalized customer support
More difficult to learn and use
Developer support often required
Businesses that benefit from open source software are typically mid-size to large businesses. These businesses need customizable software, and they often have access to a developer.
What To Look For With Good Free eCommerce Software
Here’s how to identify a secure, high-quality free software option:
Open Source: For open source software, look for an option that is free to download and doesn’t make you pay for software updates. Look for lots of built-in features and a strong user community. Dive into the community forum and online reviews of the software to find out if general opinion of the software is positive or negative.
Cloud-based: When it comes to free plans on a cloud-based software, you should look for the ability to list at least 5-10 products. Double check that the software offers free hosting and domain names, as well as customer support options. It’s also a good idea to look for affordable paid plans in case you need to upgrade from the free plan in the future.
As you look for a free eCommerce software, you should also keep your eyes peeled for warning signs that a software may not be worth your time. Be wary of free plans that are so limited they are largely unusable. You should also be cautious of software that are not well reviewed online. Software without a significant number of reviews or software with a large number of negative reviews are often out-dated and clumsy to use.
Look below for answers to some Frequently Asked Questions regarding free eCommerce software.
Which free eCommerce software is best?
We think the best free eCommerce software overall is WooCommerce. WooCommerce provides the tools that most businesses need to sell online, and it is relatively easy to use. For sellers who prefer an all-in-one selling solution, however, we recommend Square Online Store. This software has the advantage of including web hosting, even though the feature set is much more limited than WooCommerce’s.
Are there free website builders with eCommerce built-in?
BigCartel, Ecwid, and Square Online Store (built on Weebly’s software) all offer elements of both website building and eCommerce. However, many popular website building software, like Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace, do not offer any free eCommerce features.
Do any free eCommerce platforms have unlimited products?
All open-source eCommerce platforms allow users to list unlimited products. Square Online Store is the only cloud-based eCommerce solution we know of that has unlimited products on their free plan (although, they do place a limit on data storage).
When would I have to upgrade to paid eCommerce software?
Typically, you have to upgrade to paid eCommerce software in order to list more than ten products and access features like real-time shipping and tax calculation. This only applies to cloud-based software since most open-source platforms are always free.
How To Choose The Right Free eCommerce Platform
Choosing the right eCommerce platform for your business is a process that involves careful consideration. In order to land on a great choice, you’ll have to make a number of smaller decisions along the way.
The first choice you should make is between cloud-based software and open source software. This decision should be based on your technical experience and your preferences regarding customization. Sellers who’d prefer to have their site’s hosting and security managed on their behalf should choose cloud-based software, while sellers who prioritize customization should choose open-source software.
Now that you’ve decided between cloud-based and open source software, you should take some time to come up with a list of features that your business absolutely must have. These should include key features like the ability to list digital products, calculate taxes and shipping costs automatically, and track your inventory totals. You should also look into customer support options–make sure that your business can manage with the support options available.
Once you’ve found a few software options that might work for your business, dive into the available customer reviews. Find out if users have a generally positive experience with the platform. If not, look elsewhere!
Finally, once you’re narrowed your options to one or two platforms, take the plunge and sign up for (or download) the software. Since it’s free, you’ve got nothing to lose, and there’s no harm in testing multiple products. Trying out the software for yourself will give you a good understanding of whether or not a software can work for your business.
If you choose to use any of the software on this list, we feel confident that you’ll have a positive experience. Even if the software isn’t a perfect solution, it is free, and it’s hard to go too wrong with a free option! No matter which software you select, we wish you the best of luck in your venture into online selling.
For more information on setting up an online store, check out our Complete Guide To Starting An Online Store For Your Brick & Mortar Business as well as our free eBook: The Beginner’s Guide To Starting An Online Store.
The post The Best Free eCommerce Platforms & Shopping Carts appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
So, youâre a first-time small business owner, and you want to be able to accept credit and debit cards from your customers. After all, youâre bound to get a lot more sales â and make more money — right? Well, this is generally true. However, credit card processing is also a mysterious and rather complex subject, and getting an account with a payment processor often ends up being a more expensive proposition than most business owners expect.
One of the more confusing aspects of credit card processing is figuring out exactly how much your processor is going to charge you for each credit or debit card transaction. Reading through your monthly processing statement can become an exercise in frustration, and it can often seem that your costs vary widely (and seemingly randomly) from one transaction to the next. Wouldnât it be nice if you just paid the same amount for each sale? Your costs would be predictable, and it would be easier for you to anticipate how much youâre going to pay each month for credit card processing.
Well, it is possible to enjoy this kind of stable, reliable pricing. The flat-rate pricing model is predicated on the idea that youâll pay a fixed rate for each transaction, thus allowing you to anticipate your processing costs each month. However, we should point out that we have yet to see a true flat-rate pricing model being offered by any processor. Even small business-favorite Square (see our review) has at least three different rates, mostly depending on whether youâre accepting a card in person, over the internet, or manually entering the card information.
Another important consideration with flat-rate pricing is that it involves an important tradeoff â itâs usually significantly more expensive on a per-transaction basis than other pricing models. However, this disadvantage is offset by the fact that most providers using a flat-rate pricing model donât charge a monthly account fee, or any of the other fees that most traditional providers tack onto your bill. For this reason, flat-rate pricing is often the least expensive option overall for very small or seasonal businesses.
In this article, weâll analyze how flat-rate pricing works and how you can use it to save money on your processing costs. Weâll also show you how it compares to interchange-plus pricing, another popular pricing model that is actually less expensive for some businesses. Finally, weâll show you how to analyze your processing costs to determine which pricing model is going to be a more affordable option for your business.
What Is Flat-Rate Credit Card Processing?
By now, youâve figured out the obvious fact that credit card processing isnât free. Although many consumers donât understand this, all business owners are acutely aware that a certain percentage of any credit card transaction will go toward covering the costs associated with processing the transaction. Unfortunately, that percentage isnât really certain at all, which is why the subject of credit card processing can be so confusing.
In a nutshell, hereâs how it works: Your credit card processor has to pay percentage-based fees to the bank that issued the credit card (called, unsurprisingly, the issuing bank). These fees are called interchange fees, and they vary widely based on several factors, such as the type of card used, the type of transaction, the nature of the item purchased, etc. There are literally hundreds of different interchange fees, any one of which might apply to a given transaction. Thereâs also a network fee, which is paid to the card association sponsoring the card (i.e., Visa, Mastercard, etc.). Network fees typically run around 0.05%, so they wonât be a significant expense for your business. Finally, thereâs the markup, which is the fee that your processor keeps for itself after itâs paid out the other fees. No matter what type of processing rate plan your processor uses, there will always be a markup â even if you have no idea how much it really is.
Flat-rate pricing aims to eliminate some of the confusion surrounding interchange fees and give you a simple, predictable set of rates that youâll pay every time. The primary advantage of flat-rate processing is that youâll always know in advance exactly how much a given transaction will cost to process. Most flat rates include both a percentage and a fixed per-transaction fee.
Letâs use Square (see our review) as an example of how flat-rate pricing works in actual practice. The company offers three primary processing rates:
75% for all card-present transactions
90% + $0.30 per transaction for all ecommerce (i.e., card-not-present) transactions
50% + $0.15 per transaction for all manually entered (also card-not-present) transactions
What does this type of pricing mean for your business? In a word: predictability. If youâre solely a traditional brick-and-mortar retailer, youâll always pay 2.75% for every transaction, unless the customerâs card isnât working, and you have to key in the information manually. Likewise, if youâre ecommerce-only, youâll always pay the same 2.90% + $0.30 per transaction every time you process a payment. Mail order and telephone order businesses will almost always pay the same 3.50% + $0.15 per transaction. Omnichannel businesses will have a little more variability, but with only three possible rates available, it wonât be too hard to figure out how much youâre paying.
Flat-rate processing is the rate plan of choice for payment services providers (PSPs) like Square, PayPal, and Stripe that donât offer you a true merchant account. Instead, youâll be aggregated in with every other business using the companyâs services. For small business owners, the primary advantage of signing up with one of these PSPs is that you usually wonât pay a monthly account fee, or any other recurring fees, for that matter. This can save you a lot of money, especially if youâre a seasonal business owner or only accept the occasional credit or debit card transaction.
The main disadvantage of flat-rate pricing is simply that the processing rates are high â often higher than what youâd pay under any other type of processing rate plan. As weâve mentioned above, there are hundreds of possible exchange rates that might apply to a given transaction. However, for comparison purposes, letâs assume that the average exchange rate is roughly 1.4% for card-present transactions and 1.9% for card-not-present transactions. Compare this to Squareâs rates quoted above, and itâs obvious that youâre paying a much higher rate for each transaction. Why is this? Well, your processor is not going to take a loss on any transaction, so theyâre going to set their flat rates high enough to cover even the most expensive exchange rates. This is one reason why the processing rates offered by the most popular PSPs are almost exactly identical.
Where flat-rate pricing really starts to cost you money is with debit card transactions. Because these types of payments come straight out of the customerâs bank account and donât require the issuing bank to cover the full cost of the transaction, interchange fees for debit transactions are much lower than they are for credit cards â typically less than 1.0%. Unfortunately, a flat-rate pricing plan doesnât take this into account, so youâll pay the same full price regardless of whether the customer uses a debit card or a credit card.
Interchange-Plus VS Flat-Rate Pricing
By now, it should be apparent that the simplicity and predictability of flat-rate pricing come at a cost. If you donât like the idea of paying much more than the basic interchange fees (especially on debit card transactions), you might want to consider an alternative.
An increasingly popular processing rate plan is interchange-plus pricing. Under this type of pricing, your processor will charge the basic interchange rate plus an additional markup. For example, a typical interchange-plus rate quote might be something like interchange + 0.30% + $0.15 per transaction. In this case, interchange fees are passed on at cost, and the processorâs markup is clearly disclosed as being 0.30% + $0.15 per transaction. If we again assume an average interchange fee of 1.4% for card-present transactions, this works out to an effective average rate of 1.70% + $0.15 per transaction. In most (but not all) cases, this will be much less expensive than what Square or any other PSP charges for the same type of transaction. Remember, however, that interchange rates vary quite a bit, so if your particular transaction has a higher interchange fee, there might not be that much of a difference between the two processing rate plans.
You should also be aware that some providers will offer you an interchange-plus rate quote that only mentions the markup. Donât be misled into thinking that youâre getting a really good deal â youâll always have to pay the interchange fees. In fact, interchange fees constitute the bulk of your processing costs for almost all transactions.
Of course, processing rates are only one part of your total costs. Providers offering interchange-plus pricing will be signing you up for a traditional, full-service merchant account. This is a lot more stable and secure than what youâll get with a PSP, but it does come at an additional cost. Expect to pay a monthly account fee at an absolute minimum. There are also a host of other fees you might have to pay, increasing your costs even more. For this reason, a full-service merchant account with interchange-plus pricing works best for year-round businesses that accept credit and debit cards on a daily basis, and process at least a certain amount (typically around $5000 per month) in credit and debit card transactions.
For more information on interchange fees, see our article, What Are Interchange Fees For Credit Card Processing?.
When Does Flat-Rate Pricing Work Well?
The simple answer to this question is that flat-rate pricing works best for small or newly-established businesses that donât have a high monthly processing volume and donât want to be burdened by additional account fees. If youâre just starting out or your business is a side gig that isnât expected to grow significantly over time, flat-rate pricing makes it easy to accept credit and debit cards without the commitment and expense of a full-service merchant account. Yes, youâll pay more on a per-transaction basis for credit card processing. However, you also wonât have a long-term contract or have to pay all the additional fees that typically come with a true merchant account. Flat-rate pricing can save you money overall by eliminating most, if not all, of these additional fees. The lack of a long-term contract makes switching to a full-service merchant account when the time is right easy and painless.
Can You Get A Better Deal Than Flat-Rate Pricing?
It should be obvious from the above discussion that flat-rate pricing isnât for everyone. Yes, itâs simple to understand, and you wonât have a long list of confusing extra fees on your monthly processing statement. However, youâll still be paying more for each transaction, and at a certain point this reality will catch up with you. Once your business grows large enough, itâs imperative that you switch to a full-service merchant account with interchange-plus pricing. Weâre always a little disappointed to see businesses still using Square when theyâve obviously grown to the point where theyâre losing money by not switching to an interchange-plus plan.
Where exactly is the âtipping point,â beyond which you should upgrade to interchange-plus pricing? Unfortunately, thereâs no simple answer. Weâve seen vendors that claim that you need to process at least $10,000 per month to benefit from interchange-plus, while other providers put this point as low as $1500 per month. The truth is that there is no hard and fast rule. Youâll have to analyze your actual processing costs under flat-rate pricing and compare it to what your estimated costs would be for the same transactions under an interchange-plus pricing plan. Remember that thereâs nothing stopping you from keeping your Square account as a backup even after you sign up for a full-service merchant account under a different provider. Many businesses keep their Square card readers in case of technical problems with their primary accountâs processing hardware.
Is flat-rate credit card processing right for you? As weâve seen in this article, it depends. As a general rule, flat-rate pricing is the best option for a small or newly established business with a low monthly processing volume. While the processing rates themselves are on the expensive side, the lack of other monthly account fees usually more than makes up for this disadvantage. Of course, this assumes that you sign up with a vendor who offers flat-rate pricing on a per-transaction-only basis and doesnât charge you any additional recurring fees. Beware of providers who offer flat-rate pricing, but then tack on a variety of monthly fees or try to lock you into a long-term contract. Flat-rate pricing only works well if you donât have a host of recurring fees and you can close your account at any time without penalty.
For larger businesses, flat-rate pricing is not a good deal. Youâll pay much higher processing rates than what youâd get under most interchange-plus plans, particularly for debit card transactions. Not having to pay recurring fees might seem appealing, but if your processing volume is high enough, this advantage will be negated by the cumulative effect of paying higher processing rates. You also wonât have the stability and protection of a full-service merchant account â something that will become increasingly important as your business grows in size.
As weâve mentioned above, determining the point at which it makes sense for your business to switch to a full-service merchant account is complex and varies from one business to the next. Youâll have to compare what youâre currently paying for payment services against quotes from providers offering interchange-plus pricing to determine which method offers the lowest cost overall. Our Cost Analysis Workbook is an invaluable resource for helping you âdo the math,â as weâve included spreadsheets that allow you to plug in the relevant information and quickly determine which pricing model is the best deal for your business.
For a much more in-depth discussion about rates, fees, and processing rate plans, please see our article, The Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates & Fees. If youâve decided that switching to an interchange-plus pricing plan is right for you, youâll want to consult our Merchant Account Comparison Chart for an overview of the best merchant account providers in the industry. Good luck!
Spend a little bit of time reading up on Stripe (read our review) and Square (read our review) and you’ll start to see the similarities. They’re both giants in the payment industry, media darlings that have transformed the way people pay for things and the way merchants accept payments. They’re both on the leading edge of technology and rely heavily on machine learning to drive their payment processing systems.
Most importantly, both Square and Stripe offer huge assortments of commerce tools that make it easy for merchants to run their businesses. With the various APIs and integrations available, there are almost limitless possibilities for creating a custom system with everything from invoicing to email marketing and more.
But that’s where I stop pointing out the similarities. Once you get past that point, it becomes harder to draw apples-to-apples comparisons because Square’s offerings are much more varied. Square really is an all-in-one processor that can handle in-person and eCommerce payments, as well as inventory management, customer databases, and more. Stripe is more limited to eCommerce, both for websites and for mobile apps, but it has powerful tools for global enterprises, subscription-based businesses, and other online companies.
To keep things fair and within a manageable scope, we’re going to limit the scope of this comparison to each companies’ online and mobile commerce tools. That means, for the most part, we’re not going to look atÂ mPOS apps, POS integrations, appointment booking, or email marketing…except to say if you need them, Square is the better choice.That also means we’ll be ignoring Stripe Atlas, the company’s service for helping international merchants establish themselves in the US.
If you want to sell online and Square and Stripe have made your shortlist, you should start by asking yourself some questions:
What features do you absolutely need? Which features aren’t essential, but would be very nice to have?
What percentage of your transactions are from outside the US?
Do you have a developer or advanced coding knowledge yourself?
Do you have limited tech knowledge and need an easy solution?
Are you looking for specific integrations?
What industry is your business part of?
How advanced are your subscription tool needs?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can sit down and look at each company in more detail. Read on for our comparison of Stripe vs. Square!
Products & Services
It’s so important to have a list of must-have features before you set about choosing any sort of payments or eCommerce software because you don’t want to make the decision and then find out that you’re missing a very important function. But it’s also important to think about where you want your business to go and what tools you want to invest in as your business scales up. If you pick the right service, it could mean you never need to switch. But if you don’t think about growth, you may wind up having to make a complicated switchover later in the future once you’ve outgrown a solution.
The good news is that for the most part, Stripe and Square are both very good solutions that scale up as a business grows. It just comes down to in which direction a business wants to grow.
Square Tools and Services for Online Merchants
Square initially stood out among mobile competitors by offering a free webstore to its merchants. Since then, the company has branched out considerably to include eCommerce integrations as well as developer tools. For a more in-depth review of all of Square’s offerings, check out our full review.
Online Store: Square’s free online store is very basic. There are only four templates to choose from, and you can only customize portions of the site (such as filling in your business name and address in the footer) in addition to loading your products. This is not a good solution for anyone with a large and diverse inventory, especially if your shipping costs vary significantly or if you’re looking for a particular visual aesthetic.
eCommerce Integrations:Â When you first take a look at Square’s eCommerce offerings, you’ll see that Square very conveniently groups everything by a merchant’s level of technical expertise. I think this is a really helpful approach.
The easiest integrations are listed on the site and Square lets you know that you can choose from an assortment of templates.
The intermediate level includes eCommerce integrations that require a bit more work and technical knowledge to get set up.
Square’s list of integrations includes some of the best shopping cart options, and the list keeps growing. That makes me happy, but if your preferred integration isn’t on the list yet and you do have the technical knowledge (or an eager developer on your payroll), there are more tools at your disposal. You can check out the list of Square integrations in the app marketplace.
Developer Tools: Square’s dev tools make it possible for you to create almost any custom integration you could need. For eCommerce, there are two APIs, Checkout and Transactions.Â Square Checkout is a premade form that can be dropped into a site with minimal fuss. Using Checkout means merchants are eligible for some perks, like next-day deposits and chargeback protection. The Transaction API, combined with Square’s payment form, is more customizable. Square has other APIs to handle other aspects of commerce, but you’ll find that Square doesn’t readily support in-app payments.
Dashboard Reporting: Square’s reporting tools are fairly advanced, especially for a company that started as an mPOS. They’re very popular with merchants who want to know what’s selling and how much they’re processing and need standard business data. The dashboard is actually quite intuitive, as well. However, Square doesn’t allow for a huge amount of customization in reports unless you get into the Reporting API, which allows you to create real-time notifications using webhooks.
Additionally, Square offers the following tools:
Advanced Inventory: Square will reconcile online and in-person sales and give you an up-to-date count on your inventory, including low-stock alerts when you hit a specified threshold. Plus, you can bulk upload products and generate SKUs, create variants, and more.
Fraud Protection Tools: Square uses machine learning to analyze transactions and identify and flag possible fraudulent transactions.
Customer Database: Save customers’ contact information and build a database with records of their purchases so that you can market to them later.
Invoicing:Â Create invoices from within the Square dashboard or from within the mPOS app. Square also allows customers to store their cards to automatically pay invoices (using this Card on File will cost you a bit more). You can also create recurring invoices. However, if you want extensive subscription management tools, you’ll need an integration with a service like Chargify, which will add to your costs.
Free Virtual Terminal: If you want to process payments over the phone or you don’t have access to the mPOS, you can use Square’s virtual terminal. Transactions will be processed at the manual entry rate (3.5% + $0.15) rather than the eCommerce rate, but the solution is PCI compliant and is designed for regular use.
All in all, while it’s worth noting that Square really is an omnichannel solution for merchants who want to sell anywhere without needing to build a complicated system of integrations. But it has some shortcomings, especially for digital merchants. Subscription tools are nearly nonexistent, and fraud protection doesn’t compare to the tools Stripe offers. If you want advanced, custom reports, you’ll be better served by Stripe. However, Square’s tools and overall design are incredibly easy to use, especially for business owners who don’t have a lot of technical expertise or a large budget to hire someone. And it has very strong tools for merchants who sell physical products in particular.
StripeÂ Tools and Services for Online Merchants
Stripe has earned its name as a developer-friendly option, but you can also integrate with a host of third-party apps to accept payments with ease. The company focuses on internet and mobile commerce, but developers have extended Square’s power to include mobile payments and more. Just take note, there’s no free storefront option here. For a more detailed look at different features, check out our complete Stripe review.
eCommerce Integrations & Plug-Ins:Â Stripe outclasses Square in terms of shopping cart integrations by virtue of sheer numbers. In addition to integrations with major eCommerce software providers, developers have created an assortment of plug-ins for businesses operating on WordPress, Magento, and other websites. If you’re not really sure where you start, you might end up doing a lot of research to decide the best course of action, but you can at least take heart in knowing that there’ll be something that will meet your needs. You can check out the full list of eCommerce integrations on Stripe’s “Works With” page.
Developer Tools: Stripe is much loved by developers for its flexibility, its extensive documentation and its support for multiple programming languages. Its APIs allow you to create invoices and subscriptions along with many other features.
Stripe Sigma: Stripe offers your standard user dashboard with some general sales reports at no charge. But if your business is heavily data-driven, Sigma’s customizable reporting is the perfect solution for you: you can generate reports based on SQL queries. This is pretty cool, and it’s a great way to make sure that anyone on your team can get the reports they need without creating an information bottleneck. Pricing is based on a sliding scale rather than a set additional monthly see.
Stripe’s additional tools include:
Stripe Billing: Stripe’s subscription tools are industry-leading, with the ability to charge clients based on a recurring quantity or metered usage, to set free trial periods, and much more. You can also create invoices or set up recurring billing tools. However, new businesses will pay a small additional charge per transaction to use these tools.
Stripe Radar: Stripe makes a big deal of its fraud monitoring tools, bundled under the very-apt name Radar. The system uses machine learning and a host of criteria to analyze every transaction and decide whether it is legitimate or possibly fraudulent. Radar also lets merchants set custom criteria for rejecting transactions and review flagged transactions to decide whether to accept or reject them.
Marketplace Tools: Merchants who want to operate a marketplace can use Stripe to build the platform. Stripe’s marketplace tools are grouped under the moniker “Stripe Connect.”
Multiple Currency Displays & Dynamic Currency Conversion: These tools are a major reason why Stripe is such a powerful tool for global businesses. Whereas Stripe will automatically convert transactions to USD (usually at the cost of a fee toÂ the cardholder), Stripe will allow you to display prices in local currencies based on where the customer is located. Stripe then automatically converts them for the merchant, charging a small markup over the exchange rate. This makes a business more appealing to international customers.
There’s no doubt that Stripe is very powerful. It can handle all sorts of payments, from digital subscriptions to retail goods. It’s one of the best solutions for global businesses with its currency tools. But it does have some limitations. If you plan to sell across multiple channels, there’s no option for in-person payments unless you have an integration like Flint Mobile (read our review), but it’s still more costly than other mPOS options. There’s no virtual terminal, either. While Stripe does allow you to manually enter a transaction if all else fails, it’s a last resort rather than a tool to be used on the regular because of PCI compliance issues.
Stripe’s inventory tools aren’t on the level of Square. They’re powerful, but if you want advanced inventory management, you’ll need to tack on an integration. I also don’t think that Stripe’s inventory tools are even half as intuitive as Square’s. But I think part of that is Stripe’s focus on online payments and tools for digital merchants, compared to Square’s omnichannel approach.
All in all, it’s really hard to say one of these companies is inherently better than the other. Both have a good assortment of integrations for shopping carts and other tools, though Stripe has a greater number of supported integrations. If you want ease of use, especially if you sell physical goods,Â Square is the standout option. But if you need flexibility, robust tools, and advanced data, Stripe is the better choice. So it ultimately comes down to your business’ needs.
Fees & Rates
I am happy to say that pricing for both Square and Stripe is mostly straightforward:
2.9% + $0.30 per online card transaction
There are no monthly fees, no monthly minimums, no statement fees. That’s very nice to see.
I do want to point out thatÂ Square charges different rates for its card-present and keyed transactions (2.7% and 3.5% + $0.15, respectively).Â However, invoices process at the same rate as eCommerce transactions unless you’re using Card on File, which process at the keyed transaction rate.
Square also has no chargeback fees, which is very unusual. Not only that, but the company has rolled out Chargeback Protection, which will cover the actual chargeback costs on qualifying disputes up to $250 per month. This doesn’t apply to merchants who use the Transactions API, but it is available for those who use Stripe Checkout.
You can getÂ volume discounts if you process above $250k per year AND have an average ticket size exceeding $15. That’s a mark in Square’s favor for large businesses. However, nonprofits don’t get any sort of special discount, which you can often find with other processors.
Stripe’s pricing has become a tiny bit more complicated. In addition to card transactions processed at 2.9% + $0.30, you can also accept ACH transactions for 0.8%, capped at $5 maximum.
The base fee per transaction is simple. And for each chargeback, Stripe will assess a $15 fee, unless the chargeback is decided in your favor. In that case, you’ll pay absolutely nothing.
Stripe’s subscription tools, lumped under the name “Stripe Billing” along with invoicing, will cost you a small percentage fee (between 0.04% and 0.07%) on top of your transaction.
Existing Stripe merchants are grandfathered out of this new pricing. Large businesses will actually pay the higher 0.7% markup, but it seems Stripe has compromised by offering lower transaction fees.
You’ll also pay a monthly fee for access to Stripe Sigma. The cost is a sliding scale based on the number of transactions you process each month, which is a great way for very small businesses to still get crucial data. But for a company that built its reputation on not charging any fees beyond transaction processing, it’s a little bit disappointing to see that model disappearing. You can estimate your cost with Stripe’s tool.
Stripe does offer enterprise pricing for very large businesses, andÂ some nonprofits may be eligible for a special rate. Stripe doesn’t make any promises about nonprofit pricing apart from “let us know and we’ll see what we can do.” So you shouldn’t assume it’s guaranteed.
With Stripe, you may also be able to negotiate for micro-transaction rates.Â Whereas per-transaction fees like the $0.30 Stripe and Square charge can eat up fees from small transactions (less than $10 in particular), micro-transaction rates typically include a higher percentage and a lower per-transaction fee that can save merchants money. This is ideal for anyone who sells digital goods and other low-cost items.
Because it’s something offered as part of a custom package, Stripe may not offer this deal to everyone. If you’re unable to get a micro-transaction plan from Stripe, it might be worth looking at a third option — PayPal (read our review) — instead. The 5% + $0.05 fee could save you quite a bit of money in the long run.
All in all, Stripe and Square are fairly evenly matched in pricing. Some merchants might enjoy the lack of chargeback fees and included chargeback protection that Square offers. But Stripe might be a bigger draw for other companies, despite the additional charges for using its subscription tools or Sigma reporting.
Contract Length & Cancellation
Both Stripe and Square offerÂ pay-as-you-go processing with no locked-in contracts or early termination fees. It really is that simple. Stripe will even help you transfer your customer data to another processor in a PCI compliant way.
If you’re using any of Square’s monthly services in addition to eCommerce processing, you can get a free 30-day trial, and then if you choose to continue with the service, you can cancel at any time. Square doesn’t bill annually for those services the way many SaaS providers do. (Conversely, you also don’t get any discounts for paying annually, either.)
Sales & Advertising Transparency
One of the reasons I like pay-as-you-go processors is that they are, on the whole, very upfront and transparent. They tend to not have extensive sales teams, and if they do have a sales team, they’re all in-house. They’re very clear about their pricing and terms, and they’re applied fairly to all merchants.
Square and Stripe both fit this pattern to a T. You won’t see reports of misleading sales pitches or rates not as promised here, which is always nice to see. You can find Stripe’s terms of service on the site, both the general user agreement and the Stripe Payments agreement. Like Stripe, Square has separate agreementsÂ applying to general use, payments, and other services. I do recommend you be cautious and check that your business doesn’t fall on either list of “prohibited businesses,” because that’s an easy path to account termination.
Overall, I’m really happy with both companies in this category, and you shouldn’t have any worries about whether you’re being told the truth or whether you’ll pay what you were quoted.
Customer Service & Technical Support
I think it’s fairly clear that Square outshines Stripe in terms of its customer support — both in quality and in the number of channels available.
Square offers merchantsÂ phone and email support, as well as an extensive knowledgebase. That’s pretty typical of any processor, but on top of that, Square operates the Seller Community, a community forum about all-things Square.
You can get answers from other Square merchants as well as from Square support reps. It’s a pretty powerful tool. But on top of that, Square’s team monitors Stack Overflow for questions about Square products and responds to them.
And that’s not even talking about Square’s dedicated Twitter support handle (@SqSupport), or the developer portal and documentation.
I can’t say that Square customer support is all sunshine and rainbows, because I do see customer complaints about the quality. However, without a doubt the biggest complaint about the quality of customer support comes from merchants whose accounts have been terminated. In that case, Square cuts off access to phone support and will only communicate via email. This is unfortunate and I don’t know if it’s actually a good solution. But I am sure part of the reason to reduce the odds of a customer support rep saying something they shouldn’t, and to prevent support resources from being tied up dealing with complaints from terminated merchants whose accounts won’t be reinstated.
Stripe is more limited in its support options. Its primary support channel is email. However, Stripe also operates an IRC Freenode chat (#Stripe) that developers may find useful.Â There’s no dedicated social media support with Stripe, but you can follow the general @Stripe twitter feed.
Stripe also maintains a self-service knowledgebase, though I don’t think it’s as extensive or detailed as Square’s.Â But I will say that Stripe’s documentation is pretty legendary, and so it’s going to be one of the best resources you can get.Â You can also find questions about Stripe on Stack Overflow, but I am not able to ascertain whether Stripe’s team is active on the forum at all the way that Square is.
I do see comments from merchants that the support is pretty good. But I also see a lot of complaints from frustrated merchants about the lack of phone support. That complaint has actually become one of the biggest marks against Stripe. I’ve seen one mention that Stripe might be rolling out phone support to “select merchants” (presumably high-value clients). However, take this with a grain of salt. I wasn’t able to verify it through any sort of authoritative source.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
As far as complaints go, the single biggest issue for both Square and Stripe is a common one:
Account Holds And Terminations: This is unsurprising (understatement of the year, right there) because it’s a common issue with any third-party processor. Because these payment systems are usually open to almost anyone right away and they are all lumped into one large merchant account, there’s a greater risk that some of those accounts will be terminated for risky behavior. There’s very little scrutiny done before a sub-account with one of these processors is approved, which stands in contrast to merchant accounts, where the processing company will do a lot of underwriting and investigation before approving your application. Both Square and Stripe use a lot of machine learning to analyze transactions and flag suspicious behaviors. This potential for account holds or terminations is universal — you will encounter it with any third-party processor. If you want to avoid it, your only alternative is to seek out a traditional merchant account.
The other big complaint that I see with both is also a pretty common one:
Poor Customer Support: If I’m honest, reports about the quality of customer service conflict. But because of how common the complaints are, I’m listing it here. With Stripe, the most common issues are the lack of phone support and slow response times for email. With Square, a lot of the complaints about poor customer service come from terminated merchants, but I’ve seen a few complaints about slow or unhelpful email responses.
Additional frequent complaints about Stripe include:
Lack Of Fraud Protection: I want to be clear: Stripe does have fraud management tools and a system to help merchants fight chargebacks. But I have seen complaints from merchants who don’t think these are adequate. Chargebacks are not settled by Stripe, so there’s not much the company can do beyond pass the requested documents on. But for fraud prevention, merchants need to make sure they have the appropriate tools enabled.
Not User-Friendly: There’s a lot of testimonials from users (especially developers) who really like Stripe and find it simple to set up. There are plenty of others who disagree with that idea. I’m inclined to think most people with a decent technical backing will get along fine with Stripe, but for some people, especially those with less technical knowledge, it’s not going to be a good choice.
For Square, there is one other common complaint:
Lack of advanced features: It’s not that Square doesn’t have enough features, or that it’s missing anything important. The complaints about Square often focus on the lack of very particular advanced features that you typically find in full-scale POS systems. In this case, I think Square’s lack of extensive subscription tools would fit the bill. Some merchants have been upset for quite a while over the lack of Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) reporting. Square added this feature with its Square for Retail app, but not for online sales or its free POS. Square has some very powerful reporting tools, but in the end, they won’t hold a candle to Stripe’s Sigma offering.
I think, yet again, that the two companies are pretty evenly matched in this category. The largest complaints are identical, and that’s because they’re the same complaints we see with third-party processors. To be entirely honest, poor customer service is a common complaint across the entire payments industry. It’s frustrating, for sure. But you can take steps to better inform yourself — read our article on how to prevent holds, freezes, and account terminations. And please take reports of poor customer service with a grain of salt, because I see conflicting accounts there.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
As media darlings, both Stripe and Square have gotten lots of press. They’re both lauded for the way they’ve transformed payments.
I usually feel a little bit silly comparing two businesses in this category because it almost feels like a bit of a popularity contest. But in this case, we’re dealing with two companies who have both gotten a LOT of positive press over the years, not to mention high-profile clients. And the bits of each service that merchants love most are pretty similar, too.
Square merchants love how easy the service is to use. And I tend to agree — Square is one of the most intuitive options out there as far as payments and using the dashboard. Merchants also really like the predictable pricing and lack of fees. Other than that, the integrated invoicing feature and the seamless omnichannel commerce experience are big draws.
Stripe also wins merchants over with its pricing, and its tools are very much loved by developers. While if you don’t have a lot of technical knowledge, Stripe may feel foreign to you, developers say it’s incredibly easy to use. Also on the dev side of things, it seems like the quality ofÂ customer service is great, even if business owners don’t always like the lack of phone support. And unsurprisingly, merchants really seem to love Stripe’s robust subscription tools. The predictable pricing and lack of monthly fees are also appealing.
Stripe and Square have some very important core similarities: they’re both third-party processors with an assortment of tools that allow merchants to sell online. Neither one is suited to high-risk industries, and there’s a lengthy list of businesses neither company can work with. But despite that, both Stripe and Square offer tools that cater to a huge assortment of industries. They’ll both grow with your business, making it easy to scale up.
But despite their similarities in terms of business model, it’s also pretty clear that what each company does best is completely different.
Square is a spectacular all-in-one processor. You can sell in a store, on the go, and online and get all of your information and payments and orders collected in one simply, intuitive dashboard. There’s a huge array of add-on products that allow you consolidate a host of business functions under one name, and they’re guaranteed to work together perfect. eCommerce support is really the newest branch of Square’s offerings, and it’s a work in progress as the company establishes more partnerships and integrations with other major players.
If you have limited technical knowledge, Square is going to be much easier to get started with and to navigate through the different features. It’s free advanced inventory tools are also very well suited to retailers and other businesses that sell primarily physical goods.
Stripe focuses only on Internet payments (both on the web and in-app), but its tools make it possible for businesses to cater to customers all over the globe. The international appeal — from the local currency displays to the sheer breadth of payment methods accepted — make it clear that Stripe is already a global player.Not only that, but with Stripe’s APIs and documentation, a savvy developer could create all kinds of payments platforms for a business. Business owners who don’t have a developer on staff, and who don’t have a lot of technical knowledge themselves, might struggle with understanding how to use Stripe, especially if you want to do anything more than integrate it with some sort of shopping cart software.
You also get a far more limited scope of features. There’s no native support for omnichannel commerce. No mPOS app, no POS integration to support card-present pricing, no invoicing. If you need more than online payments on a regular basis, Stripe isn’t a suitable choice. But if that’s all you need, Stripe isn’t just a good option — it’s one of the best out there, period. If your business has a global reach, again you’ll find that Stripe once again tops the lists of best solutions.
I’m not comfortable saying that one of these solutions is better than the other because it really comes down to what your priorities are. Do you need something easy to use? Do you want to embrace multiple sales channels? Or are you limited to online sales and want best-in-class tools to reach a global audience, manage subscriptions, and even drive mobile commerce? Square can get the job done, and it’ll be the easier solution, but Stripe offers far more tools.
Sit down, think about what features are absolutely mandatory for you to have — and then look at which ones you’d like to have, but aren’t necessarily required. From there, it should be fairly clear which solution is right for you! Don’t forget to check out our complete reviews of Stripe and Square for more insights into how they function.
Have questions? Leave us a comment and we’ll help! Have experience using either of these tools? We’d love to hear from you.
As always, thanks for reading!
The post Stripe VS Square appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
PayPal and Stripe are tools to deal with online payment processing, but theyâre also a lot more. Using its slew of interconnected products varying from mobile payments to financing services, I believe itâs reliable advice that PayPal is really a household name. And Stripe, while much more of a âbehind the scenesâ processor whose name customers donât always recognize, includes a lengthy listing of extremely popular clients and partners. So within the PayPal versus. Stripe debate, that has the benefit?
First, let me explain that neither PayPal nor Stripe provides the least expensive payment processing rates around. For any fundamental payment processor with lower rates, youâd need to be obtaining a regular credit card merchant account. You’ll acquire some fundamental eCommerce support, which can be recommended that you’re centered on cost and never so muchÂ on features.
However if you simply’re searching for features and versatility, you’re in the best place. PayPal and Stripeâs strengths lie within their myriad eCommerce features, including support for digital goods, subscriptions, as well as mobile application payments. However, even though these two services do essentially exactly the same factor, they are doing do it diversely.
If youâre unsure which of those online payment processors suits your company, or simply want a little more context for prior to deciding, continue reading in my comparison of both companies’ selling points: features, prices, customer support, and much more. For those who have something to include or perhaps your experience is different from my conclusions, you can leave me aÂ comment!
Services and products
PayPal’s core offering happens to be its payment processing: allowing anybody to create a payment to some merchant utilizing their own PayPal balance or perhaps a debit or credit card. Â But nowadays, retailers using PayPal obtain access to a number of supplemental services where you can exceed selling on eBay.
You will find three serviceÂ plans for PayPal:
Express Checkout: Add PayPal like a supplemental checkout option additionally for your standard payment processor for normal PayPal rates.
PaymentsÂ Standard: Get online payment processing and invoicing for normal rates.
PaymentsÂ Pro: Get the standard PayPal features Along with a Virtual Terminal and located checkout page for any fee every month plus processing fee.
You will discover much more about these different plans here.
PayPalâs other services include:
PayPal Here:Â PayPalâs mPOS application
POS softwareÂ integrations
Located payment page (with PayPal Pro subscription)
PayFlow Payment Gateway
Online &Â in-application invoicing
Donation collection tools
Buy now buttons
PayPal Credit: Provide no-interest financing to customers
Plus, PayPal offers SDKs along with other developer tools so that you can create custom integrations — as well as power your personal mobile payments application with support for Android Pay and Apple Pay.
Like PayPal, Stripe’s primary function is online payments. The organization offers retailers a boatload of features to enhance its core offering, but unlike PayPal, they’re much more of supplements than capabilities beyond payment processing. Listed here are Stripeâs primary features:
Located payment page
Coupons and free trials
Customizable reporting tools
Buy buttons in mobile phone applications
It bears mentioning that Stripe states convey more than 100 features — and that i’m inclined to think it. It’s a really robust platform that may focus on almost any type of internet companies. Plus, past the general features, you’ll also find Stripe’s Atlas suite of tools, made to help worldwide entrepreneurs begin a business in america. Stripe also offers a strong API for simple integration with a number of other applications. You may also integrate stripe with mPOS apps — if you’ll be having to pay exactly the same rate, that is considerably greater than most mPOS apps. However, the integrations do support Android and Apple Pay too.
PayPal versus. Stripe: Featuring Do You Want?
Since we’ve covered the fundamentals, it’s time for you to consider what’s essential for your company.
Sigma is Stripe’s reporting tool, and I wish to call focus on it since it’s easily probably the most robust and different reporting tool I’ve seen. PayPal will generate reports for you personally — but nobody besides Stripe enables you to definitely make your own custom SQL queries to create reports. This isn’t just selecting from the pre-generated listing of options — if you’re able to ask it using SQL, you can aquire a report. Should you’re after a little serious business data, it’s difficult to ignore it. PayPal’s reports are fairly advanced (also it’s a lengthy list), but they’re not customizable. A minimum of nothing like Stripe’s.
I continue being surprised byÂ Stripe’s insufficient an online terminal. You are able to by hand enter transactions with the dashboard, but the organization positively discourages by using this feature greater than from time to time. Additionally, it leaves you responsible for PCI compliance. PayPal’s virtual terminal comes at a price — along with a greater processing rate — but based on your company, it may be an excellent tool. Most omnichannel platforms provide a virtual terminal nowadays. On the other hand, Stripe is mainly for online commerce.
An associated note:Stripe generally handles PCI compliance for you personally, meaning no charges or additional work. If you possess the PayPal Standard plan, you’re instantly PCI compliant too. However, around the PayPal Pro plan you aren’t. Rather, PayPal provides you with transparent redirects to assist, and also you much complete a yearly self-assessment in addition to quarterly scans and much more. It won’t set you back more past the monthly plan you’ll have to put more work in it.
Something which Stripe recommends to obtain around PCI compliance concerns for manual transactions is applying an invoicing service. You’ll need to find an add-on service that integrates with Stripe — for instance, Zoho Invoice, or Flint. This will be significant because Stripe doesn’t have native invoicing support. PayPal enables you to send invoices out of your computer or from inside the PayPal Here application.
However, there’s without doubt that Stripe has probably the most capable tools for designing checkout processes and managing subscriptions. PayPal has some solid management tools for subscriptions and recurring billing, however, you do not have control of the checkout process around the Standard plan, Â and the professional Plan’s checkout tools just don’t appear to stack facing Stripe’s.
While PayPal and Stripe offer methods to exactly the same problem (online payments), they do it in Completely different ways. PayPal may be the entry-levelÂ solution — something which anybody (or at best, almost anybody) with a fundamental knowledge of eCommerce or technology can use. However, there is also much more tools to consider your company beyond only the Internet: an mPOS, invoicing, POS integrations, and much more. Unless of course you’re searching at something completely custom, the majority of PayPal’s features don’t require specialized understanding.
To obtain the most from Stripe, you’re have to a developer, because it wasn’t created for the layperson. It’s intended for companies that require a very customizable and tech-based solution for payment processing. If you want a plentiful variety of features, Stripe may be the obvious champion as well as your emphasis is particularly online payments.Â If your priorities lie elsewhere (simplicity of use, or omnichannel commerce), you may be very likely to think about PayPal.
Charges and Rates
Both PayPal and Stripe charge merchantsÂ the same per-transactionÂ processing fee: 2.9% + $..30. Additionally, Stripe will also support both ACH and Bitcoin, charging .8% per transaction, limited to $5 maximum.
Stripe charges nothing extra for accepting worldwide cards, because of its subscription services, or its located payments page. This really is certainly aÂ perk. However, if you are planning to make use of Connect, Stripe’s platform-building suite, you’ll encounter additional charges.
PayPal’s base subscription bills you nothing monthly — however, you don’t obtain a located payment page. To achieve that, you have to change your intend to PayPal Payments Pro. There is also PayPal’s virtual terminal (which has a different prices plan for transactions). However, if you would like recurring billing/subscriptions, there’s yet another fee.
PayPal Payments Pro + Virtual Terminal: $30/month
Virtual terminal prices: 3.1% + $.30
American Express prices for Pro and Virtual Terminal: 3.5%
Recurring billing: $10/month
Forty dollars per month for located payment page and recurring billing appears just like a lot. However, you need to do will also get the virtual terminal — an element Stripe doesn’t support. Plus, should you’re once subscription management, you don’t must have PayPal Payments Pro. A $10/month add-on is much more reasonable, otherwise ideal.
It’s also worth mentioning that PayPal is really less expensive in other situations. Particularly, PayPal provides a non-profit discount for 501(c)(3) organizations, in which you’ll pay 2.2% + $.30 for transactions. And let’s say you sell low-value digital goods (under $10 typically), PayPal really provides a micro payments plan that can save you money within the typical rates. You’ll pay 5% + $.05 per transaction — and since the transaction fee is gloomier, you find yourself saving cash although the percentage fee is greater. There’s additionally a Mass Payout option, where one can s finish a bulk wave of payments for just twoPercent, limited to $1 per transaction.
If you want an mPOS, PayPal Here’s also less expensive than dealing with Stripe — 2.7% per swipe, instead of 2.9% + $.30. Again, based on your average ticket size, this might mean substantial savings. (However, if you are using Shopify Payments, that is operated by Stripe, you will get 2.7% on swiped transactions. However that means building on Shopify’s platform, not Stripe’s.)
You’ll find a lot of PayPalâs prices here, or take a look at Stripe’s prices.
I truly dislike PayPal’s cost because of its located payment page, virtual terminal,Â and recurring billing, considering that other available choices available — not only Stripe — with lower prices. However I like that exist nonprofit prices, there’s a micropayments choice for retailers who sell digital goods, and you obtain a flat percentage rate for mPOS transactions. Which makes PayPal much more flexible on prices compared withÂ Stripe.
Simplicity of use
Both Stripe and PayPal allow customers toÂ pay retailers.Â But because a merchant, your experience is going to be a great deal different. While PayPal has tools for developers, it’s created for almost anybody so that you can setup and begin taking payments. For those who have no training with code, establishing Stripe will probably be much more complicated. You might be able to setup the fundamentals yourself (we’ve seen reading user reviews affirming this). However, if you want something more complicated than the usual fundamental eCommerce site, youÂ probably wish to just bite the bullet and employ a developer. Otherwise, you’ll be fairly limited in you skill.
Hereâs a good example: Youâve most likely seen PayPalâs ubiquitous âBuy it nowâ button, which enables you to definitely order and purchase products on numerous sites. To be able to integrate a âBuy it nowâ button to your site, all that you should do is copy the related code from PayPalâs website and paste it to your website. Stripe includes a similar âPay with cardâ option, however it requires you because the merchant/developer to createÂ the necessary coding framework.
Now, if you’re a developer, there’s no doubt that Stripe is the foremost choice.Â You can perform a lot with PayPal nowadays. But that can be done a lot more with Stripe. Again, Stripe was created first of all for developers…so this will make lots of sense. However if you simply’re not tech savvy and also you don’t have quick access to a person using the requisite skills, PayPal will probably be the smarter option.
Contract Length and Early Termination Fee
Neither PayPal nor Stripe needs a contract (both services are pay-as-you-go), which means no early termination fee for either service either. Yay!
Sales and Advertising Transparency
Both PayPal and Strike are extremely upfront regarding their charges and services. Neither company employs any schemes or gimmicks which will catch you unexpectedly if you notice your bill. As pointed out, PayPalâs charges could be a little trickier to wrap the mind around due to their complexities.Â Still, they all are clearly organized around the firmâs website which means you certainly couldnât give them a call âhidden charges.â Both services will also be pretty much known, so that they donât have to junk e-mail the web with annoying advertising, and also you’re not getting salespeople pounding at the door (or perhaps your email inbox).
Customer Support and Tech Support Team
PayPal offers a number of ways to achieve an assistance repetition. Included in this are:
Developer Center: PayPal’s dev documentation most likely isn’t as thorough as Stripe’s, however it exists.
Phone supportÂ (available MonâFri 5 a.m.â10 p.m.Â PST): Word in the pub (see âNegative Reviews and Complaintsâ) would be that the quality of PayPalâs phone support is sporadic.
Twitter â The @AskPayPal account fields service and support questions MonâFri 9 AM â 5 PM CST
Facebook: You are able to’t publish towards the page, however, you can discuss posts and message PayPal directly for those who have questions.
Stripe, however, provides more limited support:
Developer Docs: Stripe’s documentation is frequently a good option to understand more about what particular features can perform, even though you aren’t a developer. This a part of Stripe’s support is much more comprehensive compared to knowledgebase, which…really isn’t everything surprising. Again, this can be a developer-focused option, and Stripe’s invested its sources accordingly.
Freenode-based chat support (#stripe)
Facebook: No posting towards the page permitted, however, you can message Stripe.
Twitter: There’s no dedicated support account, however, you can tweet @Stripe or check @StripeStatus for outage notices and updates.
Stripeâs support is decent, sure, but PayPal provides you with a choice to obtain on the telephone about actual payment-related issues. Whether or not the quality isnât terrific, the significance of getting live phone support canât be understated.
Negative Reviews and Complaints
Both services are usually loved, but it is easy to locate complaints online. Here are the primary complaints about PayPal:
Withheld funds, freezing of accounts, and termination of accounts
High transaction charges (when compared with traditional payment processors)
Sporadic phone support
Limited seller protection
You’re likely to visit a similar thread of complaints about Stripe. Listed here are the most typical issues retailers encounter:
Ended accounts, frequently with funds inside
Unresponsive customer support
Both PayPal and Stripe possess a pretty careful approach with regards to accepting online payments, which could cause account freezes and chargebacks for many retailers. It is because they’re both third-party processors — they aggregate accounts into one large account. Around the one hands, it’s simple enough to on line. Alternatively, the minimal underwriting means that you’re in a and the higher chances of the sudden hold or termination. Regrettably, that’s something’ll suffer from when you purchase ANY third-party processor. It may sound frightening, but people build effective companies being worn by these types of services constantly.Â If you believe you may be a higher-risk merchant, or else you know your profession is on either company’s listing of prohibited companies,Â you should most likely consider using a traditional credit card merchant account or perhaps a high-risk processor for example Durango A Merchant Account (DMS) rather.
You may also check our guide:Â How to prevent merchant holds, freezes, and terminations.
Positive Testimonials and reviews
It may sound frightening, but people build effective companies being worn by these types of services constantly, even with the connected risk. Finding reviews that are positive associated with a service is commonly tougher than finding complaints because individuals are more inclined to speak up if they’re unhappy with something, but you’ll be able to locate them.
Stripe’sÂ list of high-profile users, for example Reddit, Mashable, Foursquare, Squarespace, and Shopify speaks by itself. Clearly, it’s the darling of tech-savvy companies. But dig just a little much deeper and also you’ll find more feedback using their company users. Hereâs what individuals like about Stripe:
Fast and simple signup
No âfine printâ charges
Nice API to utilize
All services incorporated in a single cost point
You’ll have some similar praises for PayPal, particularly about its payment processing and prices. I’m not very surprised at the possible lack of praise because of its API or even more advanced features — though they did show up over a couple of reviews. Listed here are the highlights:
Within the finish, I don’t think it’s simple to draw a obvious champion within the PayPal versus. Stripe debate.
Ultimately, the selection depends upon your requirements. For those who have developing experience (or someone in your payroll using the requisite skills) and wish to develop a customized online storefront or perhaps a complex platform for any SaaS subscription product, Stripe is the foremost choice. If youâre not really a developer, don’t possess the way to hire one, or don’t have very complex needs, PayPal is probably more appropriate. If you don’t obtain a located payment page with no $30/month subscription, PayPal does have a superior amount of consumer trust, therefore it’s a lesser concern if PayPal redirects your clients to the site to accomplish the transaction.
Bear in mind that you simply aren’t just searching for the way to consider payments online. Almost any service available can perform that. Concentrate on the features you’ll need, not only now but later on. An mPOS, invoicing, flexible checkouts, subscriptions — whatever can help you run your company easier.
However, either service requires you to definitely sign an agreement, and that means you can check out one of these simple services (or both services) without getting to commit. Need to see which runs better? It could take some work, however, you can totally test them out both out as lengthy while you’d like.
Which, my pal, is fairly awesome.
What exactly are your ideas onÂ Stripe versus. PayPal? Have you ever attempted both services? Which did you go searching for? We like to listen to readers, so please leave us your comments!
The publish PayPal Versus Stripe made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.
Mobile Reason for Purchase (mPOS) systems make it easy for almost any business to setup shop and begin taking payments almost immediately. Theyâre flexible. Theyâre affordable. Which days, theyâre also boast-wealthy, delivering abilities that may, at occasions, rival a conventional or iPad-based POS system.
Are you currently getting the most from your smartphone and card readers? Letâs take a look at five very helpful mPOS abilities you will possibly not be familiar with:
1. Run an eCommerce Store
Anybody using Square and PayPal Here most likely isn’t shocked to understand that you could run an eCommerce store by having an mPOS. PayPal is most likely the greatest name in eCommerce available. Square made waves within the payment space using its offer of the online for free store. It wasn’t much to begin with, but Square’s done a great deal recently to grow its eCommerce support.
If this sounds like news for you, you need to certainly be aware. It’s good timing because, generally, the is shifting toward omnichannel solutions — services and products that allow you to sell seamlessly online, available, within the field, as well as on social networking.
PayPal Here doesn’t seamlessly use your web store, but everything is going to be centralized inside your PayPal account. Square has a seamless interface between on the internet and mobile sales. SumUp, a family member newcomer towards the US mobile processing scene, will also support an eCommerce API so that you can sell online.
Should you’re using Clover Go, it’s also wise to realize that Clover comes with an eCommerce integration. It doesn’t sync up directly using the Go platform, however if you simply’re using all of those other Clover suite (let’s be genuine should you’reusing Go, you probably are), it’s a choice.
And lastly, don’t forget that let’s say you sell online, your eCommerce suite might already support mPOS. Shopify, for instance, provides a POS system that actually works on tablets in addition to smartphones and it is quite feature-wealthy.
2. Manage Your Inventory
Square has got the most feature-wealthy inventory feature associated with a mPOS system. It sticks out partly since it’s the only real mPOS that presently supports inventory counts. It syncs across in-person an internet-based sales as well as supports multi-location inventory.
However, that’s not saying you are able to’t manage your inventory with every other mPOS. Most mPOS options permit you to keep track of particular products, add photos, descriptions, as well as list item variants at different prices, usually within the application itself. PayPal Here and SumUp both support these functions, along with Spark Pay. (Clover Go requires you to definitely make your inventory list in the web based dashboard.)
If you are using Shopify’s POS/mPOS additionally towards the eCommerce features, you’ll get automatic inventory syncing across on the internet and in-person sales too, without trying needed.
If you want some thing robust or hate Square and Shopify’s inventory solutions, there’s an add-on known as Shopventory. It integrates with PayPal Here, Square, and Clover, amongst others, and may handle your inventory for you personally.
It’ll set you back more monthly, however if you simply make use of your mPOS system fairly frequently (or daily), this may be an important tool.
Both Spark Pay and Square integrate with Stitch Labs too, providing you with an alternative choice for inventory management.
3. Offer Special Discounts and deals
A great POS will support special deals and promotions since it’s a terrific way to awaken sales. Which include is less frequent within the mPOS space — but nonetheless available, knowing where you can look.
Spark Pay, for instance, supports special deals for users who depend around the mobile readers. (If you are using the terminals, this isn’t supported.) You’ll also discover that Square and PayPal Here both support discounts, so that you can mark lower whole orders by percentage or perhaps a amount of money. Square enables you to also discount individual products. Shopify’s POS also enables you to apply discounts to transactions.
The greatest advantages listed here are that you simply won’t have to use a calculator to calculate an order total. So if you’re using some kind of inventory or sales tracking, you won’t mess that up simply by entering a fast-purchase or custom amount without logging these products.
4. Operate a Virtual Terminal
Odd because this may seem, sometimes payments on the smartphone (or tablet) aren’t really probably the most convenient solution. Your standard POS system could be complicated and costly, and funds and appearance require a visit to the bank….which’s where virtual terminals are available in.
Virtual terminals permit you to take payments from the internet-connected computer. Just sign in throughÂ your browser and connect the credit card information. (Note: Some permit you to connect a card swiper instead of entering the transaction.)
Not everybody requires a virtual terminal, however it’sÂ ideal for office and a few service-focused environments. Plus,Â it provides you with a backup choice to accept payments (for the way you consider it).
Square only folded out its virtual terminal fairly lately. However,Â it’s an unsurprising change from a business that’s positively attempting to end up being the finish-all, be-all suite for small companies. It doesn’t support a card readers, nevertheless its rates for keyed transactions are similar to the eCommerce rates (2.9% + $.30). That’s less than PayPal’s rateÂ (3.1% + $.15).
Second, PayPal‘s virtual terminal doesn’t come free. You have to upgrade to PayPal Payments Pro for $30/month to obtain access. You’ll will also get a located payments page let’s say you sell online, however that increases your PCI compliance burden too.
Technically, Authorize.internet is really a payment gateway for eCommerce companies. However, it ‘s expanded its choices to incorporate a really fundamental mPOS in addition to a virtual terminal for any $25 fee every month. Should you process directly through Auth.internet, you’ll pay 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. Should you only use the gateway and process through another person, you’ll spend the money for fee every month, $.10 per transaction, along with a $49 setup fee along with a $.10 daily batch fee.
Retailers who’ve a QuickBooks Payments account get utilization of not only the mPOS GoPayment application however a virtual terminal, in addition to ACH processing and a few other interesting features. And when youâre using Payline Mobile,Â you will also get an online terminal at no extra charge (and interchange-plus prices as well).
An alternative choice ideas haven’t spoken aboutÂ is Converge, fromÂ Elavon. We haven’t personally reviewed Converge at Merchant Maverick, though I’ll profess lots of fascination with the machine. This omnichannel commerce solution includes an mPOS in addition to a virtual terminal.
Related thought: Some mPOS providers also store cards on record and permit recurring billing. Square supports this selection at no extra charge, and PayPal will enable it for Payments Pro customers for the next $10/month. Â However, you won’t find a number of other mPOS systems that support this.
5. Create Worker Accounts and hang Permissions
Multiple people one mPOS login is a terrific way to make certain you are able to’t find out the supply of any accounting mistakes. Additionally, it means anybody together with your login information have access to sales data along with other reports, in addition to issue refunds.
Should you’re the only person ever running charge cards, it’s not an issue. But when other people will probably be running sales, you might like to consider creating an worker or sub-user account.
Abilities vary with respect to the mPOS. Usually, a sub-user or worker account may have different login credentials and permit the user to handle fundamental functions for example finishing transactions. Simultaneously, they limit use of more sensitive features (sales reports, the opportunity to issue voids or refunds).
PayPal, SparkPay, Clover Go, and SumUp permit you to create worker/sub-user accounts at no extra charge. For Square, this selection can cost you $5/worker/month. However, itâs important to note that Squareâs worker management features are much greater than just developing a separate login.
Go Explore the Options of the mPOS
Mobile charge card readers came a lengthy, lengthy means by yesteryear couple of years, and theyâre just as one important foundation for a lot of companies due to their versatility. Donât underestimate an mPOS system. Should you poke around a little, you’ll find interesting features put away which you can use to create your company run better still.
Which mPOS features are you finding most helpful outside your mPOS application’s payment processing? Leave a remark and tell us â weâd like to know what you think!
The publish 5 Stuff You Didn’t Know You Could Do This by having an mPOS made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.
Launched in 1992, Quickbooks is a well known accounting and private finance software. Since it is highly complex and it has a sophisticated set of features, miracle traffic bot could be fairly intimidating for many small companies. However, for those its complexity, Quickbooks is definitely an incredible accounting solution once mastered. So incredible, actually, that lots of people select other business software programs—including reason for purchase (POS) software—solely based on Quickbooks compatibility. As this information will discuss, picking out a POS with that qualifying criterion has major advantages selecting a POS that integrates with Quickbooks may ultimately help you save both money and time. Keep studying to have an explanation of why that’s.
Table of Contents
Why Do You Want Accounting Software?
Some POS systems offer fundamental, built-in bookkeeping tools, but because your company expands, it’s vital to purchase software that really focuses on accounting. Keeping accurate books and tax details are clearly essential for all companies, but it’s especially crucial when growth occurs. There actually is no replacement for an application that are experts in accounting. You would not ask Jordan to sing, right? Neither can you ask Beyonce to capture some hoops. Everyone’s interests would be best offered when individuals stay with the things they’re doing best, and also the same concept pertains to software too. Integrating with specialized software optimizes your company abilities by mixing the very best of everything available. The finish outcome is something truly amazing a singing, dancing, dunking Jordan, for a moment.
Since I’ve established the significance of using specialized accounting software, the following indicate consider is when multiple software packages actually work together. There’s two potential ways POS systems and accounting solutions can cooperate. The very first way can be defined as indirect and also the second as direct.
Indirect Integration: Many POSs will help you to export financial data in the type of a spreadsheet. After that you can by hand enter these details into a cpa software system. This method could be tiresome, as you would expect, however it has you a minimum of a way to sync your data.
Direct Integration: Direct integration is easily the most efficient way to utilize a POS as well as an accounting software together, allowing the 2 systems to talk about information work instantly.
Why Would You Use Quickbooks?
Quickbooks provides an impressive variety of features by standard. While a lengthy listing of features is a great argument for selecting Quickbooks, there’s another essential indicate consider. Namely, an immediate integration with Quickbooks will seriously limit the POS software you are able to use. Happily, Quickbooks makes it easy to determine which software packages it integrates with by supplying a searchable list on its website. You’ll find it on this link.
Before we go any more, you should observe that Quickbooks offers three different accounting solutions: Quickbooks Online, Quickbooks Pro, and Quickbooks Mac. While all these programs serves exactly the same bookkeeping purpose, they’ve divergent features and abilities.
1-5 users with user permissions
Prepared to handle a company associated with a size
30 payment gateways
5 customizable templates
Recurring Invoices that may be auto-scheduled and batched
Default e-mail, invoice notes, and conditions and terms
Convert estimates to invoices
Accept quotes online
Contact, vendor, time, and worker management
Customer credit memo
Chart of Accounts
Accounts Payable Recurring Bills
Automatic Bill Reminders and categorization
Bank Reconciliation and custom bank rules
Live bank feeds
Manual bank statement import
Batch transaction Categorization
By hand enter time
Bill time for you to customer as invoice
Tax Support (limitless quantity of florida sales tax forms)
E-file tax forms
Florida sales tax
Assign florida sales tax to make contact with
Invoice reminders and discounts
Capability to attach estimates to employees
Maps and directions
Sales orders and receipts
Project Management Software
Assign tasks to employees
Low stock reminders
Capability to order tax forms online
Upload and save Documents
Additionally to each feature Quickbooks Online supports, Quickbooks Mac will also support:
Maps and directions
Project management software
Capability to assign tasks to employees
So What Can An Immediate Integration With Quickbooks Do For The Business?
An immediate integration with Quickbooks can dramatically improve your business’s overall efficiency and profit.
Entering information by hand ‘s time-consuming, so something that serves to automate facets of the accounting process could save you time. (And time is money, in the end.) Integrating Quickbooks together with your POS will accelerate your processes within the following ways:
Gentle Learning Curve: Understanding how to use two separate software packages that operate individually of each other or integrate not directly could be downright frustrating. It can save you a little irritation by making certain that the POS can directly integrate with Quickbooks. In case your programs can already interact and put nice, you’ll save lots of hassle and steer clear of all of the crying, screaming, and kicking-of-inanimate-objects that will have otherwise inevitably ensued.
Elevated Adaptability: After a while as well as your business grows and develops, changes will in the end be produced for your inventory, purchase orders, etc., eventually switching your overall income. Whenever you add something new or food selection, natural factor to complete would be to update that information out of your POS. With no direct integration, however, you must also change details about new costing and funds flow inside your accounting software. An immediate integration side-steps the boredom and instantly synchronizes changes and updates across both software.
Decrease in Human Error: When by hand transferring information in one software to a different, there’s possibility of human error. An immediate integration mitigates this error by carrying it out for you personally.
Accounting software can facilitate organization and financial health, but it’s also a great reporting resource. Learning from mistakes is frequently an essential aspect of effective business growth. Whenever you create a particular change (managing a purchase, for instance, or updating your inventory), sales feedback will instantly be delivered to Quickbooks. This enables for convenient analyzation and lets you make adjustments.
Accounting software like Quickbooks will also help you to definitely target the exact regions of your company where improvement is required you are able to isolate products or practices that aren’t economical and simply make adjustments making use of your integrated POS.
POS Systems That Integrate With Quickbooks
As you’ve seen, integration with Quickbooks might help your company run more easily, saving money and time. Below there is also a listing of the best POS systems that directly integrate with Quickbooks.
The very best two words to explain ShopKeep are simple and elegant. Shopkeep’s specialized niche may be the small niche business. Bigger companies will likely not find Shopkeep to become a good fit on their behalf due, partly, to limitations on inventory (10,000 products). Just $69/month, however, small companies can engage in a POS system that’s robust because of its cost range.
Shopkeep transmits shift data to Quickbooks which contains summaries of sales, returns, tender totals, florida sales tax, discounts, and funds drawer activity. For a complete overview of ShopKeep click the link.
Vend was one was from the first pioneers of offline POS functionality. Established this year, it’s a robust system with an impressive inventory management system, an omnichannel sales approach with in-store an internet-based abilities, a comprehensive listing of integrations with third-party software, along with a comprehensive retail management solution. Don’t let all of the advanced features scare you, though. Vend can also be simple to use and has a top-notch consumer experience.
Vend’s Quickbooks integration syncs finish of day sales, payment counts, and price of products. For any more in depth description of all these integration features click the link.
ERPLY comes by having an eclectic range of features intended to supply a comprehensive business solution.
Keep in mind that whenever integrating with Quickbooks, you will simply have the ability to send new invoices and invoice payments and synchronize customers. Get more information at a complete review.
SalesVu is really a mobile-friendly POS with a lot of versatility. It’s flexible a couple of different reasons. First, the prices plans can start $25 monthly additional services and features are added on based on the customer’s needs. Second, SalesVu is appropriate for companies of various sizes as well as in different industries.
SalesVus’s integration with Quickbooks syncs groups and product names, closed/compensated transactions (SalesVu doesn’t presently sync open orders/open invoices), customers names, worker contact details, and vendor information (readily available for Quickbooks online only).
For any full review, click the link
talech is really a robust POS, boasting features like advanced inventory, in-house marketing, and the opportunity to integrate with almost any payment processor. Noticably, however, is its relatively affordable cost tag. At $44 monthly (billed yearly), talech is among the best prices you’ll probably find.
Using talech’s Quickbooks integration, you can send receipts from talech to Quickbooks in a scheduled time. For any full review, click the link.
Retail Pro supports 18 different languages and multiple currencies. Personalization can also be an essential feature nearly everything could be tailored for your preferences. This POS isn’t for that small-business proprietor, however. By having an initial cost tag well over $10,000, Retail Pro is definitely an excellent system for big companies however is not simple for anything smaller sized.
RetailPro provides a complete integration with Quickbooks. For any full overview of Retail Pro click the link.
Revel is really a robust, all-in-one POS solution whose standout features include kiosk mode, kitchen view, expedite view, and table listing.
Revel is really partnered with Quickbooks. What which means for Revel users would be that the integration process is streamlined. Data from bookkeeping, payroll information, worker schedules, sales, inventory, purchase orders, and accounting is instantly transferred out of your POS for your Quickbooks accounts. Sales details are pressed for your Quickbooks accounts daily. For any full review click the link.
Quickbooks is among the best and many time-tested accounting software programs available on the market. In my experience, it can make sense to include it to your business and make anything else around it. You aren’t in a disadvantage for doing this either. Picking out a software based on direct integration compatibility with Quickbooks can eventually lead to additional time and much more money. With no you ought to ever complain about this.
David is really a recent college grad that has spent his time publish-graduation traveling, being employed as an urgent situation Medical Specialist, and doing his better to get Sitting/ACT students looking forward to test-taking.During college, David would be a columnist as well as an editor for his University’s newspaper, where he spent way too much of his time. He highlighted his college years having a study abroad experience of Rome, where he was the person receiving the Rome Correspondents Scholarship he subsequently caught, and it has yet to recuperate from, the “travel bug.”When he is not writing, David is studying philosophy(that they oddly finds exhilarating) or doing something that requires the outdoors.
Remember the final time you purchased something online. Have you inflict research before you decide to made you buy the car? Have you lookup reviews from the product and make a price comparison on Amazon . com, eBay along with other online retailers? Have you go to a brick-and-mortar store to obtain a better concept of the merchandise before you decide to purchased?
Should you did any one of individuals things, then you definitely involved in multichannel commerce. And also you aren’t alone. Based on one study by Forbes Insights, 82% of consumers conduct online investigation before purchasing. Because of so many customers engaging with multichannel marketers, it appears a good idea to take particular notice at multichannel selling.
Table of Contents
What’s Multichannel Selling?
Multichannel selling has turned into a common term in eCommerce, though its definition hasn’t solidified yet.
Skillfully developed, eCommerce platforms, and developers frequently debate precisely what comprises multichannel selling and marketing. Additionally they debate the main difference between your terms “multichannel” and “omnichannel.” For the purposes, we’ll stick most abundant in generally decided definition.
Basically, multichannel selling involves selling across multiple channels (keep surprises away there). Which means you’ve your product or service for auction on a minimum of two following platforms:
Online Marketplaces: Your product or service can be found on eBay, Amazon . com, Etsy, etc.
Social Networking: Social networking listings may take great shape. You may have a Facebook Store or you will be utilising buy buttons on Pinterest or Instagram posts.
Your Personal Online Shop: You keep your own online shop. If you are still working out how to setup a web-based store and sync your inventory across channels, keep studying for many advice.
Your Brick-and-Mortar Store: You sell products within the real life, utilizing a POS system to keep an eye on everything.
Retailers can engage in several amounts of multichannel selling. If you are using several of the aforementioned methods, you’re a multichannel seller.
Why Sell Across Channels?
So, why would you sell across channels? Well, for several reasons. Selling across channels increases your company’s exposure, increases revenue, and encourages customer loyalty. I’m breaking lower the reason why to market across channels below:
Current Shopping Trends Lean toward Multichannel: Modern clients are cost-wary and tech savvy. Around 50% of internet shoppers make a price comparison online before they buy something. Whenever you list your product or service across multiple platforms, you make certain that buyers visit your options, whether or not they have been in another person’s brick-and-mortar store searching up an item they’ve in hands, or simply scrolling through selections on Amazon . com.
Multichannel Shoppers tend to be more Loyal: Its smart to earn the kind of customer I’ve just described. Based on articles from Practical Ecommerce, customers that purchase from one brand across a minimum of two different channels tend to be more loyal than some other clients they spend 32% more yearly than customers who only shop in-store.
Better Traffic and Revenue: Data from Stitch Labs in 2015 reports that online retailers which list their goods on only one marketplace notice a 38% rise in revenue when compared with once they offered solely on their own site. Stores which are for auction on two marketplaces notice a 120% rise in revenue. I’d say it’s worth searching into Amazon . com and eBay.
Develop a More powerful Brand: Creating a name with an online shop and marketplace additionally for your physical store can give credibility for your brand.
Do you know the Difficulties of Multichannel Selling?
Obviously, additional avenues of promoting include their very own complexities. If you select to market across multiple platforms, you’ll encounter new challenges for your business. Listed here are a couple of of the very most common difficulties faced by new multichannel sellers:
Managing Inventory: Inventory may be the greatest challenge for multichannel sellers. Because of so many selling avenues, it can be hard to actually also have the right stock on hands. Should you aren’t careful, you might finish up selling exactly the same product two times!
Rules, Rules, Rules: When you start selling on the new marketplace, you’ll have to determine all of the rules and charges connected with this platform. Amazon . com, eBay, and Etsy all their very own strict guidelines about which products you may and may not sell, timeframes that you must fulfill your orders, and client satisfaction rules. Lack of ability to conform using these rules can lead to expulsion in the marketplace. Additionally, it’s important to pay accurate charges to every marketplace, which vary based on product type and whether you’re using FBA for fulfillment.
Consistent Branding: If you are working seriously to determine your brand, you might encounter a few snags while you expand across platforms. It can be hard to produce a unified brand experience when you are extending your time and efforts across your web store, your brick-and-mortar location, Facebook, and Amazon . com. Actually, most marketplaces don’t allow you to include any brand info on your listings.
Working Taxes: Taxes take time and effort for each online seller, and multichannel selling further complicates things. Whenever you sell across channels, it’s harder to compile all of your sales information to calculate and file condition florida sales tax. And, if you opt to store your product or service in warehouses (like individuals utilized by FBA sellers), your florida sales tax responsibilities expand considerably. By housing your product or service in multiple states, you identify nexus in individuals states. Which means you’ll need to pay florida sales tax to each condition that you possess a physical presence (be that the warehouse, a workplace, an outlet. etc.). Read much more about nexus on TaxJar’s blog here.
How Do You Start Resolving These Problems?
While a few of these challenges will persist regardless of what you need to do (there’s really no getting away marketplace charges!), you are able to resolve many issues with the proper toolkit.
Among the best ways to make sure that multichannel selling works with no hitch is to use a multichannel-compatible shopping cart software. Shopify, BigCommerce, Ecwid, and Magento all easily integrate with popular marketplaces and POS methods to facilitate multichannel selling. Some platforms even offer integrations with Facebook so that you can generate a store in your Facebook profile.
Integrating and syncing your various platforms will reduce potential loss from inventory errors and sales information organized in one location. Whenever your different platforms speak with one another, everything stays accurate, manageable, and current.
Additionally, you should think about integrating a couple of third-party services to help you tackle the difficulties of multichannel selling. For instance, you may consider a couple of from the following services:
Tax Calculation Software
TaxJar: TaxJar might help relieve the agony of tax preparation. Miracle traffic bot instantly calculates origin-based and destination-based taxes for every condition that you have nexus. That’ll make collecting and filing condition sales taxes much simpler. TaxJar has a one-click integration with Amazon . com, eBay, Etsy, WooCommerce, Magento, Shopify, BigCommerce, and Ecwid. Additionally they integrate with PayPal and Stripe if you wish to connect these to your payment company. You’ll find more details about TaxJar here.
Avalara’s AvaTax: Avatax will help you calculate tax for worldwide sales additionally to domestic sales. The program integrates seamlessly with plenty of shopping carts and POS, CRM, and CMS software. With your a strong software calculating your taxes instantly, you’ll have much more time to bother with other facets of your company. Compare Avatax to TaxJar to determine what best suits your company’s needs.
Quickbooks: Quickbooks is among the most widely used accounting solutions available on the market, and at Merchant Maverick we’re pretty big fans. We’ve given Quickbooks Online an ideal five-star rating for his or her feature-wealthy software. Quickbooks Online provides you with the various tools you have to handle inventory management, payroll, and florida sales tax. Many companies (especially individuals with multiple employees) happen to be using Quickbooks for his or her accounting, and fortunately, most widely used shopping carts integrate easily using the software.
Xero: Xero is Quickbook’s most powerful competitor, also scoring five stars in our review. Xero provides features for managing contacts, payroll management, florida sales tax reporting, and inventory management. Check out our reviews of every software to find out what you might better serve your company.
In The Event You Consider Omnichannel?
If you are already following a above tips and you’re still getting trouble managing profits, it may be time to upgrade to something a bit more robust.
Omnichannel solutions provide native integrations with POS, tax, and accounting solutions, and can include pre-built integrations most abundant in common marketplaces. Utilizing an omnichannel solution, you may also keep the OMS, CRM, and CMS software under one umbrella. Everything in concert with seamlessly, making expanding your company a great deal simpler. Regrettably, omnichannel solutions are available in a cost. You will probably pay hundreds of dollars per month for every module you decide to use in your package. That may add up to a couple of 1000 dollars monthly.
That stated, if you are seeing this type of high amount of sales that the current patched-together solution can’t handle the load, you simply could possibly afford an omnichannel solution. To understand more about omnichannel solutions, read my blog publish around the subject here.
What Exactly Are You Awaiting?
Does multichannel selling seem suitable for your company? If that’s the case, get integrating! You’ll soon be reaching customers who have been formerly from your achieve.
If you are already selling across channels, leave a remark below to tell us which integrations, marketplaces, and shopping cart software you’re using! We’d like to learn more about how exactly you’re making multichannel work.
Liz is really a recent college graduate residing in Washington condition. As recently, she will frequently be located haunting eCommerce forums and securing with customer support representatives. When she’s free, Liz likes to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and browse poorly-written youthful adult novels.
A part of our work at Merchant Maverick is remaining on the top of recent developments and trends within the industries we cover. We learn so much from news articles, blogs, and message boards. A lot, actually, that you want to share our understanding along with you inside a more direct fashion.
Here’s phone most fascinating articles, forum posts, and websites the Merchant Maverick team continues to be studying in the last month.
Here’s What American Entrepreneurs Really Seem Like [INFOGRAPHIC]
Square has come up with an infographic highlighting the astonishing diversity of America’s 28 million entrepreneurs as well as their companies.
Startup World, Are You Able To Consider Real Ideas, Please?
Discover the variations from a startup along with a normal business.
3 Strategies for Finding out how to Delegate being an Entrepreneur
Have you got difficulty delegating your important tasks? This short article presents strategies for understanding how to release.
How Have You Get The First 100 Customers? Entrepreneurs share the way they got their first customers on Reddit.
What’s an ISO? Find out more about probably the most common terms in a merchant account: ISO, or independent sales organization.
“High Risk” Companies and Charge Card Processing Uncover why the word “High Risk” isn’t a reflection or indictment of the business. Also: Learn how to proceed if your company is considered high-risk.
For Achievement on Amazon . com, Sell Your Personal Brands
Thinking about branching out? This short article from Practical Ecommerce explains the best way to take advantage of selling your personal products on Amazon . com and presents a couple of strategies for getting began.
Logistics Costs Hinder Omnichannel Services
Business Insider reveals that just 10% of internet retailers can earn profits while fulfilling omnichannel orders.
US eCommerce Sales Grow 15.6% in 2016
Internet Store analyzes the U.S. Department of Commerce’s annual set of the eCommerce industry. Based on the article, eCommerce sales now take into account 11.7% of total sales.
Reason for Purchase/mPOS
mPOS market likely to grow greater than 50% by 2020
In america, bigger retailers and a lot of acquisitions and mergers are fueling development in a very competitive field.
Mobile Payments Likely to Grow Considerably by 2020
Mobile Wallets happen to be slow to determine adoption by consumers in addition to retailers. But, smartphone-based payment is forecasted to take into account $75 billion this season and also be by 80% by 2020.
Connected Devices: The Brand New Reason for Purchase?
Visa and IMB will work together to merge IBM’s Watson IoT platform and Visa’s global payments services with the aim of allowing users to embed payments and commerce processes into just about any device. If effective, users can sell through devices for example cars, rings, and watches.
Cybersecurity Trends in 2016: Ransomware In Place, Reason for Purchase Attacks Way Lower
The 2017 SonicWall Threat Report finds that although POS attacks have declined by 93% since 2014, the amount of ransomware attacks has dramatically elevated.
10 Small Company Tax Deductions You’re Most likely Missing
Searching to save cash this tax season? This short article lists key deductions that small company proprietors frequently overlook.
Wave Launches Small Company Lending with OnDeck Partnership
Wave has announced a partnership with OnDeck, a small company loan provider. Now, Wave users can request loans directly from their Wave accounts. Read our full overview of Wave here and our overview of OnDeck here.
Loans and Finance
The Key Weapon To Help You Obtain a Better Business Loan
Feeling at a loss for business loan requests? Nav’s Gerri Detweiler explains the way your accountant will help you get ready for a credit card applicatoin.
You might have began hearing people make use of the term “fintech” within the last couple of years, but what happens it really means? Discover what is really a fintech company, and just how these businesses might be able to strengthen your business.
Three Good Reasons Small Company Proprietors Should choose Funding Before April 15
If you are considering acquiring business funding soon, Rohit Arora on Forbes recommends doing this before April 15.
Credit lines: Online Lenders versus. Traditional Banks
Find out about the web site credit line provided by a web-based loan provider and something provided by a conventional bank. What’s best for the business?
What Nobody Informs You About Taking VC Money
Business proprietor Tony Scherba explains why he didn’t take VC funding, and why other companies may want to skip out too. If you are thinking about VC funding, postpone prior-to reading this short article.
Highlights in the Merchant Maverick Blog
Ways to get the most from Your Accounting Software This Tax Season
Daunted by taxes? Here’s using your accounting software to help make the job simpler. Don’t think your software can be the job? Discover if you want to switch software in this short article, or discover the best accounting software for taxes here.
7 Good reasons to Re-think Drop-shipping
Drop-shipping is a well-liked shipping technique that enables retailers to satisfy orders without ever folding a card board box. Sounds great, right? We aren’t so sure. Discover why.
Exploring Square for Retail: The Greater Solution for Retailers?
In the following paragraphs, we check out what Square Retail offers and whether it’s well worth the cost. For more studying, take a look at our full Square review.
SumUp Review and Unboxing the SumUp Card Readers We’ve been awaiting SumUp hitting American markets for some time, and it didn’t dissatisfy. Is that this the mobile POS for you personally?
Should you’d prefer to stay up with more essential industry news, take a look at a lot of our favorite sources:
Harvard Business Review
The Wall Street Journal
Have you read any interesting articles this month? Share your ideas within the comments!
The publish Business News along with other Tales for Feb 2017 made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.