The Very Best Options to Lightspeed POS

Lightspeed POS alternatives

Lightspeed is among several effective, cloud reason for purchase (POS) systems to emerge recently. This web-based POS technology enables promising small to medium companies within the retail and restaurant industries to simply accept payments in their brick-and-mortar stores with only a couple of lightweight items, along with a similarly light monthly subscription cost.

Montreal-based Lightspeed released its first POS product, the in your area installed POS Onsite, in 2005. In This summer 2013, LS branched into cloud POS using the discharge of Lightspeed Retail, a browser-based POS that retailers can run from the Mac, PC, or iPad. Lightspeed Restaurant arrived on the scene annually later you are able to operate this cloud POS with an iPad, iPhone, or ipod device Touch.

Using more than 34,000 Lightspeed installations being used, this solution is famous part since it is a “middle-of-the-road” product—it doesn’t have as numerous functions like a more costly iPad POS for example Revel, but it offers much more functionality than the usual very fundamental mobile POS like Square. LS Retail, with packages beginning at $76/month if billed yearly, includes multi-tender support, work order and buy order management, inventory management, CRM, and multi-store functionality LS Restaurant, which starts at $59/month (should you commit for any year), adds menu management along with a floor planner.

Lightspeed is really a good POS, but it’s wrong for each business. Some retailers may want a less expensive POS, a treadmill that gives more features. For instance, Restaurant doesn’t possess a reservation management tool or e-mail marketing integration. Other retailers may need a POS with increased payment processing options (Retail users in america are restricted to Mercury and Cayan for payment processing Restaurant users may also use Bridgepay). Lightspeed also doesn’t possess the best status within the regions of reliability and customer care they had some server outages this past year for any period lasting several several weeks, and customers report longer-than-average wait occasions for support.

So, if for reasons uknown Lightspeed doesn’t meet your business’s needs, here are a few worthy POS competitors. Like Lightspeed, many of these POS’s are modern, tablet-based software services that are simple to start selling with.

Revel Systems

Revel, a Lightspeed POS alternative

Revel Systems is really a powerhouse of the iPad POS system, ideal for medium to large companies. Est. 2010 in Bay Area, Revel is continuing to grow to get probably the most popular and powerful iPad POS’s in a couple of short years. A couple of key figures for you personally: Revel supports accumulated to 500,000 SKUs, has greater than 20,000 active terminals presently being used, and it has received greater than $115 million in investment capital funding.

Revel is much more pricey than Lightspeed on the per-register basis (Revel starts around $119 monthly), but Revel’s cost tag is-inclusive, while Lightspeed charges extra for further users and printers, and advanced reporting.

How’s Revel much better than Lightspeed?

  • Supports large, chain companies, whereas Lightspeed is much better suited to companies within the 1-7 register range.
  • More extensive set of features allows for use by almost any kind of business. For instance, Revel includes appointment scheduling, that is essential for service-based companies.
  • More hardware integrations—including digital menu boards, kitchen display systems, self-service kiosks, and proprietary ethernet connections for iPads.
  • More customizable than Lightspeed.
  • More third-party integrations—including QuickBooks, Xero, MailChimp, PayPal, and BitCoin.

ShopKeep

ShopKeep, a Lightspeed POS competitor

ShopKeep is really a favorite iPad POS among small companies within the quick-service food and retail boutique groups. Established this year, Shopkeep is reasonable for small companies and offers great customer support. This POS doesn’t include each and every POS feature imaginable, however if you simply don’t need advanced features like purchase order management or table layouts, ShopKeep might be a less expensive choice than Lightspeed, and perhaps a more reliable choice too, because of Shopkeep’s top-notch customer care as well as in-house payment processing.

Besides fundamental POS functionality, Shopkeep offers some helpful back-finish features, including fundamental inventory and raw component management, tableside ordering, gift certificates, loyalty program integration, customer management, mobile payments, worker management, and much more.

How’s Shopkeep much better than Lightspeed?

  • Less expensive for small stores. ShopKeep charges $59/month/sign up for all features versus. $89/mo ($76/mo if billed yearly) for LS Retail ShopKeep charges same cost for 1 register as LS restaurant if LS is billed yearly, but when compared with LS’s month-to-month prices, Shopkeep cost less ($59/month versus $69/month).
  • Provides some important integrations LS Restaurant doesn&#8217t have (QuickBooks and MailChimp).
  • In-house payment processing simplifies support issues. Additionally to integrating with lots of outdoors payment processors, including Mercury Payment Systems and Moneris Solutions, ShopKeep also provides its very own highly-rated ShopKeep Payments.
  • Provides better customer care, overall.
  • BBB-accredited business by having an A+ rating (Lightspeed isn’t listed using the BBB).

Clover Station

Clover Station, an alternative to Lightspeed POS

Clover Station is really a unique, all-in-one POS, among the newest systems available, and probably the most great looking, too, using its sleek, minimalistic hardware setup. This three-year-old cloud POS operates within different business design than Lightspeed or another POS’s about this list Clover uses its very own proprietary hardware (i.e., no iPad or Android tablet) and it is always offered plus a credit card merchant account. Just like Lightspeed, Clover isn’t for everybody, however, many companies appreciate its application-based customizability, and the simplicity obtaining a complete POS package and credit card merchant account from one source.

How’s Clover much better than Lightspeed?

  • Proprietary hardware makes Clover invulnerable to inconvenient and often destabilizing iOS updates.
  • Bigger touchscreen register interface.
  • All-in-one system—even has a credit card merchant account.
  • Adapts to almost any industry, including service-based.
  • Provides more integrations and greater functionality through its application store—including customer management and e-mail marketing.
  • No monthly fee (apart from payment processing charges).

Bindo POS

Bindo, a Lightspeed POS alternative

Launched in 2013, Bindo is definitely an iPad POS that caters particularly to small, mother-and-pop stores, helping them contend with large online stores. Bindo POS enables store proprietors to concurrently manage their offline and online inventory, which makes it an excellent POS option for companies who manage a brick-and-mortar store but should also sell online. Besides POS, eCommerce, and advanced inventory management functionality, there is also CRM, invoicing, purchase order management, worker management together with your Bindo subscription.

Bindo prices is mainly in line with the quantity of SKU figures you anticipate to need—low-finish retailers with 50 SKUs or fewer might pay $59-80/month, while bigger stores might pay $150/month.

How’s Bindo much better than Lightspeed?

  • Free/incorporated eCommerce integration. Note that you could setup a built-in online shop with Lightspeed, but do it yourself another $75 to $100/month.
  • Lower prices than Lightspeed Retail for smaller sized companies.
  • More complex inventory management (including online inventory).
  • More payment processing options than Lightspeed. Begin to see the extended listing of compatible payment processors within our Bindo review.

TouchBistro

TouchBistro, a competitor to Lightspeed Restaurant

This 5-year-old restaurant POS is exclusive in that it’s in your area installed, meaning your computer data is stored on your iPad or computer, instead of the cloud. Branded because the “The #1 iPad Reason for Purchase (POS) for Restaurants,” TouchBistro can also be utilized by bars, cafes, and other kinds of single-location eateries. Additionally to POS functions, TouchBistro handles such things as seating and table assignments, menu management, wireless change in orders towards the kitchen, tableside payments, and daily sales reports.

For that Standard (single register) TouchBistro subscription, you manage your whole restaurant directly from one iPad. For those who have several iPad registers, you have to run the professional Server Application on the Mac Small, that will behave as a nearby server. Prices starts at $69/month.

How’s TouchBistro much better than Lightspeed?

  • In your area installed POS system. Ensures secure, personal information storage and doesn’t require Wireless or Internet to function POS and access data.
  • Choice of emailing receipts.
  • Reservation management feature.
  • Suitable for more payment processors than LS: Mercury, Moneris, Cayan, Premier Payments, Smooth Pay, PayPal. Bear in mind that although TouchBistro POS doesn&#8217t require Internet connectivity, you’ll still Internet for that payment gateway.

Shopify POS

Shopify POS

Shopify’s eCommerce services have been in existence for more than ten years, but Shopify POS is really a newer offering (introduced in 2013), produced particularly for promising small to medium retail companies. This is a great iPad POS to make use of should you already sell online with Shopify, since Shopify POS syncs seamlessly together with your Shopify online shop.

Shopify POS is among the least expensive, scaleable, and simple to use POS’s, and it’s not missing features, either. Utilize it to simply manage in-store an internet-based inventory, export reports, create gift certificates, manage customers, and much more. Furthermore, the Shopify mobile application makes it simple to market at occasions like fairs, markets, and pop-ups.

How’s Shopify POS much better than Lightspeed?

  • Limitless devices/registers, even for the most part fundamental plan.
  • Less expensive&#8211packages start at just $9/month.
  • Free card readers whenever you open your bank account.
  • In-house payment processing with Shopify Payments (charge card rates rely on which plan you select).
  • Shopify Mobile application enables you to sell on the run together with your iPhone or Android phone. Observe that Lightspeed comes with an apple iphone application (Lightspeed Dashboard) however, you are only able to view store data, not sell by using it.
  • Seamless integration together with your Shopify online shop. Get both POS an internet-based store beginning at $29/month.
  • Showcase then sell your product or service in your Facebook page (despite $9/month plan).

Which Lightspeed Alternative to select?

Here’s a fast and dirty review of the greatest options to Lightspeed POS:

  • Revel – Customizable iPad POS for medium and enormous companies in almost any industry.
  • Clover – All-in-one cloud POS for SMB in almost any industry offered with credit card merchant account.
  • ShopKeep – Affordable iPad POS for small companies in retail and quick service.
  • Bindo – Retail-centric iPad POS with integrated online shop, advanced inventory management.
  • TouchBistro – In your area-installed iPad POS for single-location restaurants.
  • Shopify POS – Scaleable retail-centric iPad POS with eCommerce and mobile sales.

I really hope this lengthy roundup provided you with a decent concept of what POS choices are available if you wish to use tablet-based reason for purchase software but aren&#8217t interested in Lightspeed POS. Again, Lightspeed POS is way from a &#8220P.O.S.&#8221 (ha ha) but because not one software system can meet the requirements of each and every business, it’s good to have options. Many of these Lightspeed alternatives offer free trials through their official websites (I believe Clover may be the only exception), so make certain you attempt out a couple of POS systems before you decide to choose one. All you actually need is definitely an iPad!

The publish The Very Best Options to Lightspeed POS made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Evergreen Marketing: Planning Marketing That Lasts

Evergreen Marketing

Exactly what do you consider whenever you consider marketing campaigns? Typically, crazy promotions, phoney contests, and flash sales spring to mind. These campaigns, while effective for the short term, aren’t repeatable.

When does your discount end up being the regular cost? When would you burn up your Facebook following or list?

Let’s say I said there is an easy method to construct an advertising and marketing campaign? Let’s say I said there is a kind of advertising campaign that may provide lasting advantages to your company for many years?

It’s your lucky day. There’s this type of strategy. It’s known as evergreen marketing, also it fuels probably the most effective companies across industries.

Definition

It might seem cheesy, however when you consider the word “evergreen marketing” consider an evergreen tree: it doesn’t die every season. It stays eco-friendly and fresh all year long.

That, at its core, is evergreen marketing. It’s an idea which will last beyond this week’s trending topics, next week’s news, or perhaps the next couple of month’s popular search phrases. Rather, it lasts.

A great way to frame evergreen marketing is by using a good example of evergreen content.

Say you have your dog grooming business, and you need to create a bit of content which will exceed season trends or popular culture.

An evergreen content subject for you may be something similar to, “how to wash dog hair from furniture”. This can be a subject that transcends monthly search traffic trends, and won’t become obsolete inside a couple of several weeks. Probably, it’s an issue that pet proprietors continuously ask as lengthy as furniture and dogs co-exist.

The Advantages

What’s the advantage of an evergreen tree? It stays around all year long! Same applies to an evergreen advertising campaign. If your campaign is really evergreen, it continuously leave an enduring impact on your company without constant updating. This time is crucial for small company proprietors marketing their local or online business&#8230while still running operations, finance, shipping and customer support.

Let’s go ahead and take grooming your dog example again.

You choose to roll using the subject of methods to wash dog hair from furniture. You are writing an extensive list of the greatest 10 ways to do this, filled with videos and pictures that report the processes, and publish it aimed at your website. Within the first month, the publish will take off. The following month, the visitors to the publish is even greater. During the period of the following couple of several weeks &amp years, traffic keeps growing.

You’ve produced an ageless publish. It pertains to searchers regardless of time, the month, or perhaps the year. Probably, this publish will be among the very best pages in your site, getting in significant website traffic (and most likely quite a lot of new clients!) every month.

It&#8217s an unspoken truth that for every company a couple pages (usually ones printed years back) drive many of their traffic. It&#8217s the 80/20 rule for content. 80% of the traffic can come from just 20% of the posts.

Concentrate on the evergreen 20% of the marketing that lasts &#8211 expand and improve it in order that it develops itself.

That’s the advantage of evergreen marketing. An evergreen advertising campaign is constantly on the yield benefits for the business every month, whether that’s by means of elevated traffic, more conversions, or even more customers walking using your door.

The Potential Risks

Such as the seem of evergreen marketing to date? Obviously you need to do! Regrettably, it’s not only a plug and go, perfect system. Picking out an evergreen advertising campaign is, well, hard.

You might find that once you begin considering evergreen ideas (for example how you can clean dog hair from furniture), the subject was already covered. We reside in a content-saturated world where anybody could be a marketer &#8211 and anybody can setup an internet site. Meaning generally, evergreen topics curently have an offer surrounding them.

If that’s the situation, not every hope sheds. It’s your work to locate a unique position, in order to go more in-depth.

Using our grooming your dog example, it most likely isn’t enough to create articles just on how to get dog hair from furniture.

Rather, using a list format and including video lessons and photos, you’re developing a more thorough resource that’s not the same as the 50 articles that have a typical paragraph method of explaining how you can clean dog hair off a couch.

Pro tip: If you are utilizing a content method of evergreen marketing, make certain that you’ve pre-qualified your articles ideas with the proper tools and research.

You may even must find a distinct segment in your market. Typically, niches tight on campaigns focused on them, departing you with lots of topics that may be covered. This makes your evergreen campaign much more valuable.

Bear in mind, however, that the evergreen advertising campaign needs to be highly relevant to your company. You might find that the business isn’t exactly fit for an array of evergreen ideas.

While you’re certain to find something that’ll be timeless, you might find that it is recently been exhaustively covered because of the limited options inside your field.

There’s risk to relying positioned on evergreen marketing tactics. You’ll lose out on the variety of short-resided campaigns and periodic promotions. Bear in mind that it is no either or choice. In case your evergreen technique is your “battleship” &#8211 temporary promotions will be your small “speedboats.” Your evergreen strategy ensures that you’ve a firm foundation to be able to take a risk with shorter campaigns.

How to get it done

Before you decide to join in, here three items to bear in mind when building your campaign.

1) Target Selected Markets

The Fundamentals

We’ve already discussed how an evergreen subject isn’t one that’s trending, or just popular in just a minute over time. However that will also apply for your audience. For a campaign to become evergreen, it needs to be with different specific audience, not really a product, season, or instant.

Factors

Bear in mind that the evergreen campaign does not have to pay for your full audience. Probably, your clients could be damaged out into certain audience segments, that have different needs and wants. By upholding your evergreen campaign centered on one of these simple selected markets (or individuals with similar needs with time), your subject will resonate better, because it will likely be more carefully aligned using the audience(s).

Examples for Inspiration

Consider Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, that has arrived at it’s 10-year anniversary. What initially began as a number of ads highlighting real women to assist destroy stereotypes, the campaign is continuing to grow and seen several phases, from print ads to motivational commercials such as the one below.

This campaign couldn’t happen to be possible if Dove had attempted to focus on all of their audience, including men. Rather, it’s effective and evergreen since it concentrates on women&#8211specifically, grown ladies who continue to be battling stereotypes by what makes someone beautiful.

2) Compete on Overall Value

The Fundamentals

It isn’t uncommon for marketing campaigns to compete on value. Consider it: most campaigns concentrate on some kind of promotion, like two-for-the-cost-of-one sales, BYGO free, or some % off a few days ago only. A real evergreen campaign competes on value alone, this is not on gimmicks or prices. What this means is the campaign is focused on working out what your target audience values, and orienting your marketing around that completely.

Factors

To be able to know very well what your audience truly values, you need to know your target audience! The first step really is necessary here. When you establish your target audience, you are able to dive into what really matters for them. Conduct audience research by doing interviews and creating personas (marketing lingo to have an example profile of the customer). Then, orient your marketing around these personas.

Examples for Inspiration

Let’s take a look at REI (full podcast episode in it here). REI concentrates on education. Their consumers dig information on the truly amazing outdoors, and REI is too pleased to provide them with the data they have to make their next adventure perfect. While a person knows they might visit Dicks and obtain 20% business gear, it normally won’t care. They’re faithful to REI because REI provides them top-notch content.

REI Example

3) Explore New Ways to work

The Fundamentals

After you have your audience and know you&#8217re competing according to value, not gimmicks, you’re ready to locate a start up business position. This is actually the step that provides evergreen marketing campaigns some umph. An example of the different business position is niche clubs for purchasers on online stores.

Customers can enroll in a club and obtain special content, deals, and use of elite occasions. Now that’s an offer that doesn’t go from style! It’s geared to a particular audience (loyalty shoppers), competes on value by providing unique possibilities for purchasers, and isn&#8217t periodic or short-resided.

Factors

Again, this task dates back to really understanding your audience. Should you not know your audience, or else you have no idea them good enough, you will not have the ability to consider an innovative way to use them!

Depend heavily in your audience research and personas with this step, and make certain you do not get too crazy. An innovative method of doing business could be a terrific way to interact with your audience for a long time, but when it will get too gimmicky or complex, it’ll really turn your clients off.

Examples for Inspiration

What is the loyalty program that’s much better than Amazon . com Prime? While loyalty programs aren’t anything new, Amazon . com Prime (and Prime Now) really have a unique method of their special offering. Furthermore Prime People get special sales, they also have shipping incentives, for example free two-day shipping. Amazon . com recognizes that value and convenience are essential for their customers, making Amazon . com Prime incredibly effective because it possesses a unique business approach that suits individuals exact values.

Amazon Example

But exploring new methods for using the services of your present audience isn&#8217t restricted to Amazon . com. Boutique retailers like Huckberry, Trunk Club and Dollar Shave Club have place a new spin around the traditional retail model.

Next Steps

An evergreen marketing strategy is a large lift, but it may be worthwhile.

As lengthy while you seek information, identify your audience, and make certain you’re supplying valuable information inside an imaginative way, you will be on the right path to making an enduring campaign that affects your company for a long time.

Find out more about building an online marketing strategy for ecommerce here.

Find out more about building an online marketing strategy for local company here.

The publish Evergreen Marketing: Planning Marketing That Lasts made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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Best Three POS Systems for Online Stores

POS for online retail

Retail eCommerce is rising in 2016, and POS systems for online stores are accepted ever. More and more, stores want an item of purchase system that enables these to sell on the internet and in-store, syncing on the internet and offline store information for a seamless selling experience. Should you&#8217re searching to construct your brand in the web based sphere or wish to replace your present online POS having a better system, continue reading to find out about the three best omni-funnel retail reason for purchase systems.

1. Shopify

  • Cloud-based iPad POS Shopify POS
  • POS + eStore plans start at $29/month, plus $40/month for Retail package
  • Website and blog with SSL certificate
  • Limitless products
  • Limitless devices
  • Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter sales channels

Because the discharge of Shopify POS in 2013, Shopify has changed from mere shopping cart software to some full-fledged retail POS. Today&#8217s Shopify includes both eCommerce and brick-and-mortar purchase functionality, allowing retailers to sell with ease both on the internet and off. Shopify has packages to match retailers who sell strictly within the internet or exclusively in-store, but it’s best fit for retailers that do both.

Shopify, which operates via an iPad application, is scaleable for businesses small to large, and it is super easy to setup and train the employees on. It offers integrated payment processing with Shopify Payments in-person rates vary from 2.2 to two.7% based on which monthly plan you buy online transaction rates range from 2.4% + $.30 to two.9% + $.30. If you have your personal payment gateway that you’d rather use you are able to most likely continue using it, though you’ll have to pay yet another transaction fee.

Now you be aware of basics, listed here are a couple of more essential items to know about Shopify:

  • 24/7 support via phone, email, live chat
  • On the internet and in-store inventory syncing
  • Promo code functionality
  • Gift certificate functionality
  • Detailed reporting and analytics
  • Customer sales profiles
  • EMV-complaint
  • Mobile sales with iPhone or Android application
  • QuickBooks and Xero integration
  • Select from online shop styles and/or edit HTML and CSS (find out more about the Shopify shopping cart software)
  • Calculate fixed-cost, weight-based, or location-based shipping rates for internet sales

Note that you’ll want to buy the &#8220Retail&#8221 package for those who have a brick-and-mortar store–this package includes POS hardware integration (bar code scanner, check out, and receipt printer) and worker management features.

Some disadvantages in Shopify include its limited offline functionality–for example, you are able to process cash transactions without internet, however, you can&#8217t run charge cards. So you may need a reliable web connection to make use of this POS. Also, despite the fact that Shopify enables you to manage multiple stores, the machine overall works perfect for promising small to medium companies. Here&#8217s only one illustration of why Shopify works more effectively for smaller sized companies: discounts have to be applied by hand, therefore it&#8217s pretty difficult to apply store-wide discounts, not to mention setup multi-store promotions. If you want a web-based retail POS for the large business or franchise, try Shopify Plus for enterprise-level POS functionality.

2. Vend

  • Cloud-based POS for iPad, Mac, and PCvend-logo
  • POS + eCommerce plans start at $85/month (billed yearly)
  • Use Vend eCommerce for your online store, or integrate your Shopify, Storbie, or Ecwid store
  • Limitless products, users, and customers

Vend, est. 2010, is yet another top POS system for online stores and, actually, was among the first browser-based cloud POS systems around! As with Shopify, Vend is super easy to use for in-store an internet-based retail sales. Vend is much more flexible than Shopify in that you could run it from any web-browser additionally to the dedicated iPad application. Its online caching capabilities also allow you to still ring up sales out of your store throughout an internet outage.

When it comes to selling online, you are able to setup a web-based store on your own using Vend eCommerce, or integrate Vend together with your existing e-store. For instance, you will find the option to sync your Vend POS with your Shopify online shop. Similar to the Shopify POS, you are able to seamlessly sync your in-store an internet-based store inventories, sales information, customer information, etc. Vend eCommerce&#8217s functions are not really advanced as Shopify&#8217s (for instance, there is no weight-based shipping calculator or FedEx/UPS integration), but you will have most key components, as an SSL certificate, pre-made styles, and the opportunity to edit HTML/CSS. Vend&#8217s inventory management abilities will also be greater than Shopify&#8217s which means you&#8217ll convey more control of your stock and then track more data.

Vend doesn’t offer in-house payment processing, so you will have to secure a Vend-friendly credit card merchant account. In the U . s . States, MercuryPay and PayPal are the choices for in-store charge card processing. As the eCommerce gateway, additionally you can use Stripe, PayPal, Authorize.Internet, or Payment Express.

Vend supports promising small to franchise level businesses–multi-store plans start at $169/month. However, most companies using Vend take presctiption the little-to-medium side.

More awesome stuff you get with Vend:

  • Product catalog which includes images, prices, variations (by color, size, etc.)
  • Real-time inventory and purchasers reports
  • Multi-cost books with capability to create multi-store discounts
  • Plenty of add-ons for third-party software/apps

However, one factor that sort of sucks is the fact that priority phone support costs an additional $19/month (unless of course you will find the pricier &#8220Multi-Outlet&#8221 plan). Another qualm some retails may have is by using Vend&#8217s pretty basic cash management features and the possible lack of purchase order abilities. Everything stated, though, Vend users are generally happy with the caliber of the merchandise and also the customer care that is included with it (even if you need to pay some extra).

Bindo POS3. Bindo

  • Cloud-based iPad POS
  • Prices varies average monthly cost appears to become around $150/month
  • Setup your web store or sync your overall Bindo POS with Bindo Storefront
  • Limitless SKUs

Within the six years since its founding, Bindo&#8217s customer base has expanded to include more than 180,000 retailers. Included in this are retailers using the cloud/iPad POS system to market merchandise using their websites and stores. Bindo has among the most powerful feature teams of any online retail POS, boasting more than 300 different functions. With Bindo, you&#8217ll obtain a sophisticated register functionality, full eCommerce integration, smart reports that demonstrate more information on all of your sales channels, plus much more.

Bindo is exclusive for the reason that it was created particularly to assist small businesses compete with large online stores. However, they have also labored with large franchises composed of 50+ locations. Its cloud-based model makes it simple to scale this POS for whatever size business you’ve. According to the creator Jason Ngan, the Bindo POS sticks out from similar iPad POS systems because of its hyperlocal focus and different online/offline network.

Bindo states its POS is compatible with &#822099% of charge card processors,&#8221 so that as for in-person processing rates, you&#8217ll obtain a decent 2.49% + $.15 for swiped transactions using Bindo.

Regarding its eComm features, Bindo causes it to be quite simple to sync your overall online shop together with your Bindo POS, simply by adding an easy type of code. Alternatively, it is simple to setup a web-based store with Bindo Storefront should you don&#8217t get one already. Bindo also offers smart features that facilitate meaningful integration involving the offline and online sales channels–for example, customers who order something online can get their order at the store and have it delivered.

For its &#8220hyperlocal&#8221 focus, Bindo is focusing on developing its very own local marketplace, which enables nearby shoppers to uncover your store easily online. (Essentially, it&#8217s an application and network that promotes Bindo stores locally.) A few of the other perks of the system include:

  • Top-notch 24/7 customer care
  • Product matrices
  • Invoicing
  • Inventory, employee management
  • CRM features
  • Purchase orders
  • Gift certificates
  • Loyalty program
  • Advanced real-time reporting
  • Quickbooks and Xero integration
  • Accessibility Bindo API (on request) to construct your own plugins

Just like another cloud-based POS software systems on the list, you may need a steady internet link with use Bindo. Indeed, some Bindo users state that with no strong WiFi signal, the POS could be downright buggy. However, something which can&#8217t be understated is the fact that Bindo has a tremendous customer support team that&#8217s willing and able to assist you to fix any difficulty you may encounter using the POS.

Try Out a web-based Retail POS free of charge

At Merchant Maverick, we love scaleable, cloud-based solutions that actually work for online stores small , large–bonus points if they are affordable and simple to use. Shopify POS, Vend, and Bindo meet all individuals criteria and more. Scalping strategies are each quite different, though, therefore we recommend testing them out before buying a POS. Register for a 14-day free Shopify trial, 30-day free Vend trial, or 14-day free Bindo POS trial. Or check out another iPad POS software if you wish to see what else has gone out there–just make certain the system offers some type of eCommerce abilities before falling for each other.

The publish Best Three POS Systems for Online Stores made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Square vs. Etsy: Which is Best for Artists and Crafters?

Square-vs-Etsy

Artists and crafters are a unique subsection of merchants, in my experience. And I say this as someone who has worked an artist table at conventions and other events for a few years. Running a business of this type deserves a special sort of consideration: if you are an artist or a crafter, you handle not just the sales, marketing, accounting, and other day-to-day tasks (like order fulfillment), but also the manufacturing! Some artists work on their business full time, while for others, it’s a second (or even third) job, but it is always 100% a labor of love.

But even a labor of love needs the right tools! While artists and crafters are essentially running retail businesses, many of the crucial components of a retail business — a solid POS, affordable retail hardware like receipt printers, and advanced inventory software — don’t always apply. Instead, mobility, flexibility, and affordability are most important. Omni-channel commerce, the ability to sell seamlessly in person and online, is often the best solution, because many people sell online as well as traveling around to events. And if you make your own products (2-D art, 3-D art, knitting/crochet, paper crafts, jewelry, for starters), there are two standouts in this category: Square and Etsy.

Background

SquareSquare review is well known in the arts community because it made accepting credit card payments via a smartphone feasible for the masses, allowing almost anyone to run a business anywhere you could get cell signal or Wi-Fi. More than 2 million merchants of all sizes use Square.

Etsy logoEtsy is the first marketplace that’s truly friendly to artists and other creators. It’s hugely popular with consumers, too, who know they can find tons of vintage and one-of-a-kind creations (not to mention their craft supplies) all in one place. Etsy boasts 1.6 million sellers.

Nowadays, both offer that oh-so-important omni-channel experience — though with a very different feel to each. Square’s biggest draw is the sheer abundance of features it offers, but not all of them are something artisans can or will use, at least not until their business grows a bit. Etsy’s biggest draw is its visibility — the guaranteed traffic to your online shop. It also offers other tools and partnerships to help merchants grow their business.

If you’re just getting started with your art or crafts business, or you’re looking to take it to the next level, Etsy and Square should be at the top of your list for ways to do so. But which is the better option? That depends on a lot of factors.

1. Do you sell (or plan to sell) mostly online and only occasionally in person? Mostly in person and occasionally online? Both? Do you want to change that ratio at all? Some artists and craftspeople sell very well online, while others have much more success at events. Selling online can provide extra money in between events.

2. How much freedom do you want in selling online? If you want to be able to build an entirely custom website, Etsy is likely not a good fit for you. Square has its limitations as well, but they are far fewer. As far as websites go, convenience (and a built-in audience) will always cost you more.

3. How large are your average purchases? If you have a large average ticket size, you might want to consider investing in an EMV reader. EMV is the official name for the chip cards that have been cropping up more often of late. Rather than relying on the magnetic strip (magstripe) on the back of cards, EMV readers encrypts information from the tiny computer chips embedded on the front of the cards. It’s a more secure method of data transmission and also makes it more difficult to counterfeit cards.

That’s important because in October 2015, there was a massive liability shift in terms of who’s responsible for processing any fraudulent cards. Now, any merchant who swipes a chip card that turns out to be fraudulent is responsible for the cost of the transaction. There are a couple of caveats: this doesn’t directly affect eCommerce, and it doesn’t apply to cards that don’t have the EMV chip.

NFC, or near-field communication, is what powers contactless payment methods such as Apple Pay and Android Pay. While it’s not necessary to accept NFC payments (they’re still very much a new thing), if your audience tends to be younger and tech-savvy, it’s not a bad idea to be ahead of the adoption curve (if you have the funds for it).

Generally speaking, artists are at a lower risk for fraud than other retail businesses, especially those who have a lower ticket volume. That doesn’t mean you should assume you’re immune to fraud, but it shouldn’t haunt your thoughts if you don’t have the cash for an EMV-friendly reader right away. (It’s worth noting that Etsy doesn’t offer an EMV reader at all.)

Both Square and Etsy have shortcomings, as well as serious advantages. One issue is that both use aggregate payment processing, which translates to greater account instability. But the same, the convenience of automatic inventory counts and minimal work to create an online shop should not be overlooked.

Let’s take a look at the key elements of Square and Etsy — the mobile apps, the online stores, and the costs — to see how they stack up against each other.

Square vs. Etsy: Mobile Apps

Etsy started as an online sales platform only. Eventually it introduced its own mobile app, called Sell on Etsy. It is partly a dashboard for managing your online sales, and partly an app for taking payments in person.

Square’s app is called Square Register, and it’s honestly the most robust mobile POS (mPOS) app out there right now. It is available for both Android and iOS. However, unlike Etsy, the Register app is almost exclusively for in-person sales. eCommerce sales are mostly controlled through the browser-based dashboard.

Square Register App Features:

square-register-tablet

You may not ever need all of the features Square has to offer, but it has some great ones:

  • Custom Sales Tax: While I wish Square would get around to an auto-detect feature that can pick up sales tax rates based on GPS location, it is still nice that you can toggle sales tax on and off and save multiple tax profiles in the app. You can also set or disable tax for specific items as needed.
  • Item variants and add-ons: Great especially if you have several color options for the same basic item.
  • Record cash and check transactions: Keep all your transactions in one place, which is helpful especially if you are using Square’s inventory option. No fee for either of these options.
  • Inventory sync: if you sell online and have inventory management enabled, the system will automatically adjust your inventory count when you sell an item. So if you sell out at an event, no one can purchase that item from your online store. That’s a useful feature if you only have a limited run of products, or maybe even just a single item. Most mPOS providers allow you to create items and run sales reports for what sold, but they don’t keep track of your inventory like Square does, which can be a very big deal.
  • Invoicing: Do you take custom orders and commissions? Square lets you send invoices directly from within the Register app (or through the online dashboard). The invoice is free to send, and there’s no charge beyond the transaction fee, which is deducted from the total invoice once it’s paid.
  • Apply Discounts: You can apply a percentage discount to one or all items, or apply a dollar-amount discount to the entire purchase. This applies to orders before tax is applied.
  • Email/SMS receipts: Send digital receipts at your customer’s request.
  • Custom purchase amounts: If you don’t use Square’s inventory feature or item listings, you can still just ring up individual purchases by just the amount.
  • Full and partial refunds: Send full or partial refunds from within the app or the online dashboard.
  • Offline mode: Process credit cards even when you can’t get Wi-Fi or cellular signal. Of course, you eat the cost for any transactions that are declined, so use this feature at your own risk. Still, it’s very useful, especially if you’re at a venue where it’s difficult to get signal.
  • Item and category creation: You can create and manage your items in the app using both Android and iOS devices.

Some of Square’s more advanced features (such as the ability to scan item bar codes) are only available in the app if you’re using an iPad. However, most of these are more focused on retail stores, so you likely don’t need them as an artist. Also, you have full control over everything if you log into your Square account in a web browser and head to the dashboard.

Overall, though, the Register app is simple to use and very intuitive. You shouldn’t have much trouble finding your way around it even if the technology is entirely new to you. Remember that you don’t have control over eCommerce sales from within the app. You need the dashboard for that.

Something else I like is that Square keeps a comprehensive list of devices with known issues. This is very helpful because Square offers multiple credit card readers, and not all of them work with every device.

Speaking of hardware: the basic magstripe reader is still free from Square if you order online (or you can get a credit for purchasing it in-store). You can get an EMV/magstripe reader for $29, and the EMV/NFC readers start at $49. Check out our unboxing of the Square chip reader here.

Sell on Etsy App Features:

While Square Register is largely for processing payments and most eCommerce matters must be handled through a web browser, the Sell on Etsy app is much more comprehensive. Available for Android and iOS, It allows you to run your online store and sell in person without having to log into the online dashboard.

Etsy-in-person-payments-1

Here’s a breakdown of features:

  • Alerts: Get a notification when someone makes a purchase or favorites your shop on Etsy.
  • Conversations: Communicate with your customers through the app.
  • Shop stats: Check your reviews and other Etsy shop details
  • Order management: Mark online orders as ship and add tracking details, process refunds (full refunds only), add notes to transactions, and more.
  • Create listings: You can add items to your online store via the mobile app.
  • Inventory sync: You can sell items from your online store and Etsy will automatically adjust your inventory counts.
  • Email Receipts: No SMS option, but if the email is linked to an Etsy user ID, the transaction will appear in their purchase history.
  • Record cash transactions: No fee for this, obviously.
  • Quick Sale: If you don’t want to bother with items and keeping track of your Etsy inventory, or you have items for sale that aren’t in your Etsy shop, you can use the quick sale feature to enter an item name and amount. The nice thing is this won’t incur any listing fees (we’ll come back to this in a bit).
  • Discounts: Apply a percentage or dollar amount off the entire purchase. The percentage deduction is taken off the total purchase, including taxes.
  • Sales tax: Again, an auto-detect for sales tax would be great here. You can set multiple tax profiles and modify taxes on individual items.

It’s worth noting that to use the in-person sales feature, you must have Etsy’s Direct Checkout enabled. There’s also no dedicated iPad app. Etsy recommends, if you’re using an iPad, to enable the 2x zoom so the app takes of the entirety of the screen.

Talking with other artists, their experience is that the Etsy app is a bit clunkier for in-person sales. This may be because the in-person sales feature is buried within the menu, not the first thing you see. At the same time, the mobile app is for more than just processing payments — it is a genuine tool for managing your business on the go. I think it’s safe to assume Etsy thinks you’ll sell more online than in person.

Something I do want to point out is that while Etsy’s card reader is free, it’s just a basic magstripe device. It doesn’t support EMV or NFC payments, and Etsy says it has no plans to introduce an EMV reader at this time. This isn’t quite as terrible as it seems because Etsy is the one accepting the liability for processing any transactions, not you. But it’s still a bit disappointing to see that Etsy isn’t interested in keeping pace with the rest of the payments industry.

Overall, it’s fair to say both of these are pretty robust apps that will serve you well. What you’re looking for in an online store is likely going to be the deciding factor.

Square vs. Etsy: Online Stores

Square really has come a long ways as far as eCommerce is concerned. Its online store is completely free to use, though it can seem a bit limited compared to some of the more comprehensive options out there. You can also integrate Square’s payment processing with some other eCommerce providers (BigCommerce, Weebly and Ecwid). If you can navigate code or have a programmer friend handy, you can even use Square’s API to integrate the payment processing into another eCommerce solution.

Etsy, on the other hand, is a marketplace like eBay and Amazon. That means many sellers on Etsy will have their listings appear next to one another when users search for a product. This is both good and bad, really: One the one hand, marketplaces draw far more traffic than an individual site that’s just starting out. On the other, it puts you at the mercy of the marketplace, which means you could find your shop closed down with little to no warning or recourse.

Let’s see how these two companies compare as far as eCommerce goes:

Square Online Store Features:

square-online-store-screenshot

If you use Square’s store, here’s what you need to know. You get all of the following:

  • Free hosting
  • Free domain (the default is squareup.com/store/your-store-name, but you can edit the URL)
  • The option to purchase a new domain or use an existing one
  • Alternative payment/pickup options (including in-store pickup).
  • Invoicing support from Square dashboard
  • Inventory management: If you enable inventory management you can keep track of what is sold through online and in person. There are also some more comprehensive inventory features such as supplier management.
  • The option to integrate with BigCommerce, Weebly and Ecwid, or use Square’s API to integrate with another shopping cart.

One thing to note is that there’s no real custom order option or integrated communications channel with Square’s stores. You can handle custom orders through product variants or add-ons, or just use Square’s integrated invoicing system. For communication, consider investing in a business email (Google can give you an email to match your domain for $5/month).

Square’s online store option is somewhat limited as far as design options go, but they are at least mobile-friendly, responsive templates. You can create different sections to organize your products by relevant categories, as well. In some ways, the simplicity is an advantage because you have less to worry about.

The only costs you pay are per each transaction, much as with the mPOS app. If you opt for another shopping cart instead of Square’s story, you’ll have to pay whatever fees they charge, too. if you have something already set up, you can just switch to Square for payment processing by integrating the API.

Square will also let you control the status for your shop in two ways: you can set the store as visible or offline, and indicate whether you are accepting orders or not. (Think of it as a “Vacation” mode.)

Etsy Shop Features:

Etsy shop home page

You don’t have much in the way of customization for your Etsy shop, and that’s because as a marketplace Etsy has to create a consistent look. But that means you don’t have to spend a lot of time tweaking things.

Here’s what you get with Etsy:

  • Free hosting
  • Free custom Etsy URL
  • Custom orders option
  • Invoicing through PayPal
  • Mail and “other” payment methods supported.
  • Discounted shipping rates when purchased through Etsy
  • Advertising through promoted listings (for an additional cost)

Etsy has an easy-to-use feature for accepting custom orders. With a couple clicks, you can enable this option for your customers. “Conversations” is Etsy’s equivalent of a messaging system, where customers can reach out to you about your products and their orders.

Something relatively new to Etsy’s suite of services is Pattern, which allows you to sell on your own custom website while all of your inventory is linked to your Etsy shop. Management of both is centralized through Etsy and you pay the same costs as you would on Etsy — plus an additional $15/month.

etsy-pattern-site-screenshot

Like Square, Pattern gives you a limited selection of responsive themes to choose from. However, you can modify color palette, font, and other small aspects of your site. which gives you some creative control that you don’t get with Square.

Honestly, the fact that Etsy felt the need to branch out into payments processing and give sellers an option to run eCommerce stores on their own domains is a pretty powerful indicator of where the entire industry is going (hint: it’s heading toward omni-channel).

I need to stress this: Your own site should definitely be a long-term goal. It will give you much more freedom and stability, and generally costs less than selling through a marketplace, especially as your sales volume picks up. But Etsy will definitely help you get started and make some online sales, and possibly draw in people who otherwise wouldn’t even know where to find you. And there’s certainly no reason you can’t run your own online shop (through Pattern, Square or another service) and sell on Etsy at the same time.

Square vs. Etsy: Costs

Card-processing costs can make or break a business, and here at MerchantMaverick we firmly believe no merchant should pay more for processing than they have to. I’m happy to say that Square and Etsy are both very transparent about their pricing, and their actual card processing rates are competitive among aggregate processors. But, there’s one niggling matter…which is Etsy’s transaction fees.

Square Rates:

Square made a name for itself with its simple, flat-rate processing. There are no monthly subscription fees for using Square itself — just pay a small fee per every transaction. The Square Register app is totally free as well. This is what your rates will look like:

  • Swiped transactions: 2.75%
  • Keyed transactions: 3.5% + $0.15
  • eCommerce transactions: 2.9% + $0.30
  • Invoicing: 2.9% + $0.30 (or 3.5% + $0.15 for cards kept on file)

You can add on monthly subscriptions for addition services, but apart from email marketing, most are targeted pretty heavily at retail stores (loyalty program, timekeeping and payroll, etc).

I like Square’s payment scheme. Its rates are pretty competitive for an aggregate processor (the only way to get lower rates with a comparable value is to get a merchant account). I’m genuinely shocked that Square doesn’t charge more for its POS app, because it easily could.

Etsy Rates:

Etsy offers you several payment methods, which can be a bit complicated. There are two main options:

Direct Checkout allows you to accept credit and debit cards, PayPal, Etsy gift cards and Apple Pay. You pay Etsy’s rates and all of your funds (even PayPal transactions) go into your Etsy account, which will then deposit them into your bank account.

It’s worth noting that some sellers are unhappy about the integrated PayPal option, mostly because it takes longer to get your money.

PayPal allows you to accept credit and debit cards as well as payments from a bank account…so long as your customer has a PayPal account. The funds go into your personal/business PayPal account. Etsy doesn’t allow sellers to enable payments through both Direct Checkout and your personal PayPal.

If you need to, you can set your business up to take orders by mail. You can also set up custom orders and invoicing via PayPal, though the invoicing feature isn’t seamlessly integrated with Etsy.

Fees are as follows:

  • Swiped transactions: 2.75%
  • Keyed transactions: 3% + $0.25
  • eCommerce (Direct Checkout): 3% + $0.25
  • eCommerce (PayPal): 2.9% + $0.30
  • Online transaction fee: 3.5%* 
  • Item listing fee: $0.20**

*All items sold on your Etsy shop or through Pattern are subject to a transaction fee, but in-person sales are exempt.

**Listings are active for 4 months. If you have multiple quantities of an item, you’ll pay the initial $0.20, plus an additional $0.20 for every item after the first that sells. When you sell an item in your shop in person, you’re also charged the listing fee — but not for quick sale items, which aren’t listed in your online shop.

Time to Receive Funds: 

Square deposits funds in your bank account on a rolling basis, typically within 1-2 business days. You can check out more about Square’s deposit schedule here. You can also initiate an instant deposit for 1% of the transaction value and have your money within minutes.

Etsy takes a bit longer to get your money, at least if you use Direct Checkout. For the first 90 days, transactions take 3 business days before they are available in your account (after that point they are available the next day). Funds are automatically disbursed on Mondays, but you can can initiate a transfer to your bank account Tuesdays-Fridays. After that, it takes an average of 3-5 days for the funds to appear in your bank account.

There’s no question that Square is the more affordable option. You’ll pay double on Etsy thanks to that transaction fee (which is still less than what you could end up paying on Handmade at Amazon or even eBay). You’ll also get your funds more quickly, unless you choose to only accept PayPal on Etsy — in which case you will have your money in your PayPal account almost instantly, and can spend it anywhere so long as you have a PayPal debit card.

Square vs. Etsy: Other Concerns

There are other considerations beyond just cost. We’ve already talked about the features and services available, but what about the other stuff, the intangibles that neither company really spells out? What about value-added tools and services that don’t fit neatly into another category?

Visibility: Etsy is a known marketplace, with thousands of visitors daily. Unless you’re a marketing genius with an established name, having your own website just isn’t going to bring you that kind of traffic. Of course, you have to deal with the competition from other sellers, whose products will appear next to your own in the search results. With Square, you don’t have that competition, but you’re also not going to get that kind of traffic. However, since you don’t have to pay for hosting or anything beyond the actual transactions, you can spend some time (and maybe even money) building your reputation and putting your website out where anyone can find it.

Stability: Square does have a reputation for holding funds. There’s no way around that. However, artists and crafters generally seem less affected by Square’s trigger-happy risk department. I’d guess it’s because most transactions are relatively low-volume, but there’s no official word on that. Still, the most likely thing to trigger an account hold or termination is processing an unusually large transaction.

Etsy is a marketplace, and you are subject to its rules. If you break them, or if Etsy thinks you’ve broken them, it will shut your store down the same way Square implements holds. Do a bit of Googling (try “Etsy shop shut down”) and you’ll see this happens, if not regularly, at least with enough frequency to note. If you create fan-art based on popular media, know that some very large companies regularly search Etsy and other marketplaces to issue cease-and-desists. Copyright infringement (even in a nebulous area such as fanart) is just one of the reasons your shop could be shut down.

However, it’s difficult to draw apples-to-apples comparisons between the two because while Etsy is exclusively for artists, crafters, and other small niche retailers, Square serves merchants in a huge variety of industries. This is the risk you run with aggregate payment processors and marketplaces. A merchant account will give you more stability, but is generally not suitable for small, low-volume businesses. Don’t let it keep you up at night, but do have a backup plan.

Customer Support: Things happen. Sometimes you’re going to have questions. Sometimes customers file chargebacks and disputes. That’s why customer service is there.

Square’s support system is based primarily on a very detailed knowledge base and a user forum. You should find most of the answers to your questions there. For more complex issues, there’s phone support. But first you need to obtain a passcode to be able to call in at all. There’s also a dispute management system in case a customer files a chargeback. Square will request documentation. In a handful of circumstances you may be eligible for chargeback protection — which means you won’t pay for the chargeback even if the case isn’t resolved in your favor.

Etsy has a similar setup. There’s both a community forum and teams where like-minded sellers can collaborate and community. There’s also a phone support option, but you submit a request and receive a callback (Etsy says within 30 minutes). There’s also a dispute resolution system for conflicts between buyers and sellers.

The question is whether the support offered is of any use. And that’s not an easy answer. A bit more Google searching and you will find no shortage of complaints against Square and Etsy, and their customer service (or lack thereof, as the case may be). Some are from disgruntled sellers. Some are from disgruntled customers. In short, your experience may vary. Some people have no problem at all; some have lots of trouble.

Marketing Tools: I’ve mentioned before that Square offers several marketing and business tools. Artists and craftspeople likely won’t get much benefit out of them, except the email marketing tool, which starts at $15/month.

Etsy has taken a different approach. There are no email marketing tools (though it allows you to post an email signup link on your shop). Instead, consumers can use Etsy Local to find events featuring Etsy sellers. It also offers an option for you to sell your goods wholesale through Etsy, and to pair with large manufacturers to scale your business.

Mass production on Etsy is a contentious matter — as you might expect on a platform started for independent craftspeople. But if you find these options worthwhile for your business, you should pursue them. If not, there are many, many other platforms and tools out there for you to grow your business.

Final Verdict: Should You Use Square or Etsy?

The right payment processor and online store provider is really a matter of personal preference.

With Etsy, you get access to a huge marketplace with people who are actively searching for products each day, but you pay for the convenience, literally. You’ll pay more than double what you would with Etsy. You can even run your own website with a custom URL…for an additional monthly cost on top of your fees. Still, for business that is just starting out, being visible to customers is a serious concern, and Etsy definitely delivers in that category. The Sell on Etsy app lets you manage every aspect of your business on the go instead of dealing with a browser interface, and you can take payments from within the app.

On the other hand, if you sell primarily in person (at conventions, craft fairs, pop-up sales, etc.) square is in your favor. Square Register is a powerful POS app that even has an offline mode so you can accept credit cards literally anywhere, any time. If you use Square’s online store, you’ll pay less in processing fees per transaction than you would on Etsy, and worry less about competition.

Both have their risks, because they aggregate payments and Etsy is also a marketplace that makes its own rules about what is acceptable for sellers. You aren’t guaranteed stability, but both services are generally friendly to artists and craftspeople. You pay only as you make sales unless you opt for any additional expenses, which means there’s no upfront investment beyond the costs to make your products.

And honestly? There’s nothing that says you can’t use both Etsy and Square! If you prefer Square’s mobile app to Etsy’s but want the traffic that Etsy provides, go for it. If you want to sell on Etsy and Square, that’s absolutely possible! What matters most is that you weigh all the benefits and disadvantages and find a solution that will help you manage and grow your business.

Got questions? Have an opinion about the Etsy vs. Square debate? Leave us a comment and let us know — we love to hear from you!

The post Square vs. Etsy: Which is Best for Artists and Crafters? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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BigCommerce Review: Pros & Cons of utilizing BigCommerce For Online Retailers

BigCommerce Review

There are plenty of choices for running a web-based store &#8211 BigCommerce is a brand-in-one ecommerce solution that I’ve labored on for many clients&#8217 online retailers since 2012. Here’s my BigCommerce review – with 6 pros and 6 cons of utilizing BigCommerce for the online shop.

Take a look at BigCommerce&#8217s current Plans &amp Prices here.

However, some overview. There&#8217s lots of factors which go into an selecting the very best online shop platform. There&#8217s also a lot of options, and the selection of platform might have just like big of the effect on your web business as selecting an actual place for your physical business.

It may greatly expand or hurt your company lengthy-term and for the short term it may certainly add/remove lots of headaches.

That stated, much like selecting an actual location, there’s no such factor being an absolute &#8220best&#8221 or &#8220top&#8221 choice. There&#8217s merely a such factor as the best choice in accordance with your objectives, experience, and conditions.

There are plenty of BigCommerce reviews online &#8211 usually with user-generated reviews according to anecdotes and private experience. That&#8217s fine however i have a different approach &#8211 searching at not just pros &amp cons but additionally it&#8217s devote the general marketplace.

Around the wide spectrum of search engine optimization, BigCommerce endures the finish that’s all-inclusive and offers all you need to get began and also be your web store. It&#8217s as opposed to solutions in which you buy, install, and manage all of the &#8220pieces&#8221 of the store individually.

Using BigCommerce is kind of like leasing and customizing a store inside a development rather building your personal store. You&#8217re still in charge of design, merchandising, and everything business-wise &#8211 however, you leave the shop construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure towards the house owner.

Again, you will find benefits and drawbacks for this, but realize that BigCommerce competes like a &#8220hosted platform&#8221 directly with Shopify (see their website here and my Shopify review here) and Volusion (see their website here and my Volusion review here) as all-inclusive options.

Individuals options like a group contend with non-turn-key options like WordPress + WooCommerce, Magento, yet others. Seem sensible? Awesome, let&#8217s really dive into this BigCommerce review.

Another quick aside &#8211 a disclosure &#8211 I receive referral charges all the businesses pointed out within this publish. My opinions &amp research derive from my encounters as whether having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

Pros of utilizing BigCommerce

Here&#8217s things i discovered to be the professionals of BigCommerce &#8211 not only to comparison to Shopify as well as their competition, but additionally being an overall online shop solution.

Integrated Education

BigCommerce University for ecommerce training and support

There&#8217s an abundance of methods tos, advice, and newsletters on the web about managing a effective ecommerce store. The primary issue is curation (ie, sorting the 90% that&#8217s fluff or generally useless) and relevance (ie, suggest that might work with WordPress may not be highly relevant to BigCommerce).

BigCommerce puts a lot of concentrate on assisting you learn to develop a effective online shop. There is a BigCommerce College with very in-depth videos, how you can guides built directly into your store&#8217s dashboard, an setup wizard, an autoresponder email series at signup, along with a consultant who solutions any queries right from the start.

BigCommerce Onboarding Email

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And on top of that &#8211 it&#8217s all perfectly highly relevant to BigCommerce. So while you’re reading something similar to &#8220you should perform a/B testing&#8221 or &#8220there&#8217s huge returns with establishing a Google Credit card merchant account,&#8221 you don&#8217t need to hack around and Google solutions on implementation &#8211 rather, you simply stick to the step-by-step BigCommerce guide.

Understanding is power (and cash), and BigCommerce puts an enormous concentrate on it.

No Hassle Speed &amp Security

One of the most difficult challenges of running your personal ecommerce web site is coping with speed &#8211 as with how rapidly your site loads. That&#8217s because speed matters.

Countless research has proven that buyers function not watch for pages to load. Generally after 4 seconds, conversions begin to plummet. Speed is really essential that every major web company for example Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc has whole teams focused on reducing page load time.

The additional challenge for online retailers is you need reliable security. Giving a complete stranger your charge card might have become really common in 2014, however if you simply&#8217re serving a brand new customer &#8211 they have a powerful bias to heading to Amazon . com or perhaps a store they trust using their charge card information.

And all sorts of that security means more layers for the server to deal with, or, should you delegate your charge card processing to PayPal or Google Wallet, more places to accidentally drop or slow your checkout. And all sorts of these layers and off-site links can, obviously, slow lower your website experience.

An exciting-in-one online shop solution like BigCommerce enables you to definitely turn all individuals hassles to professionals. Rather of battling having a caching wordpress plugin (or having to pay a developer $$$ / hour), you’re able to simply not even be worried about it (or call customer support for complaints). Plus, you’re able to hands off security, compliance, along with a whole selection of security issues (have you heard about Heartbleed a couple of years ago?) to experts who handle it without any hassles.

Now, BigCommerce is not really fast as competitors like Shopify within my store&#8217s speed tests &#8211 but they’re still blazingly fast &amp secure. Utilizing an all-in-one like BigCommerce enables you to definitely offload the intricacies (without getting an enormous dev budget) while easily accepting a variety of payment providers &amp meeting your clients&#8217 expectation for a quick, easy shopping experience. Take a look at these results:

BigCommerce Speed Tests for BigCommerce Review

They’re also very transparent regarding their technical stats and availability &#8211 that is encouraging to determine in almost any company.

Bigcommerce Transparency

Intuitive Built-in Features

At its core, a web-based store is essentially an internet site with shopping cart software functionality and the opportunity to accept payments. It&#8217s type of fundamental. But many store proprietors would agree there is a lot more functionality which goes into creating a effective online shop.

You would like reviews, a good way to include &amp delete products, inventory management, integrated payments, analytics, order management, promotion code creation, discount functionality, easy shipping integration, etc, etc.

And something huge pro for implementing BigCommerce is they have most all you can consider already built-into their software. It&#8217s all there and able to go.

BigCommerce Backend Screenshot for BigCommerce Review

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And not just are all of the features built-directly into BigCommerce, however they all simply work. From order management to abandoned cart saver, BigCommerce has truly thought of all of the features you&#8217d need and exceed even their competitors with integrated features. Within the screenshot below &#8211 you&#8217ll observe that they integrate bulk 301 redirects to their platform (rather of via third party application, wordpress plugin or extension).

Bigcommerce Advanced Settings

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Bonus feature by April 20th, 2015 is BigCommerce integration with Alibaba. Alibaba may be the world&#8217s largest industry for wholesalers. Any retailers using BigCommerce get lots of interesting ordering and inventory benefits. Here&#8217s the pitch around the feature:

Built-in Marketing Features

But getting features like importing product SKUs and tracking return demands aren&#8217t the only real features which are important. Your web store also needs features that will help you really get customers.

And integrated marketing features are another huge pro for BigCommerce. Similar to their more technical features, they’ve an incredible built-in advertising tool set.

BigCommerce Marketing Tools

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There&#8217s a bewildering quantity of choices for marketing your web store, but there are many options (noted within the image above) which are particularly effective for anybody just beginning out. And BigCommerce has them built-in.

I&#8217m especially astounded by their Google Shopping integration (typically a royal discomfort for ecommerce developers over the Internet), their eBay store integration (easy wins for niche stores), AdWords ad generator, and Search engine optimization friendly setup (particularly customizable category pages &amp canonical product pages).

Built-in marketing features really are a huge pro for selecting BigCommerce, particularly if you&#8217re just beginning out selling on the internet and in the dark about where your marketing should even begin.

Useful Customer Support

Soon after signup in my newest BigCommerce project, I had been astounded by how rapidly I had been contacted by email by phone by my &#8220ecommerce consultant&#8221 with BigCommerce.

I had been also looped into an onboarding automated email sequence that timed perfectly using the free trial offer period. Now &#8211 that may seem a little sales-y prior to signing up, however it wasn&#8217t. Everything happened after I registered, and all sorts of inside a friendly tone reminding me that BigCommerce desired to try everything easy to help this project succeed. And getting customers concerned about putting things off by calling customer support wasn’t a part of that formula.

Unlike a lot of companies, BigCommerce appears doesn&#8217t appear to deal with customer churn as yet another area of the customer acquisition formula, they notice being an chance to enhance for everybody involved. It produces a great customer support experience based my anecdotal experience.

BigCommerce not just assigns a dedicated &#8220consultant,&#8221 they likewise have active forums, an enormous learning understanding-base, support via Facebook, Twitter, chat, email, and make contact with.

Bigcommerce Support screenshot for BigCommerce Review

Which degree of support is a big pro for BigCommerce &#8211 especially compared to non-platform options or DIY options. Should you go the construct it yourself route (ie, building an ecommerce site with WordPress or Magento), you will be by yourself to work through any bugs or issues that show up. Which process usually involves time and effort navigating online forums, or having to pay plenty of $$$ to some developer.

If you wish to spend 100% of your energy really running your web store rather of handling a checkout page error, then BigCommerce&#8217s customer care can alone spend the money for fee every month.

Easy Design

Within the physical world, we make lots of judgments in regards to a store according to appearance. Despite the fact that sleekness doesn&#8217t equal security, service, or selection &#8211 an unpleasant or amateurish searching site usually doesn&#8217t inspire confidence among online buyers.

But like I noted within my Shopify review, shopping online platforms must always are available in 3 amounts of personalization. First, it ought to look great as they are. Your default website shouldn’t seem like it&#8217s &#8220under construction&#8221 or sketchy whatsoever. BigCommerce certainly excels only at that. Here&#8217s what my default appeared as if:

BigCommerce Default Theme

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Second, you will be able to upgrade the default look without getting to employ an expert artist &#8211 in most cases what this means is having the ability to buy a professionally designed &#8220theme.&#8221 BigCommerce offers that ability and it has many responsive styles within their marketplace (for purchase). Installing a style is extremely straightforward, and knowing fundamental HTML or CSS, you may make easy edits. For example:

BigCommerce Theme Store

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Third, BigCommerce builds its design off HTML &amp CSS with very straightforward templates. The templates are simply designs (they aren&#8217t important to the particular purpose of your store), so if you prefer a professional, custom web design &#8211 you may also obtain that. BigCommerce doesn&#8217t create a lot of technical hurdles for many any artist or front finish developer to apply the precise look you might want to have.

Bigcommerce Design Editing Options

Regardless if you are just beginning by helping cover their hardly any budget, or perhaps a billion dollar ecommerce operation, BigCommerce&#8217s design setup is flexible enough and powerful enough to own the design you would like for the online shop.

Cons of utilizing BigCommerce

However, no BigCommerce review could be complete without searching in the downsides of BigCommerce &#8211 because no ecommerce platform will probably be perfect. Let&#8217s take a look at 6 specific cons I&#8217ve found with BigCommerce.

Prices

Prices is difficult, particularly when budgeting to have an online shop. It&#8217s usually nearly impossible to find a &#8220walking out of the door cost&#8221 like you may have offline. BigCommerce is transparent about prices, however it&#8217s useful to interrupt lower exactly what you’re searching at so far as prices goes (see BigCommerce&#8217s prices chart here).

First, your monthly cost &#8211 the sticker cost you have to pay each month for any certain degree of features. BigCommerce&#8217s plans begin with the conventional Plan at $29.95 USD monthly and increase after that, for instance.

Second, your platform transaction charges &#8211 the extra fee you have to pay to some platform like a percent of sales. Shopify accustomed to charge these on all of their plans, and BigCommerce also accustomed to charge 2% transaction fee on their own Silver Plan, for instance. These aren&#8217t huge (and many platforms are getting rid of them), however they can also add up. Shopify and BigCommerce have removed them &#8211 however it&#8217s something to bear in mind when evaluating platform.s

Third, your charge card charges &#8211 these was once pretty standardized, however more platforms (like Shopify) are establishing their very own charge card processing or partnering with 3rd parties (like BigCommerce &amp Stripe) to provide cheaper &amp more flexible payment solutions. Not to mention if you’re building your personal store with no platform, these will be a larger and much more costly issue.

4th, your add-on charges &#8211 they are third party apps, plugins or items of software that you could purchase to create your store better. These is one-time purchases, but may they elope transaction charges.

Here&#8217s how BigCommerce compares with prices versus. all-inclusive solutions (like Shopify or Volusion):

Monthly prices &#8211 BigCommerce is competitive, particularly when you range from the Standard plan ($29.95/mo) they exclude in the primary prices page. Whatsoever tiers, they’re a little more costly than direct competitors like Shopify and Volusion, though BigCommerce does incorporate a couple of more quality-add features each and every tier (like more space for storage). With Shopify particularly, they’re directly on if you are a online-only merchant.

Transaction charges &#8211 BigCommerce charges transaction charges around the Silver tier. So if you’re a smaller sized store product wise, but planning to do high average order value &#8211 make sure to remember that. BigCommerce doesn&#8217t do transaction charges on greater tiers, but neither do their direct competitors. BigCommerce removed transaction charges at the end of 2015. This really is something to think about when evaluating these to competitors like Volusion.

Charge card charges &#8211 BigCommerce partners with Stripe for integrated payments. Which means that accepting charge cards are easy, and included in the woking platform. However, the direct rate aren’t as little as Shopify or direct contracts with your personal third party processor. Although the charges aren&#8217t much, they are able to accumulate.

Add-on charges &#8211 el born area is how BigCommerce constitutes a comeback with prices. They really stand out on value. Sure, they are doing small things like limitless disk space, they also build-in many helpful features in to the platform free of charge. This is particularly a large factor when evaluating to the price of building your personal store with WordPress + WooCommerce, PrestaShop, or Magento. All individuals platforms are likely to charge for essential add-ons.

So for prices, I&#8217d state that BigCommerce is competitive enough for pure play online stores to come to a decision according to value &#8211 not cost. If you need to do offline sales and have developer expertise to construct your personal store &#8211 then BigCommerce&#8217s recurring &amp charge card charges will add up. For the reason that situation, Shopify can be a better match their offline/online payment and inventory options.

Accessibility to Add-ons

Among the big pros of BigCommerce is the fact that a lot of features are made into the platform. That stated, very couple of stores are ever exactly alike. And when many stores work through the foundational stage and transfer to more complex marketing for his or her customers &#8211 it&#8217ll frequently mean the requirement for specific store solutions.

Platforms like Shopify have a big &#8220app store&#8221 and you’ll discover just about anything you can actually need. Self-located solutions like WordPress or Magento have a big community of developers as well as an open development setup where one can add-on whatever you can consider.

BigCommerce Apps

However, while BigCommerce has began a little (but growing) application marketplace they still don&#8217t possess the depth or breadth of other setups with regards to very custom solutions. That can typically be a disadvantage &#8211 or at best something to organize around.

Lock-in

Lock-was something I must use in BigCommerce review, though it&#8217s likely to be a disadvantage of utilizing any hosted ecommerce platform. Should you ever choose to proceed to a self-located or different store platform &#8211 it&#8217s not really a simple, 2 click process. Your website&#8217s design, functionality, payments &amp content are likely to be kind of included in the BigCommerce platform.  It&#8217s an expense that might or might not come &#8211 however it&#8217s something to understand while shopping around.

For me, like Shopify, BigCommerce is really a solid platform using the team, expertise, and procedures to consider you from one-product store to another Zappos.

Export Template Options

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However, should you ever be to wish to depart for any self-located setup &#8211 or maybe BigCommerce ever re-did their product inside a not useful way, you&#8217d be facing pretty high switching costs. You&#8217d have the ability to export your product or service into Stand out &#8211 and scrape your articles (see above). Otherwise, you&#8217d be at a complete loss. It&#8217s exactly the same with Shopify &amp Volusion. Something to understand.

Product &amp Inventory Management

To effectively operate a store, you need to not just sell these products, but additionally provide &amp ship these products. Which means managing inventory. While BigCommerce provides extensive product options, it&#8217s almost an excessive amount of (that we&#8217ll reach in just a minute) and winds up burying the inventory management options.

Bigcommerce Inventory

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Inventory is utilized via each product screen rather of getting its very own dedicated area (like Shopify). It&#8217s not really a huge disadvantage, however if you simply&#8217re using a a lot of different product with many different turnover, it might affect your efficiency.

An Excessive Amount Of Functionality (Paradox of preference)

Ok this disadvantage may seem just like a complete fake (pun intended), however i think it’s really a real issue. Whenever you&#8217re first beginning an internet site or store, the most crucial factor you should do is really implement that which you intend to implement. A little, good marketing campaign that’s running is preferable to an enormous &amp perfect campaign that’s still within the works.

Consistently mix-posting products on eBay is preferable to spending hrs and hrs planning your Facebook store (that never launches). Quite simply, features are useless unless of course they are being used.

When I outlined within the pros, BigCommerce constitutes a big push makes a large push to possess all of the options you can want available &amp included in the machine right from the start. Self-located stores and platforms like Shopify place a bigger focus on adding the thing you need &#8211 when it’s needed, and ensuring the fundamentals are great and simple to complete on in the beginning.

All BigCommerce&#8217s options could be overwhelming &#8211 and certainly a disadvantage in the beginning unless of course you’ve got a very specific plan. Now, for those who have an agenda, then more features can be quite convenient. Should you simply want the necessities in the beginning with easy add-ons later on, then something similar to Shopify is going to be in your sweet zone.

Functional Customizations

Every platform faces the tradeoff between supplying a simple interface for those who simply want items to work &amp supplying editing use of people who wish to tweak their website (think iPhone versus. Android).

BigCommerce like a platform obviously is around the &#8220just get it work&#8221 finish from the spectrum. However, even among other platforms like Shopify and Volusion, BigCommerce biases towards &#8220just getting it work&#8221 versus. giving editing access &#8211 specifically for features.

It features a fairly straightforward editing access for design &#8211 however, you can&#8217t really get near to the code as if you can on Shopify. Should you&#8217re keen on making small tweaks to functionality additionally to create, this&#8217ll be considered a disadvantage for BigCommerce.

BigCommerce Review Conclusion

If you’re searching to have an all-in-one ecommerce solution, and also you want something with a lot of built-in features and just works together with no technical understand how &#8211 then BigCommerce is a great fit for you personally.

Take a look at BigCommerce&#8217s prices &amp obtain a 15 day free trial offer here.

If you’re searching for something with increased versatility (apps and offline options), and don&#8217t mind (or prefer) a bit more technical know-how, i then&#8217d opt for Shopify. You should check out Shopify&#8217s prices &amp obtain a free trial offer here.

If you wish to build yourself-located custom store &#8211 then you need to take a look at my help guide to building a web-based store with WordPress + WooCommerce here.

And finally &#8211 if you’re now more confused than ever before- take my BuzzFeed-style ecommerce platform quiz that will help you sort the options.

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is really a leading company within the ecommerce like a service business.
BigCommerce Review
Compiled by: Nate Shivar
Date Printed: 06/07/2016
A couple of flaws including inventory management, but overall an excellent located solution for ecommerce and building a web-based store.
4 / 5 stars

The publish BigCommerce Review: Pros &#038 Cons of utilizing BigCommerce For Online Retailers made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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The Very Best Online Charge Card Processing Companies

Credit card online shopping

Would you like to start an online business. That&#8217s great! You&#8217re have to 3 things: Products (obviously), an internet site (clearly), along with a charge card processor.

You don&#8217t only need any charge card processor, though. You’ll need one which&#8217s targeted at online companies, with decent rates and compatibility together with your website.

Who you decide to process cards with shouldn&#8217t be considered a decision that you simply make gently. You have to compare rates, service quality, reliability, and also the variety of features available. Fortunately, there are other options than ever before!

Our list of the greatest online charge card processing companies includes a mixture of options: traditional credit card merchant account providers, subscription plans, and pay-as-you-go options. Should you&#8217re looking for a dependable method to process charge cards online, we’ve your back! In no particular order, our top ten online charge card processors range from the following:

1. PayPal

PayPal reviewFounded: 1998

Kind of Processor: Third-Party Processor

Typical Rates: 2.9% + $.30 located payment page $30/month recurring payments $10/month

PayPal is really symbolic of online commerce at this time (it will help is the default payment choice for eBay), and it is suite of services for retailers is fairly extensive. Additionally to having the ability to accept online payments and send invoices, PayPal includes a mobile payments application (PayPal Here) and integrates with lots of POS systems. PayPal uses its very own gateway, that can be used individually of their processing services for any per-transaction or fee every month.

PayPal is really a pay-as-you-go service. However, if you prefer a located payment page or perhaps a virtual terminal, you&#8217ll have to covering out yet another $30/month if you are planning to provide any kind of subscription plan, recurring payments abilities can cost you $10/month.

That stated, their email list of integrations for PayPal is unreal &#8212 you should check it here. Beyond shopping cart software software, there&#8217s numerous integrations for shipping, inventory, and much more.

PayPal is automatically PCI-compliant, without any costs connected by using it. Should you&#8217re while using located payment page or even the virtual terminal, you aren&#8217t instantly compliant, but PayPal has tools to really make it simpler.

2. Braintree

Braintree Payment Solutions logoFounded: 2007

Kind of Processor: Merchant Account

Typical Rates: 2.9% + $.30 for cards and mobile wallets 1% for Bitcoin

Braintree is, technically, a PayPal company. However, it provides a really, completely different consumer experience, most likely largely because Braintree is really a direct processor that reveals individual merchant services instead of aggregating them. The whole Braintree experience is refined, advanced, and incredibly customizable.

Additionally towards the payment gateway (that is available individually), there is also accessibility v.zero SDK for integrating Braintree having a an entire world of apps and systems. There&#8217s also marketplace tools as well as an choice for recurring payments.

Like PayPal, Braintree handles PCI compliance for you personally, and when you depart, Braintree enables you to bring your consumer data along with you.

The kicker? You receive all this for the standard 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. There&#8217s no fee every month, no monthly minimum volume, no PCI compliance fee, nothing.  Braintree includes a solid listing of integration options too.

3. Square

Square reviewFounded: 2009

Kind of Processor: Third-Party Processor

Typical Rates: 2.9% + $.30 3.5% + $.15 for recurring billing

Square is mainly noted for its mobile payments, however for a significant lengthy time that it&#8217s were built with a (very fundamental) online for free store. Recently, Square has truly walked up its eCommerce choices. You may still make use of the plug-and-play online shop or choose one from the eCommerce integrations &#8212 but you may also make use of the Square eCommerce API to produce your personal custom setup.

Square doesn&#8217t allow you to use any gateway nevertheless its own, and you may just use the gateway should you&#8217re also using Square Payments. There’s a recurring payments option, however it&#8217s less advanced as another options we&#8217ve seen (also it&#8217ll set you back more &#8212 3.5% + $.15). There&#8217s also no marketplace functionality.

Square&#8217s range of third-party integrations is robust so they cover the majority of what you would like &#8212 and there are many Square-powered solutions too.

Aside from the optional add-on services, which Square will bill you monthly for, you pay 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. Square is PCI compliant, without any PCI compliance charges assessed.

4. Stripe

Stripe payment processing reviewFounded: 2011

Kind of Processor: Third-Party Processor

Typical Rates: 2.9% for cards and mobile wallets .8% for Bitcoin and ACH

Stripe focuses on eCommerce payments, having a huge variety of features created for maximum personalization. The Stripe toolkits (as well as their documentation) can power eCommerce plus-application payments (as well as mobile payments).

Stripe Checkout might be probably the most effective and customizable checkout form available. However, you&#8217ll also look for a great choice of marketplace tools and recurring billing options. Stripe provides you with a gateway, located payment page, PCI compliance, and the opportunity to keep the data along with you should you ever choose to leave.

Stripe charges just 2.9% + $.30 per transaction. There&#8217s no fee every month, no PCI compliance charges, free for implementing any one of Stripe&#8217s feature beyond its marketplace tools.

I ought to note here that Stripe is frequently the rear-finish processor for just about any branded payments services (for instance, Shopify Payments). You&#8217ll typically find some kind of disclosure on the website prior to signing up, so make sure to check.

5. Payline Data

payline-data-logoFounded: 2009

Kind of Processor: Merchant Account

Typical Rates: Interchange + .35% + $.10 $15/month

Payline Data integrates using more than 125 different shopping cart software options &#8212 not counting its very own integrated solution, which is fantastic for retailers with only a number of products. There&#8217s an API which you can use to produce a custom integration for online or mobile application payments, too. With Payline, there is also support for invoicing and recurring billing.

Retailers who join Payline obtain a specific &#8220online&#8221 plan. But the organization also provides mPOS and retail processing. There&#8217s no contract or application charges, just a $15/monthly online fee (contemplate it a gateway fee should you must, since the gateway is incorporated). Payline Data uses an interchange-plus prices structure, with internet retailers having to pay .35% + $.10 per transaction over the interchange rate. Additionally, it supports ACH payments in a lower (unspecified) rate.

6. CDGCommerce

cdgcommerce-logoFounded: 1998

Kind of Processor: Credit Card Merchant Account

Typical Rates: Interchange + .30% + $.15 $10/monthly support fee

CDGCommerce provides you with the conventional features you&#8217d expect from a free account, although not a lot more. It provides interchange-plus prices at .30% + $.15 over interchange, along with a $10/fee every month. There is also the selection of free gateways: Quantum or Authorize.internet. Backward and forward you&#8217ll be covered for several integrations as well as get recurring billing. It&#8217s also worth mentioning that utilisation of the gateways is totally free &#8212 there aren’t any setup charges, no monthly charges, or per-transaction charges, that are pretty common.

There aren’t any more complex charges or costs past the transaction and monthly support charges (including no PCI compliance charges). You are able to choose to give a $15/monthly security service that provides you with $100,000 price of data breach insurance too, however it&#8217s entirely optional.

Again, if you want them you will get retail and mPOS processing. If you would like invoicing, you&#8217ll need to add-on another service, though. But CDG claims to possess a 1-step process for PCI compliance that removes you against scope by looking into making sure payment data never once goes through your personal system. That&#8217s virtually just how mobile processors like Square work, too.

 7. Helcim

Founded: 2006helcim-logo

Kind of Processor: Merchant Account

Typical Rates: Interchange + .36% + $.25 per transaction) $25/fee every month

Helcim (which processes through Elavon) has an array of features for retailers, together with a free gateway that supports recurring billing and email invoicing, along with a located payment page. Additionally to some wide variety of compatible shopping carts, there&#8217s also an API for that payment gateway, providing you with much more personalization options.

Using its Internet Pro prices plan, retailers pay .36% + $.25 over interchange, along with a $25/fee every month.

Helcim doesn&#8217t completely exempt you against getting to bother with PCI compliance, but helcim.js, a little bit of JavaScript, can help to eliminate your scope. Most retailers won&#8217t need to do anything beyond completing a web-based self-assessment. Helcim doesn&#8217t charge any PCI compliance charges, but it’ll charge to $45/month for noncompliance. So complete the self-assessment promptly.

Additionally, via a partnership with Sysnet, Helcim does offer $20,000 in data breach protection to compliant retailers ($10,000 to noncompliant retailers).

8. Dharma A Merchant Account

Dharma Merchant Services reviewFounded: 2007

Kind of Processor: Credit Card Merchant Account

Typical Rates: Interchange + .35% + $.15 $10 fee every month gateway charges

Having a name like Dharma, you are able to type of guess this is actually the kind of company that’s intensely ethical. The organization absolutely meets its name, as well as donates to charitable organization on the massive.

A free account with Dharma can get you an interchange-plus prices plan, in which you&#8217ll pay .35% + $.15 above interchange along with a $10/monthly service charge. However, you&#8217ll also spend the money for utilization of either Authorize.internet or NMI&#8217s gateway ($20/monthly plus $.05).

The truth is, your charges are $30/monthly, at .35% + $.20 above interchange. There’s also a number of other charges you&#8217ll encounter &#8212 a $.10 batch fee, a $25 account closure fee, as well as an $8/month PCI compliance fee (as long as your setup needs a monthly web scan). There aren’t any ETFs, however.

Beyond charge card processing, you receive a virtual terminal and recurring billing. However, if you would like invoicing, it&#8217ll run yet another $10/month. In addition, you will get retail and mPOS support.

9. Pay with Amazon . com

Pay with AmazonFounded: 2007

Kind of Processor: Third-Party Processor

Typical Rates: 2.9% + $.30

If you wish to earn a living in eCommerce, the simple fact is you can&#8217t ignore eBay &#8212 or its competitor, Amazon . com. These two marketplaces could be either the very best friend or worst nightmare of sellers. They also have another thing in keeping: payment platforms. eBay has PayPal, Amazon . com has Amazon . com Payments (also styled Pay with Amazon . com).

Amazon . com Payments is a nice simple idea: let people use their Amazon . com accounts to create purchases on other websites. It&#8217s advisable, too, since there are millions of Amazon . com shoppers (Prime users count in excess of 1 / 2 of Amazon . com&#8217s subscriber base and therefore are believed to number around 63 million people.) It&#8217s also an excellent method to give a secondary checkout option to your website.

It&#8217s simple enough to integrate (browse the listing of integration options here), and includes SDKs to produce a custom setup online or perhaps in an application.

The whole services are pay-as-you-go, using the standard third-party rate of two.9% + $.30. There&#8217s no PCI compliance charges, no gateway charges, no early termination charges, etc. Additionally to payment processing you recurring billing/subscription options. There&#8217s no invoicing option, no mPOS with no retail support, but you will get Amazon . com&#8217s one-click ordering.

10. Etsy

Etsy logoFounded: 2005

Kind of Processor: Third-Party Processor

Typical Rates: 3% + $.25 per transaction 3.5% per-item selling fee

So far as charge card processing options go, Etsy is certainly the oddball about this list. Like Amazon . com and eBay, Etsy is really a marketplace. However, its payments platform isn&#8217t available elsewhere but Etsy (and Pattern&#8230but we&#8217ll reach that). But if you sell vintage goods, crafting and costuming supplies, or hand crafted/craft products, Etsy is to wish to be &#8212 period.

Whenever you open a store through Etsy (within the U.S., a minimum of), Etsy creates your payment means of you (it&#8217s known as Direct Checkout). You can instantly accept PayPal, Etsy Gift Certificates, charge cards, ACH bank transfers, and Apple Pay.

You&#8217ll will also get an mPOS option with Etsy with the Sell on Etsy application, which helps you to seamlessly manage your Etsy store making in-person sales. And also you don&#8217t have to sell on Etsy solely &#8212 you may also make your own website using Pattern, that will auto-populate products according to your Etsy inventory and take care of all payments through Direct Checkout.

The greatest issue that sellers will have with Etsy would be the rates. Direct Checkout minute rates are 3% + $.25. However Etsy also charges yet another 3.5% selling fee. You&#8217ll pay that for implementing both Etsy and Pattern. There&#8217s also a $.20 listing fee. You have to pay this every item a product sells &#8212 if you have 10 of the identical item, you&#8217re likely to pay $2 in listing charges on their behalf. (This fee is waived for products on Pattern, given that they&#8217re directly imported from Etsy.)

Etsy most definitely isn&#8217t for everybody, however if you simply have been in one of these simple niches, it&#8217s worth looking at.

Final Ideas

If you wish to start an online business, there’s an abundance of fine payment processors. Regardless if you are just beginning out and want an adaptable, pay-as-you-go provider without any minimums or have a superior amount of transactions and merely desire a better processing rate or even more reliable processor, their list is the greatest beginning point for the search. Don&#8217t compare on cost alone, though! Make sure to consider all of the features you’ll need, in addition to compatibility with shopping carts along with other services you can utilize inside your business.

Thank you for studying, and best of luck!

The publish The Very Best Online Charge Card Processing Companies made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Using Amazon . com Backed Product PPC Ads Effectively

Amazon Sponsored Products

Amazon . com may be the behemoth of internet retail. Regardless of what your ecommerce marketing strategy is &#8211 you’ll have to consider Amazon . com sooner or later.

For online storeowners, Amazon . com is both a rival along with a partner. With the Marketplace / FBA / Seller programs, Amazon . com enables nearly anybody to make use of the website &amp brand being an ecommerce platform.

But the nearly anybody can’t be overlooked. This means that you and your direct competitor are fighting on rented land. Amazon . com is satisfied to provide you with an advantage &#8211 for any cost &#8211 which comes by means of Backed Products.

Amazon Sponsored Products

Backed Products permit you to buy space towards the top of Amazon . com search engine results &amp category listings. You pay if somebody clicks your ad.

Amazon . com Backed Product ads offer a similar experience in concept to each other PPC platform, but are not the same used because of the fact they live 100% on Amazon . com&#8217s platform.

Because they are proprietary to Amazon . com&#8217s platform &amp restricted to Amazon . com sellers &#8211 Amazon . com Backed Product ads are a black box.

Unlike Pay Per Click or Facebook Ads that have a lot of free material on getting began and enhancing your campaigns, straight answers on Amazon . com PPC ads is tricky to find.

I&#8217ve never run an Amazon . com Pay per click campaign, however i do read *a great deal- of posts included in my e-newsletter research. To obtain began inside a effective direction, listed here are the important thing concepts, sources and tools for Amazon . com Backed Product campaigns on the web.

Amazon . com Backed Product Concepts

Even though you know, let&#8217s address a few of the basics&#8230

The Amazon . com Flywheel

A flywheel is a tool that’s incredibly nearly impossible to find began, but when it&#8217s moving, it may sustain its very own momentum.

Consider Amazon . com just like a flywheel. Reviews, sales, rank and visits are incredibly challenging, but after you have some momentum, they’ve created a feedback loop that produces (and accelerates) momentum.

Quite simply, sales result in both more reviews and greater rankings. More reviews &amp higher rankings result in more visits and much more sales.

This effect means you need to model your ad spending differently than you’d having a Google or Facebook ad.

If the Amazon . com ad click results in a purchase along with a review &#8211 it&#8217s worth more than merely that single purchase.

On Amazon . com, there&#8217s possible of expending method to wealth &#8211 which may be a negative and positive factor. It enables you to definitely generate more return than expected, but additionally incentives you to definitely sink money chasing a poor bet.

In either case &#8211 you need a carefully mapped strategy with specific targets along with a readiness to become agile.

Seller Rank, Categorization, Velocity

Amazon . com includes a byzantine category structure with specific jargon. If you’re able to learn exactly how to make use of Seller Rank, Product Categorization and Velocity to assist Amazon . com assist you to &#8211 you&#8217ll be far in front of the competition.

Seller Rank &#8211 The fundamental idea is the fact that Amazon . com doesn’t simply reward Top Sellers. They would like to reward up and comers too. They would like to discover the next Hot Seller, and move that product up rapidly.

Categorization &#8211 Seller Rank pertains to every category on Amazon . com. And Amazon . com uses child category success to affect Seller Rank inside a parent category. This rewards sellers who are able to locate an otherwise boring child category with potential.

Velocity &#8211 Just how much product are you currently relocating a particular period of time? Are you currently moving product quicker now than you had been earlier? If that’s the case, Amazon . com wants to provide you with more visibility.

All of these factors produce a feedback loop with each other that affects your Flywheel. Backed Products permit you to pay to provide these factors an additional push.

Amazon . com&#8217s Incentives

If you wish to succeed on any platform, you need to comprehend the incentives from the system.

Google really wants to show quality pages that answer a question around the try. Facebook wants high clickthroughs.

Amazon . com wants money stuff.

In case your product sells much better than a different one &#8211 Amazon . com&#8217s algorithms is going to do all it may to push your products. If you use the formula, you&#8217ll win.

Backed Product Ads Settings

Amazon . com Backed Product ads aren’t as complicated being an AdWords campaign or perhaps a Facebook ad. Amazon . com wants you to definitely essentially provide them with money and allow them to handle the campaign.

But you will possess some control of settings &amp structure. Amazon . com offers lots of data (although it is delayed). You&#8217ll desire to use all of the settings easy to make certain your company will get the greater deal.

Even though you finish up cancelling your campaign, capture keyword data. Capture conversion data. Test variations.

Optimizing your products&#8230that may be the ad

A vital part of the Pay per click campaign is optimizing your website landing page as well as your ad. On Amazon . com &#8211 you control neither.

  • Your &#8220ad&#8221 is the product name.
  • Your &#8220landing page&#8221 is the product listing.

This fact means that you’ll require to take proper care of every possible detail you have control of.

Your products title should be descriptive, although not spammy as well as your description of product needs to be thorough but concise.

And each single detail that you could provide should be provided (e.g., full resolution images).

Expanding Keyword Scope &amp Bids

Amazon . com will run an &#8220auto&#8221 campaign for you personally. It&#8217s ideal for getting keywords you know that you simply don&#8217t know.

However it&#8217s not said to be the finish all. Keep in mind that everything on Amazon . com is really a feedback loop.

Take keyword data from Amazon . com and feed it to your non-Amazon . com PPC / Search engine optimization campaigns. Bring your non-Amazon . com PPC / Search engine optimization keyword data and feed it right into a manual Amazon . com campaign.

You are able to stick to the same concept with bids. Cost in reviews &amp rate of conversion projections to correctly model Amazon . com bids.

Amazon . com PPC Sources

When compared with Facebook &amp Pay Per Click, there’s hardly any discussed Amazon . com ads. The majority of the folks succeeding don’t have any incentive to speak.

And anybody speaking has likely never done particularly well (or they’re selling something).

I&#8217ve never run an Amazon . com campaign, and don’t tell you they are a specialist. But I know what&#8217s good, helpful information and what’s not. If you’re searching to understand everything that you could about Amazon . com PPC &#8211 here&#8217s your studying list.

Everything here is free &amp helpful to invest time on.

Amazon . com Seller Central’s Guide

As with all traffic source from Pay Per Click to StumbleUpon to Reddit to alternative systems as well as Google Organic &#8211 its smart to see the dog owner&#8217s manual.

And Amazon . com isn’t any different. It&#8217s dry, boring and it has a dreadful interface. However, you&#8217ll find details about how everything works at Amazon . com Seller Central&#8217s help guide to Backed Products. Read it here.

Step-By-Step Summary of Amazon . com Product Ads

This publish from PPC Hero by Kirk Johnson. It&#8217s probably the most thorough walk-through on the web at this time. Read it here.

Amazon . com PPC: 7 Secrets for Maximizing Return

This publish from SellBrite is among the couple of posts that provides you with concrete ideas to enhance your Amazon . com campaign. Read it here.

5 Methods for getting 5-Star Amazon . com Testimonials

Comments are a vital a part of any Amazon . com campaign. This publish from WordStream shows the way they approach getting reviews. Read it here.

Ways to get an e-book to #1 on Amazon . com

Probably the most thorough situation studies which i&#8217ve found. It concentrates on the Kindle eBook market, however the strategy &amp tactics affect any product on Amazon . com. Read it here.

How Backed Products Can Increase Amazon . com Organic Rank

Excellent publish explaining the &#8220flywheel&#8221 impact on Amazon . com, and just how a compensated / organic campaign are actually the same. Read it here.

How you can Show Up in Amazon . com

Very thorough publish on ranking organically on Amazon . com. Though it&#8217s not particularly about Amazon . com PPC &#8211 the concepts, strategies and tactics are identical, due to the flywheel effect with compensated / organic. Read it here.

Art of PPC Podcast &#8211 Amazon . com PPC Episodes

If you would like some thing conversational &#8211 both of these episodes are fantastic. Listen here &amp Listen here.

Establishing Amazon . com Ppc Campaigns

Very tactical publish with lots of screenshots. Read it here.

Amazon . com PPC Optimization: A Step-by-step Help guide to Find Converting Keywords

Another detailed tactical publish having a lot of screenshots. Read it here.

Amazon . com PPC Tools

At this time, the program tool marketplace for Amazon . com sellers continues to be maturing. But you will find certainly enough tools available so you don&#8217t need to research &amp run your campaign blindly. Many of these have the freedom, however, many are premium.

Search Phrase Report

Like every website data, you&#8217ll desire to make probably the most utilization of data that you alone own. Amazon . com provides lots of data out of your campaign. Actually, I&#8217d reason that data collection is definitely an incredible side-help to managing a Backed Product campaign.

You’ll find looking Term Report (yet others) inside your Seller Account.

KeywordTool.io

Ever observed how Amazon . com auto-suggests searches when you begin typing?

Amazon Suggest

Like Google Suggest &#8211 individuals keywords derive from real data originating from real customers.

You need to gather individuals suggestions, although not by hand. Rather, something like KeywordTool.io will scrape it instantly.

Utilize it here.

Soovle

Does just like KeywordTool.io but probably pull from eBay along with other online stores.

Utilize it here.

AMZ Tracker

Compensated product which pulls a variety of helpful rank tracking &amp other data.

Utilize it here.

Unicorn Smasher

Free Chrome extension that attracts in a lot AMZ Tracker&#8217s &amp Amazon . com&#8217s free data right into a helpful extension. Ideal for quickly research.

Utilize it here.

BrowseNode

A dull, bare-bones site that breaks out ALL of Amazon . com&#8217s product nodes. Great source of non-developers.

Utilize it here.

MerchantWords

Premium Amazon . com market and keyword research with search volumes and competitiveness ratings. Most likely well worth the money.

Utilize it here.

RankTracer

Payg rank tracker and Amazon . com research tool.

Utilize it here.

JungleScout

A complete-suite, fully built-out Amazon . com research tool, available both as Chrome extension so that as an internet application.

Utilize it here.

Next Steps

If you are a online storeowner, don’t underestimate Amazon’s power as both someone so that as a rival.

If you’re undecided, it doesn’t take much to determine a seller account along with a funded advertising campaign to check the woking platform.

You may even like my publish on developing an inbound marketing strategy and my e-newsletter, where I distribute some best posts on marketing from online each week.

The publish Using Amazon . com Backed Product PPC Ads Effectively made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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25 Must-Have Accounting Software Integrations for 2017

Integartions

Is your accounting or invoicing software missing something? Does your current feature set not quite meet the mark?

You may be tempted to throw in the towel, but before giving up on your software completely (and dealing with the hassle of transferring all your data over to a new solution), it’s time to consider the advantage of using your current program’s integrations and add-ons.

Integrations are an excellent way to supplement your existing software; all good accounting solutions come with a number of integrations (if yours doesn’t then maybe it really is time to switch). These integrations can encompass everything from payment gateways and CRM to receipt management and tax support.

We get it—in situations like this it’s difficult to even know where to begin. So to help you get started, we have put together a list of the top 25 integrations to boost your software’s functionality and help your small business succeed in the new year. We chose integrations that are common across multiple accounting and invoicing software platforms and have divided them into categories to make everything even easier for you.

But first, let’s get some basics out of the way.

How Do Integrations (and Add-ons) Work?

The integration process is really quite simple. If it’s even remotely worth its salt, your accounting or invoicing software is already fast friends with other apps or software; like any good business partner, your accounting software should work to introduce you its third-party buddies so you can all shake hands, play nice, and begin working together. Note: Healthy (and legal) human friendships do not usually involve an exchange of money, but you will usually have to pay an extra fee for 3rd-party integrations.

Most often, there is a place to access potential integrations within your accounting dashboard. Once you’ve set up an account with the 3rd-party selection of your choice, data will automatically sync between the applications.

Makes sense, right? Okay, time to move on to the actual list…

Payment Gateways:

Between Stripe, Square, PayPal, Forte, Authorize.net, WePay, and countless other payment gateways, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all your choices. Which is the best for your company? It’s hard for me to say without knowing your exact situation, but it is easy for me to share our Merchant Maverick favorites.

1. Braintree

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, Hiveage, and Invoicera. There is also API for developers.

Braintree is a popular payment gateway and merchant account service and one of our top choices at Merchant Maverick (we’ve given it a full 5/5 stars). Braintree offers great customer service, as well as a good selection of merchant account features. Some of these features include recurring billing, international account support, buyable pins on Pinterest (still in beta), and strong mobile apps.

Pricing:

  • Credit Card – 2.9% + $0.30/per transaction

If you are interested in Braintree, check out our full Braintree review for more details.

2. PayPal

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, Invoice2go, Harvest, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, AND CO, Invoicely, LessAccounting, Saasu, KashFlow, ClearBooks, BillingOrchard, Sage One,  Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, and Wave.

You knew it was coming. PayPal is a world-renowned payment gateway and merchant account used by over 192,000,000 people. The service is easy to use and is available with virtually every accounting and invoicing software. PayPal offers a mobile app as well as free invoice creation.

Pricing:

  • In Store – 2.7%/per US swipe
  • Online & Invoicing – 2.9% +$0.30/per transaction

Price discounts are available for nonprofits and charities.

There is a history of user complaints about PayPal withholding funds, so our recommendation is that you may not want to rely solely on PayPal for your processing needs. For the most part, though, the company is well-liked. To read our full review, go here. If you are interested, we’ve also written a comprehensive review of the mobile version of PayPal.

Payroll:

Your company is growing, but your accounting software can’t keep pace—not in terms of payroll. What’s a business owner to do? Never fear; check out the following integration before throwing your current software out with the bathwater.

3. Gusto                                                                                                            

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, Xero, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro. There is API for developers.

Gusto is a full-fledged Payroll processor (we actually use it for our own payroll here at Merchant Maverick). This software works to manage part-time, full-time, hourly, and salary employees, as well as contractors (or any combination of the five). In terms of features, you can’t beat Gusto. The complete payroll package includes benefits, health insurance, 401ks, reimbursements, vacation days, and sick days. You can even organize employees and contractors by team and pay everyone via direct deposit.

Pricing:

  • Base Price – $39/mo + $6/per employee

Gusto offers a free 30-day trial. To learn more visit the Gusto site.

Project Management:

Project management can be one of the most useful features in an accounting solution (and one of my personal favorites). Sadly, very few software companies offer project management tools—not even Xero or QuickBooks Online. This is when project management integrations come in very handy.

4. Basecamp

Compatible accounting solutions: Blinksale, Harvest, LessAccounting, FreeAgent, and Invoicely. There is API for developers.

Basecamp is used by over 100,000 business owners, just like yourself. The software is completely cloud-based and very user-friendly; it comes with all the features you would expect—projects, tasks, job costing reports—but also includes a lot of unexpected but very welcomed surprises. Some of these extra features include team communication tools and group chat, scheduling, to-do lists, automatic check-ins, reminders, client reviews, and gift certificates. The software also offers mobile apps for both iPhone and Android.

Pricing:

  • $99/mo

Teachers and students can actually access this software for free, and non-profits get a 50% discount. You can also receive a discount for paying annually. Basecamp offers a free 30-day trial.

To learn more about Basecamp, read our full review and/or watch this How It Works video.

5. WorkflowMax

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, MYOB, and MoneyWorks. There is API for developers.

If you are looking for something on the cheaper side, WorkflowMax, a project management and time management hybrid, might be a better choice for your business. For such a small scale software, it is surprisingly common amongst accounting software integrations. Workflow Max’s features include jobs, tasks, timelines, quotes, invoicing, job costing reports, automated notification, and the ability to track time. Pricing is broken up by number of users.

Pricing:

  • 1 user – $15/mo
  • 2-5 users – $49/mo
  • 6-10 users– $110/mo
  • 11-20 users –$170/mo
  • 21-50 users – $250/mo

Learn more about WorkflowMax on their website or read our full review and see why we gave the software 4/5 stars.

Time Management:

Another integral feature often overlooked by accounting and invoicing software is the ability to track time. But hey, that’s what integrations are for!

6. Temponia

 

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro.

“When tracking time becomes saving time.”

That’s the motto of Temponia, a cloud-based time management software. Temponia offers an incredibly beautiful UI as well as scalable pricing plans. The software’s features are well laid-out and organized with a calendar interface. When you sign up for Temponia, you’ll get time tracking, budgeting, reports, reminders, timers, projects, and invoicing (that is better than even some invoicing software).

Pricing:

  • Starter – $5.90/mo
  • Team – $28/mo
  • Business – $49/mo
  • Enterprise – $122.50/mo

You can see pricing details and sign up for a free live demo here.

7. T-sheets

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro. There is API for developers.

Another time management option is T-sheets—a time tracking software with an optional booking component. This software is cloud-based and provides additional mobile apps. T-sheets differs from Temponia in a few key areas. In addition to time tracking and projects, T-sheets supports job-costing, POT (paid time off) tracking, approvals, shift scheduling, employee alerts and reminders, and a see-who’s-working feature. It is a time management, project management, and booking software all in one. Pricing varies depending on number of users.

Pricing:

  • 1 user – free
  • 2-99 users – Base fee of $16/mo + $5/mo per user
  • 100+ users – Base fee of $100/mo + $5/mo per user

You can receive a discount by paying annually, and a free trial of the software is available for those interested. Check out the T-sheets website for further details.

Point of Sale (POS) Software:

Outgrowing your invoicing tools and looking for a way to take your business’s sales to the next level? Here are our top 5/5 star POS recommendations.

8. Vend

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, and KashFlow. There is API for developers.

Vend, an intuitive SaaS program with great customer service, takes the cake for retail POS, especially for iPad users. Even though Vend is cloud-based, during internet outages the software will continue to work; it simply syncs stored data when the internet returns, which is pretty sweet if you ask me. In addition to operating as a basic POS system, Vend offers reports, inventory, stock control, customer profiles, and gift cards. Here is a basic summation of Vend’s pricing, but be sure to look at each plan in more detail to see which features you’re getting.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Starter – $69/mo
  • Advanced – $99/mo
  • Multi-Outlet – $249/mo

There is a discount available for paying annually rather than monthly. It’s worth noting that Vend offers no API, so you won’t be able to design custom integrations. Learn more about why we love Vend in our full review and take the software for a spin with this free trial.

9. SalesVu

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro. There is API available for developers.

Unlike Vend, SalesVu offers retail, restaurant, and service-industry POS—so whatever your business may be, SalesVu most likely has options for you. Like Vend, the software is easy to use and has good customer service. The system is designed for iPads and iPhones; features vary significantly depending on which type of POS you choose and include inventory, contact management, table reservations, online appointment scheduling, gift cards; you get the drift. The pricing plan is a bit confusing so bear with me.

Pricing:

  • Basic Restaurant Bundle – $75/mo
  • Basic Retail Bundle – $75/mo
  • Basic Beauty and Wellness Bundle – $75/mo
  • SalesVu for Restaurants – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Retail – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Beauty and Wellness – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Professional Services – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Wineries – $150/mo
  • SalesVu for Health Clubs – $150/mo

There is also an individual pricing module option. For those interested in SalesVu, check out our full review or contact SalesVu to schedule a demo.

Email Marketing:

There’s no monkeying around when it comes to email marketing. Okay, well maybe there is. Save yourself some valuable time and automate your email process with…

10. MailChimp

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, KashFlow, Harvest, Xero, QuickBooks Online, Sage One, Sage 50 (for Canada and US), e-conomic, Saasu, and ClearBooks. There is API for developers.

MailChimp is a powerful email marketing software combined with basic CRM features. The company processes over 5,000,000 emails every single month and is scalable for any size business. It offers an unbelievable amount of features, including analytic reports, email campaigns, contact lists, API, and a custom email designer. You can also organize contacts by different criteria (like location) and deliver emails by timezone. MailChimp supports multiple users and strong user permissions.

Pricing:

  • Forever Free
  • Growing Business – starts at $10/mo
  • Pro Marketer – additional $199/mo

To learn more about these pricing plans and to see pay-as-you-go options, click here. Check out our full MailChimp review and see why we gave it 4.5/5 stars.

eCommerce:

With more and more small businesses owners selling online, the world needs an eCommerce platform that can keep up. We’ve found just that.

11. Shopify

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online, Bench Accounting, Xero, Sufio, Billy, AccountEdge, KashFlow, e-conomic, FreshBooks, Debitoor, and Sage 50. There is API for developers.

If you hadn’t heard of Shopify before, you have now—and I promise you will never live to regret it. Shopify is one of the biggest names in the eCommerce world, and for good reason. The company hosts over 325,000 online stores; it is easy to use and mobile-friendly. We often recommend it here at Merchant Maverick, especially because of the great features and scalable pricing plans. With Shopify, you get 100+ online store themes, branding, marketing and SEO, a shopping cart with secure checkout, payment gateway, store management, basic CRM, social media integrations, inventory management, and analytic reports.

Pricing:

  • Shopify Lite – $9/mo
  • Basic Shopify – $29/mo
  • Shopify – $79/mo
  • Advanced Shopify – $299/mo
  • Shopify Plus – call for pricing

The bigger the plan, the bigger the savings on credit card rates and transaction fees. Check Shopify pricing for more details.

Take advantage of the free 14-day trial or read our full Shopify review for more details.

Expense Tracking:

You probably got accounting or invoicing software so you could rid yourself of your Excel sheet/receipt box bookkeeping habits. So why do those receipts keep piling up? Why is your shoebox still overflowing? The answer is simple: you haven’t tried these expense tracking tools yet.

12. Receipt Bank

Compatible accounting solutions: Sage One, Xero, Twinfield, QuickBooks Online, KashFlow, FreshBooks, and FreeAgent. There is API for developers.

Receipt Bank is one of the most common expense management integrations on the market. Over 60,000 users rely on Receipt Bank to make uploading expenses easier. How does it work? Well, you simply use Receipt Bank’s mobile apps to snap a picture of your receipt. The app then extracts the important information and saves it to the expenses section of your accounting software. Pretty neat, huh? You can also set automation rules to streamline the process even more.

Single User Pricing:

  • 50 Items – $14.99/mo
  • 100 Items – $29.98/mo
  • 150 Items – $44.97/mo

Multi-User Pricing:

  • 50 Items – $25/mo
  • 100 Items – $40/mo
  • 150 Items – $55/mo

There are two larger plans available upon request. Receipt Bank also realizes that anticipating items is tricky and offers a flexible item limit policy. Additionally, you can take advantage of a 14-day free trial of the software so you can become better acquainted with this time-saving tool.

13. Shoeboxed

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, Xero, GoDaddy Online Bookkeeping, and Wave. There is API for developers.

Shoeboxed is another big player in the receipt management world. It is just intuitive as ReceiptBank, albeit a little different. Instead of taking pictures of your receipts, you place them in a free “magic envelope,” send them off, and everything is taken care of for you. Shoeboxed takes the data from your receipts and archives them for you automatically. In addition to expense management, Shoeboxed also offers basic CRM features and reporting. For a full list of features, go here.

Pricing:

  • Lite – $9.95/mo
  • Classic – $29.95/mo
  • Business – $49.95/mo

Learn more about Shoeboxed here.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM):

Almost all accounting and invoicing software programs come with CRM features, but the quality of these tools varies significantly between companies. If you’re looking for CRM capabilities your current software doesn’t provide, it might be worth investing in a CRM-focused add-on.

14. Insightly

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, and QuickBooks Pro. There is API for developers.

I don’t know if I believe this company when they claim “our CRM gives you super powers,” but I do believe Insightly is a super powerful CRM. Not only does Insightly handle contact and lead management, it also boasts strong project management, a beautiful UI, and well-developed mobile apps. One of the coolest ways Insightly helps generate sales and new customers is by integrating directly with your email, social media site, and website to automatically create an address book of leads. Other features include a calendar, mass emailing features, email templates, support, reports, and the ability to track new sale opportunities.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Basic – $15/mo per user
  • Plus – $35/mo per user
  • Professional – $59/mo per user
  • Enterprise – $129/mo per user

Insightly offers a free 14-day trial of any of the paid plans and a discount for annual subscriptions. Check out Insightly here or watch a quick overview video.

15. Capsule

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, FreshBooks, FreeAgent, KashFlow, Billiving, and ClearBooks. There is API for developers.

“There’s something to be said of the small business which caters to small business.”

Capsule is another CRM option that could be a good choice for smaller operations. Like Insightly, Capsule is easy to use and offers mobile apps. The company maintains strong security and is competitively priced. The Capsule feature set includes contact management, lead management, vendor management, sales pipeline, task management, recurring tasks, and file storage.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Premium – $12/mo per user

Important: Capsule is not designed for large businesses. If you are interested in the software, peruse our full Capsule review and take the free 30-day trial for a run.

Booking:

Keep forgetting your day planner? Unsatisfied with the calendar app on your phone? Tired of losing post-it note scribbled appointments on your desk? Welcome to the world of booking software.

16. Full Slate

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro.

Full Slate is cloud-based booking software that makes it easy to both schedule your own appointments and enable your clients to set up appointments with you. The UI is designed nicely, and everything is color coded for maximum organization. Full Slate offers different calendars for appointments, classes, and personal events (some users might hate this separation, but others seem to love it). In addition to these booking features, Full Slate also has CRM, sales tracking, basic reports, and the ability to set recurring appointments.

Pricing:

  • Just You – $29.95/mo
  • Up to 5 Staff – $49.95/mo
  • Up to 10 Staff – $79.95/mo

Have more than 10 staff members? Call for pricing.

Full Slate doesn’t offer a free trial; instead, the software is free until you exceed 10 booked appointments or 100 events. Read our full review of Full Slate to see why we gave the software 4.5/5 stars.

17. Acuity Scheduling

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks, Xero, QuickBooks Pro, QuickBooks Online, Invoice2go, Zoho Books, and Saasu. There is API for developers.

Over 500,000 people currently use Acuity Scheduling, and for good reason. It is an easy to use, customizable booking software with a strong feature set and single calendar. And to top it off, it’s affordable. Like Full Slate, Acuity Scheduling offers CRM and recurring appointments. But in contrast to Full Slate, Acuity Scheduling supports inventory, company promos, coupons, two-way Google calendar sync, and payment gateways, as well as the ability to track order history and manage time zones.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Emerging Entrepreneur – $10/mo
  • Growing Business – $19/mo
  • Powerhouse Player – $34/mo

Acuity Scheduling offers a free 14-day trial of any of the paid plans. Read our full review to see why Acuity Scheduling also gets 4.5/5 stars.

Customer Service:

Nothing beats service from the boss himself, but if your company is growing faster than you expect, or if you are spending more time answering customer questions than running your business, it may be time for to pass the baton.

18. Zendesk

Compatible accounting solutions: Harvest, QuickBooks Online, and Xero. There is API for developers.

Zendesk is actually the customer service tool used by several major accounting and invoicing software companies. (If it’s good for them it’s good for you right?). Zendesk offers support in the forms of phone, chat, message, text, social media, email, knowledge bases, and help desks. Pricing plans vary in the types of support service offered, so be sure to check out the pricing page before making any decisions.

Pricing:

  • Essential – $5/mo per agent
  • Team – $19/mo per agent
  • Professional – $49/mo per agent
  • Enterprise – $99/mo per agent
  • Elite – $199/mo per agent

Zendesk offers a free 30-day trial and demos that you can schedule at any time. To learn more about how Zendesk works, watch this video and check out Zendesk’s services.

Tax Tools:

Let’s face it, nobody likes tax season. You probably even cringed reading those words. But these integrations can help.

19. Track1099

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, Xero, Zoho Books, Zoho Invoice, and Intacct. There is API for developers.

Track1099 is a robust tax support tool that allows small businesses to e-file necessary tax forms (the most notable being 1099s, W-2’s, W-4’s, and W-BENS). Come tax time, simply send the proper forms to your employees via email. They will fill them out in an incredibly user-friendly portal (I’ve done it myself and the process is easy as can be). Then you receive a copy of the form, and voila! You’ve completed your taxes as fast as Augustus Gloop can eat a pool of chocolate.

Pricing:

  • 25 Forms – $9/year
  • 150 Forms – $59/year
  • 5000 Forms – $199/year

Note: The type of form you can purchase on these plans is dependent on the plan you buy, so be sure your necessary forms are supported before purchasing. Learn more here.

20. Avalara

Compatible accounting solutions: Sage, Sage 100, Sage 500, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, Xero, and Intacct. There is API available for developers.

Avalara is a sales tax solution for small businesses. A few accounting software companies have made Avalara a part of their system out-of-the-box, while many others offer it as an optional integration. Basically, this add-on automatically determines the sales tax for your clients based on geolocation, saving you time (and since time is money, well it’s saving you that too).

The worst part about Avalara is that they do not post prices on their site and request interested persons to call them instead. You’re probably thinking, “So I have to make a phone call? Big whoop!” Well, it wouldn’t be an issue except that the Avalara representatives are incredibly pushy and pricing can be a bit steep.

That being said, this add-on may still be worth it for the ease of automated sales tax. That’s up to you to decide. You can learn more by watching this video and the visiting the Avalara site.

Specialty Integrations:

Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? Here are a few more specialized integrations that might be the perfect fit for you.

21. For Nonprofits – Sumac

Compatible accounting solutions: QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Pro.

While many software companies offer nonprofit discounts, there are few software options that are designed specifically for nonprofits. That’s what makes Sumac so great. Sumac is a locally installed program (though you can pay an extra $25/mo for use with the cloud). The software begins with basic CRM (the Bronze plan below) that is tailored to manage and store nonprofit information specifically. The feature set of the software depends on the specific plan you choose, but your choice in features can include time tracking, invoicing, email marketing, donation management, event management, grant management, booking, auctions, and more. Check the pricing plan for more details.

Pricing:

  • Bronze – Free
  • Silver – $20/mo
  • Gold – Custom price, calculate here
  • Platinum – Starts at $400/mo

Sumac offers a free trial of their software. Watch this video or proceed to their site to learn more about how this software works.

22. For Freelancers – Cushion

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero.

Cushion is a simple, easy to use freelancing solution that helps you keep track of your work. The features are limited but effective and the pricing is competitive. With a Cushion plan, you get the ability to track invoices, track jobs, view monthly income, set goals, track expenses, and to view and organize all of you projects in a calendar.

Pricing:

  • Moonlighter – $6/mo
  • Freelancer – $12/mo
  • Studio – coming soon

Check out Cushion if you are interested in this organization solution.

23. For Team Communication – Slack

Compatible accounting solutions: Zoho Invoice and Zoho Books. There is API for developers.

Communication is hard. But Slack has found a way to make it easy. Slack is a powerful communication platform (we use it here at Merchant Maverick, in fact). It allows you to have private or public team conversations, send direct messages, attach images and documents, as well as make calls.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • Standard – $8/mo per user
  • Plus – $15/mo per user

If you’re tired of jumping between emails and texts, Slack is a great, affordable solution. You can learn more here.

24. For Partial Payments – Partial.ly

Compatible accounting solutions: FreshBooks and QuickBooks Online.

As you probably guessed from the title, Partial.ly is a payment solution that allows customers to make partial payments on products or services. You can create custom payment plans for your clients who then get access to a personal client portal. The software uses Stripe as its payment gateway. Note: Before you freak out at the credit card rate below, understand that Partial.ly uses this fee to cover all Stripe fees, so you are only charged once.

Pricing:

  • Credit Card Rate – 5% + $0.30/per transaction

Learn more about how Partial.ly can work with your business here.

25. For Everything Else – Zapier

Compatible accounting solutions: Xero, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Pro, FreshBooks, Wave, FreeAgent, Zoho Invoice, Zoho Books, Saasu, LessAccounting, Hiveage, Proposify, QuoteRoller, and InvoiceNinja. There is API for developers.

I promise I’m not kidding. If your accounting or invoicing software has a Zapier integration, that means you have access to over 750+ apps and integrations. Zapier works as its own sort of API in that it gives you endless connections to apps you otherwise may not have been able to access.

Pricing:

  • Free
  • For Work – $20/mo
  • For Teams – $125/mo

Learn more about how Zapier works and how to maximize your business with Zapier here.

The End

While this may be the end of a post, there is no end to the number of accounting and invoicing integrations out there. I hope that in 2017 you are able to make the most of these powerful tools.

My own New Year’s Resolution is to continue helping business owners like you as much as I can—and preaching the gospel of these 25 hidden gems is the best way I know how. But I can always use more help getting the word out! Let me know which accounting integrations have helped you succeed and if I have missed any of your favorites!

The post 25 Must-Have Accounting Software Integrations for 2017 appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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