The Tuesday after Thanksgiving in the United States is officially known as Giving Tuesday, a kick-off to a celebration of charitable giving throughout the world. What started in 2012 as a small act of community activism to rebut the holiday season’s abundant consumerism has turned into a global movement of generosity for individuals, small businesses, and corporations. Giving back to your community is one of the most meaningful acts you can do as a small business. If you are looking for a way to capitalize on Giving Tuesdays’ influence and reach, keep on reading to find out how.
What Is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is a global social media campaign started by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation. The campaign’s goal is to combat the commercialization of the holidays and raise charitable giving to organizations across the world. According to the Giving Tuesday organizers:
When GivingTuesdayÂ launched in the US in 2012, we believed that technology and social media could be used to make generosity go viral; that people fundamentally want to give and to talk about giving; and that the social sector had the capacity to show more innovative leadership, creativity, and collaboration. People and organizations around the world proved us right. In just seven years, GivingTuesday has radically changed how we think about generosity and showed just how much power communities everywhere have to create change.Â
In 2018, Giving Tuesday donations in the United States exceeded $400,000,000 and received over 14.5 billion social media impressions. Each year, the media attention and hashtag activism create a surge of momentum, and the stats show that consumers (Millennials, especially) make purchasing decisions based on a company’s charitable giving.
The concept behind Giving Tuesday is to create a day where our energy and attention focus on how we can help our communities; how you embrace this pseudo-holiday is entirely up to you and your staff. We live in an age where social responsibility matters for your business branding, and it also helps target potential customers who share in your cause. The movement’s website does have a way to search for nonprofits seeking assistance in your area if you’re looking for a place to start. And if you’re wanting to check a charity rating, you can do that through the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.
When Is Giving Tuesday?
Giving Tuesday is set to take place every Tuesday after the US Thanksgiving holiday. This year, the day falls on December 3, 2019. The celebration of giving lasts twenty-four hours.
5 Fun & Effective Giving Tuesday Ideas For Small Businesses
If you don’t know the best way to incorporate Giving Tuesday into your small business, Merchant Maverick has some tips for you. Here are five fun ideas:
Choose A Nonprofit Through A Contest
Every year, my credit union holds a contest to donate $10,000 to a local nonprofit in the area. Five charitable organizations are plucked from a bevy of nominations, and customers and people on social media vote for the winner. In this particular version of the event, the nonprofit that wins the contest receives the big prize, but all nonprofits receive a small donation regardless. You want your customers to care about the organization you’re backing, so offering the community a chance to nominate their favorite nonprofits is a fantastic and fun way to encourage participation and buy-in. Some companies share their winners on Giving Tuesday, but if that’s too late a start for marketing, you could start the contest on Giving Tuesday and extend it through the holidays.
Have Your Entire Company Donate Time/Resources
Giving Tuesday could be an afterthought to an already hectic holiday season. It shouldn’t be. There are numerous ways your employees can donate time and resources in your small business’s name. Several larger corporations give their employees time off on Giving Tuesday to work/donate their time to a nonprofit of their choice, and other businesses go together as a group to volunteer locally. It’s up to you on how you share the news of your giving, but it’s more meaningful to focus on the impact you and your business can make to the community. Find places that need you, find a nonprofit that merges well with your business style, and ask how you can help.
Give A Portion Of Your Sales To A Nonprofit
This is an oft-used, tried and true method, but it still has an incredible impact for you and for the nonprofit you raise money for: give money from sales or give goods/services. You can hold hourly contests with giveaways for reaching certain sales goals or keep an updated real-time calculator for social media showing what you’ve earned. When consumers know a percentage of money is going to an organization they care about, they will be more likely to spend money with you. Is there a special product you could release where 100% of profits go to a charity of your choice?Â (Think: LUSH Beauty’s Charity Pots or Portland’s Ex Novo Brewery, where 100% of beer sales target specific nonprofits in the area. Portlanders are always down for drinking with a cause.) There are other ways to use this model that do not cut into sales. There is the TOMS Shoes model (you buy shoes, they give a pair of shoes to someone in need), or the Barnes and Noble Buy a Book campaign for local school children. Is there a product people can buy from you for others? Pick a method that works for your company, whether you are brick and mortar or online, and advertise those Giving Tuesday plans.
Get Your Clients/Customers/Employees To Participate In The #UNselfie Campaign
One of the reasons why Giving Tuesday has momentum and staying power is because of its tireless connection to social media campaigns. The hashtag game is strong with #GivingTuesday. One of those important hashtags is the #UNselfie. An unselfie is a picture posted on social media that lists the reasons why someone might give or where someone is giving their time and resources. The pictures usually involve someone holding up a piece of paper over their face listing the best reasons to give and what specifically is important to them. You can ask customers and employees to take an #UNselfie and post it with your company’s hashtag to draw awareness to the day and what your small business is doing. (Maybe hold a random drawing for one customer who posts! Be sure to like and respond to posts, too. Engage with your customers/clients.)
Focus On Storytelling And Go Big On Social Media
I’m a loud and intense proponent of using storytelling to grow your business and help the world. As humans, we are drawn to stories. We want to know who people are, what makes them tick, how we can help. There are many ways to use Giving Tuesday as an opportunity to tell your story or the story of someone who needs help from the community. If you are collecting money for a charitable organization, think about setting certain price-anchors for donations and telling your customers what impact that donation has. (For example, a $10 donation plants a tree; a $100 donation sends a kid in your community to camp.) No matter the organization you choose, it’s up to you to tell that story and get the word out. The more relational your Giving Tuesday campaign is, the more success you’ll have.
3 Ways Your Small Business Can Benefit From Participating In Giving Tuesday
It’s important to note that Giving Tuesday is about giving. Can you benefit from participating? Of course! But the who and the why of this day are far more important than the how. Shoppers are savvier than ever before and they know what they like in a business, and they can also smell inauthenticity from miles away. If your Giving Tuesday campaign is too focused on you and not focused enough on who you’re helping…you’re doing it wrong and it will feel forced and backfire. Getting excited about Giving Tuesday starts at the top and works down, so you set the barometer as a business owner. Still: that doesn’t mean the attention to Giving Tuesday isn’t worth it for your business. Here are 3 ways you benefit from participating:
Improve Employee/Customer Morale:Â Today I cried watching a viral video of a little boy finding an empty candy bowl on Halloween and filling it with his own candy before leaving the house. We are moved by selfless generosity and love for others, and when feel-good stories are short supply, boosting morale is no small task. Work is work and business is business. For business owners and employees alike, taking the time out to do something important and generous will boost mood and overall company self-esteem.
Receive Tax Deductions: Tax deductions are helpful and we cannot ignore that they are a benefit to donations. Check out your state and local requirements for tax deductions on charitable giving and follow all the rules.
Establish Yourself In The Community:Â Your small business is part of a larger community and serving that larger community is a huge benefit to you, your employees, and your customers. Whether it’s getting your name out as a partner or ally, communicating your business values, or setting up a system of giving that extends all year long, Giving Tuesday is the perfect place to start your campaign.
Pay It Forward With Giving Tuesday Campaigns
Doing good for the world and your community is good for business. Shoppers care about their communities, they also care about knowing where their money is going, and they want to shop for a cause. While the Giving Tuesday media ramps up and before the hashtags start to fly, decide on the most practical way to contribute this year and build off that foundation. What has your small business done for Giving Tuesday in the past? Do you have any ideas and success stories to share? Tell us in the comments below.
The post Giving Tuesday for Small Businesses: Why Your Company Should Get Involved, Plus 5 Fun And Clever Ways You Can Participate appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
Dropshipping is the sweetest gig in eCommerce, and sellers and advertisers everywhere sing its praises. They claim all you have to do is select the most profitable dropshipping products, and the dollars will roll on in. And while we are skeptical of these claims (check out our article 7 Reasons To Rethink Drop Shipping), for some merchants — particularly those who have done their research, found a dropshipping niche, and sell products in a traditional way as well —Â dropshipping really does work.
Just run a quick search on YouTube, and youâll find dozens of videos from bold teenagers who have made tens of thousands of dollars running dropshipping sites. If you look closer at some of these videos, youâll find another commonality: most of these dropshipping success stories came about on the Shopify platform.
Shopify (read our review) is one of theÂ most popular shopping carts in the eCommerce industry, especially for US and Canadian merchants. Shopify specializes in ease of use and simple, sleek design.
As a SaaS (software as a service) platform, Shopify manages the technical aspects of operating an online store, including the hosting and site security. Youâre only responsible for designing your site, adding content, and fulfilling orders. Shopify users benefit from simple daily operations and 24/7 access to a support team.
And if you choose to dropship with Shopify, your business operations will be simplified one step further. By following the dropshipping model, you essentially outsource your whole fulfillment process to your suppliers. When a customer places an order on your site, instead of picking, packing, and shipping the product yourself, you place an identical order with your supplier. The supplier will then ship the product directly to your customer. The product never reaches your hands.
If youâd like, you can go about this dropshipping process manually. For every order on your site, you head over to your chosen marketplace–often sellers use AliExpress–and place the order again.
Or, you could make the process more automatic with an app from the Shopify marketplace. Shopify dropshipping apps letÂ you connect your store to one or more supplier marketplaces. Products will be easier for you to add to your site, and the fulfillment process will be much simpler (in some cases, you just need to click âPlace Orderâ to fulfill).
In this article, weâll be covering seven of the best dropshipping apps for Shopify users. Weâve rated these apps based on their popularity and overall star ranking on the Shopify marketplace. Take a look at each individual app for more information on their pricing, features, and pros and cons.
To learn more about dropshipping with Shopify, take a look at the official Shopify dropshipping guide. This series includes plenty of great insights into how to start dropshipping on Shopify.
Get Started With Shopify
Oberlo is one of the most populardropshipping apps for Shopify, which is why weâre including it first. The OberloÂ app approaches dropshipping in two different ways. They allow users to link their Shopify accounts to AliExpress, and they provide their own product catalog from which merchants can select and sell products.
With this app, sellers are able to quickly add products to their Shopify stores and easily place orders with suppliers.
Oberlo prices their services based on the number of orders you want to fulfill each month. The highest-level plan will also give you access to advanced features and multiple user seats. Take a look at pricing below:
Starter Plan: Free
Up To 50 Orders/Month
Basic Plan: $29.90/Month
Up To 500 Orders/Month
Pro Plan: $79.90
Multiple Sales Channels
Oberlo includes features that allow for automation of dropshipping fulfillment. Take a look at their full feature list on Oberloâs website or view my abbreviated list below:
Import Dropship Products: Find and add products from AliExpress and the Oberlo Marketplace.
Fulfill Orders Automatically: All you have to do is click âOrder Productâ and then confirm.
Automatic Updates: Oberlo automatically transfers inventory and price updates from your chosen marketplace (Oberlo or AliExpress) to your Shopify store.
Edit Product Listings: Customize product titles, descriptions, and images.
Order Tracking: Find out where your shipments are in the delivery process.
Multiple Users: Available on the Pro plan. Let multiple employees access your Oberlo account at the same time.
TheÂ OberloÂ app has received significant praise for its ease of use and ability to streamline the process of uploading new products to a Shopify page. Some users have reported difficulties with getting the app to transfer orders from their store to their suppliers. However, these complaints are very much the minority.
Oberlo + Shopify is one of the most popular combinations for dropshipping merchants. If you havenât looked into Oberlo yet, you should do so now. Check out Oberloâs page in the Shopify marketplace and then take a look at Oberloâs website for more information.
Spocket is a dropshipping marketplacethat lets you add products from US, European, and Canadian sellers. Spocket vets these dropship wholesalers to ensure that they offer quality products and customer service. You can benefit from discounts on niche products in the Spocket marketplace and features like automated order fulfillment.
Learn more about Spocket below:
Spocket offers a free plan for merchants who choose to include dropship 25 or fewer products. If youâd like to list more products, youâll have to subscribe to a paid plan.
Real-Time Inventory Update
Real-Time Inventory Update
Real-Time Inventory Update
Take a look below at a few of the features that come included with every Spocket plan or view their webpage for more detailed information:
Products Ship Quickly: You can expect products to ship within 5-7 day (or 2-5 days locally). This may not seem fast in relation to Amazon Prime, but compared to many dropshipping suppliers, it is speedy.
One-Click Fulfillment: Place orders with your suppliers with just one click.
Discounted Products: Spocket offers a 30%-60% discount on all products to give you a higher profit margin.
Branded Invoices: Customize your invoices and add your logo.
Inventory Updates: Make sure you only sell products suppliers have on hand.
Merchants are big fans of those branded invoices; your customers will receive a branded insert in their shipments with your store’s logo. Merchants also like that Spocket is easy to use and features many desirable products. Some merchants, however, are discouraged by the amount of “Premium Products,” which you must pay to access. Spocket can also be difficult to contact at times, especially in their role as a supplier.
If youâre looking to find good products quickly, look no further. Spocket has done much of the grunt work on your behalf. Sign up for a free plan to take a look at what they have to offer. Visit Spocketâs page in the Shopify marketplaceÂ or view Spocketâs website to learn more.
Spreadr is different from the above apps because,Â in addition to providing a connection to a marketplace, Spreadr allows merchants to bring in affiliate income.
Use Spreadr to import products from Amazon to your Shopify store, and either dropship those products or market them in exchange for a commission.
The best part of Spreadrâs affiliate program is that you donât just get a commission on the products you market. You will also receive commision on all products visitors click on or purchase when they come through your site.
You should know, however, that you cannot use Spreadr to fill an entire online store. To qualify for this app, you must first fill your site with original content, whether that be products, posts, or reviews.
Spreadr offers their application at one flat rate: $5.00/Month.
Try out the app for free with a 7-day Free Trial.
Because Spreadrâs services are available at one rate, all merchants can expect to access the same features, no matter what. Take a look at Spreadrâs site for more info, or view my list below:
One-Click Upload: To upload a new product, just copy-paste the Amazon product URL and click âAdd.â
Customize Product Descriptions: Make changes to product descriptions, optimize for SEO, and customize product titles.
Commissions: Make up to a 10% commission on all purchases (including purchases customers make on products you donât list).
Use Amazon For Dropshipping: Instead of collecting commision, you can choose to use Amazon as a dropshipping source. Or, you can collect orders and fulfill them yourself.
Seamless Look: Amazon products appear on your site just like your own products. The only difference is that instead of an âAdd to Cartâ button there will be a âView on Amazonâ button.
Locally Stored Product Information: Store product images and information on your Shopify website in order to resize images and display information faster.
Enable Auto-Sync: Automatically update price and inventory levels to match Amazon.
Bulk Import: Import thousands of Amazon products in minutes.
Spreadr users love that the affiliate program is quick and easy to implement. While some merchants have a bit of trouble setting up their site, the vast majority are able to get things working very quickly.
Spreadr is a great way to start Amazon dropshipping on your Shopify store or to just make a buck from commissions. Try out a free 7-day trial by signing up on their page in the Shopify marketplace or read more on the Spreadr website.
4) AliExpress Dropshipping
This app from Appfreaker does exactly what you might anticipate. AliExpress Dropshipping for Shopify lets merchants easily import items from AliExpress and order those items through a semi-automated process.
The app also includes a Chrome extension that allows you to import products and edit product information as you browse.
Keep reading for more information on dropshipping with AliExpress, including pricing and features.
AliExpress Dropshipping is available through a subscription plan, but you can try it out for free with a 7-day trial.
Take a look below at a breakdown of pricing for the application. Pricing is based on the number of items you list on your site, and each step up in pricing gives you access to more Shopify dropshipping suppliers:
Basic Plan: $5/Month
Products Imported From AliExpress
Standard Plan: $10/Month
Products Imported From AliExpress PLUS
Pro Plan: $20/Month
Products Imported From All Of The Above
View all features on Appfreakerâs website or view a shorter list below:
Search Products: Search and import products within the application. Begin selling those products quickly.
Fulfill Orders: Take advantage of AliExpress Dropshippingâs semi-automated process. You just need to click âOrder Productâ and then enter payment information. Your customersâ shipping info will be imported for you.
Automatic Daily Updates: Update your products pricing and inventory levels as the information changes on AliExpress.
Chrome Extension: Take advantage of the single click import.
Edit Product Info: Edit product descriptions and images to better match your brand.
Pricing Rules: Set rules to update pricing in bulk as you import products.
Users comment frequently on how theyâve received good support from the platform. They often name specific representatives, which makes me believe they were encouraged to leave a review by the company. Nevertheless, these reviews seem to be genuine. Negative reviews include complaints that the user interface is outdated and that suppliers are slow to fulfill orders. Some customers also cite trouble with getting the app to autosync pricing information.
AliExpress Dropshipping is not a perfect application, but it is a good one for those who want an easier way to import and sell AliExpress items. Take a look at the Shopify Marketplace for more information and to sign up for that free 7-day trial, or view their website.
Importify allows you to connect your Shopify site with the most popular marketplaces. These marketplaces include Amazon, Aliexpress, Etsy, Walmart, and DHgate.
You can use a Chrome extension to import products, and youâll be able to customize product info like images, variants, and descriptions.
If you subscribe to Importifyâs Gold Plan (see pricing info below), youâll get access to semi-automatic fulfillment for Amazon, AliExpress, and DHgate.
Importify is available on a subscription model. You can try out the software for free with a 1-day free trial. (A single day is the shortest trial period I have ever seen, and I canât imagine youâll get a good feel for the software in that time, but at least itâs something?)
Take a look at pricing information below. Note that the higher up you move in the pricing tiers, the more features youâll be able to access.
Import Products From Less Popular Marketplaces
(Take A Look At Importifyâs Supported Websites)
Shopify To Shopify Importer
Free Chrome Extension
24/7 Customer Service
All Of The Above PLUS
Products Import From AliExpress & Amazon
All Of The Above PLUS
Semi-Automatic Order Fulfillment From Aliexpress, Amazon, DHgate, DropshipperUS
As always, you can view a full list of features on Importifyâs website. Take a look at my favorite features below:
Product Customization: Make products your own by editing product info like pictures, variants, product titles, and descriptions.
Price Automation: Set smart pricing rules so that your products are automatically priced at import.
Chrome Extension: Filter marketplaces to find the best products with fast delivery from trusted sellers.
Order Fulfillment: Available on the Gold Plan. Take advantage of semi-automatic order fulfillment.
Customers appreciate Importify’s responsive customer support. They also love that Importify gives you the ability to take your pick of multiple suppliers and marketplaces — particularly useful if you have fairly niche products that may be hard to find in one place. The biggest downside to the software is that in order to access AliExpress and Amazon, you’ll have to subscribe to a Premium or Gold Plan. What’s more, semi-automation is only available on the Gold Plan. This could make Importify one of the more expensive options, depending on your business’s needs.
I have some concerns with Importify, mostly that you have to pay more to access AliExpress and Amazon, and only the highest level plan offers semi-automatic fulfillment. You can find these features available at a much lower cost with many of the applications Iâve already included in this list.
On the other hand, Importify allows merchants to list products from multiple marketplaces, which is a feature thatâs a bit harder to find with other applications. So, if you are an eCommerce vendor who wants to include products from many different marketplaces, Importify may be the way to go. Visit the Shopify marketplace and Importifyâs website for details.
6) Advanced Shipping Manager
Advanced Shipping Manager does just what its name implies. With this app, youâll have advanced control over your dropshipping process.
Advanced Shipping Manager specializes in two areas: suppliers and shipping. Like other apps, Advanced Shipping Manager connects your Shopify account with many supplier and wholesalers. In addition, Advanced Shipping Manager gives you extensive control over shipping methods and markups.
Keep reading to learn how you can take control of the shipping aspect of your dropshipping business.
Advanced Shipping Manager is available at one flat rate: $85/month.
Sound like a lot? I thought so too, but Advanced Shipping Manager guarantees that you will see a return on your investment within your first month on the software, or theyâll refund your first monthâs subscription.
Advanced Shipping Manager has quite a few features built into their software. I recommend you head over to their website for the full information. I have included a summary below:
Origin Zip Code For Items: Create specific shipping rules based on origin zip code, courier, and markups. You can also offer free shipping.
Dimensions: Set dimensions for your items to better calculate shipping rates.
Ship Individual Items Alone: Mark fragile items as âShip Alone.â Set shipping costs appropriately.
Multi-Box Items: Set weights and dimensions for large, multi-piece products that ship in multiple boxes (like a sectional sofa).
Shipping Tables & Real-Time Shipping Rates: Calculate rates any way youâd like.
Dropshipping Markups: Set markups for products that are dropshipped.
Advanced Shipping Manager does its job well. Sellers report that the app gives them excellent control over shipping, and software is easy to set up and use. The only potential disadvantage is that the Advanced Shipping Manager’s flat rate is significantly higher than you’ll find elsewhere. (You should note, however, that that is my own personal concern. I have not seen any users complaining about price.)
If you arenât scared off by the $85 price tag, and youâre looking for a way to better manage your shipping, give Advanced Shipping Manager a shot. Thereâs a lot you can do with the application, and it just might solve your shipping woes. Learn more by going to the Shopify Marketplace and/or visitingÂ Advanced Shipping Managerâs website.
Modalyst is a Shopify dropship integration that lets you upload products from three different marketplaces onto your Shopify site. You’ll have access to the Modalyst marketplace (which is the main purpose of the app), and you’ll be able to use a Chrome extension to upload products from Shein and Wish.com.
When you upload a product, you’ll instantly add inventory information, images, product descriptions, and pricing to your store.
Read on to learn if this app is a good integration for your store.
Basic Plan: Free Forever
25 Product Limit
5% Transaction Fee
Pro Plan: $45/Month
Access To Shein.com, Wish.com, Modalyst Marketplace
2% Transaction Fee
Premium Plan: $150/Month
Access To Shein.com, Wish.com, Modalyst Marketplace
1% Transaction Fee
See Modalyst’s website for a full list of features. Read my own summary below:
Shein.com Integration: Get free standard shipping to the US on orders over $49. Learn more about the Shein.com integration.
Wish.com Integrations: Order forms are automatically filled out with customer info. Learn more about the Wish.com integration.
One-Click Add: Add products to your site quickly and easily.
Real-Time Product Updates: When your products are updated in your supplier’s website, they’ll be updated on your site too.
Customize Products: Edit product descriptions, pricing, variants, and images.
Pricing Rules: Set rules to price items as you add them.
Modalyst users appreciate that the app is easy to use, and they report having good experiences with customer support. The main complaint I’ve seen is that some customers have experienced inconsistencies with Wish.com, stating that there are occasional discrepancies between Wish.com’s price listings and what you actually pay.
Before you make a paid commitment to Modalyst, I recommend you sign up for the free trial. That way, you can browse through Modalyst’s marketplace to get a better understanding of the selling potential for your site. Sign up for a free plan in Shopify’s app marketplace, or view the Modalyst website for detailed information.
When it comes to Shopify dropshipping, you have quite a few options to choose from, and each dropshipping app claims that it will help you get rich more quickly and easily than the next.
As you research Shopify dropshipping apps, take every developer’s claim with a grain of salt. Read customer reviews on each application, and sign up for any available free trial.
We recommend that you start your research with the apps we’ve included in this list. They have all been thoroughly tested by the Shopify community, and have emerged with high praise. Test one or two of these Shopify dropshipping apps, and see what a good extension can do for your ecommerce website.
Get Started With Shopify
The post 7 Shopify Dropshipping Apps appeared first on Merchant Maverick.
If you need a tech-driven platform to power payments for your business, Braintree Payment Solutions (read our review) and Stripe (read our review) should be at the very top of the list. In addition to very strong developer tools with support for multiple programming languages, both companies are global service that can reach customers all over the world. But does one company excel more than the other? In the Stripe vs. Braintree debate, which company comes out on top?
Here’s the good news: Because their core offerings are so similarly aligned, it’s really easy to draw direct, apples-to-apples comparisons. And in most regards, Stripe and Braintree are very similarly matched. They both cater to some very large and/or very innovative businesses with industry-leading tools for online and mobile commerce, global business, and subscription/billing management.
Before committing to either of these platforms, it’s important to understand that to make the most of them you need advanced coding knowledge or a developer. You can go it alone with minimal knowledge, but you’ll be unable to harness the full potential of Stripe and Braintree. If you’re not tech savvy, another solution may be a better fit.
Braintree differs from Stripe primarily in that it issues merchants with their own merchant accounts, whereas Stripe is a third-party processor that aggregates payments. That means Braintree has much greater account stability than Stripe. Braintree also provides its tools at no additional cost beyond its flat-rate processing, whereas Stripe will assess small fees for the use of select services. So Braintree could very easily become the more cost-effective solution.
However, Stripe has made a name for itself with industry-leading tools, and you’re particularly interested in marketplace or subscription tools, Stripe is the standout option.
Normally, a merchant account is suited to merchants processing more than $10k/month (though some work with merchants with volumes as small as $5k/month). Braintree has no minimum and no monthly fee and says that it works with businesses of all sizes. That’s quite a bit different. With its similar pricing, Braintree is just as attractive an option as Stripe for new and small-but-growing enterprises.
The best solution for a business isn’t immediately clear here. You’ll need to look at what features are must-haves; you’ll need to consider costs. And if you are leaning toward Stripe, it’s worth considering the tradeoffs that you’ll make regarding account stability. Ultimately, it’ll be down to you and your developer to decide whether Stripe or Braintree is right for your business.
Read on for a more in-depth analysis of these two online payment gateways! Got questions? Comments? We’d love to hear from you, so leave us a comment!
Products & Services
First things first: both of these companies support all kinds of payments, from directly on a website to inside mobile apps. They both off a choice of pre-built and completely customizable payment forms. They also offer tools for businesses that operate on marketplace or subscription models. Differences between the two platforms really come down more to the nitty-gritty details. You can also find out more about each company and its offerings by checking out our complete Braintree Payments and Stripe reviews.
Braintree’s payment processing and gateway services support merchants in more than 45 countries, versus 25 for Braintree. However, merchants can reach customers all across the globe with support for 130+ currencies. One of the biggest draws is Braintree’s PayPal integration. Because Braintree is a PayPal owned company, it makes sense that the integration between the two would be seamless.
Braintree’s SDKs support both Android and iOS for mobile developers, as well as six other languages. And you’ll find support for major payment methods across the globe, as well.
Braintree Supported Programming Languages
Braintree Supported Payment Types
ACH Direct Debit
Amex Express Checkout
Braintree Core FeaturesÂ
Braintree categorizes its core offerings into four services. I like the way they are grouped because it helps better explain what Braintree is capable of doing for different kinds of businesses.
Braintree Direct:Â If you want to sell directly on your own website, this is the solution for you. Direct includes subscription tools (see below for more information).
Braintree Marketplace:Â Braintree’s marketplace tools allow you to create your own platform and manage the sellers and payouts with automation.
Braintree Auth:Â “Auth” (assuming that’s short for Authorization) is Braintree’s platform for other service companies to integrate the Braintree gateway into their solutions. This allows these companies to securely access their merchants’ data and take certain authorized actions on their behalf.Â For example, an invoicing company could use Auth to create an integration with their platform and allow Braintree merchants to connect their accounts and populate invoices based on data from the customer vault. Auth is also the tool that lets businesses make it possible to onboard merchants and accept payments natively.
Braintree Extend: Formerly called contextual commerce, Braintree has expanded its offerings here. The merchant hosts the payment checkout and transaction data, but is able to share the transaction data with partners. This creates a seamless, frictionless commerce experience for customers and keeps them on your site. Extend would be the appropriate platform for booking sites (hotels, airlines, event tickets, etc.) and other businesses that want to empower merchants/partners to sell through their website or app.
Additional Braintree Features
Fraud Management Tools:Â Braintree separates its fraud management tools into two tiers: Basic, which includes control over AVS and CVV checks, as well as risk threshold analysis. Advanced fraud tools require more work to enable, but include a partnership with Kount, a fraud management service. Kount Standard is offered at no charge, but if you want more control over transactions and your risk management policies, you can implement Kount Custom. You must meet Braintree’s requirements and it will cost more. In addition to all of that, Braintree also supports 3D Secure for additional verification.
Multi-Currency Displays And Conversions:Â Braintree allows merchants to display prices in local currency rather than just the merchant’s default currency, which can help entice international sales. Braintree even automatically converts the currency for you.Â Global businesses with bases of operation in several countries can connect multiple bank accounts and help reduce processing costs by eliminating the need for conversion.
Recurring Billing And Subscription Tools:Â Braintree has some powerful recurring billing and subscription tools whether you sell software or physical goods. However, you will notice a shortage of some specific features, such as invoicing. Stripe’s suite of tools is more advanced in this regard. However, if invoicing is a concern, don’t forget that Braintree integrates pretty seamlessly with PayPal and so you can use PayPal or another integration as an extension.
Account Auto-Updater: Reduce failed transactions and canceled subscriptions with Braintree’s Account Auto-Update feature. Expired and re-issued cards from certain institutions will automatically update with new card data to ensure continuity.
Reporting:Â Braintree offers a smattering of default reports in its control panel, including transaction-level reporting. However, even the company admits that you’ll probably outgrow the standard reports. Braintree’s Reports API allows you to generate custom reporting based on criteria you set. And unlike Stripe, this feature costs nothing at all.
Integrations: Braintree does support a variety of integrations, including eCommerce shopping cart software. You can browse available integrations on Braintree’s site.
I certainly think Braintree has everything most merchants will need. It does lack a few features that Stripe offers, but it’s a hugely capable system. And the seamless Payal integration could be a major draw from some merchants who have loyal PayPal customer bases.
Stripe is available to merchants in 25 countries at the time of writing this, including some betas. You can check out Stripe’s Global page for a complete list. However, regardless of merchant location, you can accept payments from all over the globe. Stripe actually supports 135+ currencies.
In addition, Stripe’s SDKs include support for Android/iIOS and seven other programming languages. Accepted payment methods depend on the merchant’s location, but Stripe supports many popular local payment methods in the EU and China in particular.
Stripe Supported Programming Languages
Stripe Supported Payment MethodsÂ
Stripe’s supported payment methods can be broken down into universal methods and local payment methods. Whereas Braintree focuses on universal payment types, Braintree has worked hard to add support for payment types common in markets such as the EU and China. Let’s start with universal payment types:
Amex Express Checkout
Masterpass by Mastercard
Local Payment Methods are only available in their regions where they are most popular, generally speaking:
SEPA Direct Debit
Stripe Core Features
Stripe claims to offer more than 100 features, though it’s not exactly clear how it defines a “feature.” Still, you can do an awful lot with this company. Here’s a quick primer on what you can expect:
Payments:Â Stripe Checkout is a prebuilt form you can just drop into your site. But if you need something more customizable, Stripe Elements will let you design a form that suits your needs. You can build payments into your site or your mobile app.
Connect:Â Stripe’s Marketplace tools are definitely some of the most robust out there. Build and manage your own platform, including automated payouts to your merchants. Connect also facilitates connecting Stripe to other services (such as building native payments into eCommerce software) in the same way as Braintree Auth.
Billing:Â “Billing” now encompasses all of Stripe’s subscription, invoice, and recurring billing tools. Stripe’s subscription tools have always been powerful, but with the addition of invoice capabilities and the option for metered billing, it’s safe to say that you really can’t beat what Stripe has to offer.
Despite the differences in how these companies market and present their tools, the reality is, Stripe still has many of the same functions as Braintree. They’re just framed and presented in a different way.
Additional Stripe Features:
Sigma: Stripe offers an assortment of standard reporting tools in its dashboard. However, if you want more advanced reports, then you’ll need Sigma. For an additional monthly fee (based on volume, see the pricing section below for more details) you can generate custom reports based on SQL queries.
Radar: Stripe’s fraud monitoring tools include machine learning to identify and flag suspicious transactions. Merchants can review and override transactions they know to be legitimate, or set up custom rules for fraud transactions, all with far less fuss than you’ll see with Braintree. If you’re very comfortable with fraud management, this is definitely an advantage.
Multi-Currency Displays And Conversions:Â Stripe has spent a LOT of time billing itself as the platform of choice for global businesses. It should come as no surprise then that Stripe allows merchants to display pricing in local currencies and automatically handles the currency conversion. You can connect multiple bank accounts to save money on conversion costs, too.
Account Auto-Updater: Keep recurring transactions from failing when customers get new cards. Stripe will automatically update card data in your vault to ensure continuity of subscriptions.
Integrations: Stripe has more than 300 integrations with all kinds of other software and services a business might need. The sheer number of supported integrations could be a significant advantage for some merchants. You can browse integrations by categories on Stripe’s “Works With” page.
If everything is starting to sound really similar, it’s because these two companies really are evenly matched in most regards. it comes down to little details — like the fact that Stripe is a third-party processor while Braintree issues traditional merchant accounts. Or the fact that Stripe has far more ready-to-go integrations than Braintree.
Braintree has an advantage in that it’s available to merchants in 15 more countries, but both companies are evenly matched in the number of currencies accepted and their multi-currency displays. Also, Braintree’s pricing model (see below) is also far more straightforward and will save merchants money versus Stripe, which now charges merchants for access to many of its advanced tools.
My overall impression is that for the most part, Stripe is willing to give you more freedom with less oversight. The tradeoff, of course, is account stability.Â For example, you have complete control over your fraud monitoring tools and which transactions are approved, but it’s quite possible to make a mistake and find yourself in hot water. Braintree offers a comparable set of features, but there will be a couple more hoops to jump through if you want the same degree of control over fraud management as you get with Stripe.
You’ll also find that Stripe’s subscription tools are far more advanced than Braintree’s. However, an integration (though more costly) could but Braintree on a more even keel here.
All in all, Braintree and Stripe are pretty evenly matched, and it’s hard to call one superior to the other. So much depends on what features you need and what payment methods you want to accept.
Rates & Fees
Baseline pricing for Square and Stripe is pretty simple, and similar. However, because Stripe has started charging for access to some of its features, merchants will find themselves paying more with Stripe than they will with Braintree.
Let’s start with transaction rates:
Card Transactions: 2.9% + $0.30 per card transaction for both Stripe and Braintree
ACH Processing: 0.75% for Braintree, 0.8% for Stripe (both capped at $5)
If you’re wondering, the $5 cap for ACH transactions would kick in at $625 for Braintree, and about $665 for Stripe transactions. However, Stripe says the $5 cap starts at $625. However, I imagine for many merchants the wibbly-wobbly space between $625 a $665 won’t be much of an issue.
It’s also worth mentioning that with Braintree, you can accept PayPal and PayPal Credit transactions. Those process at the rates determined by your PayPal account, but for the most part, you can expect them to be 2.9% + $0.30.
Both Braintree and Stripe allow you to accept cards from outside your home country. Those will cost an additional 1% per transaction; if the transaction is processed in one currency and settled in another, another 1% fee also applies for both companies.
Discounts and Alternative Payment Plans
I want to point out that Braintree does offer alternative payment plans for some merchants:
Interchange-Plus Pricing: Available in Europe as well as to high-volume merchants (more than $80,000/month) in the US.
Braintree doesn’t offer its own micropayments plans, but you can integrate Braintree with PayPal and use PayPal’s micropayments plan (5% + $0.05) instead.
Stripe also offers discounts as well:
Volume Discounts: Stripe doesn’t specify the threshold for enterprise pricing/custom discounts. It also doesn’t indicate anywhere easily found whether those custom discounts include interchange-plus pricing.
Nonprofit Discounts: Stripe mentions that 501(c)(3) nonprofits may be eligible for custom discounts. It doesn’t disclose what those rates are. In addition, the wording used on Stripe’s website sounds more like “we’ll see if we can work something out,” so it’s safe to assume not all nonprofits will qualify.
Microtransactions: Stripe says its sales team will work with merchants who want to implement micropayments, but it doesn’t specify what the cost is.
You’ll notice a trend here, I hope: a lack of disclosure. All of these pricing features are available, but Stripe fails to mention them. This likely indicates that the pricing isn’t consistent from one business to the next (usually volume and industry are two of the biggest contributing factors). It’s not a red flag, but it’s disappointing when you look at Braintree with its disclosures.
Both Stripe and Braintree assess a $15 fee per chargeback incident, which is industry standard.
Braintree will refund your processing costs in the event you issue a full refund to a customer (it will not return fees on partial refunds, however). This is very nice, and it isn’t universal across all processors. PayPal, for example, keeps the $0.30 per-transaction fee but will refund the percentage fee.
Stripe does not refund processing fees for refunded transactions. This is (somewhat surprisingly) stated very clearly at the bottom of Stripe’s pricing page.
Generally speaking, Braintree charges absolutely nothing for access to all its features and tools. However, you may incur additional charges for using 3D Secure depending on your rate plan. Using Kount Custom as part of your advanced fraud monitoring will also incur additional costs.
Stripe has modified its pricing to include additional fees for its subscription, marketplace, and reporting tools.
Stripe Billing (including all of the formerly free subscription tools) now assess a small percentage charge. Pricing is lumped into two tiers:
Starter: Free for first $1 million in transactions; afterward, 0.4% in addition to processing costs
Scale: 0.7% in addition to processing costs; includes additional features and discounted processing costs.
If you used Stripe’s subscription tools before April 5, 2018, you are grandfathered out of these costs and can use Stripe Billing at no additional charge. That’s actually quite nice — and somewhat unexpected.
Sigma, Stripe’s reporting tool, is priced on a sliding scale based on volume. I’ll admit this is a fair way of pricing a service like this — it’s better than tiered packages that are divided by the amount of info available or the number of queries you could generate. This way small businesses get a very fair price for advanced business info.
<500 Transactions: $0.02/charge plus $10 infrastructure fee
501-1,000 Transactions: $0.018/charge plus $25 infrastructure fee
1,001-5,000 Transactions: $0.016/charge plus $50 infrastructure fee
5,000-50,000 Transactions: $0.014/charge plus $100 infrastructure fee
Beyond that point, your business moves into enterprise-level pricing and you’ll get a custom quote. You can test out the pricing tool for yourself on the Stripe website.
Costs for using Connect, Stripe’s marketplace tools, are laid out on the website pretty clearly, which is nice to see given how little other information is out there.
Also, merchants who are on a custom payment plan will pay an additional $0.04 per transaction
One final point of consideration: With Stripe, you can’t access the gateway separate from the company’s processing services. But you can do that with Braintree, for $49/month + $0.10 per transaction. That’s a bit pricey for a gateway fee, but it could easily be worth the cost to access to all of Braintree’s tools.
All in all, Braintree is the winner here simply because it offers most of its features at no additional charge beyond processing costs, and that translates to savings for merchants.
Contract Length & Cancellation
With both Stripe and Braintree, merchants have no multi-year contracts. Everything is pay-as-you-go, so if you find a better service you are free to leave at any time. This is always good to see. But what’s even better is that both companies will help you migrate your data (customer database and card vault) securely to ensure seamless continuity. And that’s not just good, it’s awesome.
Sales & Advertising Transparency
I’m always happy to say when any processor is fair, honest, and transparent. In this case, I am extra happy to say both companies fit the mark. You won’t find any deceptive sales tactics, misleading quotes, or pushy sales reps here.
You’ll pay exactly what you’re quoted with both Stripe and Braintree, which is awesome. I like that both companies use flat-rate pricing by default. It’s hard to compare that number to interchange-plus models, which are usually the most cost-effective; however, you know exactly what you’ll pay for every transaction regardless of card brand. Flat-rate pricing is far more transparent than tiered pricing models, too.
You’ll find both companies are great at pushing out information about new features and how to use them, as well, and they’re upfront about matters such as customer service channels, integrations, and more.
Perhaps the only mark against Stripe is that while its terms of service spell out that an account can be terminated at any time for any or no reason, plenty of merchants seem to gloss over this or forget it entirely…until it happens to them. Stripe is a third-party payments provider, which means that the company doesn’t do extensive underwriting or investigation into your company when you apply for an account. The tradeoff to getting your account set up quickly is that you will face more intense scrutiny after the fact. Stripe has been known to terminate merchants with no warning, whether it’s for too many chargebacks or the company’s risk assessment team identifying a pattern of high-risk transactions. When this happens, there’s no appeals process to reinstate an account. You just need to move on and find a new processor.
To be fair, Braintree seems to exhibit some of this same behavior, despite the fact that it isn’t a third-party processor. When you sign up with Braintree, you do get a traditional merchant account. However, while I have seen complaints about this behavior, the overall volume is incredibly low, especially for a company as large as Braintree. So my honest assessment is that while it can happen, it happens only rarely with Braintree users. Account terminations are more common with Stripe because of its third-party processing model — but again, an account termination is an exception to the rule, rather than the norm. Most importantly, you should be aware that this is a possibility but you can take steps to protect yourself.
First, make sure you check out Stripe’s Prohibited Businesses list and then also look at Braintree’s Acceptable Use Policy. Both of these documents outline what kinds of merchants they won’t work with, so make sure your business isn’t on the list.
You can also check out our resources, including our guide on how to avoid holds, freezes, and account terminations.
Customer Service & Technical Support
One of the most difficult parts of assessing customer support is that experiences vary so much from one merchant to the next. With some notable exceptions, it’s fairly common to see at least one negative review focusing on customer support for every good review that praises a company’s customer support. So as a reviewer, I look for patterns that can clue me into what, if anything is going on. But it’s also important to look at what support channels are offered and how they serve merchants. Being able to talk to a real, live person in real time is such an important aspect of good service for many merchants.
Braintree is a clear winner in this category. It likes to tout its “white glove service”; even ignoring the marketing buzz, when you take a look at the options and availability, it becomes clear that Braintree has worked hard to cater to merchants’ needs.
Braintree Support Options
Email: Email support is available from 5 AM to 12 AM US Central Time, Monday-Thursday and 5 AM to 8 PM, Friday. It’s nice to see the extended weekday hours, but the lack of any sort of weekend hours is a bit disappointing.
Knowledgebase & Documentation: In my experience, Braintree makes it much easier to find information about particular features and how to use them than Stripe does. The self-service knowledgebase includes extensive guides so that even merchants who aren’t technically inclined can make sense of Braintree’s features without having to wade through the documentation. And generally speaking, developers seem to approve of Braintree’s documentation and the available resources. The company seems to have made some major strides forward and is up there along with Stripe in terms of documentation quality.
Phone support: Hours for Braintree’s phone support are 8 AM to 7 PM US Central Time, Monday-Thursday andÂ 8 AM to 5 PM, Friday. Again, I think the lack of weekend support hours is disappointing, but it’s nice to see extended weekday hours.
I do want to point out that Braintree does make one additional promise about its customer support:
Of course, we offer emergency support via email 24x7x365, and have support reps and engineers on-call at all times.
So it’s nice to know that in an emergency you’ll at least know someone is there to answer your questions and help your business running again. But I have no data about whether this emergency support is effective (or even necessary).
Stripe Support Options
Knowledgebase and Documentation: I personally haven’t found Stripe’s self-service knowledgebase to be very informative. It’s quite basic, and if you want to learn more about all of Stripe’s features or understand how they fit together, you’ll need to look at the documentation. However, I will say this: Stripe’s documentation is the gold standard. So developers will have no trouble here.
Email: Stripe doesn’t offer a turnaround time for emails, just that the company will “get back to you as soon as we can.”
Freenode IRC Chat: Stripe’s developers apparently spend their time in the #stripe channel if you need technical assistance. Unsurprisingly, most developers seem to like this aspect of support.
Stripe doesn’t offer phone support, and it doesn’t offer any information as to when its team is on call to respond to questions, all of which is a bit disappointing. But it’s the quality that counts, right? Except, reports suggest Stripe’s customer support isn’t always awesome, either. Check out the next section, “Negative Reviews & Complaints,” for more information.
Negative Reviews & Complaints
The overall quantity of complaints is onlyÂ one factor we use to evaluate a merchant because you also need to consider the overall size of the business.
Braintree doesn’t publish current numbers for its merchants, and Stripe is vague about it. All we know is that the number exceeds 100,000, which is a good number for any merchant services provider. But we do know that both Stripe and Braintree are enormous companies that handle billions of dollars each year. Part of that is because they both serve some very large, high-profile clients. But you’ll certainly find plenty of smaller businesses and startups using these platforms, too.
On the whole, Stripe has far more complaints floating around than Braintree does. This isn’t too surprising because third-party processors, including Stripe, tend to have a high number of complaints overall, usually for 1 major reason:
Holds and Terminations: Third-party processors or aggregators can’t offer the same sort of stability that you get with a traditional merchant account because the onboarding process for new merchants doesn’t include the traditional in-depth analysis of the business and underwriting. That means accounts are more likely to face termination for suspicious behavior after they get up and running. This is absolutely the pattern we’ve seen with Stripe and it is one of the two biggest complaints about the company.
The other major complaint about Stripe is:
Poor Customer Service: One of the biggest gripes in the customer service department is the lack of phone service. When something is not right, merchants want to talk to a real, live person. When companies that provide core services like payment process don’t offer that, it leaves merchants upset. That’s what I’ve seen with Braintree. However, other customer service complaints say that support is unresponsive and unhelpful. This is particularly true in the account of funding holds or terminations. I don’t see many complaints about the quality of support for everyday sort of issues.
And then there’s Braintree. Braintree overall has far fewer complaints scattered across the web. (Considering this is a PayPal-owned company, I continue to be absolutely flabbergasted by this fact.) However, you will see some similarities to Stripe complaints:
Account Terminations: I want to make it clear that references to merchants who have had their accounts terminated are few and far between. They aren’t the majority of Braintree complaints, and even if they were, they would still be uncommon. From what I can tell, an account termination usually occurs when a business is deemed high risk. Whether this is a flaw in the screening process or a determination made by analyzing processing history or particular transactions, I don’t know.
Poor Customer Support: Complaints in this category seem to center on slow response times for email support, as well as inconsistent answers from support reps. However, I do see other merchants praising Braintree for the quality of its customer support, too.
Long Setup Times for Accounts: Some complaints focus on the fact that it can take a while to establish an account with Braintree. I know we live in the age of instant gratification, but sometimes vetting can take time.
All in all, it’s easy to call Braintree the winner in this regard. You’ll likely deal with fewer headaches and hassles with Braintree, and you’ll certainly see far greater account stability.
Positive Reviews & Testimonials
Stripe is a media darling, for sure. There’s no shortage of articles about the company’s co-founders, the Collison brothers, or about how massive the company is, the way it disrupts payments technology, etc.
Braintree doesn’t get quite as much press, but its parent company, PayPal does.
But press coverage doesn’t really tell the whole story.
Most of Stripe and Braintree’s big success stories come from household names. Big companies that you’ve probably heard about. You can see a shortlist of logos from prominent Braintree clients on its homepage; you can find a longer list on the Merchant Stories page.
However, what I like best is that Braintree actually has case studies for how these different companies have used Braintree to build successful businesses and process payments. These case studies aren’t exactly common, so it’s nice to see them — and so many, at that.
Stripe’s client list is no less impressive than Braintree’s though. You can find a shortlist on the homepage as well, but a more in-depth list on the Customers page. It offers only brief snippets instead of case studies, but the page does showcase the ways you can use Stripe.
But what do everyday merchants have to say? What do developers say?
Both Stripe and Braintree are popular with developers, and the consensus is that they both offer good documentation, extensive libraries, and powerful features.
Braintree’s merchants also praise the company’s customer support — at least, the customers who don’t have a problem with the customer service praise it. It appears the customer service excels on both the technical/developer side and the merchant side.
I also see Stripe get a lot of compliments for its well-designed website and the intuitive user interface in the dashboard.
Let’s call this one a draw.
When two options are as similar in appearance as Stripe and Braintree, it can be tempting to say “Eeny Meeny Miney Mo!” and point to one and roll with it. But I hope you’ve got a slightly better understanding of where Stripe and Braintree align and where they are very different.
Obviously, the stability of a merchant account can be a major draw,Â and some businesses won’t want to sacrifice that even if it means spending a bit more on integrations to get features they need.Â On the other hand, Stripe has several best-in-class tools that some businesses may find absolutely essential, such as its Billing tools. The risk of an account termination is relatively small so long as your business model is sound, you’re not on the list of prohibited business types, and you take appropriate measures to mitigate the risk of fraudulent transactions and chargebacks.
Both of these companies integrate with some major shopping cart software options, so if you’re looking primarily for an easy way to take payments, you can certainly go that route. But having a developer will really make it possible to harness the full capabilities of both companies.
It’s important that you sit down, make a list of must-have features and a list of “Would be nice” features. If you can’t make a choice based on those criteria, have a discussion about the account stability issue and decide how much risk you’re willing to tolerate. Also consider the customer support that each company offers and the fact that you may end up having to pay more for using some of Stripe’s best features.
Don’t forget to check out our complete Braintree review, as well as our Stripe review, for good measure.
Thanks for reading! I always love to hear from readers, so if you have questions or comments, please leave them below! We’ll be happy to help you!
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