Beginner’s Help Guide To Internet Marketing Buzzwords & Jargon

Digital Marketing Buzzwords Jargon

The field of marketing is stuffed with jargon and buzzwords. Many are essential, while some are just… well, interesting.

Personally, I attempt to steer clear of marketing jargon whenever possible, however that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful to understand these terms and realise why they’re utilized in digital marketing space.

So, without further ado, here&#8217s an important help guide to marketing jargon:

301 Redirect

301 redirect is definitely an HTTP status code that informs browsers that the URL has permanently gone to live in another URL. Essentially, it redirects visitors/bots towards the new website whenever you change it out &#8211 and informs the customer/bots&#8217 browser the move is permanent. Use 301 redirects to preserve your &#8220SEO work&#8221 that you simply&#8217ve put in a webpage whenever you alter the URL (usually throughout a redesign). You will find WordPress plugins which make these simple.

Actionable Analytics

Actionable analytics are simply analytics that can be done something with. Even small websites can produce a deluge of information &#8211 the secret would be to only consider the data which you can use to attain your objectives or trobleshoot and fix your problems. Find out more about what data you ought to be tracking here and you skill with Google Analytics here.

Alt Text

Alt text may be the &#8220alternative text&#8221 within an image’s HTML tag. The alt text is exactly what shows when a picture cannot strain on a user’s web site, or whenever a user hovers their mouse over a picture &#8211 each of which aid ease of access and consumer experience. Alt text likewise helps you have the information &amp relevance of the image.

Brand Identity

Brand identity is everything make someone recognize that you’re what you are online. It offers your emblem, colors, voice &amp tone, etc.

Buyer Journey / Marketing Funnel

The customer journey is the sequence of occasions before a person buys something. This may also be known as the conversion path, or customer journey. It&#8217s really an up-to-date form of the standard marketing funnel in which a customer ranges from product awareness to shown to conversion. Whenever you understand an average buyer journey, you are able to reverse engineer an effective marketing strategy for ecommerce, local company, or else.

Call-to-Action

Call-to-Action (CTA) may be the element on the page that informs a person what you would like these to do. They’re particularly significant on ads. CTAs could be everything from “Call today!” to “Download now!”

Clickbait / Linkbait

Clickbait is happy typically brought by an crazy headline that entices users to click. It’s pretty shady, because usually, a clickbait headline isn’t a precise description of this article content. It’s an inexpensive marketing tactic where the sole goal would be to generate clicks.

Linkbait is really a similar tactic in which the creator is looking to get links or shares to the content through sensationalism or baiting ego or identity.

Click-Through Rate

Click-Through Rate (generally known as CTR) is just clicks divided by impressions. The CTR informs the percentage of people that click on the hyperlink text inside a particular ad (or social share). You may use it to evaluate the potency of a headline or ad.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a method to market products/services to someone with content that they’ll find educational or entertaining. A tractor maker supplying free weather analysis to stand before maqui berry farmers is definitely an example. On the significance of content in marketing here.

Earned Media

Earned media is press, coverage or mentions on other websites that you don’t purchase because the story/submissions are helpful enough towards the outlet to face by itself. Quite simply &#8211 you &#8220earn&#8221 the position in news reports rather of having to pay to have an advertisement near the news. Earned media is a huge deal not just since you don&#8217t pay it off but additionally because readers trust it greater than overt advertisements.

Hyperlocal

Hyperlocal happens when marketers use Gps navigation data to geographically target customers in the hyperlocal level. It may be an ideal way to promote on the very individualized level.

KPI

KPI means key performance indicator. Basically, you are able to consider it as being an objective indicator. A KPI is really a metric that you simply track to assist determine if you’re achieving your marketing goals. In case your goal would be to increase revenue, a KPI is one thing that will directly drive revenue (for example increased traffic, subscribers, etc).

Lengthy-tail Keyword

Lengthy-tail keywords are searches which contain 3+ keywords, which makes them longer and much more specific than broad, short keywords (also known as as &#8220head&#8221 keywords). For instance, say exactly the same thing active apparel. A typical &#8220head&#8221 keyword for footwear could be “running shorts”. However a lengthy-tail keyword could be “black 3 inch running shorts”. Lengthy-tail keywords are less competitive than usual keywords, but nonetheless get lots of traffic in aggregate. Which means you have an improved chance of ranking for any lengthy-tail search query. Find out more on selecting keywords for the website here.

Low Hanging Fruit / Easy Wins

Low Hanging Fruit is any marketing tactic that needs couple of sources or little commitment but leads to elevated traffic or sales.

Meta Description

The meta description is really a small summary of what’s available on your website. It is also what’s proven whenever your website seems on the internet search engine search engines. However the true great thing about a meta description is it could be enhanced for Search engine optimization purposes. Read this article I authored regarding how to write a meta description for Search engine optimization.

Omnichannel Marketing

Omnichannel marketing is really a fancy method of describing how companies may use different marketing channels to operate together. For instance, a web-based store might concentrate on educational happy to drive their organic traffic funnel, but follow-up the customer having a compensated retargeting ad they are driving the purchase. Companies might also use print ads they are driving online searches or other combination.

Optimization

Optimization basically means making something better. Marketers concentrate on optimization instead of massive changes due to the &#8220Law of Incremental Enhancements&#8221 that states that small incremental enhancements and changes result in big enhancements and changes with time &#8211 even 1/tenth of just onePercent each day improvement means 26% improvement each year.

Owned Media

Owned media is any media or attention that you simply own and control. Your site(s), blog, and social networking channels are types of owned media. Marketers utilize it as opposed to Earned or Compensated Media where others control the interest you obtain. Effective owned media implies that your audience gives creedence to you directly instead of via other websites or ads.

Compensated Media

Compensated media is any media or attention that you simply purchase. Compensated media is a terrific way to market your website and obtain the ball moving in your business. Usually any kind of media business will offer you companies attention for any cost. The secret is selecting the best media and becoming an optimistic return from this.

Supplying Value

Every marketer will explain that the business must &#8220provide value.&#8221 That phrase is rather meaningless. If you hear &#8220provide value&#8221 &#8211 substitute &#8220solve another person&#8217s problem&#8221 &#8211 you&#8217ll obtain a better sense for what you ought to do.

Real-time Engagement

Whenever we live behind a screen, we have a tendency to forget that there is a real human on the other hand getting together with our brand. But there’s &#8212 and often, we are able to communicate with that individual in tangible-time, which leads to real-time engagement. This could occur inside a Twitter Q&ampA, in which you respond to questions from customers in tangible-time, an active-streaming a celebration, or perhaps a fireside chat session.

Retargeting

Retargeting is when advertisers achieve to customers who’ve viewed a service or product online. Retargeting is also known as &#8220those ads that go wherever you go.&#8221 They’re difficult to do well, but can be quite effective. Retargeting is often the smartest choice to check when attempting out compensated media.

Snackable Content

Snackable submissions are cutesy/annoying way to consult short content. Snackable content includes short videos, lists, blurbs, etc. It’s short, simple, and simple to digest &#8212 as being a snack! Snackable content was extremely popular for some time, but lengthy-form submissions are gradually making its way into the game.

SoLoMo

SoLoMo means social, local, and mobile. It’s another marketing buzzword that emphasizes getting into front of customers whatsoever angles and depends on the concept that clients are social beings who enjoy being social in local environments where situations are highly relevant to them, and therefore are more and more engaged on cellular devices.

Second-Screen

This is actually the concept that customers aren’t just behind one screen, but behind two. Essentially, when customers watch television, they’re using cellular devices like tablets and smartphones to do this, because it’s simpler to interact with communities as you’re watching in your mobile phone (Also known as they are able to tweet #spoileralerts every time they want).

UX

UX means “User Experience” and it is generally used when describing the means by that your user interacts together with your website. UX is amazingly vital that you the way your customers see your organization. Should they have a poor experience in your website, they’re less inclined to trust you, as well as work with you.

Next Steps

That’s it &#8212 the ShivarWeb help guide to marketing jargon. Just bear in mind that simpler is definitely simpler, specifically for your clients. If there’s a method to not make use of a buzzword, then don’t! It will likely be simpler for the people to understand, and may help establish trust over time.

If you wish to make the most helpful marketing posts from online (without buzzwords and jargon) &#8211 you&#8217d like my e-newsletter. Register here.

I&#8217ll add list with time. For those who have an annoying buzzword &#8211 tweet it at me.

The publish Beginner&#8217s Help Guide To Internet Marketing Buzzwords &#038 Jargon made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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7 Methods to Finance Your Franchise

franchise financing

Possibly you like the thought of purchasing right into a attempted-and-true business design, or else you like the thought of getting built-in assistance whenever the need arises. Largest, you&#8217re studying this since you either wish to begin a franchise, or else you&#8217ve already launched into your trip of franchise possession.

Financing is really as pertinent to franchise proprietors because it is holiday to a business proprietors, but it’s not easy to understand where to start searching. Baffled regarding where one can obtain the extra capital you have to start your company or ensure that it stays running easily? Here are a few ideas.

The Franchiser

Some franchisers offer special financing deals for franchisees. A couple of offer in-house inexpensive loans, whereas others reduce and sometimes waive franchise charges. These plans could be advantageous simply because they&#8217re produced by a business that understands franchise plans. However, other areas offer better financing options.

Franchise Financial Institution

Rather of offering their very own financing, some franchisers help entrepreneurs with third-party companies. Since these lending company already link using the franchiser, application and funding normally take significantly less time than other sources might.

Franchisees benefit by getting a loan provider that knows the expense connected with beginning ready to go a franchise. Normally, these businesses might help out during any stage of managing a franchise.

Banks and Lending Institutions

Because franchises involve already attempted-and-true brands, franchisees possess a statistically simpler time getting loans or lending institutions. The applying process is lengthy and detailed, and also the lender might request personal collateral. However, you’ll be able to obtain low interest.

Small business administration Loan

Loans - Blue Ring Binder on Office Desktop with Office Supplies and Modern Laptop. Loans Business Concept on Blurred Background. Loans - Toned Illustration. 3D Render.

The Sba (Small business administration) doesn&#8217t make loans&#8212it guarantees loans produced by banks and lending institutions. These financing options tend to be more reliable in the loan provider&#8217s perspective since the Small business administration promises to get a few of the cost if you’re able to no more spend the money for loan. Just like bank or lending institution loans, franchisees possess a greater possibility of being qualified for Small business administration loans since the franchiser already comes with an established brand.

The Small business administration includes a registry of pre-approved franchises they&#8217ve already vetted. In case your franchise isn&#8217t out there, you may still apply, however the process usually takes longer.

Online Loan provider

Loan Borrowing Budget Capital Credit Accounting Concept

Since banks tightened their lending standards following the 2008 recession, many business proprietors have experienced to appear elsewhere for capital. An array of online lenders have leaped directly into fill the gaps left out. These lenders are considerably faster and simpler to be eligible for a than the usual bank or Small business administration loan, which means perfect for companies that require financing in a rush.

This method isn’t for startups, though. Online lenders normally require a minimum of a couple of several weeks running a business before they trust you sufficient to allow you capital. The more you&#8217ve been around, the greater your rates of interest and charges is going to be.

Credit line

A phrase loan is generally the greater option for franchisees who’re opening their first location or undertaking other costly tasks. For smaller sized expenses like temporary income problems or repairs, you might like to consider a credit line.

Similar to you are able to having a charge card, you are able to tap into your line of credit anytime, and also you&#8217re only billed interest on the capital you&#8217ve attracted. Credit lines can be found from a number of sources including banks, lending institutions, an internet-based lenders.

Equipment Financial Institution

rent or buy mortgage for bank loan for home ownership renting or buying a house a flat building or property road sign arrow

Does your franchise require costly equipment? If you are able to&#8217t manage to get it up-front, you will want a tool loan or lease. Loans are perfect for equipment that’ll be helpful for any lengthy time leases are perfect for equipment that goes away rapidly or becomes obsolete. Whichever you select, you&#8217ll have the ability to pay in regular installments rather of having to pay the entire cost up-front.

For additional info on equipment financing, read this article.

Conclusion

Regardless of whether you&#8217re about to begin a franchise, or else you&#8217ve already accepted, there are many franchise financing possibilities. Whatever path you select, have comparisons to make sure you&#8217re getting the best offer.

Take some more help locating the perfect loan for you personally needs? Shoot us an e-mail. We&#8217re here to assist!

The publish 7 Methods to Finance Your Franchise made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Team Bio Series: Amad Ebrahimi (The Courageous Leader)

The Merchant Maverick team is fairly awesome (when we do let them know ourselves!). There’s a lot experience and expertise on the team, combined with plenty of personality. But we recognized when our readers frequent exactly the same topics, like small company loans or POS software, they may not reach meet a lot of our other, awesome, contributors. So, we’ve began they Bio series to expose you to the remainder of we (and perhaps slightly humiliate them on the way).

Who easier to start the series than our courageous leader, Amad Ebrahimi! Preferred among the entire staff for his “there’s a meme for everything” attitude, Amad keeps the culture at Merchant Maverick fun, light, and try to entertaining! That’s not saying there isn’t a significant, get-to-work side to him. Continue reading to find out more!

Name: Amad Ebrahimi

Title: Founder

Hometown: Goleta, CA

Current city: Santa Monica, CA

Education and background: Well, I barely graduated Senior High School, then spent several unproductive years at Santa Barbara City College. Not quite the very best example for greater education.

Merchant Mav department/niche: My primary niche is charge card processing, however i&#8217ve had some knowledge about POS software and eCommerce shopping carts.

What inspired you to definitely create Merchant Maverick?: I observed there is lots of misinformation within the charge card processing world, and so i figured there is an chance to balance it. I needed to assist business proprietors prepare themselves with understanding they can use as leverage against processors.

Proudest professional moment: Beginning Merchant Maverick hands lower.

Favorite Merchant Maverick publish/moment/chance: It was in 2012 whenever a author from Entrepreneur.com arrived at to me and desired to get my advice to have an article she was writing. In my experience, that validated [the very fact] that Merchant Maverick provided an invaluable service and it was a top resource. It had been the very first time which i truly felt like i was a legit company. Certainly a popular moment.

Where do you turn when you’re no longer working for Merchant Mav?: I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I just read lots of business books, play game titles, continue trail runs, meditate, and travel.

Favorite 90s movie: Wow, this really is way too hard. I legitimately cannot answer this. How do you pick only one? Shawshank Redemption, Pulp Fiction, Terminator 2, Goodfellas, The Typical Suspects, Reservoir Dogs, Fight Club, Heat, Saving Private Ryan, Home Alone, and so much more. I plead the 5th about this one.

Favorite super hero: Batman.

Guilty pleasure: Right now, Cod Infinite Warfare Zombies. My girlfriend and that i are hooked.

When you pick your theme song, what will it be?: I couldn&#8217t consider anything, and so i used this theme song quiz, and apparently, mine is Uprising by Muse. I’m able to dig that. 😉

Mac or Home windows?: Both! My desktop is running Home windows, and my laptop is really a Macbook. I don&#8217t discriminate.

Hidden talent?: Hmmmm, this can be a tough one. I suppose I’m able to state that I&#8217m somewhat ambidextrous. Does that count? I write with my left- hands, kick with my right leg, bat and golf right-handed, snowboard lefty. I&#8217m chaos.

Pointless to state, we wouldn’t wish to be facing Amad inside a gaming, but would certainly want him great inside a fight. For additional from Amad, don’t forget to follow along with him Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn!

The publish Team Bio Series: Amad Ebrahimi (The Courageous Leader) made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Essential Help Guide To Selecting An Ecommerce Platform

Choosing An Ecommerce Platform

Overwhelmed attempting to choose just how to produce your web store?

Wish someone would explain in plain British what all of the options to really run your web store?

I authored this glorious help guide to selecting an ecommerce platforms in 2012. But a great deal has altered previously four years. Online storeowners have better options in virtually every respect.

However that doesn&#8217t result in the choice less daunting. Most ecommerce companies sell with features and cost. But like purchasing a house &#8211 cost featuring don’t tell the entire story.

They don&#8217t let you know if miracle traffic bot is a great choice for your store. There’s no such factor because the &#8220best ecommerce platform&#8221 or even the &#8220best ecommerce software.&#8221 There&#8217s only the best option according to your objectives, sources and preferences.

Here&#8217s my guide &#8211 updated for 2016 &#8211 to what you ought to know to create an educated choice when selecting a ecommerce software for the online shop &#8211 to be able to get the best choice for your store.

Quick Aside &#8211 if you would like something simple and quick, I invest these 4 elements right into a Buzzfeed style Ecommerce Platform Quiz. You should check it here. Otherwise, let&#8217s continue reading!

Disclosure &#8211 I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All data and opinion is dependant on my experience like a having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

What You Ought To Know Before Selecting Ecommerce Software

Much like looking for a house, vehicle or business location &#8211 you need to take a look at what you’re searching for, what you would like, the thing you need and just what the tradeoffs are of all your alternatives.

Obtaining The Features You’ll Need

In internet marketing&#8217s core &#8211 &#8220ecommerce&#8221 software is only a bundle of very specific website features. They’re &#8211

  • Listing &amp displaying products.
  • Allowing people to place products inside a shopping cart software.
  • Allowing people to make an order using the products within their shopping cart software.
  • Collecting payment safely for that order.
  • Supplying the storeowner with order information.

But usually you&#8217ll want features far above. You may want design features, better security, marketing tools, and perhaps the opportunity to sync together with your inventory system.

Or otherwise &#8211 you may have just one product and wish ultimate convenience and cheapest cost.

However that&#8217s the purpose &#8211 you will see tradeoffs that might or might not matter. The finish goal would be to figure the thing you need, what you would like &#8211 and what you would like to cover individuals features.

Evaluating Core Tradeoffs

The very first, and many important, tradeoff is between maximum convenience and maximum control. When you choose to, we are able to start searching at tradeoffs among different choices.

The tradeoff between convenience and control is typical in software. Software becomes &#8220easier&#8221 if this has less options. The more options a person has &#8211 the less convenient software becomes.

Consider it like buying somewhere to reside.

The complete easiest place is hotels. It&#8217s safe and furnished with room service. But could you repaint the area? Not a chance.

Alternatively extreme is raw land. You’ve limitless control to complete anything you want. But could it be convenient? Not a chance.

And in the centre, you’ve got a mix. A condo has some freedom &#8211 however, you have landlord. A flat has more freedom&#8230but you’ve got a HOA and shared property.

A home has more freedom&#8230but you’ve more responsibility and also you suffer from a current building.

Here&#8217s a picture as one example of &#8211

Ecommerce Real Estate Tradeoffs

Now that you’ve got a feeling of the thing you need and a feeling of the main tradeoffs &#8211 let&#8217s take a look at some specific providers to help narrow your research.

Ecommerce Platform Choices

Aside &#8211 like every simplification, this breakdown removes some nuance. But, I believe the general tradeoff stands up well. Here&#8217s an array of specific providers for every bucket together with the things they’re doing well and what you need to search for.

100% Convenience // % Control

This area of the spectrum enables you to definitely list your product or service and take orders and payment. But you’ll be able to control hardly any of the customers&#8217 experience. You’re also unlikely to possess your personal website name or perhaps your own brand.

However, you usually can list your product or service without any complications &#8211 in most cases without any upfront charges. Furthermore, normally the software provider may also provide customers. It&#8217ll be considered a place where customers arrived at the woking platform and discover you &#8211 which means you (ideally) need to do less marketing.

Aside &#8211 observe that many storeowners commence with these platforms and keep a name in it even after they&#8217ve launched an outlet on another platform.

Amazon . com

Amazon Seller

Despite the fact that Amazon . com did away using their Online Store program &#8211 you may still sell on Amazon . com. The register process is easy and economical. You control hardly any except your products as well as your cost however, you also make use of Amazon . com&#8217s enormous audience. Browse the Amazon . com Sellers program here.

eBay

eBay may be the original ecommerce marketplace. While they don&#8217t possess the hip-liness of the couple of years back, they permit a really convenient platform for online storeowners. And like Amazon . com, they are able to bring lots of people to your page as you take presctiption their platform. Take a look at eBay here&#8230

Etsy

Etsy

Etsy is restricted to artisans instead of traders however they make setting ready to go an outlet very simple. You are able to personalize your page somewhat &#8211 but it’s and try to is going to be &#8220an Etsy page&#8221 rather that the store. Take a look at Etsy here&#8230

70% Convenience // 30% Control

Next around the spectrum are providers that provide additional control &#8211 particularly with getting your personal website name. However, as an apartment, you’re still living on another person&#8217s space and also have to ultimately play inside their rules.

Squarespace

Squarespace

Squarespace is best-noted for enabling you to build websites. But &#8211 they’ve ecommerce functionality too. They provide some versatility with limits. You could have ecommerce functionality seamlessly built-into an internet site.

However, Squarespace doesn’t have lots of advanced marketing tools and places &#8220soft&#8221 limits on you skill together with your website. I reviewed Squarespace here. You should check out Squarespace here.

Weebly

Weebly

Weebly is really a direct competitor to Squarespace and it has an identical setup. You are able to change your account to incorporate ecommerce functionality. There is a decent set of features with drag functionality too.

But like Squarespace, they ultimately limit many advanced ecommerce features that some growing storeowners will need. I reviewed Weebly here. You should check out Weebly here&#8230

PayPal Button

PayPal Buy Button

If you have an internet site, but recycle for cash a couple of products there’s also &#8220bolt-on&#8221 solutions that offer ordering and payment functionality.

PayPal has already established a Buy Now button for some time. Shopify, which is pointed out within the 50% // 50% section, offers a control button for purchasers using only their inventory/repayment plan.

All of these permit you to paste a snippet of code in your existing website which reroutes your clients through their payment systems.

It&#8217s super-convenient and offers control button for you personally (since it is by yourself website). However, additionally you don&#8217t control the checkout experience. You can also&#8217t build out a shopping cart software or perhaps a true product catalog.

50% Convenience // 50% Control

This group (usually referred to as &#8220hosted ecommerce platforms&#8221) provides just as much control as possible have before you need your personal server. The greatest advantage here is you have customer care, seamless &#8220onboarding&#8221 and advanced tools.

However, you have to abide by the company&#8217s rules &#8211 plus they could possibly get a little pricey.

Managing a store using these providers is much like having a condominium or leasing a store inside a mall. The plumbing and &#8220big stuff&#8221 is taken proper care of. You are able to virtually do what you would like because you do fully own your home. However, you&#8217re likely to encounter condo association rules and charges.

Shopify

Shopify

Shopify is easily the most well-known located ecommerce platform. I reviewed Shopify here. There is a very robust product having a large application store together with advanced marketing and ecommerce tools.

They&#8217re affordable and also have the infrastructure for small shops to worldwide brands. They likewise have features for retailers who sell both on and offline. However &#8211 you won&#8217t have root server use of make any change imaginable. Take a look at Shopify here&#8230

BigCommerce

BigCommerce

BigCommerce is Shopify&#8217s smaller sized direct competitor. I reviewed BigCommerce here. They’re focused on online-only retailers than Shopify.

Their setup is another little more intuitive than Shopify and they’ve a strong set of features &#8211 even when their application and theme store is smaller sized. Like Shopify, they are doing have limits like a located ecommerce platform. Take a look at BigCommerce here&#8230

Volusion

Volusion

Volusion is yet another well-known located ecommerce platform. I reviewed Volusion here. There is a large following among designers and developers with a few notable features.

However, they likewise have additional parameters and additional charges when compared with Shopify / BigCommerce. Take a look at Volusion here&#8230

30% Convenience // 70% Control

Within this group, we encounter the field of running your personal website by yourself server. It’s not as complicated or as daunting as it might seem. Buying hosting implies that, yes, you possess an additional item to bother with.

However, you’ve considerably additional control over your costs as well as your features.

Options within this group are just like having a house. You have the effect of everything, but you may also do anything you like. You will find the option to call a plumber or take proper care of the issue yourself. You can include on, remove or change anything. Really the only constraint is the budget.

Self-Located WordPress

WordPress

WordPress is easily the most versatile website software on the web. You can also add functionality into it through &#8220plugins&#8221 &#8211 including ecommerce functionality.

I authored a complete guide on creating an ecommerce website with WordPress + WooCommerce here. It&#8217s simple to install and employ (for beginners). It may be as cheap or as costly as you would like so that it is. Take a look at my guide here&#8230

Magento

Magento

Magento is among the most used ecommerce platforms available. It&#8217s free for small stores, but compensated for enterprise customers (like North Face).

It’s a lot of features &#8211 but in my opinion, it requires a great designer/programmer to obtain the most from it. They provide a little compensated hosting plan where use a &#8220lite&#8221 form of this program. Take a look at Magento here&#8230

Other &#8220Plugin&#8221 Shopping Carts

There’s a myriad other &#8220bolt-on&#8221 solutions that you could increase a current website. These solutions are dying out simply because they don&#8217t possess the ease of the PayPal button plus they still don&#8217t integrate completely to your existing website.

That stated, that you can do anything you want together. Here&#8217s a few options.

OpenCart is probably the simplest (that&#8217s negative and positive) of all of the shopping carts. It&#8217s free, and it is a course that you simply install in your hosting company. It&#8217s based on a wide open-source community, meaning it will likely be around as lengthy as people lead. It’s lots of easy-to-implement templates for that actual website.

Zen Cart is among the earliest and well-supported eCommerce platforms on the web. It&#8217s free, and it has plenty of features, but can also be viewed as quite complicated for somebody without any programming experience.

% Convenience // 100% Control

What for those who have an enormous budget and incredibly specific needs? Well, which will mean getting a developer (or learning code yourself) and leasing a passionate server.

Within our example &#8211 you&#8217ll buy land and building even your home on your own. This is actually the route of some ecommerce startups that possess a specific set of features and vision in your mind. Additionally towards the cost, you&#8217ll in addition have a myriad other factors. However this continues to be a route some companies take.

It&#8217s common in the Enterprise ecommerce level, though even at this level, you’ve still got choices &amp tradeoffs to create.

Next Steps

  1. Define what you’re searching for.
  2. Consider what tradeoffs you are prepared to make.
  3. Evaluate specific providers.
  4. Perform a free trial.
  5. Launch your store!

Make sure to take a look at my ecommerce quiz which supports sort your choices.

Once you launch your store, take a look at my marketing guide for ecommerce websites here.

The publish Essential Help Guide To Selecting An Ecommerce Platform made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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Merchant Payday Loans and APRs

APR and merchant cash advance

Small company owners searching for any merchant cash advance (MCA) or short-term business loan (STL) are frequently surprised to understand&#8212after the very fact&#8212that their capital has have a high effective apr (APR).

The fact that your merchant cash loan may have a highly effective APR of, for instance, 150% could be a amaze. After all, that&#8217s a really high number. You might be wondering how these funders pull off issuing such costly loans or advances.

It&#8217s easy: they simply don&#8217t disclose the annual percentage rate.

The issue of whether funders must have to reveal APRs is hugely debated within the lending world. Merchant cash loan and short-term financial institutions state that APRs are unnecessarily confusing and misleading. Everyone else states that APRs are helpful to make apples-to-apples comparisons which not disclosing APRs is misleading.

Meanwhile, retailers simply want affordable capital.

Here&#8217s the factor: APRs are really perplexing. MCAs and STLs have different structures than traditional quick installment loans, and shoehorning an APR from that structure doesn&#8217t always work nicely. However these rough APR estimates will also be helpful for apples-to-apples comparisons&#8230 provided guess what happens the annual percentage rate really means.

It&#8217s pretty obvious: whenever you&#8217re searching for a financial loan or advance, you&#8217ll would like to get an believed APR to compare&#8217s sake. But to effectively make comparisons, you must know what APRs are suitable for, the way they work, and just what their limitations are.

What’s an APR?

The Annual Percentage Rate&#8212annual percentage rate&#8212is several that communicates the all inclusive costs of the loan more than one year. For installment loans (probably the most generally used loans, which carry rates of interest), the dpi represents the eye rate plus all of the charges incorporated within the loan. (For instance, a loan provider might charge an origination fee, closing fee, and/or insurance fee.)

The dpi is essential because lenders frequently structure their loans differently. One might charge an origination fee whereas another doesn&#8217t, or they may have different rate of interest structures. The Annual Percentage Rate is essentially just a means of communicating the eye rate&#8211plus charges&#8211in just one, easily comparable number.

The Annual Percentage Rate can be useful for evaluating term loans with other term loans. Here&#8217s a good example:

Loan A Loan B
Principal: $100K $100K
Term length: five years (60 several weeks) five years (60 several weeks)
Rate of interest: 6.5% 7.5%
Other charges: $535 processing fee

3% origination fee

None
APR: 8.02% 7.5%
Payment per month: $1,957 $2,004
Total financing cost: $20,932 $20,228

Which is really the greater deal? Regardless of the greater rate of interest, Loan B actually includes a lower APR than Loan A. If your merchant were deciding between both of these loans, they’d most likely wish to choose Loan B.

However, Loan B may not necessarily be the greatest choice. The word length impacts the annual percentage rate too. Listed here are loans with similar rates of interest and additional charges, however with a phrase period of ten years:

Loan C Loan D
Principal: $100K $100K
Term length: 10 years (120 several weeks) 10 years (120 several weeks)
Rate of interest: 6.5% 7.5%
Other charges: $535 processing fee

3% origination fee

None
APR: 7.31% 7.5%
Payment per month: $1,135 $1,187
Total financing cost: $39,793 $42,442

As you can tell, Loan C is the better option within this scenario. Despite the truth that it arrives with more charges, this loan includes a lower APR since the charges are dispersed out more than a extended period of time.

What should you have had an option between Loan A and Loan D? Although Loan D continues to have a lesser APR, it features a greater total cost of borrowing. You&#8217ll need to decide if you would like lower monthly obligations ($1,957 versus. $1,187 monthly) or perhaps a lower total cost of borrowing ($20,932 versus. $42,442 in charges).

Obviously, APR isn’t the only metric to think about when buying a loan. Exactly the same principal pertains to merchant payday loans and short-term loans.

Calculating APRs on Merchant Payday Loans and Short-Term Loans

The apparent trouble with through an APR from a brief-term loan or merchant cash loan is the fact that these items don&#8217t use rates of interest.

Rather, you pay an issue rate (also generally known as a &#8220flat fee&#8221 or &#8220buy rate&#8221). To look for the borrowing fee, they&#8217ll multiply the factor rate through the borrowing amount. For instance, you may get a loan having a factor rate of x1.28 (also generally written, somewhat misleadingly, as 28%). Which means you&#8217ll need to pay back your lender $12,800 ($10,000 x 1.28). Quite simply, your fee is 28% from the borrowing amount.

When you get anything using this article, allow it to be this: factor rate isn’t the same factor as APR. Having a factor rate, the charge is calculated once based on the original borrowing amount. With interest, the charge is accrued with time by calculating a portion from the remaining principal before the loan is compensated off.

For that above reason, you can’t technically calculate an APR on the merchant cash loan or short-term loan. However, you may still estimate it. To distinguish, an believed APR is usually known as the &#8220effective APR.&#8221

Listed here are a couple of examples as one example of the function of APRs inside a short-term loan:

Loan E Loan F
Principal: $100K $100K
Term length: 6 several weeks (126 working days) 12 several weeks (252 working days)
Factor rate: x1.28 x1.28
Other charges: 2.5% 2.5%
Effective APR: 109% 55%
Payment per month: Approximately. $21,333 ($996 each day) Approximately. $10,667 ($498 each day)
Total financing cost: $28,000 ($.28 in charges per $1 lent) $28,000 ($.28 in charges per $1 lent)

Non-intuitive as it might be, the annual percentage rate on Loan E is double the amount APR on Loan F, even though both of them carry exactly the same total financing cost. Because Loan E is compensated off over a shorter time of your time, the same rate of interest could be greater.

For financing with temporary lengths, the effective APR does not let you know just how much you will pay, it informs you the way fast you’ll be having to pay it. A higher effective APR means that you&#8217ll pay the borrowed funds or advance very rapidly a lesser effective APR means the alternative.

Clearly, within the example above, the customer may wish to choose Loan F (unless of course they would like to have it compensated off as rapidly as you possibly can). What whether it weren&#8217t as cut-and-dry because the example above? Should you&#8217re requesting funds from the loan provider, they may provide you with a couple different choices:

Loan G Loan H
Principal: $100K $100K
Term length: 6 several weeks (126 working days) 12 several weeks (252 working days)
Factor rate: x1.2 x1.35
Other charges: 2.5% 2.5%
Effective APR: 89% 71%
Payment per month: Approximately. $20,000 ($952 each day) Approximately. $11,250 ($536 per day)
Total financing cost: $20,000 ($.20 in charges per $1 lent) $35,000 ($.35 in charges per $1 lent)

Some lenders offer two loans for you: one having a long term length however a greater factor rate, and something having a shorter-term length however a lower factor rate.

Within this example, Loan G includes a greater APR, however a lower total cost of borrowing. However, Loan H has smaller sized monthly obligations along with a lower APR, however a greater total cost of borrowing. Which is the foremost loan? This will depend on which the merchant is searching for.

How you can Compare MCA and STL Offers

To completely understand the price of the borrowed funds, effective APR isn’t enough you will have to evaluate additional metrics too:

  • The all inclusive costs of capital: Just how much is it necessary to pay in charges? This will range from the charges calculated through the factor rate, in addition to any extra charges (just like an origination fee).
  • The payment per month: About how exactly much are you currently having to pay monthly? Because STLs and MCAs have different payment schedules (some require payments each working day whereas others require payments every week or month) you’ll be able to check loans with an even arena should you calculate just how much payments are monthly.
  • The cents around the dollar cost: Just how much is it necessary to pay in charges per dollar lent? For instance, the customer would need to pay $.28 per dollar lent for Loans E and F within the table above.
  • Prepayment discounts and double dipping policies: Performs this funder provide you with a discount should you pay back early? Or will they take part in double dipping?

The sale that’s best is determined by the merchant&#8217s needs. Do you want lower monthly obligations? Or would you like to save just as much money as you possibly can? Would you anticipate that you simply&#8217ll require more funds soon? (If that’s the case, you&#8217ll want to locate a funder that doesn&#8217t double dip.)

A great funder will provide these details up-front to be able to make an educated borrowing decision. For instance, some merchant cash loan and short-term financial institutions have produced a good Box, a standardized way of disclosing rates and charges, including all the details in the above list (such as the APR).

However, in case your provider doesn’t disclose the effective APR, I’ve embedded some calculators in the finish of this article which you can use to obtain an estimate, thanks to the great folks at Nav.

The Conclusion

APRs is definitely an important metric to think about when looking for merchant cash loan or short-term loan offers, but ought to be used along with other metrics too.

Additionally towards the APR, you should think about the all inclusive costs of borrowing, the cents around the dollar cost, the monthly obligations, and set up funder includes a prepayment discount. Although this kind of funding could be confusing initially glance, you’ll be able to create informed borrowing decisions by analyzing all these metrics and evaluating what’s most significant to the healthiness of your company.

Are you currently searching for any short-term loan or merchant cash loan? Regardless of whether you&#8217re a merchant who needs cash for any seasoned business or else you&#8217re in the middle of founding a startup, we&#8217ve reviewed numerous providers that count including inside your comparisons (or staying away from by any means). Check out an evaluation in our favorites, or our full listing of reviews.

Appendix: Believed APR Loan Calculators

(Even though the top calculator states it&#8217s for OnDeck, you can use it for just about any short-term loan.)

Operated by nav
Operated by nav

The publish Merchant Payday Loans and APRs made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Top 6 Options to Etsy

Alternatives to Etsy

Within the last few years, Etsy has alienated a number of clients by announcing some alterations in rules. For instance, outdoors assist in manufacturing has become permitted, which worries sellers who’re worried about factories jumping in and overtaking the manufacturing process. While Etsy includes a Marketplace Integrity, Trust, &amp Safety team to talk about applicants and be sure that sellers take part in the manufacturing process, many purchasers are worried the products for purchase aren&#8217t truly handmade and that Etsy has lost the essence of the items managed to get this type of unique platform. Etsy maintains the coverage is for clearness and also to open possibilities instead of push people out. Still, a number of clients are jumping ship and looking Etsy alternatives.

If you’re one of individuals artists searching for any new house for the store or you are beginning the very first time, here are a few options to Etsy to think about. Before jumping in to the comparisons, let&#8217s get the low-lower on some of what make Etsy this type of great platform for thus many vendors.

Etsy Pros

  • Easy sign-track of no priced plans
  • Great chance for small vendors with hand crafted products
  • Capability to gain prospective customers who’re simply browsing Etsy groups
  • Gift certificates
  • Artsy culture
  • A residential area of artists all visible in the same site

Etsy Cons

  • Listing charges and commission charges
  • In-site competition — for those who have an item, other Etsy sellers most likely do too!
  • Limited styles and page customizations
  • These new policies on outdoors manufacturing

Like a vendor attracted to Etsy, you likely fall under 1 of 2 groups. Somewhere, you may should you prefer a smaller sized, community-based craft marketplace. On the other hand, you may choose to set off by yourself and make an outlet with no connections to some bigger marketplace.

This information will provide choices for these two groups. Let&#8217s begin with the very first: other craft marketplaces. After three of those, we&#8217ll explore the greater traditional shopping carts.

Zibbet

zibbet-logo

To begin with: Zibbet. Zibbet is much like Etsy in that it’s a community marketplace where customers can browse a number of artisan stores. Vendors seeking an identical experience to Etsy will probably appreciate Zibbet&#8217s easily browsable setup. Should you&#8217re thinking about joining the 50 plus,000 retailers on Zibbet, here are the features you&#8217ll take advantage of:

  • Starter Arrange for $4/mo (if purchasing 12 several weeks otherwise it’s $5/mo)
  • Inclusion in and use of a large, varied marketplace
  • No commission or listing charges
  • Limitless products for plans above Starter Plan
  • Capability to copy products over from your existing Etsy store
  • Coupons and reduced prices for plans above Starter Plan.

The Way It Comes even close to Etsy

An enormous reason for Zibbet&#8217s favor instead of Etsy is it eliminates commission and listing charges. Obviously, with Zibbet you&#8217re having to pay for any plan, but with respect to the quantity of products you sell (as well as their cost), this might reduce your cost.

Zibbet also offers a few of the same pros you receive with Etsy. Particularly, inclusion inside a bigger marketplace reveals your store to a lot of prospective customers who may be browsing. Featured groups, such as Handmade, Weddings, Jewellery, Vintage, and houses and Living, allow it to be simpler for purchasers as well as potential vendors to look through product options.

zibbet-products

Around the downside, Zibbet does have a price. It&#8217s not terribly costly, and (as discussed above) would likely end up being well worth the cost, however it&#8217s something to bear in mind. Furthermore, like Etsy, Zibbet only offers limited styles and page customizations. Store URLs take presctiption Zibbet&#8217s domain, which means you don&#8217t have lots of independence there. Nonetheless, it&#8217s an excellent marketplace if your companies are that which you&#8217re searching for!

ArtFire

artfire-logo

ArtFire, like Zibbet, is very much like Etsy in lots of ways. Most particularly, it’s another global marketplace that enables users to obtain their own store connected to and based on a main community. With 10,000 active shops, ArtFire can be a tad smaller sized (or might be compiling figures differently) but has most of the same features that draw users to Etsy, including:

  • Plans beginning at $.23/item (for listing fee) or $20/month
  • No listing fee for monthly plans
  • Online coupons and gift cards
  • Mobile-friendly shops
  • Capability to connect to Etsy, Flickr, social networking accounts, and much more using Market Hub
  • Possibilities to go in Great American Maker Search

The Way It Comes even close to Etsy:

Once more, the feature for ArtFire instead of Etsy is the possible lack of listing fee. Unlike Etsy, that charges $.20 per listing, ArtFire only charges a $.23/item listing fee because of its otherwise free plan. And also the monthly plans, which boast capabilities (for example no ads on shop pages and as much as 2500 listed products) don&#8217t include any listing charges.

ArtFire keeps a relationship with Etsy to ensure that potential vendors can connect for their Etsy stores. Getting double the amount potential views for an inexpensive is a superb need to investigate ArtFire being an option. Plus, the annual Great American Maker Search (see above) is a superb method to potentially attract much more customers! The social networking links, particularly the Facebook Kiosk, offer additional excellent marketing options.

artfire-facebook-kiosk

Around the downside, ArtFire&#8217s monthly plans (excluding the per-item plan) tend to be more costly compared to other marketplace-based shopping carts. Despite excluding listing charges around the monthly plan, ArtFire loses some things because of the commission charges which do exist. Etsy has commission charges too, but a few of the Etsy alternatives right here don’t. Just like Zibbet, insufficient personalization options may be another downside.

IndieMade

indiemade-logo-black-on-white

Like Etsy, IndieMade is aimed toward artists attempting to sell their goods. However, it provides a lot more independence for that merchant. Although it doesn&#8217t have as extensive or involved a residential area as Etsy, IndieMade is a superb option for vendors who’re leaving Etsy but nonetheless would really like a shopping cart software that concentrates on the requirements of artists (as well as still connects to Etsy&#8217s own marketplace). With IndieMade in your corner, listed here are a couple of tempting features you may expect:

  • Fundamental Arrange for $4.95/mo with easy payments setup through PayPal
  • A custom website name if purchasing any plan above Fundamental
  • Capability to link products to Etsy while using Etsy Connect feature
  • No transaction charges
  • Capability to sell e-books
  • Additional features for example embeddable video and audio, image galleries, and Google Analytics.

The Way It Comes even close to Etsy

For individuals seeking Etsy alternatives, IndieMade supplies a nice transition in the community marketplace of Etsy to a more independent but nonetheless artist-centric atmosphere. The opportunity to connect an IndieMade store to Etsy is definitely an especially appealing feature to a person who may not be prepared to forget about the Etsy community completely.

Because the prices plans are based on quantity of products, IndieMade might work perfect for vendors that sell a restricted amount but require lots of storage and bandwidth. It&#8217s unclear should there be overage charges for bandwidth, storage, etc. IndieMade states, &#8220We host your website, store your files, invest in your bandwidth, and manage the servers,&#8221 but no details beyond that are delivered.

When it comes to additional features, IndieMade is really fairly vague on its website. Even though it conspicuously displays the data that free templates exist, styles are difficult to get unless of course you investigate the consumer Guide.

indiemade-theme

If the lack of transparency online concerns you, IndieMade may not be the very best fit. You could also desire to select a different shopping cart software should you don&#8217t use PayPal, since that’s IndieMade&#8217s payment method, or you generally have high figures of merchandise that may place you into an unnecessarily high prices plan. While IndieMade is definitely an excellent transition into independence like a merchant, you need to certainly take these 4 elements into account too.

Now, onto a couple of traditional shopping carts&#8230

Big Cartel

Alternatives to Etsy

Big Cartel is a superb option to Etsy since it concentrates on smaller sized, more artistic stores. As pointed out within our review, Big Cartel isn’t a standard option for a sizable vendor with extensive growth plans. However, it’s some truly excellent choices for the smaller sized, more independent and artistic retailers who will probably gravitate toward Etsy. When you purchase Big Cartel as the shopping cart software platform, here are the benefits you&#8217ll gain:

  • Free Gold Plan for five products and three other affordable plans for approximately 300 products
  • Ten nice, artsy themes with the opportunity to personalize or create as preferred.
  • A culture of artists, with several example sites readily available for exploration.
  • Capability to sell e-books
  • Extra features including discounts, Facebook Store, inventory tracking, an apple iphone application to market personally, and much more.
  • Your blog that features artists and communities and posts handy tips.

The Way It Comes even close to Etsy

From the three traditional shopping cart software options to Etsy right here, Big Cartel is the one which is nearest in mission and scope. Should you be attracted to Etsy&#8217s smaller sized size, free plans, and attract artists, Big Cartel is really a natural next choice. When it comes to prices, it really works to be better still should you&#8217re in a position to stick to the disposable plan, since Big Cartel doesn’t have the commission and listing charges that Etsy does.

Big Cartel also causes it to be simpler to grow your business to Facebook Store. You can even sell personally because of its iPhone application. An entire listing of features are available here it&#8217s a shorter list than a few of the other Etsy alternatives offer, but it may be just made for you. Plus, you&#8217ll also take advantage of an identical community and artistic culture — just take a look at a few of the sample stores to determine what sort of clients Big Cartel suits.

Alternatives to Etsy

Around the downside, the free prices plan’s pretty limited, if you were built with a wide variety of merchandise on Etsy, you might be switched off through the elevated cost at Big Cartel. (Still, bear in mind that Big Cartel&#8217s costs are lower than the majority of the various other traditional shopping carts.) As nice because it is to possess your own Big Cartel–hosted site with no immediate competition linked in your sidebar, Etsy emigrants may miss the Etsy-specific community and the opportunity to stumble across an outlet with a simple search.

Shopify

Alternatives to Etsy

Upgrading the size of shopping carts, Shopify provides more extensive options than Big Cartel or Etsy, although it is priced accordingly. Its appeal isn&#8217t restricted to small stores anybody in the tiniest towards the largest of vendors can use Shopify&#8217s features. Here are a few features that may appeal most to retailers seeking options to Etsy:

  • Lite Arrange for $9/mo
  • HTML and Facebook Buy Buttons on every plan Twitter and Pinterest buttons on basically the Lite Plan
  • No transaction charges if using Shopify Payments
  • Limitless products and file storage
  • Discounts
  • A high-notch choice of many excellent, responsive styles

The Way It Comes even close to Etsy

Shopify is very popular for a lot of reasons, however the robust nature of their Lite Plan’s most likely what’s going to appeal most to ex-Etsy retailers. Although it might not be free, it&#8217s cheap so they cover a lot thinking about the cost. Also it sure turns up Big Cartel by providing limitless products and file storage!

Shopify&#8217s theme selection is among the best available, and you will find a lot of other features (for example individuals amazing discounts) that are ideal for artsy, indie types. The Buy Buttons in particular are an enormous sell — especially thinking about that Shopify tops our listing of Buy Button providers — and are ideal for retailers trying to sell on blogs, social networking, or any other sites.

Alternatives to Etsy

Around the downside, should you&#8217re squeamish about big firms that theoretically endorse manufacturing, Shopify could make you uncomfortable. It is one from the largest shopping carts available and it has no manufacturing guidelines that Etsy had. To be able to benefit from the myriad benefits Shopify offers artists, you&#8217ll need to set aside any moral iffiness.

Shopify includes a couple of less-morality-related issues too, particularly the transaction charges that could appear if you’re not using Shopify Payments. These charges aren’t anything a new comer to Etsy users, however when you happen to be having to pay for any monthly plan they become a bit more obnoxious. Furthermore, Shopify limits its product options (and provides fairly confusing setup instructions for that ones available.)

Volusion

Alternatives to Etsy

Although Shopify is probably probably the most recognizable name among shopping carts, Volusion expires there when it comes to size and recognition too. If Etsy is the world within the solar system of shopping carts, Volusion is among the gas giants like Jupiter (or possibly Saturn, because it comes with some pretty nice jewelry). A number of that has you&#8217ll get access to when you purchase Volusion include:

  • Small Arrange for $15/mo
  • Limitless storage
  • Facebook Store
  • Limitless product options
  • Wide array of styles
  • No transaction charges

The Way It Comes Even Close To Etsy

Due to its size, Volusion offers far more choices for prospective vendors than Etsy has the capacity to. High-quality customer support as well as an extensive Understanding Base make simple to use to navigate this cart&#8217s many attractive features. Wish to showcase your store on Facebook? Volusion&#8217s got the back. Possess some complicated customizations for the handmade products? Volusion&#8217s the site to visit. Additionally, it supports growing vendors, therefore if your company is growing more quickly than Etsy alternatives like Shopify or Big Cartel can maintain, Volusion may be for you personally.

However, as it pertains lower into it, Volusion is really vastly not the same as Etsy the cons may over-shadow the professionals, a minimum of should you&#8217re searching for such like. Out of the box the situation with Shopify, Volusion has no qualms about manufacturing ethics which have become Etsy in news reports. Its least expensive plan’s also more costly than the other options to Etsy right here. This isn’t to state that Volusion isn&#8217t an excellent platform, it simply serves a really different kind of merchant than most Etsy exes could be.

Perhaps you don&#8217t mind these fundamental variations, or possibly you&#8217ve been thinking about upgrading to a bigger, classical shopping cart software anyway. For the reason that situation, Volusion is a superb option! Just look out for that problems that can plague any vendor: bandwidth overages and from time to time lackluster and overpriced styles are a few common complaints. It&#8217s worth taking a review of a number of Volusion&#8217s sample stores to determine whether it&#8217s a great fit for you personally.

Alternatives to Etsy

Conclusion

Should you&#8217ve become dubious of Etsy&#8217s ethics or you&#8217re simply searching for something different, there are several fantastic alternatives available! Your decision ultimately depends by yourself situation, but hopefully one of these simple six shopping carts can fulfill the requirements of your store.

For individuals seeking a residential area-based craft marketplace being an Etsy alternative, Zibbet and Artfire would be the nearest bets. The main difference backward and forward is based on their prices plans. Zibbet&#8217s monthly plans tend to be cheaper, but Artfire provides a per-product plan which may be well suited for some vendors. If Zibbet and Artfire don&#8217t allow quite enough independence for the store, IndieMade may be the perfect happy medium: It connects to Etsy, offers cheap plans, and permits custom domains.

As the traditional shopping cart software most much like Etsy, Big Cartel is ideal for smaller sized retailers, especially artists. It maintains much more of a residential area feel than other Etsy alternatives, also it even includes a free plan. However, among the largest carts available Volusion brings some excellent features towards the table, and Shopify supplies a happy medium between your other two.

Whichever platform you select, all the best inside your store&#8217s journey. Please tell us for those who have any relevant knowledge about these carts that other ex-Etsy retailers might find helpful. Enjoy the next phase like a vendor!

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Top 13 WordPress Styles for Book Authors & Publishers

WordPress Themes for Book Authors and Publishers

Age technologies have shifted the way in which the majority of things work &#8211 including how authors get observed by publishers and readers alike. Getting an online business is important, even though you aren’t publishing your works online. What should you aren’t a coder or tech-savvy?

This is where WordPress Styles are available in. A WordPress theme can provide you with top of the hands if you are searching to handle an internet site that’s high cost and quality-effective. It’s an incredible platform since it offers versatility when it comes to design, functionality &amp user-ambiance, and it also has fantastic Search engine optimization potential. With no, it’s not necessary to become a coder to obtain things right!

On the top of this, since WordPress is open-source, you’ll obtain a huge network of support and sources to construct a sensational website. Forget shedding big dollars and-commitment contracts having a design firm! Listed here are 13 of the greatest WordPress styles (and a pair of Frameworks) well-suited to book authors and publishers we have curated from your favorite internet marketplaces.

Disclosure &#8211 this site receives customer referral charges from companies and merchandise pointed out on this web site. All data &amp opinions derive from ShivarWeb staff&#8217s independent research and professional judgement.

Activello

Activello ThemeActivello is really a classic, professional with a few great premium features &#8211 but with no premium cost! It’s great personalization ability, from little details like fonts and colours to main issue things like layouts and wordpress plugin compatibility. It’s an excellent start if you are looking at incorporating eCommerce to your website since it’s constructed with WooCommerce in your mind. Take a look at Activello here. It’s free!

Antonette

Antonette ThemeAntonette is the best choice if you’re searching to produce a modern, creative website. Playboy design enables for a lot of personalization &#8211 fonts, colors, header styles, layouts and much more. An execllent feature of the premium theme is the fact that it’s completely integrated with JetPack and all sorts of your social networking needs. Take a look at Antonette here.

Author Pro

Author ThemeYou can’t fail with Author Pro &#8211 the creator of the premium WordPress theme is extremely qualified, and you may tell through the functionality and design. If you are searching for any solid lengthy-term investment, Author Pro is perfect for you. The sleek, minimalist look concentrates on content, plus it’s nice to check out. It’s a remarkably effective theme with great functionality &#8211 and all sorts of individuals little customizations you need to make are simple to do! Take a look at Author Pro here. It comes down bundled having a strong framework too.

Big Cat

BigCatBig Cat is really a fully responsive template that can make an ideal fit for just about any publishing company. A sleek modern layout enables you organizing lots of content inside a simple readable way. Web site operates on Cherry Framework, supplying you with effective functionality and user-friendly admin dashboard. Sticky dropdown menu and back-to-top button facilitate navigation. You can use various gallery scripts and portfolio functionality. You then have a possible ways to begin a completely functional blog section. Video and audio integration will help you diversify your articles making the presentation of the company much more creative and vivid. See more about Big Cat here.

BookGroup

BookGroupBookGroup features an up-to-date design having a obvious well-structured layout, trendy ghost buttons, original typography and classy header slider. Grid-style presentation of the services make them simple to skim. Prices tables permit you t condition your prices policy clearly towards the customer. Web site is fully editable. Because of Power Page Builder and Live Customizer it is simple to modify your site&#8217s look. Web site is licensed under GPL v3., meaning you should use the theme with no limitations. And, obviously, web site is fully responsive and retina ready. Take a look at BookGroup here.

Bookish

Bookish ThemeBookish includes a unique, bold believe that sets you aside from all of the others, and it is responsive &#8211 therefore it will appear good on any device. It’s some pretty solid features, including enhanced sliders, comprehensive menu options and delightful skins to select from. Plus all of the aspects of the look are simple to personalize. This premium theme is a superb starting point if you wish to incorporate a store in your site. Take a look at Bookish here.

Divo

Divo ThemeDivo is really a relaxing, modern theme with great functionality. It’s responsive, so it’ll look wonderful anywhere. It features a beautiful slider option which will impress readers and draw them in. All of the elements of design could be tweaked and customised to appear exactly like you want. Basically, Divo has all of the basics that you’ll require for any great website, and it is flexible enough to include on other things you’ll need having a wordpress plugin. Take a look at Divo here.

Forte

Forte ThemeIf you value modern and minimal, Forte is the choice. It’s stunning &#8211 and also, since it’s a multipurpose theme, it will likely be as effective and versatile since you need so that it is. It arrives with all of the fundamental features, what sticks out is the fact that it’s child-theme compatible (so that you can keep the exact website through all updates). It’s visual composer makes all customizations increasingly simple and it is compatible with your major plugins, including WooCommerce). Forte is really a fabulous choice if you are going the premium route. Take a look at Forte here.

Greenstone

Greenstone ThemeThough Greenstone was produced like a blogging theme, it’s really spectacular when it comes to functionality. Although you personalize all of the elements of design, but you may also select from different publish types and layout choices &#8211 and that means you can make great squeeze pages for particular types of content. And also the Grid/Masonry layout makes scrolling and studying a calming experience for the readers. Greenstone is yet another great premium theme that’s built responsive, so it’ll look wonderful anywhere. Check Greenstone here.

Hemingway

Hemingway ThemeHemingway is a straightforward and clean design which will look wonderful on any device. It might appear around the simple side, but it’s constructed with such great versatility that you could really create anything you like! It will possess a beautiful parallax scrolling effect that produces visual interest, plus all of the elements of design are simple to personalize. Hemingway is a superb starter theme &#8211 especially because it’s free! Take a look at Hemingway here.

Olsen Light

Olsen Light ThemeOlsen Light includes a vibrant and free-spirited feel to it’s design &#8211 and it is versatility enables a lot room for creativeness and personalization! It has a custom menu and layout and all sorts of elements of design like fonts, colors and widgets are extremely simple to switch to your choice. It is also quite simple to integrate with social networking, so that you can produce a bigger following simultaneously! Take a look at Olsen Light here &#8211 it’s a totally free download!

SimpleMag

SimpleMag ThemeSimpleMag, also referred to as the “Magazine Theme for Creative Stuff,” is certainly a fantastic choice for the website. It’s a pleasant combination between unique and professional. The grid layout encourages scrolling and interaction together with your content, and it is simple for you too! All of the elemental design aspects have limitless personalization. With it’s responsive layout and functional build, SimpleMag can perform incredible things. It is also simple to incorporate forums with this particular theme. Take a look at SimpleMag here.

The Novelist

The Novelist ThemeThe Novelist is really a premium theme crafted with serious authors in your mind &#8211 it zeros in in your content unlike any other theme about this list. It’s unique design seems like you’re really studying a magazine inside a library. It’s very easy to personalize all of the elements of design like fonts, colors, as well as backgrounds. This can be a fabulous theme for those who have a portfolio you need to display online. Browse the Novelist here.

Throne

Throne ThemeThrone includes a great readability rating, a watch-catching design, and lots of wonderful features. Personalization is easy &#8211 from fonts, colors and layouts to non-public icons and branding. You are able to adjust the header to fit your vision, plus social networking outreach has already been built-into the theme. Take a look at Throne here.

Workstation

Workstation ThemeShould you lean toward the minimalist design, Workstation may be the greatest quality theme about this list. The look enables your potential customers to breathe deeply of outdoors, relax and easily read. It’s a responsive site, so it’ll look great anywhere &#8211 especially once you make use of all the personalization choices to match it for your preference. This theme can also be ideal for building solid squeeze pages, and works with all of your major plugins. Workstation is completely worth the money. Check Workstation here.

Genesis Framework by StudioPress

A style framework is really a single theme with consistent, wealthy functionality that enables simple design changes across a variety of styles. The Genesis is among the earliest (and many leading edge) theme frameworks in WordPress-land. Their theme has a lot of well-documented features and “hooks” where one can implement infinite versatility for you and your clients.

StudioPress also offers lots of “plug and play” child styles for Genesis with several business-specific child styles that you could install as they are. Take a look at Genesis by StudioPress here.

Elegant Styles Framework

Like Genesis by StudioPress, Elegant Styles is really a large, established styles maker using their own theme framework. They likewise have an in-depth theme “club” in which you get limitless use of styles to download, try to swap out when needed. They are a good option for an increasing business that wishes plenty of choices. Take a look at Elegant Styles here.

Conclusion

Getting on board using the WordPress team is a terrific way to gain publicity and traffic for the website, and it is all completely controlled on your part! Make certain to make use of styles rich in coding standards, and don’t forget that the good theme is definitely flexible and utilizes other plugins.

If you are thinking about creating an incredible site with WordPress on your own, here are a few detailed guides on how to find a theme, how to setup your site and the way to get began with WordPress.

Best of luck! Tell me for those who have any suggestions within the comments!

The publish Top 13 WordPress Styles for Book Authors &#038 Publishers made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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TouchBistro Versus Toast

Touch Bistro-vs-Toast

For any kind of restaurant, whether it’s a quick service smoothie shop or perhaps a fine dining restaurant, a great POS product is essential. Additionally to taking payments, restaurant POS software assists with lots of facets of managing your company, from raw component tracking to cultivating a loyal subscriber base. In addition, a contemporary, tablet-based POS enables you to definitely perform some pretty cutting-edge things at the restaurant, like have visitors pay, sign, and tip from their table on the mobile phone.

TouchBistro POS

iPad-based TouchBistro (above) and Android-based Toast (below) are a couple of of the largest tablet reason for purchase systems for restaurants, food trucks, cafes, fro-yo shops, pizza parlors, breweries, and lots of other companies that sell products to drink or eat. But the better POS system?

Toast POS

I&#8217ll compare TouchBistro and Toast out of all important areas so far as restaurant POS is worried, so we&#8217ll see which of those innovative POS’s is the best option for the food or drink business.

Prices

Champion: TouchBistro

TouchBistro may be the less expensive system generally. Subscriptions are $69/month for just one register, $129/month for 2 registers, $249/month for 3 to 5, or $399/month for limitless registers. Subscriptions include all features and 24/7 customer care.

Toast starts at $100/month and it is $50 for every additional device. This base cost includes most features and 24/7 customer care, however, many features cost extra. Add-ons cost the following:

  • $25/month for that Loyalty Program
  • $50/month for Physical and Digital Gift Certificates
  • $50/month for Online Ordering

Toast offers custom prices for bigger organizations so that you can request an estimate should you operate greater than six terminals.

Although TouchBistro provides the less costly service, one factor to notice is the fact that an Android-based hardware setup like Toast’s may well be a little less costly than TouchBistro’s Apple hardware configuration, designed for companies which have more registers. Toast also provides financing on their own hardware packages which means you don’t need to pay your whole hardware cost upfront.

Simplicity of use

Champion: Tie

Both TouchBistro and Toast are remarkably simple to learn and employ, with intuitive touchscreen interfaces. Toast is really a more complicated system so training employees might be more time-intensive however, Toast installs your POS and trains the employees for you personally, easing this method significantly. One negative for TouchBistro’s simplicity of use is you need to add each food selection and image by hands in your iPad, without any choice to upload these details via CSV file.

Software and hardware Compatibility

Champion: Tie

TouchBistro and Toast have different hardware/software needs, only one isn’t inherently much better than another.

TouchBistro iPad POS

TouchBistro is definitely an iPad POS so it uses Apple hardware and works on the iOS operating-system. It’ll use iPad Air, iPad Air 2, iPad Small 1-4, and iPad Pro. Also, TouchBistro is really a in your area-installed system, meaning you&#8217ll require a Mac Small or imac desktop computer to do something because the server if you are using several iPads. This kind of setup does mean the software doesn’t depend on a web connection to operate (except to process charge card payments) an Apple Airport terminal Extreme functions like a local router to wirelessly connect your devices.

Toast POS hardware (Android)Toast, however, uses Samsung tablets and operates on Google’s Android operating-system. Toast also differentiates itself from TouchBistro when you are entirely cloud-based so that all your restaurant information is kept in “the cloud” (i.e., online, instead of in your devices), and also you don’t require a local server for multi-tablet setups.

Whether an Apple or Android hardware setup is better largely depends on whom you ask. iPads generally have a more seamless hardware/software integration, however, many people like the versatility minimizing price of an Android setup.

Find out more about TouchBistro hardware and Toast hardware needs, including their accessory compatibility (cash drawers, hands scanners, etc.).

Product Features

Champion: Toast

Though TouchBistro’s features are sufficient for several small , even mid-sized businesses, Toast has more features and much more advanced functionality overall. Toast’s cloud-based design causes it to be more functional in a few ways—for example, with Toast you are able to rapidly edit your menu everywhere with a web connection (see screenshot below) with TouchBistro, make menu changes from your dedicated TouchBistro iPad.

Toast POS screenshot

However, despite the fact that TouchBistro POS isn’t fully integrated using the cloud, managers can sign in to a web-based reporting suite to gain access to some cloud-based POS reports on their own establishment&#8217s metrics.

Also, while Toast includes a better quality set of features overall, one function TouchBistro has that Toast doesn’t is reservation management. TouchBistro also offers a neat integration with PayPal that enables visitors to look at using their PayPal account.

Let’s take particular notice in the essential features each POS offers.

Both TouchBistro and Toast possess the following features:

  • Floor planner
  • Menu management
  • Worker management
  • Inventory management
  • EMV-compliance
  • Tableside payments
  • Onscreen tipping
  • Customer-facing display
  • Kitchen display system
  • Capability to split bills by seat
  • Gift certificates
  • Offline functionality (queue charge card payments without internet)
  • POS reports (see TouchBistro reports example below)
  • Multi-location support
  • Customer contact database

TouchBistro POS reports

Features TouchBistro has that Toast doesn’t:

  • Reservation management
  • Self-checkout with PayPal
  • Apple Pay acceptance (with certain payment processors)

Features Toast has that TouchBistro doesn’t:

  • Integrated loyalty program
  • Integrated online ordering system
  • In-house payment processing
  • Delivery management
  • Self-serve kiosks
  • Crm system
  • Online menu management
  • Enterprise restaurant management

As pointed out, a number of Toast’s features cost extra—specifically the loyalty program ordering, and gift cards—whereas gift certificates, for instance, are incorporated in TouchBistro&#8217s base cost.

Integrations

Champion: TouchBistro

Toast offers lots of “all-in-one” functionality, for example in-house loyalty cards an internet-based ordering, which negates the requirement for many integrations along with other software services. But TouchBistro includes a couple of more third-party software integrations, and integrates with increased payment processing companies, if that’s vital that you you. Particularly, Toast doesn’t integrate with any outdoors payment processors the POS is only for Toast’s in-house payment processing service.

TouchBistro presently integrates using the worker appointment scheduling software 7shifts, in addition to Shogo, something that allows you to integrate your QuickBooks account, and contains an immediate Xero integration. TouchBistro can also be partnered with business keeper Avero and Sculpture Hospitality, in addition to Just Eat, a food delivery service. SmoothPay and PayPal are generally mobile payment options with TouchBistro, and it can be used with charge card processors Vantiv, Moneris, Cayan, and multiple other payment processors (begin to see the full list within our TouchBistro review).

Toast’s listing of integrations includes PayTronix, 7shifts, Incentivio, Restauraunt365, Peachworks, CTUIT, CrunchTime, and Compeat. Toast also offers a wide open API, and that means you can be cultivated your personal integrations. So, despite the fact that TouchBistro technically “wins” in integrations, I wouldn’t consider Toast vastly behind within this area—that is, unless of course you need to make use of an outdoors payment processor.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team

Champion: Toast

While Toast and TouchBistro both offer 24/7 customer care (via phone and email), Toast sets itself apart using its truly exceptional customer support and tech support team. Toast’s support team is extremely knowledgable and responsive, and it has the advantage of being 100% US-based.

TouchBistro has decent customer support, they also have lots of complaints about lengthy wait occasions on the telephone and lengthy response occasions over email, with customer support representatives sometimes going for a couple days to reply.

Reviews and Complaints

Champion: Tie

Overall, the general public reactions to TouchBistro and Toast happen to be largely positive. Users love these systems’ simplicity of use as well as their great functionality, all for any relatively low cost. There are several negative reading user reviews of both services, with a few TouchBistro users complaining about slow customer care and excessively fundamental functionality. Some users from both systems say they want better inventory management features.

Toast, Corporation. is accredited using the BBB by 7/2016 and it has a b+ rating without any complaints TouchBistro isn’t BBB-accredited and it has a b — rating with 2 closed customer complaints.

TouchBistro has existed longer than Toast and it has more users overall so it features a much more good and bad reviews than Toast does. However, both vendors have mostly favorable reviews.

Final Verdict

Champion: ToastToast: An Android Restaurant POS

TouchBistro is really a high-quality, affordable iPad POS for all sorts of small drink and food companies, from food carts to full-service restaurants. In the end, it’s iTunes’ top-grossing food and beverage application in 33 countries.

TouchBistro is another very capable POS for many restaurants, bars, or quick service companies. However, Toast provides more advanced features—delivery management ordering, CRM, and loyalty program functionality—making it a effective enough POS solution for larger enterprises and franchises. Most significantly, Toast offers superior customer support.

Besides to be the better quality and customer support-oriented restaurant POS, Toast also provides superior hardware versatility given its Android setup. It’s among the couple of Android POS systems available because most tablet POS’s are iPad-based. Additionally to minimizing your initial hardware investment, an Android POS enables you to definitely replace lost, stolen, or damaged devices in a cheaper cost (versus. an iPad POS) and provides you more form factor choices.

Though Toast arrives in front of TouchBistro in the most crucial areas, Toast may not be the best option for the particular establishment. For instance, if you simply need a reasonably fundamental restaurant POS for the two-register loaves of bread, TouchBistro might be preferable for you personally. Or, for those who have an external merchant account you need to use together with your POS, you won’t be able to utilize Toast.

Maybe neither of those systems is worth considering. To appear beyond TouchBistro versus Toast and look for much more restaurant POS software, explore our restaurant POS software reviews section or send us an email with any queries you may have.

The publish TouchBistro Versus Toast made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Shopify versus. Bigcommerce: Tradeoffs, Comparisons & More

Shopify vs. BigCommerce

Shopify and BigCommerce are two fastest growing and many well-known located ecommerce platforms.

Ecommerce options exist on the spectrum of convenience and control. Both Shopify and BigCommerce are right in the center of the spectrum simply because they bundle all of the technical areas of a web-based store &#8211 hosting, speed, security, inventory, shopping cart software and payment processing &#8211 and bundle it right into a single monthly cost. This contrasts with solutions like WordPress + Woocommerce in which you buy, operate and keep each bit from the store but additionally have true 100% control of your site.

But just like a self-located ecommerce website, Shopify and BigCommerce also bundle in your website in your domain in which you have full charge of product, prices and customer experience. So unlike managing a store on Etsy, eBay or Amazon . com &#8211 you control the build, design and content of the store.

Even if this area of the spectrum has lots of tradeoffs &#8211 services like Shopify and BigCommerce are a great choice for many storeowners. Therefore the question becomes &#8211 Shopify versus. BigCommerce?

I’ve reviewed Shopify here and BigCommerce here. I’ve used both like a customer so that as an advisor to customers of both.

Both are excellent companies by having an excellent product. And like several my other ecommerce and hosting reviews, there’s no such factor being an absolute “best” &#8211 there’s just the best brand out there according to your circumstances, goals and sources.

Here’s how Shopify comes even close to BigCommerce across 6 variables that many customers take a look at &#8211 and what you need to consider with Shopify versus. BigCommerce.

Skip to conclusion here.

Aside &#8211 I built a Buzzfeed style quiz for ecommerce platforms that grades the standards together with your goals. You should check out the quiz here.

Also, a fast disclosure &#8211 I receive referral charges from companies pointed out on this web site. All data and opinions derive from my experience like a having to pay customer or consultant to some having to pay customer.

Cost

Ahh &#8211 cost. It’s both simplest and many complex method to compare two products.

Rapid story on cost is the fact that both Shopify and BigCommerce work on a regular monthly cost structure having a ~2 week free trial offer. They likewise have a really similar “sticker” cost with tiers at ~$29/mo and ~$79/mo or more.

Shopify Pricing for Shopify Review (2016)

BigCommerce Pricing

&nbsp

That stated, their plan structure is simply different enough to create a direct comparison a little difficult.

Aside &#8211 Shopify throws another wrench within the comparison because you can buy Shopify Lite to be used being an inventory &amp order management with no actual website.

If you’re just beginning by helping cover their a fundamental store, you’ll likely save some cash with BigCommerce because (as we’ll see later) &#8211 they include lots of features directly within their setup. They’ve apps and styles &#8211 but both are usually either free or costly.

However, once you begin factoring in apps, styles, charge card rates, and mid-tier features for example HTTPS and cart recovery &#8211 then Shopify is the perfect total value cost for many stores. Shopify includes a more diverse group of apps &amp styles across a variety of cost points and it has some advanced features which are “global” &#8211 for example HTTPS everywhere.

In either case &#8211 cost isn’t the deciding factor for Shopify versus. BigCommerce. Rather, I’d take a look at additional factors.

Customer Care

Customer care is among the most undervalued advantages of choosing a located ecommerce platform.

The entire charge of a self-located ecommerce website is wonderful until it will get hacked and you’re having to pay $$$ to some developer or you are within the WordPress forums wishing someone points you within the right direction.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify have customer care included in their monthly cost. You obtain access to a variety of channels on &#8211 from phone to talk to forums to email tickets.

All customer care is customized since both operate on proprietary platforms.

At register &#8211 both of them come with an “onboarding” sequence along with a consultant to assist with any issues.

BigCommerce Onboarding Email

I’ve had good encounters with and you will find a few variations that I’ve observed &#8211

  • BigCommerce has more thorough and instructive DIY education. They’ve videos and screenshots for small changes around the Dashboard whereas Shopify may have text instructions.
  • BigCommerce results in as increasing numbers of beginner-friendly.
  • Shopify has more thorough and instructive content on running your general business. They invest considerable time and sources in situation studies, lengthy-form guides, tutorials, and helping your company succeed beyond just applying a brand new feature.
  • Shopify also offers a far more well-developed network of third party developers and marketers who focus on Shopify. They’re also known as “Shopify Experts.” It isn’t effortlessly, but it’s a much better beginning point for advanced help than the usual Google or UpWork search.

Overall, I’d state that beginners will probably find BigCommerce’s support system to become less daunting. However a growing store will probably find Shopify’s support system to become handier.

Customer Focus

Shopify and BigCommerce both serve companies that vary from really small retailers selling niche products to multi-billion dollar brands. Have enterprise plans (I authored about Shopify Plus here) plus they have customer care teams educated to help absolute beginners.

That stated &#8211 there’s a significant difference between your companies when it comes to sources and mission. Shopify did an Dpo in 2015 to be a perfectly-funded public company. Their platform should serve all retail companies both on and offline.

Shopify runs their very own payment processing service as well as has their very own Point-of-Purchase (POS) system to ensure that small offline retailers sell offline an internet-based from inside exactly the same system. These were the first one to unveil “buyable buttons” on Pinterest and Facebook to ensure that retailers could sell inventory directly anywhere online &#8211 not only from customers who examined through the merchant’s website.

Shopify’s backend (which I’ll cover within the next section) reflects this focus. These products / orders / customers / inventory area is outside of the “website” area. The concept is your website is just one of numerous sales channels. You are able to certainly run your site as the only sales funnel in Shopify &#8211 however the choices to sell elsewhere happen to be built-in.

BigCommerce’s focus appears to become 100% on online-only storeowners. That’s not necessarily a bad or perhaps a good factor &#8211 it’s only a choice. Their backend and terminology is centered on the storeowner that has an ecommerce website&#8230and that’s the main focus. BigCommerce has lots of integrations with eBay, Facebook, etc &#8211 but they’re still treated being an extension from the website.

BigCommerce’s big business development deal was with Alibaba. It’s focused particularly on helping ecommerce proprietors and dropshippers build out inventory to market online better.

Both BigCommerce and Shopify are fantastic platforms for novices to enterprise. However, Shopify’s focus is on helping everybody sell everywhere. BigCommerce’s focus helps online storeowners sell better.

User-ambiance &amp Onboarding

Associated with Customer Focus would be the problems with user-ambiance and “onboarding” (ie, obtaining a new customer for an active storeowner).

Both BigCommerce and Shopify have excellent onboarding processes and user-friendly management areas. Here’s a relevant video tour of every backend &#8211

The primary difference is when each backend is structured. BigCommerce includes a single Dashboard in which you manage everything &#8211 your product or service, inventory, websites, settings, billing, etc.

Shopify breaks out products/customers/orders as well as your website into separate areas. Furthermore, Shopify has their very own lingo.

For instance, rather of “product categories” &#8211 Shopify has “Collections.” Rather of a &#8220website&#8221 &#8211 Shopify has &#8220Online Store&#8221 that is among your &#8220Sales Channels.&#8221

To have an absolute beginner, it requires a couple of more minutes to determine Shopify’s lingo and structure when compared with BigCommerce. That stated, once Shopify’s lingo clicks, it will provide a little more versatility for daily operations. Shopify’s inventory setup, their product filtering and template editor are faster and much more versatile &#8211 when you figure them out.

For those who have never operate a website before and just possess a promising small to mid-size product collection, then BigCommerce will probably be preferable than Shopify.

If you would like more lengthy-term versatility, you’ll likely appreciate Shopify’s system more when you tackle the training curve.

Method of Features

Both Shopify and BigCommerce have the majority of the tools (marketing, Search engine optimization, inventory, order, etc) a web-based store will have to be effective. They differ though in the way the each approach adding additional features.

Shopify takes the “platform” approach. They’ve essential features that storeowners will require built-in. However for features that does not all storeowners need &#8211 they concentrate on ensuring storeowners can also add feature extensions for their store when needed. There is a large and active Application Store that does not has only well-known extensions (ie, MailChimp) but additionally lots of indie apps for each situation (ie, apps for worldwide tax and shipping features).

Shopify’s template editing language, Liquid, also enables developers to include features straight to an outlet if required.

BigCommerce comes with an Application Store for extensions too. However, BigCommerce includes a bigger concentrate on building plenty of features straight into their software to ensure that there’s you don’t need to add extra time.

For instance, take selling on eBay or importing your eBay listings for your store. Both Shopify and BigCommerce could make these functions happen.

BigCommerce builds the feature to their backend. Should you not require the feature, it adds some clutter and technically enables you to “pay” for something aren’t using. However if you simply require it, it’s already there also it simply works.

Shopify doesn’t have it built-in. However, they are doing come with an application extension (produced by Shopify, readily available for free) that you could supplment your store if you are an eBay seller.

Another example is bulk 301 Redirects. Both Shopify and BigCommerce have 301 redirect functionality built-in &#8211 and it is ideal for most storeowners.

However, some will have to upload a spreadsheet’s price of a large number of redirects. BigCommerce has bulk upload built-all the while Shopify users need to install an application to consider proper care of it.

Bigcommerce Advanced Settings

That stated &#8211 the switch side from the platform/built-in tradeoff is when BigCommerce doesn’t have an element built-in &#8211 they’re unlikely with an application to supply the functionality whatsoever.

For instance, if you’re applying individuals bulk 301 redirects and wish to monitor 404 errors to find out if you missed any URLs &#8211 Shopify’s application will require proper care of that however, you won’t have the ability to it whatsoever in BigCommerce.

It’s exactly the same situation for drag editing, membership shopping and lots of other advanced features. Most storeowners don’t needOrwould like them. However if you simply do, you are more inclined to have it in certain form or fashion in Shopify than BigCommerce.

Shopify Apps

Overall, for those who have fairly core ecommerce needs and just want something to exist and also to work &#8211 then BigCommerce will probably are more effective.

If you would like more versatility (without going the self-hosting route), then you’ll convey more use of features with Shopify.

Aside &#8211 for this reason I suggest carrying out a 2 week free trial offer with BigCommerce and Shopify simply to click around and discover for yourself.

Method of Design

Both Shopify and BigCommerce make use of a system of styles / templates for design. You decide on basics theme after which edit it to appear as you desire.

As the finish result is identical, they are doing have a slightly different approach.

Shopify includes a well-developed “Theme Store” which, similar to their Application Store, has many free and premium styles produced by companies, individuals, and Shopify.

Shopify Themes

Shopify’s backend enables you to definitely make changes towards the theme. Most styles possess a hybrid method of editing. Small customizations (colors, logos, etc) require only a click while bigger changes (layout, widgets, etc) require editing Shopify’s custom Liquid language. Knowing some HTML/CSS, then it isn’t ideal since you need to learn yet another method of making changes.

BigCommerce includes a Theme Store that’s quickly growing. They’ve just added a brand new batch of new styles. However, still it lacks the variety of Shopify. Their cost points for premium styles are often greater too. That stated, BigCommerce theme editing options include both selecting small customizations and editing the HTML/CSS. It’s a far more straightforward editor that you will get with Shopify.

Bigcommerce Design Editing Options

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Overall, I believe most storeowners will discover more versatility with Shopify’s method of design. However, if you wish to edit HTML/CSS directly without learning a brand new language and/or wish to download template designs (instead of your development store) &#8211 then you’ll like BigCommerce better.

Shopify versus. BigCommerce Conclusion &amp Next Steps

So Shopify versus. BigCommerce &#8211 who is the perfect fit for who? For those who have time &#8211 I’d really recommend carrying out a free trial offer (no charge card needed) with and merely clicking around.

Obtain a free 15-day free trial offer with BigCommerce here.

Obtain a free 14-day free trial offer with Shopify here.

Personally, i such as the versatility and options of Shopify. They’re likely a much better fit for many online storeowners. Take a look at Shopify here &amp my Shopify Review here.

However, if you are a online-only store and wish a less complicated experience, you’ll prosper with BigCommerce. Take a look at BigCommerce here &amp my BigCommerce Review here.

If you’re undecided &#8211 then take my Ecommerce Platform Quiz here. It will require your requirements and let you know who is the greatest option for your web store.

The publish Shopify versus. Bigcommerce: Tradeoffs, Comparisons &#038 More made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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The Top 7 Things to Look for in a Merchant Account

online transaction

While credit cards have existed in one form or another in the United States for almost a century, it’s only been during the last few decades that their use has become commonplace. It wasn’t all that long ago that most people made just about every purchase with either cash or a personal check. Today, most consumers have a variety of credit and debit cards, and prefer to use them instead of cash whenever possible. As a business owner, it’s more important than ever that you have the ability to accept credit cards, whether you’re running a traditional retail store or selling items online. Simply put, credit card acceptance translates directly into more sales and, hopefully, more profits.

Unfortunately, accepting credit cards is anything but free. Credit card associations, issuing banks, and transaction processors will all get a cut of every credit card transaction you accept. Obviously, you’ll want to minimize the cost per transaction as much as possible, but there are other factors that are equally important. The processor with the lowest processing rates might not provide the best overall service.

In order to accept credit cards, you’ll need a merchant account. This is simply an account with your credit card processor that you can use to both deposit funds from cleared transactions and also to pay the various fees and per-transaction charges that you will incur. Merchant accounts can also include a variety of associated products and services that you’ll need to run your business, such as credit card terminals, mobile credit card readers, point-of-sale (POS) systems, and more.

Selecting the merchant account provider that’s best for you and your business is not an easy task. Too many merchants fall into the trap of simply looking for the provider with the lowest processing rates. This can turn into an expensive mistake over time, as the credit card processing industry is notorious for tacking on a host of pricey – and often undisclosed – monthly and annual fees for just about every service provided as part of maintaining your merchant account. So, don’t get too focused on processing rates – it’s the overall total cost over time that really counts. This includes processing rates, account fees, and other costs (such as chargebacks) that you might have to deal with.

Not all merchant accounts provide the same level of service. Popular small-business processors such as Square, for instance, don’t actually provide a full-service merchant account. While you’ll still be able to process credit card transactions, you won’t get certain features (i.e., a unique Merchant ID number, PCI compliance services, and robust customer service) that full-service merchant accounts include. The lack of these features often create real problems for merchants, with complaints about frozen or terminated accounts and poor customer service being very common. For a very small business that’s just starting out, this might be a reasonable trade-off in exchange for the money you’ll save over a full-service account. However, once your business grows beyond a certain point, you’ll need to transition to a more stable, full-service account and the security features it provides.

We’ve identified seven different features that you need to look at very carefully in selecting a merchant account provider. They’re all equally important, and you’ll want to examine all of them in evaluating any merchant account provider that you’re thinking of signing up with. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to come up with a precise estimate of your overall costs, you should be able to get a pretty good idea by evaluating these seven features.

1. Hardware that meets the unique needs of your business

No matter what kind of business you run, you’ll need equipment to process your sales. Even a purely eCommerce venture is still going to need some hardware – even if it’s just your own personal laptop. For most other businesses, however, your hardware needs will be more extensive. Basically, you’re going to need some type of equipment to read your customer’s credit card information and send it to your processor for (hopefully) approval.

Options for reading credit cards are a lot more robust today than they were just a few years ago. In addition to the traditional wired credit card terminals commonly seen in retail establishments, there are now numerous wireless terminals and mobile processing systems that combine a smartphone with a very basic credit card reader to offer the same capabilities as a dedicated terminal.

Wired credit card terminals are still the most commonly-used card readers out there, and they offer a number of distinct advantages. Perhaps most importantly, they’re simply more reliable. You don’t have to worry about your wireless internet connection suddenly going down and leaving you unable to process a sale. Wired terminals are also generally better at supporting newer features such as EMV credit cards and contactless payments using near-field communications (NFC), such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and others.

Today, wired terminals are more affordable than ever, and we highly recommend that you buy your own terminals outright rather than leasing them from your merchant account provider. Unfortunately, the credit card processing industry figured out a long time ago that they could make a lot of money by leasing terminals to their merchants rather than selling them directly. Here’s how the scam works: You sign up for a traditional merchant account, with comes with a three-year contract. You need terminals to actually process your customer’s cards, so you lease them from your merchant account provider. What you don’t realize (and your sales agent usually won’t tell you) is that the lease agreement for the terminals is actually with a separate company – and it’s for four years, not three. Not only that, but your terminal lease is non-cancellable, meaning that you’ll still have to pay for all of the remaining months on your lease if you try to cancel early. Even if you close your account and send the terminals back, many companies will still charge you for every remaining month of your lease. The end result? You’ll wind up paying literally thousands of dollars for a piece of equipment that you can buy outright today for as little as $100.00.

Some companies will even try to tell you that it’s more cost-effective to lease your terminals rather than buy them. Don’t believe it! In almost all cases, this is simply not true. If you read the terms of your leasing agreement and most importantly, do the math, it should be pretty obvious that, in most cases, those “low” monthly leasing fees and associated charges will add up to far more money out of your pocket than simply buying your own equipment. One possible exception to this general rule is if your business needs a large number of terminals, but you don’t have the capital available to buy them all at once. Given that businesses large enough to need a lot of terminals generally aren’t short on capital, this is a pretty unlikely scenario.

Another very unique exception is if you sign up with CDGcommerce, one of our favorite processors. Rather than lock you into an expensive, four-year contract, CDG provides their terminals in exchange for a $79.00 per year insurance fee. This works out to about $6.59 per month, far less than what most other processors will charge you in leasing fees. This fee also includes any necessary re-programming and software updates, plus you can also exchange your terminal for a newer model. It’s the one exception we’ve found where you’ll get a good deal by “renting” your terminals from your merchant account provider.

When shopping around for terminals, there’s one last thing to bear in mind. With the advent of EMV terminals in the US in 2015, there are a lot of older, magstripe-only terminals still out there. Not only are these terminals essentially obsolete, they’re also potential liability traps with the EMV liability shift that occurred on October 1, 2015. Many of the true bottom-feeders in the processing industry are still trying to push these terminals onto unsuspecting merchants. Sometimes they’re advertised as being “free” (they’re really not), and other times they come with a traditional lease. Now that it’s 2016, there is simply no reason whatsoever to buy or lease a non-EMV-compliant terminal. Yes, some customers will still have magstripe-only credit or debit cards, and this will be true for some time. Nonetheless, since almost all currently available EMV-compliant terminals also include a magstripe reader, you should never accept a terminal that doesn’t include both capabilities.

In addition to EMV, you’ll also want a terminal that supports contactless payments through near-field communications (NFC). NFC-based payment systems allow customers to leave their wallets behind and use their smartphone to make a payment. Apple Watch and Android Wear users can also use the technology to make payments with their smartwatches. Currently, the world of NFC-based payments is very splintered, with Apple Pay only working on Apple devices, Android Pay only working on Android devices, and Samsung Pay being proprietary to Samsung’s Android-based smartphones. Despite the confusing choices out there, NFC payments are currently the most secure form of payment that’s available. Read more about it here.

Wireless terminals are also available, and while they’re not necessary for a traditional retail establishment, they can be very useful for any type of business where you have to go to the customer, rather than having the customer come to you. Plumbers, electricians, and others in similar trades will find them essential. If you’re in a business that needs a wireless terminal, realize that 1) the terminal itself will be more expensive than a wired terminal, and 2) wireless terminals also require a wireless data plan (typically about $20.00 per month). Depending on your needs, it might make sense to go with a mobile processing solution, such as Square, as a lower-cost alternative.

Mobile processing itself is a capability that didn’t even exist just a few years ago. Square, launched in 2009, was the first company to combine a smartphone with a plug-in credit card reader, allowing merchants to process credit card transactions anywhere they had cell phone or Wi-Fi coverage. Today, Square has a lot of competitors and many traditional processing companies are trying to get in on the action by offering their own apps and card readers. Unfortunately, none of them offer anywhere near the robust capabilities that Square offers, and many of them are actually more expensive. Square itself is certainly not perfect – complaints about frozen accounts and poor-to-nonexistent customer service are all too common. Nonetheless, it’s a respectable alternative for very small businesses, startups, and seasonal sellers who neither need nor want a full-service merchant account. It’s also a very economical way to add mobile processing to your existing merchant account.

Point-of-sale (POS) systems are also very popular with merchants today, combining transaction processing with database capabilities that allow you to track not only sales, but also inventory, customer relations, employee performance, and numerous other metrics. Modern POS systems truly bring “big data” concepts to small and not-so-small businesses. Again, your merchant account provider will usually have a POS solution that they’ll want to sell to you. Whether you truly need (or can afford) their “solution” is another matter. While a modern POS system is ultimately a software solution, the hardware required to input and display the data involved can vary from a dedicated terminal (such as Clover) to a tablet-based system that runs on your iPad or Android tablet. For most small businesses, we recommend a cloud-based POS solution rather than a far more expensive dedicated terminal. See our Best Small Business POS article for more specific recommendations.

2. Software to keep track of your business and help it grow

The days of tracking your sales in a paper ledger and collecting a shoebox full of sales receipts are, thankfully, long gone. Today’s merchant accounts harness the power of the internet to track and store your account data digitally. Cloud-based systems make that data available just about anywhere, on any internet-connected device. Physical and eCommerce businesses alike will need the appropriate software to take advantage of these capabilities.

If your business operates out of a physical location and you don’t make any sales online, your needs will be pretty simple. One useful product to consider is a virtual terminal. This is simply a software program or web service that allows you to process credit card transactions on your computer using a USB card swiper. While it won’t be quite as mobile as using Square, it will still allow you to process card-present transactions and access your sales data.

eCommerce merchants will have more extensive needs in order to run their virtual businesses. For online sales, you’ll have to have a payment gateway as part of your merchant account. Payment gateways connect customers wanting to make a payment with the bank or merchant account provider that processes the transaction. Most merchant account providers in business today will offer a payment gateway as part of their services, usually through Authorize.net. One of our highest-rated providers, CDGcommerce, will offer you either their own proprietary Quantum gateway or one through Authorize.net – for free. Most other providers, however, charge a monthly fee for payment gateways.

For eCommerce merchants, an online shopping cart that allows customers to select items and place orders is also essential. Shopping carts integrate directly into your website rather than functioning as a stand-alone feature. Shopify, one of our favorites, is perhaps the most well-known online shopping cart. For a good overview of the best shopping carts available, check out our Shopping Cart Comparison chart.

3. Reasonable, transparent fees

Merchant accounts don’t come cheap. In addition to the processing rates you’ll have to pay on each transaction, your merchant account provider will also charge you a bewildering variety of one-time, monthly, and annual fees for the privilege of maintaining your account. For a small or recently-launched business, these fees can quickly eat up your profits and threaten the growth of your business.

Just as there’s no such thing as a free lunch, you’re also never going to find a free merchant account. Merchant account providers have to make a profit in order to stay in business, and they have to charge reasonable fees in order to do so. Traditionally, merchant account providers have relied on tacking a lot of nickel-and-dime fees onto your bill to compensate for the low processing rates they offer to entice you into signing up with them. These fees allow a processor to make money from a merchant account regardless of your monthly processing volume. In fact, they often still make money even if you’re not processing any transactions at all. Fortunately, a number of newer, more technology-focused merchant account providers are disrupting this old business model by offering accounts with low, fully-disclosed fees. It’s no coincidence that many of our highest-rated providers fall into this category.

In evaluating any merchant account provider, you’ll want to look for a fee structure that is both reasonable and transparent. Fees that are in line with the industry average aren’t necessarily reasonable, as there are still a lot of “junk” fees out there. For our purposes, a reasonable fee is one where the account provider actually provides a valuable service in exchange for that fee, and the fee is reasonably related to the value of that service. Fees should also be transparent, or fully disclosed before you sign up for an account. While all of our favorite providers fully disclose their fees right on their websites, most traditional processors do not. Instead, they’re buried in pages of fine print and often not disclosed by sales agents.

So, what kinds of fees might you be charged? Here’s a brief overview of common fees associated with merchant accounts:

Account setup or application fees: While they’re gradually becoming less common, some merchant account providers will charge you a hefty, one-time fee for setting up your account. We consider this a junk fee because it only requires a few minutes of an agent’s time to set up your account, and both the agent and the account provider stand to make money off of you, not the other way around. Usually running around $150 (!), a setup or application fee is a clear red flag that you should avoid doing business with that account provider.

Monthly or annual account fees: Almost all providers – good and bad alike – charge some sort of fee to maintain your account. This might be billed monthly, or charged as an annual fee. Either way, it’s something of a catch-all charge to cover all the things your account provider isn’t charging you for directly. This can include things like PCI compliance scans, “free” credit card terminals, “free” virtual terminals, and other services that come with your merchant account. What constitutes a reasonable account fee will depend on how many services come with your account and whether or not you actually need them.

Monthly minimums: Not a fee in itself, a monthly minimum is a requirement that your business process a sufficient total amount in transactions to incur at least a specified amount (typically $25.00) in processing charges. As a hypothetical example, if all of your transactions were charged a flat 2.0% processing rate, you’d have to process $1,250.00 in total sales in order to meet the $25.00 minimum. You only have to pay if you fail to meet the minimum, and even then you only pay the difference between your actual processing charges and the amount specified as the monthly minimum. While they’re won’t affect a large, established business, they function as a penalty for very small, part-time, and seasonal businesses. If you fall into that category, you’ll want to avoid any provider that includes a monthly minimum in their contracts.

PCI compliance fees: Your merchant account must comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) security standards. This protects both you and your customers who, after all, are entrusting you with their credit card information. Since an in-depth discussion of PCI compliance is beyond the scope of this article, you’ll want to read this post for a good overview of the subject.

PCI-related fees come in two flavors: 1) PCI compliance fees, which are fees for services that your processor provides in order to ensure that your account remains PCI compliant, and 2) PCI non-compliance fees, which are effectively penalties for not being PCI compliant. See our article on the subject for more in-depth information. PCI compliance fees are a reasonable cost of doing business as long as a) your provider is actually doing PCI scans and taking other steps to protect your account and your customers’ data, and b) the fee is reasonable ($99.00 per year is the current industry average). On the other hand, you should never have to pay PCI non-compliance fees. If your provider can’t keep you compliant, find another provider. Also note that some of the newer providers do not charge a discreet PCI compliance fee. In most cases, you’re still paying for this as part of your monthly or annual account fee.

Statement fees and other “junk” fees: Traditional merchant account providers are notorious for adding any number of miscellaneous fees to your monthly bill, often with little or no actual service provided to you in exchange. While most of these fees are pretty minor and won’t add much to your costs, things like statement fees can add up quickly. Although the processing industry is slowly phasing out the statement fee, there are still plenty of companies that continue to charge it. Statement fees are usually around $8.00 per month. Think about that for a minute. That’s an extra $96.00 per year – just for them to send your statement to you every month. Considering that your statement is automatically generated by software and most companies today send your statement via email, it’s a complete rip-off.

Early termination fees: Most of the traditional merchant account providers in the industry will sign you up for a long-term contract (typically three years), and will charge you an early termination fee (ETF) if you try to close your account early – for any reason. ETFs are expensive (typically around $495.00) and are designed to discourage you from switching your account to a different processor. None of our favorite processors charge an ETF, allowing you to maintain your account on a month-to-month basis with no penalty for closing it.

Chargebacks: Any time your processor has to reverse a charge and issue a credit, you’ll be hit with a chargeback. Chargebacks can occur due to technical errors, returned merchandise, or actual fraud. Even though you as the merchant probably haven’t done anything wrong, most processors will still charge you a chargeback fee (typically about $20.00) to investigation what happened and issue a refund. For more information, see our article on avoiding chargebacks.

4. Fair, understandable processing rates

The processing rate is simply the total percentage of a transaction that you’ll have to pay to your merchant account provider in exchange for their processing the transaction. Processing rates can be very complicated and confusing, especially since the processor only keeps a portion of whatever they charge you. Fees (called the interchange) have to be paid to the credit card association (i.e., Visa, MasterCard, etc.) and also to the bank that issued the card, with the remainder going to the processor. Companies have devised several different pricing models to pass these costs onto you, including the following:

Interchange-plus pricing: Like its name, this pricing model consists of an “interchange” and a “plus.” As we’ve noted, the interchange is paid to the issuing bank and also the credit card association. The “plus” is simply the amount that your processor actually keeps from each transaction. Interchange-plus rate quotes are often expressed as “interchange + X %,” with the X % being the “plus.” Some processors also charge a fixed per-transaction fee (typically $0.10 to $0.25) as part of the “plus.” Because you can easily see exactly how much your processor is keeping from each transaction, it’s considered the most fair and transparent pricing model. It’s also usually less expensive overall than tiered or flat rate pricing.

Tiered pricing: This pricing model consolidates dozens of different processing rates into three tiers: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified transactions. Which tier a transaction will fall into depends on a number of variables, such as whether the card was swiped or manually entered, what the items purchased were, when the transaction was actually sent to the processor, and many others. Companies offering tiered pricing often only advertise their qualified rates, with phrases like “rates as low as…” In reality, most transactions will fall into the mid-qualified or non-qualified categories, where the rates are almost always much higher.

Flat-rate pricing: eCommerce-focused companies such as Square and PayPal offer flat-rate pricing as an alternative to traditional pricing models. Each transaction is charged a flat percentage rate, and often a fixed per-transaction fee as well. Rates are simple, easy to understand, and fully disclosed right on the companies’ websites. Flat rates are usually higher than what you’ll get with interchange-plus pricing, but companies that offer them also charge you a lot less in monthly and annual fees.

Which pricing model is right for you is going to depend on a number of factors, with your monthly processing volume being one of the most important ones. For small or newly-established businesses with a low processing volume, flat-rate pricing is more economical because you’ll avoid most of the nickel-and-dime fees that make maintaining a traditional merchant account so expensive. On the other hand, a larger business that isn’t as concerned about fees will save money with interchange-plus pricing. For more information about processing rates, please see our Complete Guide to Credit Card Processing Rates and Fees.

5. Honest, non-misleading marketing and advertising

“My sales agent lied to me!” It’s an all-too-common complaint we see from merchants who’ve signed up with a traditional merchant account provider – and it’s often true. Rather than hiring and properly training a staff of professional, in-house sales agents, many companies rely on independent sales agents who are only paid on a commission basis. With practically no educational or experience requirements, just about anyone can become an agent. Combine this with generally inadequate training and intense pressure to close a deal, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Independent agents have a bad reputation for failing to disclose some of the more onerous terms of the contracts they’re selling, especially early termination fees. Yes, there are some naturally talented independent agents who have done well and can provide you with quality service. However, the odds are against it. We recommend that you stick with companies that have their own dedicated, in-house sales staff. Some of the best companies will even assign you a dedicated account representative, which is about as good as it gets.

Online advertising has now become the single most important way to market any business, including merchant account providers. A website can tell you a lot about a company, both good and bad. Unfortunately, most merchant account providers have very poor websites. Filled with misleading advertising gimmicks and lacking any sort of educational information, they frequently tease you with claims of low processing rates, while failing to disclose any of the actual rates or fees you’ll be paying. You’ll know that you’re dealing with a good, ethical company if their website includes some (or all) of the following features:

  • Full disclosure of processing rates and all monthly and annual account fees
  • Educational articles that discuss the details of credit card processing
  • A detailed knowledge base for customer self-service
  • Clear options for contacting customer service (telephone, email, and chat)
  • No misleading low rate claims or “lowest rate guarantee” gimmicks
  • Positive testimonials from actual merchants, including full personal and business names

6. Month-to-month contracts

The credit card processing industry has an absolutely horrible (and well-deserved) reputation when it comes to contracts. Signing up for a merchant account typically locks you into a long-term contract, usually for three years. If that wasn’t bad enough, most contracts also include an automatic renewal clause that will extend your contract for an additional year if you don’t take very specific steps to cancel it ahead of time. Most processors will also include an early termination fee in your contract, which serves as a penalty (typically around $495.00) for terminating your contract early. Some of the worst processors will even include a liquidated damages clause in their contracts, which could potentially cost you even more money if you try to get out of your contract.

Naturally, these one-sided contract provisions have generated a huge number of complaints from merchants over the years. Fortunately, the industry is responding in a positive way, albeit very slowly. Most of our highest-rated processors will allow you to sign up for an account on a month-to-month basis. There’s no long-term contract, no early termination fee, and no liquidated damages clause. Given a choice between the two, there’s simply no reason whatsoever to sign up for anything other than a month-to-month account.

7. High-quality customer service and support

Service after the sale is just as important for merchant accounts as it is for anything else – maybe more so. Things can and will go wrong. Credit card terminals will suddenly stop working on a busy day. Mysterious, unexplained charges will show up on your statement. Chargebacks will occur, despite your best efforts to prevent them. For all of these and many other possible issues, you’ll want solid customer service and support from your merchant account provider.

For minor issues, self-service should always be an option. Good providers maintain extensive FAQs and knowledge bases on their websites, allowing you to fix a problem on your own. This is particularly handy during non-business hours.

Most processors (even the bad ones) offer support via telephone or email. Chat support through the company’s website is also becoming more common. Telephone support that’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year is ideal. Realize that many companies offering 24/7 telephone support outsource that function, so you might end up talking to someone who may or may not be able to resolve your problem. Some companies will assign you a dedicated account representative, which is about the most personalized support you can hope for.

Final Thoughts

It’s 2016, and it seems like today just about everyone’s an entrepreneur in one way or another. More people are opening their own businesses than ever before, either as a side gig or a full-time occupation. The advent of eCommerce and low-cost processing options like Square make it easier than ever to start up a business. Whether you’re taking the plunge for the first time or you have many years of experience running a business, selecting the best possible merchant account provider is a critically important decision that can have a real impact on how well your business does.

If you’re just starting out, or your business is never going to be anything more than a side gig, you might not need a full-service merchant account. Low-cost providers such as Square will allow you to process credit cards without having to pay for many of the bells and whistles that come with a true merchant account. At the same time, you won’t have a unique merchant ID number for your account, increasing your risk for account freezes and terminations. Square also doesn’t provide much in the way of customer service, although they are getting better. Larger businesses will definitely need a full-service merchant account for the security features and robust customer service that come with it.

What if your business falls in the high risk category? If you’re a high-risk merchant, your options are more limited and you might not be approved for an account by some of our top-rated processors. Many of the processors that will give you an account will charge you higher rates and fees than the industry average. For a good processor that specializes in high-risk merchants and offers fairly-priced accounts, we recommend Durango Merchant Services.

Despite all the unscrupulous practices in the processing industry, there are some good companies out there that offer high-quality service at a fair, reasonable cost. For a side-by-side comparison of our top-rated processors, see our Merchant Account Comparison Chart. For a more detailed look at the features and benefits of each company, check out this article.

The post The Top 7 Things to Look for in a Merchant Account appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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