Best POS Software with Built-in Loyalty Solutions

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pos loyalty program software

Are you currently searching for any POS system to help you build customer relations, get more traffic, and stick out from the competition?

You will find dozens upon a large number of POS systems available, some good, some less. Loyalty solutions have been in existence for quite a while, however the possibilities for small companies will always be couple of.

Damaged lower by industry, that list will get even smaller sized, especially while you transfer to eCommerce and mobile platforms. Keeping that in your mind, among the simplest ways to apply loyalty solutions for your company is to make use of the various tools available using your POS system.

Not every POS systems have loyalty solutions, obviously, and a few are extremely fundamental, but fundamental marketing options are superior to no options whatsoever. Oftentimes the POS loyalty program software is incorporated at no additional cost, so why wouldn’t you utilize it?

If you’re looking around for any POS having a solid status and powerful loyalty and marketing solutions, keep studying.

Here’s our top three listing of POS loyalty programs (POS systems with built-in loyalty solutions). Rankings were according to Merchant Maverick ratings, overall loyalty solutions offered, and added cost.

Third Place: Quetzal quetzal-logo

The Quetzal POS is made for small retail companies and it has a comprehensive loyalty solution. Quetzal is most effective being an iPad POS but may also be used with any internet browser. Quetzal includes a five-star rating with Merchant Maverick and loyalty solutions come at no additional cost.

Loyalty Solutions

Quetzal uses thumbs up/lower buttons as a way of by hand awarding suggests customers. With a few imagination, this process could be utilized for a highly effective tool for loyalty. You are able to give customers a thumbs up every time they buy something and provide special rewards or discounts after they achieve a particular quantity of points. Quetzal also provides additional tag features to trace customer spending trends.

Additional Factors

Exactly what the Quetzal loyalty feature lacks is definitely an interactive knowledge about your clients. It’s more a casual tracking tool for you personally than the usual full-scale loyalty program, though you can use it to reward customers. You should check out the Quetzal review for additional info on their loyalty solutions and overall features.

Second Place: Bindo bindo-pos-logo

Bindo POS is really a feature-wealthy system having a concentrate retail. This iPad POS provides additional online shop features for retailers. Bindo includes a five-star rating with Merchant Maverick, and you will find no additional costs for loyalty solutions.

Loyalty Solutions

Bindo POS loyalty solutions could be customized in many ways: By quantity of orders/visits, quantity of products purchased, or amount of money spent. This program could be modified into tiers, an effective way of rewarding your most loyal customers. Additionally towards the loyalty program, the machine tracks customer revenue and private data for other marketing possibilities.

Additional Factors

The Bindo POS can also be able to managing additional discount choices, gift certificates, and store credit. Read much more about this technique on the Bindo POS review.

To Begin With: Vend vend-logo

Our to begin with champion for POS software with inclusive loyalty solutions would go to Vend, a cloud-based POS. This technique offers solutions for eCommerce platforms in addition to physical locations within the retail industry. Vend includes a 4.five star rating with Merchant Maverick and also the loyalty solutions can be found at no additional cost.

Loyalty Solutions

Vend offers an inclusive, customizable loyalty program to reward customers. Rewards are calculated using dollar ratios that may be focused on all purchases or qualifying products. This program may also be established to offer bonus dollars in addition to promotions and Very important personel choices.

Additional Factors

The Vend POS offers among the best inclusive loyalty solutions I’ve found, and also the software programs are very simple to use. Read much more about this technique around the Vend review.

Honorable Mentions

There’s a couple of other POS systems that, when they don&#8217t quite merit the very best three, should have mention. Scalping strategies have solid ratings around the Merchant Maverick site and supply loyalty solutions inside the software.

Ambur POS

This technique is definitely an iPad POS created for single location restaurants. The in-house loyalty solutions Ambur provides be more effective referred to as enhanced customer management tools, including discounts, coupons and gift certificates. To learn more, browse the Ambur POS review.

Revel POS

This technique was created mainly for restaurant and small retail companies. The built-in Revel POS loyalty program utilizes a point-based system to reward customer spending and it is available for the next fee. Additionally for this option, Revel has lots of 3rd party integrations available. Browse the Revel review for additional info on Revel POS loyalty program software options.

Erply POS

This retail-oriented system offers POS loyalty solutions via e-mail marketing for discounts and promotions and tracks the sales good reputation for your clients. Browse the Erply review for more information.

Conclusion

While the amount of POS systems with inclusive loyalty software programs are growing, it’s still a comparatively few. Loyalty solutions for small companies are available in many sizes and shapes some programs integrate together with your POS software while some work on another network. The conclusion? When the software programs are included in your POS system, utilize it! The simplest of programs is definitely an effective tool for building customer relations for the business. Make the most of all of the tools provided inside your POS system. The truly amazing factor about POS loyalty solutions is the fact that they’re designed particularly for the software, and they’re frequently more intuitive than a 3rd party software solution.

There’s a couple of more points to consider, like the proven fact that some POS systems may charge yet another fee for his or her loyalty software. In individuals cases, I’d think about the value when it comes to features, customer support and necessity. 3rd party software involves a person service experience outside of those of your POS, in addition to different rules and contract factors. You should check out the loyalty software section for more information on 3rd party software.

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Shopkeep Versus Square

shopkeep-vs-square

In only yesteryear many years, mobile payment processing is becoming componen for that course for various kinds of small companies, from food trucks to hairstylists. Mobile point-of-sales systems combine a smartphone/tablet having a charge card readers so that you can easily process payments, regardless of whether you&#8217re on the run or perhaps in your brick-and-mortar store. Presently, Square and ShopKeep are a couple of of the largest mobile POS providers, even though there is a lot in keeping, they likewise have some important variations.

In the following paragraphs, I’ll explore the primary features and downsides of every service that will help you pick which, if either, of those systems works perfect for your online business. Since Square is mainly a mobile payment processor and ShopKeep is much more-or-less an entire point-of-purchase system, your decision ultimately relies upon the dimensions and scope of the business. If you’re tight on time and trust our judgment at Merchant Maverick, then It is best to check out our best reason for purchase providers and/or mobile payments providers. They all offer very fair and competitive rates and don’t charge any bogus charges. If you like to discover these items yourself, then continue reading!

Contract Length and Early Termination Fee:

Champion: Tie

Square and ShopKeep are generally pay-as-you-go, no-contract software services. There’s no early termination fee with either service, making both solutions flexible choices for small companies just beginning out.

Features:

Champion: ShopKeep

Square includes a very robust set of features for any mobile POS — actually, it’s probably the most advanced associated with a free mobile payment system available. But ShopKeep (that we should most likely note, isn’t free) is really a full-featured POS system which includes sophisticated register tools in addition to “back office” tools for operating a business, for example worker management and advanced inventory management. As it pertains lower into it, ShopKeep offers quite a bit more options featuring than Square. Let’s check out the primary features provided by each.

Square’s primary features:

  • Mobile terminal (iPad, Android device, etc.) combined with a totally free card readers
  • Mobile application, which could take payments with no readers (however for a greater fee)
  • Integrated (in-house) payment processing
  • Selection of emailed or printed receipts
  • Tipping, open ticket, and split-tender options
  • Fundamental inventory management
  • Online menu ordering
  • Customer comments management
  • eCommerce features to sell online

Find out more about Square’s features within our Square review.

ShopKeep’s primary features:

  • Mobile terminal/register (iPad/iOS only)
  • Free ShopKeep Pocket™ iOS application
  • Starter package includes iPad stand, cash drawer, receipt printer, and card swipe
  • Advanced register features — capability to add modifiers, split tenders, apply quick discounts (item and order level), process returns and refunds, and much more
  • Integrates with the selection of payment processor
  • Staff management features, including worker time-tracking
  • Advanced reporting options
  • Complete inventory management, including capability to inventory products as raw goods, after which create assemblies according to these details
  • Customized email receipts
  • Crm (CRM) tools — capture and store customer information to transmit custom offers and coupons (pairs with MailChimp for integrated e-mail marketing)

Learn more about ShopKeep’s features within our ShopKeep review.

Observe that both Square and ShopKeep offer EMV nick card readers, out of the box needed legally by October 2015. Both readers accept Apple Pay and both accept swiped cards too. ShopKeep’s EMV readers costs $249 and qualified Square users can presently reserve one EMV readers totally free (standard cost is $49).

One sort of feature Square has that ShopKeep lacks is eCommerce, that is important if you wish to setup a built-in online storefront.

Charges and Rates:

Champion: Tie

It’s not necessarily easy to say which service has better prices as this depends upon profits volume and, within the situation of ShopKeep, the selection of charge card processor. Square is probably the greater affordable mobile payment system for small-time, low-volume companies. However, because ShopKeep includes a more flexible payments structure, it is commonly a much better value for greater-volume retailers — i.e., individuals processing about $10,000/month or even more.

So, here’s the offer: Square is free of charge (no fee every month), besides the cost to really process payments, and also the cost to purchase peripheral equipment, for example iPad stands and extra card readers. You could have as numerous registers/points of purchase as you desire.

Square’s users are limited to Square’s in-house charge card processor, whose rates are listed below:

  • Swiped and dipped nick card transactions: 2.75%
  • Online/invoice transactions: 2.75%
  • Keyed-in transactions: 3.5% + $.15

ShopKeep has a simple prices structure of $49/month, per register (plus the price of hardware). Like Square, ShopKeep also provides its very own integrated payment processor, ShopKeep Payments. Minute rates are customized for every business. So, potentially you can get a much better rate than you are able to with Square. More to the point, you may also make use of an outdoors payment processor with ShopKeep, locating a more competitive rate than Square’s 2.75% of every transaction. (Compare a few of the top a merchant account providers here.)

Prices for peripheral hardware (Bluetooth printers, iPad stands, scanners, etc.) is fairly comparable for Square and ShopKeep, and to keep your hardware for either POS from third-party sellers.

Software and hardware Needs:

Champion: Square

All that you should take payments on Square or ShopKeep is really a supported smartphone or tablet and Wireless/data connection. However with Square you’ve got a a bit more versatility when it comes to hardware — you should use an Android phone to process payments, for instance, and you may have as numerous registers/points of purchase as you would like without getting to pay for more for that service.

Square works together with all newer android and ios devices, though it doesn’t formally guarantee compatibility with Android tablets. To gain access to the receipt printer, cash drawer, or bar code scanner, you’ve got to be linked to an iPad all peripheral hardware setups should be combined with an iPad.

ShopKeep works solely with iOS devices — latest-gen. iPhones, iPads, and iPad minis. You are able to browse different hardware setups within the ShopKeep Store. As pointed out, with ShopKeep, your rate per month is dependent upon the number of registers you’ve.

Integrations and Add-Ons:

Champion: Tie

Square integrates with increased apps and outdoors software services than ShopKeep, and it also provides an API for developers. So for the reason that sense, Square is much more customizable than ShopKeep. However, unlike Square, ShopKeep integrates with many outdoors payment processors, which for many shopkeepers, may well be a much more important than integrations with third-party accounting or invoicing apps. Also, since ShopKeep provides more features out-of-the-box, you might require less outdoors tools (for example inventory software) anyway.

Here are a few of Square’s integrations:

  • QuickBooks
  • Stitch Labs
  • Xero
  • IFTT
  • TaxJar
  • SumAll
  • Fresh KDS
  • Shopseen
  • ShipStation
  • Intrakr Inventory
  • Zoho Books
  • MyERP

Find out more about Square’s integrations.

The primary ShopKeep add-ons/integrations are MailChimp, QuickBooks, and AppCard. ShopKeep doesn’t provide a public API, though this really is supposedly coming later in 2015. Observe that while ShopKeep integrates with plenty of charge card processors additionally to the in-house processor, you can’t use PayPal or LevelUp with ShopKeep.

Customer Support and Tech Support Team:

Champion: ShopKeep

Customer care is definitely an area where both of these services differ significantly.

Square’s customer care continues to be notoriously harmful to a lot of the service’s history, although once we discuss within our Square review, everything has been gradually improving in the last couple years. Both phone and email support are actually available during business hrs, though responses aren’t particularly personalized or prompt, with email responses sometimes taking on to 3 the future through. And with regards to account holds along with other issues natural with third-party payment processors (more about that in a moment), prompt, account-specific support could be really important.

ShopKeep, by comparison, has perfectly-received customer care, available 24/7 by telephone or email or via live chat during business hrs. ShopKeep boasts about its customer care among the “features” incorporated within the monthly charge. So, they take support pretty seriously, also it shows.

Reviews:

Champion: ShopKeep

There are lots of negative Square reviews floating online, with nearly all unhappy customers complaining about account stability issues and/or poor customer support. Naturally, third-party payment processing is much more dangerous than traditional payment processing, which risk is regrettably frequently forwarded to the retailers using these types of services, by means of withheld funds, account freezes, and sudden account terminations. Compounding Square’s account stability issues is Square’s poor/slow customer care, that make it hard to solve business-critical account problems.

Fortunately, there’s something that you can do like a merchant to prevent the kinds of account problems some Square users experience find out more within our article regarding how to avoid credit card merchant account holds, freezes, and terminations. 

Moving forward, ShopKeep has far less negative reviews than Square, though that’s partially since it doesn’t have as many users as Square (ShopKeep reported 16,000 registers being used by early 2015, whereas Square’s users have been in the millions). Some ShopKeep retailers are unhappy concerning the limitation of merely one florida sales tax, however for most users appear to become pretty quite happy with the service.

You should check out Square’s and ShopKeep’s particular Better Business Bureau’s profiles here and here (observe that Square isn’t BBB-accredited, while ShopKeep is).

Final Verdict:

Champion: Tie

Square is a straightforward and somewhat cheaper option to a complete-featured POS like ShopKeep. Square is a superb choice small companies and begin-ups — it essentially runs itself. Square offers a lot of features and it has no fee, which makes it a less expensive option for lower-volume retailers. It&#8217s flexible service design enables employees, as the organization puts it, to “each be their very own reason for purchase.” Additionally, it offers the opportunity to setup a built-in online storefront.

ShopKeep, however, is a superb option for companies which require hard data and tools to handle employees, inventory, and customers. ShopKeep provides more responsive customer care than Square while offering numerous payment processing options, while Square users are tied to Square’s in-house processor, that has not-so-great account stability and greater charge card transaction rates (when compared with, for instance, Payline Data, that can be used with ShopKeep).

Overall, Square is a superb, financially achievable option for casual micro-companies who wish to accept mobile payments, particularly if they should also sell online. ShopKeep is much better for greater-volume companies who require a far more robust point-of-purchase system. We love to these two services a great deal and also the choice really depends upon your unique needs. You can call us if you want any help deciding between these mobile POS systems, or other POS for instance!

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The Very Best POS Systems for Cafés

cafe pos systems

Anybody who’s labored in food service knows there’s more to managing a café than good food and great service. You’ll need precision, nuance, and 4 many years of jujitsu training. Wait&#8230I’m considering my sister, who&#8217s training to become ninja chef. But my point still stands. Any ninja-chef-to-be will explain there’s lots of work happening behind the curtain of the well-run restaurant. Besides the jujitsu, you will find books to become balanced, inventory to become tracked, employees to become managed, people to be marketed to, and reports to become examined. Even small company proprietors could possibly get overwhelmed when they don’t possess the proper tools.

Alas, have no fear! Though I don’t have my sister’s martial-art skills, I’m outfitted using the understanding of three POS systems that could be precisely what your charming corner café needs.

ShopKeep is my first pick it&#8217s a strong, feature-heavy system by having an intuitive and seamless interface. Clover Small is available in close second using the mobility, personalization, and scalability to match almost any business. TouchBistro raises the trunk with limited back-office functions, but several great integrations along with a secure on-site system.

ShopKeep

One thing which i love most relating to this product is its simple prices scale. At $59/month per register, ShopKeep provides a no-contract subscription which includes maintenance, service, and tech support team. This is particularly convenient for small company proprietors that require the versatility of the no-obligation, pay-as-you-go POS system. There’s hardly any risk involved too. Whether it&#8217s less than exercising with ShopKeep, you can just finish the month and switch. Must you switch locations quickly? ShopKeep are designed for this too. Using the low hardware costs of the cloud-based POS and also the mobility of tablet-based software, you are able to break lower the machine, move it, and boot up again with ninja-like speed.

But don’t believe that this compact design comes at the expense of functionality, because ShopKeep seems to cram a effective software program right into a in some way elegant and intuitive interface. The in-application abilities are comprehensive and can include the opportunity to add modifiers, take multiple types of payment and split tenders, rapidly add discounts to some check in the item or order level, and perform easy returns and refunds. It also comes with an offline mode that enables the application to carry on functioning for amount of time in the situation of the Internet outage.

The rear office functions are simply as simple to use, enabling you to personalize your menus, manage employees and customers, keep records of transactions, generate reports on all of your data, and track your inventory. This last feature is especially essential in a café atmosphere where you have to be in a position to track the raw ingredients of every dish. Sure, you can always count the number of salads you offered and calculate after that the number of tomato plants, heads of lettuce, and croutons this gives you, or let ShopKeep do that for you personally. Actually, you may also set reorder points and produce a obvious report detailing what, just how much, and that vendor to buy any low stock item. If the all will get to become a bit much and you’d choose to run your accounting via a third-party program, Shogo integrates directly with ShopKeep for simple bookkeeping.

Having a competitive prices plan along with a feature-wealthy yet compact design, ShopKeep is well-suited to many differently-sized companies. If you’re quite happy with your quaint single-location café, that’s great. This will have all you need to help run your company. However, if you’re obtaining a bit restless and searching to grow, ShopKeep is totally scalable. The organization provides a couple hardware bundles that hover round the $1000 mark therefore it won’t blow too large of the hole inside your budget if you choose to give a second (or third or 4th) location. And should you choose get another location and want to tell others, ShopKeep provides an integration using the popular marketing service MailChimp.

Sporting the functionality and personalization of an infinitely more clunky system yet presenting everything inside a compact and intuitive package, ShopKeep has everything. Even though you may finish up getting issues with the system’s integrations or advanced features, ShopKeep’s customer support department comes with an excellent history for rapidly identifying and fixing any problems you may have. Overall, ShopKeep is our top pick for café POS systems, but continue reading to find out if Clover Small or TouchBistro could better fit your business.

Get Began With ShopKeep

Clover Small

Probably the most interesting aspects of the Clover Small POS system is it isn’t offered by its developers initially Data. Rather, since the system is built to compliment your charge card processor, it is usually offered along with a free account and could be purchased in a variety of banks, business suppliers, and a merchant account providers. Which means that you’ve quite an array of merchant services and charge card processors, it implies that there’s no set cost. Based on in which you buy the system, it may cost between $200 and $400, which is ideal for individuals who’re proficient at negotiating prices and never so excellent for introverts like myself who religiously avoid that factor people use their mouths . . . speaking, I believe it’s known as.

I’d state that probably the most appealing—and simultaneously, unique—aspect of Clover Small is its unparalleled customizability. If you’re searching to help keep things really quite simple and don’t wish to deviate an excessive amount of in the system you have in position, you should use Clover Small only to take payments (Clover is stated is the innovative payment terminal available on the market). Around the switch side, if you’re searching to have an all-in-one POS system, you may choose to include a variety of CRM, accounting, and inventory applications from Clover’s comprehensive application sell to strengthen this program around you’d like.

The machine comes and among two service plans: 2000 Service Plan and Pro Service Plan.

The 2000 Service Plan enables you to definitely “Get all of the abilities of the standard charge card terminal” additionally to:

  • Support for EMV and Apple Pay
  • Capability to issue refunds
  • Manage tips, tabs, and authorizations
  • Closeout reporting
  • Cloud Syncing
  • Optional worker permissions

The Professional Service Plan includes everything above, plus capabilities like the capability to:

  • Ring up orders
  • Charge taxes
  • Apply discounts
  • Create Products
  • Manage Customers

Beyond diets, the characteristics incorporated inside your particular system is determined by the functions you’ll need and also the apps you utilize to support individuals functions—including the opportunity to take payments, open and shut bar tabs, authorize charge cards and shut them out later, keep an eye on tips and transaction histories, and perform closeouts. More complex functions for example offering gift certificates, using loyalty software, integrating by having an eCommerce platform, and clocking employees in or out will need using third-party applications, but forms of easily available through Clover’s application market.

The machine is simple to use and simple to setup since it arrives with a preloaded menu and minimal manual set up. The register is outfitted having a built-in printer, front-facing camera, and the opportunity to read barcodes and QR codes. If you’re searching to utilize a secondary bar code scanner and maybe even a built-in weight scale, you are able to plug these in to the USB ports on the rear of the unit. The interface is web-based and stores information within the cloud, but posseses an offline mode like ShopKeep to ensure that an online outage won’t completely halt your company.

Though inventory management is comparatively simple once you’ve first got it established, I must state that adding new inventory happens to be an simpler process. You need to download a listing spreadsheet and complete multiple fields (cost, item name, cost type, cost unit, tax rate, business cost, product code, SKU, quantity, labels, etc). There are several nice food service-oriented elements though, because you can create modifiers for every item, set a set or variable cost, and cost products per unit (oz, g, kg, lb).

Clover Small is yet another effective tool that displays the customizability and scalability that will attract a variety of quick serve business proprietors. If ShopKeep isn’t quite your look, I’d give Clover Mini’s modular setup a go. However, if neither of those systems have quite struck an electric cord along with you, stay. We’ve got yet another.

Get Began With Clover Small

TouchBistro

Unlike ShopKeep and Clover Small, TouchBistro is really a in your area-installed POS that—outside from the software updates and initial download—does not want a web connection to function. You may still sync multiple devices to 1 server, but this is accomplished more than a localized wireless network rather of the Wi-Fi signal. This setup enables for any secure, completely on-site system, speculate there’s no cloud connection, you will not be able to watch your company making adjustments from outdoors the shop. These types of features have been in development though, and TouchBistro has already been supplying a beta form of the cloud-based real-time reporting feature.

TouchBistro’s prices plans include 24/7 customer support, free updates, and limitless users for between $69 per month for 1 license to $399 per month for limitless licenses. Each license is really a register, and when you decide to go using the Standard subscription, you just need one iPad that will assist because the central hub for the entire restaurant. For several iPads, you’ll have to run the professional Server Application on the Mac Small to do something because the central database that all the iPads will communicate. This is particularly nice for small companies that choose to house their systems in your area, but don’t possess the space or plan for clunky and costly servers.

TouchBistro is ideal for cafes particularly, since it is created for promising small to medium-sized companies, but offers some good dine-in features such as the customizable floorplan. Tables could be color-coded based on the employee who manages them, and you may name the parties sitting each and every table or perhaps assign each order to particular seat number and guest. An order details for every customer and also the menu choices are offered by exactly the same screen, and when a web server must describe a dish, all they need to do is tap around the item to see a complete screen picture along with a short description. Once everybody has purchased, you are able to remotely send an order to kitchen printers, either all at one time or by course (i.e. appetizers first). Following the meal is completed, you might also need a choice of processing payments tableside with charge card readers which are directly installed in to the iPad.

When it comes to back-office functions, TouchBistro includes a easy and attractive interface that’s simple to navigate. A few of the backend functions really are a little missing, though. For example, there isn’t a choice for any mass CSV file import, and therefore all menu information should be joined by hand around the device. The inventory management, accounting, and reporting functions will also be somewhat limited and fundamental, but there’s also some good integration possibilities. A number of individuals include Freepour, a method that measures the number of drinks were put to be able to compare that for your sales data Open Table, a reservation service and 7Shifts, an employee scheduling program. More integrations with Xero, QuickBooks, and merely EAT—an online food ordering service—are available too.

Overall, though TouchBistro doesn’t have as many features as ShopKeep or Clover Small, it’s still a broadly popular system that’s been vetted by over three 1000 users. With several additional features within the works, TouchBistro has great potential and offers to become more and more competitive in in the future.

Get Began With TouchBistro

Time For You To Give It A Try

Intrigued by one of these simple systems and able to give it a try? ShopKeep provides a 14-day free trial offer that doesn’t require any contract signing or charge card information. You may also join a totally free trial with TouchBistro by using here. Clover Small doesn’t possess a trial versions of their software—probably because every system will probably be different with respect to the apps you’re considering to use—but you will discover where to purchase your system and who to make contact with here.

If none of those systems talk to you, there are many other POS reviews to peruse on our website or call us directly and we’ll help during your search.

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10 Surprising Advantages of an iPad POS System

iPad POS system

Traditional point-of-purchase system providers and modern companies alike have acknowledged the benefits of a method that provides both reliability and versatility inside a mobile world. The likes of NCR, that has been supplying POS solutions since 1884, now provide more contemporary, affordable solutions for small companies using iPad-based terminals. Newer companies, like Clover, use alternative hardware that is equally as sleek and effective being an iPad. Because it stands, iPad POS systems offer great possibilities for startups along with a smoother transition from bulky terminals for retailers searching to create a switch. When you think about the options, listed here are ten advantages of an iPad POS system you might find surprising.

Low Learning Curve

The iPad POS system provides a virtually painless consumer experience. Unless of course you’ve never touched a tablet before, the simplicity makes staff training (or customer use if you’re utilizing a kiosk-type model) quick, simple, and simple. John at Toppit Pizza, had this to say of the Amber POS:

“It really didn’t take lengthy for the employees to determine the machine. Training is actually pretty easy using the more youthful, more tech-savvy generation. Most employees learn about ten or fifteen minutes of coaching . . .”

Security

Secured data transferUsing the growing chance of data breaches, device hacks, and charge card fraud, security is really a high priority for just about any business. On POS systems like Bindo, charge card information is encrypted and isn’t stored around the iPad itself. Here’s another little bit of great news. The Apple iOS has a few of the top cybersecurity measures in the class. Their security guidelines really are a bit mind numbing, however, you can skim through their 55 page guide for more information. I’ll provide you with the hyper-condensed version: The Apple iOS uses a mix of hardware and knowledge file encryption techniques to prevent software and firmware from studying certain facets of your device information directly, or perhaps other devices in case your storage device is used in another device. Apple also uses several user-controlled safety measures to avoid direct accessibility device, including passcodes and time delays for incorrect passcode records.

Forward Thinking

The iOS software programs are well known because of its forced upgrades, but keeping pace with safety measures and industry standards could keep your customers’ information safe. This can also make sure that your software programs are running in an optimum level. Another advantage of that’s the freedom from the cloud. You have access to the information you require from almost anywhere, though I wouldn’t recommend doing this over a wireless network.

Faster Checkouts

Because of the speed from the cloud, along with the ever-updating software from the user-friendly iPad, checkout occasions are usually faster. Some POS providers, for example Revel, also provide offline modes where you can still accept payments even when your network connection is lower. Gourmet Services executive VP Alfred Baker had this to say of Revel’s iPad system throughout an ASU game:

Customer Engagement Tools

Among the greatest advantages of an iPad POS product is the elevated use of customer engagement tools. Included in this are paper versus electronic receipts, customer tracking tools, and marketing abilities that will help you integrate the systems that monitor customer transactions and customer relations. Vend POS offers the opportunity to email customer receipts, and Lightspeed Retail offers CRM tools able to supplying specialized reduced prices for customers in a few groups.

Effective Features

Many iPad POS systems include effective features that frequently aren’t on traditional systems. These functions include inventory tracking, direct ordering for restaurants, shipping integrations, loyalty solutions and much more. Becky McCray, a small company owner and blogger, authored this about her experience switching to ShopKeep from the traditional POS System:

“The people working the leading lines love the brand new system. Forget about marking lower every item offered in writing. You don’t need to train any new part of the arcane organization of liquor products by category. (“Is honey whiskey an upright, or perhaps a niche?”) You don’t need to be aware of category system to find information about a cost. You don’t need to write lower your clock-in and clock-out occasions. All that is handled by ShopKeep . . .Inventory control may be the single greatest benefit for all of us . . .ShopKeep has additionally ongoing to include features, like gift certificates, awesome email receipts, integration with MailChimp for e-mail marketing for your customers, a much better reporting dashboard and marketing dashboard, and plenty more.”

(Link)

Reporting Abilities

ipad tablet reports data and chartsWith multiple features built-into a main system, report tracking could be more descriptive than ever before, providing you with reliable, actionable information regarding your customers’ behavior, in addition to supplying information that may help you manage your company more proficiently. Quetzal POS, that is aimed at small retailers, offers numerous sales history filters for reports. Additionally they offer other customizable reports, like the “What to Buy” report which can serve as a listing tool. Read the Quetzal review for more information.

Financial Savings

The price of many traditional POS systems runs from costly to downright prohibitive, particularly if you’re searching for particular features. Having a cloud powered iPad POS system, startup pricing is considerably lower and much more easily available to the business proprietor by having an iPad along with a reliable web connection. Shannon Seip, who owns Bean Sprouts Café &amp Cooking School, saved roughly $10,000 switching from her traditional POS system for an iPad based system. She states:

“For small businesses like us where $10,000 makes a significant difference, which was a vital differentiator.”

(Link)

Bigger Tips

Server picking up tipsFor individuals within the hospitality business, customer-facing iPad POS systems that facilitate customer ordering and payments happen to be recognized to encourage better tipping. Research made by Software Advice concluded three quite interesting points about tipping utilizing an iPad. First, most customers experienced virtually no difficulty while using iPad to tip. Second, 86% of consumers choose to input tips themselves, instead of getting a web server input strategies for them. Third, 29% established that an “opt out” option would boost the likelihood they could leave some advice when the order forced customers to choose from departing some advice or marking “no tip.” See? Guilt journeys work well.

Image Booster

If your company is the area darling, you are able to most likely pull off utilizing an old terminal some time longer, but transitioning for an iPad POS system does create a forward-minded statement. The iPad looks awesome, runs well, is current, and resonates with today’s modern, technology-crazed society. If you’re just beginning your company, new clients expect a “wow” factor of some type. Possibly a sleek bit of technology will have the desired effect, though I wouldn’t expect any people to revisit exclusively to stare at the iPad.

Conclusion: iPad POS System Leads those

Here’s an eleventh benefit, that is good for individuals who don’t make use of an iPad for his or her POS system. The introduction of iPad POS software has opened up the marketplace for several competition, giving older companies a lot more incentive to modernize. I’m wishing to determine more the likes of NCR develop 21st century solutions (like NCR Silver for small companies) and searching toward seeing beginners develop Android and Home windows options (for individuals people who can’t bear the idea of touching an iPad or anything Apple Mac).

Anyway, the iPad POS makes beginning a small company readily available for retailers with less capital and offers a far more centralized means to fix managing a effective business. Before the pool widens to incorporate more diverse alternatives, the iPad POS system takes charge.

The publish 10 Surprising Advantages of an iPad POS System made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Very Best POS Systems for Liquor Stores

liquor store pos

Bust out the lager, tepache, and plum wine—you’re opening a liquor store!

Discontent using the cheap beer and weak spirits of local supermarkets, you’ve finally made the decision enough is sufficient. Should you don’t bring some truly select fair for your town soon, surely the economy will collapse!

Okay, so perhaps I’m hamming up a little, but whether you’ve been swigging sake or downing daiquiris because the tender chronilogical age of twenty-one (or earlier—I won’t tell), you’re ready to become purveyor of nature’s nicest nectar and open a wine shop or liquor store. You’ve signed the lease, plastered within the holes within the wall, as well as built a countertop from wine casks to own place that charming, rustic feel. Now you just need your products and you’re all set, right?

No! You didn’t remember the most crucial element: an incredible reason for purchase system which will keep the store raking within the revenue lengthy enough to pass through across the family business for your great-grand son, little Jack Daniels.

Obviously, you can always fluked it and pick whichever POS system has got the lovliest name. I’ve always found ERPLY fun to state, and it’s an excellent software program, but it’s most likely not the best choice for the specific industry. Within my research, Revel Systems may be the only POS that goes far above for wine and spirits retailers. But I’m getting in front of myself.

First, If only to increase a disclaimer to my ever-mindful audience. The next details are relevant to individuals companies that sell alcohol among other products, however is not always written particularly on their behalf. I mean , that although systems like Revel and ShopKeep may be ideal for a bar, liquor store, wine shop, or perhaps a winery, they’re not guaranteed is the right fit for say a supermarket or perhaps a complete dine-in restaurant. But basically just ruled your company out, you’ve managed to get to this point. You may as well keep studying and get a couple of pointers.

That Which You&#8217ll Need

Nugget of Understanding 1: Naturally, using the consuming age set at twenty-one (criminal, I understand), you’re gonna need to make sure to verify a person’s age before you sell them all of your fine fair. Bloodstream exams are costly and just accurate within nine many years of the person’s actual age so you’re most likely likely to desire a POS system that prompts your cashier to determine the customer’s ID before finishing the transaction. Revel Systems provides the only software I possibly could find with this particular feature. Certainly one of their sales representatives even explained their next software update includes the opportunity to scan ID cards to make certain they’re authentic. Which means you can finally eliminate the alley behind your store from the hoodlums selling fake IDs from the back of the van.

Nugget of Understanding 2: Fortunately, America is really a democracy, and that’s great. Regrettably, democracies sex laws and regulations, and you will find numerous rules managing the distribution of alcohol. For instance, you need to be in a position to track and report all the alcohol based drinks that get to your store, together with where they originated from. As well as, if some college kid is tossing the greatest party because the finish of prohibition and buys twenty wine gallons or even more previously, you need to record the date of purchase, the kid’s address and name, how and what much he bought, and also the serial figures associated with a full installments of distilled spirits. So therefore it may need robust reporting functions and ideally, a way to trace your clients as well as their purchases. This can require good accounting programs, preferably integrated into the POS. Again, Revel’s got all you need here: excellent reporting and inventory management functions, integrations with QuickBooks and Xero, as well as an integration with ShipCompliant—a compliance keeper that enables you to maintain on all of the industry-specific shipping rules.

Nugget of Understanding 3: Though I’m unwilling to compare your relationship together with your employees to that particular from the U.S. and Soviet Russia, the Russian/Reagan proverb “trust, but verify” works pretty much here. Sure, you’d prefer to believe the employees will be honest and ethical when they walk-through the doorway and don their multi-colored aprons (or whatever your store uniform winds up being), but this isn’t always the situation. Fortunately, most POS systems (including Revel) come outfitted having the ability to assign unique pins or swipable cards to employees. With this particular feature, you are able to track individual employees’ voided transactions, refunds, exchanges, comps, or other questionable actions. Obviously, you could designate permissions for the employees, only letting them perform certain functions inside the system. Like a bonus, Revel also enables integrations with DTT video surveillance to be able to compare questionable transaction records using the live video feed. Simply to make certain little Jack isn’t getting greedy.

Nugget of Understanding 4: I’d be darned basically didn’t mention this last nugget, though it’s not specific to simply liquor stores and wine shops. More essential than other things is selecting an excellent POS that functions well throughout. Yes, Revel is impressive using its fancy sales tracking and handy-dandy customer stalking abilities, however it has additionally been vetted and well accepted by a large number of users. I’ll admit that it’s got a bit of issues with customer care, which is actually a huge a part of any software company, but no product will probably be perfect. Overall, it’s among the best systems you’ll find for the particular kind of company. But if it’s wrong for you personally, ShopKeep and Bindo are a few high-ranking systems too. Sure, they don’t have as numerous features, but ShopKeep has won awards because of its customer support and Bindo has probably the most advanced inventory systems I’ve seen. So heck, be picky. In the end, the client is definitely right which time, you’re the client.

What We Should&#8217ve Learned

It’s time to locate a POS that can take the job from working. Let Revel help remind you to definitely make sure that college kid&#8217s ID which help you keep an eye on all individuals nitty-gritty details. Like I stated, our democracy loves documents and thus do great POS systems. Revel&#8217s excellent reporting functions, software integrations, and customer tracking features will make certain that you can maintain all individuals distribution and shipping rules. But your greatest priority is to locate a system that&#8217s best for you, even when it isn&#8217t Revel, ShopKeep, or Bindo.

Look for a system which will expand your market achieve with online store integrations. Bring your advertising campaign one stage further with advanced customer tracking and CRM software. Offer coupons, gift certificates, and niche discounts. Decide on a company which will try everything they are able to to make certain little Jack Daniels will get the opportunity to run his great-grandpappy’s store at some point.

If you’ve found an excellent system, share it around inside a comment below. Otherwise, tell us, and our experts can help you get the best POS for the business. In almost any situation, decide to open shop As soon as possible.

The publish The Very Best POS Systems for Liquor Stores made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Best Small Company POS

The owner of small restaurant

POS systems (that’s point-of-sales, for that uninitiated) have gone through some major innovations previously couple of years. The greatest of those changes range from the move of numerous systems “to the cloud” and also the emergence of mobile POS systems. While Square is most likely the very best-known mobile POS, it’s fairly fundamental and works well with casual micro-companies. However that doesn’t imply that your online business must lose out on the mobile revolution. Take a look at ShopKeep, SalesVu, and Shopify POS — three fully featured POS’s for small companies that contain cloud and mobile technologies for an entire POS experience.

After giving a short overview of the high small-business POS systems (plus one honorable mention), I&#8217ll let you realize which of those POS&#8217s we believe is the overall best POS for small companies — considering cost, set of features, reliability, along with other factors.

ShopKeep — Hybrid iPad POS for convenient Serve, Restaurants/Bars, and Retail

shopkeep-logo

  • Hybrid cloud-based iPad solution
  • $49/register/month
  • Perfect for small-to-medium-sized food service and niche shops
  • Offline functionality
  • Excellent customer care
  • Integrates with many payment processors
  • Back-office features including worker, customer, and inventory management
  • Raw component tracking
  • E-mail marketing (MailChimp) and QuickBooks integration
  • Fundamental hardware package includes: Stand, Card Readers, Receipt Printer &amp Cash Drawer
  • EMV nick card readers to simply accept nick cards, mobile payments (including Apple Pay) — free for any short time

Founded by Jason Richelson this year as a solution to poor-quality Home windows POS software, ShopKeep is straightforward-to-use iPad POS software with lots of helpful features. ShopKeep is particularly well-liked by food service and beverage retailers, because of features like raw component inventory tracking and onscreen tipping.

ShopKeep was among the first cloud POS’s having a “hybrid” setup. The program operates on an iPad register, but syncs its data towards the cloud when there’s a web connection. The application is constantly on the run once the internet goes lower, and queues charge card payments before the connection is re-established. This hybrid setup offers stability for companies concerned about a flaky web connection.

Affordable at $49/register/month, ShopKeep is really a terrific all-around POS for small companies which have only a couple of registers. Additionally, it includes helpful back-finish features like worker time tracking, real-time analytics, and marketing features. ShopKeep can also be noted for getting great customer care.

Finally, this POS integrates with many payment processors (including its very own well-received ShopKeep Payments), providing you with the versatility you ought to get the very best charge card processing rates. You may also accept mobile payments (including Apple Pay) with ShopKeep. And due to ShopKeep&#8217s EMV (nick card) terminal, retailers using the service are looking for the October 2015 nationwide change to EMV. 

Obtain the full story on ShopKeep within our complete ShopKeep review.

SalesVu — Advanced Mobile POS for Retail, Food, and repair Companies

salesvu-logo

  • 100% cloud-based mobile POS
  • Operates on iOS or Android devices (see Supported Hardware)
  • Packages vary from $25 to $150/location/month
  • Perfect for small-to-medium-sized companies
  • Works great for retail, food service, and expertise
  • Capability to charge decimal and fractional quantities (may charge through the pound or partial hour)
  • Limitless devices per location
  • Scaleable and customizable — can buy bundles or POS system “a la cart”
  • Must use with either Mercury Payment Systems or Century Payments credit card merchant account for charge card processing (see processing rates here)
  • Self-checkout kiosk (offered by $75/month level)
  • Integrated eCommerce and recurring billing options
  • Extensive back-finish features include accounting (QuickBooks integration), inventory monitoring, reports, custom discounts and promotions, customer database, worker management, appointment scheduling, and much more
  • One free charge card readers incorporated

SalesVu is yet another cloud-based mobile POS and one of the greatest for small companies, regardless of whether you take payments inside your brick-and-mortar store or on-the-go. Founded this year, SalesVu is marketed being an all-in-one business management solution, with sophisticated back-finish features like worker management and integrated online ordering, SalesVu greater than only a mobile register.

SalesVu is provided at three different cost tiers, using the “Basic” mid-level package which includes most features along with a self-checkout kiosk setting you back $75/month/location, with limitless devices permitted each and every location. Should you only want the POS without all of the features, you pay $25/month. Learn more about the characteristics you receive with every cost level here.

Additionally to food service companies and retail boutiques, SalesVu’s online appointment booking abilities and skill to charge customers fractional amounts (for instance, a small fraction of an hour or so) helps make the service ideal for service-based companies, for example therapists, fitness instructors, and sweetness professionals.

An area where SalesVu has room for improvement is its insufficient payment processing options. At this time, the program only integrates Mercury Payment Systems or Century Payments, meaning you’ll need to use one of these simple as the credit card merchant account. There’s even the problem with the inability to process charge cards in case your Wireless goes lower.

Find out more about the SalesVu POS system within our SalesVu review.

Shopify POS — Web-based iPad POS with Integrated eCommerce for Stores

shopify-logo

  • iPad and iPhone POS
  • Designed particularly for retail companies
  • Best for promising small to medium companies
  • Integrated payment processing with Shopify Payments
  • Fully web-based (can&#8217t process charge cards offline)
  • Has a free Shopify card swiper that matches in to the headphone jack of the iPad (you can purchase peripherals just like a cash drawer and bar code scanner within the Shopify Home Improvement Store)
  • Lite Plan — $9/month — in-person charge card rate of two.7% (no online shop) Basic Plan — $29/month in-person charge card rate of two.7% Professional Plan — $79/month, 2.4% Limitless Plan — $179/month, 2.2%
  • Limitless devices
  • Syncs instantly with Shopify eCommerce
  • Capability to generate custom payment options, accept partial payments, accept multiple types of payment
  • Discount, gift certificate, store credit, and custom sales item functionality
  • Back-end features include inventory management, reports (integrates with QuickBooks and Xero), gift cards, customer management, staff accounts

Shopify has been available since 2005, though its iPad point-of-sale system is really a newer offering. Shopify began by helping cover their eCommerce but still does well in this region — a large draw of the POS is it syncs seamlessly with Shopify eCommerce.

Even though you don&#8217t do eCommerce, Shopify continues to be a great POS for small retail companies. This POS has fully integrated payment processing with Shopify Payments, while offering a distinctive prices structure, whereby your rate per month determines your charge card transaction charges. At most fundamental $9/month plan, you receive a charge card processing rate of two.7% (for in-person swiped transactions) however a couple steps up in the $79/month plan, you receive a very decent rate of two.4%, or perhaps an excellent rate of two.2% in the $179/month level. Learn more about what you’ll get each and every prices tier here.

Another perks of Shopify POS include limitless products, inventory management features, advanced reporting, gift certificate functionality (at $79/month and greater levels), store credit, staff profiles, and the opportunity to accept multiple types of payment for the similar transaction. Responsive, 24/7 support can also be incorporated with all of packages.

Overall, Shopify is really a solid iPad POS for small stores, with affordable prices, integrated eCommerce and charge card processing, and lots of helpful point-of-purchase features. One of the only drawbacks is that you’ll require a web connection to process charge cards.

Learn more in our Shopify Review.

Honorable Mention: Quetzal — Hybrid iPad POS for Apparel and Shoe Retailers

quetzal-logo

  • Hybrid iPad cloud POS (created for iPad but could operate on a desktop if you like)
  • Particularly for clothing and shoe retailers
  • $990/location/year for 1-4 locations $940 for five-7 locations $890 for 8-10 locations
  • Limitless terminals per location
  • Offline functionality
  • Integrates with ROAMpay, Velocity, Gravity, National Discount A Merchant Account, and Mercury Mobile Payments in US Moneris in Canada
  • Rear customer-facing display
  • Multi-location
  • Multi-language
  • Discount and gift certificate features
  • Retail back-finish features including detailed customer profiles, Apple Figures reports (doesn’t integrate with QuickBooks), inventory management
  • Get Began Bundle includes Ipad Air, iPad Enclosure, Cash Drawer, Receipt Printer, Hands Scanner, Ethernet Cable and three Rolls of Thermal Receipt Paper
  • Accept swiped cards with Roam G4X headphone jack wordpress plugin device or nick card payments by having an (incorporated) EMV readers.

Established this year, Quetzal is a slick iPad-based POS and business management system made particularly for small, independent clothing and shoe retailers. Should you choose food service or a different type of business, it’s and not the POS for you personally. That stated, Quetzal is excellent at what it really does, if you operate a clothing or shoe store, pay attention.

From discounts and gift certificates to inventory management and customer accounts, Apple-centric Quetzal offers an array of helpful features, which you’ll begin to see the full, extensive listing of here. Most retailers will discover that Quetzal offers almost everything they require, as well as for a yearly cost of under $1,000 (minus peripherals such as the receipt printer, hands scanner, cash drawer, etc.), it presents an excellent deal over a traditional POS system.

Like ShopKeep, Quetzal is really a hybrid system with offline functionality, meaning you can keep to use Quetzal even if your online connection goes lower. When the connection returns, all pending transactions are processed and knowledge is synced towards the cloud.

For payment processing, Quetzal integrates with several credit card merchant account providers, including Mercury, Velocity, Gravity, and National Discount A Merchant Account. You may also use Quetzal with ROAMpay, which isn’t a free account by itself, but enables you to definitely process mobile payments with many major charge card processors, from Chase Paymentech to Bank of the usa. The only real downside with using ROAMpay is it’s yet another monthly fee, on the top of anything you pay your a merchant account provider.

Obtain the complete rundown on Quetzal within our Quetzal POS review.

What’s the very best POS in my Small Company?

Now it’s time to determine which provider meets your small business’s specific needs:

ShopKeep — Perfect for … small food companies/niche shops/liquor stores/mall kiosks with a couple of registers, who require some back-finish features, and wish a large selection of payment processors, offline functionality, EMV compliance, and skill to simply accept Apple Pay along with other mobile payments.

SalesVu — Perfect for … small food, retail, hourly professional companies, with single or multiple points of purchase (mobile registers), who would like sophisticated back-finish features, and maybe want to process payments on their own Android device. Comfortable with using Mercury or Century for payment processing and conducting business cash-only when the Wireless is out.

Shopify POS — Perfect for &#8230 small retail companies with a lot of products to market, particularly if you would also like integrated eCommerce and payment processing. Comfortable with using Shopify Payments as your credit card merchant account and conducting business cash-only when the Wireless is out.

Quetzal — Perfect for … small clothing and shoe retailers who would like a sleek, modern iPad POS with integrated sales and reporting features (and therefore are fine with using Apple Figures rather of QuickBooks).

If you want some assistance sorting which POS is the best for your store or restaurant, you are able to complete the shape in this article and our experts can help you determine the best idea POS for your online business.

Why ShopKeep Is the greatest Small Company POS

While all four of these solutions are really excellent, as well as your choice will be based somewhat in your business’s specific needs, ShopKeep may be the champion if you need to pick one. ShopKeep’s exceptional customer service and wide selection of recognized payment processors makes this specific cloud POS the safest, surest bet (SalesVu and Shopify have good customer care, but ShopKeep’s is top-notch) .

ShopKeep can also be affordable, versatile (works for food service, retail, and service industries), while offering helpful backend features like worker management, marketing features, and inventory management, in addition to offline functionality. Plus, you are able to accept Apple Pay along with other mobile payments.

Another major reason for ShopKeep&#8217s favor is its EMV-compliant card readers, which protect merchants from the approaching 2015 Payment Networks’ Liability Shift (whereby issuers and retailers who don’t accept customers&#8217 EMV-compliant cards will held responsible for fraudulent charge card transactions caused by swiping individuals cards).

Although it doesn’t offer each and every feature available, ShopKeep will greater than meet the requirements on most small companies searching for any solid POS — and all sorts of for under $50/month.

Wish to have a Try Out?

ShopKeep and SalesVu offer free trial offer versions — ShopKeep includes a 14-day free trial offer, along with Shopify POS, and SalesVu includes a 15-day free trial offer for whichever degree of service you need to try. Quetzal doesn’t formally provide a free trial offer, however, you can refer to them as to look at a demo from the service.

If you would like more options, you may also compare another top POS systems within our handy POS comparison chart, or take a look at our POS software reviews to judge much more systems.

The publish Best Small Company POS made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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The Retailer’s Help guide to Nick and Pin Cards

accepting chip and pin cards

After 4 years of anticipation, the October 1st EMV liability shift deadline originates and gone. If you’re like the majority of retailers, you aren’t quite prepared to jump in and will be a little bit late towards the party. Fortunately, it’s fashionable to reach late and we’ve still got the data you’ll have to take on each one of these liability shenanigans.

What’s EMV Again?

This short article adopts more detail, but EMV means Europay, MasterCard, and Visa, and essentially this shift implies that your company just adopted much more responsibility your money can buy spent at the store.

Typically, should you pay a magnetic stripe card at the terminal also it switched out to become a fraudulent charge from the lost, stolen, or forged card, the credit card issuer (Europay, MasterCard, or Visa) would result in reimbursing the client. However, since banks allow us nick and PIN cards which are safer than the earlier versions, if a person still seems to develop a fraudulent transaction (since you don’t possess a nick and PIN machine), you’re now accountable for it.

The entire reason for this transition from magnetic stripe cards to nick and PIN cards would be to boost security as it is more difficult to skim a nick&#8217s information than the usual magnetic stripe&#8217s information. However, if retailers don&#8217t possess a readers that may process the nick&#8217s information then your efforts are nullified. Banks do operator by issuing safer cards, now retailers need to do operator by buying machines that may process individuals cards. Whomever fails on their own end—either the financial institution for neglecting to issue nick cards or else you for missing a method to accept them—takes around the liability for just about any fraudulent charges.

Will I Actually Need a brand new Readers?

I’d look at this article for the entire story, but basically the reply is: it depends.

The Gestapo isn’t going to appear at the doorstep in the center of the night time demanding that you simply acknowledge the EMV shift otherwise, but it may be just like painful should you don’t. Sure, if nearly all your transactions undergo Dwolla or PayPal and also you don’t process charge cards anyway, then you definitely don’t have anything to bother with. However, should you choose accept debit and credit cards with no nick and PIN readers the only real kinds of fraud you’re not accountable for are: (1) using a lost, stolen, or counterfeit magnetic stripe card or (2) using a stolen or lost nick and signature card.

Side Note: Nick and PIN cards aren’t the same as nick and signature cards. See this short article for clarification.

Now a number of you may be thinking, “But nobody is with such fancy nick cards yet,” and you’d be partly right. Based on CreditCards.com, you may still find about 1.2 billion charge cards that still need to be upgraded to nick cards, but there happen to be 60 million U.S. nick card transactions processed in August alone. Through the finish of 2015, it’s believed that 60% of U.S. charge cards is going to be re-issued as EMV cards and perhaps only 40% of shops is going to be compliant at that time. I don’t like individuals figures, and that i don’t what you think, but I’d prefer to be safe than sorry.

How Can This Transformation generate income Conduct Business?

To begin with, you’ll take some new equipment, which might or might not be considered a hindrance. For one, nick card visitors more costly than their magnetic stripe-studying counterparts. We’re not speaking a 1000 dollar difference, but there’s still an obvious markup. This really is most clearly seen among mobile processors who accustomed to offer free magnetic stripe readers having a subscription for their processing services. Now, however, you’ll be billed between $30 and $50 for any readers that—if you’re an especially small company (and also you most likely are if you’re utilizing a mobile processor)—you might never use. Again, we’re not necessarily emptying your wallet here, but it’s an additional expense you’ll have to take into consideration.

Another component of your company that might have to evolve is the procedure of performing transactions over the telephone. Within the many articles presently available concerning the liability shift, one lady expressed her concern over this problem:

“What I&#8217m not seeing is exactly what transpires with our business? The majority of our charge card transactions are keyed records, Irrrve never see or handle the credit card whatsoever. Our clients give us a call using the card information and that i key it in.” –Jeri Rogers

Simply because you’re not pressing the credit card doesn’t mean you’re not accountable for verifying the identity of the individual trying to get something of your stuff. Should you process a dishonest transaction over the telephone, you might get a chargeback and &#8211 in some instances &#8211 be responsible for the transaction amount. And when the keyed-in information is compromised or hacked which results in fraudulent purchases, you might be responsible for any large slice of cash. However the new nick cards won’t impact these transactions, since they’re &#8220card-not-present&#8221 (CNP). The liability shift only pertains to card-present transactions, in which the merchant comes in touch with the credit card. Getting the nick around the card will not have helped to avoid fraud when the card wasn’t present anyway.

Finally, your company may also be affected inside a pretty major way with this whole nick and PIN business due to the fact not every POS systems are EMV compliant yet. Instore, particularly, takes a “wait and find out approach.” They assure their users that they’re testing prospective nick and PIN machines, consider “EMV devices and standards really are a moving target” you will find a lot of unanswered questions which will ultimately affect your choice to see the shift. Read Instore’s undertake it, however i disagree using their assertion that the chance of fraud is comparatively low (particularly if you’re a little store) which this justifies ignoring the shift. Even though you possess a limited fraud history, it might take only a few large fraudulent charges to manage some serious harm to your company. Certainly greater than a $200 EMV readers can cost you.

How Can I Buy an EMV Nick Card Terminal?

There exists a FAQ article on buying EMV nick readers that you could reference, but I’ll provide you with the SparkNotes version.

You are able to essentially buy a new nick readers from the places you can get a non-EMV terminal (your a merchant account provider or some third-party supplier if you will find a better cost). Most nick and PIN card readers—as lengthy while you purchase the model suitable for your POS software—can be programmed to utilize your credit card merchant account. Obviously, a merchant account providers reserve the authority to charge ridiculously high charges to get this done or they might simply won’t reprogram the unit whatsoever. Using this into consideration, it may be simpler to simply pay what they’re requesting the unit or it may be a great time to reevaluate whether you want to stick with your provider.

For leasing any type of card readers, EMV enabled or otherwise, we strongly advise against it. When you’ve steered clear of the conventional 48-month lease, you’ll most likely finish up getting compensated thousands more in interest compared to system is really worth. You will get the entire picture here, however the moral from the story is just don’t get it done.

Conclusion

In conclusion, here’s what we’ve learned:

  • The EMV liability shift is ultimately made to better safeguard against fraud, however if you simply don’t do your behalf within this effort, it might set you back.
  • Ultimately, you don’t need to become EMV compliant, but through the finish of 2015 it’ll be pretty foolish to stay so unless of course you don’t accept debit or credit cards.
  • Like every major transition, your company might need to evolve. Carefully evaluate how this transformation will affect your company and then try to stand above it.
  • You can buy an EMV-compatible terminal out of your a merchant account provider, but you might not wish to. Have a gander at our article about how much you ought to be having to pay for charge card processing and if you feel it’s time for you to switch, our favorite merchant services offer very affordable choices for EMV-compatible devices.
  • If you’re considering leasing a brand new EMV readers, please don’t. It&#8217s not worthwhile.

We know how demanding any type of major business transition could be and we’re here to assist. For those who have any queries regarding this publish or EMV compliance, please ask within the comment section below. Otherwise, you are able to call us directly for assist with cutting your processing charges or assist with selecting everything from a brand new reason for purchase system to loyalty rewards software. In almost any situation, don’t hesitate to tell us how the largest your work simpler.

The publish The Store&#8217s Help guide to Nick and Pin Cards made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Heckler WindFall Box Set Unboxing and Review

WindFall-Box-Set-Grey-White-Location-760x450

Heckler Design is definitely an American-based product design company, most widely known for pairing minimal designs with solid commercial-grade construction. Founder Dean Heckler is mind of the perception of the organization as well as an artist in the own right based on the Heckler Design website, Heckler oversees the style of best of luck, and try to using the finish-user in your mind. He states he has &#8220long had a love for smart simplicity and finding uses of technology intelligently and superbly.&#8221 This passion is instantly apparent in the organization&#8217s number of products, from cash drawers to wall frames to iPad stands.

At Merchant Maverick, we&#8217re always interested in new kinds of hardware, so that as a POS software reviewer, I’ve got a special devote me for POS paraphernalia. Naturally, after i learned about the WindFall Box Set, I needed to obtain a first-hands take a look at a number of Heckler Design&#8217s latest innovations. Like Heckler&#8217s entire WindFall collection, the WindFall Box Set includes strong, helpful POS hardware having a simple, smooth appeal. It’s beautiful, in the own way, in addition to compact, which makes it a fantastic choice for small companies with hardly any space.

Continue reading to see what else I came across&#8230

Packaging

The Heckler WindFall Box Set is well-organized and comes nicely packaged, a minimum of in my opinion. Generally, this area set will ship within 24 hours you order it when the order is positioned before 12 pm. I had been pleased with how quickly it showed up inside my door, however i was especially impressed with how good it was it to the shipping process.

Securely nestled within the primary shipping container itself were two compact card board boxes: one for that cash drawer and yet another for that iPad Air stand. They were simple to open and didn’t require me to compromise, tear, or else maim the types of materials having a knife or a set of scissors. Every component showed up undamaged, there was tight bubble-wrap around any factors that may have been prone to scratching or damage. Overall &#8211 similar to the product itself &#8211 I discovered the packaging to become both minimalist and functional. The interior boxes were sturdy and multiple-use, and would prove useful should you required to move your hardware in one place to another.

Additionally towards the check out and iPad Air stand, the 2 boxes contained screws, mounting equipment, along with other paraphernalia, and several installation directions (filled with diagrams) along with a flier which alerted me how to locate an instructional set-up video online. Each component was present and taken into account. On top of that, after opening everything up there wasn’t any mess! Obviously, there were a couple of inevitabilities &#8211 small plastic bags and a little bit of tape in some places &#8211 however i didn&#8217t need to get rid of any annoying Styrofoam peanuts or wads of packing paper. It&#8217s always nice to locate a company which understands how to use space correctly (thanks, Heckler Design!) and that i appreciate there weren’t any wasted materials or unwieldy, oversized boxes that i can cope with after unpacking my Windfall Box Set (I&#8217m searching to you, Amazon . com.com).

What&#8217s Within the Box?

The Heckler Windfall Box Set includes:

  • WindFall Are A Symbol Of iPad Air Box Set Edition
  • WindFall Cash Drawer (Automatic)
  • WindFall Cent Tray
  • WindFall Hanger for Star Micronics Receipt Printers
  • Kensington ClickSafe Cable Lock
  • Drawer-Kick Cable for Star Micronics Receipt Printers
  • Drawer-Kick Cable for Epson Receipt Printers
  • Two Manual Override Keys
  • Counter-Top Mounting Screws (optional installation)
  • Under-Counter Mounting Screws (optional installation)
  • PivotTable for WindFall Cash Drawer

Specs

Colors: Black-Gray, Gray-White-colored, Vibrant Red, Seafoam, or Emerald

Cash Drawer Dimensions: 11.9 inches wide, 8.5 inches deep, 4 inches tall

Cash Drawer Weight: 18 lbs

Materials: Powdercoated Steel, Urethane, Polypropylene

iPad Stand Viewing Position: 45 levels

Cost: $339-$399 (cost varies slightly based on that which you order)

Compatible Devices:

  • Ipad2
  • Ipad 3
  • Ipad 4
  • Ipad Air 1
  • Ipad Air 2
  • Ipad small
  • Ipad small 2 with Retina Display
  • Epson OmniLink TM-T70II-i Receipt Printer
  • Epson OmniLink TM-T88V-i Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-T20II Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-T70II Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-T88V Receipt Printer
  • Epson TM-U220B Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics DK-AirCash
  • Star Micronics FVP-10 Series Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP143L Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP650II Series Receipt Printer (Ethernet)
  • Star Micronics TSP654II BTi Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP654II WebPRNT Receipt Printer
  • Star Micronics TSP700II Series Receipt Printer

Compatible Card Readers:

  • Bank of the usa Mobile Pay on
  • Groupon Payments
  • IDTECH iMag Pro
  • IDTECH iMag Pro II
  • IDTECH iSmart
  • IDTECH Shuttle
  • IDTECH UniMag II
  • IDTECH UniMag Pro
  • IDTECH UniPay Card Readers
  • Intuit GoPayment
  • iZettle
  • MagTek iDynamo
  • MagTek uDynamo
  • PayAnywhere
  • PayPal Here
  • Rambler
  • ROAMPay
  • Shopify
  • Square
  • SumUp
  • Verifone SAIL

Set-Up

The WindFall Box Set is straightforward and doesn&#8217t require much setup, that is nice. Actually, the whole set up process includes investing in a couple of screws in some places, sliding your tablet device in to the iPad stand, deciding where &#8211 or perhaps if &#8211 you need to mount the entire unit for your countertop and/or mount an invoice printer somewhere, and winding cords with the proper channels (though this really is much more of a pleasing issue and it has no impact on function).

For complete instructions about establishing your hardware, and also to discover for yourself how easy it may be, browse the instructional video below:

&nbsp

First Impressions

WindFall goods are a minimalist&#8217s dream, and never with no certain oddly aesthetic charm, particularly if you&#8217re keen on a glance that’s at the same time bold and austere. Bear in mind, however, this isn’t any-nonsense equipment. It&#8217s heavy, it&#8217s stark, also it&#8217s utilitarian. It’s not only really made from hands-welded steel, however it looks enjoy it&#8217s made from steel and, more considerably, it feels enjoy it&#8217s made from steel (it really contains as much as 300% more steel than a lot of its competitors). Don&#8217t drop it in your feet, quite simply. Around the plus side, the sheer majority of the money drawer means that it’s unlikely to be taken in by opportunistic robberies.

One great feature from the WindFall cash drawer is it is made to be repaired and upgraded, not only replaced, if this malfunctions. This can be a huge money saver over time. What&#8217s more, the engineering is simply plain solid. Actually, &#8220to be sure that your drawer opens reliably each time, the automated WindFall Cash Drawer employs exactly the same electronic latch utilized in hospital crash carts.&#8221

The iPad stand is unremarkable, though well-built and functional, which is mounted in a perfect 45 degree position. The many other components also appear to operate perfectly in a fundamental, utilitarian level. I’d go to date regarding state that the entire box set is well-built, otherwise exactly attentively designed.

No method is without flaws, however. If only the money drawer inserts were as impressive because the cash drawer itself. Unsurprisingly, Heckler Design offers quite a bit to say of the innovation and mass benefit of their funds drawer inserts, that are certainly unique. Begin to see the image below:

2014-0625-Heckler-Design-518-F-600x400

The crux from the design is it can hold many currencies and isn’t restricted to the dimensions or denomination from the bills/coins (it works with $ $ $ $, Canadian Dollars, Australian Dollars, Euro, small denomination British Pound notes, Yen, and Rubles). In this manner, it features a mass, worldwide appeal, and may function exactly the same wherever it is worldwide. There’s one serious problem wonderful that, obviously: innovation doesn&#8217t always result in better functionality. Heckler Design has attempted to reinvent the wheel here, that is nice of these, don&#8217t misunderstand me, but finances lots of lovely, circular wheels that roll exactly where we want these to go. These re-imagined cash drawer inserts will vary, there&#8217s without doubt, however they&#8217re also confusing, a little cheap-searching, and reminiscent of a kid&#8217s check out set &#8211 less than the sense you need to convey for your customers. In Heckler Design&#8217s defense, the money drawer is produced from the strong polypropylene and it has no moving parts particularly in order that it doesn’t creak, slam, and groan in the same manner that the traditional cash drawer does. Should you&#8217re searching for something with minimal noise and minimal fuss, this can be the perfect drawer for you personally.

Another part of the cash drawer that stymies us a bit is it locks at the base. So, if you wish to have the ability to secure your money &#8211 who wouldn&#8217t? &#8211 you are able to&#8217t mount the register on your countertop. You need to either let it rest united nations-mounted (by which situation look out for thieves and/or perhaps your toes!) or mount the drawer around the bottom of the counter, and then leave the iPad stand on the top (begin to see the below image for a concept of the salt water evaporates).

WindFall-Box-Set-under-760x450

This can be a solution, obviously, however it isn&#8217t particularly appealing, particularly if your counter doesn’t have a front (such as the one above) and definitely doesn&#8217t convey the content: I&#8217m An Expert Store, Please Business Here. Frankly, I&#8217m unsure why they didn&#8217t just place the lock around the back or front from the cash drawer, where it might really be around. Because it is, you need to either turn the system over any time you wish to lock it (i adore that weighs 18 lbs?) or stoop lower underneath your counter, just like a little retail gnome.

Basically we&#8217re speaking about confusing design decisions, I must state that I’ve found the Kensington ClickSafe Cable Lock absolutely baffling. Meant to &#8220quickly and safely connect your countertop towards the WindFall Box Set&#8221 and stop against thievery, it appears for the world just like a bike lock. A little, toy-sized bike lock. Which, once more, doesn&#8217t scream professional establishment!

I suppose the cable lock is supposed to provide security, not just so that your hardware doesn’t get broken, but so that you can leave your money drawer unmounted without having to worry. The factor is, I’d think the sheer heft from the factor will probably be much more of a deterrent than the usual little bitty cable lock. Anybody who commits to some smash and grab robbery with this particular till will have a great deal of steel to cope with anyway.

Final Ideas

So what can I only say? The Heckler WindFall Box Set includes a pleasing (if austere) visual appeal, also it&#8217s very well built. It will be a terrific investment for any low volume business or perhaps a start-up. And man! It&#8217s unequalled that cost! At $399, it&#8217s a genuine steal for those that steel (see things i did there?) Overall, it truely does work well and really should be sufficient to obtain anybody through their first couple of years running a business.

That stated, will i recommend the product to medium or high volume companies? No, and it wasn’t designed for use in individuals environments. Do It could be great for a thriving loaves of bread or perhaps a busy thrift shop? Again, no. It isn&#8217t created for volume, it isn&#8217t created for speed, also it isn&#8217t particularly professional searching. However it&#8217s unfair to anticipate a starter package such as this to become any longer than what it’s: a good, functional beginner&#8217s hardware package with fundamental features &#8211 ideal for the merchant who processes couple of cash transactions and it has minimal counterspace.

The publish Heckler WindFall Box Set Unboxing and Review made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Using Nick-and-PIN Technology within the Food Service Industry

Woman paying for her order in a cafe

Have you ever observed that the clients are becoming confused once they visit your archaic terminal? Will they comically make an effort to jab their card to your terminal rather of swiping? No, these aren’t aliens who’re unused to the peculiar ways&#8212they’re customers with a brand new, ultra secure nick charge card, and they would like to utilize it.

Based on Trustwave’s annual security report, in 2015, the meals and beverage industry was the second biggest industry to become compromised by data breaches. Admittedly, that’s 13% of information breaches when compared with retail’s 43%, therefore the industry isn’t doing bad. But here’s the kicker: 95% of individuals security breaches were associated with POS systems.

If you’re within the food and beverage industry, possibly now is a great time for you to consider upgrading&#8230

Let Me Know Relating to this EMV Factor.

I’ll let our comprehensive guide do the majority of the speaking, but here’s the offer: nick cards tend to be more secure than traditional magstripes since the data accustomed to authenticate the credit card is dynamic rather of static. It’s still feasible for fraudsters to obtain phone figures used throughout the transaction, speculate individuals figures are just one-use, they aren&#8217t likely to be associated with a value. This selection, and also the (theoretical) impracticality of replicating the nick card, makes most customer-verification fraud very hard&#8230 unless of course you don’t possess a terminal able to studying individuals chips.

When I&#8217m sure you realize, nick cards still include magstripes. Should you don&#8217t come with an EMV terminal, you may still swipe the magstripe. Regrettably, fraudsters can certainly obtain access to that data, create a new card, and employ it at the store. My own mail to cope with that any longer, that is why as of October first, you’re responsible for any fraudulent charges that might have been prevented should you have had upgraded.

It’s your choice. You don’t have to upgrade. Just bear in mind that no new terminal means no new security.

I Don’t Swipe Cards. Must i Upgrade?

Not a chance! EMV only applies once the card exists and interacts together with your terminal. Should you type in records, take orders over the telephone, or sell your products online, keep on. However, thinking about that about 99% of food and beverage sales take place in-person, I’m guessing you swipe cards.

How Can Upgrading Affect my company?

EMV technology will affect your company inside a couple of small (but noticeable) ways initially. Obviously, probably the most pertinent problem is you&#8217ll need to shill the money to obtain new terminals. Yes, they will be more expensive than your old terminal. No, they aren’t likely to cost that a lot more. You’re most likely searching at approximately $30-$200 per terminal (significantly less money than when you get hit using the liability for fraudulent charges).

Take a look at our FAQ for more details about selecting a great terminal and where you’ll get them. Before you decide to do, should you process a sizable amount of orders or accept tips, continue reading to find out about specific terminal functions you will need to consider.

Slow transaction rates: You could also have difficulties because of the slower transaction rate that is included with dipping cards. Nick cards aren’t as easy as swiping and signing&#8212the customer needs to insert the credit card in to the terminal, sign or enter a PIN, and so the card spends a couple of moments speaking towards the terminal prior to the transaction is approved.

Should you process a higher amount of orders, and also the slower occasions will be a problem for the business, I would suggest searching in to the much-faster NFC technology as soon as you possibly can. Many EMV terminals are NFC enabled, however they&#8217ll cost a little more. For that customers who don&#8217t have NFC, train the employees working an EMV terminal therefore the transactions goes as quickly as possible.

Tipping: EMV cards don’t permit you to adjust for tips following the transaction has closed. Apart from that, we’ve got the technology is really new that no-one quite knows how tipping will go lower. Very frustrating, I understand&#8212both for workers who wish to give customers their privacy, and customers who wish to be discreet about tipping. If your company accepts tips, you’ve got a handful of different choices with regards to selecting the perfect EMV terminal:

If customers pay in a counter, as with an espresso shop, you’ll have a terminal having a customer-facing pin pad so customers can enter some advice. Similarly, if you are using a tablet, you can begin the transaction, then turn the information around to manage the client, or hands it them, to allow them to enter some advice prior to signing.

If visitors pay in a table, like in a restaurant, I would suggest obtaining a hands-held Wireless terminal. Using these, the waiter can begin the transaction, after which hands it towards the customer to include some advice and sign/input their PIN. Based upon the credit card issuer, you could possibly inform your waiters to accept card, process it, and then leave the transaction open. The waiter will bring an invoice towards the customer, who writes lower some advice and signs, and also the waiter adds the end before closing the transaction. However, the credit card issuers are extremely diverse about this topic that I indicate that you simply tread carefully should you&#8217re going lower that route.

So, Basically get EMV Terminals, I Don’t Need to bother about Security?

Goodness, no. You usually need to bother about security. Nick cards and terminals combat certain kinds of (very prevalent) fraud, but they’ll not do anything whatsoever to prevent security breaches. EMV technology only works along with other kinds of security. Nearly all POS system breaches, based on the Trustwave 2015 report, result from poor passwords (50%) or any other gaps in merchant’s remote access or Virtual private network software (44%). Once fraudsters enter, they are able to steal a great deal of information if it’s not protected, or they are able to install adware and spyware inside your software to collect information.

While you’re upgrading, you might like to invest a little time into changing your passwords, enabling network-level authentication, restricting use of only individuals who require it, and updating towards the new edition of all your software.

The Conclusion

Changes always cause ripple effects, and also the EMV transition isn’t any different. Although it may affect your company inside a couple of small ways, relax understanding that your company is only some of the one dealing with these changes. Once customers and companies get accustomed to EMV, retailers who haven&#8217t upgraded yet would be the odd ones.

We know how difficult all of this business software could be, and that’s why we&#8217re here to assist. Questions? Concerns? Leave them within the comments or call us directly.

The publish Using Nick-and-PIN Technology within the Food Service Industry made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Merchant Maverick’s Awards for Best Small Business Software

Best small business software

For most small business owners, it’s a jungle out there. Danger lurks around every corner, predators seem to be silently stalking your every movement, and – in the immortal words of Jethro Tull – the rivers are full of crocodile nasties. Let’s face it, when it comes to start-ups and small businesses the statistics are grim. According to one recent study, the failure rate of retail establishments after four years is over 50%, and businesses in the service industry usually meet the same fate. Sadly, restaurants tend to do even worse, and the majority are forced to close their doors before a decade has passed.

There are many reasons why businesses eventually fail – bad locations, limited staff, a poor economic climate, etc. But experts are beginning to agree that most failed businesses (no matter what industry they belong to) have one, very important factor in common: inexperience on the part of the owners/managers. It’s all very well to follow your dreams, but man does not live on dreams alone. For most of us, a little thing called money is required if we want to eat, access our electricity, wash our clothes, keep our children shod, etc. That’s right, money. It’s what you get when you run a business that brings in more revenue than it puts out. That sounds so simple: spend less than you make. But the reality is that pulling in a profit takes knowledge, skill, and access to the proper tools. Frankly, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve opened up a cat-grooming boutique or finally launched that grilled-cheese food truck you’ve always wanted – if you don’t know what you’re doing when you set out, and/or don’t bother to learn as you go, you might as well throw your seed money down the storm drain.

Fortunately, at Merchant Maverick (MM), we understand how hard it can be to start a business – let alone to keep one going for more than a year or two. You shouldn’t have to do everything by yourself – keeping up with inventory, payment processing, invoicing, shipping, point of sale, website design and the like is nearly impossible without the right equipment (good ol’ pen and paper just doesn’t cut it anymore). The good news? Advances in software and cloud technology have resulted in some pretty impressive small business tools. Even better news? The writers and reviewers at MM have invested thousands of hours researching, testing, and rating small business services/software. In other words, we know our stuff. Running a business is a tremendous burden, but the heavy lifting has already been done – we’ve done if for you – and all you need do is benefit from our years of experience.

Each company below has undergone a rigorous evaluation by an experienced MM reviewer. We scoured websites, read help articles, and browsed through user forums. We talked to customer service and saw for ourselves how responsive they were. And most importantly, we tested the actual software or service ourselves. The following are our reviewers’ top small business software picks for merchant services/payment processing as well as for mobile payments, shopping carts, point of sale, accounting, inventory management, invoicing, booking, email marketing, CRM, project management, loyalty rewards, and website building.

So, without further ado, let the awards ceremony for the best small business software begin!

Merchant Account Providers

Winner: Dharma Merchant Services

dharma-merchant-services-logo

Dharma Merchant Services is one of our all-time favorite companies, period, here at Merchant Maverick. Defined by exceptional customer support, low-cost hardware, excellent industry connection, and reasonable negotiation-free rates and fees, Dharma is an ideal option for small businesses with in-person sales. It distinguishes itself from the competition by using only interchange-plus pricing and charging no early termination fees or monthly minimums. There are no annual fees, no application fees, and no pesky PCI compliance fees to deal with either. In addition, this company dedicates 50% of its net profits to charity. Dharma is basically a paragon of integrity, honesty, and respect, and it’s worth its weight in gold in this sometimes unscrupulous industry,

There is one small catch: businesses must process at least $10K per month to use Dharma Merchant Services. Businesses with smaller revenue streams are directed instead to Flint Mobile (see review below).

Dharma offers amazing in-house customer support during business hours (8:00am – 5:00pm Pacific Time). If you need support outside this time frame, you will be directed elsewhere, depending on the severity of your issue and what processor you’re using.

To read more about Dharma Merchant Services, see our full review here.

Runner-Up: CDGcommerce

cdgcommerce-logo

Boasting a great reputation and a low monthly base fee (which includes access to Quantum gateway), CDG Commerce is a budget friendly alternative to Dharma Merchant Services, especially for low-volume merchants or web-based businesses. CDG was established in 1998, and has had plenty of time to cultivate a reputation for honesty and excellence. In fact, customer complaints are nearly non-existent, which is a miracle in itself after nearly 20 years in business. Like Dharma, CDG offers interchange-plus pricing, does not charge an early termination fee, and has no gateway setup fees or PCI compliance fees.

CDG Commerce charges only $10 per month in base fees; beyond that, you can pick and choose which additional services you want to pay for. This is a great system, as it ensures that you won’t be stuck buying things you neither want, nor need.

CDG offers live chat, email, and phone support 24/7. In our experience, support staff is helpful, knowledgeable, and scrupulously honest.

Click here to read our full review of CDGcommerce.

Mobile Payments

Winner: Flint Mobile

Flint-mobile-logo

Flint Mobile is our overall top pick for mobile, based primarily on its speed, ease of use, reliability, and price point. To start off, it doesn’t offer a swiper – not a free one, not a paid one, just no reader whatsoever. You can either key in card numbers or simply use your phone’s camera to scan numbers instead. That in and of itself significantly reduces the cost for setting up your account. Flint therefore has the ability to offer lower rates, which is exactly what they do. And with a ridiculously low rate for processing debit alongside a very fair credit rate, they’re nearly impossible to beat.

Flint has only two rates:

  • Debit transactions: 1.95%
  • Credit transactions: 2.95%

Yep, that’s it. It doesn’t get more complicated than that at any point: there are no per transaction fees, no non-qualified fees, and no surcharges of any kind. Flint Mobile runs transactions at a much faster speed than other similar apps, and while it might take a couple tries to get your scanning settings set up the way you like, Flint makes customization an easy and intuitive process. Our one complaint is that they do not provide any means for printing a paper receipt.

One very important thing to mention about Flint Mobile is that, even with the EMV liability shift (effective October 1st, 2015), users have no need to upgrade hardware. The camera scan will continue to work as it always has, with no change to liability. Currently it’s the only mobile processor we’re aware of that will securely process chip cards with no hardware upgrade.

This app can’t replace a full-feature tablet POS, but it comes with a number of amazing features (integrated QR coupons, invoicing, customizable receipts, etc.) and executes service flawlessly. If you’re looking for a sensible, surefire way to accept payments and grow your clientele, you can’t go wrong with Flint Mobile.

If you’d like more information about Flint Mobile, check out our full review.

Runner-Up: Payline Data

payline-data-logo

Payline Data is mostly a standard merchant account provider, but it has a good mobile solution and low-volume fee structure. Extra services are offered as-needed, so you only have to pay for what you need. There are two pricing models (to accommodate both low and high volume merchants):

Simple (Under $5,000 per month)

  • $5 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.50%
  • $0.10 per transaction

Pro (Over $5,000 per month)

  • $20 monthly fee
  • Interchange + 0.20%
  • $0.10 per transaction

We really appreciate the number of customer service and support outlets Payline provides, and it has an extensive knowledge base and FAQ for self-service support, which is quite nice.

Payline Data delivers on any businesses essential needs, and has managed to maintain positive reviews and a spotless reputation since 2009 – which is no small task in the credit card processing industry. In general, it’s a great pick for mobile processing for small businesses everywhere.

Find out more about Payline Data by reading our full review here.

Shopping Carts

Winner: Shopify

shopify-banner

Shopify is unique in that it can be used as a physical POS or an online shopping cart or both at once. This inherent flexibility gives it a clear edge over other shopping carts, and its low price point make it well within the reach for small businesses, even those with strained budgets. Shopify is the industry standard for shopping cart software, and for good reason. There are never any limits to the number of products you can sell, which is nice, though there aren’t many limits to the software in general.

All Shopify plans come with a full 14-day (no credit card required) trial. There are no setup or cancellation fees. Plans range from $14/month to $179/month with rates ranging from 2.9% + 30¢ to 2.4% + 30¢. You can pay on a month-to-month basis, but you’ll receive a 10% discount if you choose to pay for one year up front (a 20% discount is offered for those who sign a two-year contract). We’re not terribly fond of Shopify’s transaction fees, unfortunately, although they do get waived if you use Shopify as your credit card processor.

Shopify is eminently user friendly, and the cart is easy to set up and easy to manage. In our experience, the software works flawlessly from the point of view of both the customer and the merchant, and it is one of the most feature-rich carts available. It is accessible for online mavens, but it is also well within the reach of newcomers and amateurs. Shopify offers a number of apps, some of which are free and some of which may cost a small fee. You can check out Shopify’s App Store to browse offerings.

Customer support is available via phone, email, and live chat, but there are other great self-help resources as well, including a support center, Knowledge Base, a discussion forum, and a Shopify “Experts” page where you can find experienced professionals in design, marketing, development, and photography.

For more information, click here to read our full review of Shopify.

Runner-Up: Ecwid

ecwid-logo

Ecwid, the “go anywhere, sell anything, no manual required” shopping cart, is designed for small eCommerce businesses, as well as for individual sellers and start-ups. We’re big fans of Ecwid, and there are two main reasons why. Firstly, it is extremely ubiquitous, and capable of integrating with nearly every existing website, from social media platforms to blogs. Secondly, it is so reasonably priced, compared to its competitors, that you would be foolish not to take it out for spin. Unlike most shopping carts, there is no typical “free trial period” for Ecwid. Instead, you can simply try out the Free Plan (the obvious advantage to doing this is that your services won’t be cancelled after your trial period ends).

Ecwid offers unlimited storage, unlimited bandwidth, and no transaction fees on every subscription level, even the free plan. Paid plans range from $15/month to $99/month. Personal support by email and online chat are only available at higher subscription levels.

Like Shopify, Ecwid gives you the option to use the software as a physical POS. However, this function is really best suited for online-only business owners who want the option of having a mobile or “pop up shop” operation, but aren’t trying to maintain a physical storefront at all times.

In general, Ecwid is a solid product with great, user-friendly elements. It’s not the best solution for high-volume sales, but most companies out there (especially startups and very small businesses) will be fully satisfied with its features and ease of use.

Read our full review of Ecwid to learn more.

POS Software

Winner: ShopKeep

shopkeep-logo

ShopKeep is one of the best software solutions we’ve ever encountered at Merchant Maverick. This simple, elegant, and visually-appealing cloud-based POS has carved out a solid niche catering to small-business food and beverage sellers. For a very low monthly cost, ShopKeep can help you manage your inventory, customers, employees, as well as record transactions and offer a variety of reporting options (for analyzing all this data).

ShopKeep does not require you to sign a contract. It is a pay-as-you-go, monthly subscription service. There are no extra maintenance fees, and what’s more impressive, tech support is 100% included in the monthly charge. The actual pricing system is beautifully simple as well: $49/month/register.

Other than it’s extremely reasonable price point, ShopKeep’s biggest selling point is its ease-of-use. There is very little learning curve involved, and even the most technologically deficient should have no problem learning the ins and outs of this software in a matter of days (or hours, more likely).

Customer support is fantastic, and unlimited email, live chat, or phone is included in the monthly price. The support page on the company website is also fantastic, and offers comprehensive articles and video tutorials on every aspect of the software.

Read our full review of ShopKeep if you’d like more details.

Runner-Up: SalesVu

salesvu-logo

SalesVu is a perfect POS for the average small business, offering a robust feature set at a competitive price. eCommerce options are built right into the software, so you can design your own site from the back office without ever having to pay for (and integrate) Shopify or hire an expensive third party designer. Integrated eCommerce also ensures that communications between the web store and the brick and mortar store are smooth and seamless.

Prices range from $25/month to $150/month, depending on how many features you need (things like time tracking, accounting, etc. are a bit extra). Basically, SalesVu can be as affordable as you need it to be. Additionally, when you open an account with SalesVu you get a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit (for some small business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need).

Customer service is good, but the primary strengths of this software are found in its intuitive interface and broad flexibility. It is so much more than just a mobile cash register. With SalesVu, you can monitor inventory, create detailed reports, design custom discounts and promotions, maintain an active customer database, and manage employees – and you can do all these things anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. Opening an account with SalesVu gets you a free credit card reader, which is a nice benefit. For some business owners, an iPad and a credit card reader may be all you need.

SalesVu integrates with SalesVu Easy Accounting, Quickbooks, Facebook, and Zapper.

You can check out our full review of SalesVu for more information.

Accounting Software

Winner: Xero

best small business accounting software

It’s not hard to see why Xero takes the prize for best small business accounting software. It is mobile, cloud-based, easy-to-use, and extremely comprehensible for the small business owner who is handling finances on his/her own (click here for a full list of features). While it can be more expensive long-term than something like QuickBooks Pro, small business owners – especially those who aren’t accountants by nature or profession – are more likely to enjoy using a simple, intuitive program like Xero.

There are multiple pricing plans available, ranging from $9/month to $70/month (these prices include updates as they are released, usually every 3-6 weeks). Small companies with limited invoicing needs would have to look far and wide for a similarly robust accounting/payroll package that trumps Xero’s $9/month price tag. And happily, you don’t have to sign a contract with Xero; plans are paid by the month and you can basically cancel the service at any time. Xero offers a 25% discount for non-profits and a 15% discount on your total bill if you subscribe for multiple businesses. If you do feel comfortable making a commitment and signing up for a 6 month subscription, you’ll get a 30% discount.

There are only a few minor problems with Xero, one of which is slow customer support response times. Customer service is offered 24/7, year-round, but some customers have complained of long response times, cut-and-paste answers to questions, and reps who don’t seem to actually know how to use the software. This would be a much bigger deal if Xero was complex or had a steep learning, curve, but it’s not as alarming considering the software’s general simplicity and ease of use. Furthermore, many customers praise Xero’s level of customer service, and the wait times are comparable to those of other accounting software programs.

One real perk of using Xero is that it integrates with over 400 other applications which can facilitate nearly every aspect of business operation, including inventory management, CRM, and POS (some of these are only available to certain countries; in the U.S., there are about 350 Xero integrations available). 

Read our full review of Xero here.

Runner-Up: QuickBooks Pro

Best small business accounting software

Intuit’s QuickBooks Pro is a robust, feature-rich accounting solution, perfect in many ways for small business (to see a full list of features, click here). It is locally installed software, which results in lower per-year costs and more features than your typical cloud-based software, so if you’re willing to deal with a pretty steep learning curve at the beginning (especially difficult for people who have no previous accounting background), then QB Pro can be an excellent way to save money in your accounting budget. Though it lacks the convenience of a cloud based solution – you don’t get automatic, routine updates or instant access to new features – it is a very viable accounting solution for companies with complex bookkeeping needs.

QuickBooks Pro’s list price is $299.95. This might seem a bit high compared to something like Xero, but keep in mind that QB Pro requires a one-time purchase and does not use a subscription model — and it is nearly always available at a discount. While there’s no free trial available, Intuit does back QB Pro with a 60-day guarantee; if you return the program for any reason within 60 days, you can get a full refund. Unfortunately, as I mentioned above, the purchase price does not include updates, nor do you get full tech support or bank feeds. It’s also worth noting that customer service tends to be slow.

One comment we’ve noticed often on user reviews is that, while people aren’t particularly enthusiastic about QB Pro, it works and does what it’s supposed to do; many claim that it’s the best accounting program available. While that’s far from a resounding recommendation, it’s also true that despite its drawbacks, for many businesses, QB Pro is more than adequate. And whether you love it or hate it, QuickBooks Pro is often the best option for the money.

Read our full review of QB Pro here.

Inventory Management Software

Winner: Stitch Labs

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Stitch, the flagship product of Stitch Labs, is a cloud-based inventory management solution with tons of functionality, myriad useful integrations, and fantastic customer service. Designed to combine inventory, billing, accounting, shipping, and eCommerce features with your choice of 3rd party integrations, Stitch is the do-it-all, full service inventory solution. As the name would suggest, it is intended to be the thread that holds the backend of your company firmly together. Really, its only flaw is that is designed exclusively for American companies. International businesses will have to look elsewhere. 

Price plans range from $29/month to $449/month, not bad considering how many features this software brings to the table. What’s more, Stitch is easy to use, even for the uninitiated. The UI is clean, understated, and intuitive. Within a few minutes of signing up, you should feel like a pro, able to create products and customer contacts and generate sales orders with ease. It’s easy to pick up on your own just by experimentation, but if you’re queasy about finding your own way around, you can reference one of the many tutorials on each page that take you step-by-step through all the basic tasks.

In general, the customer service department is responsive and helpful. Our questions were promptly answered (never longer than 24 hours, even on the weekend), and ticket creation happened immediately, so we always had a case number to reference and never felt lost in the shuffle. Not surprisingly, the Stitch Labs support team is highly praised all over the web.

Stitch integrates with a large number of other programs and applications, including Amazon, eBay, BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and Square, to name just a few. And when you combine an excellent selection of integrations with powerful suite of tools,you’ve got inventory management software that is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses.

You can read more about Stitch Labs in our full review.

Runner-Up: TradeGecko

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TradeGecko, a cloud-based inventory application for small to medium sized businesses, is comparable to Stitch Labs in functionality and number of integrations, but is more geared toward international companies (it still works well for American companies, if you don’t mind a time difference with the support staff).

The design of this software emphasizes collaboration, group workflows, and activity feeds. This means that you can reference sales information, purchase orders, and stock levels at once, and they will all update in real time. TradeGecko is intuitive and easy to use, and has a clean – if spartan – UI which is perfect for a bookkeeping system.

TradeGecko offers a free 14-day trial, no credit card required. Plans range from $49/month to $399/month, though you can get a monthly discount if you commit to paying for a year up-front. The company provides a detailed knowledge base, with step-by-step instructions for performing many tasks, and it also offers 24 hour customer support. On the whole, our support experience was positive, though a few of our tickets took longer than we would have liked to resolve.

Integrations include Shopify, Salesforce, Xero, Magento, Quickbooks Online, Amazon, and WooCommerce (to name a few). All in all, TradeGecko isn’t the cheapest product on the market (which is why it’s the runner up for this category) but it is so intuitive and feature rich that small to medium-sized businesses with a budget to kick around should give it a look.

For more information about TradeGecko, read our full review here.

Invoicing Software

Winner: Freshbooks

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Officially, Freshbooks is a web-based accounting solution, though it is fair to say that it’s best utilized for its incredible invoicing features. This software is tailor made for independent contractors and small, service-based businesses; it is easy to use, has lots of interesting features (including time tracking, reporting, and expenses), and integrates with a huge variety of 3rd party applications.

Pricing, unfortunately, is a bit steep for the target market (small businesses), though there is a free plan which allows you to manage a single client. Paid plan range from $19.95/month to $39.95/month. Customer support is available Monday – Friday, 9am – 6pm EST. In our experience, representatives are remarkably quick to respond to emails (usually within 20 minutes during business hours) and are courteous, helpful, and knowledgeable.

As mentioned above, FreshBooks offers more than 60 integrations and add-ons including  PayPal, Shopify, Basecamp, and Stripe. It is as comprehensive an invoicing solution as you could hope for, especially since it does offer other perks, like reporting.

You can read our full review of FreshBooks here.

Runner-Up: Invoiceable

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Invoiceable is simple, easy to use software that allows you to create professional looking invoices. It’s actually free to all, with no feature limits, though you can opt to pay a one-time fee to remove the company’s branding from your invoices: this is a perk that no other free invoicing program offers. Additionally, unlike many of the other major free invoicing programs, Invoiceable isn’t just a wimpy, scaled-back version of a paid service. You can have as many clients and send as many invoices as you like.

Of course, with a completely free service you’re going to miss certain features that come with a paid subscription. Support, for example, is unreliable and sporadic. Response times can vary between 1-12 days, and sometimes you may not get any response at all. There is also limited sales tax functionality, which means that the software really only works for businesses that charge a single, across the board tax rate, or don’t charge tax at all.

That said, if you are a freelancer or own a very small business with relatively low sales volume, this may be all you need for now. It’s leaps and bounds better than simply typing out your invoices into MS Word or Excel, and it is one of the best free options out there that both allow you to have unlimited clients and actually works in the United States! The interface is basic and intuitive, and while customer service is slow, you probably won’t need it most of the time. If this sounds like a good match for you, we suggest you try it out. You’ve got nothing to lose – after all, it’s free.

Read our full review of Invoiceable here.

CRM Software

Winner: Zoho CRM

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User-friendly, reasonably-priced, and full of useful features, Zoho CRM is our favorite customer relations management software, hands down. It’s not hard to see why we’re such big fans. The “building blocks” which make up the Zoho CRM logo are not there for design purposes alone; these blocks allude to the fact that the Zoho team has developed many other business applications, all capable of working together seamlessly (much like Google Apps). In addition, Zoho has an well-deserved reputation for integrating nicely with a number of 3rd party add-ons, including MailChimp, Unbounce, Google Apps, MS Office, and Quickbooks (see a full list of add-ons and integrations here). In short, Zoho CRM software can adjust to any size business, be whatever you need it to be, and grow with you as your business expands.

You can try Zoho CRM for free with a 15-day trial of their Professional package. After that, pricing breaks down as follows:

  • Entrepreneur: Free, up to 3 users
  • Standard: $12/user/month
  • Professional: $20/user/month
  • Enterprise: $35/user/month

24-hour Mon-Fri telephone support is available to paying customers, though those using their free edition are limited to email support. However, your email questions can be flagged according to urgency, so that important queries do not fall to the wayside.

You would be hard pressed to find a CRM that provides more functionality at a lower cost. Zoho CRM is, without a doubt, the most bang for your buck.

Read our full review of Zoho CRM here.

Runner-Up: CleverTim

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Clevertim is a cloud-based CRM system with a firm mission: to cater specifically to small businesses. With a surprisingly reasonable price point, a clean, user-friendly UI, and the ability to integrate with 3rd party developers (via an open API), Clevertim may just be as clever as its name suggests. The only chink in Clevertim’s armor is the lack of a mobile app. As it is now, the app functions smoothly on a desktop, but is only so-so on a tablet and virtually nonexistent on a phone.

Clevertim offers a 30 day free trial. After that, plans range from absolutely free to $99/month. You can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel your subscription at any time. Unlike most other CRM systems, Clevertim does not charge on a per-user basis. Instead, each plan has a user limit. There is also  customized pricing available, which allows you to upgrade the number of users allowed in your plan.

Clevertim is relatively new and does not yet have its own dedicated Technical Support team. However, queries can be sent to the company either via web tickets or through the sales email address.

Read our review of Clevertim here.

Booking Software

Winner: BookingBug

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BookingBug can do just about anything you would expect from scheduling software, but still manages to be accessible and intuitive. Many companies claim to be versatile, but this software actually is designed for a wide variety of industries, making it one of the only options out there for B&Bs or bike rental shops, and a better option than most for medium-sized spas and salons. It is a perfect tool for businesses that want to offer combination services while managing limited resources and limited staff (see a full list of features here). It is distinct from other appointment booking software other ways as well: first, it’s designed for serious scalability – which again validates its claim to be “the only real-time distributed booking and reservation system that works for all business types” –  and second, it integrates with a vast number of 3rd-party apps all over the world. This is a company that prides itself on innovation and flexibility.

Plans run from $19.95/month to $69.95/month, or you can scale up to an Enterprise plan, which are priced on an individual basis. Customer service comes free with your account. Like most companies, BookingBug relies heavily on email support, but phone support is available for some of the more expensive plans. We received helpful responses to our email inquiries within hours – always a great sign.

One terrific thing about BookingBug is that it offers your customers the option to make online payments (full or partial, including pre-payment and bulk payments); you can also issue full or partial refunds directly through the site via one of the software’s numerous payment integrations. BookingBug integrates with programs like MailChimp, WordPress, Facebook, and Dropbox as well.

There isn’t much negative feedback about the company online or in user reviews. Granted, some people have complained about issues with their mobile apps, but BookingBug’s receptivity and responsiveness to these issues speaks well about the company’s commitment to customer service.

To read our full review of BookingBug, click here.

Runner Up: Bookeo

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Bookeo is cloud-based booking software with a lot to offer. Not only does it include important booking features, but it provides a surprising variety of marketing solutions, integrates with many payment platforms and third party applications, and boasts excellent security features. This is innovative software as it is, and Bookeo continues to improve with age; significant new feature releases occur every few months, and updates are frequent. The only consistent complaint disappointed reviewers have is with its lack of phone support. (Bookeo relies on email and a store of 300 tutorials for its customer support.)

Bookeo’s pricing differs by product (in other words, by whether you want to book appointments, classes, or tours), but each version offers a 30-day free trial and a 30-day money back guarantee on the first paid month of subscription. Bookeo accounts do not require set-up or processing fees and you don’t have to sign a contract – always a good sign.

One of the best things about Bookeo is that it is user-friendly. Action items and information are intuitive and clearly distinguishable, and the software in general is organized neatly, in a very manageable way. There isn’t much setup support, unfortunately, but the self-help tutorials available are precise, and sufficient enough to help you circumvent most major problems.

Customer service centers on the Bookeo Help Portal, which consists of 300 tutorials and an email support form. There is no phone support, however, and this is the only consistent complaint from disappointed reviewers. You can receive some support via a live chat option on Bookeo’s promotional website.

Read more about Bookeo here, in our full review.

Email Marketing Software

Winner: MailChimp

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At Merchant Maverick, we’re all in agreement that MailChimp is the boss when it comes to email marketing. It’s a mature, time-tested software with reasonable pricing plans, a great selection of features, and tons of integration, and it scales well to just about any size campaign. Better yet, for users with modest needs, MailChimp offers a robust, flat-out generous free plan which lets you have up to 2,000 subscribers and allows you to send up to 12,000 emails per month. There’s only one real catch: if you do your email marketing with the free plan, there will be a small MailChimp badge at the bottom of every email you send out. 

Paid plans come in two basic varieties: send-based (pay as you go) and list-based (monthly). These plans are fairly specific and complex, so if you’d like more details about pricing you should navigate here.

MailChimp is generally very easy to use, and signing up for a MailChimp account is simple; enter a name and email address and you’re on your way. The customer support system is pretty extensive as well, though it lacks telephone support, which is slightly disappointing. However, our experience with them has been good; representatives were courteous and well-informed, and inquiries were answered in anywhere from 20 minutes to 20 hours, depending on urgency. MailChimp’s biggest selling point, however, is that it offers over 500 integrations and add-ons. (These include Google Analytics, Zendesk, SHopify, Magento, and Salesforce).

Check out our full review of MailChimp here.

Runner-Up: AWeber

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AWeber appeals to a smaller niche than MailChimp, but it’s still incredibly easy to use and quite affordable. It comes with some very nice features, especially for businesses which want to send all new subscribers the same series of messages: the autoresponder setup in particular is easy, intuitive, and well explained within the program, and users have a lot of options. 

AWeber offers a free 30-day trial for lists of up to 500 subscribers. After that first month, there is a single list-based pricing plan available. It’s reasonably priced for the most part, but so robust that very small companies may find they are paying for lots of extra features they may not even require. If you don’t need much from your email marketing tool, you might be better off with MailChimp’s generous free plan.

In general, AWeber finds a healthy balance between ease of use and high functionality. Navigation is remarkably intuitive, considering the number of features available. The WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor has some quite impressive characteristics, and recent updates to the software have have managed to significantly improve the email design experience. Additionally, the analytics and reporting capabilities are well above par for an email marketing tool of this type, as are AWeber’s investment in numerous 3rd-party integrations.

Our experiences with customer support have been positive overall. As a rule, we’ve found AWeber’s representatives to be friendly, helpful, and prompt in responding to queries. Response times to our inquiries varied in time between 20 minutes and 6 business hours.

Read our full review of AWeber here.

Project Management Software

Winner: Trello

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Trello is a visually-oriented, Kanban-based project management tool that works by allowing users to see and manage their tasks and projects via detailed ‘cards’ which are then pinned onto ‘boards.’ At its most basic level, Trello is an ingenious way to create and organize a set of virtual 3×5 cards without the risk of misplacing them, but it also can also work as a simple task management tool, offering features like file storage and automatic email notifications.

The standard, free version of Trello allows for unlimited boards, users, and attachments (with a 10 MB max per file upload). However, for a fee, Trello also offers two upgraded versions of the software: $3.75/user or $5/user

Trello’s simple, visually-appealing UI makes it incredibly easy to use; there is almost no learning curve involved. A mere five minutes after I signed up I was able to navigate the software quickly, creating cards and boards like a pro. It may be integrated with several 3rd party apps, including Zapier, Google Drive, Box. Dropbox, and OneDrive.

Trello provides email support (via support@trello.com) to all users during normal business hours (Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM EST).

Not only is this software reasonably priced, but it is characterized by elegance, simplicity, and user-friendliness. It would be difficult to find a basic project management solution with a more intuitive, visually-appealing design. And in terms of sheer adoptability – of getting your employees to actually use a software-based task management tool – Trello scores extremely high.

You can check out our full review of Trello if you’d like more information.

Runner Up: Basecamp

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With over 9,000,000 current users, Basecamp is considered the most popular cloud-based project management software system of all time. It is, without doubt, one of the most user-friendly project management programs out there. When it comes down to brass tacks, simplicity is an enormously valuable characteristic, and Basecamp is just that – simple. This is project management software at its most basic and effortless level.

This software is celebrated for its no-frills, no-fuss pricing system. There are no hidden fees and no per-user costs. Plans range from $20/month to $150/month. Features include task tracking, a calendar, email notifications and a daily recap of activities, text documents (basically giant legal pads), and very simple reporting.

Basecamp is known for fast, reliable service. While they don’t provide the level of immediate personal support that you can get from other software companies (read: no phone or live chat support), the folks at Basecamp respond quickly to email requests and offer a large variety of ready-made aids and live training tools.

Basecamp itself is a pretty basic program, but there are a huge number of optional 3rd party applications available if you want or need to increase software’s functionality. You can see a complete list of Basecamp integrations on the official product website

If you have plain, bread-and-butter management requirements, we think you’ll find that Basecamp is a suitable, extremely affordable way to go. One of the best things about Basecamp is the fact that it is designed, updated, and supported by an established parent company. It is a sure bet, in other words.

Read more about Basecamp in our full review.

Shipping Software

Winner: ShipStation

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ShipStation is a reasonably-priced, web-based shipping solution for eCommerce retailers. Designed to streamline the fulfillment process as much as possible, this software has invested in a huge number of integrations that make it possible for you to sync up your business with the most popular sales channels, shopping carts, payment gateways, and mail carriers.

Pricing plans range from $25/month to $145/month. There’s a free 30-day trial that includes access to all features, with no credit card required. If you’re not satisfied with the product within 90 days, ShipStation offers a full refund, no questions asked.

The user interface can be a bit overwhelming at first, as there multiple options, menus, and sub-menus displayed on most pages. A bit of patience is definitely required when you start out, though you can take advantage of a number of video tutorials, a large knowledge base, and a pretty robust community forum if you run into trouble. Actually, you can have your own personal account manager if you want, and this person will help guide you through the setup phase of your account. Some of the higher paid plans can receive chat support as well. In general, customer support is slightly disappointing, and the responses we received to queries were somewhat boilerplate and indifferent.

One of ShipStation’s biggest selling points is that it integrates with an enormous number of carriers, marketplaces and shopping carts, especially when compared to the competition, including FedEx, UPS, USPS, and Fulfillment by Amazon, as well as Shopify, Etsy, Magento, Square, eBay, etc. The list goes on.

Check out our full review of ShipStation for more information.

Runner-Up: ShipWorks

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ShipWorks is probably the best shipping software available, though unfortunately it’s a PC-only app (which removes about half of the world’s users) and the learning curve is extremely high. The good news is that this software, which is designed to streamline the order fulfillment process for small to large businesses, has many amazing features you can’t find in other shipping applications. With a few clicks, ShipWorks can download shipping information from an online sales channel, calculate and print postage, generate labels, packing slips, and more. Combine this functionality with integrations for over 40 different mail carriers and eCommerce platforms, and you’ve got a shipping solution that really packs a wallop. Additionally, ShipWorks scales well, in a way that its SaaS competitors don’t.

Cost per month is determined by two different factors: shipment volume and number of licenses. Shipment volume is divided into three tiers:

  • $14.95/month for 0-99 shipments/month
  • $29.95/month for 100-999 shipments/month
  • $49.95/month for 1,000+ shipments/month

The price for shipment volume is then added to your licensing fee to determine the monthly bill. How much you pay for licensing is based on the number of online sales channels you use with ShipWorks.

Our own experiences with ShipWorks support have been positive. Turnaround times on support tickets were 24 hours or less, and we never had trouble reaching anybody on the phone. The Knowledge Base is extensive, and covers everything from setup and configuration to online marketplaces and shipping providers. What’s more, the articles are clearly written and provide plenty of screenshots.

As I mentioned above, ShipWorks integrates with a huge variety of shipping carriers and online marketplaces (including USPS, FedEx, UPS, Magento, Etsy, Shopify, Volusion), but if you happen to use a store that isn’t directly supported by ShipWorks, you can always work with a developer and use the ShipWorks Generic API to create your own integrations.

Click here to read our full review of ShipWorks.

Loyalty Rewards Software

Winner: Sweet Tooth

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Sweet Tooth is a prolific loyalty rewards software that currently works with over 3500 merchants worldwide, including Delta, Universal, and Olympus. Sweet Tooth is dedicated to increasing customer engagement, and case studies from many of the clients mentioned above have demonstrated nearly 20% increases in customer lifetime values, sales and repeat purchases. It is complex software with a high learning curve, but in general, the benefits of using a robust loyalty rewards software outweigh the inconvenience of having to learn how to use it! Sweet Tooth is an ideal solution for both eCommerce merchants and merchants who use combined methods of commerce.

Sweet Tooth works best – and is most full featured – when it’s used through Magento, though you can use a lighter, simpler version of Sweet Tooth on BigCommerce or Shopify (this is free for up to 500 customers). Sweet Tooth subscription plans are offered monthly and automatically renew unless cancelled. Plans begin at $49/month, and are broken down by loyalty point transactions and annual revenue generated on Magento. If your activity exceeds the limitations of your plan you will be required to upgrade to the next available plan. You can view the full pricing details for Shopify, BigCommerce and Magento on the Sweet Tooth website.

Customer service is available Monday to Friday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm EST. Overall, our experience with Sweet Tooth has been positive. Everyone we’ve spoken to at the company has been knowledgeable and friendly, and most reviewers on Magento cite the technical support as an essential part of their loyalty program.

Read our full review of Sweet Tooth if you’re interested in learning more.

Runner-Up: Belly

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Belly provides a more hassle-free loyalty rewards program than Sweet Tooth, and is ideal for smaller businesses with brick and mortar store fronts (such as bakeries, cafes, grocers, bars, spas, fitness clubs and boutiques). What’s really unique about Belly, though, are its customizeable rewards offerings and “all in one box” setup, which includes an iPad (with stand and combination lock), data reports, a personal support representative, social media integrations, and email marketing tools. Even more significantly, Belly customers get a mobile page for their business on the Belly app, where potential customers can look to find Belly-compatible businesses.

Monthly subscription costs range from $99 – $199, and all contracts run for 12 months. The cost of the iPad, iPad stand, application software, and unlimited rewards cards are included in the subscription costs for the highest plan, but an additional $150 installation fee is charged for lower plans.

Right now there are only a few drawbacks to Belly, most important of which is its steep price. Customer service can be a bit spotty as well, and unfortunately, not enough other businesses currently use it, which doesn’t provide much incentive to customers to get in the Belly network. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for an easy, no-worries loyalty program, you can’t go far wrong with Belly.

Read our full review of Belly for more details and information.

Website Building Software

Winner: Wix

 

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Wix is our number one choice for web building software, and it’s not difficult to understand why. With its sleek editing interface and multiple selection of apps and integrations, it is an extremely effective do-it-yourself website designer. In addition to being easy to use, Wix provides a great selection of unique and visually appealing templates (there are hundreds to choose from).

The free version of Wix is provided to anyone who signs up, though any website you create under the free plan will be branded with the Wix logo. Paid plans range from $4.08/month to $24.90/month. Wix’s store offers payment processing through a handful of vendors, including PayPal, WebMoney, Skrill, and PayU.

All in all, Wix is intuitive and user-friendly. Within a few hours, you should be able to take a template, mess around for a bit with the editing tools, and build yourself an incredibly fine looking website.

Because Wix allows developers to create and share their own add-ons, other users are given the opportunity to expand and diversify their websites as well. Some of the most popular integrations available include online shop expansions (like the Etsy app), the Wix Hotels premium booking system, live Instagram feeds, website profile systems, and a variety of other site boosting applications

There is one downside to the software: unlike most other website-building services, Wix does not offer 24/7 live-chat or provide an email response system. There is a toll-free number you can call for help with technical issues, but be aware that you could possibly be put on hold for an unspecified amount of time.

Click here to read our full review of Wix.

Runner-Up: Jimdo

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With its reasonable price points and clever, yet simplistic editor, Jimdo has made a mark on the website building industry. Managing to be both straightforward and comprehensive, Jimdo allows users to make custom, professional looking websites. Templates are provided, of course, but you’re not bound to the confines of the template you choose; you have total freedom to edit and can essentially be as hands-on about the design process as you want.

Jimdo plans range from free to $20/month, and all plans come with an HTML5 WYSIWYG web editor, usage of professional-grade templates, social media tools, a mobile device editing view, blogging tools, photo galleries, Google Maps, contact forms, direct video embedding, widget integration, optimized mobile websites, and unlimited bandwidth.

While the only online payment processor currently supported by Jimdo is PayPal, a selection of various real-world payment methods can be activated in a website’s store, including invoicing, payment-in-advance, collection-upon-delivery, local pickup, and local delivery.

This is an easy-to-use service that somehow still manages to astound with the depth of its overall functionality. Some things may be a bit too simple, and Jimdo isn’t sophisticated enough to work as a tool for a professional web designer, but it is perfectly suited – price-wise and in ease-of-use – for small businesses who would otherwise have to hire out their web design services.

Read our full review of Jimdo here.

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