Business Crowdfunding Versus Charitable Crowdfunding

crowdfunding platform

An upswing of crowdfunding continues to be one of the most outstanding tales of history decade. The key crowdfunding platforms have sent vast amounts of dollars to projects and results in that otherwise might not have seen the sunshine of day. It’s a type of fundraiser that best encapsulates the approach we take to reside in this youthful, turbulent century &#8212 a reason&#8217s viral potential is possibly the best indicator of their probability of success.

All of this buzz can obscure the truth that the crowdfunding scene is split up into two rather distinct camps: crowdfunding for business/artistic projects and crowdfunding for privateOrnon-profit causes. There&#8217s lots of money flowing into both camps, as seen through the fact that Kickstarter (funding for small business ventures) and GoFundMe (funding mainly for private causes) have facilitated the raising well over $3 billion dollars each. However, the strategies and techniques essential for a effective crowdfunding campaign &#8212 indeed, the websites used along the way &#8212 differ extremely with respect to the purpose that the funds is going to be used.

Let&#8217s check out the variations between what must be done to conduct a effective business crowdfunding campaign and what must be done to complete charitable crowdfunding right.

Ways Of Crowdfunding

Generally speaking, crowdfunding has become conducted in four various ways:

  • Rewards-Based Crowdfunding: Backers purchase an offer using the knowning that they&#8217ll receive rewards (or &#8220gifts&#8221) a treadmill sort or any other. Very gently controlled. For entrepreneurs/companies.
  • Equity Crowdfunding: Each backer is definitely an investor who funds a venture in return for equity &#8212 an possession stake in the organization. Permitted within the U.S. through the JOBS Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama this year, which legalized the general public solicitation of equity to investors. A lot more heavily controlled than rewards crowdfunding. For entrepreneurs/companies.
  • Debt Crowdfunding: Also known as &#8220crowdlending.&#8221 Backers lend money to some campaigner, who are obligated to pay the borrowed funds with interest. For entrepreneurs/companies. Highly controlled.
  • Donation-Based Crowdfunding: Donors lead to some cause without expecting anything in exchange. Used by charitable campaigns, less by business campaigns. Mostly unregulated.

Look at this article to obtain the main issue on the different sorts of crowdfunding platforms.

Crowdfunding Websites

Let&#8217s undergo a few of the popular crowdfunding sites available and also the ways of crowdfunding they will use.

  • Kickstarter: Rewards
  • Indiegogo: Rewards, Equity, Donation
  • GoFundMe: Donation, Rewards
  • Patreon: Rewards, Donation
  • Fundable: Rewards, Equity
  • Razoo: Donation
  • Crowdfunder: Equity
  • EquityNet: Equity, Debt
  • LendingClub: Debt
  • Prosper: Debt
  • Accion: Debt
  • Kiva U.S.: Debt

Now let&#8217s examine which crowdfunding platforms are perfect for which purposes.

  • Kickstarter is exclusively for business projects, particularly games, gadgets, and artistic ventures.
  • Indiegogo may be the rare crowdfunder that’s well-suitable for both business and charitable crowdfunding. Indiegogo waives its 5% platform fee for charitable campaigns.
  • GoFundMe is mainly for charitable campaigns. You could test an offer for any business enterprise on GoFundMe, but which makes it gain traction might prove challenging.
  • Patreon is a business crowdfunding platform for individuals who produce creative content continuously (podcasters, bloggers, etc.). Backers lead on the recurring basis, not only once.
  • Fundable is perfect for business fundraiser.
  • Razoo is mainly for charitable fundraiser.
  • Crowdfunder and EquityNet are suitable for companies.
  • LendingClub, Prosper, Accion, and Kiva are mainly for entrepreneurs seeking business funding.

I&#8217ll break it lower further. If you wish to conduct a clinical fundraising event for any brother or sister&#8217s operation, launch an offer to rebuild a neighbor&#8217s fire-broken house, or set up a playground for disabled children, GoFundMe is easily the most prominent spot to go. They lately announced that how much money elevated on their own platform had exceeded 4 billion USD. That&#8217s 4 billion dollars put towards worthy causes (and a few, um, entertaining causes), elevated by fellow humans. Although some have reported issues when attempting to withdraw the funds elevated, GoFundMe is presently probably the most effective engine for charitable crowdfunding. Now, you are able to certainly launch a GoFundMe campaign for any business or perhaps an entrepreneurial venture, but unless of course it features a strong humanitarian aspect of it (and also you be capable of play up that part of the story on social networking), it&#8217s unlikely to achieve traction. Most companies and entrepreneurs are the best offered utilizing a crowdfunding site that emphasizes such ventures.

Around the charitable side, Razoo is yet another crowdfunding site to think about. They don&#8217t possess the public profile of GoFundMe, however they have sent lots of money into good causes. When they offer business crowdfunding too, I wouldn&#8217t recommend them for this function you can’t offer your contributors rewards with Razoo, and that i wouldn&#8217t advise using donation crowdfunding to finance a company unless of course there&#8217s something about this that tugs in the heartstrings.

The only real crowdfunding site that really provides a compelling situation to both business and charitable crowdfunding is Indiegogo. Those are the only master-of-all-trades within the crowdfunding industry. Around the business side, they provide both rewards crowdfunding and (via a partnership with Microventures) equity crowdfunding. Indiegogo&#8217s rewards crowdfunding side is booming, because the tech and humanities communities took to Indiegogo unlike any other crowdfunding platform save Kickstarter. You are able to supply to twenty amounts of perks for your visitors. Now that Indiegogo&#8217s equity crowdfunding platform went live, a company could conduct a rewards campaign and, once effective, launch an equity campaign, getting demonstrated to investors the viability from the concept using the effective rewards raise.

Around the charitable side, Indiegogo, through its Generosity brand, waives its 5% platform fee entirely (payment processing charges remain though), which makes them a great spot to conduct a fundraising event to pay for a clinical emergency or help educate refugees.

Now we arrived at the pure business crowdfunders, which Kickstarter may be the greatest with a wide margin. Over 3 billion dollars happen to be elevated by Kickstarter projects. With Kickstarter, it&#8217s mandatory to provide rewards, and they ought to be tangible products of worth, like electronic gizmos or digital graphic novels. Kickstarter is pickier than other similar platforms, pre-screening the majority of the campaigns that affect fundraise on the website. Approval can require 72 hours. Another factor to bear in mind with Kickstarter is the fact that funding is-or-nothing &#8212 either you raise the quantity of your ultimate goal inside the time specified (30-two months), or else you get nothing. With Kickstarter, you can either sink or go swimming.

Patreon may be the business crowdfunding platform you would like should you&#8217re in the industry of making and monetizing content, may it be music, illustrations, games, or Youtube videos. With Patreon, rather of 1-time fundraisers for particular projects, your &#8220patrons&#8221 pay out on the recurring basis &#8212 either monthly or &#8220per creation&#8221 &#8212 for which you need to do. Patreon is having a boost in recognition, because it is the crowdfunding platform preferred by probably the most popular podcasts and Youtube channels available.

Fundable is really a business crowdfunding platform that does both rewards and equity crowdfunding &#8212 just like Indiegogo, you can perform a rewards campaign on the website and, subsequently, an equity campaign to construct upon that which you&#8217ve achieved. Fundable won&#8217t have a 5% cut of the items you raise they rather charge a set amount of $179/month to be used of the services. This really is bad in case your crowdfunding campaigns fail, but good should you succeed and lift lots of money, as that $179/month will pale compared to a 5% cut of, say, $200K.

Crowdfunder and EquityNet are generally equity crowdfunding sites (though EquityNet offers debt crowdfunding too), meaning you&#8217re offering possession shares of the company in return for financial resources. Both of them are aimed at companies with exponential growth potential, and both platforms don&#8217t handle money transfers themselves &#8212 all investments are created offline between your backer and also the entrepreneur.

LendingClub, Prosper, Accion and Kiva U.S. are online lenders participating in debt crowdfunding, where backers make loans to your customers in return for repayment with interest. Debt crowdfunding has existed a long of all of the crowdfunding varieties. It&#8217s a fantastic option to seeking a company loan from the bank, as banks maintain their capital on the much tighter leash compared to online lenders. Of those lenders, Kiva has got the longest and many convoluted application, however they provide loans at % interest. Pretty good if you’re able to have it!

Let&#8217s now undergo some quick tips regarding business after which charitable crowdfunding.

Business Crowdfunding Tips

  • Know which kind of business crowdfunding campaign most closely fits you: Rewards, Equity or Debt. I authored articles about them, however i&#8217ll provide you with the tldr version here. Rewards crowdfunding is perfect for individuals with something appealing to give the public: gadgets, games, movies, dining encounters, etc. Equity crowdfunding is perfect for companies with great growth potential but which might lack one product or experience to talk about. Debt crowdfunding is the best for firms having a funding requirement for a precise purpose along with a plan to repay the borrowed funds.
  • Give people compelling good reasons to back you. With rewards crowdfunding, what this means is offering your backers great rewards, not only random swag. Attempt to offer something in a really low degree of funding to obtain the finest number of individuals involved as you possibly can. Also, help make your rewards connect with you, your passion, as well as your story. And make certain to advertise these to get people excited!
  • Get the buddies and family to invest in backing you early. Kickstarter checked out their metrics and saw that 78% from the projects that raise over 20% of the goal are ultimately effective. Simply because a task already has some support is essential to attracting further support. Success breeds success. Get as many folks as you possibly can to invest in supporting you away from the gate.

Charitable Crowdfunding Tips

  • Show thanks to your contributors. You might not give them rewards, but a minimum of send them a thanks! Some sites provide you with a button to rapidly send some thanks to the donor. Anything you do, certainly make a move &#8212 you wouldn&#8217t want word making your way around that you simply&#8217re some type of non-thanking tool.
  • Share your campaign on Facebook. And should you&#8217re a Facebook refusenik, get your Zuckerhead buddies to publish it for you personally. It&#8217s the best way to broaden your donor base. Provide your putative buddies the opportunity to openly demonstrate their virtue to one another!
  • Get. Early. Backers. I stated this within my business tip list, however it&#8217s worth repeating. Getting early support is a huge indicator of eventual success. Obtain the snowball moving lower the hill.

Final Ideas

You need to approach business crowdfunding and charitable crowdfunding with entirely different mindsets. With business crowdfunding, people generally expect something in exchange, therefore it&#8217s essential to provide a value proposition. On the other hand, whenever you&#8217re crowdfunding to pay for the price of a surgical procedure or perhaps a kid&#8217s education, you&#8217re attractive to the readers&#8217s conscience and feeling of social unity. Thankfully, you will find services specializing in seeing you thru these different processes. You can even find authors and review sites focused on assisting you out, as it happens. Read our crowdfunding reviews and articles, and also you&#8217ll function as the Merchantiest Maverick of all of them.

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Just How Much In The Event You Purchase Charge Card Processing?

How much should you pay for credit card processing

Retailers, restaurant proprietors, along with other retailers happen to be counting on traditional merchant services for a long time to process debit and credit card transactions. However with the development of Square in ’09 and PayPal Within 2012, pay-as-you-go processing has become the egalitarian means to fix card processing. E-commerce has thrived, and vendors of types — from artists to food trucks — can accept charge cards additionally to cash and appearance. But exactly how much in the event you purchase charge card processing?

Because of so many possibilities, and much more popping up constantly, how can you tell what you need to pay in credit card processing charges? Would be the figures the processing companies quote you accurate, and therefore are they fair?

Regrettably, there&#8217s nobody number we are able to say is a fair processing rate. Charge card processing isn&#8217t complicated, however, many factors modify the charges a merchant pays.

At this time you&#8217re thinking it might be a lesser headache just to setup processing using the first company that&#8217ll have you ever, right? Maybe your bank is providing an offer as a lengthy-time customer, or perhaps a friend of the friend uses Square and loves it.

Sure, you are able to go down that path — however, you could find yourself having to pay hundreds, otherwise thousands, of dollars in extra charges that you simply don&#8217t have to pay. We&#8217re here that will help you navigate charge card processing and help give you the best rate feasible for your company. So hang in there!

Understanding Kinds of Charge Card Processing

When you begin searching into charge card processing, you&#8217ll discover that your choices typically fall under 1 of 3 groups: tiered prices, interchange-plus prices, and flat-rate processing. We&#8217ve already covered the variations, and all sorts of terminology you should know, in several articles (check out The Complete Help guide to Charge Card Processing Rates and Fees and our corresponding infographic), but we&#8217ll just discuss each option again briefly.

Tiered Prices: 

Every card transaction is assigned a code to classify it. There are millions of codes, and a few signal less dangerous transactions than the others. (Coffee at the local cafe is much less of a problem than a sizable acquisition of furniture from your online shop, for instance. Find out more about high-risk payment processing here.) Merchant providers began lumping similar groups into &#8220tiers&#8221 as a means of simplifying statements and rate processing. Typically you will find three tiers: qualified, mid-qualified, and non-qualified. Qualified transactions would be the cheapest risk and then the cheapest cost to process the rates increase with mid- and non-qualified transactions.

The greatest issue is transparency. It&#8217s common for retailers to see downgrades — transactions processed as mid- or non-qualified. Merchant providers don&#8217t always clarify why is a purchase qualified or non-qualified, and each company categorizes differently. You may be quoted exactly the same rate with two processors, but finish up having to pay more with one because fewer of your transactions are qualified for your low rate.

Interchange-Plus Prices:

Interchange-plus is a way to fix the problems with tiered prices models. High-volume companies have lengthy had the ability to make use of this prices model, however it&#8217s only lately been expanded to retailers of any size. For every transaction you have to pay the interchange rate (assigned through the charge card associations) as well as the processor&#8217s markup. This really is frequently a small % along with a per-transaction fee.

It&#8217s important to note that some cards and transactions come with greater interchange rates, so that your processing rate will still vary slightly, but less than you&#8217ll see with tiered prices. The processor&#8217s markup percentage is usually between .20% and .75%, as well as your transaction charges could be everything from $.15 to $.30.

Flat-Rate Processing:

The most recent prices model to interrupt to the scene is flat-rate processing. This is exactly what the thing is with pay-as-you-go processors like PayPal and Square. Regardless of kind of card, you have to pay exactly the same rate again and again (using the periodic exceptions for card-not-present transactions or worldwide cards, that also have set rates). This really is nice since you know whenever you complete the transaction that which you&#8217ll pay for your processor, guaranteed. There&#8217s no messing around with qualified transactions whatsoever.

Some credit card merchant account providers (namely Payment Depot and Fattmerchant) have pioneered another kind of flat-rate processing: subscriptions. Rather than paying a portion markup over interchange, you normally pay a set fee every month along with a per-transaction fee. There&#8217s no percentages to fool around with, only the interchange charges and transaction charges.

Finding Your Effective Rate and efficient Markup

Should you&#8217re already accepting charge card payments, before you go searching for alternatives, you should know your effective rate and effective markup. And even though you aren&#8217t processing payments, understanding how to calculate these numbers is the only method to make accurate comparisons between providers.

Effective Rate:

Your effective rate isn&#8217t the theoretical rate you&#8217re having to pay — it&#8217s the entire number of profits which go toward charges. Also it&#8217s simple to calculate: just divide your overall monthly charges (gateway charges, statement charges, monthly charges, equipment leases, and anything else) through the total amount of your monthly sales.

Let&#8217s say you need to do $20,000 in sales in a single month. You have to pay $1,050 as a whole charges, departing a internet gross of $18,950. The formula for calculating your effective rate appears like this:

  • ( [total charges] / [total sales] ) x 100
  • (1,050 / 20,000) = .0525
  • .0525 x 100 = 5.25%

Read this handy guide to learn more.

Effective Markup:

Your effective markup is really a tool particularly for evaluating processors that provide interchange-plus or subscription plans. It’s calculated similar to the effective rate — however it omits the interchange charges.

Let&#8217s assume your monthly sales total is $35,000. With one processor, you have to pay $1,580 in markup charges (including statement charges and extra monthly services). The formula for calculating your effective markup appears like this:

  • ( [markup charges] / [total sales] ) x 100
  • ( 1,580 / 35,000 ) x 100
  • (.0451) x 100
  • 4.51% 

This really is the easiest method to make apples-to-apples comparisons for the way much the charge card processors are charging you. However, it won&#8217t work with evaluating tiered or pay-as-you-go processors simply because they don&#8217t separate their markup in the interchange.

Factors That May Affect Rate

Now you know your effective rate as well as your effective markup, let&#8217s check out why they might be greater than you&#8217d like.

Kind of Transaction:

One of the leading determinants in charge card processing rates is &#8220card-not-present&#8221 versus. &#8220card-present&#8221 transactions. Card-not-present transactions encompass everything in which the merchant doesn&#8217t swipe a card via a terminal. Every online transaction is basically a card-not-present transaction — and thus is every payment where you type in a card number through PayPal Here or Square. There&#8217s a larger chance of fraud, a minimum of in the outlook during the processor, which means you pay more for implementing their professional services in this manner.

Volume: 

Another figuring out factor is volume. In retail, it will save you money when you purchase in large quantities. Likewise, you reduce processing charges if you have greater monthly sales. Volume discounts change from one processor to another. PayPal provides you with a price reduction beginning at $3,000 monthly. Others won&#8217t give you credit before you obvious $80,000 per month.

Extra Services:

Extra services won&#8217t always affect your processing rates, but they’ll increase your effective markup. Including PCI compliance charges, gateway charges, statement charges, monthly leases, and so forth. Don&#8217t purchase services you don&#8217t need! Should you&#8217re not utilizing a feature your provider offers however, you&#8217re still having to pay for this, it may be time for you to shop elsewhere.

That stated, opt for regardless if you are having to pay another-party service for something a free account could include. This can be website hosting, a shopping cart software, or perhaps a gateway — if they come cheaper using your provider than through commercial alternatives, the greater effective rate could cost it! Just make certain you factor these costs to your estimates when creating a comparisons.

For instance, let&#8217s say you process $35,000 monthly. Your effective rate with one processor (Option A) is 3.5% and also you pay $225 for any shopping cart software.

Another processor (Option B) provides an effective rate of 4% but features a located shopping cart software that’s on-componen together with your current option.

The formulas for calculating the various seem like this:

Option A

  • (Effective Rate x Monthly Sales) + Charges for Third-Party Services
  • (.035 x 35,000) + $225
  • 1225 + $225
  • $1450

Option B

  • (Effective Rate x Monthly Sales)
  • (.04 x 35,000) 
  • $1400

Within this situation, while you pay a greater effective rate, the inclusion from the shopping cart software ultimately helps you save money — $600 annually, actually.

Card Type:

The kind of card you process may also affect your processing rate. For instance, American Express&#8217 interchange minute rates are greater than individuals for Visa and MasterCard. Interchange rates for PIN an atm card are very low, but signature debit, that is processed with the charge card systems, includes greater charges. Rewards cards — for example charge cards that provide users cash return — and worldwide cards are available with greater interchange rates.

Business card printing may also increase your processing costs, so if you’re mainly a Business to business organization, count on paying more for charge card processing than the usual consumer-facing store.

Ticket Size:

With respect to the prices model your processor uses, how big your ticket may also affect just how much you have to pay in charges.

Generally, bigger tickets have a greater risk (which processors don&#8217t like), however they can help you save money for those who have a lesser percentage rate along with a higher per-transaction charges. Say your processor charges a $.20 per-transaction fee.

You need to do $15,000 in monthly sales as well as your average ticket dimensions are $15. That&#8217s a typical 1,000 transactions.

  • 1,000 x $.20 = $200

You need to do $15,000 in monthly sales as well as your average ticket dimensions are $150. That&#8217s a typical 100 transactions.

  • 100 x $.20 = $20 

A lesser average ticket amount means you could be having to pay $180 furthermore monthly. That&#8217s $2,160 each year in charges.

Evaluating Processor Rates

Once you know the standards which will affect your charge card processing rates, how can you start precisely evaluating offers from various processors?

For just one, always perform the math. Have a couple of scenarios — a great month, a poor month, as well as an average month, and run the figures to determine that which you&#8217d pay with every processor. Keep in mind that not every your transactions is going to be qualified, either. Review your existing monthly statements and find out in which you presently fall. That&#8217s not perfect model because every processor differs, however it&#8217s a great beginning point.

Better still is always to compare only interchange-plus quotes, since with interchange-plus you are able to compare just the markup. In contrast to tiered prices, the markup is a continuing. The interchange variable is totally taken off the equation, making the comparisons better.

Running these numbers can assist you to decide whether a regular monthly fee, greater rate, or per-transaction fee is much more pricey than you would expect.

Once we&#8217ve already stated, some merchant providers includes extra services, because of free or at additional cost. Choose which ones you’ll need and don&#8217t spend the money for ones you don&#8217t use! If you presently pay another provider for that services, do a price comparison, features, and reliability to determine in which the less expensive lies.

And try to, always research any processor you&#8217re thinking about. Read testimonials and check out exactly what the experts say. A string of reports claiming a processor is overcharging, complaints about never receiving statements, unauthorized withdrawals, and too little responses to individuals allegations are indicators.

Everything appears pretty apparent, right? Good!

Here are a few other common issues which you may need to wrangle with:

PCI Compliance:

PCI compliance is about protecting your clients&#8217 information. It&#8217s some security standards for card processing. Some credit card merchant account providers will assess a PCI compliance fee — which means you&#8217re meeting the standards for data security. Others charge a non-compliance fee, meaning you&#8217re not meeting individuals standards and also you acknowledge as a result. Should you&#8217re lucky, your processor won&#8217t have PCI charges. Find out more about PCI compliance here.

ETFs:

Early termination charges are ugly. Retailers don&#8217t like them, nor will we (particularly when they sneak into contracts without retailers realizing it!). That stated, sometimes you are able to negotiate lower rates or have an interchange-plus plan in return for saying yes for an ETF.

Should you&#8217ve had a good processor and deal directly with the organization, this isn&#8217t a problem. In case your processor happens to be under trustworthy, or else you undergo a completely independent sales repetition nobody just really wants to close the offer and obtain the commission, you&#8217re in danger.

Other Difficulties:

Some processors ask you for the absolute minimum fee should you don&#8217t meet a particular amount of processing, yet others won&#8217t provide you with volume prices whatsoever. Also important to note is that some processors don&#8217t distinguish between card-present and card-not-present transactions. That&#8217s whether problem (should you mainly process card-present transactions, you&#8217re most likely having to pay greater than you have to) or perhaps a relief (should you handle mostly card-not-present transactions, you&#8217re most likely obtaining a better rate).

What In The Event You Do Now?

There&#8217s nobody fair number with regards to charge card processing rates. Some companies are riskier than the others, and processors will most definitely pass that cost onto you instead of taking it in themselves. The greater money you generate, the greater processors are prepared to decrease your rates, simply because they from the improvement in sheer volume.

Comprehend the interplay between your different prices models and factors for example ticket size and the kind of card. For those who have a little ticket size, per-transaction charges can cost you even more than they perform a business having a bigger ticket size. The kind of cards your clients use can result in you at long last having to pay more, too.

Wherever you are able to, we recommend you may well ask for interchange-plus prices. Even when merchant services don&#8217t advertise diets, they often have them. It&#8217s probably the most transparent payment model.

Read your contract completely through prior to signing and don&#8217t hesitate to inquire about what you would like. After which, continue studying your statements each month and checking your effective rate. If something appears off or perhaps your rates all of a sudden spike, inquire and demand solutions. Should you&#8217re unsatisfied, start searching for any better deal.

Take a look at our top-reviewed merchant account providers here. Should you still feel stuck, call us to obtain help lowering your processing rates or choosing a repayment processor!

The publish Just How Much In The Event You Purchase Charge Card Processing? 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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How You Can Keep Accounting Data Safe within the Cloud

Cloud Security

We store away our physical treasures behind locks, what concerning the treasures we can’t see? How about the data we store with that invisible mystery known as the Cloud?

The web is perhaps the area we want security probably the most, and also the place we most frequently ignore. If you are using cloud-based accounting software, security is much more critical in the end, this is actually the placed you record sensitive financial information for the company, employees, and customers.

Most cloud-based accounting software companies offer some selection of safety measures, but they are individuals measures enough?

Regrettably, the solution to that’s frequently &#8220no.&#8221 While selecting an application company with strong security is essential, you should realize the function that you simply personally play to keep your computer data safe within the cloud. Within this publish, we’ll provide eight useful tips and methods to maximizing your security to be able to keep the accounting information safe and sound. And also you don’t have to be a tech genius to apply them.

Questions you should ask Regarding Your Company

Firstly, make sure to select a software with strong security.

Good accounting software information mill upfront and honest regarding their security policies, which policies can generally be located on the bottom of the websites. Should you aren’t very acquainted with cloud accounting or internet security software, it’s not easy to understand things to look for when it comes to safety measures, so we’ve produced a summary of questions that you should ask your present or potential company.

Note: If you work with or selecting a in your area-installed accounting software, your software provider doesn’t provide security. You are well on your personal when it comes to security since all safety precautions is going to be directly mounted on home. Skip lower to another section for useful security tips (many of which affect in your area installed software too) or stay tuned in for the How To Maintain Your In your area Installed Accounting Software Secure publish.

1) Have they got multiple data centers?

You need to decide on a company which has multiple data centers, preferably in various, undisclosed locations. By doing this, contrary transpires with one data center, you still possess a copy of the company file saved securely.

Certainly one of most typical difficulties with cloud accounting is servers crashing. If your company has multiple data centers with multiple servers, this is not an issue and you may keep using your software in peace.

2) Do you know the physical safety measures at these data centers?

Since data centers store your sensitive financial information (including accounts, charge cards, SSN, etc.), you need to make sure that strong physical safety measures are come to safeguard your data. Physical safety measures can (and really should) include:

  • 24/7/365 surveillance
  • Video monitoring
  • Bulletproof walls
  • Fire protection
  • Ton protection

3) Is data supported regularly?

Not getting frequent data backups ought to be an offer-breaker. Contrary should ever happen, you would like so that you can retrieve up-to-date copies of the documents.

4) Is my data encrypted?

Probably the most important safety measures to consider in accounting software programs are data file encryption. 256-bit SSL file encryption is good. Read our publish What’s SSL? An initial Take a look at Internet Security if you’d like to find out more.

5) Who can access my data?

Carefully read your company’s privacy statement to determine who can access your computer data and just how that information is used. Frequently, live bank feed integrations or accountants may have read-only use of sensitive information, that is important that you should know. My general guideline is that if studying the privacy statement enables you to feel queasy, it’s not best for you.

Also, make sure to ask cure can access the information centers. Ideally, companies have controlled entrances and admit approved personnel only.

6) Does the organization have virus/invasion recognition?

This can be a key preventative measure that may catch any potential intrusions or breaches before they be a problem, providing you with reassurance and added security.

7) Exist firewalls in position?

A firewall blocks unauthorized use of a network, offering another layer of preventative security.

8) Has the organization have you been hacked before?

This really is most likely the most crucial question. Being hacked (or experiencing a burglar breach) previously can clearly be considered a huge indicator of poor security (although, when the hack was the catalyst for considerably improved security, then the organization will probably be worth keeping within the running).

You’ll should also look into the company’s downtime ratings or history—that is, how frequently the company’s servers crash. You’ll need a company with positive uptime so that as couple of crashes as you possibly can. You may have to complete some Googling to uncover these details.

9) Bonus: Does the organization offer two-factor authentication?

While two-factor authentication isn’t necessary, it adds another layer of security that stops online hackers, or perhaps employees and coworkers, from stepping into your bank account having a stolen password. We’ll cover this in greater detail below.

Security Safeguards You Need To Take

The sport doesn’t finish once you choose a cpa software company with strong security. You’d be amazed by how your own security habits—or lack thereof—affect your data’s safety (as well as your own safety for instance). That’s why we’ve come up with these eight steps that may help you as well as your employees keep the accounting data protected.

1. Don’t Share Your Passwords with Anybody

Whenever we say don’t share passwords with anybody, we mean it. Passwords should be a secret for any reason.

Cloud Security

We might not be speaking concerning the one ring to rule all of them, but we may as well be. Security is really a major problem, so make certain you retain passwords secret—keep it safe—because that’s the surest method to protecting your organization.

2. Create Strong Passwords

Everybody has heard over and over it&#8217s necessary to create strong passwords for the internet accounts, but how can you really do this? We’ve collected several tips from experts within the technology and security field let’s start with what not to complete.

Don’t:

  • Share passwords
  • Use common password combinations (123456)
  • Stick to the most common password formats (based on Business Insider)
    1. “one uppercase [letters], five lowercase [letters] and three digits”
    2. “one uppercase [letters], six lowercase [letters] and 2 digits”
    3. “one uppercase [letters], three lowercase [letters] and five digits”
  • Make use of the same password for multiple spots
  • Begin with a capital letter adopted by lowercase letters
  • Finish within an exclamation point
  • Use password checkers

Do:

  • Use lengthy passwords (a minimum of 8 letters)
  • Use a mix of letters, figures, and symbols
  • Use multiple special figures
  • Produce a brand-new password for each site
  • Allow it to be appear random

Tip: Business Insider interviewed an expert hacker from RedTeam Security, a cyber security firm that identifies any weaknesses inside a company’s security before a hacker can, about his top tip for picking out passwords. The hacker, Kurt Muhl, states to generate a sentence you are able to remember, like: “I bought the house for $1.” Then, go ahead and take first letter of every word only, which means you&#8217re left with Ibmhf$1. Along with a couple of extra symbols or figures where you’ll easily remember, and you’ve got your strong password. In the end, it’s much simpler to keep in mind a sentence more than a random assortment of letters, figures, and symbols.

3. Store Passwords Safely

Okay, significantly improved you are aware how to set strong passwords, how in the event you store them? It might be wise to create a unique password for each login you’ve, but there’s not a way to keep in mind all individuals passwords inside your mind. We’ve checked out several possible solutions, in addition to unsafe organization methods to steer clear of.

A few of these guidelines appear apparent, but you’d be amazed the number of people don’t understand that the next storage choices harmful:

Don’t:

  • Store them within an Stand out document on your pc
  • Store these questions Word document on your pc
  • Store them with any type of document on your pc (online hackers can continue to access these)
  • Save them in emails (sent or received)
  • Leave them on the office
  • Insert them in personal files that clearly states PASSWORDS

The end result is, don’t leave them where another person could access them. Hide your listing of passwords from the sight of family, coworkers, and cleaning crews.

Where in the event you keep the passwords?

Lots of people within the tech industry recommend that you employ an online password manager like LastPass, Dashlane, or KeyPass. It&#8217s important to note that LastPass continues to be hacked on multiple occasions. Whether it were me, I wouldn’t take a chance on online password management tools where my data might be in danger from security breaches.

Rather, I suggest writing a summary of passwords and storing then within an inconspicuously named file inside a locked file cabinet or safe that just you can get. Should you really would like your data safe, write your passwords in some kind of consistent code that known only to you which isn’t written lower.

Yes, it may sound like lots of work, however it&#8217s a cost worth having to pay to keep your computer data&#8212and more to the point, the information of the clients&#8212safe.

4. Use Two-Factor Authentication

In case your software offers it, utilize it. Two-factor authentication is really a security precaution which makes users sign in with a password and another type of identification (email the three, ATM card number, fingerprint, etc.). This security isn’t foolproof, at all, however it means people can’t access your bank account with only your password.

Accounting software firms that use two-factor authentication include:

  • Xero
  • QuickBooks Online
  • Zoho Books
  • NetSuite

5. Install Virus/Adware and spyware Recognition Software

In case your software provider doesn’t use invasion or virus recognition, we advise researching the herpes virus recognition/adware and spyware solution. (Virus/adware and spyware software may be beneficial for private computers too, whether or not the software provider you utilize does offer this type of security.)

A number of common and trustworthy options include:

  • Bitdefender Anti-virus Plus
  • Bitdefender Total Security
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus
  • Kaspersky Internet Security Software
  • McAfee LiveSafe
  • ESET Internet Security Software
  • Avira Internet Security Software Suite

Note: Please seek information before purchasing. Forbes and PCMag both offer many articles giving suggestions about selecting good virus/adware and spyware protection.

6. Educate Your Users

Most business proprietors most likely have a minimum of some understanding about internet security software, however that new fresh-out-of-school intern you hired may not. You need to make certain that employees and contractors making use of your software possess a firm knowledge of internet security software.

In 2015, Xero (one of the main accounting companies in security) experienced an attempted phishing attacks. A phishing (pronounced “fishing”) is how online hackers “fish” for user’s passwords and knowledge to allow them to hack accounts. Within this attack, Xero users were sent an imitation email that appeared as if it had been from Xero however it contained “malicious content.” While the organization resolved this problem quickly, the very best solution should be to have educated users who know to prevent suspicious links and verify addresses.

There’s a couple of methods for you to educate the employees:

  • Distribute pertinent articles in weekly company emails – Have the employees read articles like Xero’s “3 Ways to avert being Phished” or McAfee’s “10 Ideas to Stay Safe Online.”
  • Encourage free education courses – Online for free courses cover a range of topics, including security. Khan Academy offers courses on Cybersecurity, and MOOC provides a Web Security Fundamentals course, a Network Security course, a Cloud-computing Security course, and much more. These two sources have the freedom and you will find several others like them.
  • Enroll your team in certification classes – Although you join web based classes, you may also earn verified certificates for that classes you are taking. Most of the certificate classes cost extra, but it may be worth spending the organization budget on the weekend of classes if each worker arrives having a verified, professional certificate in security.
  • Follow your software company on Twitter – Among the first places companies publish security breaches is on Twitter because they are able to tell others fast and rapidly update users on any developments. Make sure to &#8216follow&#8217 your software company so that you can inform your employees in regards to a breach or server downtime immediately. Or, even better, have the employees follow the organization on their own work Twitter accounts.

7. Make the most of User Permissions

Just about all good accounting software offers business proprietors the opportunity to manage users and hang user permissions for his or her employees. Among the best types of this really is Xero, which helps you to set five different roles (no access, read-only, invoice only, standard, and consultant) and control the amount of access by specific feature.

Cloud Security

Take benefit of these user permissions. They are among the best tools to manage what your users see and don’t see. By doing this, you will know just the most reliable employees get access to more sensitive information, which eliminates worry.

8. Keep The Software Updated

Surprisingly, software updates aren’t just designed to clutter your screen or annoy you while you’re in the center of working. These updates frequently contain fixes to potential bugs or breaches. Make certain you take time to improve your software and make sure that you are operating using the best, most contemporary safety measures.

Prepared to Rumble

Hopefully these tips make you more conscious of the significance of internet security software, for both your company’s sake and for your very own wellbeing. Everybody can, and really should, have the ability to use their software worry-free. Although it might appear like lots of try to implement these safety measures, this really is one situation where it truly is better safe than sorry.

Make sure to look out for the article &#8220How to maintain your In your area Installed Accounting Software Secure,&#8221 not far off to some website in your area.

The publish How You Can Keep Accounting Data Safe within the Cloud 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.

The post Merchant Maverick’s Awards for Best Small Business Software appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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4 Website Enhancements Which Will Reduce Your AdWords Costs While Increasing Sales

Cut AdWords Costs

AdWords rewards awesome websites.

Google wants its users to possess a good experience not only using the search results, but additionally using the ads which are placed alongside.

To reach that goal, Google places a larger focus on your Quality Score than you are on just how much you are prepared to purchase a placement.

And your site is part of the Quality Score and just what transpires with individuals clicks that you will get from AdWords.

Here&#8217s 4 methods for you to enhance your AdWords performance by enhancing your website.

1. Help Make Your Website Faster

People start departing in droves after 3 seconds.

Approximately states many studies. How quickly your site loads is really essential that Google really punishes slow websites having a lower position within the ads.

Google&#8217s benchmark is simply a pass/fail. Should you don&#8217t hit that mark for speed &#8211 you’re departing money up for grabs by having to pay more $ per click as well as in lost clicks from the lower position.

However, even though you hit pass Google&#8217s benchmark &#8211 every second the consumer waits means more are departing (once you&#8217ve compensated for that click). Time really equals money.

You can aquire a free website speed test from http://world wide web.webpagetest.org/ or by right-clicking within the Chrome internet browser &#8211&gt Inspect Element &#8211&gt Audit &#8211&gt View Site Performance.

The most typical methods for accelerating your website are through

  • Reducing image sizes
  • Reducing the amount of &#8220stylesheets&#8221
  • Caching your website (if using WordPress, Joomla, or perhaps a Cms)

2. More Relevant Content

You&#8217ll be rewarded if Google knows before hands what your internet site is about.

And also you&#8217ll obtain a bonus inside your Quality Score with relevant content, because customers usually hang in there longer to analyze your articles &#8211 even when they don&#8217t buy.

This &#8220long-click&#8221 behavior is one thing Search engines love and rewards &#8211 since it signals a contented searcher. Your Quality Score will increase and charges go lower if you’re able to keep people in your website longer after clicking your ad.

In additon, el born area is how fundamental on-page internet search engine optimization, and getting plenty of good, relevant content in your site can decrease your cost-per-click.

Which kind of content? Blog, arcticles, photos, video &#8211 anything more that may show that you’re legit and therefore are the organization who are able to answer the searcher&#8217s question.

3. Targeted Squeeze Pages

Imagine you announcing you’ll need a charcoal grill. Then, imagine being dropped at random into a new Costco or WalMart.

Think of the frustration of walking the aisles backwards and forwards &#8211 never working out in which the grills are.

Imagine being dropped directly before teh charcoal grills&#8230.far better.

Make use of your website (reasonable to utilize a Cms like WordPress or Joomla) to produce custom squeeze pages for the AdWords ads.

Result in the website landing page supposed to be about the targeted keywords.

Make locating the answer and subsequently step&#8230super easy.

You&#8217ll get bonuses for relevance &#8211 and can most likely improve your rate of conversion &#8211 rather of shedding them around the webpage and allowing them to look after themselves.

4. Obtain A Better Design

When you’re driving around selecting a cafe or restaurant inside a strange city &#8211 how can you choose?

Maybe branding, maybe with a crowded parking area&#8230but most likely because when your building looks.

A much better searching website will convert customers. It doesn&#8217t need to be earh-shattering &#8211 however it needs to state &#8220we&#8217re seriously interested in our business and search.&#8221

But design goes past just looks&#8230 additionally, it includes navigation, simplicity, experience, compatibility, and much more.

However it all comes lower as to whether the client, after clicking my ad, knows how to proceed on my small site to have their problem solved &#8211 while feeling comfortable doing the work.

Because otherwise, your AdWords account really won&#8217t matter.

Tell me associated with a specific website enhancements you&#8217ve completed to enhance your AdWords within the comments&#8230

The publish 4 Website Enhancements Which Will Reduce Your AdWords Costs While Increasing Sales made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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The Main Difference Between Internet Search Engine Optimization and AdWords (by example + examples)

Here&#8217s a diagram from the &#8220difference between Internet Search Engine Optimization (Search engine optimization) and AdWords&#8230

The difference between AdWords and SEO in the Google Search Results

What does the position of the two really mean for the business?

Whenever you purchase AdWords and Search engine optimization &#8211 what exactly are you really getting?

What is the real-world example that may explain it?

Yes there’s. Here&#8217s the main difference between Search engine optimization and AdWords.

Let’s Say Your Company Might Be Within the New You are able to Occasions or Wall Street Journal?

Yeah &#8211 that might be a reasonably large deal.

You&#8217d get contact with a sizable audience.

You&#8217d get plenty of additional credibility.

And, your story could be selected up by other newspapers, websites, and blogs&#8230leading to much more exposure.

But consider what it really means to stay in the brand new You are able to Occasions.

There&#8217s really a few ways to stay in it.

You could have articles discussed you, or place an advert&#8230or do both.

However, you can&#8217t simply have articles discussed you &#8211 the reporter has not only to help you find, but additionally help you find interesting enough, and relevant enough to his readers to create up a tale.

As he writes the storyline, you won&#8217t have the ability to control the storyline &#8211 or what kinds of readers react to it, but overall it might be excellent, and extremely lucrative.

You are able to, however, remove an advert. Whether it&#8217s a highly effective ad &#8211 you&#8217ll get exposure, and purchasers &#8211 you’re able to control the sale.

You simply visit the ad sales office, select a section, and pay some cash. You&#8217re within the New You are able to Occasions.

The procedure for getting articles written is a lot more roundabout. You need to craft obvious, and efficient press announcements. You need a pre-established relationship having a reporter. You need plenty of references. And you need to be doing something relevant and fascinating. Pr versus Advertising. Both are Marketing &#8211 but both work very differently.

And that’s the distinction between Search engine optimization and AdWords

Search engine optimization = &#8220Public Relations&#8221 with Google

Adwords = Buying an advertisement on the internet

The Best Way To Make Use Of The Distinction Between Search engine optimization and AdWords

Search engine optimization and Pr do fall into line as analogies. Here&#8217s a few of the jargon&#8230

On-page Optimization = Getting obvious, effective, and enticing press announcements (Google must understand that which you&#8217re about)

Backlink Building = Getting plenty of references and folks mentioning you (Search engines love links, and social mentions)

Some time and Content = Getting a great relationship having a reporter (Search engines love content to check out)

So when you’re having to pay an Search engine optimization firm, you’re having to pay on their behalf to obtain visitors and customers in the &#8220organic&#8221 search engine results in the search engines.

It&#8217s a really fluid process. Just like Pr can&#8217t 100% control reporters&#8230SEO can&#8217t guarantee anything. When they make guarantees &#8211 make certain they guaranteeing that you simply&#8217ll enter into the brand new You are able to Occasions&#8230and and not the Oglethorpe County, GA Weekly Echo.

A great metric is customer growth &#8211 not keyword rank.

Make certain their process is transparent &#8211 and guess what happens they’re doing (exactly like you wouldn&#8217t would like your PR firm doing shady stuff).

However, if the job is performed right &#8211 as being a full-spread story within the New You are able to Occasions &#8211 a properly-ranking site can generate plenty of new visitors wo result in customers.

The idea of AdWords is much more straightforward than Search engine optimization&#8230but like Advertising, to work you must do it right.

The Fir huge contrast between AdWords and newspaper advertising is the fact that with AdWords &#8211 you pay per click&#8230rather than having to pay a set amount for any quoted quantity of readers.

You pay for results. It&#8217s an excellent-effective platform, and in contrast to (or additionally to Search engine optimization) &#8211 you choose your ad placement, the way it seems, and frequently make sure optimize it.

Whereas Search engine optimization needs to stay somewhat targeted&#8230AdWords can spread the concept of keywords to make certain you gaze on everybody.

Both of them get their strengths &#8211 and could be really effective if you use them together (notice how above Progressive includes a top ad slot to enhance their top Search engine optimization place).

You’ve now learned the main difference between Search engine optimization and AdWords &#8211 and just how they are utilized to construct your company.

The publish The Main Difference Between Internet Search Engine Optimization and AdWords (by example + examples) made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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A Merchant’s Help guide to In-Store Charge Card Processing

merchant credit card processing

You will find a large number of network guidelines issued for accepting card payments, and retailers are anticipated to know all of them. Yet, couple of business proprietors ever really read these manuals. Regrettably, this can be a pretty significant supply of avoidable issues lower the street.

Even though the extensive small print and technical jargon in charge card guidelines can be a big turnoff, it&#8217s important so that you can dig through the complicated wording and discover this is within. Bear in mind, though, the information I’m going to share doesn’t include all from the charge card processing rules, rather just those that are referenced and used most frequently. For any riveting read along with a complete consider the charge card processing guidelines, follow here.

Reviewing the guidelines for Visa

Each charge card brand publishes its very own tome of guidelines, but typically they all are much the same. To help keep things simple, we’ll concentrate on Visa’s card-present guidelines, as it is typically the most popular brand worldwide.

Minimum Transaction Amounts

Look, I recieve it. If you’re being billed a portion fee on the top of the predetermined fee for each transaction, individuals small purchases can definitely start eating to your margin. So that you can go on and impose the absolute minimum transaction fee, we know. The only real stipulation is you can only impose them on charge card purchases and also the minimum could be no more than $10.

Cash Refunds

Refunds are simply area of the business. Even when you’re selling probably the most stylish parkas within the entire northern hemisphere, someone will purchase the one using the stylish blue polka dots and fake mink lining before understanding that he resides in northern South america and can most likely not have a use for heavy winter put on. So what you ought to know in cases like this is that this: with returns and adjustments that need reimbursement, you can’t refund card transactions with cash. You are able to&#8217t, that’s, unless of course the cardholder got scissor-happy enroute home in the parka store and made the decision to slice up everything plastic. When the customer has discarded the credit card they compensated with, you are able to refund with cash or store credit. This rule is within place if the client receives cash like a refund, it’s evidently a money advance with their credit line that bypasses the charges and rules enforced on payday loans.

Cardholder Data

Okay, I understand you realize that one, but simply pretend you don’t if I didn’t include it, I wouldn’t do my job: Please, please, please keep your cardholder’s data private! What this means is you need to suppress the account number printed around the receipt (the body should already do that, but you’re likely to wish to make sure just in situation). The account figures emerge from the printer searching such as this: XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-1234

And don’t forget the card’s expiration date shouldn’t appear anywhere around the receipt. Ever.

Deposits

Let’s state that, because the aforementioned Brazilian tourist is coming back his parka, he notices that you simply also custom make hands-created mahogany headboards. He decides he absolutely should have one, but his plane to South america leaves within an hour. Obviously, this really is not a problem because you deliver. All he must do is defined a first deposit lower and also the balance could be compensated when his new headboard is delivered. You’ll simply need to make certain you take the deposit and also the balance as two separate transactions. Because the two payments are received at different occasions (and most likely different days) they will have to be approved and processed individually. You’ll should also make certain that “Delayed Delivery” and also the authorization codes are available somewhere on every transaction receipt.

A Merchant Account

I understand everybody loves checking credentials (that is certainly certainly one of my personal favorite past occasions), and Visa really wants to help remind you to definitely make certain your merchant servicer is registered in compliance using their rules. Essentially, any 3rd party agent who handles the storing, processing, and transmitting of account figures in your account must be registered with Visa like a merchant servicer. (You will find, all the companies we&#8217ve reviewed are certified.)

Validating Cards and Fallbacks

Simply to make certain everything’s around the up-and-up in the register, make a few seconds to determine the card for alterations of any sort and make certain it’s signed. You’ll possess a moment or more as the transaction is authorizing anyway. You may as well look busy.

Match the signature around the receipt towards the one on the rear of the credit card. Or maybe they sign up the credit card readers, make certain they’re entirely view once they achieve this. An unsigned card is recognized as invalid and cannot be recognized. If it’s unsigned, you can examine the customer’s ID from the name around the card, ask them to sign the credit card, then compare the signature around the card towards the one around the ID (if at all possible).

Once you swipe a card, you can get numerous responses:

  • Approved – Yay, it experienced!
  • Declined/Card Not Recognized – Oops. Return the credit card towards the customer and let them know to their issuer for additional info on the status of the account.
  • Call/Answering Services CompanyOrRecommendation – The issuer needs more details before approving the purchase. You’re most likely gonna need to call your authorization center and they’ll probably request you to look into the customer’s ID.
  • Get – Uh oh. You’ve had a card the issuer wants retrieved, and therefore it’s most likely lost of stolen. Tell the client you need to keep your card and request another type of payment. However, when they get hostile and demand the credit card back, just provide them with it. You shouldn’t place yourself in danger.

A transaction won’t undergo since the magstripe continues to be demagnetized or broken. In these instances, you could just be coping with somebody that unintentionally broken their card, however, you could be standing before someone attempting to make a dishonest charge. You’re likely to wish to be extra careful using these transactions and make certain to follow along with all the fallback procedures:

  • Compare the customer’s ID using the name around the card, if the examines, go on and by hand key-within the account number.
  • Since you can’t capture a PIN in these instances, ensure that you obtain a signature around the receipt and compare it using the signature around the ID (if there’s one).
  • You’ll should also obtain a manual imprint around the receipt or perhaps a separate manual receipt form signed through the customer. Note that you could only have an imprint from embossed cards. Therefore if the credit card isn’t embossed, you’ll want to inquire about another type of payment.

To avoid the frequent requirement for fallback procedures, especially since keyed-in transactions tend to be more frequently disputed, make sure to clean the stripe-readers mind a few occasions annually to make sure it is running correctly.

Nick Cards

By October 1st, the transition to nick cards within the U.S. is formally under way. The guidelines have pretty much continued to be exactly the same for safe processing, but simply to be certain you’ve got the thing you need, we’ll review the brand new liability rules and acceptance guidelines. For additional general information, follow here to some handy article.

Fraud Liability

The issuer (the financial institution that issued the credit card towards the customer) takes place responsible for any fraud committed with non-nick cards at any kind of terminal (whether EMV-enabled or otherwise), as lengthy because the merchant adopted the correct authentication guidelines.

The acquirer (the merchant as well as your bank) takes place liable when the customer utilizes a counterfeit nick card and also the merchant doesn’t possess a terminal that may see clearly, and therefore needs to fallback towards the less secure magnetic stripe.

Essentially, whomever does not supply the most dependable way of processing a card-present transaction is going to be held accountable for fraudulent charges. When the issuer provides secure nick cards, however, you don’t provide a method to process them, then you’re responsible. For those who have a terminal that may read chips, however the issuer hasn’t sent the nick cards, they are accountable.

Within the situation of broken or non-functioning nick cards in which the merchant needs to fallback to swiping the magstripe, liability still lies using the issuing bank. However, you’ll still wish to be careful with nick cards that can’t be read, because counterfeiters could make cards with non-functional chips, and if you are using the fallback approach to swiping the credit card or entering the figures without checking ID, you’ve just given counterfeiters a means around nick technology. Like I stated, liability still lies using the issuer within this situation, however this is most likely likely to change soon (because it already has in Europe). Also, you may be fined if you need to run a lot of fallback transactions, as this signifies a faulty terminal instead of a faulty card.

Nick Card Acceptance Guidelines

Stick to the on-screen directions for studying nick cards carefully. When the nick can’t be read you can utilize fallback procedures, even though the transaction is going to be less secure.

When the nick transaction fails, you are able to stick to the rules for a standard magstripe card. Check to make certain the terminal is working correctly. If things are fine in your finish, request some type of ID verification and compare signatures if at all possible (you need to technically be examining the customer’s ID with each and every purchase, but Visa admits this is impractical).

If you think which you may be managing a card with skimmed information, you could compare the final four digits from the account number around the receipt towards the figures printed around the card. When they don’t complement, this means that some has encoded a stolen or counterfeit card with someone else’s username and passwords.

PCI DSS Compliance

You can’t go far within the charge card processing world without listening to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) and also the Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) which makes the guidelines. I guarantee, the whole rulebook is amazingly lengthy, and I’d certainly perish before recounting the entire factor. Fortunately, the PCI SSC was nice enough to pare lower the most crucial rules right into a twelve-step list (plus they even designed a cute music video to go together with it):

  1. Install and keep a firewall configuration to safeguard cardholder data.
  2. Don’t use vendor-provided defaults for system passwords along with other security parameters.
  3. Safeguard stored cardholder data.
  4. Secure transmission of cardholder data across open, public systems.
  5. Use and frequently update anti-virus software or programs.
  6. Develop and keep secure systems and applications.
  7. Restrict use of cardholder data by business have to know.
  8. Assign a distinctive ID to every person with computer access.
  9. Restrict physical use of cardholder data.
  10. Track and monitor all use of network sources and cardholder data.
  11. Regularly test home security systems and procedures.
  12. Conserve a policy that addresses information to safeguard all personnel.

Their list was obtained from another publish particularly on PCI DSS compliance so I’d recommend checking that out for additional information.

Final Ideas

There are other guidelines I possibly could get into, obviously, however these basics will help you avoid most card-present processing problems. Most importantly, make sure to keep all cardholder information private and make certain to follow along with these processing rules carefully to safeguard your and yourself business.

As you final plug, make sure to take a look at our other articles on payment gateways, merchant services, processing rates and charges, and an array of other topics for any broader consider the exciting realm of payment card processing.

The publish A Merchant&#8217s Help guide to In-Store Charge Card Processing made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Business News along with other Tales for June 2017

A part of our work at Merchant Maverick is remaining on the top of recent developments and trends within the industries that people cover. We learn so much from this news article, blogs, and message boards we frequent. A lot, actually, that you want to share our understanding along with you inside a more direct fashion.

Here’s phone most fascinating, thoughtful, and newsworthy articles, forum posts, and websites the Merchant Maverick team continues to be studying for that month of June.

General Business

Methods from the Trade: How Fraudsters Attempt to Scam You from your Hard-Earned Money Square
Square’s Lead of Risk Partnerships and Insights explores some tactics that scam artists use to split up retailers for his or her funds.

Men and women Entrepreneurs Get Requested Different Questions By VC&#8217s&#8212And it impacts Just How Much Funding They Get

Harvard Business Review

Research has shown the disparity between your questions requested to women and men affect just how much funding they&#8217re offered.

Marketing

31 Simple Marketing Cheat Sheets For Business Proprietors That Don&#8217t Understand Marketing Forbes
Marketing not your forte? Not a problem! This cheat sheet with 31 tips might help.

Why You Need To Craft an engaging Content Technique for Your Online Business

Entrepreneur

Inside a world where content is still king, the process may be the law from the land. If you’re not already boosting your content game, this is the time.

Merchant Services

Nick &amp Signature Or Nick &amp PIN? Fatt Merchant
What’s the main difference between an EMV transaction finished with a signature versus. a PIN? Do you want a PIN pad?

eCommerce

78 Percent of eCommerce Websites in danger Payments Cards &amp Mobile
Research reveals that from 60,000 sites around the Magento platform, 78% don’t have up-to-date security measures. On why you need to maintain security patches and updates.

The Two Winners in Amazon . com versus. Walmart Fight

Practical Ecommerce

Get updated on two greatest players in eCommerce: Amazon . com and Walmart. Visit a quick rundown of the current marketing and selling strategies.

Experts Identify 6 Emerging Influencer Marketing Trends

Ecommerce Occasions

Find out about macro-influencers and micro-influencers, and discover who may have a bigger effect on your company.

Just How Much It Is To Begin A Web-based Store And Really Should I Dropship Or Carry Inventory

My Spouse Quit Her Job

Find out about the startup costs for various selling platforms. Read about the variations between drop-shipping and storing inventory, in energy production as well as in results.

Reason for Purchase &amp mPOS

LevelUp, MonkeyMedia Expand Partnership  PYMNTS.com
LevelUp has strengthened its partnership with MonkeyMedia to pay attention to expanding its takeout, delivery, and catering channels, allowing for retailers using LevelUp to grow their choices and provide a much better experience for consumers.

POS Attacks increasing and Junk e-mail Rebounds, Trustwave Reports

eWeek

The safety firm Trustwave released its 92 page 2017 global security report in June. Among the findings of the report was that POS security breaches are rising in 2017.

Accounting

Cloud Accounting Software Not Forecasted to exchange CPAs Mississippi Business Journal
When 90% percent of economic proprietors are forecasted to become using accounting software through the finish of 2017, will CPAs and accounting firms be relevant? Discover in the following paragraphs.

3 Business Trends to think about When Selecting Cloud Accounting Software

Business 2 Community

Where’s cloud accounting headed next? Learn what’s new within the cloud accounting world and the way to make use of the most advanced technology to simplify your accounting.

Loans &amp Finance

Amazon’s Lending Business for Online Retailers Gains Momentum Bloomburg
Amazon . com&#8217s loan program, open to Amazon . com sellers, continues to be obtaining steam since its introduction this year. Is that this a course that you ought to make the most of?

The Program Makes Loans To Companies in Distressed Areas: Trump Really wants to Work

Fast Company

CDFIs are nonprofits which help companies and consumers in distressed areas with low-cost loans. These programs might are in danger when the federal government withdraws funding.

Fintech Lingo Described

Reuters

Fintech a.k.a. &#8220financial technology&#8221 is definitely an industry filled with confusing terms. This short primer will help you understand a few of the lingo.

4 Expert Definitions of &#8216The Perfect Pitch&#8217

Salesforce

Why is the &#8220perfect&#8221 VC pitch? Four investors share their opinions.

Highlights in the Merchant Maverick Blog

Analysis: Is Square the Least expensive Charge Card Processor for the Business?
Square remains well-liked by retailers due to its pay-as-you-go prices plan, but could it be really the best offer for the business? We crunched the figures to uncover the reality, and you will be amazed.

3 Methods to Increase Productivity at the office (Hint: You might be Surprised)

Discover a couple of the best way to remain productive at the office, in line with the Alternative Board&#8217s recent survey.

Exactly what is a Tax Lease?

Equipment leasing is filled with industry jargon and merely plain confusing language. Here, we explain one of the most common phrases tossed around: tax leasing.

5 Reasons Retailers Choose Shopify

We would have liked to understand why Shopify is really a well known platform, therefore we requested their users! Read why real retailers decide to host their online retailers with Shopify.

Top Small Company Loan Rates Compared

In the following paragraphs, we check out the eye rates and charges in the top small company lenders, so that you can understand should you&#8217re getting a great deal or otherwise.

Have you read any interesting articles this month? Share your ideas within the comments!

The publish Business News along with other Tales for June 2017 made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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11 Subject Suggestions For Content That Generates Visitors and Leads

Content Topic Ideas

This short article &#8211 republished from 2013 &#8211 is my undertake Sacha Greif&#8217s email e-newsletter of the identical title. He runs a great blog on design here, and it has several blogs on beginning side projects &#8211 here, here, and here. You can examine it.

&#8220Content Marketing&#8221 is the buzzword to explain offering plenty of free, helpful, and relevant information to draw in prospective customers aimed at your website.

The fundamental idea is the fact that clients are searching for solutions and knowledge via search engines like google as well as their connections on social systems.

If you’re the company that gives the information &#8211 not does your site obtain the customer, however, you obtain the brand boost.

Advertising is expensive. Content, however, costs some time and creativeness. Frequently small companies may have much more of one compared to other. And despite some warnings, there are lots of industries (I&#8217m searching to you heating &amp air) that may be a quick, free win for proprietors prepared to produce content.

What exactly to createOrmovieOrand so onOrand so on about? How will you make use of your website to obtain more customers? How can you generate leads for the website or small business without putting things off?

Rapid, vague response is you need to provide methods to people&#8217s problems &#8211 whether that ensures they are vexed, searching, or simply bored.

Quick Aside: I&#8217m not devaluing the requirement for content strategy or personas. Don’t fall under among the myths of content marketing. That stated, I believe the primary danger isn’t doing anything more. Just start, and find out what matches your needs as well as your audience.

Listed here are 11 specific subject ideas which i make an effort to use myself and also have observed effective website proprietors using.

1. Be An Expert

You’re already really experienced in some field. Your company is clearly proficient at something. Explain that something for an imaginary individual who doesn’t have clue.

The net analytics firm KISSmetrics includes a super-effective blog. It drives lots of customers. They mostly talk about pretty advanced topics, only one of the most-read, most shared articles was &#8220A Beginner&#8217s Help guide to Google Analytics.&#8221

What&#8217s the same inside your field? Consider headlines like Beginner&#8217s Help Guide To _______ or Intro to ______, etc

You&#8217ll not just have more visitors &#8211 but individuals visitors could be more educated, and can make smarter customers.

I&#8217ve implemented this with my ongoing series on Beginner Search engine optimization. Sometimes being an Search engine optimization Specialist all day long lengthy, and spend my day explaining Search engine optimization to clients. It&#8217s pretty simple to just transfer that understanding right into a detailed blog publish.

2. Be Considered A Beginner

Just like #1 &#8211 however with a twist &#8211 you are writing (or produce video/audio) regarding your journey to discover a particular subject. It&#8217s the classic &#8220How Used To Do ______&#8221 Show and tell the way you learned something &#8211 and just how others can perform it without your mistakes.

Certainly one of my more effective publish to date continues to be my test out Reddit Advertising. It&#8217s a place where couple of individuals have really even attempted it. I attempted it, walked through my experience and observations.

3. Discuss Competitors And Also The Industry

As a customer searching for widgets, you certainly consider yourself like a savvy shopper. You&#8217re the kind who sees with the marketing. You understand the, and all sorts of competitors.

You know what? Your clients think exactly the same way. They’re already considering your competitors. They’re already considering if they’d like to have it cheaper on Amazon . com. They&#8217ve heard that the market is [adjective]. Talk about your industry talk about competitors.

Shopify performs this very well for me. There is a section focused on evaluating Shopify with all of their competitors inside a stylish, useful manner.

With this blog, I understand that marketing blogs really are a cent twelve. At the best, they’re poorly written fluff that completely waste your time and effort. At worst, they provide you with terrible advice. Ironically, that really provides me with something to create about. T-Mobile has re-built all of their online marketing strategy for this idea.

4. Your Process

Everyone does things differently. Watch is really a black box to individuals who don&#8217t operate in it. You might have a particular method, &#8220behind the scenes&#8221 inside your industry. Share it &#8211 write up. Here&#8217s a man who makes knives.

When individuals are searching for a different way to complete [this really specific factor] &#8211 you&#8217ll be located. But not just do people discover you &#8211 it will help to teach them in your process and what they’re really having to pay for.

To have an example, Lufthansa lately did a really well-made and far spoken about YouTube video that simply shows the behind the curtain of landing an Airbus A380 in Bay Area (view it here). It’s not only really, really amazing &#8211 however it emphasizes Lufthansa&#8217s make of safety and professionalism.

5. Your Failures

It might be embarrassing &#8211 however your failures could be probably the most helpful items of understanding you own. Share it. Here&#8217s a good example from Moz &#8211 the leader in &#8220inbound marketing.&#8221

6. Money

I made $17.45 from Google Ads this season from your abandoned blog.

That statement is super-boring&#8230but that $ grabs your attention. Everybody is really interested in money and just how much stuff costs or just how much profit someone makes &#8211 that if you’re prepared to be vulnerable and discuss real dollars and sense&#8230you&#8217ll most likely acquire some attention.

An ideal example is Neil Patel&#8217s recent article on QuickSprout &#8220What Spending $66,372.09 On Compensated Advertising Trained Me&#8221

He not just piqued the eye of plenty of readers &#8211 but additionally demonstrated how he may help other companies by utilizing themself for example.

7. Data

The Net is full of a large number of bloggers writing their opinion with nothing to support them.

If you’re able to give a data set, a principal source, quotes, something &#8211 or maybe even embed a Google Trends chart &#8211 you’ll be within the top 20%. Conversion XL used this process to develop his blog to 100,000 readers in 12 months.

8. Talk About What You Could&#8217t Find On The Internet

That one really is easy.

If you’re searching for something on the internet &#8211 and you may&#8217t think it is&#8230or it requires you many searches to locate it.

Then you’ve yourself articles to create. Even if you’re a little new site, if you’re able to provide specific details about a subject that nobody else has discussed, Google will discover you and also send traffic the right path.

Determine the issue or answer, obviously, however write the title just as you’d have enjoy having observed in looking results.

9. Talk About Book Understanding

Every industry includes a &#8220hidden library&#8221 that just individuals that industry learn about &#8211 but could be really helpful for individuals researching online. They are books or industry journals which are common understanding for your industry, although not to customers or readers.

Either review individuals books in your site, or talk about the very best bits in your website. REI&#8217s Learn section is essentially all lengthy-form detailed understanding that you simply normally would need to obtain a book for. Rather, they&#8217ve invest this detailed industry understanding into HTML. I am talking about &#8211 just see this section on Snowboards. It&#8217s like they submitted a magazine.

You have to their section on Paddle Boarding. It&#8217s the resource. It also outranks WikiPedia for many searches, that is pretty!

They are outranking Wikipedia

You will possibly not possess the sources to behave like REI. However, you most definitely can write synopses or reviews of books which do obtain that content. Have it on the internet and add some #2 into it.

10. Review Products You&#8217ve Used

This concept is much like #3 &#8211 but allow it to be less about competitors/industry than about very specific products which have renedered your existence better and why. Allow it to be thorough with original pictures, along with a good Search engine optimization title tag &#8211 you&#8217ll get visitors.

This tactic could be especially great for items that are complementary for your product/service. So, plumbers reviewing household drain products. Fitness coaches reviewing equipment, etc.

Again, even just in the physical world, your salespeople curently have opinions and speaking points about products, services, and choices &#8211 it&#8217s a simple win to make use of individuals opinions to produce content for the website.

11. Talk About What Individuals Inquire About

What exactly are common questions that buyers, clients, colleagues, bosses ask?

Individuals questions will also get typed into Google. Should you respond to them, you’re going to get visitors&#8230which will become customers.

Have a running list &#8211 turn your website into a nearly FAQs of the industry. May possibly not be Pulitzer Prize winning &#8211 but it’ll bring visitors to your website.

Next Steps

Pick 1 and go really make the content. (Note: it doesn&#8217t need to be in written form).

CC Image Credit to Geebet Pope

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