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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Using Amazon . com for Search engine optimization & Content Marketing

How To Use Amazon for SEO Content Marketing

Amazon . com may be the world&#8217s largest online shop. They offer greater than the following 12 largest online retailers&#8230combined.

Should you run a web-based store, it&#8217s senseless to see Amazon . com like a competitor (while they are).

Rather, it’s more lucrative to make use of Amazon . com like a platform to create your store as lucrative as possible.

Listing your product or service on Amazon . com is easily the most straightforward method. You may also use Amazon . com&#8217s PPC platform to create these listing effective.

But Amazon . com requires a cut of all the listing that erodes your margins. For a lot of storeowners, it seems sensible to take a position more in your store.

But if you are planning to purchase your personal store, you are able to (and really should) use Amazon . com.

Amazon . com may be the largest supply of ecommerce data on the web.

And lots of that information is public-facing. Here&#8217s a couple of tips on using Amazon . com like a data gold mine for the Search engine optimization &amp content marketing efforts.

On Amazon . com Search engine optimization

Observe that this publish isn’t about doing internet search engine optimization (Search engine optimization) on Amazon . com.

That’s separate, but interesting subject. It will pay to position in Amazon . com&#8217s internal product results.

But ranking there involves another strategy that drives sales on Amazon . com. I authored an extensive summary of Amazon . com marketing sources here. I additionally discussed it about this podcast episode.

This publish covers mining Amazon . com data for enhancing your online shop by yourself domain.

That stated, for those who have an Amazon . com listing, you should think about profits data for ideas.

For instance, use lucrative Amazon . com search keywords for the Search engine optimization &amp PPC campaigns.

Actually, many retailers list their product on Amazon . com utilized.

Let&#8217s take a look at using Amazon . com for market and keyword research and content development.

Market And Keyword Research &amp Content Development

Market and keyword research is definitely an art. There are many compensated and free tools to help you scale your market and keyword research.

But, you’ve still got to evaluate keyword difficulty, the need for ranking, and keyword intent.

But &#8211 you’ll need a supply of ideas that you simply don&#8217t realize that you don&#8217t know. That&#8217s what Amazon . com offers ecommerce proprietors.

*other sources which i&#8217ve covered include Quora, Reddit, Wikipedia, Google Books, Google Correlate, Display Planner, Pinterest, Slideshare, Search Analytics and YouTube.

Never exhaust ideas 🙂

Use Amazon . com Suggest To Locate Keyword Modifiers

Most SEOs and marketers learn about Google Suggest. It&#8217s a attempted and true market and keyword research method.

But don’t forget that Amazon . com has got the same functionality. Key in a keyword and it’ll suggests modifiers and alternatives.

Amazon Suggest

These suggestions originate from Amazon . com&#8217s internal search data. That time is crucial for keyword discovery.

Whether or not the recommended keywords are just like Google Suggest &#8211 they are available from the different dataset.

If suggestions overlap with Google, you already know that keyword modifier is essential.

When the suggestions don’t overlap with Google, then you’ve found a brand new market and keyword research &#8220thread.&#8221

But in either case, you will know Amazon . com&#8217s keyword suggestions have high purchase intent.

Quite simply, nobody searches on Amazon . com for the it. If a person searches on Amazon . com, they would like to *buy* that something.

Use that data to enhance your targeting. Utilize it to start a little Pay Per Click campaign.

Use Amazon . com.com like a Keyword &#8220Casting Internet&#8221

There are a few websites that rank well for everything. They’re very well-known and also have a lot of links that Google &amp Bing serve them up for any large range of searches.

Wikipedia and Quora are a handful of examples, but Amazon . com.com is  really the very best example.

I call these websites the &#8220casting nets&#8221 of market and keyword research.

They permit you to cast across countless keywords to locate a new thread to concentrate your quest.

Drop the whole domain right into a market and keyword research tool like Ahrefs (or SEMRush, Moz, etc).

You&#8217ll get a summary of countless keywords.

Amazon Keywords Ranking

Now, use known keywords to sift, sort and narrow.

There is also a subject or keyword thread that you’d haven’t imagined.

Reverse Engineer Product Pages

You may also go to the Amazon . com pages that contend with your products.

Most Amazon . com product pages will rank well for something.

Amazon Product Ranking

Go ahead and take best selling products in almost any given subcategory. Obtain individual URLs. Drop them into AdWords&#8217 Keyword Planner or perhaps a tool like Ahrefs.

Harvest the information.

Reverse Engineer Category, Trending &amp Bestseller Pages

Amazon . com includes a bigger Search engine optimization budget than you’ll have. They perform a large amount of optimization &#8211 specifically for mid-level and trending terms.

You are able to snoop on their own work via their category, trending (also known as &#8220Hot&#8221), and Bestseller pages.

Go ahead and take URLs for the relevant pages. Drop them into AdWords&#8217 Keyword Planner or perhaps a tool like Ahrefs.

Amazon Category Research

Harvest the information.

Scrape Product Titles &amp Product Descriptions for Keyword Ideas

Top sellers on Amazon . com know the strength of a great title and relevant product descriptions.

In competitive verticals, every seller may have an enhanced title with alternate terms.

Amazon Product Titles

Their product descriptions that mention use cases and operate in keyword modifiers.

You are able to by hand browse the titles. For bulk data, make use of the Scraper extension for Chrome or IMPORTXML for Google Sheets to drag within the data.

Amazon Scrape Product Titles

Search for repeats, patterns and different keywords.

By hand Read Reviews &amp Customer Questions

Platforms like Quora and Reddit are invaluable for market and keyword research. They’re rare platforms where one can scrape keywords from people&#8217s natural language.

Amazon . com&#8217s reviews and customer questions serve exactly the same role for products.

You’ll find real existence keywords from real existence use cases in context.

Quite simply, you are able to real people speaking like real people.

Amazon Read Reviews

With context, you are able to determine a variety of hidden jewel keywords that the keyword tool would *never* suggest.

If you wish to go that step further, you are able to (ironically) make use of a tool to evaluate review pages for keyword patterns.

You should use automated tools to process more pages. But, I suggest studying plenty of reviews and questions. You’re going to get a much better feeling of customer problems.

Use Amazon . com&#8217s Node System for Category and Keyword Planning

Website architecture and keyword mapping would be the foundation for effective, sustainable Search engine optimization campaigns.

Every ecommerce store faces a difficult tradeoff when planning expansion. It is almost always difficult to arrange for just how much vertical or horizontal expansion that you simply&#8217ll see.

It&#8217s also difficult to build the right groups in the beginning if you have little data.

The final wrench in planning are the competitors.

They don&#8217t know what they’re doing either. Stop searching their way.

Rather, take a look at Amazon . com. Amazon . com uses an well-performed &#8220node&#8221 system for groups and architecture. It&#8217s designed for scale, however it&#8217s also flexible enough for moving out complementary pages.

Study it.

You are able to explore it by hand or use a site like BrowseNodes that pull from Amazon . com&#8217s API.

Download Kindle Books Become Text and Run Keyword Analysis

Within my Google Books publish, I spoken about the strength of books for market and keyword research.

The issue with Google Books was it had become difficult to evaluate the entire text from the books.

Not too with Amazon . com.

This method isn’t free, but useful should you prefer a deep dive right into a subject. If you’re a non-expert inside a niche, this is actually useful.

Purchase the best selling books for the target vertical in Kindle format.

Convert the whole book into TXT format.

Take segments of text and chapter titles and run it through keyword analysis tools.

Or really browse the book &#8211 searching for great finds.

Order &amp Use Best Selling Products (especially Books)

With that, you are able to really buy best selling books &amp products inside your target vertical.

Amazon . com has virtually every product on the planet for affordable. For those who have budget, you will get invaluable data from book text, product manuals, and packaging text.

Or check out the products searching for questions like a consumer.

Such as these earphones &#8211 I had no clue the way the charging labored until I purchased it.

Amazon Product

For those who have product, this can be a lesser concern. However if you simply are dropshipping or adding Amazon . com affiliate products and programs for mix-sells / upsells, this really is critical.

The power here’s which i be certain that your competition aren’t carrying this out. If you’re looking to get unique product copy, these studies vein provides you with difficult to get information.

Search for Wrong Intent Queries for Amazon . com

I&#8217ve heard too many people complain that you could&#8217t out perform Amazon . com.

Everything equal &#8211 that maybe true.

But Amazon . com includes a problem which comes from ranking for everything.

However , Amazon . com ranks for terms that it shouldn’t rank well for. It ranks for irrelevant queries.

Consider research and consideration queries.

Sure, many people might do their research beginning to end on Amazon . com. However that not typical.

Your work being an online shop owner would be to stand before your clients *before* they’re going to Amazon . com.

Which means planning content that suits the query intent.

Quite simply, you need to determine the &#8220question behind the issue.&#8221 You need to answer that question much better than other people.

And Amazon . com.com is the beginning point with this.

Drop Amazon . com.com pages into Ahrefs or perhaps your favorite Search engine optimization tool. Search for keywords that don&#8217t match the page that ranks.

Amazon Wrong Intent

Search for &#8220how to&#8221 or &#8220vs&#8221 or &#8220compare&#8221 or &#8220why&#8221 keywords that send individuals to product pages.

Develop a page that completely solutions individuals queries.

Use Best Selling Product Descriptions to produce Content Template

You won’t ever have a similar budget or traffic that Amazon . com has. They are able to do rate of conversion optimization (CRO) at incredible scale.

Additionally they incentivize their third party sellers to ruthlessly concentrate on rate of conversion. Amazon . com sellers are continually improving with copy, images, and FAQs.

So steal everything.

Don&#8217t copy or plagiarize. But do steal the merchandise page / description of product template and roll it to your website.

Amazon Product Descriptions

Amazon Product Description

&nbsp

Perform the bestselling products use bullets or breaks? What objections will they overcome? What keywords and employ cases will they highlight? What features will they discuss?

Help make your product pages &amp descriptions your personal. But use effective Amazon . com pages as the beginning template.

Backlink Building &amp Content Promotion

Amazon . com doesn’t have to complete backlink building. They’ve built a brandname and marketing culture which brings in links on the scale that many stores could only imagine.

But Amazon . com isn’t invincible. In almost any given vertical, they may really be considered a second or 3rd tier player. In outside goods, REI beats Amazon . com on Search engine optimization and Backlink Building hands lower.

You are able to and really should study from Amazon . com&#8217s successes to focus on pathways of success. Targeted backlink building and content promotion is easily the most effective approach.

Reverse engineer Amazon . com to locate links and content promotion angles that actually work.

*Note &#8211 for those these tactics, you&#8217ll require a premium Search engine optimization tool like Ahrefs, Moz, SEMRush or Regal. Read my help guide to Ahrefs here.

Search for Links and Link Growth for Product Pages

This plan seems straightforward.

Find links to Amazon . com product pages which are like yours, and then try to have them.

However, you may take it much beyond that. Here&#8217s a couple of examples.

First, you’ll find all of the links to any or all the very best-selling product pages inside a given category. You are able to perform a straightforward link pitch.

Second, concentrate on the product pages which have the most powerful link growth. Strong link growth ensures they are presently accruing links. Place the popularity and obtain in front of it.

Amazon Link Growth

Third, concentrate on links to *complementary* products on Amazon . com and do link outreach. Pitching baseball mitts link is going to be simpler when the page links to some baseball bat instead of more baseball mitts.

4th, consider the referring domains and just what other sources they connect to. Place any content gaps where one can pitch an academic resource. For instance, your baseball bats product page may not get interest from the writer already linking to some baseball bats product page. Your &#8220perfect batting position to obtain home runs&#8221 guide could easily get more interest.

Fifth, remember that you could leverage Amazon . com&#8217s scale with this particular tactic. They’ve a large number of product pages in each and every vertical. Rely on them like a &#8220casting internet&#8221 for links possibilities.

There’s two notes to bear in mind &#8211

First, many links to Amazon . com is going to be affiliate links. Make sure to understand *why* publishers are linking to Amazon . com. Be ready to offer value far above.

Second, please personalize and become thoughtful together with your outreach &#8211 for that passion for the web.

Many publishers &amp consumers possess a soft place for innovative small companies. Don’t abuse that trust with spammy outreach.

Search for Links and Link Growth for Category, Trending &amp Bestseller Pages

This plan is much like researching product pages.

Publishers will connect to category, trending and bestseller pages for various reasons. It&#8217s vital that you understand why &amp the way they got each link.

You&#8217ll frequently find possibilities to pitch educational sources here.

You&#8217ll also find possibilities to obtain individuals invaluable category-level links in your site.

Make certain your category and academic pages are link worthy.

By hand Look for Amazon . com Pages w/ Links

Amazon . com&#8217s &#8220Customers Who Bought This Bought&#8221 is definitely an incredible bit of data for just about any store.

Amazon Related

By hand collect each and every URL and discover links to individuals pages. This method is much like searching for links to product pages &#8211 but focused on complementary links.

Search Amazon . com.com for Footprint Links

This plan is much like my &#8220casting internet&#8221 tactic for keywords.

Look for every connect to Amazon . com (yes, these).

Then, narrow lower with assorted &#8220footprints&#8221 that suit your goal.

Footprints may include URLs with &#8220resources&#8221 and &#8220[keyword]&#8221 within the URL.

Amazon Link Analysis

It could include URLs with &#8220[keyword]&#8221 within the domain and &#8220review&#8221 within the URL slug.

You may also concentrate on quantity of outlinks from individuals pages (ie, whether you’ll probably obtain the link). You are able to further concentrate on Domain Authority as well as other metric.

*Note &#8211 make sure to take a look at Amazon . com damaged links for a little bit of ecommerce damaged backlink building.

Use Amazon . com in Link Intersect along with other Ecommerce Stores

Most backlink tools possess a &#8220link intersect&#8221 tool. Even when yours doesn&#8217t, you may still perform the same process with Stand out.

The concept is to discover which websites connect to Site X and Y but don’t connect to Site Z.

The technique will get the best link prospects and also the best link types.

Since Amazon . com has so&#8230many&#8230links &#8211 it can make a great link intersect site.

Amazon Link Intersect

Amazon Link Intersect

The procedure here can be your imagination and vertical. But here&#8217s a couple of examples.

Suppose you need to find publishers that connect to independent companies. Search for publishers that connect to competitors but do *not* connect to Amazon . com.

Suppose you need to find publishers that link to whoever, whenever. Search for publishers that connect to all of your competitors AND Amazon . com.

Suppose you need to get links that the competitors don’t have. Search for publishers that connect to Amazon . com but don’t connect to competitors.

Again &#8211 the technique depends upon your objectives and sources, but Amazon . com constitutes a very helpful domain for this.

Next Steps

Should you run a web-based store, you can’t ignore Amazon . com. Regardless of whether you sell on Amazon . com or otherwise, you need to use their openly available data to enhance your site.

You won&#8217t function as the next Amazon . com. But &#8211 whenever you combine an solid ecommerce online marketing strategy with solid data &#8211 you’ll beat your competition. And you will &#8211 just maybe &#8211 beat Amazon . com working for you from the Internet.

Each week, I distribute some most helpful marketing posts which i&#8217ve read on the web. Should you found this publish helpful, you&#8217ll think it is helpful too. Register here.

The publish Using Amazon . com for Search engine optimization &#038 Content Marketing made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

trello-logo-blue

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

basecamp-logo

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

shipstation-logo

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

shipworks-logo

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

sweet-tooth-rewards-logo

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

belly-logo

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

 

wix

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

Jimdo-Logo

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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9 Reasons Why You Need To Use WordPress for the Business Website

WP Business Website

Which means you&#8217ve a minimum of learned about using WordPress for business websites? However, you&#8217re to not sure. You&#8217re wise, since there are tons of platforms, site-builders, and choices to construct your business website with. Most companies will undoubtedly go to whichever their designer recommends or whatever is least expensive/best supported.

But exactly like you would care what materials your homebuilder was using to construct your home &#8211 you need to take a desire for what software your site builder is applying.

Here&#8217s 9 explanations why WordPress is the greatest option for your company website.

1. Security

Are you aware that church websites lead more infections and adware and spyware to internet visitors than any other kind of website? (yes, including individuals)

Why?

Because places of worship have a tendency to build amateur websites using out-dated technology.

Hacking isn’t just an expert industry with supply chains, vendors, and consultants &#8211 it&#8217s highly automated.

Website hacking isn&#8217t made by a loner mischievous kid &#8211 it&#8217s made by huge systems of automated bots who trawl the net searching for simple security holes.

(Make a robot turning up everyday in your home to check on and find out should you locked you and switched in your alarm)

Websites built by hands or with sitebuilders don&#8217t have built-in security, or perhaps a community searching and patching holes.

One bad type of php (a typical programming language) makes it possible for a robotic (not human) to insert pretty nasty stuff &#8211 damaging your brand, business, and offending your clients.

An expert WordPress installation, with monitoring, dramatically reduces this risk when compared with sitebuilders, along with other early 2000s technology.

2. Design Versatility

WordPress runs from a database (quick, easy changes) and uses &#8220Themes&#8221 to manage website functions and appear.

Exactly what does this suggest? An expert designer can take shape any take a look at with WordPress. Any take a look at all. Or rapidly choose, implement, and personalize a pre-built Theme.

Your choices are unlimited &#8211 and simple to regulate, implement, and alter with time.

You may also &#8220preview&#8221 the way a theme will appear without getting to apply it.

3. Selection of Top-Firms For Design + Development + Support

WordPress is continuing to grow in one-of-many blogging tools to to be the most broadly used &#8220Content Management System&#8221 on the web &#8211 powering 20%+ from the best players websites on the planet &#8211 and millions upon countless others.

How come this trouble beyond pure social recognition?

WordPress is how the developers, designers, support, and professionals are in. A sizable market = deep support for the firm as well as your website.

You will find thousands of designers and developers who know WordPress and will be ready to strengthen your firm.

There&#8217s no recourse to be tied to a terrible developer simply because he&#8217s the only real guy to understand [insert random software] inside and outside.

4. Open-Source With Active Community

WordPress isn’t proprietary. It&#8217s not of any organization, also it&#8217s copyright is licensed underneath the GPL. And contains a millions-strong active community with regular scheduled, open-source updates.

What is does which means that for you personally?

It&#8217s not disappearing. You bear no recourse of the software firm going belly up and departing you with unsupported software.

The code is available to the general public, so that all the weaknesses and vulnerabilities is visible and glued by all very rapidly.

And WordPress improves constantly due to real-input by its user/developers.

WordPress is definitely in the leading edge &#8211 and never held back with a company&#8217s sources

5. Search engine optimization and Markup Friendly

Trivia &#8211 W3 is really a conference of individuals from top Internet firms who lay lower the standard standards for programming code on the web &#8211 so your computer can see it.

Individuals quality standards matter &#8211 a great deal. Search engines love correct programming &#8220markup&#8221 &#8211 since it&#8217s simpler to crawl.

Your users like it (without realizing it) since your website creates their browser.

WordPress yields near-perfect markup. Sitebuilders, website wizards, and old website software packages don’t.

Associated with pension transfer all products &#8211 it matters what’s &#8220under the hood.&#8221 WordPress causes it to be happen.

6. Functionality Versatility

Seen a neat contact page, picture slider, or awesome functionality online that you simply love?

WordPress can perform it. We have an innovative system known as Plugins &#8211 where one can download and &#8220plug-in&#8221 third-party programs to create your website look, act, and feel exactly how you want.

7. Server-Side Software

Desire a website that may be updated anywhere?

WordPress is software that endures your site&#8217s server &#8211 which means you aren&#8217t restricted to what computer you&#8217re on.

You are able to login and edit anywhere you possess an Web connection &#8211 and all sorts of your graphics and media is going to be stored there too.

8. Amounts of Users Access

WordPress includes a built-in user system. So that you can easily let any edit or make changes towards the website everywhere &#8211 without discussing username and passwords.

Want an worker to edit the copy &#8211 although not the settings? You are able to set roles and define access so you are aware just who can alter what when.

Total control of your site.

9. Integrates With Just About Anything

Since WordPress is really hugely popular &#8211 and thus flexible &#8211 a lot of your preferred web services sync up to it?

Is the next step e-mail marketing with MailChimp? It syncs up. Wish to install tracking, social networking, etc, etc&#8230 it may most likely be integrated.

It&#8217s that flexible. Despite whatever you decide and listen to mid-2000s web-site designers, using WordPress for business websites isn’t just completely achievable &#8211 but the best lengthy-term (and short-term) option to power your website.

Require a question clarified? Work done? Or would like you website transformed into WordPress? Call us or leave an email within the comments.

The publish 9 Reasons Why You Need To Use WordPress for the Business Website made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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The Very Best EMV Compliant POS Systems

best emv compliant pos

If you’ve been maintaining around the recent EMV liability shift, this really is most likely the 4 hundredth and 70-second article you’ve find out about it. But it’s still October and we’ve still got information to talk about, particularly if you’re believing that now might be time for you to change your POS system. Not every systems are EMV-compatible yet, which could start squandering your soon. No, it’s not time for you to panic and also you don’t absolutely need to be EMV-compliant right this second, however these nick cards aren’t disappearing. Actually, they’re already scheduled to develop more and more advanced within the next couple years. You’re have to a POS system around the innovative of the shift should you hope to maintain your business running easily. That leads me to begin this, the 4-hundredth and 70-second article you’ll discover the EMV liability shift: to talk about the very best EMV compliant POS systems available on the market.

For your benefit and titillation, below is really a break lower of 5 POS solutions that provide great functionality for various differently sized companies and industry types. The factors through which each system was selected include EMV compatibility, overall system functionality, affordability, and offline abilities (the opportunity to accept debit and credit transactions with no Wi-Fi connection).

ShopKeep                                         best emv compliant pos

ShopKeep is our number 1 pick for retail and food service POS systems, and that i really want it to be made to accommodate service industry companies too, because not just is ShopKeep an excellent system with things to look for along with a finely-tuned suit of features, but it’s also creating a surprising offer. Named the ShopKeep EMV Liability Promise, Chief executive officer and President Norm Merritt guarantees that as lengthy as you’ve purchased an EMV device from ShopKeep, the organization covers any EMV-related chargebacks until their software programs are EMV-enabled. Essentially, though ShopKeep is selling nick card readers, their POS product is not EMV-compatible. Rather of creating you have to pay with this, however, they’ve agreed to defend myself against EMV-related chargebacks until they’ve their system so as, because it’s not your fault they aren’t quite compatible yet. This really is something I’ve never witnessed completed in the POS industry before and talks to the lengths that ShopKeep would like to choose its customers.

Obviously, without impressive customer support, ShopKeep is much more than able to standing by itself with features like:

  • An intuitive and easy to use interface
  • An easy prices structure ($49/month/register)
  • Easy set-up
  • Affordable hardware
  • Multiple payment processing options
  • A complete suit of back-office functions
  • Raw component tracking
  • Offline functionality
  • Integrations with MailChimp and QuickBooks

Created for promising small to medium-sized companies, ShopKeep provides a effective cloud-based iPad POS solution in a cost that won’t carve an excessive amount of chunk from your budget. Together with various hardware bundles available on their online shop, they provide two EMV devices:

  • Ingenico iPP320, $299 – a wired, Apple Pay-enabled nick and swipe card readers
  • Ingenico iCMP, $249 – a radio nick and swipe card readers that’s also Apple Pay-enabled

As well as, ShopKeep is presently offering $500 in free hardware for individuals who register soon, however the deal is just good while supplies last. I’d encourage you to look into the complete ShopKeep review for any more in-depth look. This robust, ease to make use of system has enjoyed positive results recently and it has constantly demonstrated itself around the innovative of POS solutions, but when you’re less than convinced, we’ve had a couple more choices for you.

Clover Small  best emv compliant pos

Clover Small is yet another food service favorite, but can also be well outfitted for essentially any company within the service industry. Clover provides a unique undertake POS solutions by basically designing the unit to enhance your charge card processor. Though produced by First Data, Clover Small is offered alongside a free account by a number of banks, business suppliers, and a merchant account providers. This enables retailers to look around to find the best rates and—since each provider sell the unit in a different price—negotiate the very best deals around the actual product.

The machine itself is equally as flexible because the charge card processing options it provides. Having a modular platform created for customizability, Clover Small could be made to suit nearly any quick serve restaurant, dine-in restaurant, or service companies. Some abilities either incorporated and among the service plans or on the Clover application store include:

  • The opportunity to sell fuel in-store or in the pump
  • A pre-ordering application
  • SMS and social internet marketing abilities
  • The opportunity to produce a customer layout of the store
  • A purchase kiosk
  • The opportunity to pre-authorize cards for a specific amount on bar tabs
  • Appointment and reservation schedulers
  • A time verification feature
  • Integration with Constant Contact, MailChimp, QuickBooks, Xero, Magento, and Shopify
  • Phone order manager
  • Offline functionality

Their email list above only includes a few of the basics without mentioning the entire inventory, worker, reporting, and customer management functions offered within this effective little device. Although the interface has already been simple to learn and employ, set-up is even simpler since Clover Small has a built-in scanner, receipt printer, magstripe card swipe, nick card readers, and contactless NFC payment readers. Having a compact, 7-inch screen, Clover is fantastic for the tiniest storefronts, although it should handle mid-sized companies too. Read the entire review if you’d like more information, but it’s hard to fail having a system you are able to so carefully tailor for your business’s unique needs.

Revel Systems

best emv compliant posRevel is yet another POS solution with sufficient features and add-ons to match different types of businesses. Unlike Clover Small and ShopKeep though, Revel could be customized for everyone just about any business size in essentially any industry it’s a favorite for managing liquor stores and wineries, particularly. Revel is multi-locational, can manage as much as 500,000 SKUs, and hosts some good features like:

  • Offline capacity
  • Matrix inventory management
  • Extensive and intelligent reporting
  • Loyalty and CRM programs
  • Appointment scheduling
  • DTT security integration
  • Custom menu building
  • Cinema distribution compliance
  • Shipping compliance and delivery keeper
  • Bar tab management
  • Worker scheduling and management programs
  • PayPal, Shopify, Magento, QuickBooks, Xero, and social networking integrations
  • Catering management

Obviously, there are lots of more available functions, and Revel enables you to choose which features your company needs with industry-specific feature packages and additional add-ons. Because Revel is really feature wealthy, its beginning pricing is just a little greater than ShopKeep and Clover Small at $119 per month for that first terminal’s software license, 24/7 live support, limitless data storage, limitless software updates, as well as an integration with QuickBooks. Next, the cost only goes lower though, using the second terminal visiting $70 monthly and $40 for every additional terminal. In almost any situation, Revel’s prices continues to be comparable with lots of POS systems, even individuals with less features, less functionality, and fewer usability.

Revel integrates with a few payment processers including Mercury Payment Systems, LevelUP, and First Data (though there are other). For your EMV options, Revel Systems presently offers two devices:

  • Ingenico iPP350, $300 – EMV and PCI PTS certified, also accepts NFC payments
  • Verifone VX805, $180 – nick and magstripe card readers, also accepts NFC payments

Like a bonus, Revel offers additional hardware integration, and therefore if you’re not deeply in love with either from the certified EMV options, they are able to use you to definitely add any standard card readers for your system. Overall, Revel has got the options, customizability, featuring you have to keep almost any business running easily. Browse the complete break lower if you’d like, but when you’re searching for something a bit more specialized and industry-specific, we’ve still had a couple POS solutions which are worth exploring.

ERPLY

erply-logo

ERPLY is really a system which i personally reviewed a few several weeks ago and required a specific shine to due to its specialization in retail ERP functions—hence the name ERPLY. ERP is short for for enterprise sources planning, and is a brand-encompassing expression used to explain the entire process of managing all of the different aspects of a company, in the front-finish reason for purchase to back-office functions. Essentially, ERPLY’s goal would be to provide promising small to mid-sized companies using the tools to handle every facet of their companies without getting to purchase pricey third-party ERP software. I’d argue they exceed this goal though, since the amount of features and integrations they provide helps make the system attractive to large companies plus the smaller sized ones.

A few of the features which make ERPLY stand out from other POS systems include:

  • A simple shipping management module
  • Automated reordering and tracking of purchase orders
  • Advanced worker and customer management
  • Easy sales promotions and coupon features
  • Customizable sales reports
  • Customizable dashboard feature
  • QuickBooks, PrestaShop, Magento, and Shopify integrations
  • Offline functionality
  • A warehouse web application accustomed to manage and ship products, receive inventory, and configure shipping/receive rules everywhere

ERPLY also provides its very own accounting and eCommerce platforms, that is nice if you’re searching to side-step integration problems that can occasionally include third-party providers. The selection can be you.

Another option that’s your decision is the charge card processor. ERPLY has partnered having a pretty lengthy listing of them:

  • Bank of the usa
  • Chase
  • Citibank
  • Wells Fargo
  • US Bank
  • HSBC
  • Mercury Payment Systems
  • Element Payment Services
  • PayPal
  • Cayan

Apple Pay can also be not far off, however if you simply don’t visit your preferred processor out there, contact ERPLY plus they might be able to add some integration for you personally. ERPLY has additionally taken a positive method of EMV compliance with three devices to select from along with a 4th scheduled to get available early 2016.

  • Verifone MX915, $480 – NFC and EMV-enabled video display readers
  • Verifone MX925, $570 – another NFC and EMV-enabled video display readers
  • Verifone VX520, $175 – a smaller sized, more rugged EMV and NFC readers
  • Verifone VX805, $270 – scheduled to be shown Q1 2016

You standard countertop EMV readers will probably be about $200 to $400, putting the 2 Verifone MX models over the average cost you’d normally purchase a nick card readers. As these devices have video displays, though, they are a good spot to put targeted advertisements and marketing information. Ultimately, you’ll need to determine if that sort of feature could be well worth the extra $100 or $200. In almost any situation, if you’re an entrepreneur within the retail industry, I’d recommend taking ERPLY’s free trial offer for any spin or at best exploring just a little further using the full review.

Quetzal

best emv compliant pos

Quetzal, created for promising small to mid-sized shoe and apparel retailers, is among my personal favorite POS systems simply because they have several the friendliest staff I’ve ever labored with. Customer support is definitely an essential facet of any POS solution, because every software will have the periodic glitch and you will find certain to be questions throughout the first couple days of operation (otherwise longer). A great tech support team team ensures that you will get the most from neglect the and Quetzal (together with ShopKeep) takes the prize for the reason that category. Although, I shouldn’t be amazed thinking about Quetzal is really a Canadian company.

That’s not saying that you’re going to need to use Quetzal’s support everything frequently, since the interface carries the Apple aesthetic and general simplicity of use. The rear-office and front-finish functions are without effort made to minimize user error and streamline the setup and checkout processes. You can handle as much as 10 locations with Quetzal, that is a pretty reasonable cap for many mid-sized companies. When you get bigger than that, you’re gonna need to transfer to a POS system made to handle large inventories and much more locations. However, even when you’re striking the maximum with 10 locations and a pair of,000,000 SKUs, Quetzal it’s still equipped to handle your operational needs. Some highlighted features include:

  • Simple, easy to use checkout functions
  • Decently priced hardware (especially because the built-in iPad camera can be the scanner)
  • Extensive reporting functions and options
  • Simple to use color and size inventory matrix
  • Customer account management (includes Tag Cloud feature which makes for simple upselling)
  • Offline operation functionality
  • 9 fully integrated language options
  • Integration with Apple’s Figures

Such as the other POS systems, Quetzal offers several charge card processing options. Quetzal integrates with payment partners National Discount A Merchant Account, Mercury, Velocity, Moneris, CardSmith, and SumUp. These payment gateways provide use of acquirers like Bank of the usa, Chase Paymentech, First Data, Global Payments, Heartland Payment Systems, TSYS, and Vantiv. The EMV options Quetzal offers include:

  • Ingenico iPP320, $299 – a wired, NFC-enabled nick and swipe card readers
  • SumUp Pin+ – SumUP isn’t available in america yet (it’s mostly the UK—where in EMV standards will be in place for some time), but it’ll be soon and Quetzal has intends to utilize their EMV abilities

With reasonable hardware costs and competitive licensing charges (as little as $890 per place for a 1-year license), Quetzal is really a robust POS solution that won’t blow a significant hole inside your budget. It won’t even blow a medium-sized hole, but you’ll have virtually all you need to cultivate a effective business. If you’re interested, I’d encourage you to definitely have a gander in the full review.

Final Ideas

I understand, I understand. I simply put a lot of information to you, but stay. I’ve got a bit more for you personally.

Like a general tip for anybody buying a new EMV device—or really any charge card reader—don’t ever lease it. Should you can’t covering the $200 to $400 for every new terminal, place the purchase on the business charge card. The eye minute rates are far better and also the purchase is tax deductible. Read this article if you’re thinking about a rent-to-own deal for your nick and pin readers.

Another good point is if the readers you’re purchasing can also be in a position to accept near field communication (NFC) or contactless payments. Though these aren’t as prevalent as traditional card transactions yet, they’re certainly growing in recognition, and it’s most likely smarter to possess that option now rather of getting to exchange your hardware again inside a couple years.

Finally, all of this talk of EMV liability and nick card readers ultimately leads us to your a merchant account provider. If you’ve observed bad rates, hefty charges, or simply poor service, now may be time for you to consider altering processors. I’d research just how much you ought to be having to pay for charge card processing and explore a few of the options available. If you’re ending up just a little overwhelmed on the bottom, though, you can call us. We’ve got the sources to assist you.

The publish The Very Best EMV Compliant POS Systems made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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ten best Ways to use CRM Software

uses for crm software

If you’re operating a company that interacts with customers past the initial purchase, you will want a method for managing contacts. And not simply for the customers, but in addition for your vendors, the employees, your investors, potential leads, even random people you meet during flight layovers. What’s promising? You will find loads of affordable solutions open to make managing this facet of your company a great deal simpler. But Customer Relation Management is all about greater than gathering what they are called and emails of everybody you communicate with. Listed here are best ten ways to use CRM software to exhibit precisely how versatile scalping strategies could be.

Use #1: Business Management

Contact Relationship Management Software Diagram

Managing Contacts

The very best use for CRM software programs are its primary use: managing from email correspondence to sales activity and consolidating it into one centralized hub. This may be completed with a paper and pen, a rolodex, as well as an Stand out spreadsheet, but there are several apparent drawbacks to that particular method. You can’t search a rolodex exactly the same way you are able to an electronic system, as well as well-made spreadsheets get their limitations. Using CRM software, or CRM tools available via a loyalty program or POS, saves numerous man hrs, as well as your sanity. CRM software at its best takes all of the moving parts involving customer contact and links them together to produce a system that’s seamless, intuitive, and simple to navigate.

Inventory Management

With respect to the program you utilize and the kind of business you use, CRM software programs are also able to managing inventory and tracking item quantity levels, the interest rate where they offer, as well as which products aren’t selling. Zoho CRM offers inventory management tools that track sales, and manage product lists, cost books, vendors, and much more.

Use #2: Customer Tracking

Identifying customer spending patterns

To find out what clients are buying, just how much they’re buying, and just how frequently, you’ll require a good tracking system. This is among the primary advantages of CRM software. Digital loyalty platforms like Fivestars can gather lots of data since the software integrates directly together with your POS. This data may be used to personalize encounters for every of the customers, or utilized on a worldwide scale to trace how good certain goods are doing. Getting use of your customers’ spending patterns, habits, and preferences enables you to definitely make more skillful decisions about promotions, prices, and advertising, in addition to increasing the customer experience.

Correspondence Tracking

For individuals who require immediate access to client correspondence, whether it is email, telephone calls, or personally conversations, CRM software programs are vital. Many CRM software systems offer correspondence tracking in the first transaction towards the last. The CRM software solution Base does exactly that, storing call logs, emails, documents along with other types of correspondence for every customer.

Use #3: Targeted Marketing

uses for crm software

E-mail marketing

Commonplace in many loyalty programs, e-mail marketing plays a large role in generating repeat business and obtaining start up business. E-mail marketing keeps your company linked to your clients inside a non-intrusive way. Marketing campaigns serve many purposes: offering discounts, alerting your clients to new items, inviting these to occasions, or maybe even saying hello. Digital programs like Fivestars’ AutoPilot Program permit you to manage campaigns according to customer activity, delivering emails whenever a customer continues to be inactive for over a certain length of time.

Alternate Media Marketing

If you’re searching for further methods to access your clients, many loyalty and CRM providers offer mobile and social networking campaign tools. SMS texting campaigns, social networking blasts, as well as mobile application notifications, like the one provided by the loyalty platform Perka, are efficient ways to connect with your clients past the traditional email method.

Campaign and Promotion Management

Internet marketing tools can be used as greater than lengthy term relationship building. Campaign and marketing applications may be used to solve short term requirements of your company. Whenever your small business a lift, internet marketing tools provide you with immediate access for your people to encourage feet traffic for the business. The Flok loyalty program includes a “happy hour” tool that allows you to setup rewards on certain days and occasions to improve traffic. Certain mobile application programs like Perka and Flok can send promotions to customers when they’re inside a certain distance out of your location.

Use #4: Integrations

Social network background with media icons

Social Networking Integrations

Loyalty programs such as the one Belly offers may bring all of your social networking applications together and provide your clients use of individuals platforms in a single. Additionally they provide the ability for purchasers to love your social networking pages and take a look at business on Yelp. Zoho and Nimble offer social networking integrations, helping you to monitor and interact together with your customers on their own social networking feeds.

Additional Integrations

CRM software plays an important role in getting different programs together to seamlessly interact and provide an intuitive, fluid system. Additionally to several data migration and export options, many providers can integrate with Google applications (for example Gmail, Contacts, Maps, Drive yet others), MailChimp, Constant Contact, eCommerce platforms, Accounting software, Helpdesk software, and numerous others.

Use #5: Customer Comments

Business Hand Pushing Customer Feedback On Virtual Screen

Reviews

CRM and loyalty software offer great tools to create monitoring review sites as well as your social networking pages a great deal simpler. Some programs monitor review sites like Yelp to provide you with current info on where your company ranks and just what individuals are saying. The Sweet Tooth loyalty platform for eCommerce offers reward tie-ins for product critiques published on your site, stellar motivation for the people to leave reviews. In case your system allows it, in-house reviews are an easy way to provide your clients an chance to convey concerns or comments before they finish on the internet.

Chatter Feeds

Chatter feeds, such as the one provided by Salesforce, permit you to keep in touch with employees with similar speed as other social networking outlets. Chatter feeds are perfect for group collaboration.

Use #6: Data Analysis

Analysis Analytics Bar graph Chart Data Information Concept

Trends and Insights

Most loyalty programs, and a few CRM programs, provide a pretty helpful degree of data analysis to provide you with actionable insights to your business.  The greater thorough your tracking tools, the greater in-depth case study could be. On the product level, data analysis let you know what goods are selling and which aren’t, so that you can determine if you want to make adjustments on quantity levels, or begin a promotion. Inside a sales atmosphere, analytics let you know how good each person in profits team does, so that you can get the best choice when assigning tasks. The Bottom CRM offers in-depth sales analytics to complete exactly that.

Use #7: Sales Tracking

Sales funnel marketing 3d template EPS10 vector illustration

Purchase Pipelines

CRM software provides you with the opportunity to track happens each purchase is within across your team. You are able to prioritize sales by chance and manage every aspect of your workflow too. Sugar CRM offers real-time pipeline management to provide you with probably the most up-to-date information, in addition to management tools that will help you assign tasks for your salesforce.

Worker Sales

Along with sales tracking is worker tracking. Many CRM companies offer tools that track what workers are doing, their progress on assigned tasks, and also the stages of all of their sales.

Use #8: Mobility

Vector Concept Of Cloud Services On Mobile Phone.

In case your business necessitates frequent travel, then getting use of your contacts, along with other facets of your company, is crucial. Some CRM providers offer mobile phone applications and remote access options so that you can connect to the important information no matter where you’re. Zoho CRM and Solve360 CRM both offer mobile phone applications additionally for their primary software. Pipedrive CRM provides an iPhone mobile solution in addition to a remote access choice for android and home windows users.

Use #9: Task Management

Time Management - Pledge Of Success. Business Planning And Resul

Make use of your CRM to handle from personal tasks to business deals, conferences, and much more. Sync the program together with your calendar, create and assign new tasks, and link projects and tasks with specific contacts.

Use #10: Document Management

Data Management

Resource Libraries

CRM software may be used to collect, manage, and distribute documents, in addition to track which documents happen to be delivered to which client, or worker, or vendor. Zoho CRM, Clevertim CRM, and Contactually CRM all offer document libraries with different amounts of tracking.

Final Ideas around the Ways to use CRM Software

Quality CRM tools make handling the relationship between both you and your customers efficient, effective, and, hopefully, just a little simpler. There are lots of great CRM software providers and loyalty programs around that may fit the requirements of your company. I encourage you to look into the CRM software reviews along with the loyalty software reviews to understand more about all these programs.

The publish ten best Ways to use CRM Software made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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VeriFone VX520 Charge Card Readers Unboxing and Review

verifone vx520

With the various sorts of charge card readers available nowadays, it’s really a nearly Herculean task to find out which kind suits your company. You will find such a great deal of things to consider &#8211 will the card readers accept contactless payments, could it be EMV compatible, will it take gift certificates, could it be portable, how good will it print receipts &#8211 it&#8217s no question that lots of business proprietors end up battling when the time comes to buy new hardware. It&#8217s enough to create anybody&#8217s mind spin!

Have no fear, though. I (along with the other authors and reviewers on Merchant Maverick) make it an individual mission to provide you with the various tools you have to make informed decisions regarding your business. Because of this, I purchased probably the most popular card readers around &#8211 the VeriFone VX520 &#8211 and required a tough consider the basics. I examined from packaging to product specs to testimonials. If you wish to know what to anticipate once you order a VX520, you&#8217re fortunate, my pal. Continue reading to see things i discovered.

Packaging

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I purchased my VX 520 from Amazon . com, despite the fact that it required a long time to obtain here (there’s been a higher demand this month for EMV-capable card readers instead of the current liability shift), it showed up in excellent shape. Every element was well packed, paid by bubble-wrap or plastic, and also the set-up instructions were nicely folded on top of this area.

I had been fairly apprehensive before receiving this specific card readers, because there were some real horror tales concerning the VX520 around the Amazon . com site. Actually, multiple customers complained these were sent outdated, non-EMV capable types of the credit card readers, readers that were used and refurbished, or readers which were not really able to NFC transactions. Consequently, I had been unsure things i would find after i opened up in the package. However, to my relief, the readers I acquired was clearly brand-new and EMV enabled. All the associated parts (the ability cables, the receipt paper, and also the phone cord) were also new and untouched. Actually, thinking about the amount of negative reviews around the Amazon . com site, I&#8217m unsure basically just got lucky through getting a non-lemon or maybe service has become better lately. In either case, regardless of whether you&#8217re ordering from Amazon . com or any other site, be cautious whenever you receive your card readers. Check it for indications of previous use, and be sure right from the start that the constituents work nicely.

What&#8217s Within the Box?

verifone vx520 unboxing

  • VeriFone VX520 Dual Comm (M252-753-03-NAA-3) charge card terminal
  • Power
  • Roll of paper
  • Phone cord
  • Twelve months manufacturer warranty

Specs

Cost: $180-$300 (based on where/from that you purchase)

Processor: 400 MHz ARM11 32-bit RISC processor

Memory: 160MB (128MB Flash, 32MB SDRAM)

Display: 128&#21564 pixel graphical white-colored backlit LCD

Connectivity: Dial Ethernet

Printer: 24 lps Standard: 49mm paper roll Contactless: 40mm paper roll

Card Readers: Triple Track MSR

Contactless: ISO18092 supports major NFC/contactless schemes

Peripheral Ports: One Ethernet one telco one RS-232 port one USB 2. Host port one USB Client port

Security: PCI PTS 3.X approved

Power: 8V Electricity, 2.25A or optional 9V Electricity, 4A

Ecological: 0º to 50º C (32º to 122º F) operating temperature. -20º to 60º C (-4º to 140º F) storing temperature. 5% to 90% relative humidity, non-condensing

Physical Dimensions: 203mm L x 78mm W x 87mm H 500g weight

Set-Up

The instructional diagram that included the VX520 is rather straightforward.

verifone vx520 instructions

You may also read a useful reference guide that will help you with set-up instructions and finest practices, but there&#8217s not really much to understand, fortunately. Obtaining the readers prepared to run includes plugging inside a couple of cords, feeding inside a roll of receipt paper, and installing information out of your merchant services provider. This isn&#8217t brain surgery.

First Impressions

The VeriFone VX520 looks just like almost every other standard card readers you seen, although it sticks out somewhat because of its compact, portable design and ATM-style interface. Additionally, the VX520 is distinguished with a large, high contrast screen that has an 8-line by 21-character display. I discovered myself suddenly astounded by the dimensions, brightness, and readability from the display. This readers can endure the earliest or most near-sighted of the clientele, quite simply. And also the display isn’t the only element of the readers that’s backlit for max visibility. The keypad also features large figures and it is backlit in blue, in order to function easily in the dimmest of settings (or most atmospheric of restaurants). I personally don’t like low light environments &#8211 no candle-lit eateries for me personally, should you please &#8211 but I needed to admit the display and keypad about this readers were greater than a match for any dark locale.

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The VX520 is EMV-ready, meaning with the ability to process nick cards (either nick-and-pin or nick-and-signature) in addition to standard magstripe cards. EMV compliance hasn&#8217t been a problem within the U . s . States until lately, as a result of liability shift which happened October first, 2015. Now, retailers who’ve not upgraded their hardware have the effect of fraud that may have been avoided by devices that may read nick cards. What this means is potentially huge financial losses for companies with outdated card readers, and makes the truth that the VX520 is EMV-ready that rather more significant.

There’s a slot towards the bottom from the VX520 where nick cards could be &#8220dipped&#8221 &#8211 placed half means by the slot and held there throughout the transaction. Nick cards, in addition to regular old magstripe cards, may also be swiped across the right fringe of the credit card readers. &#8220Dipping&#8221 is really a relatively recent procedure within the U.S., so most new charge cards (additionally to getting a micro-processor embedded for nick-and-PIN or nick-and-signature transactions) may also be outfitted having a magstripe. It might appear counterproductive to provide both options at any given time when everybody is actually attempting to push the convenience and security of nick cards, however the liability shift only has experienced effect a short while swiping is really ingrained within our culture that it’ll take a moment for card dipping to get standard.

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Evidently, this readers also offers integrated NFC (near field communication) abilities which support alternative payment methods (contactless payments like Apple Pay, PayPal, Android Pay, etc.) in addition to loyalty card/gift certificate acceptance. However, based on VeriFone&#8217s official data sheet around the product, NFC capacity is just optional. When I pointed out above, there are many online complaints from individuals who bought the VX520 expecting so that you can process contactless payments, only to obtain their hopes dashed. Should you choose end up buying this card readers, I suggest that you simply communicate carefully together with your dealer to make certain the model you&#8217re getting can really try everything you&#8217re planning on do.

VeriFone claims the VX520 is amazingly fast, in a position to manage processing, file encryption, and understanding and processing at amazing speeds &#8220thanks to the effective processor and expanding memory.&#8221 Much more importantly, possibly, is always that we have an optional battery which enables you to definitely go wherever you have to go, within reason. As lengthy as you’ve an electrical source, the purpose of payment could be virtually any place in your store. Thankfully, additionally to merely being portable, the VX520 is lightweight and fits easily within the hands, therefore it&#8217s practical to hold around too.

The final aspect I wish to mention may be the paper door, which appears sturdy and well-crafted. It&#8217s transparent, that is nice, because it enables you to view precisely how have less receipt paper you’re really, also it opens and shuts rapidly and with little wasted movement. It&#8217s efficient, quite simply.

Final Ideas around the VeriFone VX520

Generally, I believe this is a great product: easy to use, portable, readable, capable to process both magstripe and nick charge cards. The VeriFone VX520 appears like an excellent card readers, seems like an excellent card readers, and &#8211 typically &#8211  operates just like a great card readers. I counsel you to definitely continue but be careful, though, particularly if you&#8217re searching for something which can process contactless or NFC payments. The only real tip I’m able to provide you with with that front will be smart. Research your options before purchasing. It&#8217s really about research, in the end. Speak with the vendor, and also to your credit card merchant account provider, to make certain the VX520 can definitely perform all of the functions your company requires.

Are you currently considering obtaining a VeriFone VX520? Do you have one? We&#8217d like to hear your ideas concerning the product within the comments section below.

The publish VeriFone VX520 Charge Card Readers Unboxing and Review made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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How You Can Import Blogger To WordPress (without losing Search engine optimization)

WP Import Blogger

For most people, Blogger may be the first blogging/website tool they ever use.

And even for good reason &#8211 it&#8217s free (with free hosting), also it&#8217s super-simple to use.

However &#8211 additionally, it provides extensive limitations, so anybody who&#8217s seriously interested in blogging and/or building a business &#8211 progresses.

And hopefully, progresses to some self-located website operated by WordPress.

Here&#8217s how you can transfer all of your Blogger blogs and groups to WordPress (and, should you&#8217ve been in internet marketing for some time, keep your Search engine optimization for Google).

Edit 5/24/2013: Be at liberty to look into the instructions below, but you might like to browse the Blogger to WordPress Redirection wordpress plugin here. It will everything, and it is very good to utilize.

Importing Your Site Posts From Blogger

Notes

1. Setup WordPress, and login for your Dashboard

2. Visit Tools &#8211&gt Import &#8211&gt Blogger &#8211&gt Install Now

3. Then, authorize WordPress, import you, approve your author changeover

4. You&#8217re done! Don&#8217t forget to visit Plugins &#8211&gt Installed Plugins &#8211&gt Deactivate, then Delete Blogger Importer

Keeping The Search engine optimization When Transferring From Blogger

Should you haven&#8217t been blogging for some time &#8211 you’ll be able to skip this task.

However, if you’ve been blogging for some time &#8211 and also have posts turning up in the search engines search engine results &#8211 this is essential.

Tools Needed: 

Filezilla (click to visit download page) &#8211 to upload your Blogger php file for your Weblog web hosting account.

Your Blogger page template (right-click the link, save regarding download it) &#8211 download, then upload with FileZilla, then create Blogger page inside your WordPress website.

Redirect template for Blogger &#8211 copy to exchange the code below for your Blogger template&#8230

 &lt!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD XHTML 1. Strict//EN" "http://world wide web.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-strict.dtd"&gt &lthtml xmlns="http://world wide web.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en" dir="&lt$BlogLanguageDirection$&gt"&gt &lthead&gt &lttitle&gt&lt$BlogPageTitle$&gt&lt/title&gt &ltscript type="text/javascript"&gt &ltMainOrArchivePage&gt window.location.href='http://yourdomain.com/' &lt/MainOrArchivePage&gt &ltBlogger&gt&ltItemPage&gt window.location.href='http://yourdomain.com/blogger/?q=&lt$BlogItemPermalinkURL$&gt' &lt/ItemPage&gt&lt/Blogger&gt &lt/script&gt &ltMainPage&gt&ltlink rel="canonical" href="http://yourdomain.com/" /&gt&lt/MainPage&gt &ltBlogger&gt&ltItemPage&gt &ltlink rel="canonical" href="http://yourdomain.com/blogger/?q=&lt$BlogItemPermalinkURL$&gt" /&gt &lt/ItemPage&gt&lt/Blogger&gt &lt/mind&gt&ltbody&gt &ltdiv style="border:#ccc 1px solid background:#eee padding:20px margin:80px"&gt &ltp&gtThis page has moved to a different address.&lt/p&gt &lth1&gt &ltMainOrArchivePage&gt&lta href="http://yourdomain.com"&gt&lt$BlogTitle$&gt&lt/a&gt&lt/MainOrArchivePage&gt &ltBlogger&gt&ltItemPage&gt &lta href="http://yourdomain.com/blogger/?q=&lt$BlogItemPermalinkURL$&gt"&gt&lt$BlogItemTitle$&gt&lt/a&gt &lt/ItemPage&gt&lt/Blogger&gt &lt/h1&gt &lt/div&gt &lt/body&gt&lt/html&gt &lt!-- replace http://yourdomain.com/ together with your WordPress site URL ---&gt

Suggests Remember:

  • Don&#8217t delete your Blogger account. Your pictures continue to be offered off Blogger&#8217s servers. If you wish to upload and download the pictures to WordPress Media Library, you are able to. Otherwise, everyone will just get offered off Blogger
  • Don&#8217t forget to ensure your domain in the search engines Website owner Tools

That&#8217s how you can import Blogger to WordPress &#8211 for those who have any queries or comments &#8211 tell me below!

The publish How You Can Import Blogger To WordPress (without losing Search engine optimization) made an appearance first on ShivarWeb.

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Is Square Suitable For Your Company?

Square for business

In line with the large number of messages I’ve received, In my opinion you will find four stages business proprietors undergo when thinking about Square’s payment processing. First, pleasure. It is really an amazing service which includes a sleek and capable POS, online selling tools, affordable hardware, and a simple-as-cake application. Once they uncover the presence of Square and discover what it really can perform, those who have spent days stressing out about negotiating charge card processing rates and selecting in the unlimited quantity of tablet-based POS systems breathe a sigh of relief.

But next come dread. After poking round the Square site and sufficiently fantasizing in regards to a lengthy, prosperous future using the service, the company owner decides to see some reviews, possibly on our website. At this time, the company owner is faced with countless devastated and infuriated fellow business proprietors, all crying SCAM!, cursing Square’s name, and pleading for somebody, anybody, to assist them to obtain money-back in the evil clutches of this pernicious polygon.

When pleasure and dread meet, the 3rd stage &#8211 confusion &#8211 comes into the world. The business proprietor has simply no idea how to proceed. Square appears so distinctively perfect and the like an excellent value, but could it be worth it? Is Square really stealing money from unsuspecting business proprietors? Can the organization be reliable?

Which results in the inevitable question I’ve received an uncountable quantity of occasions: “Is Square suitable for my company?”

Well, frankly, I’m growing fed up with answering this specific question. Let’s place it to relax for good so everybody can arrive at the coveted, much searched for-after 4th stage from the &#8220Square for business&#8221 consideration process &#8211 acceptance. Acceptance either this services are not likely to be a saving elegance in the end, or acceptance the risks, overall, are outweighed through the rewards.

It&#8217s dependent on account stability

The primary complaints you’ll find from companies that use Square are issues involving reserved funds, account suspensions, and account terminations, which increase the risk for same outcome: withheld money. Sometimes it’s only one transaction that’s withheld other occasions it’s all of the funds waiting to obvious, plus much more funds obtained from a linked banking account to pay for older transactions. Reserves, suspensions, and terminations are account stability issues. A reliable account enables you to definitely process payments and access funds predictably and without worry. An unsound account doesn’t. Regrettably, for a lot of companies Square’s accounts prove unstable.

The number of users have issues? Well the Square profile in the Bbb presently shows over 1,100 formal complaints in the last 3 years alone, and there’s no manifestation of time shrinking in the near future. Most these disputes &#8211 and we’ve find out more of these than anybody should &#8211 come from business proprietors complaining about account stability issues. Obviously, we must recognize that 1,100 users is really a few considering that Square has thousands and thousands of users (the precise number isn’t publically available information), however its not all user who encounters issues would go to the BBB, and never every active user processes regularly.

We’re left guessing regarding the number of overall users who really experience these account stability issues, but the truth is its not all business comes with an equal risk. Some companies have a superior chance of suspension and termination, while some possess a relatively safe. We’re not asking if Square suits anyone’s business, because surely it can be useful for many. We’re asking if it’s suitable for your business. To be able to figure that out, we have to realise why these stability issues show up to begin with.

How come Square suspend or terminate accounts and withhold funds?

You’ll discover the following clause in Square’s Seller Agreement:

We might terminate this Agreement or suspend or close your Square Account unconditionally or pointless anytime upon notice for you.

Which means that Square, legally, doesn’t owe you anything. It may shut you lower without giving whatever reason whatsoever. But, despite what some complainants might assert, Square doesn’t decide to shut lower accounts by tossing darts in a wall covered in user’s names. It will so, based on its Seller Agreement, for 1 of 3 reasons:

  1. You violate the relation to Square’s Seller Agreement, or any one of Square’s other policies or contracts one enters into
  2. You pose an unacceptable credit or fraud risk
  3. You provide any false, incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading information or else participate in fraudulent or illegal conduct

The result is that to avoid account instability a person should do the next three things:

  • Read and comprehend the contracts one enters into with Square. They’re wordy and also have some confusing legalese, but when you’re seriously interested in keeping a reliable Square account I would suggest that you simply browse the Seller Agreement carefully.
  • Provide Square with accurate, honest, complete details about your company throughout the signup process and beyond, while abstaining from the fraudulent or criminal activity (duh). It may be tough for brand new business proprietor to supply accurate information because oftentimes they aren’t sure regarding their needs or how their companies will build up. Do your very best and then try to remain consistent.
  • Make certain that you don’t pose high credit or fraud risk for Square.

This last point is an essential and many confusing component of making certain account stability, since most business proprietors &#8211 especially brand new ones &#8211 don’t know very well what business attributes impact their risk profiles.

What factors dictate your risk profile?

Listed here are the most crucial things to consider when figuring out the risk you pose to some payment processor:

1. Business type: Different business types pose superiority of monetary risk for any payment processing company because of varied probability of fraud, customer disputes, or legalities. In most cases, high-risk companies will have to join a processor that are experts in establishing these difficult accounts (like Durango A Merchant Account or Payline Data, to mention a few). Square outlines a summary of prohibited high-risk companies in the Seller Agreement, but there are more dangerous business types not clearly outlined there which are vulnerable to account suspensions or terminations. For those who have a higher-risk business (or perhaps a moderate-risk business), Square isn’t the best choice. Yes, you’ll need to pay more elsewhere, but it’ll be worth the investment over time. A few examples of high-risk companies include: gun and ammunition dealers, tobacco and vaporizer supply stores pharmaceutical sales, and anything associated with gambling or financial services. For any more complete list, look at this article. 

2. Chronilogical age of business: For those who have a longstanding, well-established business with loyal customers along with a extended processing history, you pose less risk to Square than the usual business that’s completely new without any processing history or business records. The probability of a company having a decade of processing background and general good standing all of a sudden becoming involved with serious financial fraud is a lot under what business that simply materialized when completing the Square application. Obviously, getting an experienced business doesn’t cause you to safe from these problems, and as being a startup doesn’t instantly curse you, however if you simply can establish a minimum of a couple of several weeks to some year of monetary documents to placate Square if trouble arises, you’ll considerably increase your odds of a great outcome. Again, even though the signup process is much more in-depth, individuals individuals who’ve a brand new business and cost uninterrupted income may want to consider just trying to get a conventional credit card merchant account.

3. Transaction size: Here’s an issue: could it be riskier to process one 1000 $1 transactions, or perhaps a single $1,000 transaction? The reply is the only $1,000, with a lengthy shot. It is because, in almost any industry, it’s far more prone to see one fraudulent high-ticket transaction than a lot of fraudulent small ticket transactions. What’s more, Square would view it as even riskier should you usually process only $1 transactions, after which all of a sudden eventually you process an arbitrary $1,000 transaction. Square’s risk assessment algorithms want to see consistency, most importantly things. If you are processing transactions of $100 or greater regularly, make certain you precisely describe your processing habits within the application and do not process abnormally large transactions from nowhere.

For top-ticket companies, a free account will probably be the greater reliable option when you are getting a free account, you possess an decided high-ticket limit. If you want to process a transaction greater than to limit, you are able to call the processor in advance to obtain approval. With Square, however, no individual limits are disclosed &#8211 and regrettably, this doesn’t mean the boundaries don’t exist. Square does condition in the customer care portal that every account technically includes a $50,000 transaction limit upon registering, but I’m understandably skeptical. Try managing a $50K transaction through Square as the first purchase and tell us the way it goes&#8230

4. Processing volume: Much like transaction size, more is riskier when it comes to processing volume. Not to mention this risk is compounded if you have a higher amount of large tickets. Again, no processing limits are disclosed for the individual Square account, but you can be certain Square’s software programs are keeping an eye on you to definitely make certain no unusual spikes suggestive of fraud appear. As lengthy while you precisely describe your processing needs in your application and don’t deviate in the norm, you ought to be fine. Sadly, Square doesn’t have simple protocol for growing limits (since limits are just vaguely disclosed at the best). If you want to process an abnormally great amount 30 days, you risk triggering a warning sign and, if you’re unlucky, a free account suspension pending analysis. This really is one good reason we like Flint for mobile processing. Flint not just discloses your specific, individual processing limits &#8211 additionally, it enables you to try to get limit increases if necessary.

5. Transaction type: Square enables users to process payments by swiping, nick studying, contactless NFC, manual entry, or online customer entry. Probably the most secure of those are nick studying and contactless NFC, that are both EMV-compliant payment methods. Swiping is rather secure, although not as safe as nick or NFC. Manual entry an internet-based sales would be the least secure, and then the most dangerous. The greater by hand joined or internet sales you’ve, the higher your chance of getting chargebacks, account suspensions, and sudden account terminations. While Square has tools for internet sales, phone orders, and e-invoices, the woking platform is most effective when much of your sales occur using the customer present. In case your business mostly are operating in a card-not-present atmosphere, you might like to think about a provider that’s more prepared to accommodate the danger involved. 

6. Chargebacks: Most chargebacks occur because of a customers disputing electric power charge using their charge card companies. A buyer can dispute electric power charge unconditionally, but many generally disputes occur just because a customer doesn’t believe she or he approved the charge, or doesn’t believe that the service or product was delivered as described and may not resolve the problem using the business directly. Due to this, Square views chargebacks as potential indicators of fraud, and therefore also potential indications of risk and expense. Receiving any chargebacks right after opening a Square account might trigger a free account suspension or prompt Square to freeze of all of the funds inside your account. A lot of chargebacks are basically a dying sentence for the account.

This doesn’t imply that every chargeback will finish in misery for you personally, however. Actually, Square offers “chargeback protection,” which entitles you to definitely $250 of chargeback coverage every month as lengthy while you adopted Square’s guidelines for payment acceptance.

What’s most frustrating to a lot of, though, is Square’s practice of withholding transactions it believes simply might create a chargeback:

When we reasonably think that a Chargeback is probably regarding any transaction, we might withhold the quantity of the possibility Chargeback from payments otherwise because of you under this Agreement until such time that: (a) a Chargeback is assessed as a result of Buyer’s complaint, by which situation we’ll support the funds (b) the time period under relevant law or regulation through which the customer may dispute the transaction has expired or (c) we determine that the Chargeback around the transaction won’t occur.

With respect to the official reason the dispute is filed, the customer has 60, 90, or 4 months to boost the dispute &#8211  or as much as 180 within the situation of worldwide transactions. This means that if Square “reasonably believes” that the funds inside your account might be billed back, it reserves the authority to contain the funds for 3 months or even more without violating any agreement terms. Whether a chargeback will really occur does not matter. So even though you didn’t do anything wrong, funds can nonetheless be withheld. If your chargeback really does occur, you are able to expect to a different 3 months of awaiting the dispute to become resolved. 

Is that this how it operates for those payment processors?

To some degree reserves, frozen accounts, and terminations are simply risks that include the territory of accepting card payments. They are able to happen regardless of what company you process with, regardless of whether you&#8217re utilizing a traditional credit card merchant account or perhaps a third-party mobile processor like Square.

Whenever you open a free account, there’s an in-depth application and underwriting (business assessment) procedure that helps make the account a lot more secure for you personally. Square keeps costs lower and register accelerate by only getting a pc process the application material initially. It&#8217s not until afterwards that the human reviews your company information, contacts you for further business documents if required, and determines whether Square really wants to continue to help you out. By now you might curently have recognized 1000s of dollars in payments, which could end up frozen for several weeks should you&#8217re unlucky within the account review process.

With Square, acceptance of the application doesn&#8217t mean a great deal. With a free account, however, application acceptance implies that the processor required a careful review your business and loved what it really saw. Which means that your bank account is a lot more prone to remain stable. New companies might be enforced having a moving reserve &#8211 in which you receive payments on the delay &#8211 but a minimum of you’ll know this in the start rather of getting your bank account frozen from nowhere a couple of several weeks in.

I’m not going to let you know that there’s any provider who can cause you to safe from getting funds locked in reserve, or perhaps to suspension and terminations, however, you greatly improve your odds of a getting a lengthy-term, stable account whenever you open a conventional credit card merchant account.

You&#8217re just a little dangerous, now what?

There’s no solid rule to find out whenever your risk profile becomes untenable for Square. You exist on the risk spectrum, as well as your position may change with time. My recommendation is that this: for those who have a couple of attributes that improve your risk level, consider other available choices. For those who have 3 or 4 greater risk attributes, use Square at the own risk. In case your business falls within high-risk business category, don’t use Square under any conditions. Your use likely violates Square’s Seller Agreement, and it’ll be only a matter of time prior to running into trouble. Again, including gun and ammunition dealers, tobacco and vaporizer supply stores pharmaceutical sales, anything associated with gambling or financial services, and a number of other business groups. You will possibly not know your company is high-risk, however that ignorance won’t safeguard your company when Square is holding 1000s of dollars of your stuff despite you’ve shipped the goods. Don’t risk it.

However, should you run a recognised, low-risk, in-person business, accept payments using a nick card or NFC readers, have small average transactions along with a moderate weekly product sales with little possibility of chargebacks, in all probability Square is a stable choice for your company. You need to consider other available choices to make certain that it’s the very best service for your requirements, but certainly keep Square up for grabs. For many companies, it truly is an incredible value.

Exploring other options

We’ve checked out every major mobile processing service available, and our all-around favorite is Flint Mobile. It provides reliable service along with a feature-wealthy application. No, it’s not really a perfect Square substitute. It doesn’t possess the features required to operate a food service business, for example, also it doesn’t offer anywhere near the amount of add-on services that Square does. However for nine from ten small companies seeking a mobile solution, it really works all right. There’s no fee every month, and since it utilizes your smartphone or tablet’s camera to scan cards, you don’t need to buy any new hardware for doing things. I additionally like this it offers a minimal debit rate of just one.95%, making an impact thinking about 1 / 2 of all card transactions are debit for many companies.

If you want greater than Flint provides, it’s time to check out merchant services. Don’t worry! The operation is less complicated, costly, or intimidating because it appears. Should you join our high-rated providers, you’re guaranteed a good rate with no settlement necessary. If you wish to look elsewhere, just review our simple help guide to negotiating the very best contract possible. Likewise, you’ll find all the details you’d ever need to know about charge card charges within an easily digestible package here. For a lot of companies, even low volume ones, opening a free account will definitely cost just like Square would. For greater volume companies, a free account will often be much less costly plus much more reliable.

Most merchant services include fundamental mobile processing abilities along with a virtual terminal. Incidents where incorporate a POS or shopping cart software free of charge. But possibly the good thing of opening a free account is it will open countless POS and shopping cart software options that you should select from. Yes, a free account and separate POS many be more costly than Square (since Square is freed from monthly charges for the POS and payment processing), but you’ll gain lots of power, efficiency, and control along the way. Within the finish, the additional value is commonly worth the money.

The conclusion about Square for business

Whether you decide to accept the potential risks that include Square and try it out, or believe that Square isn’t a wise decision for the business in the end, you can examine out other POS systems and payment processing companies to create some comparisons. We can assist you to explore your choices and discover the very best providers.

The publish Is Square Suitable For Your Company? made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.

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Everything You Need to Know About Alternative Payment Methods

Alternative Payment MethodsBeing able to accept credit and debit cards is the lifeblood of any business. For brick-and-mortar locations, it’s worth knowing this: About half of all Americans carry just $20 in cash with them on a daily basis, and about 80% of Americans carry less than $50 daily. This means if you don’t accept credit cards, you could be missing out on sales.

If you sell online, you have to have a way to accept credit and debit cards, period. And it’s crucial that you have a professional system that shoppers will trust with their payment details. For most people that means a merchant account with an established payment gateway.

But are cards and cash — and all the traditional ways of doing business — the only options?

Of course not. There’s no shortage of companies devoted to changing the way we think about paying for things. New technology is bringing concepts like using phones to make payments into the mainstream. Having multiple ways for customers to pay is a good thing, but it shouldn’t come at the cost of convenience to you — or higher fees!

Let’s take a look at some alternative payment methods that you can integrate into your business now, what it’ll take to do so, how secure they are, and how popular they are.

1. Apple Pay

apple-pay-logoApple Pay was not the first company to offer contactless mobile payments, but it was the first to make them popular. Apple Pay uses NFC (learn more about this technology here) and the TouchID fingerprint reader to enable contactless in-store payments, as well as in-app purchases. With iOS 9, it also supports loyalty cards and rewards programs.

Compatible devices:

  • iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, and later models
  • Apple Watch (with iPhone 5 and later models)
  • iPad Pro, iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3

Apple claims to support credit and debit cards from most major banks in the U.S. and the U.K. (A press release from Apple says that with support for Discover added this fall, the app supports 98% of credit card purchase volume.) That’s good news. The launch of the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus is also good, because it means consumers with older iPhones will likely start upgrading their older devices, expanding the potential user base.

Unfortunately, Apple doesn’t actually publish usage statistics. A survey done in June 2015 found that 13 percent of users with an Apple Pay-capable phone had used the feature; another 11 percent had plans to do so. We know that Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones in the first quarter of its 2015 fiscal year (the first quarter Apple Pay was available) — but not all of those were necessarily the 6 or 6 Plus. Still, it’s safe to say there are likely several million Apple Pay users across the country, even if some studies suggest that Apple Pay adoption rates are decreasing.

You’re still going to have to have a way to process credit cards to accept Apple Pay, so you’ll need a merchant account, a functioning POS, and an NFC-enabled terminal. The good news is Apple doesn’t charge any fees for Apple Pay transactions, so you only pay the standard credit and debit card processing fees.

Mobile payments like this have several measures for security. First, merchants never actually handle buyers’ credit card numbers. Instead, Apple Pay generates a single-use code (this is called tokenization). Even if a hacker gets the information, it’s useless because the number is good for one time only. Second, when consumers tap their phones to the terminal, they have to confirm the purchase with the TouchID fingerprint sensor.

Finally, the phone itself provides some security. The card numbers aren’t stored on the device — they’re kept in the cloud and the device can be locked remotely if it’s ever stolen. The CPU never handles the processing of the NFC transaction, either. A secure element or a separate chip bypass the rest of the system to communicate directly with the NFC-capable unit.

2. Samsung Pay

samsung-pay-logo-2015Samsung Pay is (you guessed it!) the Korean company’s response to Apply Pay. It is also an NFC-powered contactless payments app. It works on a handful of Samsung Galaxy devices:

  • Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6 Edge+, and later models.
  • Galaxy Note 5 and later models.

Samsung Pay just launched in September of 2015, which means it’s quite new. We’ll update you with usage numbers when we have something reliable and representative to report. But we do know that Samsung had sold an estimated 45 million Galaxy S6 phones (including the Edge and Edge+ variants), plus the Note 5 (for which sales numbers aren’t available right now). The potential user base is very large, but we’ll see how it pans out.

At this point it’s worth noting that the app requires consumers to be on one of five networks (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or U.S. Cellular) and have a Visa, MasterCard, or American Express card issued by Bank of America, U.S. Bank, or Citi. The app also accepts merchant credit cards issued by Synchrony Financial. You still earn any rewards or points linked to those cards, but specific loyalty cards and coupons aren’t supported. There’s no in-app payments feature either, though Samsung hasn’t ruled it out.

Again, you need an established way to process credit cards and a compatible POS, and you won’t pay any additional fees for Samsung Pay transactions. But your existing credit card terminal might already accept this particular type of payment. That’s because Samsung Pay uses both NFC and something called magnetic secure transmission (MST). Basically, it allows the phone to emulate a traditional card with a magnetic stripe. That means you don’t need an NFC-capable terminal — but if you don’t have NFC, you can’t accept Apple Pay or Android Pay (next on this list), which limits your options.

Most EMV terminals are also equipped for NFC, so the machine you just got as a result of the liability shift most likely supports these contactless payments. But if your terminal isn’t EMV capable, that’s another issue entirely.

Samsung Pay relies on a fingerprint scanner as well. Users need to launch the app, swipe their fingerprint, and then pass their devices close to the terminal. That’s not quite as intuitive as Apple Pay from a user-friendliness standpoint, but apps evolve and change. At this point it’s just too early to say anything definitively.

3. Android Pay / Google Wallet

android-pay-logoAndroid Pay, like Samsung Pay, is very new, launching in September 2015. At the same time, it’s much older than that: Android Pay is the successor to Google Wallet, Google’s contactless payment solution/mobile wallet, which launched in 2011.

Android Pay works on any Android smartphone (Samsung, HTC, LG, and Motorola, just to name a few) running the KitKat OS (Android 4.4) or higher. It’s NFC-powered, with support for debit and credit cards as well as loyalty/rewards programs. An in-app payments feature is set to launch later.

These days, Google Wallet has become a P2P payments app — an easy way to send money to friends and family for free.

The wallet supports Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover cards from a handful of banks, including Bank of America, U.S. Bank, Citi, PNC, Wells Fargo, and USAA (check out the full list here; more banks will be added as time goes on).

By now, you should have a good idea of what to expect as a merchant: You need a way to process credit cards, a compatible POS, and of course, an NFC-capable terminal. Payments are kept secure with tokenization. Users also need to enable the lock screens on their phones — which can then be unlocked using fingerprint readers, PINs, swipe patterns, and more.

4. LevelUp

LevelUp-logoThe alternative mobile payments technique to NFC is the QR code. QR codes work a lot like traditional barcodes, but they can hold a lot more information — like payment data. The biggest difference is that instead of an NFC-enabled terminal, you need a barcode reader.

LevelUp is the leader in QR code-based mobile payments with its app, but it also builds custom white-label apps for businesses. In addition to the QR codes, LevelUp works with NFC and iBeacon. The LevelUp app works for both iOS and Android. In addition to phone-based payments, LevelUp also supports loyalty programs. You can even link any loyalty programs you have set up through Apple Pay into LevelUp (there’s also support for one-touch signups using TouchID).

Despite having been around for a while (it launched in 2011), LevelUp is admittedly a small player. It has some 14,000 partner businesses, including some major names. The app has over 100,000 downloads in Google Play, which isn’t much compared to a lot of other apps. But the company does have white-label solutions, so it’s difficult to accurately gauge numbers.

LevelUp is a little bit vague on pricing, but if you dig around, you’ll find that payments are processed for a flat 2% fee. That’s good, considering Square charges 2.75% and PayPal 2.7% per swipe. It’s not necessarily as low as you’ll get with merchant accounts, but rates vary a lot based on the type of business you run and what kind of cards you process. A flat 2% should be convenient for most people. LevelUp will also charge a 25% cut of any incentives you offer through its campaigns feature.

To accept payments, you need a compatible POS and LevelUp’s proprietary scanner ($50 each). If your POS isn’t compatible, you can get the LevelUp tablet for $100 according to the pricing page on the website.

As far as security goes, LevelUp offers PCI compliance and encryption, as well as tokenization. In fact, LevelUp uses a triple token system: the token your phone generates goes to a token on the LevelUp servers, which in turn routes to a token on the Braintree servers, which is the payments service LevelUp uses to store credit card data.

5. CurrentC

CurrentCCurrentC_App is another QR code-based payments method. It’s developed by the Consumer Merchant Exchange, led by Walmart and some other heavy-hitters in the retail business. Unlike LevelUp, users can pay using either their bank accounts, store cards, or gift cards. For merchants, that means significantly lower fees. (It’s not well advertised, but you can also add merchant credit and debit cards.) CurrentC also links up with loyalty cards and lets you redeem coupons and discounts in the app.

CurrentC is still in test mode, but the website promises it’ll be ready to roll out across the country soon. One advantage for CurrentC is that it’s widely available for consumers — whereas Apple Pay and Samsung Pay are only available for the most recent smartphone models, and Android Pay requires a recent version of Android (which not all smartphones get), CurrentC should be available for download even on budget smartphones.

In terms of user experience, CurrentC is a bit clunky. Depending on the location, users have to scan a QR code generated by the register, or the cashier has to scan one generated by the user’s phone. If that doesn’t work, then you’ll have to enter a code. With some retailers, you can use Bluetooth Beacons instead of QR codes.

As far as security goes, CurrentC requires you to put in a PIN every time you open the app or switch between apps. You can also lock the device remotely if it ever goes missing. Like the other services we’ve discussed here, the app uses tokenization — it generates a random one-time use transaction ID and doesn’t pass personal data onto the merchants.

CurrentC is odd in that it also collects some personal health information — it’s disclosed in the privacy policy, which you can read here. While it seems fairly innocuous, I highly recommend that you understand what data is collected and how it’s used.

As far as requirements to accept CurrentC go, you’re really just going to need a POS and barcode scanner capable of reading QR codes. CurrentC also has a way to allow gas stations to accept payments at the pump by inputting a code. Restaurants can use the app too, with a feature that enables consumers to leave a tip.

I’m hoping when CurrentC gets a broader release that the MCX will be a bit more forthcoming about information. There’s no disclosure of processing fees, for example. The support website, which is hidden from the main site, has much more information about how the app works, which I find a bit frustrating because it took some digging to uncover it.

6. PayPal

Paypal-Logo-2015As a retailer, accepting PayPal has a huge advantage for you. It’s widely recognized by consumers, so they feel secure paying with it. In fact, PayPal has more than 170 million users worldwide, and it’s the payment method of choice on eBay. PayPal lets users link credit cards, debit cards, or bank accounts to make their payments. There’s also a free P2P payments tool, so consumers can send money to friends and family for free.

Merchants can use PayPal to accept payments on a website and through a smartphone or tablet when they’re on the go or in stores.

For retailers, PayPal doesn’t offer a full POS in its own right — it has a decent set of features, but if you need more capabilities, you can always turn to one of PayPal’s partner POS systems, which you can learn more about here. You can build a register out of a tablet, a cash drawer, and a receipt printer, if you want one. You’ll pay just 2.7% per swipe.

For online retail, PayPal integrates with a lot of shopping carts. For most online transactions, the company charges 2.9% + $0.30. That’s higher than you’ll pay with a solid deal from a merchant account provider in most circumstances, but it comes with a super easy setup. (Just beware that you’re at a higher risk of potential holds or freezes on your account given the nature of PayPal’s business — no contracts, available to everyone, pay as you go.

You can also build a “Pay with PayPal” feature into apps, with PayPal’s One Touch Feature included so that users don’t have to re-enter their usernames and passwords, which adds to the convenience of using PayPal.

However, if you want a hosted payment page, you’re going to have to shell out $30 a month for the PayPal Payments Pro plan. You’ll also get a virtual terminal for that cost. If you have the standard PayPal plan (which has no monthly fees), your customers will be directed to the PayPal page to complete the payment, then back to your site.

If you’re using PayPal Here, the company’s mobile solution, you should know that PayPal does offer an EMV reader that also supports NFC payments. It’s $150, but you can get $100 in rebates when you process $3,000 in 3 months. That’s not the best deal — Square is able to offer an EMV capable reader for $30, or an EMV/NFC-capable reader for $49, with a rebate available for select retailers. Even if you don’t qualify for Square’s rebates, Square’s EMV/NFC reader at full price is the same as PayPal’s reader when it’s discounted.

Like PayPal, Square lets merchants accept credit card payments on the go and in stores. You can also accept Square online, provided you use either the Square marketplace or build a site using one of Square’s 2 (yup, that’s right, 2) partners. Square’s rates are comparable to PayPal — just a flat 2.75%, no per-transaction fees.

7. Pay with Amazon

Pay with AmazonLike PayPal, Pay with Amazon (also known as the bulkier “Login and Pay with Amazon”) lets users pay on your site using their login credentials for another site — in this case, Amazon. They can use whatever payment methods they have stored on their Amazon accounts.

While PayPal is universally known, Pay with Amazon seems to be less common — but that doesn’t mean you should discount it. Amazon had 244 million active users in 2014. That’s roughly 70 million MORE users than PayPal. You won’t be limiting your audience if you choose Pay with Amazon over PayPal.

Pay with Amazon charges you 2.9% + $0.30 per online transaction. That’s identical to PayPal’s rates for online transactions. You can even do recurring billing for subscription packages. Plus, Pay with Amazon is entirely pay-as-you-go: no contract, no early termination fee, no monthly fees.

However, it’s worth mentioning that there’s no mobile support, so if you also sell in person, either at events or in a store, you’re going to have to look elsewhere for a solution. To accept Login and Pay with Amazon, you just need a compatible shopping cart. Fortunately, you have several great options: You can choose from Xcart, Magento, and Shopify, among others. Check out the full list here.

There are some other advantages here. First, Amazon offers a growth guarantee: If you sign up for the service, and you don’t see an increase in sales over the course of 30 days, the company will refund your processing fees up to $100,000. That’s a nice option if you’re really not sure about switching.

Plus, the Login and Pay with Amazon feature gives you a hosted payment page for free. More good news: You get the same fraud protection used by the Amazon.com site, so you’re not liable for any fraud-related chargebacks. (However, that’s not to say you’re protected against everything; you can still expect a $20 fee for any service-related chargebacks.)

One downside is the time it takes to get your money, which has been a pain point for a long time for sellers on the Amazon marketplace. First, there’s an initial 2-week holding period. After that, Amazon will settle your account daily — but it still takes 3-5 days to transfer funds from your account to your bank. With PayPal, your money is available pretty much immediately…and if you have the PayPal debit card, you can spend it anywhere at any time, not just online.

8. Bitcoin

bitcoinOut of all the alternative payments here, Bitcoin is most definitely the most “alternative” option. Unlike cash or credit, Bitcoins don’t have any physical form. No coins, no paper money. Bitcoin exists solely on the web. Unlike other currencies,which are centralized and controlled by governments, it is entirely self regulated. A network of computers handles the processing and records the transactions in a public register (more on that in a moment).

There’s a lot of info available about what Bitcoin is and how it works. You can start here to learn more. In the meantime, here’s what you need to know to accept Bitcoin.

First, not accepting Bitcoin certainly won’t cost you any business. The estimated userbase is 5-10 million people worldwide, with an estimated 110,000 daily Bitcoin transactions as of June 2015 (nearly double the approximate 60,600 daily transactions in June of 2014). However, if your target demographic is young and hip to the digital scene, that’s certainly a reason for you to consider accepting Bitcoin.

One nice advantage to accepting Bitcoin is that generally speaking, the fees are incredibly low, especially compared to PayPal or credit card processing rates. Some processors can even take Bitcoin and convert it into US dollars and deposit it in your bank account. However, the fees also vary, and the value of Bitcoin fluctuates. From October 2014 to October 2015, the value of 1 Bitcoin has hit as low as $177.28 USD and spiked as high as $427.24.

Security works much differently with Bitcoin, too. Every transaction is kept as part of a public ledger, but the users’ personal details are anonymous, which makes it harder to steal someone’s identity. No PCI compliance is required. There’s no opportunity for chargebacks, but at the same time merchants can’t alter charges, either. And you can encrypt and secure your Bitcoin wallet in other ways as well.

To accept Bitcoin, you just need to find a processor. Good news is, there are a lot of them. Even PayPal has a way to accept Bitcoin, through the PayPal Payments Hub. Braintree, a PayPal-owned company, also accepts Bitcoin via a partnership with Coinbase.

9. E-Check/ACH

Cash, debit, and credit are the most popular kids on the block when it comes to payments. Checks lag far behind other options — an April 2014 report by the Fed found that just 3% of people prefer to pay primarily with check, compared to 43% of people who favor debit cards.

That’s not to say checks are totally irrelevant. Some people don’t have debit cards. Or sometimes your debit card gets cancelled and you’re stuck waiting for the new one to arrive, but you need to make a purchase. And you can (sort of) use checks to pay online, thanks to e-checks. Those type of transactions are also called ACH transactions because they’re routed through the Automated Clearing House, which is an electronic network of banks that also handles direct deposit and electronic bill payments. You don’t have an explicit check number with e-checks, but you still have to provide your routing and account numbers, much like the old-fashioned bit of paper.

The numbers on the popularity of ACH are a bit sketchy. In 2014, the ACH handled more than 23 billion electronic payments totaling more than $40 trillion. The problem with that number is that it includes all those direct deposits and bill payments — mortgages and utilities, especially. It’s not a completely accurate depiction of the eCommerce scene.

One of the big advantages to this payment method is how much more affordable it is compared to standard credit card processing rates. ACH fees, depending on who processes them, might be a percentage of 0.5% or 1%, or a flat fee, which is typically in the range of $0.25 to $0.75. That’s not bad at all, especially if you get the flat fee. Assuming a 1.85% rate on credit card processing fees for a $250 transaction, that’s $4.63 in fees compared to a maximum of $2.50 with a 1% rate for ACH.

There are a lot of ways to accept ACH. For one, both Amazon and PayPal allow customers to link and pay with their bank accounts, though you, as the merchant, will end up paying the standard 2.9% + $0.30 per transaction (for a $250 transaction, that means $7.55).

If you have a virtual terminal, you should be able to enable this feature, but fees will vary based on your provider. Some of the services that we’ve reviewed that support ACH/e-checks include:

  • PayJunction
  • PaySimple
  • Forte Payment Systems

Another merchant account provider that supports e-checks is PayStand. We haven’t reviewed PayStand in depth (partly because it just launched publicly in 2014), but right off the bat we’re impressed by the level of transparency on the site and the depth of information available. We’re less impressed by the claim that its credit card rates — 2.49% + $0.30 — are wholesale, especially given the additional $99 monthly fee for the basic plan. However, PayStand also gives you very low-cost ACH transactions and free Bitcoin processing, as well as mobile processing. The service is promising and some merchants are sure to find value in Paystand’s offerings.

You also don’t need to sell exclusively online to accept ACH. If you have a retail setup, you can get a scanner to convert checks into e-checks. That means transactions will be a bit easier — there’s no forwarding checks to banks and waiting to find out if they clear.

ACH is definitely a great backup option to have, but probably not the best choice for a sole payment option. There are a couple of reasons not everyone will want to use ACH payments:

  • One, ACH takes a bit longer to process than debit or credit. So it takes longer for you to get your money and consumers have to wait longer for the transaction to process.
  • Two, it’s not the most secure for consumers, because they have to provide both their account numbers and routing numbers. While the rate of fraudulent transactions is low — just 3 of every 10,000 ACH transactions are rejected for being unauthorized — online payments are the least secure form of ACH transfers (compared with direct deposits, P2P transfers, and online bill pay).

And frankly it’s easier for a lot of people to plug in a card number and a 3-digit security code than it is to root around for your checkbook to get the account and routing numbers.

10. Dwolla

dwolla-accepted-here-logoDwolla is technically a third-party ACH service, but it’s a standout in the field for a few reasons. One, Dwolla’s basic features are entirely free to use. That means ACH payments, recurring payments, and the ability to distribute large numbers of payments (e.g., employee paychecks). And there’s an option of sending money to family or friends, as well, so there’s definitely a consumer base.

Two, with the tiered service plans (starting at $25/month and going up to $1500/month) you get a range of extra features that make Dwolla even more attractive. That includes next-day transfers (a big plus) and the option for white-label payments. That means, basically, you’ll get a hosted payment page. Customers don’t leave your site and don’t get any indication that they’re using Dwolla.

Paying $1,500 per month for the service sounds outrageous, until you consider that you’re not paying any transaction fees. If you’re doing substantial business with ACH payments, you could easily wind up saving money in the long run. And having a hosted payment page is nothing to sneeze at — or the next-day transfers, the higher limits, payment profiles, etc. (There’s also a $250/month option that gives you more than the basic package but not quite as many perks. That’s good if your business isn’t quite enterprise-scale.)

Now, if you don’t want to shell out $250 or $1,500 monthly for all the fancy tools, or don’t care about a hosted payment page, the basic $25/month plan still gives you next-day transfers. If you want to keep your fees even lower, you can forgo the next-day payments all together.

Customers have the option to create a full-fledged Dwolla account or use the simpler Dwolla Direct. The Direct account is a lot less involved compared to Dwolla’s original setup. Customers can get themselves set up in under a minute and they can link their online banking credentials to pay instead of linking their accounts directly.

As far as security goes, Dwolla uses tokenization and TLS 128-bit encryption. There’s also two-factor authentication — and you’ll have to enter your PIN whenever you move money or make a change to an account.

Adding Dwolla to your options for online payments is easy with the custom API, and creating an account is free, so you can give it a try and get a feel for it before you even set up Dwolla for your business.

Alternative Payment Methods: So Where to Now?

If you are looking for alternatives to credit cards and traditional merchant accounts, there’s no better time to get started. Technology is changing the way we think about payments and how we handle money in general: everything from mobile wallets that replace credit cards to decentralized digital currency. There are alternative payment methods to appeal to every market segment, and options to appeal to every sort of business. It’s just a matter of finding what works for you and your customers.

Have questions about your options for payment processing? Leave a comment and let us know. We’re always happy to hear from you! We can also help you lower your processing fees or even choose a processor.

The post Everything You Need to Know About Alternative Payment Methods appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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