How Does Shopify Work?

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

If you’ve just begun looking into shopping cart software, chances are you’ve run into Shopify (see our review). Shopify is an all-inclusive online selling platform. For one monthly rate, you can create and develop an online store from which you can promote, sell, and ship your products.

Shopify is popular due to its low startup cost and easy-to-use interface. It’s possible to run a complete online store for as low as $29/month, and you can have everything online in less than a week!

Shopify is an excellent solution for many merchants, though it’s not perfect. Keep reading for more information about what comes included in a Shopify subscription, the merits and disadvantages of the software, and how to set up a Shopify store.

Table of Contents

What Does A Shopify Subscription Include?

Shopify is a cloud-based, SaaS (software as a service) shopping cart solution. A monthly fee gives you access to an admin panel where you can enter store data, add products, and process orders.

In addition, you’ll be able to choose from a rich selection of free and for-purchase design templates. These themes are clean and modern, and Shopify provides a variety of editing tools which you can use to make your chosen theme fit your brand.

What’s more, a subscription with Shopify includes secure, reliable hosting for your website. You don’t have to worry about your site crashing during peak traffic or hackers hijacking your transactions. With 99.9% uptime and a free SSL certificate, Shopify has you covered.

Finally, your monthly payment entitles you to comprehensive 24/7 customer support. You’ll be able to contact support via phone, email, and live chat. And you can also use Shopify’s knowledge base to solve smaller problems on your own.

Shopify boasts that they’re an all-in-one solution. With a Shopify subscription, you should have everything you need to quickly begin selling on your very own site.

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Shopify?

As you may expect, while Shopify is an excellent option for many merchants, it isn’t for everyone. Here’s a brief list of the reasons merchants choose Shopify, followed by a list of common customer complaints.

Pros

  • Easy To Use: This is by far the biggest reason merchants love Shopify. Shopify is built for the technically illiterate. It’s simple to add products, create discounts, and process orders. Web design is user-friendly — and even easy — with the new drag-and-drop editing tool.
  • Low Startup Cost: Shopify’s relatively low monthly fees make setup affordable. The basic plan costs $29/month and the mid-level plan is priced at $79/month.
  • Beautiful Themes: Subscribing merchants can choose from a variety of free, mobile responsive themes. Premium (paid) themes are also available for merchants who want more options.
  • Good For Dropshippers: Shopify is the platform of choice for many dropshippers. Integrations with Ordoro and Oberlo make dropshipping from your Shopify admin a lot simpler.
  • Lots Of Support Options: You can access technical support every hour of the day through phone, live chat, or email. Self-help options are available as well. Customers like that support is available outside of regular business hours.

Cons

  • Limited Functionality: Shopify comes pre-loaded with almost all of the features smaller merchants need to build an online store. However, every business has some specialized requirements, and Shopify typically does not have the features to meet those specific needs. This is where add-ons come in. Many merchants end up needing to purchase a handful of add-ons to make this shopping cart work the way they need it to.
  • Costly Add-Ons: As I’ve said, while Shopify offers almost every basic feature, the software is lacking many advanced features. You’ll have to find these features in the form of add-ons, which are not free. The cost of adding just three add-ons can double your monthly fees.
  • Transaction Fees: Although most shopping carts have dropped their transaction fees entirely, Shopify has retained their 0.5% to 2.0% fees (depending on your pricing plan).
  • Strained Customer Support: While in the past Shopify has been known for responsive customer support, it seems their support team has experienced increased strain this past year. Shopify’s client load is increasing exponentially, and support is struggling to keep up. Hold times of up to thirty minutes are not uncommon.

How Do You Make Shopify Work For You?

The way to get the most out of your Shopify subscription is to play to the software’s strengths. Shopify offers a few feature modules that you can use to boost your administrative power and expedite daily processes. Here are a few of Shopify’s strong points;

  • Shopify Shipping: Shopify’s brand new shipping modules allows you to integrate with major shipping carriers in order to calculate real-time shipping rates. You can purchase and print shipping labels directly from your admin panel. You should note that this shipping module does not let you display calculated rates in your customers’ shopping carts.
  • Dropshipping Apps: Shopify allows you to integrate with a handful of dropshipping applications, including Ordoro and Oberlo. I have seen numerous reports of success with these applications in combination with Shopify.
  • Mobile Management: Shopify offers a mobile app, which lets you manage your store from anywhere.
  • Integrations With Amazon & eBay: Connect your Shopify account with two of the internet’s biggest marketplaces. Process orders from all of your sales channels in Shopify. It should be noted that while we’re glad Shopify has bothered to create these integrations, they have not garnered good reviews with Shopify’s user base. Read our article on the two integrations to learn more.

How Do You Start?

If you’re considering Shopify, take the first step to getting started and sign up for their 14-day free trial. You won’t have to enter any credit card information to access the trial; they’ll just need you to submit contact information and answer a few questions about your business.

During your trial, make sure to test every aspect of Shopify’s software. Add products, create marketing campaigns, change your storefront design, and add on an application or two. Make sure Shopify can handle all of your daily operations. Look for any advanced features you may need, like filtered search, abandoned cart notifications, and pop-up promos.

Once you’re sure Shopify is the right choice for you, choose your appropriate pricing plan, and get moving.

If you didn’t already do so in your trial, you’ll need to begin by adding your company’s basic information. Providing an accurate location will help estimate shipping rates and taxes.

You can then head over to the products section to upload your wares. Make sure to list weight and dimensions for each item as this will help Shopify accurately calculate shipping rates in Shopify Shipping.

As you add your products, you should keep in mind your ultimate vision for the design of your site. Take a look at Shopify’s selection and choose a theme that fits your brand and accommodates the number of products you plan to offer.

For example, don’t choose a theme that does not include drop-down menus if you plan to list 500+ products. With so many items, you’ll need to be able to create subcategories.

As you explore your new platform, don’t forget about Shopify’s vast App store. Shopify offers over 1500 extensions and applications which can help fill in any gaps in features you may find.

And when you run into trouble, you can always reach out to Shopify’s support team. At this time, you can expect hold times of up to 30 minutes, so I would first look into Shopify’s knowledge base before calling.

Final Thoughts

Shopify is an excellent shopping cart for many merchants. Its easy to use interface, reasonable pricing model, and beautiful themes make it one of our favorite eCommerce solutions, and we recommend it frequently to readers.

But as always, I suggest you continue your research before you commit to the software. Head over to our full Shopify review for complete information on the pros and cons of the platform. Then, sign up for a free trial to test out the software yourself. Our reviews are just a place to begin. Your own experience with the software is more valuable than any advice I can give.

Best of luck and happy researching!

Liz Hull

Liz is a recent college graduate living in Washington state. As of late, she can often be found haunting eCommerce forums and waiting on hold with customer service representatives. When she’s free, Liz loves to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and read poorly-written young adult novels.

Liz Hull

“”

Top POS Systems For Liquor Stores

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

Growing up, as I did, in a conservative household, liquor stores always felt a bit seedy. There was an element of danger to them, as if just opening the door and walking inside (even when of a legal drinking age) would be setting yourself up for negative consequences. Now? I could spend hours perusing an individual store’s selection, reading descriptions on bottles from the scores of local distilleries that have all cropped up seemingly overnight.

Liquor stores are unique businesses with constantly fluctuating inventory and price changes, meaning that choosing an effective point of sale system is extremely important. You’ll need to make sure the system is strong in these areas:

  • Inventory Management: Even a small liquor store will have thousands of individual products – if not more — and keeping track of every bottle or item on hand can be daunting.
  • Employee Management: While you want to trust all of your employees, the fact of the matter is, it’s an industry where theft is often rampant. A POS system that tracks transactions and can be easily checked is crucial.
  • Customer Management: Whether you’re dealing with customers who come in almost daily or those who buy a single bottle of brandy at Christmas each year, a POS system can track preferences and send out individualized promotions to attract return customers and boost profits.

Here are some of the top POS systems on the market for use in liquor stores:

Table of Contents

mPower Beverage

mPower Beverage is a point of sale system specifically designed for liquor stores, so you would expect it to have a leg up on other, broader systems on the market. And you wouldn’t be disappointed. mPower is outstanding at what it does. There is a custom inventory system that allows you to easily review products on hand (and sales history) on one intuitive screen while also predicting inventory needs in the future. Purchase orders can be created within the program or directly by the vendor, whichever you prefer.

mPower also offers a built-in loyalty system that keeps track of money spent and can be customized to give different rewards for purchasing different products. The program is searchable, making it easy to track repeat customers; it can store personalized information about individuals, and offer store credit. There are more than 70 different reports offered as well, and permissions can be assigned to individual employees — a definite bonus in an industry where turnover is high. mBeverage can even create custom reports if a client needs something even more specific. Integrations are a nice feature with mBeverage, which offers Beverage Media, BottleCapps, Drizly, Drync, MiniBar as well as QuickBooks for accounting

Lightspeed Retail

Lightspeed Retail (read our review) is one of the more versatile retail POS systems around, and with a flexible pricing structure, it’s likely they have all the features your liquor store will need to thrive. Lightspeed has a strong inventory system, allowing for data to be imported via a CSV or Excel file. Stock can be ordered directly through the POS and you can create a single purchase order for multiple vendors.

Lightspeed offers terrific reporting capabilities, allowing for real-time analysis. Its employee tracking lets you see who is ringing up what products and cuts down on the potential for fraud. Its gift card system is also top notch, storing customer information and predicting future purchases.

As a bonus, Lightspeed can be exceptionally mobile, allowing employees to walk around the store and pull up descriptions of various spirits that can be programmed into the system. With its own integrated payments system and multi-store functionality, Lightspeed is an all-in-one solution.

ShopKeep

ShopKeep (read our review) isn’t the cheapest system on the market, but there’s a reason why we have it rated 5 stars. If you’re looking for fantastic reporting and inventory management, it’s difficult to do better than this POS. All inventory can be imported in just minutes, and alerts can be set up for when a product is running low.

Shopkeep has excellent reporting, with an easy-to-read layout to assess what items are selling well and which ones should probably be nixed. Employee hours and permissions can all be viewed remotely and organized on the back-end, and sales histories for each register are tracked.

ShopKeep’s mobile app is also outstanding, allowing you to check on sales in real time and manage multiple locations from the palm of your hand. The POS integrates with many of the standard accounting programs and can be customized to meet the needs of your business. Again, many of these come at an added cost, meaning that you might be able to find exactly what you need for a cheaper price. However, ShopKeep certainly has the functionality to meet even the most complex liquor store’s needs.

KORONA.pos

KORONA.pos (read our review) is a cloud-based system that is intended to fit the needs of most small to mid-sized businesses. The retailer will work with a business to set up a POS specifically designed to handle whatever that business might need and there are a handful of functions that are tailor-made for liquor stores. KORONA has the capability to handle millions of products. That may be a bit more than your single store is processing, but it shows KORONA’s commitment to inventory management. There is a nice feature that runs automatic inventory audits and can identify discrepancies quickly. When you run a full inventory count, KORONA creates intelligent count sheets automatically.

Security is also a strong suit for this POS. Every transaction is saved and can be monitored, and suspicious transactions are immediately flagged. Its reporting capabilities are robust and can identify products that are cutting into the business’s profit margin. KORONA offers a strong number of integrations and, with an unlimited free trial available and low starting price point, it should be a strong contender for most liquor stores.

talech

talech review

talech (read our review) is another competitively priced POS that can be customized to meet the needs of a business owner. One of the best things about talech is its customer management. This POS can upload customer information and then create custom marketing campaigns.

As you would expect, its inventory management is also top-notch. You can generate your own barcodes, saving you valuable time and eliminating the need to buy an additional scanner. Price changes can be added to categorized groups. Products, categories, and discounts can also be synced across multiple locations, which is a huge benefit for liquor stores as prices are constantly fluctuating. With talech, you can make your own purchase orders and get alerts when inventory is low.

For security, the POS offers a manager swipe card, making it possible for only the person in charge to void orders or perform other administrative actions. For integrations, talech is teamed up with OneSaaS to offer more than 30 different programs.

Final Thoughts

Managing and maintaining a profitable liquor can be a tricky proposition. There is a large amount of inventory to keep track of with prices and discounts that need to be updated daily. There are also many instances of theft in the industry, making security of the utmost importance. But, fortunately, a good point of sale system can alleviate a lot of that stress. Many systems can meet your basic needs, but we believe the apps on the list will provide you with a good jumping off point.

Know of a good liquor store POS we didn’t mention? Use any of the systems above? Let us know in the comments!

Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman recently walked away from a 14-year stint in the thriving print media industry where he spent the bulk of his time as the sports editor for a pair of weekly newspapers in suburban Portland, Oregon. He is the father to a pair of energetic boys and can easily be distracted by Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go.

Matt Sherman

“”

7 Ways To Make Your Business Website Better

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

As a reviewer of small business software and services — and a human who lives in the modern era — I’ve seen my share of business websites. Many of them are so basic that they serve only to confirm that the business in question, be it a bowling alley or an accountancy firm, is not merely a front for backroom bookie Big Sal and his associates (Fingers, Lefty, and Slippery Joe). What is dodgier than a business without a URL, after all?

(Read this article if you’re wondering whether your small business even needs a website. Spoiler alert: it does.)

Few websites are anything other than forgettable, and the ones that stand out usually owe their memorability to monumentally funny errors rather than to craftsman-level design.

Your website can be — and should be — more than just an online throwback to the yellow pages, a mere repository for basic information about hours and addresses and contact emails. Your website was destined for greatness. And I’m going to help you take it there. Here are several steps you can take to make sure your website stands out for all the right reasons:

Table of Contents

Join The 21st Century (Be Mobile Responsive)

When I say, “join the 21st century,” I am not being snarky in the manner of a 90s sitcom character. (If I were, I would have said: Welcome to the Oughts, holmes!)

I am trying to stress the importance of having a modern, mobile-responsive site. There’s a word for businesses with websites that don’t work well on smartphones. And that word is defunct.

Consumers are addicted to their mobile devices. And according to this article by Marketing Land, mobile devices now drive an estimated 56% of web traffic. That’s right — chances are that more than half of your customers will find your website on their mobile browser. If your site isn’t mobile responsive, I guarantee they will exit your page as quickly as they enter.

When viewed on a smartphone, non-responsive sites appear either too large or too small, requiring the reader to manually adjust the screen. Responsive sites, on the other hand, automatically adjust to accommodate each device, be it an iPhone, a Kindle, or a Galaxy Note8. Mobile sites are often simpler and/or allow the visitor to scroll down for more information, rather than navigating from one page to another.

Effective mobile sites are sleek, minimalistic repositories of information. They should be reminiscent of your full site and good ambassadors for your brand. They should not make people throw their phones in anger.

Happily, most do-it-yourself website builders allow for mobile responsive design; if yours doesn’t, it’s time to look for a new platform. And it goes without saying that if you’re paying a developer to design your site, you should insist that they make it responsive. If you want more information about this topic or tips about how to make it work for you, read our articles What Is Responsive Design? and Creating Websites For The Smartphone Generation.

Update, Update, Update

To stay competitive, your site has to look current. People are only becoming more attuned to (and judgemental about) the aesthetics of their technology. Older designs simply won’t cut it. You must update, and update frequently, to stay alive.

To be clear, we’re not just talking about upgrading from something like this…

If your site looks like that, you either went out of business in 1996, or you are using the design ironically. If it’s the former, and you’re now trying to get back into the game, good for you. Burn the site and start over. Burn it. If it’s the latter, you are invariably a hipster and I don’t want to talk to you or your handlebar mustache.

This is the horrible truth: your pages don’t have to be neon and underlined to look hopelessly dated.  Sites built as recently as 2012 now appear sad and outre. First impressions matter, and the average consumer will ditch your site without blinking an eye if it looks sketchy or old.

To stay in the game, you must update the design of your site every few years. Yes, it’s a pain. Yes, it will cost you time, money, or both. But what you gain in street cred will be worth every dime.

Updating actually isn’t so bad if you’re using a modern website building platform, like Wix (read our review) or Squarespace (read our review). New, intuitive site editors make it easy to switch layouts, change templates and forms, and alter color schemes — without paying an hourly rate to a spendy developer.

Provide Accurate & Complete Information

I know I spent a good part of the introduction talking about how business websites need to be more than just storehouses of basic information. That is 100% true, and I stand by every word. But…and this is a big but…it is vitally important to put basic information about your business on your website, front and center, or everything else in this article is pointless. Highlight your operating hours, address, phone number, and digital contact information, and put that information in more than one place. If your business occupies a physical space, your address and phone number should be above the fold. In other words, website visitors should not have to scroll down or navigate to another page to see this information.

You also need to give potential customers and new visitors at least a hint of what your company is all about on your home page. Don’t write a novel at this point. As you’ll see in the screenshot of Merchant Maverick’s home page below, a simple summary phrase — Unbiased Reviews That Save You Time And Money — is enough to convey the purpose of our site.

An “About Us” page is a great place to go more in-depth about exactly what your business does, and why you do it. It can also be a good vehicle to introduce yourself or your staff. Include mini-bios and pictures if you can. People are social animals. We’re evolutionarily wired for relationships, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. The exchange of goods and services is occurring less and less in the meatspace, but we still like to know who we’re dealing with.

Avoid Grammar Mistakes

You don’t have dig deep to realize that American public schools are sadly failing when it comes to even basic writing competency. Just log in to Twitter for 10 seconds and yOull sea that Im rite. (There’s a little editor humor for you.)

You can get away with shocking grammar in Tweets, texts, and even over email (alas). But your website is not the place to be slipshod and careless. Save that devil-may-care attitude for Facebook or Christmas cards, where only some of your acquaintance will be judging you. If your website is riddled with typos and syntax goofs, you will lose customers, period. Error-laden copy connotes one of two things to your client base: you are illiterate or you are lazy. Ponder this riddle: What’s more off-putting to a consumer — an uneducated merchant or an indifferent one? The answer, of course, is moot. Neither one is going to survive.

This may all seem terrifying if grammar isn’t exactly your thing. But don’t worry! There’s no need to hastily enroll in a community college course. Simply running your site through spellcheck should catch most spelling errors, though you’d be surprised how many merchants neglect to do so. For higher level syntax and grammar issues, try using a service like Grammarly. It’s not perfect for higher level writing, but it catches almost 100% of basic errors (there/they’re/their, etc.), and it’s free. You can also enlist help from friends and family. The more eyes on your website copy before you publish, the better.

Write Engaging Copy About Your Products/Services

It’s not enough for your content to be grammatically perfect. It must also be useful and interesting. And there’s the rub.

How does one write captivating copy? Especially if one is trying to sell items as unsexy as, say, lawnmower parts or plumbing services? The key is to know your audience. Your stuff doesn’t have to be Dostoevsky-good. It doesn’t even have to be Reader’s Digest-good. Excellent website copy is defined by only three characteristics:

  • Detail
  • Utility
  • Appeal

Let’s take them one by one.

Detail

Presumably, you understand your business and your products or services well. Take the time to describe them, providing as much or more of the minutia as is reasonably warranted. Color; size; shape; weight; feel; smell; taste. Go further into the aesthetic sensibility of your items if you want. The more your customer knows about the product or service, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their purchase.

Utility

The overall helpfulness of your copy will depend in part on how wisely you’ve used detail in your descriptions. But you must go even a step further. It’s not enough to state that a scarf is hand-knit, blue, and made of angora wool. It’s not even enough to say that it is 60-inches-long and machine-washable. For optimal impact, you’ve got to paint a word picture for your potential customers. Give suggestions about various ways to wear the scarf. Talk about occasions or events the scarf is appropriate for. If a customer can imagine your product as a useful part of their daily life, you’re far more likely to make the sale.

Appeal

This one’s not so straightforward. The line between interesting copy and content that is mind-meltingly dull is thinner than you’d expect. When in doubt, go back to the advice above: know your audience. If you’re hawking lawnmower parts, it’s best not to be cutesy or make attempts at humor. You’re likely to simply irritate people. For utilitarian products and services, appealing equals factual and descriptive. But if bespoke spa treatments or patchwork quilts are your daily bread, be as whimsical as you want. Go nuts. Employ first-person language. Break out the charm. And if you don’t feel up to the task, hire someone who is. There are plenty of freelancers out there who write website copy for a living. Sites like Upwork are teeming with writers who would fist-fight each other for the privilege of generating your web content. (I know because I used to be one of them.)

Use Original Images

On the internet, as in life, it often pays to be unique. And not in an after-school-special, every-snowflake-is-beautiful kind of way. Search engines like original content. They give preference to it, in fact.

That said, unless your name is Dorothea Lange or Ansel Adams, you’re much better off using BigStock or Getty Images for your graphic content than simply uploading pictures from your digital camera or smartphone. Unique isn’t always equivalent to good. My iPhone pictures, for example, are invariably blurry and too dark, invoking what I’m sure are merely pity-likes on Instagram. Yours may be better (and likely are), but I can say with near certainty that they aren’t good enough to be featured on your website.

Website-quality photographs and images should be:

  • High-resolution
  • Well-lit
  • Sharply focused
  • Artistically blocked, posed or designed
  • Minimally cluttered

Images like this don’t grow on trees. They come from professional photographers and graphic designers who use professional equipment. In other words, you’ll have to pay for them. Craigslist is a good place to find relatively cheap freelancers in your area, or you can solicit help from sites like Upwork and Guru.

Maintain A Blog

Blogs aren’t just for bloggers. Used wisely, a blog can be an excellent marketing tool for your retail, restaurant, or service business.

For starters (to reiterate my point in the section above), search engines give preference to original content. They gobble it up, in the manner of hungry hippos. To be clear, Google is an equal opportunity tool in that, if you have a URL, you’ll show up in an appropriate keyword search…eventually. But if you want to rank a little higher than the two-millionth results page, you’ll need to put it a bit more effort. Creating unique, high-quality content for your site increases your visibility to potential customers online. The key phrase here is high-quality, by the way. Search engines employ highly trained digital bloodhounds that can sniff out BS filler-content a mile away. You can try to cover redundant or pointless copy with metaphorical coffee grounds, but Google algorithms just keep getting smarter.

If you equate blogs solely with hot-button social issues like politics, the Mommy Wars, religion, and the like, it may be difficult to see how having one could benefit — or even apply to — your business. There are only so many edgy articles you can write about lawnmower parts.

Blogs don’t have to be hilarious rants or incisive social commentaries. In fact, if you want them to work well for your site, you should avoid controversy and/or high-art altogether. Instead, think about what kinds of things your customers are interested in, and provide content that caters to those interests. Do you sell custom clothing? Write a few how-to posts about accessorizing or blog about fashion trends. Run a pet shop? Talk about what pet owners can do to keep their dogs healthy. Rank cat toys from worst to most purrr-fect. Cat owners in your area who search for toy ideas may just stumble on your article and become loyal customers. Blogs exist to provide helpful information for your current clients, but they serve to draw in new customers as well.

Here are some articles types that work well for business blogs:

  • Top 10 Lists
  • How-To Articles
  • Dos & Don’ts
  • Product Comparisons
  • Guides
  • Best Of/Worst Of Lists
  • Industry News
  • Trends & Fads
  • Interviews

If you don’t feel up to creating the content yourself, hire someone who is.

Final Thoughts

In our increasingly digital society, your website is the most visible face of your business. It behooves you to make that face as clean and attractive as possible. The good news is that it doesn’t take much to create a professional, effective site.

Consider the tips above and take action where you can. With just a little TLC (and a little cash), your website can go from bland and forgettable to sleek and profitable.

Further Reading

We’ve talked about seven ways that you can create a better website for your business. Here are some other resources to help you get started.

Starting From Scratch?

Check out our large selection of do-it-yourself website builder reviews or compare top website building software vendors. If your website needs to incorporate an online store, you’ll want to peruse our eCommerce software reviews and compare some of the top shopping carts.

Read these articles if you need help deciding on a platform:

Looking To Improve Your Current Site?

If you already have a site, but need some tips on how to take it to the next level, these articles should help:

Want Tips On eCommerce?

We’ve written a comprehensive ebook on starting an online store. It’s free and well worth a read. If you’re operating an online store already or are thinking about adding one to your website, check out these articles:

Need Help With Social Media For Your Business Website?

Social media is a huge part of good business marketing, and it’s helpful to integrate your social media channels with your website. Check out these articles for more information:

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington is a writer, editor, and native Oregonian who lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband and two small children. When she’s not writing or testing software, she spends her time reading early 20th century mystery novels, staring blankly at her iPhone, and attempting to keep her kids fed, clothed, and relatively uninjured.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington

“”

13 New Year’s Resolutions For Your Business

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

Why Small Businesses Need New Year's Resolutions

The beginning of a new year is a good time to think about what has passed and what is to come, but this time shouldn’t be limited to personal reflection alone.

As a small business owner, give yourself an opportunity to reflect on your business and its finances. What worked last year? What didn’t work and why? Where do you want to be a year, two years, five years from now? What will it take to get there?

Once you’ve spent some time reflecting, start creating new goals to strive for. There’s no better time to reevaluate your business strategy or implement new financial processes than at the start of the new year. Build on what you learned in 2017 and make 2018 even better by creating financial and business resolutions.

Table of Contents

Business Resolutions To Consider

Here are some possible financial resolution ideas to help get you thinking about how to make this year a success for your business…

Create A Budget & Stick To It

This could be the year to create, implement, and stick to a reasonable budget. Most accounting software programs make it easy to create yearly budgets, and some even allow you to use last year’s data as inspiration.

Increase Sales

Who doesn’t want to increase sales? Begin by considering practical ways to make this happen, like creating specific motivations for your sales staff or expanding your clientele. Use your existing accounting software to drill into your sales records and analyze the trends in your business. What sells well? What type of customers buy your products? Leverage this data to make informed decisions going forward.

Go On An Expense Diet

It might be time to cut back on the expenses. Use your existing accounting software and purchases records to pinpoint unnecessary spending. Find ways to automate processes so you can save time on projects and avoid paying excess wages. When it comes to the overall profitability of your business, this is one diet that isn’t so hard to stick with.

Reinvest Money In Your Business

Did your business make a decent profit in 2017? This year, make it a point to reinvest in your company. Increase your company’s assets, or buy those new computers everyone has been needing to boost productivity. Incentivize your employees to stay by providing more benefits or increasing wages. The more you invest, the more return you’ll see.

Try A New Marketing Strategy

Marketing is always changing and adapting. The New Year is a great time to evaluate your current marketing strategy to see what’s paid off and what hasn’t. Continue practicing the strategies that work, dump the ones that don’t, and don’t be afraid to experiment with some new strategies during 2018.

Pay All Bills On Time

A New Year’s Resolution doesn’t have to be grand and impressive. Your resolution could be as simple as paying your bills on time. If you struggled to get all of your bills paid on time in 2017, make it a priority to stay on top of that this year. Use your accounting software to set reminders and automate your billing if needed.

Stay On Top Of Invoicing

It’s easy to get backed up on invoicing. But when invoices are your company’s bread and butter, it’s important to follow through. Fortunately, almost all accounting software allows you to set up invoicing automations and automatic late-payment reminders. QuickBooks Online even has an invoice scheduling feature when you can schedule invoices to be sent at a later date.

Keep Better Tax Records

If tax time is looming large for you right now, a good New Year’s Resolution would be to keep better tax records for next year. Use your accounting software to keep financial records and check out what tax support your accounting software offers.

Switch Accounting Software

There’s no better time to switch accounting software than at the beginning of a New Year. If your software isn’t cutting it, maybe this year should be about finding a program that actually works for your business. Check out our accounting software comparison chart and read our comprehensive accounting software reviews to see which software is right for you. If you need extra help, read our Complete Guide to Choosing Online Accounting Software.

Update Existing Accounting Software

Even if you don’t want to switch to a new accounting software program, it might be time for an upgrade. This could definitely be the case if you use an old locally-installed program. Read 5 Signs It’s Time to Update Your Accounting Software and start your new year right with the best-performing accounting software.

Add A New Software Integration

Integrations are a great way of adding extra features to your accounting software. Integrations can cover everything from project management to time tracking, email marketing, analytics, scheduling, and much more.

Reconcile Your Bank Accounts Every Month

Were you overwhelmed last year when closing your books? Make things easier on yourself by striving to reconcile your bank accounts each month. Not only will this help you to be less stressed, it will help you to be more proactive with your business’s finances.

Automate Your Business Processes

Perhaps, when looking back on last year, you realized how many day-to-day business processes could be streamlined. This year, choose to automate your business as much as you can. Use your accounting software to automate invoicing and billing. Or take advantage of software integrations like MailChimp to automate your email marketing.

Make Resolutions A Reality

We all know how resolutions go. You are oh-so committed at the beginning of the year, but come March, the diets have been forsaken, the gym memberships are wasted, and nothing is accomplished like you thought it would be. But this doesn’t have to be the case.

There are several tricks you can employ to make your financial resolutions last.

First of all, break the resolution up into smaller, manageable tasks. Resolutions often involve worthy but intangible ideas. Take ‘increasing sales,’ for example. This is a great idea, but how do you achieve it? Break it into achievable components. You could start by running a sales rep competition for the most sales, breaking out a new social media marketing strategy, or implementing a loyalty program to encourage buyers to come back.

Second of all, don’t go at it alone. Bring your whole team in on your business resolutions. Let them know what your goals are for the year so you can all work together to achieve them — and hold each other accountable. Your team may even have a few ideas of their own.

Now that you have a few potential financial resolutions for your business, run with them or come up with new ideas all your own. Whatever you do, don’t let this precious time of reflection and new beginnings go to waste. Seize the opportunity to regroup and create new business goals for yourself and your team. 2018 is yours for the taking!

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

Prepare Your Books For 2018 With Accounting Software

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

How To Prepare Your Small Business for 2018

Watch the ball drop in New York City on New Year’s Eve, but don’t drop the ball with your small business in the new year! After holiday celebrations wind down and before tax season begins, take the time to reflect on your last year of business and make vital preparations for the year ahead. Learn how to make the most out of your accounting software by using it as a tool to plan for 2018.

Table of Contents

Reflect On Last Year

How To Prepare Your Small Business for 2018

Before you can move on to planning a successful 2018, it’s important to reflect on what happened with your business in 2017. Luckily, your accounting software makes this easier than you think. Now’s the time to grab a journal, a cup of coffee, and a few key accounting reports.

The following common accounting software reports can provide great insight into your business:

  • Profit & Loss (or Income Statement): The Profit and Loss report (or Income Statement) shows your total net profit (or loss) for the year. Use this report to see how your company performed overall.
  • Balance Sheet: The Balance Sheet shows your company’s assets, liabilities, and equity. It’s good to know these totals in general, but you can use this report to apply for funding as well.
  • General Ledger: The General Ledger report shows all transactions from all accounts during the year. This report is helpful for a more detailed analysis.
  • Statement Of Cashflows: The Statement Of Cashflows report shows all transactions affecting cash accounts. Use this to learn how much cash your company has gained.
  • Statement Of Owner’s Equity: The Statement Of Owner’s equity shows owner’s equity at the end of the year
  • Budget Overview: The Budget Overview report compares your yearly budget with the actual money you spent. Use this both to see how you performed and to plan your 2018 budget.
  • Sales By Customer: The Sales By Customer report is self-explanatory and can be helpful for gauging your biggest clientele.
  • Sales By Item: The Sales By Item report is helpful for learning which items did well and which didn’t sell as successfully.
  • Sales By Employee: The Sales by Employee (or Sales Rep) report shows which employees have been most successful so you can use their methods to create a successful sales strategy.

In analyzing these reports, ask yourself:

  • What worked this year and what didn’t?
  • Where did my business succeed?
  • Where could it still improve?
  • Did we meet our goals? Why or why not?

I recommend filling a journal with notes. Not only will you be able to see your successes and the areas that need improvement clearly on paper, you can also refer back to these notes in the future to follow your business’s journey through the years.

Consider encouraging your managers and employees to do the same — or even make a day of it in the office!

Create New Goals For 2018

How To Prepare Your Small Business for 2018Now that you’ve taken some time to consider what happened in 2017, start creating goals for 2018. Start with the big picture. Ask yourself:

  • Where do I see my business by the end of next year?
  • Do I want to increase sales? By how much?
  • Do I want to increase employee focus? In what ways?
  • Do I want to expand my business? If so, how?

Think of general goals for the business as a whole and personal goals for yourself as a business owner. Ask your managers or employees to weigh in on their goals and ideas for the company as well.

Now that you have a few big goals jotted down, start thinking of smaller, practical steps that can lead you toward those bigger dreams. Big projects — like improving sales — can be daunting (which I’m sure I don’t have to remind you). But when you break a goal into many smaller, achievable checkpoints, the big projects can be completed with relative ease.

Take the time to parcel your goals for 2018 into manageable, practical baby steps, and you’ll stand an excellent chance of having a banner year. You can record these in your business journal to look back on later, or you can create tasks for these goals in several accounting programs.

If you need some extra inspiration, create a 2018 goals list on your office bulletin board, or keep a copy on your desk to stay motivated. Send a company goal list to each of your employees so that the whole business is on the same page, working toward the same goals.

Make A Budget For The Year

How To Prepare Your Small Business for 2018While budgeting can be incredibly daunting, accounting software makes the process easy. Most accounting software programs even have a built-in budgeting feature.

For example, with QuickBooks or Xero, you can create yearly budgets from scratch or generate them automatically based on last year’s data. If you created a 2017 budget using your accounting software, make sure to also take advantage of that software’s budgeting reports, which can help you analyze last year’s income and expenses and better plan for 2018.

Brainstorm A New Sales Strategy

Now is the time to update or create a brand new sales strategy for the next 12 months. Consider what’s working about your current sales plan and what could stand improvement. Which processes and marketing strategies were successful last year? Are there any sales tactics or marketing strategies that you haven’t tried yet?

I recommend taking a look at the sales reports your accounting software provides. Reports like Sales by Item and Sales by Customer can help you see what products are successful and give you a better idea of how to reach your target audience. It can also be very useful to look at Sales by Sales Rep reports with your sales team and have each member share which sales methods have been successful for them. Don’t be afraid to ask for input. Your employees may have terrific new ideas to implement or ways to improve current processes.

It’s nice to create a formal, written sales plan that you can then distribute to your sales team and refer back to this time next year.

Consider Integrations

How To Prepare Your Small Business for 2018Integrations may be the answer to achieving your 2018 business goals. Integrations are software add-ons that connect directly with your accounting software to bring you more features. Integrations vary, and may involve anything from CRM to email marketing to scheduling to project management to time tracking to analytics and more.

When should you use an integration?

  • If you need features that your accounting software doesn’t have.
  • If you spend too much time on tasks and need to automate processes.
  • If you want to offer more payment gateways for customers to pay you faster.

Go back to your list of 2018 goals and your analysis of 2017. Consider whether an integration could be the answer to fixing an area that needs improvement or achieving a brand new goal.

Update Contact Information

If you read our Small Business: How To Close Your Books At The End Of The Year post, then you’ve already updated your employees’ information. Now is a great time to take a break and make sure the rest of your contact information is accurate. Ensure that the contact information for your customers and vendors is completely up-to-date. Mark customers or vendors as inactive if needed, to clean up your software.

This is a great time to check up on customers as well. Send consistent customers a thank you card or reach out to old customers to see if they are interested in your products or services once more. Not only will you feel better having everything organized, you could potentially start the year off with some new sales and happy customers.

Get Organized

How To Prepare Your Small Business for 2018The start of a new year is a great time to get organized.

We’re talking about more than cleaning your desk, folks. Evaluate your current filing system to see how efficient and up-to-date it is. Maybe create a better way to store online accounting records and reports. Upload your receipts directly to your accounting software to store them in the cloud and save some paper. Whatever this looks like for your company, you won’t regret starting the year off with a clean, organized slate.

Give Your Invoices A Face-lift

If you want your company to get off to a fresh start this year, consider updating your invoice template. It seems like a small thing, but having an appealing, modern invoice is a huge plus for businesses. Say goodbye to boring black and white, Times New Roman templates or Excel monstrosities, and ring in the new year with a new look. Don’t be afraid to use color, be bold, and show off your company logo. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Invoice templates are more than a means of getting paid — they’re a reflection of your company’s professionalism and brand. Start off 2018 with a template that you’re excited about.

Final Thoughts

Taking a little time to reflect on 2017 and plan for 2018 can make all the difference if you want to run a successful business this year. We hope that these suggestions inspire you to think deeply about your business’s goals and act practically to achieve them.

From our company to yours, we wish you a very happy New Year!

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is a writer, avid reader, and researcher. In addition to loving writing, she became interested in accounting software because of her constant desire to learn something new and understand how things work. When she’s not working or daydreaming about her newest story, she can be found drinking obscene amounts of coffee, reading anything written by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”

5 Patreon Alternatives

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

patreon alternatives

For a wide array of podcasters, YouTubers, writers, journalists, artists, comedians, and other creatives, Patreon (see our review) has provided a convenient means of monetizing output that was previously unavailable. Patreon’s conception of crowdfunding, based as it is on ongoing donations from patrons in exchange for exclusive content, is well-suited to those who produce works that people enjoy but who previously had no means by which to get compensated for their toil.

However, if you’re on the lookout for an alternative to Patreon (as are many Patreon creators ever since Patreon introduced — and then rescinded — their unpopular new fee policy), there are several other good options. Let look at some of them!

Table of Contents

1. Kickstarter

I’m sure I don’t have to explain to you what Kickstarter is. You’re also likely aware of the fact that Kickstarter (see our review) crowdfunding campaigns do not operate on Patreon’s recurring subscription-like model. However, if you’re a creator whose focus is on putting out, say, a few major works per year — as opposed to a continuous stream of content — Kickstarter may work for you. You can always launch a new Kickstarter campaign after your old one runs its course.

Kickstarter vets crowdfunders fairly strenuously, so not everyone gets in. It’s a more exclusive platform than most of its rewards crowdfunding peers, which is a factor to consider if you’re a small-time creator. But with nearly $3.5 billion in dollars pledged to Kickstarter campaigns — and over 136K successfully-funded projects — Kickstarter’s track record is nothing to sneeze at.

One thing to keep in mind about Kickstarter campaigns is that the funding is all-or-nothing. If you don’t raise your goal amount within the time frame you specify (anywhere from 1 to 60 days), you get nothing — no soup for you. Launching a Kickstarter campaign requires a certain degree of confidence in your ultimate success.

As for fees, Kickstarter and Patreon don’t differ a great deal in this respect. Both Kickstarter and Patreon take a 5% cut of what you earn, with payment processing fees taking upwards of 3% of the rest.

2. Indiegogo

Indiegogo (see our review) is another alternative consider, and while it has a lot in common with Kickstarter, there are some key differences.

Like Kickstarter, Indiegogo crowdfunding campaigns are not continuous and have concrete start and end dates. Unlike Kickstarter, however, Indiegogo doesn’t pre-screen the campaigners who sign up to crowdfund, making it a less exclusive platform for creatives. Indiegogo also gives you the choice of whether you want your campaign to be all-or-nothing or keep-whatever-you-raise in its structure. With the latter, you won’t be left with nothing if your campaign fails to reach its funding goal.

The maximum campaign length with Indiegogo is 60 days. Indiegogo’s fee structure is nearly identical to that of Kickstarter and Patreon — 5% to the platform, ~3% to the payment processor.

Think of Indiegogo as a slightly more relaxed Kickstarter.

3. Donation Buttons

Here’s a crowdfunding solution that ensures you won’t have to pay a 5% platform fee to anybody: You can just directly solicit donations from those who enjoy your work. Payment providers like Stripe (see our review) and PayPal (see our review) have buttons you can place on your site for just this purpose.

These payment providers allow people to make recurring payments, so your fans can sign up to support you on a continuing basis (just as with Patreon). Of course, you won’t be getting any of the extra crowdfunding services you’d get with Patreon (reward distribution, patron management, analytics, etc.), so this funding solution will require more of your time and energy than Patreon. Then again, you’ll get more of every pledge made to you. If you have an existing fanbase motivated to pay up for your content and the ability to manage everything manually, this may be a crowdfunding route worth exploring.

Now, let’s take a look at a few crowdfunding sites that share Patreon’s subscription-based crowdfunding model.

4. Podia

Formerly called Coach, Podia isn’t one of the better-known crowdfunders out there — in fact, they’re new to the crowdfunding game, having just launched their new Patreon-like Membership service a few weeks ago (I’m writing this in December 2017). Prior to this, the site — then known as Coach — was simply a service with which people could sell online courses and digital downloads as standalone purchases.

Podia is keen to invite comparisons between themselves and Patreon — in fact, they’ve put up a page on their site devoted to showcasing themselves as a superior Patreon alternative. Their main selling point is this: Podia charges no fees on the donations your contributors make. Instead, you pay a flat monthly fee to use the service. You’ll have to pay $79 per month for the Membership package and $39/month if you just want to sell online courses/digital downloads and use Podia’s email marketing services. If you can draw a significant monthly income from selling access to your work, you’ll be paying less in fees with Podia than with Patreon. However, if you pull in just a few hundred bucks a month or less, Podia is clearly not a more cost-effective crowdfunding service than Patreon. It all depends on the level of support you get from your followers.

5. Memberful

Memberful is a decidedly different way to make money from your work. It’s not a crowdfunding platform, but rather a plugin you install on your website through which you sign people up for subscriptions to receive exclusive content. You can set up the application to accept subscriptions for different lengths of time (monthly, yearly etc.) and for different subscription plans that give access to varying levels of content.

If you sign up for Memberful’s Starter plan, you won’t pay any monthly fee, but Memberful will take a whopping 10% of what you earn — and that’s before you get to the payment processing fees. Memberful’s Pro and Enterprise plans cost $25 and $100 per month (respectively) while cutting the platform fee down to 2% and 1% (respectively). Both give access to features like coupon codes and newsletter integrations. Memberful isn’t a funding solution for everybody, but for the right sort of creator, it may be worth checking out.

Coming Soon: Drip

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Kickstarter’s new Patreon-like subscription-based crowdfunding platform, Drip. Drip is still invitation-only at this point, so we’re still waiting for a proper release. However, given that it has the weight of Kickstarter behind it and is clearly Kickstarter’s response to Patreon’s popularity, I expect it to become Patreon’s main rival when it becomes open to everybody. Details are scarce at this point, but Drip promises to integrate with Kickstarter so the 13.7 million backers currently on Kickstarter can use their login details and payment info to start backing Drip projects without having to set up a new profile. They also promise that Drip campaigns will feature a “founding membership period” during which backers will be designated “founding members” and get special perks for jumping in early. It’s an intriguing way to get people motivated to support you during your campaign’s early days.

Few details are available, but when Drip is released to the general public, I’m going to try to be the first person to post a review of it. Stay tuned!

Final Thoughts

Monetizing your work online has long been a challenge. Thankfully, platforms like Patreon and its various alternatives have arisen to plug this market inefficiency and help creators make money from the very people who consume and enjoy their content. No single solution is right for everybody, so check out these platforms (heck, check out other ones too if you want!) to determine which funding model makes sense for your particular needs.

Now go forth, create, and get paid!

Jason Vissers

Jason Vissers is a writer, cereal chef and Netflix aficionado from San Diego. A native Californian who enjoys the beach, Jason nonetheless prefers to do his surfing on the World Wide Web, the raddest wave of them all. Jason can’t eat raisins.

Jason Vissers

“”

Shopify vs. Squarespace: Online Store Options Compared

Shopify vs. Squarespace – they are two of the most well-known brands in the online store / website builder industry. I’ve written a Shopify review here and Squarespace review here. But how do they compare directly to each other?

First, a bit of background. Over the past few years, online store software costs have plummeted, and the technology to get a website from idea to reality has blossomed.

Whether you’re using a text editor and uploading to the Amazon cloud, hosting your own site powered by WordPress + WooCommerce or using a drag and drop website builder, there’s never been an easier time to create an online store. It’s no longer 2002 where every storeowner had to know PHP, HTML, CSS and a bit of Javascript.

All-inclusive ecommerce builders have been particularly interesting. Companies like Squarespace, Weebly, Wix, Shopify, and BigCommerce – not to mention platforms like Etsy, eBay, and Amazon – have brought ecommerce to everyone regardless of their coding skills.

On the wide spectrum of ecommerce store building solutions, they all live on the end that is all-inclusive and provides everything you need to get started and grow your website.

That is in contrast to solutions where you buy, install, and manage all the “pieces” of your website separately. That’s not a good or bad thing. But it is something to be aware of when you’re choosing one of them as a solution since it affects your website both long and short term.

In the long-term, it affects your versatility, functionality, and, of course, your brand. In the short term, it can certainly add/take away a lot of headaches. That said, just like choosing a physical house or office, there is no such thing as an absolute “best” or “top” choice. There’s only the right choice relative to your goals, experience, and circumstances.

Using an online store builder is like leasing and customizing an apartment in a really classy development instead of buying and owning your own house. You’re still in control of decor, cleaning, and everything living-wise – but you leave the construction, plumbing, security, and infrastructure to the property owner. That point is key because there’s usually a direct tradeoff between convenience and control.

Ecommerce Real Estate Tradeoffs

Shopify, Squarespace and other options like BigCommerce and Weebly as a group compete with options like WordPress (which provides the free software to build a website that you own & control – see my WordPress setup guide here) all the way to options like typing actual HTML code into a text file.

The last preface I’ll mention is that Squarespace is an all-around website builder with ecommerce capability.

Shopify, in contrast, is strictly an ecommerce platform.

This focus puts Squarespace behind as an advanced ecommerce tool and Shopify behind as a general website builder tool. With their respective free trials, you can quickly see the differences.

Try Shopify for Free

Try Squarespace for Free

Make sense? Awesome – let’s dive into the comparison.

Side note – if you want this comparison in a BuzzFeed-style quiz, you can take my online store builder quiz here…

You can also look at my posts on –

Otherwise, we’ll look specifically at pricing, onboarding/user experience, design features, technical features, ecommerce features, marketing features, and customer support.

Disclosure – I receive referral fees from all the companies mentioned in this post. My opinions & research are based on my professional experiences as either a paying customer or consultant to a paying customer.

Pricing

Comparing pricing between Shopify and Squarespace is fairly straightforward if you have a clear idea of your needs. This comes from the fact that Shopify focuses on *only* online store owners whereas Squarespace markets to everyone.

The short version is that Shopify is more expensive. But there’s a few caveats to look at.

Shopify Pricing

Squarespace Ecommerce Pricing

The first caveat is credit card fees.

Squarespace syncs with Stripe and PayPal. Their fees are 2.9% + $.30 per transaction.

Shopify has their own payments gateway that charges lower per transaction fees. But – if you use a non-Shopify gateway, Shopify charges an additional transaction fee that Squarespace does not have.

So why is this important? If you already have a gateway (ie, Authorize.net for your physical pop-up shop) and you want to use them with Shopify – then Shopify’s transaction fee kicks in. But – if you want to use Shopify Payment’s for your online store – you can save a bit of money on transaction fees. Those fees add up. If you have revenues of $100000 – a 0.4% reduction in fees could equal $500 per month.

The second caveat is value pricing.

On front-end features alone – Squarespace is significantly cheaper than Shopify, especially on their Advanced plan, which compares almost directly with Shopify’s Standard plan.

See Shopify’s Plans here.

See Squarespace’s Plans here.

But – like I mentioned in the introduction, it’s hard to compare their pricing tables directly since they are really different products for different audiences.

It’s a bit like comparing the pricing of a motorcycle vs. an SUV.

Sure, the motorcycle is much cheaper and it gets you from A to B. It has wheels, an engine, and it drives on the road just fine. But it’s also meant for a certain type of driving.

It all really comes down to what you need for you project – two wheels that will get you where you need to go or a vehicle that has plenty of room along with lots of features. So let’s look at other differences.

Aside – if you’re curious, Shopify’s $9/mo Lite plan isn’t applicable since it’s more of an inventory/payments software than an online store builder software. You can upload products, manage them, and accept payments, but you can only sell them via other platforms such as a Facebook plugin or a button on an existing website. Same goes with Squarespace’s Business Plan. It’s meant to do a website that happens to have a couple things for sale – not really a full online store solution. I’ll set both those options to the side for the moment.

Onboarding & User Experience

No matter how intuitive and simple a piece of technology is, there’s always that moment of “what am I looking at and what do I do now?”

Onboarding is the process of guiding you past that point. In theory, a huge selling point of online website / store builders is that they have a near-zero learning curve. They have a straightforward process from website concept to website reality.

On this point, Squarespace and Shopify both do alright but in different ways.

Shopify has a quick path from free trial signup to site launch. They have guided tours and a very straightforward setup. They also have customer support outreach focused on getting you up and running quickly.

Shopify Backend

However, Shopify also has many more features, apps, and technical options available that can present a challenge. The most daunting hurdle is linking your domain name to your store. It’s not difficult but is daunting at the mention of “setting your CNAME” (in fairness, you don’t have to direct your domain if you purchase via Shopify for a bit more per year than via a 3rd party).

Since Shopify functions as a platform for payments, offline inventory and more – their website store setup is actually on the second menu of their main dashboard rather than front and center.

Squarespace has a ridiculously fast sign up to live site process. Their backend is fairly intuitive for basic websites. However, they to have a “Squarespace jargon” to get used to. They like to appeal to developers and freelance designers – so there are advanced tools that can clutter simply launching a site.

SquareSpace Onboarding

Their support emails and tours are structured well. But since their software is made for all types of websites, the ecommerce features are a bit buried (and limited) from the perspective of an online store owner.

I would not rule either provider out on onboarding/user experience. But their differences are sort of like a restaurant with a waiter (Shopify) vs. a fast casual restaurant with a menu above the cashier (Squarespace).

If you want more help and more customization, then Shopify is your choice. If you want to quickly see and order from the features, then Squarespace is less daunting.

Design Features

Part of the overall value of website builders is simple, straightforward design – no web designers necessary.

But good design is hard. And it matters – a lot. A lot of people can spot a good looking website but have a harder time figuring out how to get there. Using a template for a foundation and then customizing it is a good way to get the site you want without paying for a custom design.

Both Shopify and Squarespace use templates (aka “themes”) for design. But they are very different in customization options.

Shopify has a solid drag and drop design feature. You can create any layout element you’d like and drag it into place. You can click and edit any portion of any web page – including both content and design.

But – Shopify does not combine design and content. You have to get your design right – and then add content in a separate area (ie, it’s a template).

Since you can edit HTML/CSS with Shopify, you can build any design possible. There are few, if any, limits to any design that you see on the Internet. Additionally, Shopify has a drag and drop template editor.

Shopify Drag Drop

Squarespace has a hybrid approach. They famously have beautiful pre-built designs.

Squarespace Designs

They also have drag and drop – and pretty intuitive editing.

But – they also combine design and content with their editor. This approach has tradeoffs. On one hand, you can edit the design for specific pages. On the other hand, your design can go “off-base” pretty quickly – especially with content for hundreds of products.

The other drawback with Squarespace is that their off-the-shelf themes require *a lot* of really good imagery. If you don’t have access to high-quality photography, their themes are not going to work well. Many of Shopify’s designs are fine and functional regardless of product imagery.

They both have large marketplaces for premium designs (in addition to professional designers).

If you are a fan of raw functionality – then you’ll appreciate Shopify’s approach to design. If you want your site to look amazing off the shelf, love to edit details, and have access to good imagery – then you’ll appreciate Squarespace.

Ecommerce Features

The absolute core features of an ecommerce store are a –

  • product database
  • shopping cart
  • checkout page
  • payment processor
  • order database

That is it.

But, especially in 2017 (and 2018 and beyond), there is a *lot* more than can (and should) go into an ecommerce store. There’s everything from selling via Facebook Messenger to syncing with Amazon FBA to integrating with eBay – not to mention features for executing on marketing fundamentals.

Even for advertising products, there’s selling via Buyable Pins, Google Merchant, Twitter cards, and more. There’s remarketing and coupon codes. There’s A/B testing. There’s inventory synchronization with vendors like AliExpress. And there’s order synchronization with shippers like UPS and USPS.

And that’s all a drop in the bucket.

Obviously, not every store needs every feature. If you are trying to sell a couple T-shirts or a couple specialty products – you certainly don’t need them all. But if you want to grow and expand, you’ll need your options open.

For ecommerce features, Shopify wins hands down, though Squarespace does make it simple to sell your product. Squarespace has a few advanced features (like abandoned cart recovery), but it’s nothing like Shopify.

Shopify not only has more features directly integrated into their platform, but they also have a well-established app store that includes free and paid apps to extend your store with every feature you could possibly need.

Shopify Integrations

That said, this section is a bit unfair to Squarespace, because, again, they are a general website builder that includes ecommerce. Shopify is strictly an ecommerce platform.

If Shopify didn’t “win” on ecommerce features it would be a surprise. Technically, Squarespace competes more with the likes of Weebly and Wix or WordPress who are also website builders that provide core ecommerce features.

In short – if you need core ecommerce features integrated in a simple, straightforward way, then Squarespace is fine. If you actually need a full suite of ecommerce features to grow, then Shopify is hands-down better.

Technical Features

Technical features are all the web development best practices that don’t really “matter”…until they matter a lot. I’m talking about generating clean URLs, editable metadata, allowing page-level redirects, etc.

On this point, Shopify does very well – and not just compared to Squarespace, but compared to any hosted platform.

Traditionally, hosted platforms presented a risk for web designers, developers, and marketers who wanted to work on the technical aspects of the site.

I know that I flinch anytime a prospective client tells me they are on a hosted platform of any kind.

But Shopify and Squarespace perform well in general. Many skeptics of hosted platforms note that they actually take care of the technical features well. You still don’t have FTP access to your server, but you do have access to change things via their Liquid editor (Shopify) or Developer Mode (Squarespace).

Where they differ (especially for me) is in their potential for technical features. And again, here, Shopify’s app store is their “killer” feature. Even if a feature is not native to Shopify, a non-developer can usually add it.

On the flip side, Squarespace has a lot of native features that simply “work” – and a process of continually adding & revising existing features.

Both Squarespace and Shopify have inherent limitations as hosted platforms (ie, when you leave, you a lot of your data), but Shopify does a bit more to eliminate the weaknesses and capitalize on strengths as a hosted platform.

Marketing Features

In Field of Dreams, Kevin Costner’s character says “if you build it, they will come.” Sadly, that is not true about websites. Like any business, you have to actively promote and market your online store for anyone to show up.

Marketing features like custom metadata, open graph information, Schema markups, email signups, share buttons, landing pages, etc all make marketing your site a lot easier.

For marketing features, both Shopify and Squarespace both do really well. They support header scripts. They integrate with many products. They add meta data, product schema and open graph tags automatically.

But like design & ecommerce features, there’s the same catch. For an ecommerce store owner, Shopify has many more (and higher quality) built-in features plus a better, more developed app store.

Squarespace has core marketing features built-in, but with more limits.

Support & Service

Customer support and service are difficult to judge. Like I’ve said in most of my reviews, a single customer can never really know if they happened upon a disgruntled rookie or if the company is really that bad.

That said, there are ways to look at a company’s investment in both customer services and support.

For Shopify vs. Squarespace, I think the clear “winner” is Shopify. Shopify not only provides more channels for customer service (phone, chat, email, forums, social media, etc), they also have an incredibly extensive help center.

The help center not only tackles technical issues, it also tackles customer success issues (aka problems with making money).

Squarespace has email support, and limited chat support – but no phone. Their knowledgebase does not have the attention or the depth that Shopify has.

Comparison Conclusion

So Shopify vs. Squarespace – which one is a better fit for your project?

If you plan on running a growing online store and want all the features possible, then you should go try Shopify.

Go try Shopify for free here.

If you want a simple store – or a general site with a beautiful look, then Squarespace might be a good fit for you.

Also – bookmark my post on creating an ecommerce marketing strategy here.

Good luck!

“”

Team Bio Series – Chris Motola (Gamer Extraordinaire)

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships. Learn more.

Chris Motola: Merchant Maverick’s own little piece of Brooklyn. When he’s not writing about, erm, extremely dubious financial products, he’s playing table games, hiking, or geeking-out, Tarantino-style. (What is a Tarantino-style nerd? Do they perform Kill Bill cosplay? Or meet for table reads of Jackie Brown? Chris isn’t telling.) Let’s find out more about how the East Coast’s number one writer of MCA reviews rolls…

Name: Chris Motola

Title: Writer – Loans and MCAs

Hometown: Brooklyn, NY

Current city: Middletown, NY

Education and background: BA in English Writing from SUNY Oswego; MS in Interactive Media from University of Central Florida. I’ve worked a variety of jobs over the years–banking, warehouse, social services–but I keep coming back to writing in some form. I started off in print working for a small business and healthcare publisher in Upstate New York. I’m just old enough to have worked both sides of the digital transition.

Merchant Maverick department/specialty: I mainly cover merchant cash advances, but I also write about equipment financing, loans, and credit cards. Previously I was covering scheduling software and email marketing as a freelancer.

How did you discover Merchant Maverick?: Through the grapevine, really. My friend is friends with my editor’s brother. He told me Merchant Maverick was looking for writers. It was a happy coincidence.

Proudest professional moment: It’s hard to pin it down to any one thing. I enjoy the feeling of producing something, whether it’s a tangible product like a sandwich or something more abstract like an article. If you put a gun to my head, though, it would probably be the first time I saw my name in print. It felt like I’d managed to finally make it through the gate.

Favorite Merchant Maverick post/moment/opportunity: It would definitely be the invitation to join the staff. I had some experience covering finance from back in the day, so it turned out to be a good fit. As for content, I like knowing I’m helping readers make informed decisions about risky financial products.

What do you do when you’re not working for Merchant Maverick?: In my other life, I’m a game designer who dabbles in web development. I enjoy learning as a hobby, which might sound pretentious, but it’s more masochism than idealism. I like powering through frustration until the moment where something clicks. I’m into a lot of geek stuff: movies, tabletop games, video games, shows, though my geekdom probably aligns more with Tarantino or John Carpenter than Marvel. When I step away from glowing screens, I enjoy cooking, eating out, climbing mountains, and exploring towns and cities in the region.

You’re a new addition to the Marvel Universe. Who are you and why?: In spirit, I’d probably have more in common with Squirrel Girl than Doctor Doom or Captain America. I’d be Oblivion, a Walter Mitty type who discovers that I can create dimensional holes when I zone out or daydream. At first everyone, myself included, would think portals lead to pocket universes born of my imagination. In truth, they just deposit my victims into random Yum Brands (KFC, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut) franchise restaurants throughout the world.

Favorite ‘90s song: Soundgarden’s Outshined

Favorite breakfast food? I usually skip breakfast, but I’ll be a basic New Yorker and say bagel with cream cheese.

What are three items on your bucket list?: 

  • Travel to Asia
  • Complete and publish a work of fiction, either a game or a novel
  • Be functionally literate in another language, probably Spanish

If you could travel back in time and live in a different era, which would you choose and why?: Hmm. Most of them were objectively pretty bad. I’d probably be self-serving, go back to the 90s and set myself straight.

Mac or Windows?: Mac’s alright, but I prefer Windows.

If you could have lunch with a famous person, past or present, who would it be and why?: I’d be really curious about what Karl Marx was like in a casual context. After a drink or two, would he be talking about revolution or soccer?

We’re not sure if we’d enjoy a summer blockbuster about a superhero like Oblivion, but we do give a big kudos to Chris for working a Walter Mitty reference into his interview. We love having Chris on the team, and wish him a future filled with Spanish-speaking and Thai adventures.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington is a writer, editor, and native Oregonian who lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley with her husband and two small children. When she’s not writing or testing software, she spends her time reading early 20th century mystery novels, staring blankly at her iPhone, and attempting to keep her kids fed, clothed, and relatively uninjured.

Julie Titterington

Julie Titterington

“”

Using Amazon . com and eBay Integrations With Shopify

Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

Omnichannel and multichannel are two greatest words in eCommerce. Even though I frequently roll my eyes at these buzzwords, I must admit that multichannel selling is indeed a, lucrative trend.

Research has shown that adding a sales funnel for your online shop can considerably increase revenue. Actually, stores that sell on only one marketplace additionally for their online shop notice a 38% rise in revenue. And retailers who sell on two marketplaces generate 120% greater than individuals without any marketplaces.

Shopify is among the dominant platforms for online sellers, and they’ve lately introduced new methods for retailers to include marketplaces for their system. The Shopify Application collection now includes integrations with Amazon . com, eBay, Facebook, Pinterest, and Messenger. With the addition of these integrations, sellers can manage their marketplace and website sales within the Shopify dashboard.

In the following paragraphs, we’ll be discussing two most lately integrated marketplaces: Amazon . com and eBay. We’ll discuss how these integrations work, discuss their merits and flaws, and assess how you can (or might not) assist you to sell more.

Table of Contents

Shopify & Amazon . com

Amazon . com is definitely an apparent first-step with regards to marketplace selling. Boasting over 95 million unique visitors each month, Amazon . com offers retailers huge possibility of expanding their customer bases.

In The month of january of the year, Shopify introduced their house-grown Amazon . com integration. Retailers are now able to connect Shopify accounts to Amazon . com with only a couple of clicks. This connection gives retailers the opportunity to monitor inventory, sales, and customer interactions in one comprehensive dashboard.

Exactly What Does It Decide To Try Integrate?

To be able to integrate Amazon . com together with your Shopify account, you simply need a couple of things:

  • A Shopify Account
  • An Amazon . com Sellers Account ($39.99/ month + additional selling charges)

Making the bond between Amazon . com and Shopify is simple. Once you’ve subscribed to your Amazon . com Sellers Account, you are able to sign in to your Shopify account, visit the “Sales Channels” panel, and click on to set up the combination. Then you’ll need to consume a couple of prompts to permit the bond to talk about information across platforms and ensure developer access for Shopify.

Once that’s accomplished, you can sync your product or service and inventory across both platforms. Having a built-in integration such as this, it simply doesn’t take much for connecting your Shopify and Amazon . com accounts.

So How Exactly Does This Integration Work?

Not every integrations work exactly the same way. Some only sync inventory or relay order information others do a lot more. Here’s exactly what a Shopify-Amazon . com integration will help you to do:

  • Create New Amazon . com Listings In Shopify’s Dashboard: This selection presently is only for select groups. These groups are:
    • Clothing, Footwear & Jewellery
    • Health insurance and Household
    • Beauty and private Care
    • Home and Kitchen
    • Patio and Garden
    • Sewing, Arts, and Crafts
    • Sports and out of doors
    • Games and toys
  • Incorperate Your Shopify Products To Existing Amazon . com Listings: In case your goods are already on Amazon . com, it is simple to incorperate your own purports to the listings. This works best for all groups.
  • Sync Product Information: Send your products details, variants, and pictures from Shopify to Amazon . com.
  • Set Cost And Inventory For Amazon . com: Try listing unique prices for items that show up on Amazon . com. Which means that marketing exactly the same product for $15 in your site and $20 on Amazon . com. You may also keep the inventory separate in situation you fulfill individuals orders using different ways.
  • View Revenue In Shopify Reports: Use Shopify’s reporting features to trace selling on Amazon . com.
  • Sync Inventory To Your Shopify Dashboard: Shopify could keep a tally of all of the products you sell on channels.
  • Fulfill Amazon . com Orders From Shopify: Have your orders import to your Shopify dashboard.
  • Receive Notifications In Shopify About Amazon . com Orders: Manage customer interactions on Shopify’s platform.

User Response

Within my initial research from the Shopify-Amazon . com integration, I had been hopeful that this is an easy solution for a lot of retailers. However, when i investigated current reading user reviews, I began to feel more reluctant.

The Amazon . com integration, because it is indexed by the Shopify Application Marketplace, has received 77 reviews in the last year by having an average rating of twoOr5 stars. To be able to comprehend the causes of that relatively low overall rating, I just read a number of of individuals 77 reviews. Generally, here’s what users are saying concerning the integration:

  • Tiresome To Produce Listings By hand: Customers say that it requires a lot of time to upload products to Amazon . com and enter details.
  • Poor Customer Support: I have seen numerous complaints regarding customer support, although it is unclear whether clients are complaining about Amazon . com or Shopify.
  • Doesn’t Work: I have seen plenty of reviews proclaiming that the combination simply doesn’t work. They are saying the systems don’t sync correctly, and also the application appears like it’s still in beta testing.
  • Useful After Setup: Some state that after you’ve set everything up (and become beyond the initial learning curve), the combination could be a helpful tool. You are able to eventually utilize it to simplify day-to-day operations.

Even if I checked out the couple of five-star reviews, there have been indications of trouble. One positive review stated the integration might seem to be damaged because changes may take a complete 24 hrs to update. Good golly! In my experience, this type of lengthy update time is the effect of a damaged integration.

In A Nutshell

I believe, these overwhelmingly negative reviews hold lots of weight. It’s disheartening to determine that so couple of have experienced success using the platform. However, basically would sell on Amazon . com and Shopify, I’d consider this integration a choice. It’s not even close to ideal but still in need of assistance of a lot work, however it may solve a couple of problems a minimum of. Here’s wishing Shopify revisits the combination soon and resolves these problems.

Shopify & eBay

Amazon . com is clearly probably the most popular marketplaces for all of us-based retailers, however it isn’t the best platform for everybody. Retailers who sell used or collectible products would possibly benefit more from your integration with eBay. Using more than 169 million active eBay buyers, eBay comes complete with possibility of expansion.

Fortunately, Shopify and eBay have sellers’ backs. Just recently, eBay released their new, built-in integration for Shopify with the objective of simplifying the mix-funnel selling experience.

By using this integration, you can sync inventory information and process orders on a single platform. Keep studying to uncover much more about this application and discover if you’re able to make money from it.

Exactly What Does It Decide To Try Integrate?

It doesn’t take much to integrate eBay and Shopify. Unsurprisingly, you’ll need:

  • A Shopify Account
  • An eBay Account
    • Dues from $24.95/month to $349.95/month

Once more, if you have these two accounts setup, making the bond is straightforward. You just need to add some marketplace beneath your “Sales Channels” tab after which select “Add sales channel” around the following page. You will subsequently be in a position to click on the “Connect” button, that will redirect you to definitely your eBay account where one can complete the bond.

So How Exactly Does This Integration Work?

eBay’s integration is comparable to Amazon’s in lots of ways, although it appears eBay’s application includes less features. Here’s the things they promote concerning the connection:

  • Immediately Sync Inventory Information: Send information like product title, description, item specifics, cost, and quantity from Shopify to eBay.
  • Import eBay Orders To Shopify: Process all of your orders on Shopify’s dashboard.
  • View eBay Messages From Shopify: Manage customer interactions out of your Shopify workspace.

User Response

Since its release in October, eBay’s integration has gotten 39 reading user reviews in Shopify’s marketplace. A lot of individuals comments are negative, producing a 2.5/five star average.

Confusingly, these reviews incorporate a healthy mixture of both 5-star reviews and 1-star reviews. It’s baffling the way the users list is really so divided about this one application. Listed here are a couple of from the comments I have seen recur in individuals reviews:

  • Plenty Of Bugs And Kinks: Users report glitches and hiccups within the integration. It seems that one was launched just a little prematurely.
  • Easy To Setup: In comparison, plenty of users are absolutely loving how easy it’s to set up the applying.
  • Mixed Overview Of Support: Customer care seems to become a mixed bag. Quite a few users have experienced positive encounters with eBay support representatives (especially, it appears, one repetition named Matt), yet others have experienced difficulty contacting anybody.

In A Nutshell

The eBay-Shopify integration isn’t perfect. I truly really wish i could say otherwise, however it appears that Shopify must put more work to their marketplace integrations. However, once more, if you want to connect eBay and Shopify, it may be worth a go. An undesirable connection is preferable to no connection, right?

Final Ideas

Shopify has excellent intentions in connecting marketplaces for their platform. Regrettably, execution of the goal continues to be somewhat missing to date.

We’re likely to keep our eyes on these integrations within the coming several weeks. Hopefully Shopify as well as their partners continuously enhance the functionality and dependability of those connections.

Have you ever used a Shopify marketplace integration? Tell us about this within the comments below.

Liz Hull

Liz is really a recent college graduate residing in Washington condition. As recently, she will frequently be located haunting eCommerce forums and securing with customer support representatives. When she’s free, Liz likes to rock climb, watch Spanish dramas, and browse poorly-written youthful adult novels.

Liz Hull

“”

2017 Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Holiday Deals for Small Company Proprietors

Our impartial reviews and content are supported partly by affiliate partnerships. Find out more.

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

I’ve never understood why, at the time as we meditate on being grateful and quite happy with what we should have, we hurry towards the store and proceed throngs of people to purchase the following best factor. So far, that’s.

With regards to your online business, you need to make the most of every deal open to you. Fortunately, this season there are many to select from. We spent hrs digging to find the best Black Friday, Cyber Monday, along with other holiday deals so you do not have to. Whether you’re looking for a brand new POS system, a good deal on a credit card merchant account, or some seriously discounted accounting software, there’s something for everybody this holidays.

Note: We’ll be updating this publish regularly to create the most up-to-date offers and discounts. Be on the lookout for additional bargains in the future!

Table of Contents

Merchant Services

If you are searching to simply accept card payments out of your customers, you’ll need a credit card merchant account. Most merchant services charge a particular rate per transaction, but there’s a couple subscription-based mixers are providing discounts on their own monthly rates along with a couple of which are offering deals on hardware.

Fattmerchant

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

Fattmerchant hasn’t released their Cyber Monday deal yet, but it’s not far off. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

Fattmerchant is really a subscription-based credit card merchant account that works with most major shopping carts. The organization offer 24/7 free support and receive 5/5 stars on our websiteTo understand more about this credit card merchant account, visit our comprehensive Fattmerchant review.

PaySimple

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

PaySimple is providing 50% from the first 3 several weeks and services information.

This promotion is perfect for new clients you have to complete the enrollment form by 11:59 pm EST on November 30th to obtain this discount (discount doesn’t affect individual transaction charges). Use coupon code CYBER.Offers are not valid with every other promotions. Contact PaySimple for more information.

PaySimple is yet another subscription-based credit card merchant account that meets its name. The credit card merchant account is straightforward, simple to use, and it has great customer support. To understand more about this credit card merchant account, read our comprehensive PaySimple review.

Cayan

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Cayan is providing $150 in free software and hardware.

Cayan is providing a vacation Bundle to new users who join a Cayan account. The bundle includes $100 in instant credit, a totally free EMV-enable card swiper, and free eCommerce setup (often a $150 value as a whole). Contact Cayan directly for more information or join the vacation bundle here.

Cayan has developed in the credit card merchant account game since 1998 and it has an excellent status. The program is fairly priced while offering wonderful features. To understand more about this credit card merchant account option, read our full Cayan review.

Mobile Payments

If you were to Nederlander Bros, you realize about Mobile Reason for Purchase (mPOS) apps. Accepting payments on the go with simply a tablet and/or smartphone is essential for many companies. Which screaming holiday deals might help your organization just do that.

Square

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Square is providing $10 off a Contactless + Nick readers.

When you join a Square account, you will see a promo for $10 a Contactless + Nick Readers (ordinarily a $49 value). The discount is restricted to 1 per account. Contact Square to learn more.

Square is a huge name in mobile payments processing–and for a good reason. With ample features along with a flat swipe rate, it’s easy to understand why. On this 4.5/five star software within our comprehensive Square review.

Intuit GoPayment

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

Intuit hasn’t released their Black Friday promo yet, but it’s not far off. The deals will likely be announced on Monday. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

While Intuit is much more noted for its QuickBooks accounting software, Intuit also provides a mPOS known as Intuit Go Payment (formerly referred to as Intuit Payment Solutions). Intuit GoPayment offers competitive rates along with a seamless Quickbooks integration. To understand more about this method, read our comprehensive Intuit GoPayment review.

POS Software

Reason for Purchase (POS) solutions really are a huge element of retail and restaurant companies. If you are looking for a great POS system, there’s seriously no better time for you to purchase. Miracle traffic bot category has got the most holiday promotions undoubtedly, so you have several options.

Toast POS

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Toast POS is providing up $6,000 in hardware to new clients.

If you’re a new Toast POS customer transitioning from Aloha or Micros, you are able to qualify for approximately $6,000 in hardware.

This deal is essentially a hardware swap. For instance, for those who have an Aloha or Micro terminal, you are able to swap it for any free Toast POS terminal (as much as $6,000). Toast is just matching existing hardware, so any other purchases is going to be priced normally. This deal applies its November. Find out more about this deal and Contact Toast POS directly to find out if you qualify.

Toast POS is a perfect restaurant POS that provides ample features, a loyalty rewards program, and gift certificate abilities. Discover what else Toast POS provides within our comprehensive 5/five star Toast POS review.

Revel Systems

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

Revel Systems hasn’t released their promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

Revel Systems is among the top iPad POS systems, boasting 25,000 terminals being used and powerful features. To understand more about Revel Systems, read our comprehensive Revel Systems review.

Lightspeed

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

Lightspeed hasn’t released their promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We all do realize that both software and hardware is going to be discounted. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

Lightspeed offers multiple POS systems for particular industries. (Before the promo is released, we won’t know which version is going to be discounted.) Read our complete Lightspeed Retail, Lightspeed eCom, and Lightspeed Restaurant reviews to find out more.

NCR Silver

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

NCR Silver is providing 1-2 free several weeks and services information for annual subscriptions.

Although this isn’t always a Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchase, we would have liked to show you from the promotion NCR Silver is presently running.

If you buy single-year subscription, you’ll get a month of free service if you buy a couple-year subscription, you’ll receive two several weeks of free service. The offer pertains to brand new merchant, no matter location or quantity of terminals. Purchase ends on December 31. Contact NCR Silver for more information.

NCR Silver is really a cloud-based POS well suited for medium-sized companies. It provides 24/7 support and integrates with leading accounting software. Read our complete NCR Silver review to find out more.

LingaPOS

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Linga POS is providing 3 several weeks of free service.

New users who begin a Linga account will get 3 several weeks of the free Linga POS license. Deal ends on December 15th. Contact Linga POS directly to benefit from this offer.

Linga POS offers impressive features together with a strong inventory management system. The program is competitive in cost and is a superb option for food services. Read our complete LingaPOS review to find out more.

Hike POS

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Hike is providing a 30% discount to customers.

Hike is providing a 30% discount to customers. We are adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact Hike directly for details.

Although Hike is really a relatively recent POS solution, it provides an attractive interface and lots of features. Hike is simple to use and versatile too. Read our comprehensive Hike review to understand more about this 4.5/five star software.

Epos Now

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Epos Now’s offering $500 in savings.

Epos Now’s offering their POS System including a 15″ touchscreen terminal, an invoice printer, along with a cash drawer for $1,299 (ordinarily a $1,799 value). Contact Epos Let’s focus on details or visit here to join up with this promotion.

Epos Now’s a quick-growing POS system located in the United kingdom. The machine is simple to use, filled with features, and reliable enough for Disney Pictures and Universal for doing things (that’s enough to achieve my election if it is adequate for Disney it should be the most joyful POS system on the planet right?). Read our full Epos Now review to find out if you accept me and to understand more about the program on your own.

Springboard Retail

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

Springboard Retail hasn’t released their November promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

Springboard Retail is really a POS system with limitless users and ample features. The POS system offers scalable prices plans and it is incredibly simple to use. To understand more about POS option, read our complete Springboard Retail review.

GiftLogic POS

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

GiftLogic POS is providing a hardware looking for $.99 with acquisition of any initial software bundle.

If you buy any GiftLogic POS software bundle, you’re qualified to purchase a hardware looking for a reduced cost of $.99. We is going to be adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact GiftLogic POS directly for details.

GiftLogic POS is really a Home windows-based retail POS that is fantastic for clothes shops and gift shops. The program offers extensive features including reporting and inventory. To understand more about this POS contender, read our complete GiftLogicPOS review.

Accounting Software

The section you’ve all been awaiting! Okay, in order the mind accounting author at Merchant Maverick I’m just a little biased toward accounting software, but hey–that means I understand a great deal after i see one. I’m excited to talk about these steals along with you.

Aplos

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Aplos is providing 50% off select annual subscriptions.

Aplos is providing 50% from the newbie of the annual subscription for their Starter or Standard Accounting packages. Any new user can use with this promo and you will find no cancellation charges (should you aren’t satisfied, Aplos will refund you the rest of your unused subscription). Use coupon code SuperSale2017 to obtain this deal although it still lasts. Contact Aplos to learn more.

Aplos is really a non-profit accounting solution with ample features and extremely positive testimonials. We even named the program among the Top 4 Accounting Programs for Nonprofits, so long should be good. Browse the publish on your own to find out if this nonprofit solution is a great fit for you personally.

QuickBooks

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

Intuit QuickBooks hasn’t released their Black Friday promo yet, but it’s not far off. The deals will likely be announced on Monday. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

QuickBooks may be the big named in comprising grounds. With multiple desktop and cloud-based products, this accounting giant offers solutions for pretty much any sized business. Read our comprehensive reviews of Quickbooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop Pro, QuickBooks Desktop Mac, QuickBooks Desktop Enterprise, and QuickBooks Self-Employed, or read this handy comparison chart to determine what version fits your needs.

Note: If you are offered on Quickbooks Desktop, look into the Black Friday deals at the local Best To Buy, Staples, along with other office supplies online stores. I will allow you to inside a little secret: The final time I visited Staples, QuickBooks Desktop Pro was $30 less expensive than the discounted form of the program on Intuit’s site.

Shopping Cart Software Software

This season, most eCommerce sellers are most likely considering how you can market their very own stores to bring in the vacation sales. But remember to take a few here we are at yourself and think about whether these shopping cart software discounts are suitable for your company.

Zoey Commerce

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Zoey Commerce is providing a 5% – 10% discount on annual subscriptions.

Zoey Commerce is providing a price reduction on annual subscriptions. New clients registering for the Strategic business plan will get a 5% discount using the coupon code THANKS5. New clients registering for the company Plus or Premier pan will get a tenPercent discount while using coupon code THANKS10.

These discounts are additionally towards the existing 10% discount that Zoey offers for annual subscriptions. Monthly plans don’t apply. These codes is going to be active from Wednesday, November 22 to Thursday, November 30. When you produce a trial, you will see a place for any coupon code. If you want help getting this deal or want more details contact Zoey Commerce directly.

Zoey Commerce is really a well-loved, fully-featured eCommerce platform. If you wish to determine what makes miracle traffic bot so excellent, read our complete 5/five star Zoey review.

Shopify

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Shopify is providing $30 predetermined fee shipping with DHL Express.

Shopify can also be offering holiday shipping with UPS.

Although this isn’t always a Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchase, we would have liked to show you from the promotion Shopify is presently running.

This holidays, Shopify is partnering with DHL Express to bring Shopify customers a $30 flat-rate shipping option (before Holiday sales in my opinion). Packages should be between 1-3 pounds. Certain countries might not qualify and fuel surcharges may apply. Purchase ends December 31st. On this deal or contact Shopify for details.

Shopify can also be offering holiday shipping rates with UPS. This integration brings Shopify customers guaranteed date shipping, discounted rates for heavier packages, and all sorts of peak surcharges on UPS Ground is going to be included in Shopify. Find out more about this deal or contact Shopify for deals.

Shopify is among the big names in eCommerce and even for good reason. It provides good prices, strong features, and 24/7 customer care. To understand more about this 5/five star software, read our complete Shopify review.

3dcart

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

3dcart hasn’t released their November promotion yet, but it’s not far off. The promotion should really launch on Wednesday. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

While 3dcart might be keeping us at nighttime on their own promotion for which appears like forever, it’s no mystery this company provides a great eCommerce platform. With ample features, affordable plans, and lots of design styles, 3dcart has something for virtually any merchant. Read our complete 3dcart review to learn more.

WooCommerce

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

Woocommerce hasn’t released their promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

Woocommerce is definitely an free shopping cart software wordpress plugin that directly integrates with WordPress websites. The first software download is free of charge and also the eCommerce platform provides a apparently unbeatable quantity of integrations. On this shopping cart software option within our complete Woocommerce review.

Website Builders

Searching to construct a brand new small company website? It’s not necessary to become coding expert overnight. Rather, make use of a website builder.

uKit

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

uKit hasn’t released their Cyber Monday promotion yet, but be on the lookout for that company’s announcement (it’ll be in this article). We’ve heard the offer will probably be pretty great. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

uKit is really a feature-wealthy, simple to use website builder that screams classy and professional. Read our full uKit review to understand more about what this rising website builder can provide.

Inventory Software

If monitoring your holiday inventory gets difficult, it might be time for you to consider a listing software. And just what better time for you to purchase than when you will find Cyber Monday promotions within the works?

TradeGecko

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Promotion not far off.

TradeGecko hasn’t released their Cyber Monday promotion yet, but it’s not far off. We’ll update this publish when we all know more, so make sure to return in.

TradeGecko is really a cloud-based inventory software with strong worldwide business abilities. The program can also be noted for its robust set of features and simple to use interface. To understand more about this inventory option, read our complete TradeGecko review.

inFlow

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

inFlow Cloud is providing per month of free service along with a free USB scanner.

inFlow is providing per month of free service along with a free USB scanner to new clients who join inFlow Cloud. This Black Friday deal is going to be sent being an email promotion you must sign up for any free trial offer between November 24 and November 27. To be able to receive this deal, it’s important to spend the money for first month and services information next, the 2nd month is free of charge and you will find no cancellation charges. The bar code scanner is restricted to all of us addresses. Contact inFlow to learn more.

InFlow offers both in your area-installed and cloud-based solutions. The program offers ample features and it is only suitable for Home windows computers. We presently have only overview of inFlow On-Premise, however, you can look it over to a minimum of learn bout inFlow like a company.

Invoicing Software

You probably know this: Creating invoices in Stand out just doesn’t work during christmas (or during any season, really). If you feel it’s time for you to manage profits having a full-fledged invoicing software, take a look at these deals.

Harvest

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Harvest is providing $10 off and away to new users.

Harvest is providing $10 from the first month and services information for brand new users who join Harvest during christmas. Use coupon code JUSTSAYINGTHANKS to reap the harvest of the deal before it’s far too late. Contact Harvest for more information.

Harvest is a superb invoicing application with amazing time tracking abilities and much more amazing customer support. The program can use more invoice templates for me, however if you simply need time tracking and project management software, this really is certainly a high contender. Read our complete Harvest review to find out if miracle traffic bot fits your needs.

Invoice Ninja

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

Invoice Ninja is providing 75% off.

On Cyber Monday, Invoice Ninja is providing a 75% discount on invoicing plans. We is going to be adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact InvoiceNinja directly for details.

Invoice Ninja is a straightforward-to-use invoice solution with great invoice templates along with a client portal. Invoice Ninja also provides over 35 payment gateways. to understand more about this invoicing option, read our complete Invoice Ninja review.

E-mail Marketing

Get the own Black Friday and holiday emails sent fast with the aid of e-mail marketing software. If you’ve never considered e-mail marketing before, this is the time.

GetResponse

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

GetResponse is providing 15% business Enterprise plan.

GetResponse is providing a 15% discount for GetResponse Enterprise. We are adding a lot of this promotion soon, until then, contact GetResponse directly for details.

GetResponse is really a seasoned e-mail marketing veteran with experience along with a set of features to demonstrate it. The program is simple to use and cost-effective. Read our full GetResponse review to find out if this e-mail marketing tool suits your company.

Project Management Software

Project management software solutions offer from task management to workflow management to scheduling to budgeting and much more. But every one has one common denominator: they assist you keep an eye on work.

ProofHub

Best Black Friday Deals for Small Business Owners

ProofHub is providing a 41% discount on their own software.

Although this isn’t always a Black Friday or Cyber Monday purchase, we would have liked to show you from the promotion ProofHub is presently running.

ProofHub is providing a 41% discount on their own Ultimate Control plan (ordinarily a $150/mo value for $89/mo rather). Contact ProofHub directly for particular information regarding this promotion.

ProofHub is really a superbly designed software with wonderful features like task and subtask management, reports, and file proofing. To understand more about this project management software option, read our complete ProofHub review.

Time For You To Get Shopping!

Before getting to transported away within the Black Friday mania, there exists a final suggestion: Seek information in advance.

While these deals could be a good way for your online business to save cash, we implore you to definitely save time before you act. Don’t purchase it just since you can. Purchase it because it’s the best solution for your online business.

Each one of the promotions above originates from items that we’ve researched extensively at Merchant Maverick. However, we don’t would like you to simply take our word these are wonderful products. Seek information. Make the most of our comprehensive reviews, investigate the organization you’re thinking about purchasing from, and look for the other users are saying before choosing.

If you want help buying a solution, our Merchant Maverick blog provides extensive great sources and we’re always here for those who have questions.

Friendly PSA over! Now you can shop ’til you drop and make the most of these bargains before they’re gone.

Shall we be missing anything? If you’re a vendor having a Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or holiday purchase that people haven’t pointed out, please tell us within the comments below.

Chelsea Krause

Chelsea Krause is really a author, enthusiastic readers, and investigator. Additionally to loving writing, she grew to become thinking about accounting software due to her constant need to learn something totally new and know how things work. When she’s no longer working or daydreaming about her newest story, she are available consuming obscene levels of coffee, studying anything compiled by C.S. Lewis or Ray Bradbury, kayaking and hiking, or watching The X-Files together with her husband.

Chelsea Krause

“”