The 8 Best Places To Order Business Checks Online

Best Place To Buy Business Checks

When running a business, every penny counts. One of the best ways to keep your expenses in check is to reconsider where you’re ordering your checks from.

Those of you who are still ordering your business checks directly from your bank may be seriously overpaying. If you want to order business checks cheap, there are tons of reputable, online check ordering services that allow you to get more bang from your buck and refill your check supply without ever leaving the office.

But with so many online check suppliers, how do you know which is best? And more importantly, how do you know which you can trust with your sensitive bank information?

Well, that’s what we’re here to tell you. We’ve spent hours researching and comparing the most popular check suppliers to bring you the best of the best. We chose the top eight places to order business checks based on affordability, reliability, customizability, compatibility, and security. Compare each supplier below and read on for more specific about each company’s offerings.

1. CostcoBest Place To Buy Business Checks

You may love Costco for its bulk groceries and $1.50 hot dogs, but did you know that Costco can also be a great choice for business checks? Of all the check suppliers on this list, none can even come close to Costco’s cheap bulk check pricing. Costco’s computer checks are compatible with 35 different accounting and payroll software solutions and come with basic check customizations. The only problem is that you have to be a Costco member to take advantage of these great deals.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Payroll checks
  • Computer checks
  • High-security checks
  • Invoice checks
  • Proprietor checks
  • Personal checks

Costco also offers business check accessories such as address labels, tax forms, ink stamps, envelopes, and more.

Pricing

Costco has compelling bulk pricing for Costco members, and Gold Star Executive or Business Executive Members can receive an even bigger discount on their purchases. Prices vary based on quantity and whether you choose single or duplicate checks. Here is a basic overview of Costco’s checks pricing for regular Costco members:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $26.38 for 600 checks.
  • Payroll Checks: Start at $29.38 for 600 checks.
  • High-Security Checks: Start at $80.54 for 600 checks.

For computer checks, price varies based on your accounting or payroll software, but to give you a general idea, Costco’s QuickBooks Multi-Purpose Checks start at $45.55 for 500.

There is an extra fee for adding a custom logo to your checks as well as a standard shipping and handling charge.

Security

Costco is not particularly communicative about their check’s security measures. However, their high-security checks have several counterfeit safeguards such as a foil hologram bar and heat reactive ink. You can contact Costco by phone or email to learn more.

Takeaway

By far, Costco gives business owners the most bang for their buck where checks are concerned. If your business uses a large number of checks, Costco is a cost-effective option.

2. Checks SuperstoreBest Place To Buy Business Checks

Checks Superstore offers one of the biggest selections of business checks available. Top that with strong security features and tons of check customizations options and it’s easy to see why this online check supplier is one of the top picks for small businesses.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Payroll/voucher checks
  • Computer checks
  • High-security checks
  • Desk checks
  • Wallet checks
  • Personal checks

Checks Superstore also offers business check accessories such as envelopes, checkbook covers, binders, custom ink stamps, and more.

Pricing

Checks Superstore offers a wide array of checks with affordable pricing. Prices vary based on quantity and whether you choose single or duplicate checks. Checks Superstore often runs promotions, so be sure to take advantage of any deals when ordering. Here is a basic overview of Checks Superstore’s prices:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $28.99 for 252 checks.
  • Payroll Checks: Start at $26.99 for 252 checks.
  • Computer Checks: Start at $36.99 for 250 checks.
  • High-Security Checks: Start at $72.99 for 252 checks.

There are extra charges for customizing your check’s font, signature line message, and logo. A standard shipping and handling charge also applies.

Security

With up to 27 security features, Checks Superstore has some of the strongest security measures available. Some of these features include holographic foil, fluorescent fibers, watermarks, and heat sensitive ink. You can contact Checks Superstore via phone, email, live chat, contact form, fax, or read their FAQs to learn more.

Takeaway

With affordable prices, strong security, and great customization options, Checks Superstore covers all of the basics and then some. The company’s wide selection of checks and impressive customer support make it a compelling option. The only potential drawback is that Checks Superstore’s computer checks are only compatible with three software programs: QuickBooks, Quicken, and Microsoft Money.

3. Check AdvantageBest Place To Buy Business Checks

Check Advantage is an affordable online check supplier. This company offers one of the best deals on computer checks and has good customization options. With decent security options and customer support resources, it could definitely be to your, er, advantage to order business checks online from Check Advantage.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Payroll/voucher checks
  • Computer checks
  • Desk checks
  • Personal checks

Check Advantage also offers business check accessories such as checkbook covers, check registers, envelopes, labels, binders, and more.

Pricing

Check Advantage is one of our picks for “best business check supplier” because their checks are so affordable. Check Advantage also offers business check kits that can save you a bit of money when ordering multiple types of checks and check accessories. Prices vary based on quantity and whether you choose single or duplicate checks. Here’s a basic breakdown of Check Advantage’s pricing:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $33.65 for 300 checks.
  • Payroll Checks: Start at $33.65 for 300 checks.
  • Laser Checks: Start at $19.45 for 100 checks.

There is an extra fee for adding a custom font or logo and standard shipping and handling rates apply. You can also purchase EZShield Plus for additional check security.

Security

Each Check Advantage checks come with six built-in security features including microprinting, invisible fluorescent fibers, a heat sensitive icon, and more. While Check Advantage does not offer high-security checks, you can purchase EZShield Plus protection for added check security. Check Advantage also partners with McAfee and VeriSign for their security measures. You can contact Check Advantage by phone, email, live chat, contact form, or fax to learn more.

Takeaway

For small businesses in need of computer checks, you’ll be hardpressed to find a better deal than Check Advantage. Check Advantage’s computer checks are compatible with five different software programs, but the company also promises to “match any laser format free of charge.” While other online suppliers take the cake for high-security checks, small businesses requiring computer checks need to look no further.

4. QuickBooksBest Place To Buy Business Checks

You may know Intuit QuickBooks for its accounting software, but did you know that you can purchase business checks and accessories from Intuit as well? While QuickBooks checks are a bit more expensive than those of other online check sellers, Intuit boasts the most security features. You don’t have to be a QuickBooks Online or Pro user to purchase checks from Intuit, but QuickBooks users can rest assured knowing these checks are specifically designed with QuickBooks software in mind.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Voucher checks
  • Computer checks
  • High-security checks
  • Wallet checks
  • Office and away checks
  • Personal checks

Intuit also offers business checks accessories and office supplies such as deposit slips, tax forms, envelopes, labels, ink stamps, high-security pens, and more.

Pricing

While Intuit checks are on the spendier spectrum of business checks, the company often runs promotions. Prices vary by quantity, security level, and whether you choose single, duplicate, or triplicate checks. Here’s a basic overview of QuickBooks business checks’ prices:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $58.99 for 300 checks.
  • Voucher Checks: Start at $36.99 for 50 checks.
  • Computer Checks: Start at $102.99 for 250 checks.
  • High-Security Checks: Start at $61.99 for 50 checks.

Intuit charges a fairly hefty extra fee for adding a logo and a standard shipping and handling fee.

Security

Intuit offers three different security levels: Basic, Secure Plus, and Secure Premier. The highest level offers 29 built-in security features including watermarks, heat sensitive icons, a security hologram, and an exclusive security coating that protects against tampering, counterfeiting, and photocopying. You can contact Intuit’s check support via phone, live chat, email, or read the support FAQs to learn more.

Takeaway

While not the most affordable option on this list, Intuit QuickBooks offers the best check security features. For QuickBooks users seeking peace of mind or who don’t print many checks, Intuit could be a good option for ordering business checks and supplies.

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5. Carousel ChecksBest Place To Buy Business Checks

While ordering checks may not be as fun as riding a carousel, Carousel Checks does their best to make the experience easy and enjoyable. With great check customizations, affordable prices, and the highest number of compatible software programs, Carousel Checks is definitely worth looking into.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Payroll checks
  • Computer checks
  • High-security checks
  • Desk checks
  • Wallet checks
  • Invoice checks
  • Personal checks

Carousel Checks also offers business checks accessories such as checkbook covers, check registers, address labels, envelopes, ink stamps, and even calendars.

Pricing

Carousel Checks are affordable to begin with, but the more checks you purchase, the more you save. Prices vary based on quantity and whether you choose single or duplicate checks. Here is a basic overview of Carousel Checks’ pricing:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $31.99 for 300 checks.
  • Payroll Checks: $31.99 for 300 checks.
  • Computer Checks: Start at $19.99 for 50 checks.
  • High-Security Checks: Start at $27.99 for 50 checks.

You can add customizations such as check styles and logos for no extra charge. However, standard shipping and handling fees apply and security features cost extra.

Security

With Carousel Checks, you can purchase EZShield security for an additional cost. Contact Carousel Checks by phone, contact form, or fax to learn more.

Takeaway

Besides competitive pricing, one of the biggest perks of carousel checks is the number of compatible software programs. With over 70 compatible software programs, Carousel Checks is a great option for nearly any small business looking for computer checks. Security does cost extra, but this service still may be worth it for some small businesses.

6. Checks In The MailBest Place To Buy Business Checks

Checks In The Mail is an online check supplier that sets itself apart by offering over 200 check styles. In terms of check customizations, no other supplier on this list even comes close. Add strong security features and custom check formatting to the mix and it’s easy to see why Checks In The Mail is a contender for your small business check needs.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Payroll/voucher checks
  • Computer checks
  • High-security checks
  • Desk checks
  • Wallet checks
  • Office and away checks
  • Personal checks

Checks In The Mail also offers tax forms, deposit slips, ink stamps, envelopes, binders, and other business check accessories.

Pricing

Checks In The Mail’s prices are a bit steep next to their competitors, but the company does offer check value kits and occasional promotion codes that can help save you some money. Prices vary based on quantity and whether you choose single or duplicate checks. Here’s an idea of what to expect from Checks In The Mail’s pricing:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $53.99 for 252 checks.
  • Payroll Checks: Start at $39.99 for 252 checks.
  • Computer Checks: Start at $49.99 for 250 checks.
  • High-Security Checks: Start at $53.99 for 252 checks.

Standard shipping and handling rates apply. You can also opt to add Fraud Armor protection to your checks for an extra $0.04 per check.

Security

Checks In The Mail offers 15 built-in security features including invisible fluorescent fibers, microprinting, a foil hologram, chemical reactive paper, a patented security weave, and more. You can also add Fraud Armor to your checks for an added layer of protection. Contact Checks In The Mail by email, phone, or fax for more information.

Takeaway

Checks In The Mail is ideal for small businesses looking for a high degree of customizability and strong security when they order checks online. The company only supports three compatible software programs for their computer checks, but Checks In The Mail will create a custom check format for you if you use a different software. While the prices are a little steeper than the other suppliers on this list, small businesses looking for strong customizations may find the price more than worth it.

7. Checks UnlimitedBest Place To Buy Business Checks

Checks Unlimited is your average, run of the mill online check supplier that makes its mark in the industry by offering a 100% satisfaction guarantee. It is ostensibly part of the America Mail Order Check Association (AMOCA), which “guarantee that the checks they manufacture meet or exceed the standards set by the Amercian National Standards Institute Committee,” according to Checks Unlimited. Information about the AMOCA online is scarce at best, so take that with a grain of salt.

The company offers average prices, decent customizations, and computer checks compatible with 10 different software programs.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Payroll/voucher checks
  • Computer checks
  • High-security checks
  • Desk checks
  • Personal checks

Checks Unlimited also offers address labels, envelopes, ink stamps, check registers, and other business check accessories.

Pricing

Checks Unlimited falls in the mid-range of online check supplier pricing. The company does offer discounts for ordering checks in bulk. Prices vary based on quantity and whether you choose single or duplicate checks. Here is a basic breakdown of Checks Unlimited’s prices:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $43.12 for 300 checks.
  • Payroll Checks: Start at $43.12 for 300 checks.

For computer checks, prices vary depending on your accounting or payroll software, but to give you a general idea, Checks Unlimited’s QuickBooks Voucher Checks start at $83.80 for 500 checks.

Checks Unlimited offers free shipping, although you can pay a shipping and handling fee to expedite the process.

Security

Checks Unlimited does not offer high-security checks. Each of their checks comes with only four built-in security features, although you can add EZShield Pro security for an additional cost.

Takeaway

Reliability is the name of the game when it comes to Checks Unlimited. The thing that sets this supplier apart is that it’s the only program on this list that comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. Checks Unlimited may be perfect for small businesses that don’t mind paying a little extra for quality, reliable service.

8. StaplesBest Place To Buy Business Checks

Living up to its slogan, Staples’ online business check ordering service will have you saying “that was easy” in no time. Although their checks are on the spendier end of the spectrum, Staples offers great customizations as well as a “design your own check” option. Their computer checks are compatible with over 45 different software programs.

Products Offered

  • Standard business checks
  • Payroll/voucher checks
  • Computer checks
  • High-security checks
  • Desk checks
  • Office and away checks
  • Personal checks

Staples also offers a huge array of business and office supplies as well as business check accessories.

Pricing

Staples business checks are a bit spendy compared to some other the competitors on this list. However, Staples rewards members may qualify for free shipping which can help offset the cost. Prices vary based on quantity and whether you choose single or duplicate checks. Here’s an idea of what you can expect to pay with Staple’s business checks:

  • Standard Business Checks: Start at $53.99 for 250 checks.
  • Payroll Checks: Start at $53.99 for 250 checks.
  • Computer Checks: Start at $54.99 for 150 checks.
  • High-Security Checks: Start at $68.99 for 150 checks.

You can add a custom logo or check color for an additional cost.

Security

All checks come with six built-in security features including chemically sensitive paper, microprinting, invisible fluorescent fibers, and more. High-security checks add additional security features. Contact Staples via phone, live chat, support, form, or read their FAQs for more information.

Takeaway

While Staples may be one of the more expensive check options on this list, there is a comfort and reliability in ordering checks from a well-known, reliable company. Staples checks are ideal for small business owners who may be wary of other online suppliers or want the option to create their own custom checks.

Which Online Business Check Supplier Is Right For Me?

With eight great options to choose from, it can be a bit overwhelming to choose the best place to order business checks. Carefully consider which features and qualities are most important to you about a check company, whether that be price, security, customizations, customer support, reliability, etc. Knowing your priorities can help illuminate which business check company is best for you.

To help choose the perfect check supplier, ask yourself these five questions before you order business checks online:

  1. What’s my budget?
  2. What type of business checks do I need?
  3. Does the check supplier work with my accounting or payroll software?
  4. How important are check customization options? Security?
  5. How many checks will I realistically use?

Asking these questions can not only help narrow down your choices but also ensure you get the perfect checks for your business needs. Before ordering business checks, look to see if the company is running any promotions or offering any discounts for ordering checks in bulk.

While we heavily researched each of these eight check companies to bring you secure, reliable online check ordering options, be sure to do your own research and carefully compare all of your options before committing to any online purchases. This way, you can be sure you are getting the best deal and the most bang for your buck.

The post The 8 Best Places To Order Business Checks Online appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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How to Advertise on eBay Effectively

How To Advertise on eBay

eBay is one of the oldest and most well established online marketplaces. With millions of active users, it can be an important sales channel for your ecommerce business, regardless of the industry you’re in.

While eBay has been thought of by many as a marketplace that connects individuals, akin to a sort of digital yard sale, the climate has certainly changed in recent years.

eBay has been able to successfully shake the connotation that it’s a forum for used merchandise, collectibles, and heavily discounted new merchandise. In doing so, they’ve been able to diversify their customer and seller bases.

Today, many of the largest retailers and manufacturers in the country use eBay. For many businesses, it has become a particularly lucrative way to sell their products.

Not only has eBay become a powerful sales tool for these businesses, but it’s also one of the cheapest marketplaces for sellers to move their products. Compared to other powerful marketplaces like Amazon, eBay fees are typically 25% less for sellers.

In 2017, eBay opened up a whole new world to their network of sellers: advertising. Their unique set of advertising tools has made it easier than ever for sellers to reach the customers who are prepared to make a purchase.

But, before you can use these advertising tools to maximize your sales, you’ll need to learn how these tools work, and what makes them different from other advertising options you may have on different marketplaces.

Today, we’ll cover the ins and outs of how to advertise on eBay to increase sales. Whether you’re an individual looking to sell a few items quickly, or you’re a brand or distributor looking to establish a presence on eBay, we’ll cover everything you need to know.

advertising services boost the visibility of your listing by 30%.

Most sellers find that new items with no sales history and seasonal items tend to benefit the most from eBay advertising. eBay advertising can also be a great way to increase the sales velocity of some of your best selling items as well.

As with any other form of digital advertising, a strong product coupled with a compelling advertising campaign will ensure the best possible results. Fortunately, eBay makes it easy for you to test and tweak your campaigns until you’ve arrived at the ideal advertising mix for your particular product.

In addition to their performance-based advertising, which is popular with sellers of all sizes, eBay also has a program designed for major brands and manufacturers. This program provides your brand with key ad placements throughout the customer sales journey.

eBay’s brand solutions combine precision targeting, display advertising, and meaningful content to create a comprehensive advertising solution across all platforms, including the eBay app, desktop, and mobile sites.

These tools are particularly helpful for large brands, especially those dealing in big-ticket merchandise. This interactive demo featuring Trifex drones is a good example of how these types of campaigns work.

Google Adwords and Amazon Sponsored Products are good examples of CPC advertising.

CPS (cost per sale) advertising is the type of advertising that eBay uses. With CPS advertising, you’re not charged for impressions or for clicks that don’t result in a sale. The only time you’re charged is when the click results in a sale for your store.

This type of advertising is usually the most expensive form of digital advertising, but it’s also the most effective. If your primary goal is to drive sales for your store, CPS advertising may be a good fit for you.

The other characteristic that separates eBay’s advertising is the way you pay for it. Unlike other ad programs, which charge your credit card for a set number of impressions or for each click you receive, eBay keeps everything in-house, and deducts the cost of your advertising from the sale of each product you advertise.

This helps to keep things simple, and it also makes it much easier for small stores with limited capital to advertise their products and compete with larger sellers. Because of the way eBay’s ad program is set up, it’s also inherently easier for you to scale your advertising as you grow.

To create a promoted listing, you’ll need to log into your seller account on eBay. Once you’re logged in, eBay will redirect you to your seller dashboard. From there, hover over the marketing tab, then select promoted listings.

On the promoted listings page, you’ll see information about any campaigns you currently have running. To create a new campaign, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the button on the right.

Then, you’ll have the option to choose between selecting individual products to advertise, or selecting listings in bulk. If you’re looking to advertise thousands of products at once, all under the same campaign, the bulk tool will be the best fit for you.

Otherwise, selecting the individual listings you wish to advertise as part of this campaign is probably the best fit for you. When selecting products individually, you can still include up to 500 different SKUs as part of each campaign, which helps to save a significant amount of time.

Once you’ve selected the different products you want to include in the campaign, you’ll set the ad rate you’re willing to allocate towards the campaign. You can apply a uniform ad rate for every product in the campaign, or you can select individual ad rates for each product.

eBay makes this process easy for you by providing a trending rate for each product in the campaign. The trending rate is what other sellers in the ad program are allocating towards their advertising. You can control the ad rate percentage by clicking the +/- icons.

Once you’ve set the ad rate for each item in your campaign, all you need to do is name your campaign, select a start date, agree to the terms of service, and launch your campaign.

As you can see, creating an advertising campaign on eBay is a streamlined process that’s much more user-friendly than creating ads on other platforms or marketplaces.

The promoted listings dashboard lets you know how many campaigns you have, how many listings you’re promoting, how many ad clicks you’ve received, how many units you’ve sold, the ad fees you’ll be charged for the sales you’ve made, and your total sales.

You can adjust the dashboard to show you your results from the last 7, 14 or 31 days. You can also create a custom date range.

Scrolling down past the advertising dashboard will provide you with more information for each campaign you have running.

From the actions tab to the right, you can pause or end your campaigns, and download detailed reports about each campaign, which makes it much easier to track the success of your various campaigns.

free shipping. Free shipping at $49 would be an example of this type of discount.
  • Codeless coupon – This unique promotion allows you to create custom URLs with a built-in coupon for you to share on social media, or with friends and family.
  • Category Markdown – With this promotion, you can create a sale event on an entire category of products, like “25% off all laptops” or something similar.
  • To create a promotion, click the marketing tab from your seller dashboard and navigate to “promotions” on the left-hand side of the page. There, you’ll find info about any promotions you’re currently running and promotions you’ve run in the past. This is also where you’ll create new promotions.

    Click the blue “create a promotion” button on the right of the page. This will trigger a drop-down menu where you can choose between creating an order discount, shipping discount, codeless coupon or a sale event.

    Depending on your goals for the promotion, one of these sale types may be better suited to you than the others. If your goal is to drive sales of an individual product, a no minimum purchase discount is typically best. If your goal is to liquidate inventory, a buy one get one deal may be helpful. Or, if you’re looking to increase customer awareness of the other products in your inventory, a quantity discount could be a good fit.

    Once you’ve chosen the promotion you’d like to run, you can select the products or categories the promotion will apply to. eBay gives you the option of doing this for the specific products you choose, or you can create rules based on categories and filters, and eBay will automatically add any product that fits your rules to the promotion, including new products you add in the future that also fit the rules you’ve defined.

    Once you’ve selected the products you’d like to include in the promotion, you’ll set how long you’d like the promotion to run for, and provide some copy for the offer banner. eBay will display the offer banner throughout the shopping journey of your buyer. Once that’s complete, hit the launch button, and your promotion will go live.

    You can offer a shipping discount on a minimum dollar amount or a minimum order quantity. You can also offer a discount with no minimum at all. The most popular and effective promotion is free shipping, but you may wish to create a flat rate shipping discount instead.

    For example, if you typically charge $12 to ship an order, you may want to consider offering $5 shipping on orders of $50 or more. You can also use this promotion to offer shipping upgrades, such as free or discounted two-day shipping when you buy three or more items from the store.

    Once you’ve defined the type of shipping discount you’d like to create, you can select the products you’d like to exclude from the promotion. You can select SKUs individually, or create a rule to exclude certain SKUs.

    Next, you’ll enter a short description for your promotion. For example “FREE shipping on all Marc Jacobs handbags.” This description will display underneath the promotion on your product pages.

    Next, you’ll schedule the start and end dates of your promotion. You can also set the promotion to begin immediately. Once scheduled, you can select a product image to display next to the promotion if you’d like, or you can leave that field blank, and eBay will automatically pull a relevant picture from your listing into this field.

    The final step before your promotion is created is to prioritize the promotion. If you currently aren’t running any promotions, you’ll skip this step. But, if there’s more than one available promotion for these products, you can choose which promotion displays first to prospective buyers.

    Once you’ve completed all these steps, your promotion is ready to launch.

    First, you’ll define the terms of the discount. You can offer either a dollar discount or a percentage discount when a customer spends a specific dollar amount in your store, or when they offer a specific number of products.

    Once you’ve defined the terms for your offer, you’ll select the items in your store you’d like the offer to apply to. From there, you’ll create a description of your campaign and schedule it.

    Once you’ve completed the campaign, eBay will provide you with a special link that your customers will need to use to unlock this special discount. The deal will not be visible to any eBay shoppers that don’t have access to the link.

    You can include this special discount link in emails, on your website, or in other advertising your store engages in outside of eBay. This promotion is virtually identical to the order discount promotion we covered earlier, with the only difference being it will only be available to a select group of shoppers who have a link to the promotion.

    Next, you’ll define the discount. You can either offer a percentage off, or a dollar amounts off of the total purchase price. With a percentage discount, you’re able to set up to ten different discounts within a single campaign. Let’s say you run a camera store; this promotion would be particularly useful if you’d like to offer 20% off the purchase of a camera and 50% off the purchase of camera accessories.

    When creating a new eBay listing (or when revising an existing one), there are a few small promotional options available to you. You can choose to have the title of your listing bolded, and you can also add a subtitle that will display below your title to describe your item more fully.

    These are small steps you can take to improve the visibility of your listing beyond the advertising methods we’ve already discussed. But, you’ll need to evaluate your listings on an individual basis to see if this makes sense for your products. At $6 for a bolded title, smaller ticket items don’t make economic sense to promote in this way.

    Optimizing Your Listings

    In addition to the variety of advertising and promotional tools eBay makes available to its sellers, you can also optimize your listings to increase your item’s exposure.

    Much like Google, eBay has their own proprietary search engine that it uses to pull up relevant search results for buyers. These tips may be able to help your overall performance in eBay search, which will lead to an increase in views, which should translate to an increase in sales.

    Offering free shipping may be the single most effective way to optimize your listings and search positioning. Plus, just because you offer free shipping doesn’t mean you’re offering free shipping. You can bake the cost of shipping into the price you’re charging for the item.

    How to Advertise on eBay Effectively appeared first on ShivarWeb.

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    3dcart VS Volusion

    3dcart-vs-Volusion

    3dcart VS Volusion
    ✓ Pricing
    Ease of Use ✓
    ✓ Features
    Web Design ✓
    ✓ Integrations & Add-Ons
    ✓ Payment Processing
    Tie Customer Service & Technical Support Tie
    Tie Negative Reviews & Complaints Tie
    Tie Positive Reviews & Testimonials Tie
    Winner Final Verdict
    Read Review Read Review
    Visit Site Visit Site

    Everyone knows starting a business is a challenge, and setting up an online store can be particularly difficult. Not only do you have to find a product and make a business plan, you also have to build an entire website that can operate as your selling platform. This was an almost impossible obstacle for many sellers just a few years ago, but modern software has eliminated many of the hurdles merchants would otherwise have to overcome.

    Cloud-based, all-inclusive store building software programs like 3dcart and Volusion can give you the tools you need to make your idea a reality. And because these software place a strong focus on ease of use, all sellers (even those with little technical knowledge) can get a store up and running in just a few weeks–or less!

    As a fully hosted solution, 3dcart aims to be accessible and affordable for all merchants. Small and large businesses alike can use this eCommerce platform successfully, as is evidenced by the 22,000 current users. What’s more, 3dcart is continually expanding its features and services to fit even more users.

    In the same way, Volusion is a comprehensive shopping cart solution for small to large businesses. Volusion hosts over 30,000 stores and is now offering two versions of their software: the more feature rich V1 and the easy to use (but still developing) V2. Volusion gives merchants the option of choosing between the two.

    So, which of these shopping cart solutions should you choose? Well, it depends.

    3dcart and Volusion both come with unique advantages and disadvantages, and your choice will depend on your business’s needs. To learn which solution is right for your online store, keep reading. We’ll compare the two shopping carts head-to-head in categories such as pricing, ease of use, and web design. Read on.

    Don’t have time to read an entire article? Take a look at our top-rated eCommerce solutions for a few quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, superb web templates, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price.

    Web-Hosted Or Licensed

    Both platforms are web-hosted.

    Hardware & Software Requirements

    None. You just need a computer, secure internet access, and an up to date browser.

    Pricing

    Winner: 3dcart

    3dcart and Volusion follow similar pricing models. Both services are billed on a monthly basis, no contract required, with advanced features included in higher level plans. If you commit to a year-long purchase, you can benefit from a discount of 10%. Keep in mind that many software solutions do not offer refunds on year-long purchases, so don’t commit to a full year until you’re sure the platform will work for you.

    3dcart determines pricing levels by the number of staff users and availability of features. All plans beyond the startup plan come with unlimited products and bandwidth. Take a look at a brief breakdown:

    • Startup: $19/Month
      • 1 Staff User
      • 100 Products
      • Sell Up To $10K/Year
    • Basic: $29/Month
      • 2 Staff Users
    • Plus: $79/Month
      • 5 Staff Users
    • Pro: $229/Month
      • 15 Staff Users

    3dcart also makes an enterprise platform available for any merchant with an annual revenue of over $400K/Year. There are also discounts available for charities and non-profits.

    Pricing for Volusion differs between their two versions: V1 and V2. The most notable difference is that pricing for V1 does not include any transaction fees; however, bandwidth on this plan is limited and bandwidth overage fees apply. On the other hand, V2 comes with unlimited bandwidth, but merchants will have to pay transaction fees on all their sales. See both pricing models below:

    V1 Pricing

    • Mini: $15/Month
      • 1GB Bandwidth
      • 100 Products
    • Plus: $35/Month
      • 3GB Bandwidth
      • 1,000 Products
    • Pro: $75/Month
      • 10GB Bandwidth
      • 10,000 Products
    • Premium: $135/Month
      • 35GB Bandwidth
      • Unlimited Products

    V2 Pricing

    • Personal: $25/Month
      • Unlimited Products & Storage
      • 2% Transaction Fee
    • Professional: $75/Month
      • Unlimited Products & Storage
      • 1% Transaction Fee
    • Business: $135/Month
      • Unlimited Products & Storage
      • 0.5% Transaction Fee

    When we compare 3dcart and Volusion, we can see that monthly rates for each pricing level are similar, with Volusion offering cheaper premium level plans. However, Volusion also charges fees in addition to these monthly rates (either bandwidth overage fees or transaction fees, depending on the version). For this reason, we’re awarding the category to 3dcart.

    Get Started With 3dcart

    Get Started With Volusion V1

    Get Started With Volusion V2

    Ease Of Use

    Winner: Volusion

    3dcart and Volusion both claim to be easy to use solutions. Let’s take a closer look at each software.

    3dcart offers all potential users a risk-free, 15-day trial, so you can test out the platform for yourself without handing over any credit card information.

    When you log in, you’ll get to explore 3dcart’s dashboard. 3dcart organizes all features in a toolbar on the left. Use categories and subcategories to navigate the software. Use video tutorials to learn the basic procedures.

    Adding a product to your store is a two-step process.  First, you have to input and save basic product information. Once you’ve saved that page, you’ll be able to add in more detailed product information. For example, you can adjust shipping, inventory, and SEO settings.

    3dcart is relatively easy to learn, though you may have difficulty locating features initially. Some features are buried in places you wouldn’t expect under titles you might not know to look for. Discounts features, for example, are available under “Promotion Manager.” Overall, we give 3dcart a four out of five stars in ease of use.

    Volusion also offers trials of their software. You can sign up for free 14-day trials of both V1 and V2. Let’s start with V1.

    When you log into your trial, you’ll find this dashboard:

    Use tutorial videos to quickly learn your way around.

    As it is with 3cart, adding a product on Volusion is a two-step process. First, add your basic product information. When you’ve saved that, you can add advanced information like SEO and shipping details along with more product descriptions.

    While we don’t think Volusion V1 has the easiest dashboard in the eCommerce industry, it shouldn’t take too long to learn. You’ll find plenty of features available in the tool bar up top; you just have to figure out how to implement them the first few times.

    Volusion V2 is the company’s newest attempt to make an easy to use eCommerce platform. The software is still in development, and while it is missing a few features, the UI is looking pretty good.

    We’d still like to see a bit more work done to this admin. In particular, we’d like to see subcategories added to the toolbar on the left. This would make navigation require fewer clicks, which can really add up for online sellers.

    V2’s “add a product page” is inviting in its simple and colorful design.

    We have experienced some frustration with V2’s simple design, however. V2 tends to railroad users through basic operations, which can be a pain when you don’t need the help.

    For example, when you go to set up a discount, you will encounter this screen:

    You have to select the appropriate options before you’ll be presented the more typical discount creation page:

    I would rather enter my information first into this second page. I don’t find the first page to be particularly helpful.

    Volusion’s goal with V2 was to create a platform that’s easier to use, and they accomplish that goal. Personally, however, if I were to choose a version of Volusion, I would still pick V1. I think it’s worth learning a slightly more difficult software in order to access better features.

    With so many versions of these software available, it’s difficult to directly compare 3dcart and Volusion. As far as ease of use goes, I think 3dcart and V1 are comparable, and V2 is slightly easier to use.

    For this reason, we’re giving ease of use to Volusion.

    Features

    Winner: 3dcart

    To get the best idea of these shopping carts’ features, a good plan is to visit each platform’s website and review the full list. However, if you don’t have time to do that just now, we’ll provide a brief overview of a few special features that each software offers below.

    3dcart offers users lots of features, even at the lowest pricing plan. Here are a few:

    • Sell Digital: Sell digital products alongside your physical products.
    • Checkout Options: Choose either one-page or three-page checkout.
    • Automatic Calculators: Use tax and shipping calculators to generate real-time quotes.
    • Abandoned Cart Saver: Email customers to remind them to complete their orders.
    • Built-In Blog: Boost your brand and SEO with a blog.
    • SmartCategories: Create an “On Sale” category to showcase items.
    • Bulk Import / Export: Migrate platforms or make large scale edits with import and export features.
    • POS: Sell in-person with 3dcart Point Of Sale.

    As you might expect, Volusion’s two versions come with different feature sets. Here are a few V1 features:

    • Abandoned Cart Reports & Emails: Encourage more conversions.
    • Allow Reviews: Let customers leave reviews on your products.
    • Returned Merchandise Authorization (RMA) Tool: Easily process returned products.
    • Sell On Facebook, Amazon, eBay: Sync channels with your store and manage your multichannel orders from Volusion.
    • Content Delivery Network (CDN): Use a CDN to deliver site content faster.

    And here are features for V2:

    • Instant Search: Let customers search products on your storefront.
    • Checkout On Your Domain: Customers will not be redirected to a Volusion subdomain at checkout (available for merchants on the Professional and Business level plans).
    • Shipping Features: Create shipping options like signature-required shipments, discounted shipping, and flat rate shipping.
    • Bulk Import: Use CSV files to import new inventory in bulk.
    • Returned Merchandise Authorization (RMA) Tool: Process returns easily.
    • Dropshipping App: Use Volusion’s already-integrated dropshipping app to fulfill orders without handling merchandise.

    3dcart is well known for their robust feature set. Volusion, on the other hand, is still working on expanding their feature set to better match their competitors’. 3dcart wins this one.

    Get Started With 3dcart

    Get Started With Volusion V1

    Get Started With Volusion V2

    Web Design

    Winner: Volusion

    As hosted software, 3dcart and Volusion work to provide elegant, easily customizable design templates for their customers.

    3dcart users can find 90 free themes in 3dcart’s marketplace, all of which are mobile responsive. These themes are rather middle-of-the-road. They aren’t spectacular, but they aren’t ugly.

    3dcart also has a few dozen premium themes available for purchase. These themes cost $99-$199.

    Sellers can edit these themes in a variety of ways. Tech savvy users can edit the HTML and CSS, and less experienced users can use the WYSIWYG editor to make changes to your store’s language (like buttons, tabs, etc.). 3dcart also has a drag and drop available for merchants who request it, but it isn’t a very strong editing option.

    Volusion features different themes for V1 and V2. V1 has a selection of 46 themes, 11 of which are free. V1 also sells premium themes at $180.

    V2 has a much smaller set of themes–just 14–and all of them are free and mobile responsive. There do not appear to be any premium templates available for V2.

    Theme editing between the two versions is different as well. V1 users are equipped with code editing tools. You can use HTML and CSS editors. There are also a WYSIWYG editor and visual style editor, which you can use to adjust and add blocks of content to your site.

    Theme editing with V2 is much more focused on ease of use. You can use V2’s visual editor to make larger changes without touching the code. Or, if you’d prefer, you can make changes directly to the CSS.

    While 3dcart provides more template options, we think Volusion has more user-friendly editing tools. Volusion wins web design.

    Integrations & Add-Ons

    Winner: 3dcart

    3dcart’s marketplace features plenty of add-ons that offer a variety of features, including order management, shipping, security, social media, dropshipping, channel management, advertisement, and more. There’s also a RESTful API that developers can use to build more customizations and connections.

    Volusion also has a strong app marketplace for merchants on the V1 version. There are over 70 integrations available for shipping, email, accounting, and more.

    V2, on the other hand, does not provide so many options. There are only 22 applications currently available. It’s worth noting, however, that one of those applications is Zapier, which facilitates connections to many, many more integrations. Zapier is a paid service.

    Both versions of Volusion also have APIs available for further development.

    We’re basing our decision for this category on numbers. 3dcart wins!

    Payment Processing

    Winner: 3dcart

    3dcart connects with over 100 payment gateways. You’ll have plenty of options.

    Both versions of Volusion connect with significantly fewer payment gateways. V1 has 30+ payment gateways, and V1 only connects with two options: PayPal and Stripe (if you connect with Stripe, you can also enable Apple Pay).

    In addition, Volusion offers its own in-house payment service for V1 merchants only: Volusion Payments. Volusion Payments lets you process transactions for around 2.15% + $0.30 per transaction with no monthly fee (note: this rate is a ballpark number. Your actual rates may be lower or higher). Volusion Payments requires users to sign a three year contract. If you terminate this contract after the 45 day grace period, you will be charged a $99 termination fee. While we’re happy that Volusion has its own payment services, we are displeased with the way they provide information about the services. Volusion is not very upfront about their fees on their website. We wish they were more transparent.

    We’re giving the category to 3dcart.

    Customer Service & Technical Support

    Winner: Tie

    All 3dcart plans come with personalized support via email, live chat, and phone. Self help support options include a knowledge base, video tutorials, a support forum, webinars, and an e-university. 3dcart’s response times are good for inquiries via phone or web ticket. However, their response times for live chat support are significantly delayed. Essentially, “live chat” is just another way to submit web tickets. It takes hours for support reps to get back to you.

    Customer support is the same for both versions of Volusion. All plans (except Mini on V1 and Personal on V2) come with 24/7 support via phone, chat, and email. Self help resources include a knowledge base, webinars, video tutorials, a blog, and guides. There are mixed reviews only about the quality of Volusion’s customer support. Some have great experiences, others don’t.

    Negative Reviews & Complaints

    Winner: Tie

    Every shopping cart comes with its fair share of negative reviews. Here’s what users dislike about each platform:

    3dcart

    • Poor Customer Service: Users claim customer support is slow to respond to inquiries. Note below in the “Positive Reviews” section that this is not a universal experience.
    • Plain Templates: 3dcart’s templates aren’t bad, but they lack pizzaz.
    • Expensive Add-Ons: The cost of using multiple integrations and extensions can add up.

    Volusion

    • Additional Fees: Merchants on both versions face additional fees: bandwidth overage fees on V1 and transaction fees on V2.
    • Dated Software: Users complain that Volusion’s features are not up-to-date with cutting edge software.
    • Misleading Sales Reps: I have seen a lot of reports of misleading sales tactics. It’s worth noting that Volusion has recently put a lot of work into improving their support system, and they claim higher levels of customer satisfaction.
    • No Free SSL On V1: Merchants on V1 have to purchase their own SSL certificate. These are normally included for free with hosted software.

    Positive Reviews & Testimonials

    Winner: Tie

    Despite these negative reviews, there’s still a lot of good things to say about both of these platforms. Here’s what users love about 3dcart and Volusion:

    3dcart

    • Low Price: 3dcart’s prices are competitive with other leading eCommerce software.
    • Good Customer Support: Some users have positive experiences with 3dcart’s support team.
    • Easy To Use: 3dcart’s UI is easy to learn, no matter what your technical ability level is.
    • Many Features Built In: 3dcart offers a robust feature set right out of the box. You’ll be able to access advanced features without add-ons.

    Volusion

    • It Works: Users like that they can get started right away with all the necessary features. In addition, Volusion users say the software is bug-free, which is a huge plus.
    • No Transaction Fees On V1: Merchants on V1 do not have to pay transaction fees. They just need to monitor their bandwidth usage to make sure it stays within limits.
    • Ease Of Use: Volusion’s UI are very user friendly, especially on V2.

    Final Verdict

    Winner: 3dcart

    It’s a close race, but in the end, 3dcart takes the lead. A strong feature set, low pricing, and high ease of use make 3dcart an excellent eCommerce platform for many merchants.

    Despite the results of this comparison, Volusion may still be the right choice for your business. Volusion’s two versions give merchants a level of choice that 3dcart can’t offer. You may find that V1 or V2 fits your needs perfectly.

    Whichever you choose, we hope you’ll consider signing up for a free trial of the software before you purchase. You can learn a lot from just a couple of hours exploring a software’s admin panel. Click the links below to get started with a trial of 3dcart or Volusion.

    Get Started With 3dcart

    Get Started With Volusion V1

    Get Started With Volusion V2

    The post 3dcart VS Volusion appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

    “”

    Shopify VS 3dcart

    If you’re looking into building an online store, you’ve probably seen mention online of both Shopify and 3dcart. Both of these are fully hosted SaaS (Software as a Service) solutions, and both boast usability and plentiful eCommerce features. These shopping carts call themselves all-in-one solutions, meaning that they will provide you with site hosting, web security, and customer support, all for one monthly fee.

    Let’s start with a quick overview of each eCommerce platform:

    Shopify VS 3dcart
    Tie Pricing Tie
    ✓ Ease of Use
    Features ✓
    ✓ Web Design
    Tie Integrations & Add-Ons Tie
    Payment Processing ✓
    Tie Customer Service & Technical Support Tie
    Tie Negative Reviews & Complaints Tie
    Tie Positive Reviews & Testimonials Tie
    Tie Final Verdict Tie
    Read Review Read Review
    Visit Site Visit Site

    Shopify and 3dcart clearly offer their users a lot, but how do they stack up against each other? In this article, we’ll go over the price, features, and design editors of each solution. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear idea of which software better fits your business.

    Shopify is a Canadian eCommerce solution, which has grown since 2006 to host more than 600,000 stores worldwide. Shopify’s claim to fame is usability and affordability. Merchants at all stages will be able to access the software and use it to build a site to their liking.

    Shopify’s downfall, however, is related to this usability. Because Shopify aims to provide easy-to-use features, they often fail to add more advanced functionality. Users have to add-on these advanced features with integrations and applications.

    3dcart3dcart, on the other hand, is a feature-rich eCommerce solution that is built to serve merchants large and small. They offer a range of pricing options so that users can select a plan that fits their budget. 3dcart is a less popular solution than Shopify, currently hosting over 22,000 customers, but it is still a main player in the eCommerce industry.

    However, 3dcart is not a perfect solution. While the platform is still relatively easy to learn, it is not quite as intuitive as Shopify. In addition, users often report that 3dcart’s customer support is not reliable.

    Keep reading for more in-depth information on each of these platforms. Learn which software is best for you.

    Don’t have time to read an entire review? Take a look at our top-rated eCommerce solutions for a few quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, superb web templates, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price.

    Web-Hosted Or Licensed

    Both services are web-hosted.

    Hardware & Software Requirements

    None. You’ll only need a computer, internet access, and an up-to-date web browser.

    Pricing

    Winner: Tie

    Pricing plan for 3dcart and Shopify follow a similar model. Both are available as a monthly subscription in which price is based on features. Neither service requires you to sign a contract, although you can get a discount on your monthly rate if you commit for a year or more. What’s more, Shopify and 3dcart both offer enterprise-level platforms for users who need a higher level of support and capabilities.

    Shopify’s plans are billed on a month-by-month basis. If you choose to sign on for one year, you can benefit from a 10% discount on your plan, and if you pay for two years, you’ll get a 20% discount.

    One way in which Shopify’s pricing is different from many eCommerce platforms is that Shopify charges transaction fees. You will be charged these fees (0.5%-2.0% based on your plan) in addition to the processing fees that you’ll pay to your payment processor of choice. Shopify will waive these transaction fees if you use their in-house payments solution, Shopify Payments. You will still have to pay processing fees to Shopify Payments, but you won’t be charged the additional transaction fee.

    Here’s a quick overview of plans:

    • Shopify Lite Plan (No Online Store Included): $9/month
      • Transaction Fee: 2.0%
    • Basic Shopify Plan: $29/Month
      • Transaction Fee: 2.0%
      • Two Staff Accounts (In Addition To The Owner’s Account)
    • Shopify Plan: $79/Month
      • Transaction Fee: 1.0%
      • Five Staff Accounts (In Addition To The Owner’s Account)
    • Advanced Shopify Plan: $299/Month
      • Transaction Fee: 0.5%
      • Fifteen Staff Accounts (In Addition To The Owner’s Account)

    With 3dcart, you’ll be billed monthly. However, if you pay in advance for a full year on the platform, you’ll receive a 10% discount. Keep in mind that 3dcart does not allow refunds, so be sure 3dcart is the right software for you before you commit for a year.

    All of 3dcart’s regular plans (excluding the Startup Plan) come with unlimited products and bandwidth, free domain registration, API connectivity, and 24/7 phone support.

    • Startup Plan: $19/Month
      • 1 Staff User
      • 100 Products
      • Sell Up To $10K/Year
    • Basic: $29/Month
      • 2 Staff Users
      • Unlimited Products & Bandwidth
    • Plus: $79/Month
      • 5 Staff Users
    • Pro: $229/Month
      • 15 Staff Users

    Pricing for 3dcart and Shopify is very similar. Your choice will depend on how many staff users your business needs and how Shopify’s transaction fees would affect you. For our comparison, we’ll call this a tie.

    Ease Of Use

    Winner: Shopify

    For many merchants looking for eCommerce software, ease of use is the number one priority. Fortunately, both Shopify and 3dcart provide that ease of use to all their users.

    Shopify is one of the most intuitive eCommerce platforms on the market. Try out the admin for yourself with a free 14-day trial, no credit card required. Here’s what you’ll find when you first create your account:

    Adding products is easy. All of the information you’ll need to enter is available on one page. Just fill in the fields provided.

    Discounts are similarly easy to set up, and you can make them specific to certain products or categories. You can limit your discounts to customer groups, number of uses, or minimum order total. There are also BOGO discounts available.

    Shopify also makes site customization accessible to all merchants. Read more in our web design section.

    3dcart works to make their software accessible to all merchants, regardless of technical experience. Try out the platform with a 15-day free trial, no credit card required.

    When you sign into your account, you will immediately be presented with a setup wizard. This wizard and the available tutorial videos will help you locate and learn to use some of the more basic features.

    3dcart’s dashboard is user friendly. You can find everything organized in the toolbar on the left. Most of this organization makes sense, but there are a few features that are buried where you wouldn’t expect them. ‘Discounts,’ for example, is under a tab called “Promotion Manager.”

    Adding a product with 3dcart is unique because it involves a two step process. You’ll start by entering basic product information like images, product name, and a product description. Once you’ve saved that page, you’ll be able to add more advanced information. On this page, you’ll be able to adjust your shipping and inventory information, write SEO descriptions, and more.

    Discounts follow the same two-step model. The more detailed (second) page lets you apply your promotions to specific categories, to an order that includes a specific product, and more.

    While we love that 3dcart’s dashboard, we have to award this category to Shopify. 3dcart is just not quite as intuitive as Shopify. There is a slight learning curve to overcome, and a few features are difficult to find in the admin.

    Features

    Winner: 3dcart

    As we’ve stated, Shopify comes with all of the basic features merchants need. However, advanced functionality often requires add-on applications. Let’s take a look at a few of the features that come built-in with Shopify:

    Front End Features

    • Language Capabilities: List your site in over 50 different languages.
    • Automatic Shipping Rates: Users on the Advanced Plan can integrate with UPS, USPS, and FedEx to calculate shipping rates. All users have access to Shopify Shipping, which lets you calculate shipping rates, and purchase and print shipping labels.
    • Abandoned Cart Recovery: Automatically send an email to remind customers about items they left in their cart.
    • Integrate With Shopify POS: Sell in person with Shopify’s Point Of Sale (see our review) system.

    Back-End Features

    • Customer Segmentation: Group your customers by location, shopping tendencies, and demographics. Use those customer groups to market more effectively.
    • Dropshipping Apps: Shopify integrates with dropshipping apps like Ordoro, Inventory Source, and eCommHub (now HubLogix). Learn how to start a profitable dropshipping business with Shopify.
    • SEO Best Practices: Shopify includes many SEO tools, including a customizable H1, and automatically generated sitemap.xml, and the ability to write titles, meta tags, and product tags.
    • Discounts: You can create discount codes and coupons, including BOGO (Buy One, Get One) discounts. Gift cards are available at higher plans.
    • Digital Products: Sell physical and digital products on your site.
    • Bulk Import/Export: Make bulk edits to your products, or use the bulk import feature to easily migrate from another software.

    3dcart, on the other hand, includes many of the bells and whistles that Shopify is lacking. For example, 3dcart includes the option to enable one-page checkout on your site. Here are some of the features you get with 3dcart:

    Front End Features

    • Sell Digital: Let customers download products immediately after purchase.
    • Checkout Options: Choose to enable either one-page or three-page checkout.
    • Product Images: Include multiple product images, image zoom, and videos on product pages.
    • Promotions: Create gift certificates, discounts, and coupons.
    • Automatic Calculators: Provide real-time quotes for taxes and shipping at checkout.
    • Abandoned Cart Saver: Remind customers to complete transactions.
    • Blog: Include a blog on your site to boost your SEO and add value to your site.

    Back-End Features

    • Inventory Management: Monitor low stock and make sure inventory is accurate.
    • SEO: Use a variety of tools to optimize your organic traffic.
    • Bulk Import / Export: Migrate platforms and make bulk edits.
    • POS: Sell in-person with 3dcart POS.

    This one is close, but 3dcart has a few more features that are not available with Shopify. So, we’re giving the win to 3dcart.

    Web Design

    Winner: Shopify

    Shopify is well-known for its beautiful and responsive web design options. In the Shopify Themes marketplace, you can find 64 theme options, 10 of which are free. Take a look at one premium theme below:

    There are a few ways you can go about customizing your theme. Users with little technical experience can use a WYSIWYG editor to make changes to site content. For example, you can update headings, categories, and button text. Shopify’s drag and drop editor, Sections, lets you make larger changes to your storefront. Use Sections to add and move widgets on your storefront. Shopify also offers code editors for the more technologically inclined. Shopify uses a language called Liquid, which some developers like and some don’t.

    3dcart, on the other hand, offers 90 free themes, which is many more than Shopify. All of these themes are mobile responsive. In addition, there are a few dozen premium themes available from $99 to $199.

    Users sometimes complain that 3dcart’s themes are dated, and I tend to agree. That isn’t to say that the themes are ugly; they just don’t have that sleek look I’m used to finding on modern eCommerce platforms.

    You’ll have to edit these templates primarily using the HTML and CSS editors. 3dcart also includes a limited WYSIWYG editor for buttons, tabs, etc., and a drag-and-drop editor for older HTML5 themes (you must request to have this editor enabled). It isn’t a perfect editor (which is why it isn’t automatically available), but it could be a help as you learn your way around the code editors.

    Integrations & Add-Ons

    Winner: Tie

    Both 3dcart and Shopify offer plenty of integrations and add-ons to further functionality.

    There are over 1500 apps available in Shopify App Store, which essentially guarantees that there’s an app to fill whatever feature gap you may have. Unfortunately, for many merchants, multiple applications are necessary, and the costs of those add-ons can quickly add up. Shopify also has an API that you can use to develop your own own applications.

    In the same way, 3dcart offers integrations for a variety of features (including order management, shipping, security, social media, dropshipping, channel management, advertising, and more.) Users of 3dcart also complain that the cost of these add-ons can quickly become expensive. 3dcart also has a RESTful API available.

    Payment Processing

    Winner: 3dcart

    Shopify integrates with over 100 gateways.

    In addition, Shopify has its own in-house payment solution called Shopify Payments. As we stated in the Pricing section of this article, if you use Shopify Payments, Shopify will waive their additional transaction fees. Shopify Payments is currently available to merchants in the US, Puerto Rico, Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Japan, Hong Kong, and Ireland.

    Credit card processing rates for Shopify Payments are based on a user’s Shopify plan. Take a look at the fees for each plan in the screenshot below:

    Keep in mind that Shopify Payments is not a perfect solution, and there are many complaints online about withheld payments and cancelled accounts. Read our full review of Shopify Payments for more information.

    3dcart connects with over 100 payment gateways. They do not offer an in-house payment solution, but they also don’t ding you with transaction fees if you use a third party processor, which in my opinion is a much bigger deal.

    The winner here is 3dcart.

    Customer Service & Technical Support

    Winner: Tie

    Merchants using Shopify have access to 24/7 support via email, live chat, and phone. Self help resources include a knowledge base, a community forum, videos, podcasts, and guides. You can also hire a Shopify expert to help you through a particularly rough patch.

    I’ve seen mixed reviews of Shopify’s support team. Some users say they’re helpful, while others blame them for reading from a script and being informed about the product.

    3dcart also offers 24/7 personalized support via email, live chat, phone. Resolve issues on your own with a knowledge base, video tutorials, a support forum, webinars, and e-university courses.

    Not too surprisingly, I have also seen mixed reviews of 3dcart’s quality of support. Users frequently complain about delays in response time via live chat (in my experience “live chat” is more like another way to submit a web ticket), but response times for web tickets and phone calls are decent.

    Another tie here, folks.

    Negative Reviews & Complaints

    Winner: Tie

    Surprisingly, complaints about Shopify and 3dcart are very similar.

    Shopify is often blamed for including only the basics in their platform. You’ll have to find a few extensions in the Shopify App Marketplace in order to access more advanced features. And unfortunately, costs for these add-ons can quickly add up. Users also frequently complain about Shopify’s customer service. Some users have less than positive experiences. Finally, that transaction fee continues to be a frustration for many merchants, as does Shopify Payments’s tendencies to cancel accounts and withhold payments.

    Users of 3dcart also complain about customer support, saying they are very slow to respond to inquiries. In addition, 3dcart merchants dislike that add-ons can be expensive, especially when you need to use multiple extensions. Finally, some merchants state that 3dcart’s available design templates are dated, and that they’d like to see more current designs.

    Because these negatives are so similar, we’re calling it a tie.

    Positive Reviews & Testimonials

    Winner: Tie

    Users of Shopify and 3dcart have similar things to say about the advantages of each platform. A few commonalities include the low monthly price of running your store, strong ease of use, and good customer support.

    This final advantage may be confusing as we’ve also included it in the complaints section above. It is very common to see a 50/50 split between positive and negative comments on customer service. Both Shopify and 3dcart have these mixed reviews.

    One notable difference is that Shopify is celebrated for its themes while 3dcart is praised for its features. If you scroll up to the negatives section you’ll see that users often complain about Shopify’s features and 3dcart’s themes. It’s interesting to see that what is a strength of one platform is a weakness of the other.

    The two platforms tie in this category as well.

    Final Verdict

    Winner: Tie

    It’s always disappointing to end on a tie, but with such a close race, we don’t think it’s fair to call a definitive winner. Your decision will depend on your business’s needs.

    Are you looking for an easy to use platform with beautiful design templates? Try Shopify.

    Are you willing to overcome a slight learning curve to uncover a few more advanced features? 3dcart is your best bet.

    We will say that overall we think Shopify better fits the needs of most merchants, which is why we’ve given Shopify a perfect score of 5 stars in our full review while 3dcart has 4.5 (see our review). However, it’s evident here that both shopping carts are strong options. We recommend you sign up for a trial of each eCommerce platform and decide for yourself which option you prefer.

    Get Started With Shopify

    Get Started With 3dcart

    The post Shopify VS 3dcart appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

    “”

    5 Shopping Carts For Starting An eCommerce Business In Canada

    best canada ecommerce platform

    Are you a Canadian seller looking to set up an online store? Or are you an American merchant hoping to sell products in Canada? If so, you’ve come to the right place.

    In this article, we’ll be covering the top 5 eCommerce solutions for Canadian sellers. Each shopping cart included here provides the logistical features that Canadian merchants need for their online stores. What’s more, all of the shopping carts in this article are of top quality, each one earning a perfect five-star review.

    Here are a few of the Canada-specific features we’ve looked for in each of the eCommerce solutions presented below:

    • Calculate tax rates for Canada
    • Display prices and accept payment in CAD
    • Integrate with Canada Post for real-time shipping rates
    • Support multiple languages, such as French

    We’ll kick off the list with a couple of our favorite Canada-based shopping cart solutions, and then we’ll move onto some American software solutions that also work for Canadian merchants. Let’s get started!

    Need a payment processing service? Check out the best and worst Canadian merchant accounts providers. Don’t have time to read an entire review? Take a look at our top-rated eCommerce solutions for a few quick recommendations. Every option we present here offers excellent customer support, superb web templates, and easy-to-use software, all for a reasonable price.

    Review
    Visit Site
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    Best Choice For Small to enterprise businesses with little technical skill Small to large businesses with some technical skill Small to large businesses with some technical skill Small to large businesses with advanced technical skill Large B2B businesses with some technical skill
    Based In Canada Yes Yes No No No
    SaaS Yes Yes Yes No Yes
    Beginning Pricing Structure $29/month + 2.0% transaction fee $19/month for 75 orders $44.95/month Free $299/month
    Free Trial Yes Yes Yes No Yes
    Ease Of Use Easy to use Moderate learning curve Moderate learning curve Steep learning curve Moderate Learning Curve

    Read on for more details about each eCommerce solution.

    Shopify

    Based out of Ontario, Canada, Shopify is our first recommendation for Canadian merchants seeking an easy to use shopping cart solution. Shopify is the perfect example of an SaaS (software as a service) solution, which means that Shopify handles the technical aspects of running an online store. For a monthly fee (plus transaction fees) Shopify provides hosting, web security, and technical support.

    Shopify is designed for merchants with little to no development experience, so it’s perfect for smaller merchants who want to get their products to market quickly. However, that does not mean that Shopify is limited to exclusively these merchants. The software is scalable, so large or enterprise level businesses can also use Shopify to their advantage.

    Pricing for Shopify is relatively low, and all plans include unlimited storage, bandwidth, and products. You can subscribe to their Basic Shopify Plan for just $29/month (+ 2.0% transaction fee). For more advanced features, you’ll have to subscribe to a higher level plan. One step up is the Shopify Plan at $79/month and the next step is the Advanced Shopify Plan at $299/month.

    Pros

    As one of our favorite, most versatile solutions, Shopify has a lot to offer merchants. Here are a few of the biggest perks of using Shopify:

    • Ease Of Use: Shopify is known for their simple UI. Uploading products is a breeze, and you can make changes to your storefront design with a drag-and-drop tool.
    • Elegant Design: The Shopify marketplace comes stocked with beautiful, responsive, ready-to-use themes. Ten of these themes are available free of charge, and the rest cost between $140-$180.
    • Good Customer Service: 24/7 customers support is available on all pricing plans via email, phone, and live chat. Some users report excellent interactions with support reps, although other users have a different experience (see Cons below).

    Cons

    Despite all of its positives, Shopify is not a perfect solution. There are still many ways Shopify can continue to improve. Here are a few of the things users complain about on online forums:

    • Limited Features: This is the biggest complaint users have about Shopify. While Shopify includes all of the basic features sellers need to initially set up their store, there are not many advanced features available. In order to access more advanced features (like B2B selling options, single page checkout, etc.), you’ll have to purchase the appropriate add-ons. This leads us to our second complaint.
    • Add-Ons Add Up: Although Shopify’s plans are affordably priced, costs of using Shopify for your online store can quickly add up once you start using extensions. Extensions and add-ons from the Shopify marketplace are billed monthly.
    • Poor Customer Support: This contradicts the “pro” I mentioned above. Reviews are mixed when it comes to customer support. Some users have great experiences. Others end up frustrated.

    Canada-Specific Features

    Because Shopify was created by Canadians, you can expect the software to offer enough features to support Canadian sellers’ specific needs. Here’s how they handle Canada-specific selling:

    • Multi-Lingual Features: Have your storefront, checkout, and emails display in multiple languages. Shopify has also recently introduced a beta for a multi-lingual admin. Languages currently supported include French.
    • Multiple Currencies: Display pricing in multiple currencies using a drop-down currency picker. Accept multiple currencies.
    • Shopify Shipping: Use Shopify Shipping to calculate and display shipping rates for multiple carriers, including Canada Post, UPS, USPS, and DHL.
    • Tax: Set tax rates for countries and provinces.

    Get started with Shopify by signing up for a free 14-day trial, no credit card required.

    Read our full Shopify review

    Visit the Shopify website

    LemonStand

    Founded in 2010, LemonStand is an SaaS eCommerce solution with headquarters in Vancouver, BC. Like Shopify, LemonStand provides merchants with hosting, customer service, and site security.

    One notable trait about LemonStand is that their design templates are completely customizable. The design is all open source, so if you have the proper know-how, you can change nearly every aspect of the look and feel of your store.

    Pricing for LemonStand is based on the number of orders you process each month. We like this pricing model because all features are included with all plans. However, merchants who process many orders each month with very narrow profit margins might be turned off by this pricing model. You can begin with the Starter plan ($19/month for 75 orders) or move up to the Growth plan ($69/month for 300 orders) or Professional plan ($199/month for 1000 orders). There’s also a Premium plan available for even larger sellers.

    Pros

    We deem LemonStand a 5-star solution, and it seems many users would agree. Here’s what current users praise most frequently on comment boards and review sites:

    • Customizability: If you have the technical experience, you can do a lot with LemonStand. In particular, you will be able to change many aspects of the look and feel or your storefront.
    • Progress: LemonStand is constantly working to add new features to their software and improve existing features. This progress is encouraging.
    • Good Customer Service: LemonStand’s representatives are helpful, courteous, and timely.

    Cons

    LemonStand isn’t a perfect solution, however. Here are a few of the complaints I’ve found:

    • Missing Features: LemonStand is constantly adding new features, in part because the software is still missing some advanced functionality. Users are hopeful that these gaps in features will be filled soon.
    • Technical Skill Required: Web design with LemonStand requires at least some knowledge of HTML and CSS. If you don’t have that knowledge, you should be able to hire someone who can take care of design issues for you.
    • Lacking Documentation: LemonStand provides documentation as a form of self-help technical support. Unfortunately, some of that documentation is not very detailed. Documentation can occasionally be difficult to follow.

    Canada-Specific Features

    Here’s how LemonStand supports Canadian merchants:

    • Canada Post: LemonStand integrates with Canada Post so you can provide real-time shipping rates.
    • Taxes: Use tax classes to define tax rates by location. Alternatively, you can integrate with Avalara for more detailed tax calculation.

    Surprisingly, I was not able to find any information about displaying your storefront in multiple languages and currencies. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean they are unavailable (especially since LemonStand is a Canadian based company). Comment below if you have any information on the matter.

    Test out the software for yourself with a free, commitment-free 14 day trial. Or, read our full review for more information!

    Read our full LemonStand review

    Visit the LemonStand website

    PinnacleCart

    PinnacleCart was developed with the intention of helping merchants promote and sell their products, regardless of technical ability. As SaaS software, PinnacleCart gives you the ability to add and edit products, process orders, create marketing materials, and customize your site design. And although PinnacleCart is not a Canadian company, they do provide many of the logistical features that Canadian merchants need.

    Pricing for PinnacleCart is based on traffic and storage. All features come included with every plan. These features include unlimited products, daily backups, phone and email support, and an SSL certificate. Pricing is available in three tiers: $44.95/month, $94.95/month, and $199.95/month.

    Pros

    Pinnacle Cart is another five-star solution. Find out what makes it great:

    • Ease Of Use: Once you conquer the initial learning curve, using your PinnacleCart admin should be second nature.
    • Customer Support: Users are happy with the support they receive from PinnacleCart.
    • Good Marketing Features: Use widgets to market your products on any website, and integrate with social media to further your reach. PinnacleCart’s SEO features are also generally well praised.

    Cons

    Some PinnacleCart users, however, may have a different experience. Here are a few cons we’ve noticed:

    • Learning Curve: Users who are new to PinnacleCart (and new to eCommerce in general) will have to overcome a slight learning curve when they first begin using the software.
    • Difficult Customization: Some users have trouble customizing their design.
    • Not International Friendly: PinnacleCart does not offer many languages or currency options. In addition, users have some difficulty accepting payments outside of the US and Canada.

    Canada-Specific Features

    Although PinnacleCart is not the best solution for cross-continental selling, they offer plenty of features for selling within Canada:

    • Canada Post: Add real-time shipping for Canada Post.
    • Automatic Tax Calculation: Use flat-rate tax options to set up tax rates by state and province. Integrate with Avalara Ava Tax or Exactor Tax for more detailed tax estimates.
    • Accept Multiple Currencies: List your prices in multiple currencies and accept payments in multiple currencies.
    • Add French Language Options: Choose to display your site in multiple languages.

    Try out the platform for free for two weeks, no need to hand over any credit card information. For more details on pricing and features, view our full review.

    Read our full PinnacleCart review

    Get Started With PinnacleCart 

    Magento

    Until now, we’ve discussed exclusively SaaS platforms that favor ease of use over customizability. Magento is the opposite. As one of the eCommerce industry’s most popular open-source software, Magento is highly customizable and scalable, and it’s perfect for merchants with greater developing skills.

    Another advantage to Magento is that it’s totally free to download. However, that doesn’t mean Magento costs $0 to implement. Because Magento is open-source, you will be responsible for finding hosting, maintaining security, and hiring developers (or being your own developer) to design your site and add necessary features. There is no Magento support available. Your only options are to resolve issues on your own or pay a developer to fix things for you.

    As you might imagine, Magento is more difficult to implement than the SaaS solutions we’ve discussed above. However, Magento’s strong feature set and customizability make it a good option for fearless merchants.

    Pros

    Take a look at the advantages that come with Magento:

    • Features: Magento provides a robust feature set right out of the box. Add even more advanced features through integrations or develop your own extensions with the available API.
    • Strong User Community: Magento is used by 240,000 merchants around the world. Join a wide community of sellers and developers. Find solutions in Magento’s community forum or hire a Magento developer for select jobs.
    • Scalable & Customizable: Use Magento to build the online store system that your business needs.

    Cons

    As you might expect, Magento comes with its challenges. Many of these challenges relate to ease of use. Take a look:

    • Steep Learning Curve: Many sellers find Magento difficult to learn. You will need to have some experience with coding or be able to hire a developer.
    • Expensive: Although the software is free to download, there are always expenses related to operating an online store. Be sure to consider web developer costs as well as the expense of hosting, adding integrations, and maintaining security.
    • No Customer Support: You can use self-help support routes or hire a developer. Magento does not provide customer support for their open source software.

    Canada-Specific Features

    Magento is built for merchants worldwide. The software includes many international selling features, which benefit Canadian sellers.

    • Languages: Choose from many, many available languages. Set up multi-language store views so that you can feature multiple languages without creating multiple sites.
    • Accept CAD: Accept CAD. Implement “dual currencies” to accept both USD and CAD easily.
    • Taxes: Manually add tax rates and rules, or integrate with AvaTax for more detailed (and easier) tax calculations.
    • Canada Post: Use integrations from the Magento Marketplace to add Canada Post shipping calculations to your store.

    Magento does not offer a free trial because the software itself is totally free to download. Test out the software by downloading it for free, or read our review for more information.

    Read our full Magento review

    Zoey

    If Magento sounds great, but you’re turned off by that “steep learning curve,” you might look into Zoey. Zoey offers the functionality of Magento paired with an ease of use that rivals Shopify. Sound perfect, doesn’t it? The only downfall: the price. Zoey is designed to be a B2B eCommerce platform with B2C capabilities. It is therefore intended for merchants beyond the startup phase, and the price reflects that.

    Nevertheless, we think Zoey is a fantastic option. In particular, we love Zoey’s robust drag-and-drop storefront design tool, which lets all merchants make changes to their sites with zero coding. In addition, we love Zoey’s extensive feature set that includes strong capabilities for wholesale selling.

    Pricing for Zoey is divided into two tiers: Entry ($299/month) and Power ($499/month). A step up in pricing includes more staff account permissions, the ability to list more SKUs, priority customer support, and more.

    Something important to note: Multi-language and multi-currency features are only available on the Power plan.

    Pros

    There’s a lot to love about Zoey. Here are just a few of those positives:

    • Easy Setup: It’s easy to get your store up and running. Zoey also offers migration services to make the transition from another eCommerce platform easier.
    • Feature Rich: Zoey comes with lots and lots of features already built-in, so you won’t have to use so many add-ons.
    • Drag & Drop Editor: Zoey’s drag and drop editor gives you control over your site’s look and feel. You can use it to change many, many aspects of your storefront.

    Cons

    However, there a few drawbacks to using Zoey. We’ve compiled a few potential issues:

    • Pricey For Smaller Sellers: Zoey’s monthly subscription rates are significantly higher than any of the other solutions in this list. These rates are likely too high for merchants who are just starting out.
    • Limited Customizability: Although Zoey is similar to Magento in its features, it is not similar in customizability. Since Zoey is not open source, you will not be able to customize every aspect of your store. So, if you want any additional features, you’ll have to add them via integrations or wait until Zoey releases those features in an update.
    • “Heavy” Platform: If you add on lots of extensions, your platform can get a bit bogged down and not run as smoothly as you’d like.

    Canada-Specific Features

    Zoey provides sellers with multiple international sales tools, which Canadian merchants can use to their advantage.

    • Multi-Lingual: Sell in 80+ languages.
    • Multiple Currencies: Display prices in 168+ currencies and accept payments with 50+ international payment gateways.
    • Taxes: Zoey includes tax support for many countries, including Canada.
    • Shipping Integrations: Zoey does not offer a direct link to Canada Post, which is unfortunate. Access Canada Post with a shipping software extension like Ordoro or ShipStation.

    As you’d expect, Zoey offers a 14-day free trial, no credit card required. Test the platform out for yourself or learn more with our full review.

    Read our full Zoey review

    Get Started With  Zoey

    Final Thoughts

    We hope you’ve found one or two shopping carts that might fit your business’s needs. Take a look into our full review of each potential eCommerce solution to learn the details about pricing, features, and customer service.

    And when you have a better idea of what each shopping cart provides, we always recommend you take advantage of a free trial to test out the software yourself. Test out your daily operations, and try to “stump” the software with complex products and promotions.

    Best of luck in your search for a Canadian-friendly eCommerce platform! There are lots of great options out there, you just have to find the one that works for you!

    Need a payment processing service? Check out the best and worst Canadian merchant accounts providers.

    The post 5 Shopping Carts For Starting An eCommerce Business In Canada appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

    “”

    Is Shopify Easy To Use?

    is shopify easy to use

    If you’ve ever visited Shopify’s website, you know that ease of use is their number one marketing claim. But does that claim have any merit? Is this app as intuitive as they say?

    As software reviewers who have tested over 40 eCommerce solutions over the years (many of them repeatedly!), we can confidently say that Shopify is indeed one of the most user-friendly shopping cart solutions on the market. In particular, Shopify is well designed for merchants with very little technical know-how.

    Shopify makes it easy to set up an online store, add products, and tweak your site’s look and feel so that you can focus your energy on building your business instead of building your website.

    In this post, we’ll give you a breakdown of a few frequently used features and design tools, complete with screenshots of Shopify’s admin panel. Keep reading to see if Shopify’s usability fits your experience level and business needs.

    Signing Up For Shopify

    The best way to experience Shopify’s usability is to actually take the software for a test drive. Shopify offers a totally free, no commitment required 14-day trial, which you can sign up for at any time. To create your account, all you have to do is provide your email address and answer a few questions about your business’s size and industry.

    You’ll then be sent an email with login information, and you’ll be able to access your Shopify dashboard:

    While Shopify does not provide a formal tutorial, they do list a few setup steps on your initial dashboard page. You can either choose to complete those actions now or find them on your own later.

    We recommend you play around a bit with the “Add Product” and “Customize Theme” pages to get a general feel for Shopify’s functions. To start setting up your online store, head over to the “Settings” tab on the bottom left.

    Adjusting Settings

    From the Settings tab of the app, you can add payment processors, tax information, and shipping preferences. You’ll also be able to make changes to checkout, sales channels, account permissions, and more.

    Calculating Taxes

    Correctly collecting sales tax for online orders can be tricky business. Every state, county, and municipality has its own rules and regulations regarding sales tax, and trying to comply by all those rules can be maddening. Shopify makes this process a bit easier by keeping all those important calculations in one place.

    In the setup process, you can decide how you collect taxes for shipments, including international shipments.

    When it comes to domestic shipping rates, you can ask Shopify to handle all the tax calculations based on your business’s location(s). Input your State and zip code, and Shopify will present a range of tax rates based on all the locations in which you have tax liability (called “nexus”).

    If you’d like to see those taxes more specifically, click on that range (highlighted in blue) and see details for each city.

    Select Shipping Options

    There are a variety of ways Shopify merchants can go about calculating shipping rates. You can, for example, integrate with your favorite shipping software app (like ShippingEasy or ShipStation) or you can subscribe to Shopify’s highest pricing plan to use your own negotiated rates with popular shipping carriers like USPS, UPS, and FedEx. One of the most popular options, however, is to simply use Shopify Shipping to calculate rates and purchase and print shipping labels.

    Shopify Shipping provides connections with DHL, USPS, and UPS. You can purchase shipping labels online and have those labels print in bulk from thermal or desktop printers. And now, you can even purchase those labels from your mobile device. What’s more, Shopify Shipping has partnered with shipping carriers to provide you with discounted shipping rates, depending on your Shopify plan.

    To start using Shopify Shipping, click “Edit” under the “Shipping Zones” option on your Shipping page in settings.

    You’ll then be redirected to this page where you can select carriers (such as USPS) and services (such as Priority Mail). These options will then be automatically available to your customers, and you will be able to purchase and print shipping labels for these services. Pretty easy, huh?

    So far, I can only see one potential issue with Shopify Shipping and, depending on your business, it could be a big one. Shopify Shipping will only display calculated rates according to the dimensions you list for your “Default Package.” That means that all shipments, no matter their actual size, will be treated as the same size.

    If you sell products that are a wide range of sizes, calculated rates with Shopify Shipping might not be the best option. You may instead consider integrating with a third-party shipping solution to handle that aspect of your fulfillment.

    Connect With Payment Solutions

    To process payments, just select your preferred payment processor or payment gateway from the drop-down menu on the correct page in Settings.

    Shopify also offers their own payment gateway, called Shopify Payments. If you choose to use Shopify Payments to accept credit card payments, Shopify will waive their transaction fees (which range from 0.5%-2.0%, depending on your pricing plan).

    Note: I have seen many complaints online targeting Shopify Payments. Merchants say that while it’s easy to be initially accepted to the processor, your account may be canceled further down the road when Shopify gets around to reviewing your site. I’ve also seen complaints that say Shopify Payments withholds money from merchants. Keep these complaints in mind as you look into your options.

    Adding Products

    Creating new products is a simple process. Head over to the “Products” tab and click “Add a Product.” You’ll then be taken to a page like this:

    Here you can input basic information like price, inventory totals, and images. You can also write product descriptions on this page and use tags and categories to organize items. Toward the bottom of the page, you can add shipping information, like weight, and list tariff code. You are also presented with the option to add variants.

    If you choose to add product variants (size and color, etc.), you’ll be redirected to a new page where you can enter variant-specific information such as weight, inventory, and price. Notice, however, that there is no field available to enter product dimensions, which may result in less accurate shipping calculations.

    Once you’ve added this information, the basic “Add a Product” page will change to reflect new variants. You will now be required to edit all weights, prices, and shipping information on variant pages instead of the main product page.

    Managing Inventory

    You can either manage inventory on individual product pages or in the “Inventory” tab in the admin.

    Set quantities for each variant, and set low stock notifications to make sure you always have items on hand when customers want them.

    Creating Promotions

    Use Shopify’s “Discounts” tab to create coupons and discounts for your site. You can make these discounts specific to select categories or products, and you can set minimum purchase requirements. You can also make discounts only available to certain customer groups and set active dates for the promotion. Discounts can be fixed amounts, percentages, free shipping, and Buy X Get Y.

    You can also promote your store through order confirmation emails, abandoned cart notifications, and other email marketing strategies. Use HTML design tools to modify the email templates that Shopify provides.

    Editing Site Design

    This app is designed for sellers who have little to no technical experience. Shopify works to make all of their customization tools accessible to beginners, including website design. You don’t have to know a lick of code to edit the look and feel of your site (although it certainly wouldn’t hurt!).

    Most merchants begin the site design process by selecting a theme from Shopify’s vast marketplace. There, you can find a range of mobile responsive themes that are priced between $0-$180. It’s a good idea to start out with a free theme and move on to a more sophisticated theme once you get the hang of the editing tools.

    Shopify provides a few options for editing your theme. The easiest option is Shopify’s drag and drop feature: Sections.

    Using Sections, you can add and rearrange blocks of content. For example, you can add a featured products display, a map, and an image gallery on your homepage. Then, just drag those elements around until the site looks how you envisioned.

    Sections is currently only available on select pages and with select themes.

    Although Sections is great for those with little know-how, merchants who are looking to customize many elements of their design may find it too limiting. For those merchants, there is also a code editor available. Edit using Shopify’s Liquid templating language, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.

    Final Thoughts

    If there ever was a long answer to a short question, this article is one of them!

    In short: Yes, Shopify is very easy to use!

    Get Started With Shopify

    The post Is Shopify Easy To Use? appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

    “”

    FedEx Options For eCommerce

    Deciphering shipping options can feel a lot like navigating a maze. You’re faced with decisions at every turn, and each path seems to split into more and more potential routes. This is difficult enough for a brick-and-mortar retailer, but as an eCommerce seller, you need to make these decisions frequently and in very little time.

    Here at Merchant Maverick our goal is to support growing merchants, so while we can’t make these decisions for you, we can at least help you understand the available options.

    In this article, we’ll be addressing one of the industry’s most popular shipping carrier: FedEx. We’ll go over FedEx’s four categories of shipping solutions as well as the more specific options included within each of those categories. Keep reading to learn more about the best ways to ship with FedEx.

    Need shipping or packing supplies?

    Get Started With FedEx Office

    FedEx Express (Domestic)

    The first option we’ll cover is one of the more popular shipping solutions among online sellers: FedEx Express. This service costs a bit more than some alternatives, however in return they provide time-specific delivery commitments with a money-back guarantee (even if your shipment only arrives 60 seconds late). FedEx Express is great for shipments on a deadline, especially those you have to ship overnight, and can be a godsend during the holiday season.

    What’s more, FedEx Express provides merchants with a large selection of free shipping supplies, which you can order online and have delivered directly to your door. Read more about these shipping supplies and other available services in our blog post, How To Print, Pack, And Ship With FedEx Office.

    FedEx Express includes a range of shipping services. These services are differentiated by their prices and their delivery times, and they are broken into Next Day Delivery and 2-3 Day Delivery. Take a look at those options below or head over to FedEx’s website for more detailed information:

    Next Day

    • FedEx First Overnight
      • Next business day delivery by 8 a.m., 8:30 a.m, 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m.
      • Delivery by 10 a.m., 11 a.m., or 2 p.m. to extended areas
    • FedEx Priority Overnight
      • Next business day delivery by 10:20 a.m.
      • Delivery by 12 noon, 4:30 or 5 p.m. to some rural areas
    • FedEx Standard Overnight
      • Next business day delivery by 3 p.m.
      • Delivery by 4:30 p.m. to some rural areas (8 p.m. to residences)

    2-3 Days

    • FedEx 2Day A.M.
      • Second business day delivery by 10:30 a.m
      • Delivery by 12 p.m. to rural areas
    • FedEx 2Day
      • Second business day delivery by 4:30 p.m.
      • Delivery by 8 p.m. to residences
    • FedEx Express Saver
      • Third business day delivery by 4:30 p.m.
      • Delivery by 8 p.m. to residences

    For more information on delivery times for extended and rural areas, look into FedEx’s Service Guide.

    FedEx Ground

    While FedEx Express is great for time-sensitive deliveries, if you’re looking for a cheaper alternative (and you don’t mind slightly slower shipping), FedEx Ground may be the way to go.

    FedEx Ground offers merchants expedient delivery times at a lower rate. While they do not offer a time-specific delivery, they will guarantee your shipments arrive by the end of day on your scheduled delivery date.

    One of the downsides of FedEx Ground is that you will not be able to order priority mail boxes for free. You will have to find and provide all your own packaging materials.

    FedEx Ground is best for shipments that do not need to be delivered at a specific time of day. Ground is also good for shipments that are bigger or heavier, as you will likely pay lower shipping rates than you would with Express. In addition, Ground is the only way to go if you are shipping items that are regulated as dangerous goods via air shipment (Read about those items and related regulations).

    Unlike FedEx Express, FedEx Ground does not offer a variety of shipping times. Rather, your delivery time will depend on your shipment and delivery locations. Typically, your package will arrive in between 1-5 business days, or 3-7 business days if you’re shipping to or from Hawaii and Alaska. You will be notified of an estimated delivery date for your shipments when you drop your packages off at a FedEx Office location nearby.

    View FedEx Ground’s service map and test out the shipping rates calculator for better insight into how much your shipments will cost and how long they’ll take to ship. For FedEx’s explanation on the differences between their Express and Ground services, check out this webpage.

    FedEx International Shipping (FedEx Express)

    FedEx Express also offers FedEx International Shipping through their FedEx Express program. We have separated this service into its own category as shipping rates are different from the domestic Express rates.

    FedEx International ships to customers in over 220 countries and territories, typically within 1-5 business days (not including time spent in customs). Like FedEx Express’s domestic service, FedEx International offers a money-back guarantee (view details) if your shipment is late by even 60 seconds.

    If you choose to ship with FedEx International, you’ll be able to choose from three options:

    • FedEx International Priority: Delivery within 1, 2, or 3 business days
    • FedEx International Economy: Delivery within 5 business days
    • FedEx International Ground: Day-definite delivery throughout Canada

    You can also choose to ship internationally via FedEx’s Freight services. Keep reading for more information on shipping freight.

    FedEx Freight

    Looking to transport product between warehouses? Or just hoping to ship a very large and heavy item? FedEx Freight could be the service for you. FedEx Freight provides merchants with options for LTL shipping. These shipments come with a no-fee money-back guarantee (for merchants on the standard rate tariff).

    FedEx Freight International

    As I mentioned above, FedEx Freight International allows you to ship large items or large quantities of items to over 130 countries and territories. Shipments above 150 pounds qualify for this service. This service includes the following options:

    • Urgent Delivery
    • Time-Definite Delivery
    • Day-Definite Delivery
    • Direct Distribution

    Read FedEx’s details for more information about shipping freight internationally.

    In addition, FedEx Freight offers two options for shipping within the US:

    FedEx Freight Priority

    Priority freight shipments offer fast delivery of time-sensitive LTL freight. The service delivers to the contiguous US and offers extensive service to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Mexico. The FedEx Freight Box is available for this service (more information on the Freight Box to come). Delivery times for Freight Priority are as follows:

    • A.M. Delivery: Delivery by 10:30 a.m.
    • Close of Business Delivery: Delivery by 5 p.m. on standard delivery date throughout contiguous states

    FedEx Freight Economy

    As you might imagine, FedEx Freight Economy offers more cost-effective delivery of LTL freight. You can use Economy to ship to customers throughout the contiguous US and to Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and Canada. The FedEx Freight Box is also available for this service (again, find more information on the Freight Box below). Here are FedEx Freight Economy’s delivery times:

    • A.M. Delivery: Delivery by 10:30 a.m.
    • Close of Business Delivery: Delivery by 5 p.m. on standard delivery date throughout contiguous states

    About The Freight Box

    FedEx’s Freight Box is their way of incorporating flat rate shipping into their freight services. If you choose to ship with a Freight Box, you will pay a predictable flat rate to ship your box, based on shipping zones and if you’re using Priority or Economy services. Those rates range between $126-$312.

    View the chart below:

    Only shipments below 1,200 pounds can qualify for the Freight Box, and shipping rates do not qualify for negotiated pricing, which may disappoint some high-volume sellers. The good news is if you choose to ship this way, there is no freight classification required!

    FedEx’s Freight Box comes in two different sizes:

    • Standard (pallet not included)
      • 48” x 40” x 38”
    • Small (integrated pallet included)
      • 48” x 40” x 28”

    You can order both of these boxes online, and after a bit of assembly, you can get to packing.

    Final Thoughts

    Shipping options can certainly be disorienting! We hope our breakdown above has helped you to untangle the number of options available through FedEx. If one or more of these shipping solutions catches your eye, be sure to look into the resources we’ve included to get a better idea of the details.

    Or, if you’re still looking for general information about shipping with FedEx, check out our comparison article, USPS vs UPS vs FedEx: Which Shipping Carrier Is Best?

    You’ll be a shipping expert in no time!

    Need shipping or packing supplies?

    Get Started With FedEx Office

    The post FedEx Options For eCommerce appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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    How To Order QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Most people know that QuickBooks offers accounting software, but did you know that the company also sells checks, tax forms, stamps, and even pens?

    Believe it or not, QuickBooks can be your one-stop shop for business checks and office supplies. And best of all, you can print the checks directly from your QuickBooks software. Keep reading to learn more about how to order checks from QuickBooks, how to buy tax forms from QuickBooks, and what other office supplies QuickBooks offers.

    Order Checks, Tax Forms & Other Supplies From QuickBooks

    Products Offered

    QuickBooks offers a wide array of business supplies. You can purchase the following product online using the Intuit marketplace:

    • Checks
    • Tax forms
    • Envelopes
    • Deposit slips
    • Self-inking stamps
    • Point of sale supplies
    • Laser & inkjet labels
    • Check binders
    • Printable business forms
    • Security pens

    We’ll cover the specific products and their prices in each of the following sections.

    Checks

    QuickBooks offers five different types of checks:

    • Voucher checks
    • Standard business checks
    • Wallet checks
    • Office and away checks
    • Personal checks

    You can customize QuickBooks checks by adding your business name and phone number. Choose between three and five different colors, depending on the check type. Add an additional line for extra business information and up to two signature lines to meet your business’s needs.

    You can order all checks from the Intuit Market. Once the checks are sent to you, you can print them directly from compatible QuickBooks programs. Here’s a breakdown of each type of check and how much they cost.

    Voucher Checks

    Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    A voucher check is a standard-sized check accompanied by two pay stubs, making it ideal for payroll and accounts payable. Intuit offers three types of vouchers checks that vary by level of security. Each check is compatible with laser and inkjet printers and all supported versions of QuickBooks.

    • Basic Voucher Checks: Start at $36.99 for 50 checks.
    • Secure Plus Voucher Checks: Start at $66.99 for 50 checks. Adds security features like ink tampering prevention.
    • Secure Premier Voucher Checks: Start at $72.99 for 50 checks. Adds hologram for max security.

    Visit the Intuit marketplace to purchase voucher checks for QuickBooks.

    Standard Business Checks

    Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Intuit’s standard business checks are your typical, everyday business checks. Intuit offers types of standard checks that vary by level of security. Each is compatible with laser and inkjet printers and all supported versions of QuickBooks. However, standard business checks are not compatible with Intuit Online Payroll (see voucher checks instead). Intuit also offers manual standard checks that you can fill out by hand.

    • Basic Standard Business Checks: Start at $102.99 for 250 checks.
    • Secure Plus Standard Business Checks: Start at $56.99 for 50 checks. Adds security features like ink tampering prevention.
    • Secure Premier Standard Business Checks: Start at $61.99 for 50 checks. Adds hologram for max security.
    • Manual Business Checks: Start at $58.99 for 300 checks. Detachable standard checks come with check stubs to record additional information.

    Visit the Intuit marketplace to find the best deals on business checks.

    Wallet ChecksGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    With these checks, it’s all in the name. Intuit’s wallet checks fit perfectly in a wallet and come with a check stub to record additional information. There are two types of wallet checks that vary by level of security. Each is compatible with QuickBooks Desktop or Quicken 2006 +. Wallet checks are not compatible with QuickBooks Online.

    • Basic Wallet Checks: Start at $87.99 for 250 checks.
    • Secure Plus Wallet Checks: Start at $43.99 for 50 checks. Adds security features like ink tampering prevention.

    Visit the Intuit Marketplace to purchase QuickBooks wallet checks.

    Office & Away ChecksGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Intuit’s Office & Away checks are a hybrid between standard checks and manual checks. You can either print checks directly from QuickBooks when you’re in the office or handwrite checks when you’re out of the office. Office & Away checks are compatible with laser and inkjet printers and QuickBooks Desktop; they are not compatible with QuickBooks Online or Intuit Payroll (see voucher checks for payroll).

    • Office & Away Checks: Start at $90.99 for 250 checks.

    Visit the Intuit Marketplace to purchase Office & Away checks for your business.

    Personal ChecksGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    In addition to business checks, Intuit offers personal checks as well. There is only one type of personal check — the Secure Plus Personal Check — which comes with built-in security features like chemically reactive paper to prevent check alterations. QuickBooks personal checks are not compatible with software like QuickBooks or Quicken and are not compatible with printers.

    • Secure Plus Personal Checks: Starts at $39.99 for one box, which contains 120 duplicate checks.

    Visit the Intuit Marketplace to find the best deal on personal checks.

    Tax Forms

    You can purchase four different types of tax forms directly from Intuit:

    • W-2s
    • W-3s
    • 1096s
    • 1099-MISCs

    One of the biggest perks of using QuickBooks software is the tax support available with both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online.  QuickBooks Desktop allows you to prepare and print w-2s, W-3s, 1099-MISCs, and 1096s, and with the QuickBooks Online Plus plan you can prepare and print 1099-MISCs and W-2s directly from the software.

    Most users will need to purchase these forms from Intuit in order to print and file their taxes, although certain QuickBooks payroll plans include these forms with the cost of the monthly payroll subscription (read our QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Pricing And Features post to see if your tax forms are included or not). Here are the current tax form offerings (note: prices may vary depending on the tax year).

    W-2sGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    A W-2 form is an IRS tax form that indicates an employee’s wages and withheld taxes for the tax year. Employers are required to fill out a W-2 form for every individual employee they have (or had) during the tax year. Intuit offers two different W-2 kits to help employer’s successfully complete their W-2s. The price for each option depends on the number of forms needed.

    • Pre-Printed W-2 Kit: Starts at $57.99 and includes four free W-3s and custom W-2 envelopes. Compatible with laser or inkjet printers and QuickBooks Desktop users with Basic or Enhanced Payroll. Not compatible with QuickBooks for Mac, QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Desktop Payroll Full Service, or QuickBooks Online Payroll.
    • Laser W-2 Blank Perforated Paper & Envelope Kit: Starts at $23.99 and includes blank, perforated W-2 paper and custom W-2 envelopes. Compatible with QuickBooks Online, QuickBooks Payroll, QuickBooks Online Payroll Full Service, and supported version of QuickBooks Desktop.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to easily order W-2 tax forms for your business.

    W-3sGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    A W-3 form is an IRS tax form that indicates the total wages and taxes withheld for all employees of a company during the tax year. If you purchase the Pre-Printed W-2 Kit, then you will already receive four free W-3 forms; otherwise, you can purchase them directly from Intuit.

    • W-3 Forms: Start at $17.99 for 10 preprinted W-3 forms. Not compatible with QuickBooks for Mac or QuickBooks Online.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order W-3 tax forms.

    1099-MISCsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    A 1099-MISC form is an IRS form that reports wages paid to an individual who is not an employee at your company, such as an independent contractor.  As the employer, you’ll need to file a 1099-MISC for any contractors you’ve paid more than $600 during the tax year. You can purchase these forms directly from Intuit and prepare and print them directly from QuickBooks. Prices vary by state and depending on the number of forms you need.

    • 1099 Kit: Ranges from $58.99 – $83.99 for 10 pre-printed 1099-MISC forms and includes four free 1096 forms and custom 1099 envelopes (price varies by state). Compatible with QuickBooks Online, and supported version of QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Mac.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order 1099 tax forms.

    1096sGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    A 1096 form is an IRS form that records all of the wages paid to all independent contractors and self-employed individuals a company hired during the tax year. If you purchase the 1099 Kit, then you will already receive four free 1096 forms; otherwise, you can purchase them directly from Intuit.

    • 1096 Forms: Start at $17.99 for 10 1096 forms. Compatible with QuickBooks Online Plus, QuickBooks Mac 2013 or later, and QuickBooks Desktop 2013 or later.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order 1096 tax forms.

    Envelopes

    You can purchase envelopes for your checks, tax forms, and more directly from Intuit. While you could buy envelopes from anywhere, Intuit envelopes are specifically designed to fit your Intuit checks and tax forms, which adds an added layer of security to important mail. Here are the various business envelopes offered and how much they cost.

    Standard & Voucher Check EnvelopesGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    According to QuickBooks:

    Standard-sized business envelopes don’t fit standard sized checks. Envelopes can be too large, potentially allowing sliding inside the envelope that can compromise security or partially obstruct information.

    This is why Intuit sells envelopes that are created to fit their standard and voucher checks perfectly. There are two types of standard/voucher envelopes that vary by level of convenience.

    • Standard/Voucher & Payroll Check Envelopes: Start at $68.99 for 250 envelopes. Includes double address windows.
    • Self-Seal Voucher Check Envelopes: Start at $30.99 for 50 envelopes. Fits both standard and voucher checks. Includes self-adhesive flaps and double address windows. Compatible with most postage machines.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order standard check and voucher check envelopes.

    Wallet Check EnvelopesGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Wallet check envelopes are designed specifically to fit Intuit’s wallet checks. There are two types of wallet checks that vary by size.

    • Wallet Check Envelopes: Start at $49.99 for 250 envelopes. Includes double address windows. Specifically designed to fit wallet checks.
    • Wallet Plus Check Envelopes: Start at $54.99 for 250 envelopes. This standard sized envelope includes a pocket designed specifically for wallet checks, so you can send both wallet checks and additional documents simultaneously.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order wallet check envelopes.

    Form EnvelopesGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    In addition to purchasing envelopes that fit Intuit’s checks, you can also purchase envelopes that perfect fit your Intuit tax forms, including W-2s, W-3s, 1096s, and 1099-MISCs. These envelopes are designed to align perfectly with the Intuit tax forms to ensure that your confidential tax information stays secure. There are three different type of form envelopes available. Each is compatible with Intuit’s pre-printed tax forms or any other forms printed on standard printer paper.

    • Forms Envelopes: Start at $68.99 for 250 envelopes. Includes double address windows.
    • Single Window Form Envelopes: Start at $73.99 for 250 envelopes. Includes a single address window. You can order them to be pre-printed with your company address. Adding a company logo or custom ink color costs extra.
    • Self-Seal Form Envelopes: Start at $75.99 for 250 envelopes. Includes self-adhesive flaps and double address windows. Compatible with most postage machines.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order from envelopes for your small business.

    Business Reply EnvelopesGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    You can purchase a custom, pre-printed return envelope from Intuit. Adding a return envelope to your invoices can help your company appear more professional and make it easier for your customers to send you their invoice payments (and anything you can do to increase the chances of your invoices getting paid is worth it). Intuit’s business reply envelopes also work with their Remittance Statements (which we’ll cover later). Here’s how much they cost.

    • Business Reply Envelopes: Start at $54.99 for 250 envelopes. You can order them to be pre-printed with your company address.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to start sending business reply envelopes with your invoices.

    Large Mailing EnvelopesGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Additionally, you can purchase large mailing envelopes for large stacks of paper or for forms and documents that you do not wish to bend. These envelopes come in white or golden brown (think classic manila envelope).

    • Large Mailing Envelopes: Start at $90.99 for 100 envelopes. You can order them to be pre-printed with your company address. Adding a company logo or custom ink color costs extra.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order large mailing envelopes.

    Deposit SlipsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Deposit slips are used by some businesses to track the funds deposited into a specific bank account. Deposit slips can be helpful when verifying your accounting records with your monthly bank statement. If your business is in the habit of using deposit slips (or if you’d like to start), you can purchase them directly from Intuit. Intuit offers two different types of deposit slips as well as a deposit slip bag. Here’s how much each item costs.

    • Printable Deposit Slips: Start at $68.99 for 250 deposit slips with up to 18 entries per slip. Prepare and print directly from QuickBooks. Compatible with QuickBooks Mac 2007 or higher and supported versions of QuickBooks Desktop.
    • Booked Manual Deposit Slips: Start at $43.99 for 200 deposit slips with up to 18 entries per slip. For manual entry. Available in 2- or 3-copy carbonless options. Can order your business name and account number to be pre-printed on the slips.
    • Bank Deposit Bag: Starts at $12.99 for 25 deposit bags. Disposable and recyclable bag with removable numbered receipts and built-in security features.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order deposit slips for your business.

    Stamps

    Whether it’s addressing envelopes, marking invoices as past due, or indicating which documents need filing, Intuit offers 14 self-inking maps to make your business processes run smoother. These affordable business stamps are easy to use and can save your company valuable time. In addition to the stamps, Intuit also offers ink-pad refills for whenever you might need them.

    Self-Inking Business Stamps

    As we mentioned above, Intuit offers 14 stamps ranging from $13.99 to $35.99 each. Here are all of the business stamps available.

    • Endorsement Stamp: Costs $35.99 and is ideal for quickly getting checks ready to deposit.
    • Return Address Stamp: Costs $35.99 and comes with up to five lines of text.
    • Return Address Stamp With Monogram: Costs $35.99 and Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Suppliescomes with up to five lines of text and a monogram letter.
    • Fax Header Cover Stamp: Costs $35.99 and is ideal for quickly creating a fax header to record fax information.
    • Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And SuppliesSecurity Stamp: Costs $21.99 and is created to “obscure sensitive information on checks, forms, legal documents, packages, and mail.”
    • Copy Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “copy” and costs $13.99.
    • Past Due Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “past due” and costs $13.99. Ideal for invoices.
    • Draft Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “draft” and costs $13.99.Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies
    • File Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “file” and costs $13.99.
    • Void Stamp: Blue ink stamp that says “void” and costs $13.99. Ideal for voided checks.
    • Paid Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “paid” and costs $13.99. Ideal for invoices.
    • Confidential Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “confidential” and costs $13.99.Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies
    • Faxed Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “faxed” and costs $13.99.
    • Urgent Stamp: Red ink stamp that says “urgent” and costs $13.99.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order business stamps.

    Point Of Sale Supplies

    If you use QuickBooks Point of Sale (see our review) there are several items you can purchase to manage your business and sales. Intuit offers everything from pricing labels to receipt tape to jewelry tags and more. See what point of sale supplies Intuit has to offer and how much they cost below.

    Pricing Labels

    Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    If you need a quick and efficient way your items, you can print pricing labels directly from QuickBooks POS using a compatible printer. These labels are adhesive for easy tagging and come in two separate sizes.

    • Price Label 1.2″ x 0.85″: Costs $79.99 for one case of pricing labels, which comes with 12 rolls per case and 15,000 labels per roll. Compatible with the QuickBooks POS Tag Printer. Ideal for smaller items.
    • Price Label 2.25″ x 1.25″: Costs $79.99 for one case of pricing labels, which comes with 12 rolls and 1,135 labels per roll. Compatible with the QuickBooks POS Tag Printer. Ideal for larger items.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order QuickBooks pricing labels.

    Receipt Paper

    Getting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    You can also purchase receipt paper directly from Intuit. QuickBooks receipt paper is compatible with QuickBooks POS printer, the Star TSP143, and the Star TSP613.

    • Point Of Sale Paper Rolls: Costs $29.99 for 10 rolls. Each roll is 220 feet long.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace for a great deal on receipt paper.

    Pricing TagsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    In addition to pricing labels, Intuit also sells pricing tags for unique items like jewelry.

    • Printable Hang Tags: Costs $104.97 per case of thermal printed hang tags, with 12 rolls per case and 967 labels per roll. Ideal for “purses, clothing, and other fabric items.” Compatible with supported versions of QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks POS Tag Printer.
    • Jewelry Tags With Flap: Costs $104.99 for four rolls of waterproof jewelry tags, with 2,490 labels per roll. Includes adhesive flaps that allow you to price items without getting sticky adhesive on them. Compatible with supported versions of QuickBooks POS and QuickBooks POS Tag Printer.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order pricing tags for your retail company.

    Labels

    You can also purchase printable labels directly from the Intuit MarketPlace. You can use these labels for a variety of purposes, whether it’s preprinting potential lead addresses for a new marketing campaign or printing file folder names to get your business organized. Here’s all that Intuit has to offer:

    Printable Business LabelsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Intuit offers printable, adhesive labels in various sizes. Each set of labels starts at $40.99. These labels are compatible with laser and inkjet printers. You can design and print the labels straight from QuickBooks Desktop or by using Avery. Not compatible with QuickBooks Online.

    • 1″ x 4″ Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets with 20 labels per sheet. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers as well as Avery #5161 and #8161.
    • 1 1/3″ x 4″ Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets with 14 labels per sheet. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers as well as Avery #5162.
    • 2″ x 4″ Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets with 10 labels per sheet. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers as well as Avery #5163.
    • 3 1/3″ x 4″ Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets with 6 labels per sheet. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers as well as Avery #5164.
    • 1″ x 2 5/8″ Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets with 30 labels per sheet. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers as well as Avery #5160 and #8160.
    • 1/2″ x 1 3/4″ Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets with 80 labels per sheet. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers as well as Avery #5167.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order printable labels for all of your business needs.

    Shipping Manager LabelsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    QuickBooks also offers adhesive labels specifically designed for overnight, express, or ground shipping. These labels are compatible with laser and inkjet printers and integrate with both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Shipping Manager. Not compatible with QuickBooks Online.

    • QuickBooks Shipping Manager Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets, with two labels per sheet.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order shipping labels.

    File Folder LabelsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    In addition to the above labels, Intuit also offers labels that are specifically designed to fit your file cabinet folders to help you stay organized. These labels are compatible with laser and inkjet printers. You can design and print the labels straight from QuickBooks Desktop or by using Avery. Not compatible with QuickBooks Online.

    • 2/3″ x 3 7/16″ File Folder Labels: Cost $40.99 for 100 sheets, with 30 labels per sheet. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers as well as Avery #5366.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order file folder labels and start getting organized today.

    Business Forms

    While both QuickBooks Desktop and QuickBooks Online offer an incredible number of reports, there are some important business forms that you may want to mail your customers. That’s why QuickBooks offers nine additional business forms. Check out all of the forms QuickBooks offers and how much they cost.

    StatementsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    QuickBooks statement forms allow you to keep your customers up to date on their financial obligations and history with your company. There are three business statement forms in total. You can print each directly from QuickBooks Desktop. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers.

    • Customer Billing Statements: Start at $64.99 for 250 statements. Ideal for updating customers on their account.
    • Remittance Statements: Start at $88.99 for 250 statements. Ideal for tracking accounts receivable.
    • Blank Remittance Statements: Start at $40.99 for 250 statements.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to check out a good deal on business forms.

    InvoicesGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    For companies wishing to send invoices by mail in addition to or instead of sending invoices online, there’s the option to buy preprinted invoice templates directly from Intuit. There are three invoice styles that you can customize to fit your business’s needs. You can print the invoice’s details onto each invoice directly from QuickBooks Desktop. Compatible with laser and inkjet printers. Price varies depending on the number of invoices purchased and the number of sheets per invoice.

    • Product Invoices: Starts at $88.99 for 250 invoices. Available in single, duplicate, triplicate, or quadruplicate. Ideal for product-based businesses.
    • Service Invoices: Start at $88.99 for 250 invoices. Available in single, duplicate, or triplicate. Ideal for service-based businesses.
    • Professional Invoices: Start at $88.99 for 250 invoices. Available in single and triplicate.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order QuickBooks 1096 tax forms.

    Multi-Purpose FormsGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    The multi-purpose form, as you may have guessed, has multiple potential uses. Intuit says that you can use these forms to:

    Send estimates, credit memos, or purchase orders on professional-looking correspondence.

    There are two multi-purpose forms available. Each can be printed directly from QuickBooks and are compatible with laser and inkjet printers.

    • Multi-Purpose Forms: Start at $88.99 for 250 forms. Available in single, duplicate, or triplicate.
    • All Purpose Form With Peel-Off Label: Start at $46.99 for 250 forms. Includes adhesive label so you can prepare reports and packing slips simultaneously.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order multi-purpose business forms now.

    Form LeadersGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    The form leader helps you easily print “leftover” standard or wallet checks. You simply attach a remaining check to the form leader and print using compatible laser and inkjet printers. This saves you both time and money and ensures all leftover checks are used and printed properly.

    • Form Leaders: Costs $19.99 for 10 from leaders. Each form leader is good for up to 40 uses.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order a form leader for your standard or wallet-sized checks.

    Other

    Finally, Intuit also offers a few miscellaneous business items to help your office stay organized and run smoothly. Here are the final three products you can find within the Intuit MarketPlace.

    BindersGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Intuit offers two type of binders to help you keep your business checks organized. In addition to keeping your checks in order, these binders can also help you appear more professional and put together. Here’s how much they cost.

    • Office & Away Checkbook Binder: Costs $69.99 and is designed to hold up to 75 office and away checks. Includes “a handy check register, a business card pocket, a place to store important documents, and a convenient pen holder.”
    • 7-Ring Manual Check Binder: Costs $30.99 and is designed to hold manual business checks. Available in burgundy or black.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order a professional business binder.

    PensGetting Started With QuickBooks Checks And Supplies

    Intuit pens are specifically designed to ensure that your checks remain secure. They have unwashable ink and leave indent marks on paper to prevent check fraud.

    • QuickBooks Super Ink Security Pen: Costs $10.99 for five pens. Includes a comfortable textured grip and black ink.

    Visit the Intuit MarketPlace to order a secure check pen.

    Get Shopping

    Now you officially know all of the business checks and office supplies available to you through the Intuit MarketPlace. The Intuit MarketPlace is a great way to find business checks, personal checks, tax forms, check envelopes, invoices, business labels, and more. You may even receive a discount for purchasing certain items like checks and envelopes together.

    Once you place your order, Intuit says that most items will be shipped in 49 hours, though some custom items may take up to six days to ship.

    You can always call Intuit Checks & Supplies support at (866) 570-3842 or start shopping now.

    Shop For QuickBooks Checks & Supplies Now

    Using an old version of QuickBooks Pro? Save $100 when you upgrade to QuickBooks Desktop 2018.

    Purchase QuickBooks Desktop Pro 2018 

     

    The post How To Order QuickBooks Checks And Supplies appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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    Complete Guide To Credit Card Machines And Terminals

    We don’t typically think about what happens in the moments after we swipe our debit and/or credit cards. More often than not, we simply run or insert our card into the credit card machine and hope that the cashier doesn’t use the next few moments to initiate small talk. The number in our checking account decreases or the number on our credit card bill increases, and that’s all we care about.

    But, to the business owner, credit card processing is exceptionally important and it can play a huge role in your bottom line. There’s a lot of information to take in if you’re a novice when it comes to credit card processing, and you’ll need to decide what elements are most important to your business. Do you need mobility when accepting payments? Will you be accepting transactions online or over the phone? What security measures should you be taking to protect both your business and your customers? What companies are highly rated or come heavily recommended?

    We’ll try and answer the bulk of your questions about credit card machines and terminals below.

    Credit Card Machines

    Credit card technology has evolved rapidly over the years. It doesn’t seem like that long ago when the process involved a terminal with just the option for credit. Then came debit cards. As the internet became the world’s go to for conducting business, the processing game had to change as well. Now, merchants can take payments with readers connected to their phones or tablets — they can even accept payments remotely without the physical card present. This has created a need for increased security which has led to encryption technology and the relatively recent advent of the EMV chip card.

    Before we get into that, however, let’s start with some basics about credit card transactions. You have, no doubt, used hundreds of different types of card readers throughout your illustrious tenure as a consumer. But what happens once your card’s magnetic strip has been read? In simple terms, there are three phases involved in actual processing:

    • Authorization: Once your card is scanned, its information is sent over with a request to be processed. The processing request is then sent to the company of the cardholder (VISA, Mastercard etc…). The company sends the request on to the issuing bank. If there are enough funds in the account, and if the card is registered as valid, the purchase is approved. All of this takes place in a matter of seconds, generally speaking.
    • Settling: After a transaction has been approved, it is forwarded on to be cleared via an interchange. When the request is received, a credit is given to the merchant for the amount of the sale. The bank will then issue a statement to the customer in that amount which the customer must then pay off.
    • Funding: So far in the transaction, no actual money has changed hands. After the card has been authorized and the credit is issued, the payment company then makes a deposit into the merchant’s checking account. These funds can generally be accessed in just a few days.

    In order to accept these forms of payment, you will need some type of card reader. Your options here have also evolved rapidly in the past couple of decades. The most common type of credit card machine is still the stationary card terminal. This is a machine that needs a physical connection either to a phone line or to the internet in order to process physical cards.

    The next type of machine, and one that is rapidly gaining in popularity, is the wireless processor. These often look very similar to a stationary device, using a magnetic strip or chip reader to take a customer’s card information. However, these devices only require a wireless connection, making them far more versatile and mobile for merchants (albeit with slightly higher security concerns).

    Finally, you can also accept payments via a virtual terminal, something we’ll get into more thoroughly a little bit later. In short, virtual terminals allow you to take a customer’s card information without that card being physically present.

    Of course, within these different machines, you’ll have some other hardware choices to make. One item you may want to look into is a PIN pad. With this device, customers can manually type in their debit card password to process a payment. Debit cards with either a VISA or Mastercard logo can be processed almost identically to credit cards. However, with a PIN pad, a transaction that is specifically run as debit usually costs the merchant a smaller fee. This ends up saving you a lot of money in the long run, particularly on large transactions.

    Some point of sale systems have this technology built-in, allowing customers to enter their PIN numbers on a touchscreen. PIN pads encrypt a customer’s information, giving an inherent level of security on those transactions. As previously mentioned, you don’t need a PIN pad to run these types of transactions. A signature debit card is processed just like a credit card, but the money comes directly from a customer’s checking account. However, in most instances, the merchant is still charged the same rate as if the transaction was run as credit.

    One of the more recent changes in the world of credit card processing has been the introduction of the chip card. EMV (which stands for Europay, Mastercard, VISA) is a method of payment based on a standard for cards and machines that is meant to dramatically reduce the possibility for fraud when it comes to credit card payments. EMV cards store data in a chip within the card that is scanned when it is “dipped” or inserted into a card reader or payment machine. Companies have been steadily trying to meet EMV standards and the majority of processors and point of sale companies are now EMV compliant or claim to be in the process of becoming compliant in the near future. VISA and Mastercard have also issued standards for card-not-present transactions as a way to increase security measures in the world of eCommerce.

    It’s difficult to predict what the future will look like when it comes to payment processing, but one trend that seems like a near sure bet is that consumers will continue to seek out convenience. This means that services like Apple and Android Pay will probably continue to spike in popularity. Given society’s increased dependence on iPhones for everything from communication to driving directions, the ability to pay with one’s phone is something all companies will want to make sure they can handle — sooner rather than later.

    Looking for a credit card machine for your business? Buy, don’t lease! 

    Virtual Terminals

    What is a virtual terminal? Let’s delve in deeper to get a sense of whether or not it’s a solution your business needs. Virtual terminals are online applications that allow customers to input credit card information directly online to then be processed electronically. These terminals allow for transactions to be processed even when a credit card is not physically present. This can be an ideal solution for any business that is highly mobile or conducting transactions remotely with clients.

    Many companies, including PayPal and Helcim, offer the ability to use a virtual terminal for payments. The implementation process is exceedingly simple. Generally, for a small, monthly fee, your processor can give you the ability to enter payment information from pretty much anywhere with an internet connection. Most companies will offer a percentage rate and a flat fee for virtual terminal transactions. This fee is often slightly higher than it would be for a typical transaction as card-not-present transactions have a slightly higher risk of fraud.

    With PayPal, for example, all you need is a phone, tablet or computer and you can quickly log in to your account and go to the virtual terminal setting. This leads you to a screen similar to one you would see if you were entering your own information online for a purchase. Once the information is entered, you’ll receive confirmation. 

    This simplicity and flexibility has made the virtual terminal an increasingly popular way for businesses of all types — not just mail order or eCommerce businesses — to accept payments. An increasing number of companies are now also offering USB card readers that connect directly to your terminal. These automatically take the card information and run it through your virtual terminal, keeping your transactions in the same location but charging you a lower rate since the card is present at the time. Some of these same companies offer pads which can collect customer signatures in the same way. Even with an external card reader, virtual terminals are usually not designed to accept advanced payment types, like contactless payments, from mobile wallets such as ApplePay. If you want to accept contactless payments, you’re better off getting a standard NFC-enabled credit card machine or credit card reader.

    Virtual terminals can also take automated clearinghouse (ACH) payments for one-time or recurring transactions. These payments are processed in bunches, meaning the payment is usually received a little later. However, you aren’t subject to interchange fees for these payments.

    Obviously, when making or accepting payments where credit card information is simply entered online, security is going to be of the utmost importance. It is highly recommended that you choose a payment provider that encrypts credit card data; this both reduces the risk of theft and the scope of the Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliance.

    From there, you will generally have two options.

    You can choose a non-validated solution which can cut down the risk of having data stolen. This is an affordable option that is offered by most processing companies, though these solutions are not defined as secure by the PCI. In other words, there is an increased chance that hackers could gain access to encryption keys which could eventually lead to a data breach.

    The other option is a PCI point-to-point (P2PE) provider which meets all of the PCI standards and includes secure hardware. Processors that provide this level of protection must accept Merchant P2PE Implementation Responsibilities. Because of this added security, a much smaller number of processors offer this service (although that list is growing). If you are set on providing increased security, you will need to make sure you have hardware that meets these standards — you will also have to submit to regular security check-ups.

    Merchant Services

    When we talk about merchant services, what exactly do we mean? In simple terms, ‘merchant services’ is a broad term to describe the hardware and software products that make it possible to accept credit and debit card transactions. These companies and services help to connect the issuing bank (the bank that gave your customers their credit cards) and the merchant bank (the bank that is behind your merchant account). In the last couple of decades, this term has expanded to include much more than just your standard terminal scanner. The internet has opened the door for payments to be made online and those purchases can be tracked and managed from your computer or mobile device.

    Merchant services providers are any businesses which accept payments (aside from just cash and checks). These can include credit and debit card processors, point of sale terminals, analytic software etc. There are a handful of different kinds of merchant services providers, including:

    • Merchant Account Providers: These providers can set you up with a merchant account and services that allow you to collect your money following a debit or credit card transaction. Some larger companies also come with direct processing services.
    • Payment Service Providers: Even though it’s advisable, it’s not essential to have a merchant account to process payments. Payment service providers, like the ubiquitous PayPal, don’t give you an ID number and are popular because they generally do not come with account fees or long-term contracts. These accounts can be frozen, sometimes without notice, and customer service can be sketchy. However, for smaller or seasonal businesses, payment service providers are a popular choice.
    • Payment Gateway Providers: Payment gateway providers represent a service provider that has emerged with increased popularity of eCommerce. These providers may or may not come with a merchant account. Some give you a choice of using their own merchant account or using a gateway with an existing account. Others only offer a gateway service, meaning you’ll have to have a merchant account from a third party.

    When you’re looking at various card processors, there are a few things that you should keep an eye on. Perhaps most importantly you’ll want to research the company’s reputation. Processing payments is a crucial aspect of your business and an unreliable company can give you a lot of headaches (and affect your bottom line).

    You’ll also want to compare the costs and potential fees that various processors implement. Square, for example, charges no monthly fee, which is yet another appeal for smaller or mid-sized companies. However, they also implement a 2.75% fee on transactions — if your business takes off and you’re suddenly processing a high number of transactions, those fees will add up and quickly wipe out any savings you’re receiving from not paying a monthly fee.

    You’ll also want to doublecheck the compatibility of your processor. If, for instance, you’ve found a point of sale system that you are comfortable with, you’ll want to make sure that the processor integrates seamlessly without additional costs. If you’re forced to set up an aforementioned gateway, you could end up paying a large monthly fee.

    To enable transactions, merchants will have to fill out an application. If you’re opening a merchant account, this process can take a little longer than going through a third-party processor. One of the reasons smaller and mid-sized merchants lean towards a third-processing account like Square is that you can be up and ready to take payments almost immediately. The price for that instant gratification, however, is an increased likelihood for potential account freezes later on.

    When you’re in the process of picking out a processor, you’ll also want to pay close attention to transaction fees. The best merchant account providers usually offer what is referred to as interchange-plus pricing. This means that the provider takes the wholesale cost of the transaction and tacks on a small, standardized markup. This ensures an affordable and transparent pricing plan. It also means a slightly higher rate for transactions when a card isn’t physically present since those transactions have a higher frequency of fraud. Third-party processors sometimes provide a flat rate for all transactions — this is convenient and offers a simple way to quickly figure out your fees. However, it may not be the most cost-efficient in the grand scheme of things. A company like Square, which offers a flat rate for swiped and dipped transactions, also charges a slightly higher rate for key-in and eCommerce transactions.

    There are a few other things you’ll want to watch out for when finalizing your decision about a merchant accounts provider. Along with the potential for account freezes or funding holds, keep an eye on how businesses handle chargebacks (where customers dispute a charge) and fraudulent charges in general. There are ways to mitigate these dangers, of course. You can use fraud management tools, including things like address verification services. Using a chip card terminal also dramatically cuts back on fraudulent charges.

    Here are a few of our most highly recommended processing companies:

    • Fattmerchant: Fattmerchant is one of the best companies for eCommerce transactions. Its pricing is transparent without undisclosed fees. There is also a 0% markup, meaning you pay only the wholesale cost plus the monthly fee and a small authorization fee. Fattmerchant also has terrific customer service.
    • Dharma: Dharma provides a full array of processing services and also has a simple, affordable pricing structure without hidden fees. They exclusively use the interchange-plus format and are a particularly good choice for non-profits, as they offer a discount to those companies.
    • Helcim: For slightly large companies, Helcim is a very strong option. While offering a wide range of services, they have extremely competitive rates for companies that process more than $2500 a month. They also have very strong customer service and their fee structure is transparent and easy to understand.
    • Square: For companies that don’t provide a full-service merchant account, Square is the standard bearer. There is no monthly account fee and they offer free or low-cost readers. Square also doesn’t force you to sign up for a long-term contract or charge you for early termination.

    Your POS System

    Another way to process payments is through your POS or point of sale system. Point of sale systems have come a long way, especially in the past decade. Today, you can virtually run your entire business from one, simple device. With the influx of cloud-based systems, you can make snap decisions and check the status of your operation from anywhere with a wireless connection.

    With so many options available, and with point of sale systems offering more and more features all the time, choosing the correct system to meet your needs is an important decision. The first thing you’ll need to decide is whether you want a system that is cloud-based or locally installed. Most companies have been moving toward cloud-based options for numerous reasons. First and foremost, it’s incredibly convenient. All of your data is automatically stored off-premise, so if something happens to your store or to your system, all of your payment, customer, and inventory information is still accessible. These systems are often extremely user-friendly as well, designed to be intuitive with very little training time needed. They tend to be sleek, modern, and visually appealing both to your customers and employees.

    Many cloud-based systems also perform routine updates automatically, fixing bugs and adding new features so that you always have the most current software at your fingertips. Along these same lines, the best POS systems sync seamlessly to any number of integrations that can help your business in ways you may not have even considered before.

    When you’re looking at purchasing a POS system, there are a number of factors to keep in mind. First and foremost, it’s likely that the cost of the POS hardware and software is going to play a large role. Some systems allow you to purchase your system and all necessary hardware upfront for a flat rate, allowing you to own the software. But if dropping a few thousand dollars isn’t something you’re comfortable with, the majority of point of sale companies offer monthly rates. A few companies, such as Square, offer a free version of their software that is generally suited for small operations, though most other POS software systems run anywhere from $39 to $99 a month for basic services while often offering advanced packages with additional features.

    Let’s talk about some features you can expect to find in pretty much any good, modern point of sale system:

    • Inventory Management: Not only can you view all of your stock on hand, you can set your POS to alert you when certain products are running low or, even more conveniently, you can set the system to automatically reorder products when they hit a certain level. This can be an enormous time saver and, in most systems, inventory management can be accessed remotely. You can set up quick transfers across multiple locations and, in many cases, create and print your own purchase orders.
    • Employee Management: Likewise, your staff is easy to track and manage from your centralized POS station. You can set permissions and create alerts for suspicious transactions to cut down on fraud. Employees can be given unique codes when they log into the system and can view their hours and current schedules.
    • Customer Management: Many point of sale systems come with their own built-in loyalty programs or integrate with other companies for a small monthly fee. But these days, your POS can help with so much more when it comes to analytics and marketing. Most systems allow for customer data to be stored and easily searched. Customers can look up their own loyalty points and control their own profiles in some cases. More useful for business owners, however, is the ability for the system to analyze what items are being purchased by certain customers, assessing buying habits and creating personalized marketing campaigns that can be implemented with ease, helping to maximize profits. The same can be done with coupons, targeting customers to boost repeat business.

    You will also want to do your research to see what systems specifically cater to your particular business. For example, if you’re opening a pizza shop, you may want to look for a system with built-in features that makes online ordering simple, or functions that allows customers to create a custom order which is then automatically sent to the kitchen, freeing up your employees. There are also niche POS systems for specific types of businesses. Quetzal, one of our highest-rated systems here at Merchant Maverick, is built for the retail industry with a significant bent towards shoe stores.

    Many POS software systems have their own app store, like Clover, or integrate with scores of apps that might help your business out tremendously. If you’re technically savvy, most POS providers also give you access to an open API, meaning that you or a developer can create your own apps within the software.

    When you’re doing your research there are a number of other features you’ll want to keep an eye on. Definitely check to see what features come in the form of add-ons which will increase your monthly fee. You will also want to make sure you have appropriate, compatible POS hardware. Several companies offer hardware packages that can be purchased directly through their websites.

    A robust reporting feature should be available in most highly-rated systems and many offer their own eCommerce platforms, making it easy to set up your own website and sell online, all from your POS device.

    Another key factor to research is what credit card processors are compatible with your system. While some offer a wide range of choices, integrating with most major companies, others lock you into a limited number of options or offer their own processing services for credit card payments, for better or worse.

    You’ll also want to see what your system has in terms of an offline mode. Most point of sale systems have evolved to now offer at least some offline functionality, but what you can actually do in the case of an outage can vary. Many systems still function as normal, allowing you to process credit cards, encrypt transactions, and store the data to be run once the internet is restored.

    It’s difficult to make a decision, but at Merchant Maverick, we’ve come across a number of point of sale systems that we would happily recommend depending on your business.

    • Shopkeep: Shopkeep is routinely on the top of our lists. This simple and reasonably priced system features everything you would expect in a point of sale system. It’s well suited for small to mid-sized retail shops and restaurants with a sleek design, excellent reporting and management tools, and terrific customer service.
    • Revel: For slightly larger restaurants or retail establishments, we often recommend Revel, a product that can manage multiple locations and large amounts of inventory with ease. Revel is intuitive and extremely robust with a top-notch kiosk function and Kitchen Display System.
    • Lightspeed: Lightspeed is another highly rated company and offers both a Retail and Restaurant product. Lightspeed has great customer service and is easy to set up while also providing intuitive front end and back end features. It also has an excellent and simple to use eCommerce platform.
    • ERPLY: ERPLY is one of the top retail point of sale systems that we’ve reviewed. One of its biggest features is the ability to integrate with most major credit card processors. It also has terrific shipping integrations and excellent customer management tools, particularly when it comes to loyalty.

    Final Thoughts

    There is obviously a lot to process when it comes to… well… credit card terminals and payment processing. If you’ve made it this far, hopefully you’re feeling a little more confident about your knowledge of credit card processing machines, virtual terminals, merchant services, point of sale systems, and what you should be looking for from the various companies that provide this technology. Make sure you have a good grasp on what each company charges for different transactions and what might be the best option for your type and size of business. Also don’t overlook things like a company’s customer service reputation. It’s a competitive market and you have the ability to make sure you end up with a credit card terminal and processing system that can best help your business thrive.

    Interested in learning more? Download our free Beginner’s Guide To Payment Processing.

    The post Complete Guide To Credit Card Machines And Terminals appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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    How To Print, Pack, And Ship With FedEx Office

    As an online seller, you’re a busy person. Between managing your website’s design and processing incoming orders, you barely have enough time to restock your packaging materials, much less create and print new marketing inserts!

    If this is you, it might be time to look into FedEx Office. You know FedEx as a shipping carrier that helps you get your products to your customers’ doorsteps, but they also offer a range of other services that can help simplify your business operations. And if you’re already using FedEx for your shipping, these services should fit right into your current business model.

    Take advantage of FedEx Office’s free shipping supplies and DIY design and printing services for marketing materials. If you need a few extra hands, look into FedEx’s packing and design services for assistance.

    Read on to learn how you can order free packaging materials and design and print your marketing inserts at your local FedEx store.

    Get Started With FedEx Office

    Packing & Shipping Supplies

    One of FedEx’s best services is their free-to-order shipping supplies.

    If you are using FedEx Express for your shipments, you can order FedEx boxes and filler material for free online. Those packages will be delivered to your doorstep within 2-5 business days. Take a look at a list of available packaging materials below, or view this webpage which includes a bit more detail about each option.

    Or, if you already have a FedEx account, you can go one step further and login to your account in order to start ordering packaging materials.

    Here’s a selection of those supplies:

    • FedEx Envelope
      • Best for papers. Must not exceed 500 grams.
    • FedEx Pak
      • For larger papers. Must not exceed 2.5kg.
    • FedEx Padded Pak
      • Tear and water resistant, for heavier documents that need protection. Must not exceed 2.5kg.
    • FedEx Small Box
      • Self-assembly box, for small documents and items. Must not exceed 9kg.
    • FedEx Medium Box
      • Self-sealing box, for binders, books, and large documents. Must not exceed 9kg.
    • FedEx Large Box
      • Self-sealing box, for large stacks of paper, heavier items, etc. Must not exceed 13kg.
    • FedEx A4 Box
      • Self-sealing box for shipping internationally. Must not exceed 9kg.
    • FedEx Tube
      • Self-sealing tube for posters, photos, etc. Must not exceed 9kg.
    • FedEx 10kg Box
      • Fixed rate via the FedEx International Priority Service.
    • FedEx 25kg Box
      • Fixed rate via the FedEx International Priority Service.
    • FedEx Clinical Pak
      • For shipping noninfectious clinical material. Must not exceed 9kg.
    • FedEx UN 3373 Pak
      • For shipping potentially infectious clinical material. Must not exceed 9kg.

    For step-by-step instructions on ordering your FedEx shipping supplies online, take a look at this video:

    If you choose to go the DIY route for packing, FedEx also provides several pages of advice on how to best pack specific items. Take a look at FedEx’s Service Guide, Packaging Help Hub, and Express Packaging and Labelling Tips.

    Alternatively, if you’d prefer FedEx did the packaging on your behalf, that’s an option too. Just take your shipments to a FedEx store nearby, and they will bubble wrap and box your products right there. Take a look at FedEx’s information on these packaging services and view their list of available boxes below:

    • Standard boxes
    • Specialty boxes
    • Bulk boxes
    • Packing supplies

    In my opinion, if you’re shipping more than twenty items a week, it’s a better idea to go with the self-packaging options. The materials are free, and after a bit of practice, you’ll be a packaging expert just like the employees at FedEx.

    Get Supplies From FedEx Office

    Marketing Materials

    In addition to their shipping services, FedEx also offers design and printing services for your marketing materials. Create custom marketing materials in-store at the FedEx Office or use an available template to design your materials online.

    You’ll be able to create the following items:

    • Banners
    • Business Cards
    • Brochures
    • Direct Mail
    • Flyers
    • Mounted Posters
    • Postcards
    • Posters
    • Presentations
    • Resumes
    • Sell Sheets
    • Signs
    • Design Services
    • Use Design Templates
    • Canvas Prints
    • Invitations
    • Manuals
    • Backlit Prints
    • Photo Posters
    • Car Magnets
    • Decals

    Follow the links above to view pricing for each item based on size and materials.

    You can pick up your order at a FedEx Office location or have it shipped to you. FedEx offers free shipping on orders of $100 or more.

    FedEx is also currently offering a coupon for their printing services. Get $5 on orders of $25 or more.

    Start Printing With FedEx Office

    Final Thoughts

    If you’re looking for an easy way to print your marketing inserts, posters, and business cards while getting your shipping done, FedEx Office might be the way to go.

    Of course, you’ll need to consider that these FedEx printing services come with some cost, and though the prices are generally very reasonable, you may be able to find lower prices elsewhere. Shop around before you make your decision!

    No matter what you decide on the printing services, one thing is certain: If you are using FedEx Express to ship your packages, you absolutely must take advantage of FedEx’s free shipping supplies. Just order the items you need online, and have those supplies delivered directly to your workspace in just a few days.

    For more information on what FedEx can offer your business, take a look at their website. Or, for a comparison of FedEx’s shipping services with other major shipping carriers, head over to our article USPS vs UPS vs FedEx: Which Shipping Carrier Is Best?

    Get Started With FedEx Office

    The post How To Print, Pack, And Ship With FedEx Office appeared first on Merchant Maverick.

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