For decades electronic billing using credit cards and online payment systems have been the toys of big corporations and only a dream for smaller businesses. Times are changing and over the past few years a revolution of how small business manages payments has quietly been taking place thanks to social media and the all important smart phone. As both customers and business owners become more accustomed to these technologies, the savings associated with easier billing, accounting and processing will make life easier for all sides.
So what has changed to create this shift towards small business technology? Simply put Facebook, Paypal, Ebay, Amazon, etc.. These powerhouses have created not only legitimacy among the general public but trust in making transactions in digital form with almost anonymous sellers. As the key demographic for retail slowly transitions to the generation of the iPhone a further transfer to pure digital transactions will take place.
So how can a small business owner harness these new technologies to increase productivity and their bottom line? The easy answer is to grab hold and run with all the different technologies and see which ones stick. This path has been taken by many and they fail to consider the integration with existing systems they already have in place. Do you use QuickBooks for instance? Although this article is too short to get into these integration questions any competent consultant can assist you in analyzing your systems to determine the best tools. So what are the newest gadgets and apps out?
- Square – With a free card reader that fits on iPhone and Android devices you have the ability to swipe any credit card. At a processing fee of 2.75 the cost is far from prohibitive. Funds are sent directly to your bank account with easy configuration. Businesses use many types of programs to track their finances. Excel, Numbers, and Quickbooks are some of the most popular ones. It is usually straightforward to integrate our spreadsheet, but Quickbooks takes a little bit of work to get it imported properly.
- Payvment – This application allows for full integration of a storefront directly into Facebook. Even more exciting is the fact that its free! If you have goods that you are selling on your website, why wouldn’t you dive into this easy to administrate application. The storefront accepts paypal only but this shouldn’t be a significant problem for most buyers. Of course download of CSV files allows for integration with your back-end solutions.
- Google Checkout – A name synonymous with the internet has created a simple check out application that allows for fast payments for anyone with a Google account. The integration into your website can range from a simple button to full blown development work. In addition, check out Google Base for even further reach into the Google search engine.
- PayLoadz – If your business sells digital media, tickets, etc. then PayLoadz is a must have. Easy integration with your website and the ability to take payments of all types makes life easy for the seller. With integration abilities with several auction sites, this can also assist in digital selling where instant transfer is preferable.