Tools

5 Ways to Win at Inventory Management

5 Ways to Win at Inventory Management

There’s a rule in business. Whoever manages to do the most work using the least amount of time using the least amount of resources is eventually going to win... 

3 Simple Strategies for Employee Accountability

3 Simple Strategies for Employee Accountability

It’s that time of year again! The days are getting shorter, the air is getting colder, and the in-laws are hunting for bargains on airfare. The holidays are upon us and that means it’s retail’s time to shine! - or at least brace. Here are a few stocking-stuffers to help you maintain firm control even during the busiest times...

You're Being Reviewed

You're Being Reviewed

The advent of sites like Yelp, Angie's ListHundredX, Facebook, Google Reviews, and scores of others has absolutely changed the game in retail, especially for the food service industry. This means Customers will be drawn to— or driven from— your business before they even leave the house...

4 Ways to Use the New Hyperlapse App for Your Business

We love a good app launch, and Instagram/Facebook just launched a new one that we think is going to have some fun applications in the retail world. It's called Hyperlapse, and it creates amazing time lapse videos right from your smartphone without expensive equipment. hyperlapse

Typically, you'd need a big tripod to make this even remotely possibly on your phone, but the Hyperlapse app instantly stabilizes your footage to smooth out the little (and big) bumps in the road and give a cinematic polish to your videos. All you do is shoot timelapse videos in motion while you're doing whatever it is you're doing. Then speed up that video and share it on Instagram of Facebook directly—or save it for later to include in your next blog post.

The app's simple design makes it easy to use, and you don't even need an account to get filming.

Hyperlapse (1)

Here are a few ways we'd love to see businesses use this new app:

1. Go on a shop tour: Give customers a quick look behind the scenes into your shop or your workshop.

2. DIY handmade products: In just 5 seconds, show days of work on your handcrafted jewelry or other goods.

3. Recap a shop event: Hosting a special event? Why not share it with your community so everyone can feel like they were there!

4. Inventory animation: Create an internal contest for your employees — whoever comes up with the coolest time lapse inventory videos wins!

Are you going to try it out? Let us know what you think!

Coworking For Makers

Whether you've recently left a corporate job to set out on your own or have been working solo for as long as you can remember, being a business owner can get a little lonely. Even if you have a brick and mortar shop or designated studio space, it's easy to feel a little starved for human interaction and — let's face it — advice. Coworking can be a great middle ground between renting a space of your own and taking over the dining room table, with plenty of options out there for makers like you. Coworking spaces have popped up all over the country to accommodate entrepreneurs who aren't ready for a full shop or studio, but are looking for a place to call their very own... at least part of the time.

via Andrew Hyde

 

Why coworking?

1. Human contact. Like we said, human interaction is pretty important, especially if you run your business from your home or online.

2. Fresh air. Coworking is a refreshing change of scenery and offers the much-needed excuse to get out of your house. 'Nuff said.

3. Inspiration from kindred spirits. Coworking spaces are chockful of startups and creative people. For Dodd Caldwell, one of the coworking companies at Iron Yard in Greenville, SC, the like-minded workers at the desks around him. "Sometimes that's just tapping someone outside of your team on the shoulder and asking their opinion. Other times, it may be a 15-minute whiteboarding session with a developer on another startup."

4. Partnership opportunities. The opportunities that can come from a collective work environment are endless. In a single space, you might meet a budding web designer, a freelance accountant, a photographer and all sorts of people open to partnerships. It's all about who you know, and coworking spaces can be a conduit for collaboration.  Often, coworking spaces are curated or  just loosely themed, like PreFab in San Diego, for example. This multi-use space offers desks and workspace for drop-ins, members and makers—their studio hosts a set of bespoke fashion entrepreneurs, space for photo shoots, trunk shows and more.

Are you a coworker? What's the best part of your space!

Review of “Cashier Live” POS App

Cashier Live is an app that works on smartphones, tablets, and computers to bring full service point of sale features to small businesses everywhere. The motto of Cashier Live is very simple: accepting payments should be simple. By combining great design with extensive usability testing, Cashier Live has made it quick and easy for you to complete transactions from your iPhone, iPad, or computer with a very short learning curve. Whether you use Cashier Live as a push-button style cash register or take full advantage of their barcode scanner technology using the built-in camera on your phone or tablet, you can speed up your checkout time substantially by using Cashier Live as you point of sale solution.Cashier Live image

Description of Cashier Live POS App

Cashier Live boasts several great features that make it an ideal choice for businesses looking to integrate a flexible and robust point of sale solution over other similar apps. Here are just some of the great features offered by the Cashier Live POS app:

  • Ring Up Sales: You and your cashiers will be able to quickly ring up products using your camera as a barcode scanner or using the app as a push-button style register.
  • Take Payments: Accept cash, credit, or checks with the greatest of ease. Credit card processing requires service from one of our partners.
  • Item Options & Modifiers: Sell items that use different parts or ingredients like a pizza shop? Keep detailed records while using modifiers to get the order perfect.
  • Manage Inventory: Once you add a product’s information and quantity on hand, your inventory number will be automatically tracked.
  • Email Receipts: Make your business paperless by emailing receipts instead of printing. Your customers will love it, and you’ll reduce waste. Want a paper receipt? We integrate seamlessly with Star receipt printers.
  • Track Customers: Track customers by creating profiles with their contact information to offer them order tracking or promotions.
  • Run Reports: You can run any sales or inventory reports you need right from the handy online dashboard at the Cashier Live website.
  • Access Anywhere: Since the Cashier Live app is completely based in the cloud, you can access your sales data and inventory numbers from anywhere with an internet connection.

Overall Review 3-Stars Overall, I would give my review of the “Cashier Live” app a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. During my review of the Cashier Live app, I ran it through all the normal functions that a normal business would with their POS system. While the functionality of the cash register portion worked just fine, I was not impressed with the barcode scanner technology or the fact that there isn’t a built-in credit card processing solution. The saving grace for the Cashier Live app during my review of its performance was the fact that the online dashboard offered great sales analytics and inventory management functionality. If they could get the barcode reader working properly and integrate a credit card reader into the mix, I would rate this POS app much higher.

An Overview of Clover Station

Since the inception of Square Register, most of the major banks that once offered merchant accounts have been desperately seeking a solution to reclaim their stake in the marketplace. With so many small businesses opting for pay-per-swipe style credit card processing accounts versus the traditional merchant account systems that require expensive contracts regardless of how many transactions you conduct each month, many banks have been hemorrhaging profits that once came so easily. With this in mind, Bank of America has introduces their own flavor of POS system for processing credit cards, and its name is Clover Station.Clover Station

Clover Station is boasted as an all-in-one hardware, software, app marketplace, and merchant account platform that is perfectly suited for small businesses that want to avoid the expenses associated with a traditional point-of-sale system. Claiming that the Clover Station can do it all, merchants will be able to take payments, view inventory, track sales, manage employees, and add custom apps for their business right from the intuitive interface.

Software Features

  • Access your business information including inventory, sales, pricing and much more from any web enabled device.
  • Access your funds as soon as the next day if you link Clover Station with a Bank of America business checking account.
  • 100% secure and fully encrypted transactions for security.
  • 24/7 customer support with real-life agents to help you with technical issues.
  • Offline mode so when your internet is down, you can still accept card payments.

Hardware Features

  • Sleek Touchscreen tablet on swivel stand with a built in card reader and intuitive POS software preloaded.
  • Fast Printing Receipt Printer
  • Matching Cash Drawer
  • Optional Kitchen Printer
  • Printer Cables
  • Printer Paper
  • All equipment and software backed by a Dedicated U.S. Based Customer Support team 24/7, 365 days a year.

Pricing Information

  • Equipment: $999.00 to purchase -or- $49.93/month to Lease
  • Service Fees: $49.00/month for first Clover Station, $25.00/month for each additional unit
  • Processing Fees: 1.89% to 2.50% +$0.20 for Visa, MasterCard, and Discover. Amex rates vary.

Overall Assessment

The Clover Station system is very sleek, easy to use, and has all the right hardware to be a fully functional point-of-sale system right out of the box. The system requires only a very short learning curve, so it is ideal if you have multiple employees that will need to use the POS system. The option to have an additional kitchen printer is a very handy feature and adds to the versatility of this system.

However, the Clover Station may be a bit on the expensive side for many small businesses because the hardware and monthly service fees may make this more costly than other systems such as Square Register that are purely pay-per-swipe. I suggest each business do the math to determine if the monthly fees end up being cheaper in the long run, but most small businesses that I’ve calculated for are better off sticking with a system that has no monthly service fees.

Finding Helpful Business Software

Even the smallest businesses are searching for the perfect software to help give them an edge in this ultra-competitive economy and this has given birth to a whole plethora software companies vying for your money. It seems like nearly every day there is a new software company coming out of the woodwork trying to sell the idea that their solution will make your life easier and magically make your company more profitable. However, these types of promises should not be taken lightly because you actually can improve your business a great deal if you implement the appropriate software solutions. Finding business software that is both helpful and cost-effective can be a bit more challenging than it seems, but knowing the appropriate criteria will help you spend your money wisely and get the right setup for the type of business you operate.Identifying Inefficiencies

First, you must identify the areas in your business that are inefficient and could benefit from new software to help you automate the process. In order to do this, you must weigh the cost of the new software implementation against the current costs of your operation. If you have three employees making $40,000 each and new software can replace two of them at a cost of only $50,000, you’ll end up saving $30,000 in the first year alone. Since your business software will likely to run for several years, those levels of savings can add up very quickly.

Lay Out Goals

In order to measure the success of your new business software implementation as well as help you choose the type that is right for your company, you must lay out your objectives and goals ahead of time. This will act as a guidebook when you are shopping for potential software providers and give you the tools to know exactly what you’re looking for. If you’re having custom software built for your specific needs, most software architects will offer certain guarantees of functionality in your order agreement. Having these function goals documented in advance can ensure you get the perfect product you need or they will fix it for free.

Research the Software

Once you’ve settled on a software company you believe is a good fit for your business, you should research it in great detail and find a location that offers a demo of the business software. Once you’ve made a software purchase and the implementation is complete, it can be really difficult to turn back if you’re unhappy with the results. You are much better off if you test out the software in a real-world environment ahead of time to ensure you are buying a software package that will serve your needs for years to come.

Review of “PayAnywhere” App

If you are looking for a good option for accepting mobile payments, PayAnywhere is a great choice for small and medium sized businesses or people looking to occasionally swipe a credit card. They offer a very reliable credit card reader that works perfectly in tandem with their intuitive app if you take the time to configure it. Though not quite as simple to use or scalable as Square Register and other competing apps, PayAnywhere is compatible with a vast variety of devices. The app already is compatible with iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and even the Blackberry platform, and the company promises that more advances are on the way. Though it only runs on the 3G and 3GS data platforms, it is still compatible with older hardware making it a great choice for those who don’t want to upgrade.Description of PayAnywhere

Created by the company North American Bancard, PayAnywhere offers the same free credit card reader option and pay-per-swipe pricing structure as its top competitors. To its credit, PayAnywhere also offers a slightly lower transaction fee versus Square Register; 2.69% compared to Square’s 2.75%. One of the other major perks that this app offers over competitors is the ability to accept PayPal as a form of payment; though there’s no official connection between the two brands. The aim of PayAnywhere is to increase all business’s abilities to accept any form of legal payment on the fly for the lowest possible transaction fee.

• Free app and free credit card reader • 2.69% per swipe for all card types, including American Express • No monthly minimums, no cancellation fees, no hidden fees • Secure encrypted transactions adhering to PCI compliance standards • Live customer service and technical support • Accept and record credit card and cash payments • Add discounts and customizable tips • GeoTax feature automatically calculates sales tax based on GPS location • AirPrint, Star thermal printer, and Cash Drawer compatibility • Inventory tools for adding products/services with images, custom descriptions, and categories • Customized electronic receipts sent to your customers • Built-in reporting to view sales trends in app • Free online portal with PayAnywhere Inside for detailed account activity

Overall Review

4-Stars

Overall, I would give my review of the PayAnywhere app a rating of 4 out of 5 stars. I really liked the functionality of the app itself, and I appreciated the durable and robust construction of the credit card reader. Though the reader still plugs into your device’s headphone jack, it also grips the side of the device giving it a much more stable platform from which to work. Additionally, I thought that offering Blackberry support was a unique feature, though Blackberry is obviously a dying brand that is soon to be phased out. The pricing is right too; coming in at slightly lower than Square Register and PayPal Here. I docked it one star because the app won’t work with any device capable of more than 3G, so I had to dust off an old phone just to try it out for this review. However, if you are still using an old 3G phone, iPad, or other tablet, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the great features this app offers.

Review of “Credit Card Terminal” App

Credit Card Terminal is a point of sale app that is very similar to its competitors such as Square and PayPal Here. Available on both iOS and Android platforms, this app does bring the flexibility that most business owners crave when looking to move into the mobile POS world. Unlike many of its competitors, Credit Card Terminal charges a modest $25 monthly fee on top of their pay-per-swipe credit card processing fees. The swipe fees will vary depending on what credit card you accept, but it is fairly priced for Visa which is the most common card you’ll see. Additionally, Credit Card Terminal offers the ability to accept payment from your Mac or PC laptop and desktop which makes it a little more versatile than some of its top competition.Description of Credit Card Terminal

Created by the company Inner Fence, this program is yet another flavor of POS in an ever-expanding realm of apps. Like most virtual cash register programs, Credit Card Terminal offers a free credit card reader to users when they get signed up for service. There is also a whole plethora of sales reporting tools as well as inventory control, which is essential for small businesses. Best of all, you can operate an unlimited number of terminals under the same account without additional fees, so the app is completely scalable.

  • Reliable card swiping for quicker transactions.
  • Maps, signatures, PDF receipts, refunds, transaction history, graphs, app integration, and more.
  • One account enables all of your devices whether you are a single person or growing company.
  • Encrypted sensitive data for a trusted sale.
  • Our United States based team is standing by to assist you.
  • Now able to integrate Bluetooth and network receipt printers.

Overall Review

3-Stars

Overall, I would give my review of the Credit Card Terminal app a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. Functionally, this app offers you most of the great features you would expect from a POS system that runs on multiple platforms along with really great reporting features. However, the pricing structure for their service is a little steeper than most of their competition, which was a little hard to justify since they have essentially built an equivalent app. The additional fees may be worth it if someone wants to buy a USB credit card reader and use a laptop or desktop computer as their cash register instead of a smartphone or tablet, but I think most people would agree that the touchscreen route is the way of the future.

First US Bitcoin ATM Opens in Texas

Many people are familiar with the massive success that the internet currency Bitcoin has been enjoying since they first debuted a few years ago. Many economists have speculated that Bitcoin will become a new player in world currency and may even become the first international currency that is universally recognized in every country. However, being able to buy Bitcoins and transfer them into your digital wallet for spending has been a tedious task to say the least and requires knowledge and effort that many consumers simply don’t possess.In an effort to make Bitcoins more acceptable and widely-used in the American economy, a company named Robocoin has developed Bitcoin ATMs and is opening their first one in the USA in late February of 2014. Essentially, you can just walk up to the ATM, transfer US dollars into Bitcoins, and transfer them directly into your digital wallet for easy spending. People who own Bitcoins already will be able to put them up for sale on the ATM to create the first all-in-one marketplace where you can buy and sell Bitcoins for any other form of US currency. Robocoin already has Bitcoin ATMs in Vancouver and has shipped them to Asia, though many Asian countries outlawed them briefly until just recently.

A local tavern in Austin, Texas, will be the home to the company’s first ATM. Predominately located at the front of the bar; visitors will not have a tough time finding the Bitcoin ATM and becoming exposed to the concept for the first time at a tavern called the HandleBar. Robocoin has also announced even more expansion within the US and Canada to debut soon with machines opening in Seattle and Alberta. With every new location they open, Robocoin expects the demand for their Bitcoin ATMs to increase.

Though Robocoin is constantly expanding and trying to grab a larger portion of the market, many have criticized their slow rate of growth. The company has shrugged off these complaints and state that the company is growing at a rapid pace and is scaling their infrastructure accordingly as they increase in size. A “slow and steady” approach has always proved successful for startups to avoid security issues and service outages that have plagued many companies that try to overexpose themselves way too soon.

Additionally, there are a few hoops that businesses need to jump through in order to legally have a Bitcoin ATM at their location. Each business is currently required to apply for and receive a Money Transmitter License (MTL) or to register as a Money Service Business (MSB) to be 100% legal. While this seems like a bit of a hassle for businesses, the Bitcoin ATMs focus in on the key demographic of adults age 18-40. Robocoin also believes that the United States and other governments will work alongside the Bitcoin currency to make the laws easier to buy and sell the internet currency that is changing the way people think about money.

Why Was Clinkle Hacked Before It Even Launched?

Clinkle is one of the most mysterious and overwhelmingly funded new payment processing apps expected to hit the market in 2014, but it isn’t yet available on the market. That being said, there was a recent hack to their “placeholder” app that will inform people on the waiting list to try it out once it’s released and is available for download. Though they aren’t actively providing services to any customers yet, Clinkle is apparently still collecting information such as names, address, phone numbers, and credit card numbers from customers that are ready to go as soon as the app becomes live ahead of time.This left the up-and-coming app extremely vulnerable to an attack that was successfully accomplished recently because they never expected that anyone would try at this stage of development. The hack was verified because a list of 33 usernames, phone s numbers, and profile pictures were leaked to a website named Paste Bin, but was fairly quickly taken down by the site’s administrators once they realized what it was. This isn’t the first time that their website was used to leak this type of information, so they were quick to correct the problem.

Nobody was safe from this data violation, not even Clinkle’s founder Lucas Duplan. That’s right, everyone on the testing and development staff that had their information entered in the database was exposed on the list, which proves how deep and aggressive this hack was. Others on the list include former Netflix CFO and now Clinkle COO Barry McCarthy and former PayPal exec Mike Liberatore who is now the Clinkle CFO.

The path of the hack seems to stem from the API that Clinkle has in place but isn’t thoroughly tested or locked down. The quote from the hacker is as follows:

Results from Clinkle typeahead API. It requires no authentication. The app stores writes results to disk automatically. This is much worse than Snapchat’s breach. Phone numbers masked as courtesy.

Essentially, this means that the hacker was able to access all this data on one of Clinkle’s servers without any user ID or other credentials because the data was completely free of any required authentication. Though this is clearly a more vulnerable design than Snapchat’s, it isn’t really as bad because it was a list of 33 test accounts that were exposed instead of 4.6 million of Snapchat’s user’s data. That being said, it is still some poor craftsmanship for a company with $30 million in private funding in the opinion of many high-end programmers.

Apple Planning to Take on Payment Processing

There have been many reports surfacing recently that Apple is planning to make the move to mobile payment processing to cut out the middlemen and their profits. The most reputable report of this came from the Wall Street Journal after interviewing top representatives of the country. While this may be a shock to many of the people who have been long-time users of Apple’s products, the mega-corporation maintains that this has been in the cards for a long time and their hardware and operating systems have been designed to accommodate this move for several generations.Eventually, Apple plans to give its users the ability to accept payments for physical goods in online stores in the same fashion that many people use PayPal. However, they are initially planning to launch for only the iTunes market and App Store to keep that extra 2% to 3% of processing fees in their pocket. While this doesn’t sound like a lot of money, these pennies can add up to several millions of dollars when you multiply it across the many transactions they conduct every year. Once their customers are comfortable using Apple’s platform as their source of payment, they can then make the transition to take on payment moguls such as PayPal and even make a play at the growing mobile payment processing market that also includes giants like Square.

However, there is a lot of risk involved in processing payments, and critics are quick to point these risks out when talking about a company that is center stage. Apple’s track record of getting hacked isn’t exactly the greatest to begin with, but having a whole database of names, addresses, and credit card numbers may be a little too tempting for hackers. Apple is already notorious for making the easiest to hack phones and tablets, so putting that much risk of privacy violation on their own shoulders may not be worth keeping the small amounts of revenue they can gain by processing the payments themselves.

On top of the clear and obvious risks, Apple has also been seeing a sharp drop in popularity over the last year. Many people blame stale products and the lack of any clear vision into future markets, something that up-and-coming hardware player Google seems to be excelling in. With the idea of smartphones and tablets becoming dated and everyone looking to the future, many see this move for Apple into payment processing as a desperate attempt to stay profitable while their product line continues to be devastated by the addition of an onslaught of Android powered devices and cutting-edge technology such as Google Glass that clearly are leading the fight to win the future.

5 Free Productivity Apps For Small Businesses

5 Productivity Apps for Small BusinessesThe app store can be an overwhelming place. In the world of time-saving, life-hacking, productivity apps, it's easy to get lost among those little icons that promise so much. To help you suss out the tools worthy of your screen's real estate, we rounded up a few of our favorite small business productivity apps at the low-low price of free.wunderlist

Wunderlist (Free) iPhone, iPad, Mac Desktop, Android, Windows, Kindle Fire Wunderlist is a cloud-based productivity tool that can do pretty much anything list-related. You can use it from multiple devices, so you can jot down your to do list on your work laptop and then revise it on your morning bus ride the next day. You can set deadlines, make notes, turn on reminders, set recurring tasks and even use your email and browser to send tasks directly to Wunderlist. It's collaborative as well, so you can share  lists and work with your team on projects. The app is free on all platforms, but they also offer paid options with additional features: Wunderlist Pro and Wunderlist for Business.

apple clock 2

Timer (Free) iPhone, iPad, Android, etc. Yes, we really do mean the timer that comes standard on your phone. Or—screw apps—even your kitchen timer. We humans do our best work in spurts with frequent breaks—it's science. One of the most common techniques is to work in 90-minute spurts with a 15 minute breaks in between, in order to follow our natural ultradian rhythms. The other is called the Pomodoro Technique, in which you break down your tasks into 25-minute blocks and focus solely on that task during that block. As you get comfortable with one of these techniques, it may help your day run more smoothly and efficiently because you'll be able to identify projects that take up too much of your time, as well as distractions that may've been keeping you from completing things faster. Bonus hack: Use Siri as a shortcut on your iPhone by asking her, "Wake me up in 25 minutes." This will automatically set a new alarm for you to let you know when to wake up from your work and take a short break!

mailbox

Mailbox (Free) iPhone, iPad Clean inboxes, here we come. If you're anything like us (big David Allen fans), inbox zero is tough but necessary. Mailbox is a new way to deal with your email. It connects with Gmail and provides an intuitive labeling and archiving system. With the most simple of swipes, you can "snooze" emails, delete them, set reminders and more. It syncs that system up with your Gmail account so everything is easy to find whenever you're dealing with your email on your laptop too.

evernote

Evernote (Free) iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac Desktop, Android, Windows, Blackberry, Windows Desktop There's a reason this app is typically near the top of the best of lists, no matter the category. It's kind of a catch-all and we had to include it on our list too. Send Evernote anything and it'll help you catalog it and find it later. Use it to keep track of documents, research, travel information, inspiration, project notes, photos, business cards or anything you'd like to collect from the web. Evernote also offers an array of other products like a Peek (a study tool), Clearly (a reader) and a collaborative set of business tools for $10/user/month.

asana

Asana (Free for up to 15 team members) iPhone, Android, Desktop Asana's mantra is teamwork without email. It is robust collaboration tool, great (and free) for small teams juggling multiple tasks at a time. It not only helps you organize and assign tasks and deadlines to your staff in a clear way, but it integrates with all kinds of other software like Wordpress, Google Drive, MailChimp, etc. If your business outgrows 15 team members, they have a paid service available.

Review of “TripIt” Travel Organizer App

If you travel for business, you probably already know how big of a headache it can be to keep track of your itinerary and plans along with documenting all of your expenses and other important write-off information. Luckily, there is as app that has emerged to help manage your business trips called TripIt, and the best part is that it is available in a free version.Description of TripIt

The app itself is incredibly easy to use and install and it is compatible with both Android devices as well as Apple. All you need to do is forward all your business trip emails to a pre-specified email address from TripIt and the app will organize all of the details into an easy-to-follow itinerary. If you travel a lot for business, the paid version adds extra features including real-time flight alerts, a seat tracker, flight finder functions, refund notifications, frequent flyer point tracker, and much more. However, the free version still gives you access to the bulk of the features including:

  • Forward hotel, airline, car rental, and restaurant confirmation emails to plans@tripit.com to create an instant itinerary (If you use Gmail or Google Apps, it happens automatically)
  • Access itineraries anytime, on any device (even offline)
  • Get directions, maps and weather for each destination
  • Sync trip plans with your Google Calendar or Outlook
  • Add or edit plans manually (from the app or on the website)
  • Share some (or all) of your trip plans via email or social

My Review

5-Stars

Overall, I would give the “TripIt” app a rating of 5 out of 5 stars. I do a lot of traveling for business, so having a companion app that does exactly what you need it to do is a breath of fresh air. There is nothing better than an app that takes care of putting together your itinerary for you and keeping you on task through the whole journey. I also like the features of the paid version because it takes care of tracking the business expenses as well. Anything that takes care of this much paperwork and effort for me is certainly worth a great review, and that’s why I gave if 5 stars.

PayPal’s New Innovation Center

On the third floor of a very inconspicuous building in New York City is one of the most cutting-edge testing sites for emerging technology platforms. PayPal’s “Innovation Center” is hidden in plain sight among New York’s other attractions such as Time Square and the Empire State Building, and most people walk by it without even batting an eyelash. However, the testing and think-tanks that are percolating inside this mecca of tech would make even a grown man’s mouth drool with gadgets and apps galore that one could only fathom in their wildest dreams.The Innovation Center is actually a fairly old concept that is just becoming a talked about institution in the annals of tech culture. Opened in 2011, the venue has been increasing in foot traffic steadily since its debut. The place looks more like a mini-mall than a testing zone with different suits setup to demo unique and interesting things. The showroom’s purpose is to demonstrate PayPal’s latest technologies as well as ones they are considering releasing in the futures; even if it is only a mock-up with examples of how it could be used in real life.

The biggest reason that the PayPal Innovation Center is getting media is because of a new feature they are planning to release that allows online merchants to accept PayPal as a form of payment without the guest ever leaving the website. This has been a hot button issue for many retailers who want to keep their brand intact and not look like a two-bit operation be sending their customers off-site to pay for their goods.

Additionally, PayPal announced some integration upgrades in association with eBay to make the shopping experience more pleasant there as well. Since the majority of PayPal’s revenue comes from eBay sale commissions, staying on top of that partnership is crucial to the company’s success moving forward.

Overall, PayPal’s Innovation Center is going to be making more waves as they continue to expand their functionality and consumers continue to expect more out of their apps and software. Having a showcase to demo their new features and get feedback from users in real-time will be massively beneficial, especially since many people hiding behind the guise of a keyboard and monitor or touchscreen can be disingenuous when it comes to their criticism. We expect big things from PayPal in the future, and their cutting-edge Innovation Center will help them win the future.

Review of “My Cash Register” App

With the accessibility of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets becoming more prevalent, many shop owners are choosing to use digital cash registers rather than investing in clunky and expensive mechanical cash registers. Though a mechanical cash register is cheaper in comparison to a tablet or smartphone, chances are that you’ll want to own one of these devices for other purposes as well ranging from recreation to business needs such as inventory control. Since you likely already own a compatible device, digital cash registers are the most cost effective and reliable solutions for small retail shops.My Cash Register

Description of My Cash Register

Designed by the popular app company CamelDroid, this is yet another great app aimed at helping retailers bring their business into this century. My Cash Register is exactly what the name infers; a touchscreen cash register that works on your smartphone or tablet. Mobile cash registers are in very high demand these days because they can save you time and money because they are very reliable and install for little or no money on your existing smartphone or tablet. My Cash Register gives you several great features including:

  • You can add your products.
  • You can classify your products by categories and with a specific color.
  • You can add a price and a photo for each product.
  • You can add products on a cash register ticket with the scanner or by clicking on a specific item.
  • You can export your ticket to PDF or text and send it by email.
  • You can manage your stock thanks to the check in-out entries.
  • You can create backup files and export your tickets, check-in/out entries, or products to csv or xml that you can open directly in Excel.
  • You can import your products from Excel.
  • You can synchronize the app between multiple devices.
  • You can add payments.
  • You can link a ticket with a Client/Table.
  • You can add custom items in all reports.

There are two versions of My Cash Register available; the paid version and the free version. The benefits of the paid version include an ad-free user experience and the ability to import items via an excel spreadsheet.

My Review

3-Stars

Overall, I would give the “”My Cash Register” app a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. This digital cash register app offers a lot of great features that most retailers and shopkeepers will find useful such as the ability to export to an Excel file or save reports to a PDF file for easy emailing and data sharing. However, as we move closer to a completely digital world, the My Cash Register app doesn’t offer the ability to swipe credit cards like many other digital cash registers, so it loses 2 stars because of this lack of a crucial feature.

Introducing Coin: An Electronic Credit Card

Companies and startups that try to focus on making the exchange of money and tracking your funds an easier task are not new at all. From apps such as Simple that focus on creating savings plans and budget goals for its users to Billguard which notifies you of fraud with your credit cards, everyone is trying to get their foot in the door with the next great thing. In that same tradition, a new software/hardware startup that calls itself Coin is trying to eliminate all the clutter in your wallet and simplify your payments with a single “electronic” credit card.The concept is actually quite simple, but the technology is fairly advanced. First off, you download and install the Coin app on your phone or tablet and enter the information from various credit cards. Coin has a theoretical limit storing the data from 8 cards, but the app can store an unlimited amount and can be synced via Bluetooth very quickly. You can also add the data from other types of cards including membership cards and gift cards; essentially anything with a magnetic strip.

Once you’ve entered in the data from all of your chosen cards, you can sync the data to the physical Coin device using the built-in low power Bluetooth chip. After you’ve programmed the card with your info, you’re ready to start spending. The front of the Coin card features a small digital screen to display text and a single button to toggle between cards. Simply click the button and the screen will display which card you have selected to use.

Once you’ve selected the card you want to use for your purchase, the magnetic strip on the back of the card is automatically “programmed” temporarily with the data for that particular card. This allows you to swipe it just like the real credit or debit card to make a purchase and then switch it at a moment’s notice.

With any new type of payment, there are always going to be security concerns. Fortunately for Coin, this is one of their biggest selling points. Since the magnetic strip is dynamic, those dreaded magnetic scanners that some thieves like to use are useless since the data is only on the strip at the time you are making a purchase. Also, in the event someone gets their hands on your Coin card, you can instantly lock it down from your smartphone app without any need to contact your bank or credit card company. These features mean that it is actually much safer to carry just the Coin rather than a wallet full of cards, not to mention the reduced hassle and clutter that only having one card brings to the equation.

3 Best Motivational Apps

It's the start of a new year and many of us have set new goals and resolutions, both personal and professional. Those are resolutions we plan on following... until we don't.Here are a few technological helpers to keep you on the right track with your new year's resolutions, whether you like it or not.

motivational apps image

lyft

 

Lift Free for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Android Lift is a pretty smart cookie. It breaks down your long-term goals into short-term steps, it provides coaching and reminders, and a community feature where you can see who else is working on the same goals as you are. It will keep you on track with anything from breaking your "um" habit to running a mile a day for 30 days to  finally launching that crowdfunding campaign.

 

 

habitlist

 

Habit List $2.99 for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch This sleek app comes with a price tag, but the features are as nice as the design. Habit List is one of the most full-featured motivational apps that allows you to set your list of habits, send yourself daily notes and custom reminders and it keeps track of your progress over time like a game. The color-coding task buttons make it easy to prioritize what's most important to you.

 

 

carrot

 

Carrot $1.99 for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch This app is a big jerk. There are plenty of task, reminder and alarm clock apps out there, but Carrot actually gets a little cranky when you don't get things done. It has personality—an attitude that's just cheeky and bizarre enough to work. Just check out what happens when you ask Carrot to wake you up...

 

 

Shopify Drastically Revamps iOS App

Shopify has long been a leader in the world of e-Commerce, but recently they have been making a push to connect their online store features with brick and mortar solutions for businesses that do both. This has been particularly important recently with Square Register and PayPal Here taking larger and larger chunks out of the POS market. While Square attempts to cut into the large pie that Shopify owns with its e-Commerce platform by creating their own flavor called Square Market, Shopify is already in a unique position because their technology links the sales from their website and POS for improved inventory tracking.Even with these obvious advantages that Shopify holds over its competitors, their cash register app is still far behind in download numbers. Many in the app development community attribute this to the strong focus that companies such as Square and PayPal have to mobile payment processing rather than online sales, but that focus could turn out to hurt them in the end.

Recently, Shopify released a drastically revamped version of their iOS app that aims to make managing a seller’s store both online and offline as simple as a few touches of their smartphone screen. Also, they aim to take on Square directly with a totally free credit card swiper with competitive rates for their US customers.

One of the new features that they have included in the app for their online merchants is a notifications system that lets you know when new orders come in and even allows you to dispatch shipping notifications. You also have complete inventory control at the tips of your fingers that allows you to add or remove stock, change pricing and costs, add photos for your products, and even use your phone as a secondary POS beyond your iPad based system.

Though this is the first product update of 2014, it certainly not going to be the last. Only time will tell if Shopify can compete with Square or PayPal in the mobile payment arena, but these new updates have certainly pushed the company in the right direction.