Recently, our office finished reading Tribal Leadership as a group. Since Justin and Ivan discovered this book, we have been trying to identify our values here at MerchantOS. During our first quarter reviews, we all wrote down some things that we value as a company. Continue reading
As many of our Canadian friends know, British Columbia is reverting from Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) back to two separate tax percentages: Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST).
Here we have a group of BC business owners trying to figure out how to convert MerchantOS to GST + PST.
Don’t worry, we can show you how!
Recently a challenge appeared before the Support Heroes locked away in their Olympic ivory tower. A MerchantOS customer wrote in to support asking us, what is the best way to pay for the customer’s sales taxes? This was a promotional sale and another good strategy to keep that momentum going from this past holiday season.
Wrapping up a year in retail should be cathartic. Chances are, it will be a bit of work for your staff, too. Well organized inventory can speed up this process. Today’s tip will help you harness the power of our Margins Per Line report.
Adding a customer to each sale in MerchantOS not only allows for better customer tracking, it allows you to get more useful reports for analyzing your business.
Now the point of this article is to go over this often asked question, how do I set an item aside for store use?
10 Second Summary
The speakers at MozCon said we should focus on producing excellent content, turning customers into evangelists, and connecting our campaigns across platforms.
Mozwhat? MozCon is among the most innovative online marketing conferences in the world. I was lucky enough to attend this year and thought I’d share some of my notes. The speakers included geniuses like Rand Fishkin, Tom Critchlow, Wil Reynolds, and Marty Weintraub. They covered everything from advertising and content creation to highly technical search engine optimization. Without further ado, here’s the good stuff:
Compelling Content Wins
Nearly every speaker at MozCon repeated the same mantra “create awesome content.” It doesn’t matter if you’re a huge multinational or a hometown retailer, you’re going to need compelling content if you want to succeed online. What should you create? That depends entirely on your business, brand, and audience — but research shows that images and videos score the highest engagement ratings.
Extra Bonus: Are search engine rankings important to your business? If so, there are several ways to get a nifty rankings boost from images. My favorite is to find your image on Google, search for “similar” results, find all of the websites using your image, and then ask the owners for a link to your website. It’s an easy way to get lots of links and increase your rankings! (thank Paddy Moogan for this gem)
An evangelist is someone who loves to tell people about your business, and they’re your most powerful marketing resource. The trick is figuring out how to convert people who just “like” your business into evangelists who preach the gospel. First off, remember that not all evangelists are created equal and that you should focus your energy on the people who are most influential (bloggers, leaders, etc). The easiest way to create an evangelist is to provide an exceptional service and then surprise and delight a person by doing something they never expected. Kotex did this brilliantly last year by selecting 20 influential women on Pinterest and sending them a surprisingly beautiful box of gifts with a personal note. Nearly all of the women responded by posting pictures of their gifts and blogging about the event. In total, Kotex estimates that their campaign reached nearly 50,000 women through a trusted source — for the cost of a few gift baskets and a little creativity.
Online advertising options have improved dramatically in the last few years and return-on-investment (ROI) is very solid, especially compared to traditional advertising mediums (print, radio, television). The trick to running a successful advertising campaign is to tie in social media profiles, landing pages on your website, and interesting content. This obviously works out differently depending on your industry and size, but let’s look at a few specific examples:
Local Grocery Store Uses Facebook advertising to their Facebook page because every time someone “likes” their page they’ll have access to them for future communications. These ads are relatively inexpensive and it doesn’t take long to build up 2000 followers. Now when they post of coupon or a daily special, it reaches between 400 and 700 people without further cost.
Large Law Office Every new client brings in a significant chunk of money, so this law office an afford to spend more money on a conversion. This particular office is doing very well by targeting auto injury and malpractice related keywords in their area on Google ads. Each click costs approximately $35, so they’ve built beautiful landing pages for each topic (auto injury, mesothelioma, etc) to help maximize the number of people who actually convert into clients. This particular office also uses retargeting ads — which means that anyone who clicked on their mesothelioma ad on Google will now see their mesothelioma banner ads on major websites like the Wall Street Journal.
Small Bike Shop These guys have a passionate audience who consume interesting cycling content faster than it can be created, so they’ve focused on building up a blog with tons of industry articles and visual tutorials. They use the same Facebook strategy as the grocery store but they’re also advertising on Google for keywords that relate to bicycle tutorials (in their geographical area). This bike shop is also experimenting with YouTube banner ads that show up when people in their city search for cycling related videos.
The takeaway is that online advertising is quantifiable, targeted, and relatively affordable. There are also lasting benefits if you can link your campaign to a social media platform and retain fans for future communications. Successful campaigns are well targeted, link to great content, and allow visitors to easily opt into something so you can retain them.
Author: Roderick Campbell is the CEO and co-founder of Coral Payments. His background is in digital marketing and search engine optimization. If you have questions, you can usually find him on Twitter @CoralHQ.
Centralized ordering has come to MerchantOS! The model behind this feature is having one location (warehouse or distribution center) that handles everything your business needs to (re)order across all shops. The Master Order feature can be utilized by single location shops to easily manage orders between multiple vendors.
It wasn’t impossible to do this before, it just wasn’t easy. What I’m about to cover now is just how easy it is to order inventory from one location, yet manage multiple stores. If the shelves are looking bare at your shop, you can use transfers to place your order from your warehouse instead of your vendor. This can save your business the shipping expenses and the time it takes to manage your warehouse.
Read all about Master Orders in MerchantOS Help →
While we do have a help article covering the basics, I’m sure some of you will have questions or feedback about Master Orders. Feel free to leave them in the comments below or contact support at email@example.com or chat now with one of our reps.
If your shop is planning on taking in used items for consignment, trade, or both, here’s the simple setup for the best workaround.
Think twice before you swipe! Every time you use a credit card, you’re being charged a hidden fee. This secret tax takes a percentage of your transaction when money is transferred from your bank account to the merchant’s account. These fees, worth $45 billion annually, land directly in the pockets of large corporations. For perspective, that’s almost as much as Michigan State’s annual budget.
As an individual consumer you end up losing an average of $427 per year, because merchants compensate for the fees by increasing their prices. In other words, the average person ends up spending more money on hidden swipe fees than they do on Christmas presents for their family.
Typical swipe fees cost you $35.58 per month, but what do you actually get? Not much. Transactions are now processed electronically, so there’s very little cost to banks and credit card companies. That means you’re just paying for the honor of using their system (and a few yachts, jets, and sports cars).
**Sad Fact: Swipe wipe fees increased by about 270% between 2001 and 2009.
How can you avoid these fees?
Pay cash. Merchants can make up to 30% higher net profits on cash transactions; which results in lower prices for consumers. Small businesses all over the country are starting to either offer discounts for cash payment or refuse to take credit cards altogether.
Cash keeps more money in your local economy, lowers consumer prices, and allows small merchants to make better profits.
Money Saving Resources
FeeFighters.com – Sometimes swipe fees are a necessary evil, but Fee Fighters can help you minimize the damage. Their service is ingeniously simple, you just provide them with basic information about your business and they help you find the cheapest services. This is one of the easiest ways to instantly improve your margins.
Dwolla.com – Want to eliminate swipe fees entirely? Dwolla offers an incredible transaction service that is moving us one step closer to a fee-free world. They process micro-transactions for free and charge a flat $.25 fee for anything over $10.