A mobile payment solution for small businesses: SecureNet Mobile Payments

When it comes to purchasing, credit and debit cards are king. According to market research firm Javelin, by 2017 only 23 percent of point-of-sale transactions will be made with cash, making it critical for every business to have a trusted relationship with a payments processor. For small and medium-sized businesses, this can prove to be a challenge. The payments industry is a competitive space, and each processor offers a different mix of features. With strict budgets and a variety of specific needs, SMBs require a solution with low processing fees, but more importantly, an arsenal of tools and features that help grow the business.

SecureNet has joined the Yahoo Commerce Central  app gallery with their new Mobile PayOS app, providing a solution to the gap in credit card processing for SMBs.  SecureNet has the award-winning platform and industry-leading features small businesses need.

More than 21 million small businesses now have access to SecureNet’s robust services via Yahoo. Full capabilities allow acceptance of payments in any channel, be it point-of-sale, mobile, or online, which means one processor meets all channel needs. In addition, SecureNet has the payment industry’s first single-stack API, so services mesh seamlessly with pre-existing infrastructure, removing the time and hassle of reworking any systems already in place. All SecureNet users can enjoy the following features:

  1. Inventory Management: SecureNet offers small businesses a cloud-based omnichannel framework that integrates payments with real-time monitoring of inventory across locations and channels. As one of SecureNet’s most advanced features, it includes the capability to transfer inventory across locations, set threshold alerts for low inventory and order and restock directly from vendors.
  2. Business Intelligence: SecureNet offers detailed business analytics, allowing small businesses to collect essential customer information with every sales transaction. Multiple users have the ability to analyze data in order to make more intelligent business decisions.
  3. Industry-Leading Security: This feature grants small businesses access to SecureNet’s secure Vault for safe storage of and access to customer card data collected during transactions, the highest level of PCI compliance in the industry and enhanced tokenization and end-to-end encryption.

This platform can help small businesses save on costs of labor and inventory, while simultaneously providing critical business information that will lead to smarter business decisions for growth.

– Guest blog provided by SecureNet, an Austin-based firm that has been streamlining the way businesses accept payments since 1997.

6 considerations for getting a mobile app for your Yahoo store

Online merchants with successful e-commerce stores have realized the importance of mobile, with this channel driving about 20% of their sales. They often face a dilemma of whether to go mobile with an app or with a site – or with both. Given that all shopping sites are at least accessible with mobile devices, the more pertinent question is whether having a mobile app makes sense for you type of store.

Here are six considerations for whether a mobile app is likely to drive sales for your Yahoo Store.

1,  Repeat Purchases: Does your business depend on users frequently purchasing? If you sell groceries, pet supplies, baby diapers, or OTC drugs, the answers is probably “yes”.  But if you sell cars, laptops, couches, or wedding dresses, an app may not be the right fit.

As a merchant, you need to really think about how frequently your customers purchase from your store (or how frequently you WANT them to purchase from your store). The higher the frequency, the stronger the case for creating a mobile app. By downloading a mobile app, customers are making a strong commitment to regularly buy goods from your store. If they are interested in just a one-off purchase then they won’t invest the time to download an app.

2.  Special Offers and Loyalty Programs: Does your business run a lot of promotional offers and loyalty discounts? If yes, then there is a strong case for building a mobile app. While the relationship between a mobile site and a customer is relatively temporary, the relationship between a mobile app and a customer is typically more long lasting,  where the app continuously engages the customer.

If your business depends on running seasonal offers, issuing discount codes, informing them of new or restocked items, or of products to supplement recent purchases, then push notifications are a great way to communicate with your customers. This is obviously not possible with a mobile site, but with a mobile app you have the luxury of having the customers’ attention (unless you start spamming them with notifications and drive them to uninstall your app).

 3.  Speed: Speed is one of the most important variables for retaining a customer on your mobile site. Every second of delay on mobile leads to a 7% loss in conversions. Mobile apps are even faster than mobile-optimized sites, partly because much of the content is already available offline and because they are independent of the browser capabilities of the mobile device.

Additionally, mobile apps are able to store credit card information and shipping details so that they can offer a 1-touch checkout to their customers.

So whether your customers are going to visit your app and quickly reload last week’s grocery shopping list before checking out, or they view hundreds of shoes before they pick one, speed is important. It is for you to decide how important it is, and whether your business needs the added speed of an app, or whether the speed of a mobile-optimized site is fast enough.

 4.  Location, Camera, etc.: Does your store need to utilize the native capabilities of a mobile device? Does it need the customer to scan a barcode, or provide her location, or use the accelerometer? There are about 25 native capabilities in a mobile device (not all are relevant to mobile commerce), so if exploiting some of them adds to the shopping experience, then a mobile app is your best bet.

5.  Referrals: Do customer love your brand and do most of them become advocates? If so, congratulations! This is a coveted achievement, and it also makes a strong case for having a mobile app.

If you have a mobile app that allows an easy (and hopefully incentivized) referral system, then it would be a seamless journey from your customer’s mobile app to her friend’s Facebook newsfeed and then to that friend installing the app on their own phone. Such a seamless journey is not possible on a desktop.

 6.  Frequent Changes to Catalog: Do you have a catalog that is frequently updated? If so, it makes more sense for the user to install your mobile app and be able to immediately view new inventory.

With these considerations in mind, you should be able to decide whether your business would be best served by a mobile app or a mobile site. Good luck going mobile!

About the author: 
Satya Ganni, CEO and founder of MartMobi, is an authority in mobile commerce and has written extensively in this domain. MartMobi is an app on Yahoo Commerce Central that helps Yahoo store merchants go mobile in just a few hours, through both mobile sites and native apps.

Run your business from anywhere using your cell phone

Businesses today seldom begin with cushy office space and unlimited funding. Surviving means not wasting time or resources. That’s why small business owners are turning to Grasshopper, a virtual phone system that allows business owners to do business on their existing cells or landlines. ­­­

Now part Yahoo Commerce Central, it’s easier than ever to make Grasshopper part of your business success.

Top features are:

  • Toll Free and local numbers (or port your existing business phone number)
  • Professional greetings for your callers
  • Multiple extensions for employees and departments
  • Call forwarding to any landline or cell on a customizable schedule
  • Voicemails emailed to you (and even transcribed to text)
  • Call announce and iPhone/Android apps that allow you to identify inbound business calls and make calls from your business number
  • Vacation scheduling, inbound fax line, informational extensions, and more.

Be accessible no matter where you are

With Grasshopper, you can be productive from anywhere with a cell signal. There’s no need to wait in your office for that important phone call or fax.

Based on your preferences, calls are routed to your mobile phone, voicemails are delivered to your email inbox as a sound file or text, and faxes are forwarded to your e-mail as PDF attachments.

This flexibility allows you to go on sales calls or meet with vendors, while still being connected to your business. With an app for both iPhone and Android devices, you can make calls that come from your business number – which helps keep your personal and business lives separate.

Sound more professional

Grasshopper is the perfect solution for entrepreneurs working out of non-traditional offices because it gives you a professional image, regardless of whether you’re working from a desk or the kitchen table.

With Grasshopper you can get a vanity or standard toll-free number or a local number from your town or one clear across the country. You can even port your existing number to get all of the great Grasshopper features without changing your phone number.

Great service for employees and customers

Business success relies on employee productivity and customer service. Virtual phone systems, like Grasshopper, serve both of these purposes with first-class connectivity. Employees can work anytime, anywhere because they can always be accessible.

To support great customer service, Grasshopper provides unlimited call handling. Callers will not hear a busy signal regardless of how many people call. All callers are placed on hold and transferred when an employee becomes available to help them.

Save money and be more efficient

The most remarkable feature of a virtual phone system is that it conserves your most precious resources: time and money. With Grasshopper, everything you need is online or already in the cellphone in your hand. There’s no expensive hardware to purchase (like desk phones) and your capital expenses are zero. You’ll sound like a Fortune 500 company but for a fraction of the price.

Learn more now about how Grasshopper’s virtual phone system could transform how you communicate with business partners and customers.

Retailers searching for consumer ‘love’ on Facebook

True love needs deeper understanding
Like many love stories, retailers’ search for the “affection” Facebook consumers has gone through some rocky patches, only to emerge stronger and more mature.

Retailers often fail to recognize that Facebook is a peer-to-peer communication channel which needs a consumer-to-consumer strategy rather than a business-to-consumer brand-push. A newsfeed is private space for users, and crowding it with branded content can be seen as a nuisance by those users and can actually harm your brand. Instead retailers should be focusing on maximizing consumer-to-consumer communication and the viral spread of their brand on Facebook. They need real fans on Facebook who are passionate about the brand, can become brand ambassadors, and spread the brand message via word-of-mouth.

Real fans love your brand
For real love from Facebook, retailers should find their fans not on Facebook but on their own sites. Users are most interested in your brand when they are on your website. Their purchase intent is highest and their attention towards your brand is at its peak, making it the most opportune time to convert them into Facebook fans. Social needs to be applied in the right context of commerce to convert website visitors into real passionate Facebook fans. That will move the relationship of Facebook and retailers from “it’s complicated” to “engaged”!

Relationship status: Engaged
An onsite fan acquisition tool is needed to weave this magic of converting users into genuine fans for your brand.

ShopSocially’s Get-a-Fan app has been the fan-acquisition tool of choice for many brands, and has now been added to the Yahoo Commerce Central app gallery. It offers a simple slider which can be embedded on your site in 2 minutes by inserting a couple of lines of code. Users can be incentivized to become Facebook fans through social couponing.

Get-a-Fan app offers discount coupons on the slider itself, helping keep users on your website. The app also allows users to email the coupon to themselves and opt-in to become email subscribers in the process. Users now feel they have “earned” the coupon by doing a social action of Like, and they convert at a 5-7 times higher rate.

Case Study: Fabness USA gets 33.28% sales conversion rate from genuine Facebook fans

Leading creative canvas designer, Fabness USA used Get-a-Fan app to convert website visitors into their Facebook fans. Using the incentivized Like-gate from the app, Fabness rewarded the site visitors with a $10 coupon for Liking Fabness on Facebook. The coupon was delivered in-line and immediately – pushing shoppers into becoming paying customers. The result was acquisition of more than 15,000 Facebook fans who converted at a rate of 33.28%. Also, 1 out of 3 new fans opted in to become a qualified email subscriber.

This is a guest post by ShopSocially — a social commerce platform app which is now part of the Yahoo Commerce Central app gallery. ShopSocially offers ROI-focused onsite social commerce modules that can drive meaningful uplift in sales conversion and revenue for internet retailers. Visit Commerce Central to learn more.

Yahoo Live Store badge uses performance data to surface awards and build shopper trust

By Rajat Mukherjee, Head of Ecommerce, Yahoo Small Business

Today, we are announcing the Yahoo Live Store badge program, which is a new way for eligible online merchants to showcase their achievements, inspire shopper confidence, and promote their most popular products with dynamic badges they can post to their website.

Live Store badges are driven by powerful analytics built into the Live Web Insights platform. Real-time data from tens of thousands of eligible sites across more than 30 store categories allows us to determine which stores are the top performing with respect to repeat visitors, quickest time to checkout, engagement, and more. Using this data, we’ve created a set of awards that merchants — both large and small — can highlight to potential customers. The current awards include: Engaged Visitors, Loyal Following, Top Destination, Pro Seller, Easy Shopping, and Secure Checkout (available to all Yahoo stores).

The trust-building badge appears on the lower-corner of the merchant site, and when a visitor hovers over the badge, the panel expands to reveal more information about the store.


[Yahoo Live Store badge]


[Yahoo Live Store badge with user interaction]

In addition to awards, the Live Store badge highlights top-selling products from the online store. This feature can help drive better discovery of popular items that consumers want.

Want to make sure Live Store Badge appears on your store?  Yahoo and non-Yahoo merchants with Live Web Insights installed can easily incorporate the Live Store badge into their page design with one-click. Since some awards may be calculated within store categories, you should update your store category in the Live Web Insights store settings. Log in to Live Web Insights — or sign up for free — today!

PlaceFull app powers real-time online bookings

How many bookings did your business get last night while you were sleeping or over the recent holiday weekend?

If you don’t have an online booking solution, probably zero. And that’s a shame, because over 35% of all bookings occur after normal business hours with the peak booking time being at 5:30 p.m., according to PlaceFull, an online booking solution for small businesses owners that has recently been added to the Yahoo Commerce Central app gallery. 

Consumers are embracing technology and are completing more and more tasks online, when and how it’s convenient for them. In fact, 20% of bookings coming in through PlaceFull are being made by customers using a tablet device. But if you don’t have a flexible online booking solution like PlaceFull, a customer that is ready to book (and give you their money), may end up on your competitor’s website.

PlaceFull can help make sure that doesn’t happen and can help grow your business by publishing real-time listings on your website, the PlaceFull marketplace and even your Facebook page.

To learn more, check out PlaceFull on Yahoo Commerce Central today.

New app links SMBs with direct lender focused on small biz

America needs small businesses to grow its economy, yet small businesses need capital to grow. 98% of U.S. small businesses have annual sales of less than $2 million, and are largely ignored by banks because they are perceived as too risky to lend to, or too small to profitably service.

Traditional bank loans aren’t solving the issue — the average small business loan approval rate is less than 5% and the Small Business Administration approves less than 10%. The problem SMBs face then is where can they get affordable, responsible, short term financing. 

Compounding that is the fact that most SMB loan applications require extensive paperwork, including tax returns, financial projections, and even personal collateral in the form of a mortgage, automobile title, or life insurance policy. The process is time consuming and exhaustive — only for the vast majority of applications to be denied at the end.

With statistics like that, how can SMBs get financing they need to grow their businesses?

ForwardLine, a short-term business lender approves more than 50% of all applicants at a rate lower than their competitors — they say “yes” in cases where others say “no”.

ForwardLine is a direct lender and is now part of Yahoo Commerce Central’s gallery of small business apps and services.

Unlike banks, ForwardLine provides short-term business loans based upon credit card sales, rather than personal collateral. This means that the mountains of paperwork banks and the SBA make small businesses complete is streamlined down to a short, two page application. Approval can take place the same day, and the funds can be in your account in three business days.

Learn more about ForwardLine on Yahoo Commerce Central today, and get the cash you need to grow your business.

— Guest blog provided by ForwardLine



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