I just received a package delivered by one of the leading International shipping companies. The package needs to clear customs, and thus I obviously need to pay some fees. The company accepts collect-on-delivery (COD) payment, so I took that option. To my surprise, the delivery man requests the fees to be paid in hard cash – or a bank transfer before the delivery is made.
I don’t know how about you, but as I rarely have cash at home this arrangement is, by any means, not that convenient for me. I thought, “Why on earth such big business don’t facilitate payment collection via credit cards/debit cards method?” Well, they will likely lose a client as, obviously, I have plenty of other choices of shipping companies that offer COD using wireless tools and apps – for my convenience.
The moral of the story? Tech is accessible and is often a wise investment. When you are offering cash-on-delivery or collect-on-delivery services for customers, be sure you invest in the right tools and apps which can help you a great deal in payment collection… and customer retention.
With the story being told, I would like to suggest 8 essential small business sales apps to support your business strategies and tactics for 2014.
All the following apps are free to download, but do keep in mind that though free, most apps have more limited options over the “Pro” versions offered. However, most business owners find they don’t actually need the Pro features the majority of the time.
With payment processing, it’s a given that it’ll cost you, however the two mentioned below are far less expensive than traditional online and offline processing methods.
Square takes $2.75 for every $100 you receive for credit card purchases, or 2.75% of each purchase. This is a godsend when compared with Paypal and their sending/receiving fees and convoluted currency-conversion model. The big advantage is you can set it up on your “I” or Android-powered device, to accept payments easily and conveniently from your customers – they don’t need to sign into a Paypal account, and you don’t need to complete a credit application like you would with other major payment processors.
Fees get smaller as you grow your business. Apparently, once you hit a quarter-million in sales per year, you can ask them about lowering your fees – though you have to contact them directly about this, as they keep the actual amounts and discounts confidential. Order the proprietary ‘Square dongle’ for your smartphone to use in-store or mobile, or install their script on your website and you’re accepting all major forms of payment right away!
Cashier Live is a cool point-of-sale app. It’s a bit different from Square, because you do need to work with one of their card processing partners, which means that you need to qualify, unlike the Square deal. Fees do vary by your situation and needs – anywhere from $20 to $100 monthly. This is one of many disadvantages over Square, but Cashier’s integration features make it worthwhile for many business owners.
The big difference with Cashier live is that it’s a full-service POS: card processing, barcode scanning, inventory management, customer tracking, multi-level reports, integration with Quickbooks and Milo, and it’s mobile-capable. They have several hardware devices you can purchase to make your life easier too.
Google products are still considered taboo by business owners. We’ll use their search engine, for sure, but savvy business owners get a little leary when it comes to using their cloud-based products. Still Google Drive is a great place to store up to 15GB of data, including data from all your smart devices, documents, video files – any file type is purported to be accepted and readable on Drive. Obviously, you can sync all your data with any Google-compatible app or service too.
Sick of switching from one window to another while managing your emails and related CRM software? Streak makes it easier to track everything related to customer management and communication. Whether you’re in direct sales or the service industry, Streak lets you track your customers in real-time, with a unique email-organizing interface, spreadsheet layouts, phone call scheduling, pre-scheduled email deliveries (essential for cultivating leads), and much more. This software works with all Gmail accounts and integrates seamlessly with company-based email networks. This non-invasive app never alters the layout or organization of your actual email account interface.
Bump has been around since 2008, but traditional businesses still waste their time printing out business cards and other introductory material. With at least 1 in 5 people in the world owning a smartphone, who needs paper anymore? Bump allows you to “bump” another smartphones to trade: contact info, pictures, videos, and other files with a simple touch.
Think of the time you can save. You can concentrate on total relationship building, without having to squeeze in that 30-second pitch about your company and what it is you do. Bump allows you to easily pickup or transfer your “bumping” info to any blue-tooth enabled device, including your laptop or desktop.
LocalVox is all about building your brand online. Made exclusively for brick-and-mortar businesses, this app helps you publish event information, industry news, upcoming deals, and other marketing-related info to almost any online source you can imagine – all with a simple click on your smartphone. This means you can easily do a lot of your marketing on-the-fly without having to stop and open up your laptop, or sit down for a laborious “time-suck” on your office PC. They also have many SEO features that help with your search rankings.
Tracking expenses is right up there in the top 3 essentials of any business success. Expensfy allows you and your employees to submit expense reports and receipts super-easily. Snap a picture of a receipt, send it to your email or accountant, or save it and collate it for reporting later. There’s no reason for your sales staff to bill you for 2 or more hours of weekly “office time” because they have to analyze and document their expenses, when they can simply upload everything in real-time with Expensfy.
Wave can collate all your profits and expenses in one location in order to create seamless accounting: A/R, A/P, balance sheets, expense reports, and nearly every other report you can imagine. Their motto is “Not just a free trial”, so you can imagine that it isn’t going to end up costing you anything. All their accounting options are free and secure, and the software was designed specifically for small businesses with less than 10 employees.
So, there you go – 8 apps which can help you do wonders with your sales process. Of course, there are more useful sales apps out there on the web and app stores. With that being said, please share your favorite sales apps that you can’t live without!