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If you’re a small business owner who wants to accept credit cards in person and online, you’ve probably considered using PayPal. PayPal is a payment facilitator – a company that simplifies the credit card acceptance process. PayPal places its business customers under its master merchant account, so businesses don’t have to apply for and deal with separate merchant accounts.
Many businesses accept card payments with PayPal, but it’s not for everyone. Here’s a look at the best PayPal alternatives that might work well for your business, along with an overview of precisely what PayPal offers.
If you’re considering a credit card processor for your business, check out our reviews of the best credit card processors, compare their features, and decide which is right for you.What to consider when choosing a PayPal alternative
When looking for the best PayPal alternative, consider how your business operates and what it needs (and doesn’t need). You want to avoid paying for features you won’t use and find a payment gateway that offers the functionality you need.
Consider the following factors when evaluating PayPal alternatives:
Quick access to your money
High security level
Integration with other websites and software tools you use
POS hardware types and cost
Great customer service
Support for international transactions
Easy integration with your website
There’s some confusion about the difference between a payment gateway and a payment processor. A payment processor facilitates transactions between your merchant account and a customer’s bank account, while a payment gateway authorizes your customers’ payments.1. Best PayPal alternative for in-person transactions: Square
While PayPal got its start enabling cashless payments online, Square was a mobile payment pioneer, introducing the first widely used card reader that plugged into a mobile phone. Square’s strongest presence is in the in-person retail transaction space; more recently, it has branched out into e-commerce payments with its Square Payments service. (You may want to check out our comparison of PayPal and Square.)
Here’s a rundown of what Square has to offer.Square’s e-commerce functions
To distinguish itself, Square offers merchants a free online store that incorporates its payment system. Businesses can choose from a variety of site setups with industry-specific features. Like PayPal, Square websites can accept donations and membership fees.
A Square online store is a good option for both startups without a website and brick-and-mortar businesses adding an e-commerce option.
If you don’t need a website, you can still use Square for your e-commerce payment processing with Square Online Checkout. Square Online Checkout is comparable to PayPal Checkout’s button generator. (We’ll explain more about PayPal’s features later.)
With Square Online Checkout, you input information about each product, including its name, image and price. The service accepts Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB and UnionPay cards, as well as prepaid, debit and reward cards with those logos. Square Online Checkout also takes Apple Pay and Google Pay, but not Venmo, PayPal or PayPal Credit.
You can also use Square for your e-commerce shopping cart by connecting with one of its partners, including GoDaddy, Wix, WooCommerce, Magneto, Weebly and 3dcart. However, If you have a custom-built website, you’ll need a developer to help you connect Square payments.
If you’re comparing Square to PayPal, note that Square accepts fewer payment types than PayPal and doesn’t have a responsive button display.
Like PayPal, Square enables customers to buy from merchants via link or QR code to drive sales from social media, landing pages and printed materials.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right credit card processor for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
Did You Know?
Restaurant payment processing has some unique considerations. You should consider your average sales ticket size, monthly sales volume and processing needs before signing a contract with a credit card processor.Square’s money-moving abilities
Square has its own bank, Square Financial Services, which can integrate seamlessly with the Square Payments online payment-processing solution, giving merchants instant access to their money with no fees, minimum balance requirement or credit checks.
If you have a bank account, Square allows you to send up to $10,000 per transfer instantly, with unlimited instant transfers per day. Instant transfers cost 1.5% of the transfer amount. Standard transfers are usually sent within 36 hours (one to two business days) and are free.
Square is an excellent choice for in-person retail and restaurant businesses because of its specialized software. Square is less likely than PayPal to freeze merchant funds, it’s easy to integrate, and its free website tool is a nice addition. Read our in-depth Square review for more information.
Did You Know?
Even if your e-commerce transactions are considered riskier, there are ways to protect your business when taking payments online, including using two-factor authentication, using a personal verification system, and ensuring your hosting provider has safeguards in place.Stripe’s mobile and point-of-sale functionality
Stripe’s handheld reader, the BBPOS Chipper 2X BT, is comparable to Square’s contactless chip reader. It’s currently Stripe’s only available card reader, connecting via Bluetooth to a mobile device. It costs $59, and each transaction is charged 2.7% plus 5 cents.
The company will soon be rolling out the BBPOS WisePOS E, a hybrid countertop and handheld card reader, for $249.Stripe’s recurring billing and subscription features
Stripe can generate invoices, schedule subscriptions, schedule email reminders for missed or overdue payments, and handle billing proration. It can also trigger actions based on upgrades, payments and cancellations. Stripe integrates with other tools like Salesforce, DocuSign, NetSuite and Xero.Stripe’s marketplace operations
If your business is a marketplace where you provide a platform for service providers to sell, Stripe may be a good solution for you. Its software helps marketplaces instantly onboard and manage service providers, split revenue from transactions among multiple recipients, and control expenses. It also allows you to retain your sellers with instant payouts and balance cards.Stripe’s money-moving abilities
When you first get set up with Stripe, it takes seven to 14 days to transfer your money to your bank account. Once you’re established, payouts to your bank account arrive on a two-day rolling basis. If you’re in a high-risk industry, however, your money will take 14 days to arrive. Companies based in countries other than the U.S. and Australia will also have slower transfer times.
Stripe is best suited for e-commerce and marketplace businesses, especially those planning to scale quickly. It has excellent security features, and its transaction-retry protocol can increase sales that otherwise would have been declined. Read our in-depth Stripe review for more information.
Authorize.Net is best suited for e-commerce businesses, especially those with web developers on staff. It has excellent security features, but it’s not tailored to retail or restaurant businesses. Transaction costs will be high for businesses that process many smaller purchases.Upcoming PayPal competitors
Keep an eye out for these up-and-coming players in the payment facilitation space:
Stax by Fattmerchant
Flagship Merchant Services (read our Flagship review for more information)A primer on PayPal
In case you’re deciding between PayPal and a PayPal alternative, here’s a quick primer on PayPal’s pricing, setup, equipment, technology and customer service. PayPal lets merchants accept payments from e-commerce sites over the phone with a virtual terminal, by subscription and on demand with invoicing.
Here’s a look at PayPal’s payment processing services.What is PayPal Checkout?
PayPal Checkout is PayPal’s e-commerce and app payment solution. It offers contextual checkout button options so you can display payment buttons relevant to the individual customer. For example, Venmo users will see a Venmo checkout option. Paying with major debit and credit cards is also an option. Offering these relevant payment options increases conversion because it makes paying easier.
Customers authorize payment in a PayPal pop-up window on the merchant site, and then PayPal automatically fills in the customer’s name and shipping address on the merchant checkout page. PayPal Checkout includes PCI compliance.
There are three levels to PayPal Checkout, depending on your business’s complexity and needs. (The fee for receiving domestic transactions via PayPal Checkout is 3.49% of the purchase price plus 49 cents per transaction.)
Button generator: This is PayPal Checkout’s most basic checkout option. The button generator eliminates the need to set up shopping cart functionality since you can just copy the code and paste it into each product page on your website.
Standard integration: This requires you to use a web developer. It enables customers to aggregate purchases in a shopping cart and pay for them all at one time using a variety of payment types.
Advanced integration: This gives you all the standard integration features and adds the flexibility of customizing the look, feel and placement of the debit and credit card payment fields. More importantly, it has security features, including fraud protection tools.What is PayPal’s Store Cash?
Store Cash is an optional feature for PayPal e-commerce merchants to help increase sales from abandoned shopping carts. PayPal can track about 40% of people who leave your site without purchasing. It can also identify customers who have purchased from you within the past 12 months, but not within the past three months.
PayPal then sends these people an email notifying them that Store Cash is in their PayPal wallet to spend on your site within seven days. You pay a fee to PayPal of 8% of the purchase amount only when a customer returns to your site and makes a purchase using Store Cash.How does PayPal handle subscriptions?
With PayPal, you can enable recurring and subscription payments. The option has customizable trial periods to encourage customers to subscribe, and it can handle fixed or quantity-based pricing. The fee for this type of transaction is 3.49% of the purchase price plus 49 cents.What is PayPal Here?
PayPal Here is PayPal’s mobile in-person payment solution; it includes a mobile credit card reader and processing, monitoring and reporting through an app.
PayPal offers two types of readers, both of which connect to the business owner’s mobile device via Bluetooth. The readers can’t accept PINs for debit card transactions, but they do accept both debit and credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express, as well as PayPal, Venmo, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, and Google Pay. Card readers can integrate with other POS hardware, such as receipt printers and cash drawers.
The app software is merchant-friendly and easy to use. It can calculate sales tax, apply discounts, send invoices, run sales reports and track inventory.
There are no monthly fees to use PayPal Here. The transaction fees are as follows:
Card present, PayPal account and Venmo: 7%
Keyed-in card numbers: 5% plus 15 cents
These are the PayPal Here card reader equipment fees:
Chip and Swipe card reader: Free for new PayPal Here customers; $24.99 for existing customers
Chip and Tap card reader: $59.99 or $79.99 with a charging standWhat is Zettle?
Zettle is PayPal’s fixed retail POS solution. Signing up for Zettle is a bit more involved than signing up for PayPal Here, PayPal Checkout or Virtual Terminal; merchants must meet eligibility requirements, apply and be approved.
Like PayPal Here, Zettle includes an app to help you take payments, track sales and manage your inventory. It can integrate with your online sales as well as popular accounting software programs such as QuickBooks. Download the Zettle app on a smartphone or tablet, or use it with a Zettle POS cash register. Zettle hardware includes a cash register, card reader, receipt printer and handheld scanner.
There are no monthly fees to use Zettle. The transaction fees are as follows:
Card present and QR code transactions: 29% plus 9 cents
Keyed-in card numbers: 49% plus 9 cents
The costs for Zettle equipment are as follows:
Cash register and card reader: $249
Cash register, card reader and receipt printer: $499
Cash register, card reader, receipt printer and handheld scanner: $699
Card reader and receipt printer: $339
Card reader: $29 for new users; $79 otherwise
Card reader dock and charger: $49
Stand for iPad: $159
Cash drawer: $119
Handheld barcode scanner: $229What is the PayPal Virtual Terminal?
The PayPal Virtual Terminal is a secure payment gateway site that you can access via web browser on a phone, tablet or computer. It’s suitable for companies that do most of their transactions over the phone; it requires no hardware, coding or software.
After the PayPal Virtual Terminal is set up, you’ll enter customer contact information, purchase amount, and credit or debit card information on the screen. Because the risk of fraud is higher for transactions in which the payment card is not physically present, the fee is higher for virtual terminal transactions: 3.09% of the purchase price plus 49 cents.What is PayPal’s invoicing option?
The PayPal invoicing option is most often used by freelancers and independent contractors. It allows business owners to create, manage and send invoices, and there’s no charge for these functions. The only time you’ll be charged is when a customer pays an invoice online using a credit card, debit card, PayPal account or PayPal Credit. The fee for these online payments is 3.49% plus 49 cents per transaction.What are the pros of using PayPal?
If you’re considering PayPal payment services, here are some upsides:
It’s easy to set up and use.
Customers are usually already familiar with it.
Since there are 325 million active PayPal accounts, giving users the option to pay with PayPal may increase your conversions.
It’s in 200 markets worldwide and more than 100 currencies, so it supports international sales.
It integrates with several popular shopping cart systems.
It’s secure and PCI compliant.
It offers PayPal Credit, which provides seamless financing of customer purchases, increasing conversion for higher-ticket items.
It supports invoices, subscriptions and recurring payments.
It has a high withdrawal limit for instant bank account transfers – $25,000 per transaction.What are the cons of using PayPal?
PayPal also has some downsides to consider:
PayPal may freeze your account. Since all business clients are under the PayPal umbrella, PayPal is more sensitive to potentially fraudulent transactions. If PayPal suspects a problem, it can freeze your account, putting a serious crimp in your cash flow until you definitively prove your identity.
PayPal may hold your money. Due to its fear of fraudulent transactions, PayPal may decide to hold your money for up to 21 days. In the meantime, you won’t have access to that money for buying inventory or covering other business expenses.
Your bank may charge you to receive money transfers from PayPal. Some banks charge a fixed fee for incoming transfers, regardless of the transfer amount.
PayPal’s fee for chargebacks is high ($20 each).
You're reading Best Paypal Alternatives For Businesses
With so many payroll software and service options out there, it’s challenging to choose a solution that fits your business’s current needs as well as its potential requirements as it grows.
Gusto is a popular automated payroll management system that draws customers with features like benefits management, HR functions, customized reporting and employee self-onboarding. But Gusto lacks integration with popular applications, and you can’t use it to pay international workers. Plus, even though it was founded in 2011, it lacks a competitive mobile app for employers and employees.
Fortunately, there are several Gusto alternatives with features and pricing that may suit your business. We’ve compiled our top six Gusto alternatives for their practical features, affordable pricing, and ability to automate your payroll services no matter your business’s size.
Read our full Gusto Payroll review to learn exactly what the service offers so you can compare pricing and functionality.
HR best practices
Library of crucial government forms
Annual background checks (up to five)
One-on-one help from ADP’s HR team
Time tracking: Employees can use ADP’s mobile app to clock in and out, request paid time off (PTO), and log overtime. Managers can use the app to create schedules and verify hours.
If you’re looking for even more Gusto Payroll alternatives, check out our reviews of the best online payroll services.ADP pricing
ADP does not offer transparent pricing. Just like Gusto, the payroll software offers a tiered service plan structure: Essential, Enhanced, Complete and HR Pro.
Editor’s note: Looking for the right payroll software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.
For all tiers, pricing is based on your business, the features you need, and the number of employees you have. You have to contact ADP directly to receive a price quote.2. Patriot Payroll
Patriot says its average client can run payroll in less than three minutes. In addition, the full-service plan features federal, state, and local tax filing and deposits, a solid feature if your business has less than 100 employees.
However, if you need benefits administration (HR) and custom reports, look elsewhere. This stripped-down payroll software doesn’t offer any extras.
Here’s a look at Patriot Payroll’s key features and pricing options.Patriot Payroll key features
Unlimited pay runs: Patriot offers unlimited payroll scheduling, so you have maximum flexibility when paying employees and contractors.
Multiple states: Have employees in multiple states? Patriot Payroll takes care of taxes and deductions.
Support for up to 100 employees: Unlike competitors in the same feature and price range, Patriot Payroll can support up to 100 employees, letting you scale your workforce affordably.Patriot Payroll pricing
Basic Payroll: The base price is $10 plus $4 per employee per month.
Full-Service Payroll: The base price is $30 plus $4 per employee per month.3. Paylocity
Paylocity provides a wide range of services, including payroll, HR, tax filing, benefits management, time tracking and talent administration. Paylocity also has a self-service portal that allows employees to update and edit personal information and withholding details and to sign up for direct deposit.
When using Paylocity, each payroll is verified before it’s run to reduce human errors. Plus, you can run reports to monitor employee turnover and labor costs either through the desktop or mobile app.
Here’s a look at Paylocity’s key features and pricing options.Paylocity key features
Employee portal: Workers can sign up for direct deposit, view pay stubs, edit personal information, and access company updates.
Taxes: Federal Forms 940, 941, W-2 and 1099, as well as state unemployment tax and withholding forms, are e-filed on your behalf. Paylocity offers a 100% guarantee for any IRS fines due to its error.
Geofence time tracking: Employees can clock in and out using the app. In addition, the app has built-in geographical points to prevent worker abuse.
Recruiting and performance-based reviews: You can recruit applicants and track their status. Create custom performance reviews, improve employee engagement with feedback surveys, and monitor raises to align with the overall budget.
Did You Know?
When a small business uses direct deposit to pay its employees, it saves money and time while supporting employees’ financial health and security.
For a long time Microsoft Office enjoyed a loyal following of individual and business users. However, the forced subscription for its latest version and its high prices saw several alternatives come up outside of its banner.
If you just got a Mac but are struggling with whether to buy Office all over again, there are several Office alternatives for Mac you can choose from, even if all you want to do is edit and send Office documents once in a while.
Some are free suites with many tools, but you can invest in premium options and get extra features – the value may be worth the cost. Here are the best Microsoft Office alternatives for macOS.1. LibreOffice
This is one of the best open-source Microsoft Office suite alternatives available on several platforms including macOS.
Anyone who has worked with Microsoft Office will quickly adjust to LibreOffice because of the familiar features like the pre-ribbon era interface.
LibreOffice suite has all the pro features in its offline desktop apps, including a recent online component that enables file syncing from OneDrive or Google Drive. This allows you to edit your files right in LibreOffice.
It uses the OpenDocument format (ODF) and supports various other types of formats like those in Microsoft Office.
The fairly lightweight and flexible suite is available in 110 languages, with technical support coming from online, being an open-source software. However, you might not always need support since LibreOffice is pretty straightforward and easy to use.
It also allows you to export files into PDF format, and you can add more features like extra document templates through extensions from the LibreOffice website.
The downside is it doesn’t have real-time collaborative editing nor integrated cloud storage.2. Google Drive/Google Suite
This free, web-based online suite is a very popular and robust alternative for macOS.
It offers user-friendly and accessible versions of programs, with free and business versions available for different user types.
Google Drive comprises Google Docs, Slides, and Sheets, which are alternatives to Microsoft’s Word, PowerPoint and Excel. G Suite is the enterprise version of Google Drive and comes with Gmail, Docs, Drive, and Calendar for your business.
It is widely used, though not as function-rich as Microsoft Office, plus you can access it from anywhere.
G Suite integrates with your Google account, so you can open Word documents from Gmail in Google Docs and even access beautiful templates, add-ons, Google search capabilities, and superior built-in research tools.
Not only is G Suite great for productivity, it also offers up to 15GB of free storage. Plus, its Offline mode lets you work on documents while offline in Chrome.
The downside is it doesn’t have a desktop app, lacks a few Office features, and documents aren’t always duplicate images of Office document versions.3. iWork Suite
iWork is a built-in program in your Mac which works like Office. It includes Pages, Keynote, and Numbers, which are Apple’s broad equivalents to Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.
It is simple to use, has a beautiful but straightforward interface, and is more lightweight than Office.
Numbers offers a blank canvas for you to begin from, making it easier to add tables, images and charts. It also removes that feeling of being a ledger, unlike Excel that has a grid view.
Pages is also simple to use and doesn’t have layers of options like Word, plus you can collaborate with other users as you work.
The presentation application, KeyNote, helps you create beautiful presentations without the hassles of PowerPoint.
All iWork apps can export and import Office formats and other formats compatible with other suites. However, the iCloud version requires an Internet connection to use and isn’t as fully-featured as the desktop client. The good thing is that you can access documents from anywhere as it enables cross-platform collaboration.4. Calligra
Its tabs are set on the right side of the screen, so the page you edit won’t take up the full screen.
With Calligra, you can read DOCX and DOX document formats, though it doesn’t allow you to edit them. This can pose some challenges if you get Office documents from other people, as they’d have to send documents in formats like Open Document Text (ODT) instead.5. Office Online
This alternative gives you free access to Office for Mac and is a basic, browser-based Office suite version.
The latest version also includes Mail, Calendar, Sway, People, and OneDrive, but with a limited Office experience.
While it lacks some functionality like WordArt, and text boxes, charts, equations and custom macros don’t load in Excel sheets, Office Online is still a versatile alternative.
You can still open files, edit, and keep document formatting.6. Polaris Office
This free tier Office alternative offers tools for creating and editing multiple file types like DOCX, PPT, HWP and XLS.
It works across platforms and syncs your account among your devices so you can create and edit from anywhere, with AWS (Amazon Web Services) security for all your data.
Besides editing PDF documents and converting them to PDF, you can also convert image and voice files to documents where necessary.
Polaris suite supports German, Russian, English, Korean, and French languages.Wrapping Up
Most of these capable alternatives are compatible with files made in Microsoft’s programs. This way you can create and edit documents on macOS.
Image Credit: G Suite, Apple, LibreOffice, Calligra
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Welcome to the world of customer engagement, where the power of live chat tools has become a game-changer for businesses looking to connect with their customers in real time. As we move towards a more digital age, the expectation for instant and efficient customer service continues to rise. And that’s where live chat tools come in.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into the best live chat tools currently available in the market. We understand that choosing the right tool for your business can be overwhelming, so we’ve done the research for you. From small businesses to large enterprises, we’ll cover a range of tools that cater to different needs and budgets.
We’ll discuss the features, pros and cons, and key factors to consider when selecting a live chat tool. Our goal is to help you find the right tool to elevate your customer service and drive growth for your business.
Whether you’re looking for a tool that offers customization options, a mobile app, or seamless integration with other systems, we’ve got you covered. We’ll also look at a number of tools that provide AI capabilities, ensuring that you can provide customer support even when you’re at your desk!
Another great feature of HelpCrunch is its intuitive self-service. With a knowledge base integrated into your live chat widget, customers can easily find answers to common questions without your involvement. This not only saves time but also offers customers a seamless and satisfying experience.
In addition to offering great customer experience, HelpCrunch helps keep your team happy. With a shared inbox, you can manage chats, emails, messengers, and social media in one place, giving your team all the features they need for effective customer communication.
Pricing: The basic plan is $12 per month for 1 team member.
Smartsupp is a live chat tool that enables businesses to connect with their website visitors in real time and drive online sales. The platform offers a personalized, responsive, and intuitive experience that lets businesses genuinely connect with visitors and boost their online sales.
With Smartsupp, you can unify multichannel chats in one dashboard and deliver win-win customer service with human and chatbot support. The chatbox is where the magic happens, allowing you to get in touch with your visitors directly, offer rapid responses, multitask conversations, and deliver premium support while improving conversion rates.
Smartsupp also offers data gathering and conversation history, visitor lists, and video recordings to help you understand customer insights. The platform also enables teams of agents to integrate customer care efforts on live chat and work from the same dashboard to ensure everyone is in sync.
In conclusion, Smartsupp is a simple, effective, and professional solution for customer communication that helps businesses shorten the distance between them and their customers, impact sales growth, and offer instant customer service with the chatbot feature.
Pricing: A free plan is available for 1 agent with up to 100 conversations a month. The premium Standard plan starts at $20 per month for up to 3 agents and includes unlimited conversations.
LiveAgent’s key features include proactive chat, chat routing, unlimited history, a customizable chat widget, automation options, real-time typing view, reporting and analytics, and a self-service portal with a knowledge base.
Worth noting that LiveAgent goes beyond basic live chat software, offering a full customer service platform that can handle various communication channels. With features such as website monitoring, visitor tracking, and proactive chat invitations, businesses can improve their customer engagement and retention rates.
Pricing: A free plan is available, with limited functionality. The premium plan starts at $29 per month per agent. This includes a ticketing system and live chat features.
Freshchat, part of Freshworks suite of customer engagement and support tools, is a live chat platform that enables companies to engage with their customers through various channels, including web, mobile, and social messengers such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.
Freshchat offers a conversational UI that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to use, with the option to communicate with customers via multiple channels. The software also integrates with AI, providing chat metrics and making it simple to build chatbots, leading to a more efficient and personalized customer experience.
The platform unifies communication platforms, providing personalized customer self-service features and allowing agents to work from anywhere with the Freshchat team inbox.
Some of the standout features of Freshchat include:
Advanced roles and permissions
Agent load balancing
Customizable analytics and Messaging API
Integration with other tools for an excellent customer experience
Freshchat is a powerful live chat platform that offers a unified and conversational customer engagement experience and is well-suited for businesses of all sizes.
With its integrations, customizable analytics, and messaging API, Freshchat is among the leading simple-to-use live chat platforms that enable businesses to engage customers and create delightful customer experiences.
Pricing: The Growth plan starts at $15 per month per agent when billed annually. Freshchat does offer a free plan, although it is relatively limited and not suitable for true business needs.
JivoChat is a live chat tool that helps businesses manage and interact with customers in real time through multiple communication channels such as websites, Telegram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Viber.
The platform is easy to use and integrates seamlessly with daily tasks, making it a great option for businesses looking for an affordable online chat solution to improve customer interaction in real-time.
Unifies chats from different messaging and social media platforms into a centralized dashboard
Offers instant answers to customers with canned responses
Color-coded chats for better organization of conversations
Real-time tracking of visitor location and source
Personalized messages triggered by user actions
CRM integration with detailed visitor information
AI solutions for real-time translation of conversations
Easy-to-use back-end environment
Real-time monitoring and analytics
Intelligent tools like translation
Customizable chat widget in 25 languages, including mobile version
Pre-chat or in-chat contact info collection
Unlimited chats and websites
Supports sales and support teams to connect with users via live chat, phone, email and social media channels
UI seems plain and dated but is easy to use
Limited features on the free version
Fewer integrations than some alternatives
According to some reviews, JivoChat may pop up too often, frustrating customers.
Pricing: A Basic plan is available free of charge. The Professional plan starts at $19 per month (1 agent) and includes all the premium features.
Tawk is a live chat tool that offers a suite of features aimed at enhancing communication between businesses and their customers. The tool is designed to be easy to use and set up, making it a great option for businesses with all levels of experience, including complete beginners.
Here are some key features of Tawk:
Live Chat: The live chat feature allows you to monitor and chat with visitors in real-time, providing quick and efficient customer support.
Ticketing: The ticketing system allows you to respond to customer inquiries and support requests in an organized and efficient manner.
CRM: Tawk provides a centralized platform for all customer interactions, making it easy for you to get a top-down view of the customer journey.
Knowledge Base: The customizable knowledge base provides you with a platform to share your knowledge and streamline support.
Chat Pages: Tawk provides a platform for businesses to create chat pages that can be used to provide targeted customer support.
Team Chat: The team chat feature allows you to collaborate and assign conversations to your team members.
The platform also allows you to localize greetings and messages based on visitors’ location and engage with customers using trigger-based messages.
One of the best features of Tawk is its always-free approach, making it a great choice for anyone on a tight budget. Tawk also offers the option to hire live agents through the platform for just $1 an hour.
Pricing: Tawk is 100% free.
Respond.io is designed to bring together the market, sell, support, and engineering functions of a business, streamlining the communication process and reducing the need for juggling channels between teams and platforms.
Here are some key features of chúng tôi that make it a powerful tool for businesses:
One Messaging Platform: A single platform for marketing, sales, support, and engineering, making it easier to manage all communication channels and streamline the process.
Promotional Messaging: You can target specific interests with broadcasts, enroll new contacts in drip campaigns, or trigger event-based promotions via API.
Conversational Support: The platform uses automated messaging to identify customer issues, then routes them to agents based on skill, function, language, shift, and more.
Transactional Notifications: chúng tôi enables businesses to trigger abandoned cart messages, payment confirmations, order updates, and more from platforms like Shopify and Magento via Zapier.
Action Shortcuts: You can create custom inboxes, broadcast modules, and flexible automation via workflows.
Reporting & Analytics: chúng tôi provides a daily dashboard for managers to monitor conversations and agents’ performance, as well as reporting and analytics.
Respond.io is trusted by over 10,000 companies and is available on desktop and mobile devices, providing a flexible solution for businesses looking to improve their customer communication.
ItsAlive is a chatbot platform designed to help businesses engage with customers and increase conversions. With ItsAlive, you can build chatbots that interact with customers using recipes. Similar to IFTTT, a recipe tells the bot how to act in certain circumstances; for example, if a customer uses the keyword “login,” the bot sends a message with “login” options.
To be fair, ItsAlive is probably more distant from the traditional live chat solutions, but it is nonetheless worthy to be included in this article because it excels at its core functionality. For the time being, ItsAlive is only available for Facebook Messenger.
Overall, ItsAlive offers a unique recipe workflow, making it stand out from its competitors. With its user-friendly interface and useful features, ItsAlive is an excellent option for businesses looking to implement a chatbot marketing strategy, especially if you’re already using Facebook as a marketing channel.
Pricing: You can try out ItsAlive for free with up to 1 chatbot and up to 1,000 messages per month. The Solo plan starts at $19 per month, and the more business-oriented Plus plan starts at $49 per month.
ManyChat is an AI chatbot platform that automates communication through Facebook Messenger, Instagram Direct, WhatsApp and SMS. It provides you with an easy way to build chatbots in minutes without any coding knowledge, and the visual drag-and-drop interface allows users to connect messages and actions with each other.
Easy integration with third-party tools like Stripe, PayPal, Shopify, and others.
19 predefined templates for building bots quickly.
A/B testing is available for the “Pro” plan users.
Direct customers to your Facebook Messenger bot from any channel, including the website, email, or text message.
The platform also offers basic reporting and analytics, as well as integrations with popular apps like Shopify, Mailchimp, HubSpot, and more. Overall, ManyChat is an excellent option if you’re looking for a quick way to launch a simple chatbot for sales, marketing, and customer service.
Pricing: The Free plan includes up to 1,000 contacts; however, it doesn’t include access to Email or SMS channels. And the Pro plan is a flat $15 per month with unlimited contacts and access to all premium features.
Crisp offers much more than just chat software for your business website. It simplifies customer support by offering a wide range of features, including a shared inbox, multichannel connectivity, and real-time translation.
Companies with longer sales cycles will benefit from the ability to send drip marketing campaigns and sales pipeline automation tools, while SaaS companies can use the status monitoring system to communicate outages to customers proactively.
Customizable Website Widget: From colors to languages and positions, the Crisp widget can be customized to match your brand and enhance customer confidence.
Automated Sales Conversion: With the ability to send automated messages, statistics show that website visitors are more likely to make a purchase.
Personalized Conversations: Business messaging doesn’t have to be robotic; with Crisp, you can create a personalized customer experience.
Integrated Knowledge Base: Customers can access help articles and resolve issues directly from the live chat.
Advanced Chatbot Scenarios: Build chatbot scenarios to automate customer onboarding.
Engaging Conversations: Use GIFs and videos to create personal and modern conversational experiences.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys: Get customer satisfaction (CSAT) surveys from the website chat widget.
Crisp also offers fantastic third-party integrations. These include Salesforce, Slack, Hubspot, and even platforms like GitHub and Trello.
Pricing: Free plan includes 2 team members and covers most of the basic features. The Pro plan is priced at $25 per month per workspace, with up to 4 team members and 5,000 contacts.Summary
In today’s fast-paced business world, having a strong online presence has become crucial for success. One of the key components of a strong online presence is providing exceptional customer service. Live chat tools have emerged as a popular and efficient way for businesses to communicate with their customers in real time.
These tools are easy to use, cost-effective, and can be integrated with a company’s website, making it convenient for customers to reach out for assistance at any time.
Whether you’re a small startup or a large corporation, utilizing a live chat tool can greatly improve your customer satisfaction and overall online presence. We hope that this article has provided you with the information you need to choose the right live chat tool for your business and take your customer service to the next level.FAQ
The most important features to consider in a live chat tool include:
User-friendly interface: A simple, clean, and easy-to-navigate interface is crucial for both your team and customers.
Mobile-friendly: A good tool should have a mobile-friendly version or app to cater to customers on various devices.
Automation and AI: Tools that provide chatbots for preliminary support and can manage simple queries efficiently are extremely beneficial.
Integration: The tool should easily integrate with other platforms your business uses, such as CRM, email marketing software, and social media platforms.
Customization: A live chat tool that allows you to customize the chat window to match your brand’s look and feel is a huge plus.
Reports and Analytics: A tool that provides insightful metrics to help you understand customer behavior and improve your services.
While prices for live chat tools vary significantly based on their features, complexity, and scalability, many affordable options are suitable for small businesses. Many providers offer tiered pricing models, so you only pay for what you need. Additionally, several live chat tools offer free versions with limited features, which can be an excellent place to start for a small business on a tight budget.
Live chat tools enable instant communication between customers and your business. This immediacy can lead to quicker problem resolution, more efficient service, and increased customer satisfaction. Additionally, many live chat tools include features like automated responses and chatbots, which ensure customers get responses even outside of business hours. This round-the-clock service can significantly improve customer experience and foster customer loyalty.
Absolutely! Live chat tools can assist customers in real-time during the buying process — helping overcome objections, answering queries, or guiding them through the purchase — which can significantly boost conversion rates. Moreover, live chat tools can provide valuable insights into customer behavior, which can be used to refine marketing strategies and increase sales.
Most live chat tools are designed to be easy to implement, even for those with little technical expertise. They typically involve adding a small piece of code to your website. Many live chat tool providers offer comprehensive guides or customer support to assist with implementation. It’s also worth noting that many tools integrate seamlessly with common website platforms like WordPress, Shopify, and Magento.
Adobe InDesign is the first name that comes to mind if you are working on digital or print that involves creating publications, posters and print media. Whether you are a professional graphic designer or a production artist or if you are working on image-related projects, Adobe InDesign is the most popular desktop publishing and typesetting software. It is used to create works such as flyers, posters, brochures, magazines, newspapers, books, presentations, and the list goes on. In this article, we round up some of the best free alternative programs to Adobe InDesign that can be used to get your work done on your Windows 11/10 computer.Adobe InDesign Alternatives for Windows
Adobe Indesign comes with a broad range of stunning features that help in creating distinctive designs. However, InDesign costs you a high subscription fee, and it is going to be expensive if you are bound to a tight budget. While Adobe InDesign is the most dominant software when it comes to desktop publishing tool, users can opt for free alternatives to Adobe InDesign if they want to keep the expenses low.1] Scribus
Scribus is an open-source publication software and is the most popular among graphic designers and product artists. This software is one of the best free alternatives to Adobe InDesign which offers an easy user interface and includes all the features required by professional designers like versatile page templates, bitmap formats, spot colors, ICC color management, CMYK colors, and PDF creation. Scribus supports most kinds of files and markup languages like Latex and Lilypond. In Scribus, users can easily recover damaged design files with the help of a text editor. Additionally, it supports PDF export with the format as per industrial standards and also PDF/X-3 specification. Scribus is compatible with Windows, Linux, and MacOS.2] Vivadesigner
Vivadesigner is arguably one of the easy-to-use desktop publishing apps that allow users to create work that involves creating brochures, magazines, flyers, etc. It can be used as both in-browser apps or can be downloaded directly to your desktop. It offers a wide range of templates and design layouts for desktops and browsers. It supports a variety of image formats like EPS, BMP, TIFF, and JPEG and free access to versatile color models like RGB, HSV, and CMYK. Vivadesigner offers both the free version and the premium version. It is compatible with Windows, Linux, and macOS3] Lucidpress
Lucidpress is a web-based publishing tool that offers a wide range of features and tools to create flyers, posters, brochures, magazines, newsletters, books and presentations. It offers a simple drag-and-drop interface which is best suitable for beginners. Lucidpress includes history tracking for your designs that allows you to easily keep track of all the previous changes made to the designs. Additionally, Lucidpress provides a user-friendly platform for collaboration among graphic designers. This web-based publishing tool makes use of AES-256 encryption, and it is completely secure to create your design work. LucidPress is available in both free as well as premium versions.4] Canva
Canva is the most popular graphic design tool for beginners and non-designers. Canva provides an easy-to-use interface for its users to choose from a variety of design visuals, fonts, graphics, and document templates. The users can create an eye-catching infographic for their clients with a simple drag-and-drop user interface. Canva helps its user to create and save a web-ready version of a design product. It is a platform that offers a variety of icons and adders. The Canva graphic design tool is available to use for free to create a graphic design for your work. While most of the features and design templates are available for free, users can still purchase the premium features.5] SpringPublisher 6] Microsoft Office Publisher
Microsoft Office Publisher is a publishing tool handled by InDesign for creating presentations, flyers, brochures, posters, newsletters, calendars, business cards, magazine layouts, leaflets, and so on. It is available in bundled app version included in the higher-end editions of Microsoft Office and is available as a standalone app version as well. The tool is exclusively available in Windows and MacOS. Although it is not free as such, since most of us use Microsoft Office, I have included it in this list.
Let us know which one you prefer.
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Email has become an essential part of daily communication, and while Gmail remains the most popular email service worldwide, plenty of alternatives are available. Whether you’re looking for enhanced privacy, more features, or simply a change of scenery, these Gmail alternatives offer a range of options to suit your needs. In this article, we’ll look at the best Gmail alternatives, including some of the best free options.The best Gmail alternatives
Each alternative email client has their standout features. We’ll explore each in more detail in the following sections, including their key features and pricing. Whether you’re a privacy-conscious user, a business professional, or just looking for a change of pace, there’s sure to be an email service on this list that meets your needs. So, let’s get started and find the best Gmail alternative for you.
Tutanota: Best for End-to-End Encryption
Suzana Dalul / Android Authority
Tutanota is an email service that also emphasizes privacy and security. It offers end-to-end email encryption, two-factor authentication, session handling, phishing protection, and more. All their email clients are open-source, and they own their infrastructure. Plus, you can feel good about going green as all your data is stored on their servers in Germany, powered with 100% renewable energy.
The free version includes 1GB of storage for your emails and attachments and an encrypted calendar. Starting at €1/month, the paid plans offer more features, such as additional email addresses and offline support.
Microsoft Outlook: Best for Professionals
Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority
Microsoft Outlook is a popular email service often used in professional settings. It offers a suite of features, including calendar integration, task management, and contacts. Anyone can use the Otlook web browser for free, which includes 15GB of storage plus an additional 5 GB for storing files on OneDrive. The attachment size also maxes out at 20MB.
If you want to upgrade to Microsoft’s full suite of applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and more, we have a special deal for lifetime access with a one-time payment of $29.99. And yes, the deal is as good as it sounds.
FastMail: Best for Customization Options
Adam Birney / Android Authority
FastMail is an email service that focuses on simplicity and speed. It offers a clean and intuitive interface, making it easy for personal and professional purposes. Your first 30 days are free, which gets you 2GB of storage, a max of sending up to 120 emails per day, and more. The paid plans, starting at $5/month, offer additional storage and features, such as a unique domain name, scheduled sending, and your choice of email apps.
Zoho Mail: Best for Businesses
Adam Birney / Android Authority
Zoho Mail is an email service designed for businesses and professionals. Although Zoho has less storage and spam filtering features than Gmail, it offers much more customization. There’s a comprehensive suite of features, including a calendar, task manager, and notes. The lite version includes 5GB of storage and supports sending up to 25MB attachments. The paid plans, starting at $4/month, offer 50GB of storage, up to 1GB of attachments, and additional features.
ProtonMail, Tutanota, FastMail, Tutanota, Microsoft Outlook, and Yahoo Mail are some of the best free Gmail alternatives available.
ProtonMail and Tutanota are two email services that provide the best privacy and security. They use end-to-end encryption to ensure your emails are always secure and private.
Each email service has its storage and sending limits for its free and paid plans. ProtonMail, for example, offers 500MB of storage and supports sending up to 150 emails daily on its free plan. On the other hand, Zoho Mail provides 5GB of storage and supports sending up to 25MB attachments on its free plan. It’s important to compare these limits to find the email service that best meets your needs.
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