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PayPal Makes Contactless Payments Easier, Microsoft Reveals A ‘List’ App…And Other Small Business Tech News

By May 28, 2020No Comments

(This post originally appeared on Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — PayPal looks to make it easier for you to use contactless payments in stores.

This past week, PayPal shared that the company will be rolling out a new addition to their mobile app in order to allow customers to use QR codes to make payments at places such as farmers markets, stores, and pretty much anywhere else purchases can be made. The newest feature will appear on the newest PayPal app across 28 countries, including the United States. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, services that are touch-free are becoming more widely used and sought after. With PayPal’s new feature, users will be able to make the payments by simply scanning a code from a screen or printout with the camera on their phone. As part of your re-opening it’s important to consider technologies like these to ensure that your business is as safe as possible for your customers and employees.

2 — Microsoft Lists has been revealed and, no, it’s not a new to-do list app.

Microsoft will be rolling out a new app called Microsoft Lists, as part of their Microsoft 365 platform. Microsoft Lists—however—is not another to-do list application. Microsoft Lists will serve as a tracking application allowing businesses to manage inventory, track issues, among many other uses. The new app will be accessible through Microsoft Teams, the mobile app, or through the web. (Source: Thurrott)

Why this is important for your business:

It would be a shame if this app gets lost amongst all the other productivity tools in Microsoft Office, particularly when it seems like it can be a big productivity booster. My recommendation is that if your company is using Office you should get up and running on Teams and as part of that familiarize yourself with Lists. Lists will be closely incorporated with Teams, so users will be able to access and create brand new lists while working directly in Teams as well as view current lists and discuss particular items on their lists without having to exit the Teams platform.

3 —Facebook’s new AI tool will automatically identify items you put up for sale.

Facebook announced that they are rolling out a new AI tool in order to help recognize products such as cars, clothing, furniture, and other goods in images on their site. They are calling the tool a “universal product recognition model” that will allow every single product in images on the social media platform to be identified and possibly purchased. Among the many artificial intelligence-driven features being introduced, product recognition is the first one being added to e-commerce spaces in the close future. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Using this feature customers will be able to better identify – and then more quickly purchase – items that you maybe offering. “We want to make anything and everything on the platform shoppable, whenever the experience feels right,” Manohar Paluri, head of Applied Computer Vision at Facebook, told The Verge. “It’s a grand vision.” If your business is using Facebook to sell your products then it will be worthwhile to better understand how this AI tech could help you.

4 — Zoho launched a small business CRM system called Bigin.

Zoho recently launched a new CRM system that is specifically geared toward micro and small businesses in order to simplify tracking customers. The new system— Bigin— will cost $7 each month is designed to operate as a beginner CRM that would eventually integrate or feed into various upgrades in Zoho CRM. Similar to other CRMs, Bigin still includes customer pipelines, automation, telephony, and can be fully operational within 30 minutes. The new CRM tool is aimed at helping small business owners and freelancers who may not need a complete CRM system. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

This is a very small app for very small businesses and – as mentioned above – designed to bring in those users to the Zoho family and hopefully help them grow into bigger customers. Many CRM and accounting apps offer similar, very low-cost services like this.

5— Plastiq announced an accelerated release of a free credit card acceptance product to help build businesses through the COVID-19 crisis.

This past week, Plastiq shared that they will be accelerating the process of making their card acceptance item available in light of COVID-19 and the hardships it has caused for small businesses. (Source: Globe News Wire)

Why this is important for your business:

Managing cash flow is top of mind for most businesses nowadays as many struggle to recover from the recent economic downturn caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. This technology can enable your business to accept money from a customer who uses a credit card even if you don’t accept credit cards. You would get paid by check or other means. You pay no fee. Your customers would use their credit card and incur a fee but they can take advantage of early pay and volume discounts in addition to leveraging a 30 day float before the credit card balance is due. As a cash flow management tool Plastiq is worthwhile investigating.

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