You are reading the article Influencer Marketing Solutions: Which One Is Right For Your Company? updated in December 2023 on the website Achiashop.com. We hope that the information we have shared is helpful to you. If you find the content interesting and meaningful, please share it with your friends and continue to follow and support us for the latest updates. Suggested January 2024 Influencer Marketing Solutions: Which One Is Right For Your Company?
Advantages and drawbacks of different influencer marketing solutions.
Did you know that searches for the term “influencer marketing” increased almost by 200% between 2023 and 2023? And, by just the fifth month of 2023, the average monthly searches have already increased by another 60% compared to 2023.
This clearly indicates how influencer marketing has been growing over the past couple of years. And it definitely doesn’t show any signs of stopping. By 2023, the global spend on influencer marketing is expected to be anywhere between $5 and $10 billion.
The growing popularity and success of influencer marketing have encouraged many marketers to focus more on it. 85% of marketers are using it, and 90% of them have found it to be the most effective form of marketing. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that over 60% of marketers wish to increase their budgets for influencer marketing.
There many tools, platforms, and software solutions available today to assist you with your influencer marketing campaigns. However, not all tools may be suitable for your brand. To understand this better, we’ll take a look at the different types of influencer marketing solutions in this post.
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It is worth mentioning that the influencer marketing space has seen an explosion of companies offering solutions. Most of them follow the below generalizations. Also, most have a varying degree of managed services available. However, please bear in mind that some may break the molds outlined below.
1. Influencer Marketing Agencies
When trying to implement influencer marketing, brands may face challenges in executing their campaigns. One solution to avoid all of the confusion and complexities is to work with an influencer marketing agency.
Influencer marketing agencies can help you connect with influencers to promote your brand’s product or services. Bigger agencies offer services like finding influencers, managing your campaigns, tracking engagement and impressions.
Here are some of the pros and cons of leveraging influencer marketing agencies:
Most influencer marketing agencies can help you manage campaigns across all the major social media platforms. They can help with your marketing campaigns on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
They facilitate partnerships between you and influencers. Influencer marketing agencies can successfully connect you with influencers from any industry or niche.
The cost of the agency’s services would depend on factors like platforms used, target audience, duration of campaign, etc. Because agencies offer specialized and customized services, the cost may not be viable for small businesses or startups.
With so many influencer marketing agencies in the market, it can be difficult to figure out which ones that are reliable and trustworthy.
Influencer marketing agencies mainly work on social media platforms. But what if a brand also wants to reach their audiences via print or TV? Most agencies don’t implement campaigns other than on social media platforms.
2. Influencer Marketing Platforms
Influencer marketing platforms serve as a medium to connect brands with influencers. And they help to build relationships which are beneficial for both brands and influencers. These platforms offer a wide range of influencers to select from.
Influencer marketing platforms list influencers regardless of whether they have been signed by a MNC or working with a talent manager. Some platforms have a minimum follower count requirement for influencers to join, and generally, they don’t need to pay any joining fees.
Grin, Onalytica, Upfluence, and Hypr are great examples of influencer marketing platforms. These platforms help to connect brands with relevant influencers from their niche.
Here are some of the pros and cons of using influencer marketing platforms:
Since influencer marketing platforms have access to various tools and incredible talent, it is easy for brands to scale up.
With tools for campaign management, it’s easy for brands to keep a close watch on the performance of their campaigns.
Influencer marketing platforms don’t charge influencers to join them. So they have a huge pool of talented macro and micro-influencers from almost every industry.
Influencer marketing platforms offer suggestions to build effective strategies to optimize the outcomes of your marketing campaigns.
When using influencer marketing platforms, you or an in-house expert will need to successfully implement a marketing campaign.
Not all platforms will provide you with efficient and effective strategies to improve your campaign outcomes.
There is no guarantee of finding a relevant influencer for your campaign.
3. Influencer Marketing Networks
In the context of influencer marketing, an influencer marketing network is a group of influencers who share the same kind of characteristics. Influencers need to “opt-in” to such networks. They need to sign up and agree to the terms and conditions of such networks, sometimes by signing an agreement.
Like in any other network, these influencers also interact and engage with each other. Influencer marketing networks can be beneficial for influencers as members often share useful tools and resources. These are valuable and helpful for other members of the network.
Hello Society, Famebit, and the Tidal Labs are some of the well-known influencer marketing networks.
Here are some of the pros and cons of using influencer marketing networks:
Influencer marketing networks can give you access to an influencer’s audience data. On these networks, influencers sign up and authenticate their social accounts. And that’s how the network gets access to their audience demographic data. Obviously, such data can be extremely useful when you’re trying to identify relevant influencers for your brand.
These networks usually have a marketplace where brands can essentially post a Request For Proposal (RFP). Influencers then send in their proposals which makes it really easy for brands to collaborate.
Influencer networks typically have a quick and high reply rate. When you contact their influencers, chances are, you’ll get numerous responses quickly.
Many networks have standard rate cards for their influencers for specific content types. So you will be aware of how much it is going to cost you.
Perhaps the biggest shortfall of these networks is the inability to scale. Influencer networks generally have anywhere from 1K to 50K influencers. This makes it difficult to run large-scale activations, local campaigns, especially in secondary markets, or global initiatives.
They do not provide a roster import. You can’t import your own influencers into the software for management. Your current roster would need to sign up for the network.
Smaller networks don’t have high-quality technology or features. They are very basic and simply help connect you to the right influencers. That leaves you to figure out how to manage the content production and performance.
As a brand, if you can find a network that specifically serves your niche – the extra audience insights, vetting of influencers, known pricing, and sometimes higher response rates can offer a lot of value.
A single influencer marketing tool won’t be the perfect fit for every company. Companies need to weigh the pros and cons of each solution and ultimately decide how much ownership and control they want over their programs. They should also consider whether or not they have the resources required to make any chosen solution successful.
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Unlike many other rivals, Netflix offers numerous plans to cater to different budgets and needs. But what’s the best plan for you? We’ve compared Netflix Standard with Ads, Netflix Standard and Netflix Premium and categorised them into whose best suited for what. You can sign up now on the Netflix website.
Before we break down the three plans, here’s a couple of things to consider when signing up for Netflix. You can also check out the best TV shows and movies on the platform right now. We also have a similar guide for Spotify Premium plans, and you can read up on how to avoid the Peacock price hike.The lowdown on Netflix plans
The first thing to be aware of is that Netflix no longer offers a 30-day free trial. Instead, there’s sometimes a chance to have a free upgrade to a higher plan during your first month when you sign up.
You can only register one payment option to your account, but if you’re happy to do so you can share your email address and password with members of your household so they can make their own profiles. Make sure that the information you share isn’t sensitive – such as using the same password for your internet banking.
Note that you can’t share a password with anyone who doesn’t live in your household, though they can be added to your account for an additional fee as extra members.
If you want to split payment for your account, then you can either get people to set up a simple standing order, pay via PayPal and split the cost through here, or use something such as Monzo. You can create up to five profiles across all of the plans, but the type of subscription that you have will affect things such as simultaneous streaming.
If cost is your main concern, we’ve also totted up what a monthly subscription will cost you per year. However, keep in mind that you can only pay for Netflix monthly – no annual plans are offered. You can cancel a monthly rolling subscription at any time.
Some TV packages such as Virgin and Sky also offer Netflix as an add-on in their bundles, so if you plan on going with these for your entertainment needs you can put it together with your TV bill and have everything go out at once.Is Netflix Standard with Ads for me? Cost: £4.99/US$6.99 per month (adds up to £59.88 or US$83.88 per year)
Best for: Those who want to spend as little as possible and don’t plan on sharing Netflix
Netflix Standard with Ads is the newest tier from the streaming giant. Whilst its the cheapest tier on the list, there are many restrictions to keep in mind.
The main downside of this Netflix tier is that it is missing some major third-party shows and films, including The Office, The Good Place, Arrested Development and Skyfall – the content missing will depend on your region. You can find out more with our hands-on of the Netflix tier.Is Netflix Standard for me? Cost: £10.99/US$15.49 per month (adds up to £131.88 or US$185.88 per year)
Best for: Those looking for a balance of cost and perks, small groups
On Netflix Standard, you’ll be able to stream up to 1080p, so your picture quality will be reasonably good for whatever you’re streaming on.
Double the simultaneous streams make this account good for friends who watch Netflix around the same time as you, or multiple family members who like to tune in from different parts of the house. But again, this plan still doesn’t give you the max amount of screens that you can have.
Consider who you’ll be sharing your plan with, and what’s the maximum amount of dosh you want to fork out each month.Is Netflix Premium for me? Cost: £15.99/US$19.99 (adds up to £191.88 or US$239.88 per year)
Best for: Large groups and tech whizzes
If cost is no concern – or you’re sharing your account with a big number of people – then it’s worth considering Netflix Premium.
If you want to get the most out of your 4K telly or laptop, then the Premium tier of Netflix offers Ultra High Definition (UHD), which is 4K streaming. Of course, be aware that not every single show and film on the platform is available in 4K – it’s mostly newer releases and they’ll be labelled as such (find out more in our guide to watching Netflix in 4K).
Of course, if all these streams are taking place in one household (and all are in 4K), keep in mind that you’ll need a fast broadband connection to avoid any buffering issues.What about Netflix Basic? Cost: Only for existing members – £6.99/US$9.99 per month (adds up to £83.88 or US$119.88 per year)
Best for: Cost-conscious individuals or pairs, those with older TVs
Netflix Basic is no longer an option for new and returning customers, but if you’re already subscribed to this plan then you can stay on it until you cancel or change.
Netflix Basic still has access to the entire library of TV shows and movies, so you’re not missing out when it comes to content. The main restrictions are down to the resolutions you can stream in and the number of simultaneous streams.
Netflix Basic now offers streaming in high definition (HD), which is 720p. This applies across any device – your TV, phone and laptop. If you’re watching Netflix on an older TV that isn’t capable of higher definitions, then this won’t be a real sticking point for you.
Though Netflix allows you to make up to five profiles across all plans, the Basic version only allows one stream at a time, which means no simultaneous streaming. Therefore if you want to get Basic, you’ll have to be content with it either being exclusive to one device in your household or be very good at juggling your watching habits with your family or friends.
You’re also only allowed to download content on one phone or tablet, so this is something to keep in mind if you like to stream on the go.
Basic uses the least data, but you can adjust data usage in other plans.So, which Netflix plan is the best?
Honestly, that comes down to you and your watching habits.
If you just plan on streaming the odd thing here and there and are only watching on one device, then you can save some cash with Standard with Ads. If you’re at the other end of the scale and want the best picture quality, plan on streaming a lot and splitting your account with friends, go for Premium. Or alternatively, get the best of both worlds when it comes to price and perks and stick with Standard.
Consider who you want to split the account with, the effect this will have on cost, and the type of devices that you can watch your content on – there’s no point in 4K streaming if you don’t have a 4K device! And remember – you can always switch between accounts until you find the one that’s just right.
and if not, why not?
There is only ever one pot of money for investments in marketing, so it can seem it is spread more thinly each year as you need to engage customers across more digital touchpoints. Worse still, the size of the pot may shrink as budgets are cut.
So, it’s a challenging decision as to where to invest wisely. In our Managing Digital Marketing 2023 we did ask about investments in different types of media and developing digital experiences, but we also thought we would turn the question on its head by asking where the frustrations were with investment in time or budget. We asked respondents where they felt there was insufficient investment which highlighted some common frustrations.
You can see that respondents naturally felt there were a number of areas of underinvestment. That’s to be expected given the fixed or shrinking size of the pot. But what was interesting to me, was that there was that the top two rated areas of underinvestment weren’t related to media or capital expenditure, rather they were around management time.
In our report, we asked a panel of experts to suggest reasons why this is the case.
Jim Sterne, Founder, eMetrics Summit & Digital Analytics Association believes that increasing focus on the customer can help give more focus on measurement and optimisation. He says:
“The only way to deliver relevance is to keep your finger on the pulse of your customers’ behavior and opinion. Track what they do and ask them how they feel… all the time. Bringing these two data streams together is your only hope for delivering the right messages to the right people at the right time, segment by segment”.
But he acknowledges that managing these two data streams in tandem is a significant challenge. Focusing too much on one or the other, in terms of budget, tools or report weighting, can blur the results and tarnish your decision-making. He suggests that in larger organisation you need two teams – a quantitative group and the qualitative group, and the wisdom to merge the fruits of their intellectual labors.
Joe Edwards, Consultant and Director, Digital and Social Strategy for MOI recommends moving to a new way of integrating testing rather than ‘finding more budget. He explains:
“The term lean / agile marketing seem to be appearing more and more, with ’Measurement, testing and optimisation’ underpinning these. I would argue that perhaps it’s not actually about more investment at all, it’s about re-aligning existing budgets and re-setting objectives.
In lean world it’s about minimum viable product, if we start thinking like that in marketing we’d not need more budget for testing, it would just be built-in, we’d reap the rewards of our marketing efforts, enough to build the next program, where more investment would be a natural by-product of the previous activity, perhaps a holy grail … but if it’s more budget we need then, it’s business case we need to provide, what are your expected outcomes from further investment, can you project or build KPIs around what additional conversions you would hope to achieve.”
Perhaps for many organisations, it’s simply too early to develop their testing and optimisation capabilities. Daniel Rowles, Digital Marketing Trainer and Consultant at Target Internet believes that for many organisations there are more pressing options before testing is but in place. First a capability review digital plan and investment priorities need to be put in place. His experience is that:
It’s surprising how many organisations are still dealing with the basics, but I think this reflects back to need for digital capability auditing and the need for organisational transformation. Without the fundamental building blocks in place that will give the right environment for digital, no progress can be made.Free Research Report Download for members
This research from Smart Insights in association with the TFM&A 2023 event explores approaches businesses use to plan and manage their investments in digital marketing. Findings and recommendations are grouped into 6 areas to improve the commercial contribution of their digital marketing.
Recommended Guide: Managing Digital Marketing 2023 report
Download our Managing Digital Marketing 2023 report.
Difference between Alpha Testing and Beta Testing
Web development, programming languages, Software testing & othersAlpha Testing
It is a type of testing which is performed before the release of the product to identify all the possible bugs. It is done to simulate real users by using techniques like white box testing and black-box testing technique. It is done in a lab environment, and internal employees are the testers. The aim is to hold out the tasks that a typical user may perform.
It is done in two phases:
In-house developers do the first phase; they either use hardware-assisted debuggers or debugger software.
The second phase is performed by QA (quality assurance) team.
It is named alpha only because this kind of testing is done at the early stage, i.e. near the end of the software development. It is conducted before beta testing.Beta Testing
It is a type of external User Acceptance Testing as it is performed by real users of the product in a real environment. It is done to take feedback on the standard of the software/product. A limited number of end-users test the product as it gets released to a restricted number of end-users only. It reduces the risks of product failure as customer validation provides assures the hyperbolic quality of the product.Head To Head Comparison Between Alpha Testing and Beta Testing (Infographics)
Below is the top 12 difference between Alpha Testing vs Beta Testing.Key differences between Alpha Testing and Beta Testing
let’s understand the key differences between alpha testing vs beta testing:
Alpha testing is done by the testers who reside as an internal employee in the organization, while the end-users perform beta testing.
Alpha testing is done in a lab environment as it is performed mainly by the developers, while beta testing is done in a real-time environment as real-time users perform it.
Both of them ensure a good quality product, but alpha testing does not test the in-depth security and reliability of the product, while beta testing tests the robustness, reliability, and security of the product.
Alpha testing uses both white box and black box testing techniques, while beta testing uses only black-box testing techniques.
Bugs/Issues which are identified in alpha testing can be fixed and implemented easily as it is done near the end of the development, while feedback that you get in beta testing is implemented in the future release of the environment.
Alpha testing ensures that you are sending a quality product for beta testing, while beta testing ensures that the product is ready for the end-users.Alpha testing vs Beta Testing Comparison table
Below is the topmost comparison between Alpha Testing vs Beta Testing:
S. No. ALPHA TESTING BETA TESTING
1 Performed by the internal employees of the organization. Performed by the end-users or clients who aren’t the employees of the organization.
2 Performed within the organization or at the developer’s site. Performed at the client’s location or with the end-users.
3 Involves both white box and black box testing techniques. Involves only the Black box testing technique.
4 Do not test the in-depth security and reliability of the product. Tests robustness, security, and reliability of the product.
5 Done to identify all the possible bugs. Done for quality testing.
6 Requires a lab environment. It requires a real-time environment as it is done by the real-time users.
7 It takes more time as the execution cycle of the product is expected to belong. It takes lesser time as the execution cycle is of few weeks only.
8 Developers can address critical issues immediately. Feedback or issues are collected from the end-users.
9 Have mainly technical issues or some issues with the working of the product. User’s feedback also involves things like the addition of the new feature.
10 It can be incorporated/ implemented easily as it is done before the near end of the development. Will be incorporated/ implemented in the future release of the product.
11 Performed to ensure the quality before the beta testing phase. Performed to ensure that the product is ready for the end-user.
12 Finding testers is not a challenge as in-house employees are the testers. Finding the right users for testing and maintaining their participation could be a challenge.Advantages Advantages of Alpha testing
It helps to detect designing and functionality errors at an early stage.
It gives you a better view of the quality and reliability of the product at an early stage.Advantages of Beta testing
It reduces the risk of product failure.
It improves the quality of the product through customer validation.
It increases the satisfaction of customers.
It helps you to get involved with real-time users.Conclusion
In the Software world, no matter how much hard work you do, how many tests you perform, how good you make the interface or how many bugs you fix, your product is useless if your client and your end-users do not like it. Beta testing helps you to take feedback from your end and real-time users. It helps you to ensure that you are providing a quality product.
On the other hand, Alpha testing helps you simulate a real-time user environment before you send the software for Beta Testing; it helps to fix possible bugs so that you can send an eligible product for beta testing.
Alpha testing and Beta testing are inseparable from each other, and they play a major role in your testing lifecycle. So, you can’t imagine a product release without them.Recommended Articles
This has been a guide to Alpha Testing vs Beta Testing. Here we have discuss the alpha testing vs beta testing key differences with infographics and comparison table. You may also have a look at the following articles to learn more.
There’s a lot more to selecting a till than most people realize. Today’s business owners have to not only choose between traditional cash registers and digital point-of-sale (POS) systems, but also navigate confusing terms and setups that require add-ons for full transaction functionality.
This guide breaks down the types of checkout options available for brick-and-mortar businesses, defines some standard terms, and outlines the research process so you can get the best fit for your small business.
Editor’s note: Need a POS system for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.Pros of cash registers
Cash registers have long been an integral part of commerce. POS systems may make checkout easier and have more bells and whistles, but for millions of business owners, traditional cash registers are all that’s necessary. Here are some reasons why they remain popular:
They’re cheap and easy to purchase. Cash registers can cost as little as $100, and they’re easy to buy. A small business owner can pop into Staples and walk out with a cash register.
They’re easy to use. Using a cash register is pretty straightforward. It doesn’t require much training to get comfortable using it.
They’re safe and secure. Cash drawers on electronic cash registers automatically lock and can be accessed only by authorized users. This reduces the likelihood of someone stealing from your till.
They’re a simple solution for small, traditional stores. A register-based system doesn’t have as many features as a POS system, but that’s perfectly fine for many business owners. A cash register is ideal if you just want to ring up sales and process payments. Business owners who are wary of technology may feel more comfortable with a traditional cash register.Cons of cash registers
Electronic cash registers have many benefits, but there are also reasons that POS systems are popular. Here are the main cons to consider before you buy a cash register:
Their capabilities are limited. Cash registers do a good job of ringing up sales, processing payments, printing out receipts, and handling returns and refunds – but that’s about it. They have some reporting capabilities, but they don’t provide you with a full suite of features or data to help you run your retail shop or restaurant.
You can lose data. One of the benefits of using a POS system is that your data is saved either in the cloud or on a local server. That’s not the case with a cash register. If your cash register breaks or there’s a power outage, you may lose data.
They may require a merchant account. When you use a cash register, you have to open a merchant bank account that will hold payments from your customers. With a POS system, that’s part of the software.What is a POS system?
A POS system (sometimes called a POS cash register) is where your customers make their purchases. It consists of hardware and software that helps you complete sales transactions, run payments and gather and store customer data. POS systems can integrate a wide variety of features to help run your business smoothly, including inventory management, sales reporting, and customer loyalty programs.
When a retailer refers to a POS system, they’re usually describing a traditional POS system permanently installed in a fixed checkout location. It can include a single primary terminal with a complete built-in computer that lives at the main checkout counter. Sometimes retailers place POS systems in multiple checkout lines. In specific industries like restaurants, the POS system can be accessed and used by multiple employees in an order placement area.
Many large retailers have been using POS systems for a long time, but as of 2023, 56% of single-store retailers hadn’t yet moved to POS systems. For businesses that currently have a POS system, 30% plan to replace their POS software in 2023, and 22% say they will do so within the following year.
POS systems are growing more popular, and a significant driver is a need for retailers to manage the “buy online, pick up in store/curbside” trend due to changing customer preferences since the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you’re researching a POS system for your business, read our reviews of the best POS systems to learn about features and pricing.How do POS systems work?
POS systems consist of two main components: hardware and software. The hardware is a specialized computer with a built-in screen (the POS terminal), and the POS software generally comes preloaded on the system.
The POS system is connected to the internet or a local server. In addition to the POS system basics, most businesses also use other connected devices, such as credit card readers, handheld scanners, receipt printers and cash drawers.POS system features
POS terminals nearly always have touchscreen interfaces, built-in reporting and inventory software, cloud storage, admin features (like the option to set different permissions for different employees), and integrations with e-commerce stores. The more you spend on these robust machines, the more features you get, and generally, the better the software interface.
The type of POS software you need will depend on your business. Some systems let you integrate information across all your channels and locations into sales, inventory, staffing and financial reports.
Here are some standard POS system features:
Hardware: POS systems usually have a touchscreen and often come with an integrated or external credit card reader.
Software: POS system software includes capabilities for customer purchase histories and loyalty management, as well as coupons, discounts and promotions management. POS system software will allow you to run reports on sales by product, location and salesperson. You’ll also be able to run financial and business intelligence reports, helping you determine the busiest times of the day and week, the most effective promotions, hottest-selling products, and most efficient employees.
Employee scheduling and management: POS systems make it easy to schedule and manage your employees and their time-off requests.
Integration with your accounting system: POS systems can mesh seamlessly with your accounting systems, sharing information automatically, so you don’t have to upload and download reports manually.
Retail POS software systems: POS systems for retail stores allow you to manage inventory by size, color and item. You can also calculate shipping costs; manage barcodes; quickly look up products; and efficiently perform returns, refunds and exchanges.
Restaurant POS systems: POS systems for restaurants let you allocate orders to the appropriate prep stations in the kitchen and feature open-table management. You can also manage reservations, waitlists, online ordering and delivery options, as well as pre-authorize bar tabs.
Additional POS system features include complementary mobile apps, gift cards and appointment booking.POS system costs
Most SMBs should be able to find a POS terminal that suits their needs for between $1,000 and $2,500, but there are specialty models that cost more, with some retailing at more than $5,000 per unit. One significant benefit of a POS system that comes with all the necessary hardware is that it’s designed for heavy business use.Tablet-run POS setups
Some POS systems come with hardware (like a cash drawer, printer and stand) and software but require the purchaser to buy and use their own tablet (usually an iPad). These POS systems typically need to be replaced far more often than those that come with all the hardware out of the box, because one of the main components of these partial POS systems is a consumer product – such as an iPad – which isn’t made for heavy use.
These tablet-run POS setups are typically much more expensive than those with a built-in computer, but they work well for some businesses. (We’ll explain more about tablet-based POS systems in the next section.)
Did You Know?
In-store tablets can improve the customer experience by making checkout faster, saving space, improving product visualization and making employees more productive.What are mPOS systems?
An mPOS system is a mobile POS system – a software product that can be loaded onto a compatible tablet that you’ll have to purchase separately. Some mPOS systems include card scanners, drawers and printers; in fact, packages that include all these features are often listed under “POS systems,” even though they don’t include a computer.
More often, though, mPOS systems are offered à la carte. The purchaser buys a tablet stand and software, and then chooses the add-ons that best suit their business. Systems like these typically have easy-to-use interfaces, plenty of customization options and robust reporting.
On the flip side, they rely on the daily use of machines that aren’t designed for heavy business use, and since an iPad is usually the compatible device, replacing the screen and computer can be expensive.How mPOS systems work
The central part of an mPOS system is the software; it’s considered to be “software as a service,” or SaaS. The software is built to be compatible with mobile devices such as tablets or even smartphones. Sometimes, mPOS software isn’t as robust as regular POS software, so it’s crucial to ensure the system has the features you need.
mPOS systems can accept payment by manually keying in customers’ card information; however, connecting the mPOS system to a mobile credit card reader is cheaper and more efficient. Mobile card readers usually connect to the tablet or phone via Bluetooth, but some plug into the headphone jack (Android) or charging port (iOS).mPOS system features
mPOS systems have many of the same features as traditional POS systems.
Main hardware: mPOS systems usually require a tablet, such as an iPad or proprietary tablet, or a mobile phone.
Stand: An optional hardware feature is a stand integrated with the screen or used with a tablet.
External hardware: Some mPOS systems also include an external mobile credit card reader and an external receipt printer.
Software: mPOS system software will let you enter the credit card information manually. While functionality varies, at a minimum, you should have access to customer data, reporting and product information. mPOS systems may integrate with more robust POS software if your business has such a system.mPOS system benefits
There are numerous benefits to investing in an mPOS rather than a cash register or POS. Some SMBs choose mPOS systems for their size and appearance alone. mPOS machines are much smaller than traditional POS terminals or cash registers, and many entrepreneurs feel that an iPad checkout fits their overall image.
People who operate pop-up stores, run food trucks or sell their wares at changing locations (like street fairs or festivals) opt for mPOS almost exclusively due to the portability and quick setup.
Another reason for going the mPOS route is to decentralize the checkout process. Some brick-and-mortar stores and restaurants are changing how customers order and pay by having all the waitstaff or sales associates carry mPOS tablets with credit card scanners attached. The ability to link multiple mPOS devices to communicate seamlessly can speed up table service, shorten checkout lines and improve employee accountability (since each person has their own tablet).
A few early adopters on the smart dining scene are taking things one step further and placing tablet terminals at each table so customers can place their own orders.
The primary considerations of choosing an mPOS system are price and replacement costs. Many SMBs start with one centralized POS or mPOS terminal and then gradually add satellite tablets. If this approach appeals to you, make sure any POS or mPOS system you purchase can be used with other mPOS tablets. Also, ask the company if there will be additional fees for more devices, as is often the case.
iPad-based mPOS systems are particularly helpful for restaurants. The benefits of restaurant iPad POS systems include tableside payment processing, ingredient tracking and ease of use.
Did You Know?
Whether you have a POS or mPOS system, there are helpful POS reports your business should be running, such as employee reports, inventory reports, cost and profit analysis reports, and store comparison reports.Choosing between a cash register, POS and mPOS
When choosing between a cash register, POS and mPOS, consider your business as it is now and as it will be in the future. What that looks like will dictate which device is best for you.
A cash register makes the most sense for these cases:
Businesses that are just starting out and short on capital
Established businesses that need to ring up sales, accept payments and print receipts only
A POS system makes sense for these cases:
Businesses that want a system that not only rings up sales, but also tracks and manages inventory and helps with customer and employee management
Retailers and restaurant owners with multiple sales channels, both online and offline
Businesses that have several locations or need more than one register
An mPOS system makes sense for these cases:
Businesses that want to process payments outside of a physical store, such as at an event or outdoor market
Retailers and restaurant owners who want to bring the menu and payment processor to the customers online or tableside
Whether you ultimately choose a POS system, an mPOS system, an old-school cash register or some hybrid setup, be aware that manufacturers have no standardization for what’s included in a register, POS device or POS software. Ensure you know precisely what’s included and what isn’t, how much the peripherals cost, and what you can expect in terms of performance and ease of use.
Mona Bushnell and Donna Fuscaldo contributed to the writing and research in this article.
See also: What’s the best GPU for gaming?AMD vs Intel — Where they stand
AMD and Intel have a long intertwined history in the semiconductor market. Intel is a Goliath in the space, leading the charge with its CPUs since the IBM era. AMD hopped on the scene fairly early as a licensed manufacturer for Intel and others. It later started making its own chips, offering cheaper alternatives to Intel. AMD’s first big moment came when it introduced the first x86_64 chip in 2003, beating Intel. This 64-bit move pushed AMD forward. It became an Intel alternative with a better price-to-performance in the 2000s.
AMD and Intel have a cross-licensing agreement under which Intel lets AMD make x86 CPUs, and AMD lets Intel use its x86_64 instruction set. AMD has historically been the underdog in this race. It lagged behind Intel by failing to implement a proper equivalent to Hyperthreading, among other architectural improvements. This is why Intel’s lower-end offerings could often beat AMD CPUs with much higher core counts. This was until AMD introduced its Zen architecture in 2023, with the first-gen Ryzen CPUs.
What does AMD offer?
AMD has a relatively lean lineup of CPUs. With the new Zen architecture, its offerings have gotten much more streamlined. There are options available at different prices for consumers, although not as many as Intel offers.
AMD has managed to expand its range of CPUs with the Ryzen lineup. You get four tiers of Ryzen CPUs — Ryzen 3, 5, 7, and 9. You also get the Threadripper series, the beefiest consumer CPU AMD sells. On the lower end are the Athlon processors. AMD also has a solid graphics card lineup under the Radeon brand and server solutions under the EPYC branding.
AMD vs Intel — budget and mid-range CPUs
Kris Carlon / Android Authority
Both Intel and AMD have a solid presence in the budget and mid-range segments. They have head-to-head competitors in the space for the most part, which means that consumers have options between the two.AMD A-Series and Athlon vs Intel Pentium and Celeron
Both AMD and Intel have two prominent series in the low-budget market. AMD has the A-Series APUs, which have enjoyed popularity in super affordable systems and come with integrated graphics. The other offering is the Athlon series, which has come from being its former flagship series to powering budget AMD systems.
Intel has two offerings in the space as well. First off is the legendary Pentium series, which was also Intel’s flagship range back in the days. Along with it is the Celeron lineup, which slots slightly lower than Pentium.
There are quite a few models in these ranges, but many of those are OEM-only models that you cannot purchase separately. If you were to pick one, the best AMD pick would be the AMD Athlon 3000G, and the best Intel pick would be the Intel Pentium Gold 6400G. Both offer similar specifications, but the Pentium pulls ahead in a few metrics.AMD Ryzen 3 vs Intel Core i3
AMD and Intel face off in the budget performance categories with their Ryzen 3 and Core i3 CPUs. However, their strategies are a bit different. While both have offerings that compete well and have a solid value for money, AMD has taken a different approach with its Ryzen 3 lineup.
AMD’s Ryzen 3 lineup has gone OEM-only, which means you can get the newer Ryzen 3 models, i.e., 4000 series and 5000 series models, in pre-built systems only. You cannot purchase these newer Ryzen 3 CPUs to build your own PC. The best AMD Ryzen 3 CPU you can get individually is the Ryzen 3 3300X, which is a couple of generations old.AMD Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5
AMD vs Intel — high-end CPUs
Kris Carlon / Android Authority
Intel and AMD compete in the high-end market on several levels, ranging from high-performance consumer systems to maxed-out core-packed offerings for power users.AMD Ryzen 7 vs Intel Core i7 AMD Ryzen 9 vs Intel Core i9
The consumer flagship CPU segment also has tough competition between the two chipmakers. AMD has two solid entrants in the space, with the 5900X with a 12-core, 24-thread design, and the top-of-the-line 5950x with a 16-core 32-thread design. You can get the 5900X for around $400 versus the $570 MSRP, and the 5950X for $550 versus the $800 MSRP.
Intel has retaken the lead with its 12th Gen refresh. The standard model is the i9-12900K, with an eight-core, 16-thread design. The beefiest model is the i9-12900KS at 150W, with the 125W 12900K right behind. You can get the 12900K for around $600, with the 12900KS going for between $750 and $800.
See also: AMD CPU Guide
Intel has a clear lead here, with DDR5 support and performance. Intel still races ahead if you consider the $600 mark and pit the 12900K against the top-of-the-line 5950X. The $50 difference in current pricing is indicative of the performance gap, though, so regardless of which one you buy, you’ll get your money’s worth.
With the laptop offerings, both are on par. Intel has the 12900H and 12900HK, while AMD has the 6900HS, 6900HX, 6980HS, and 6980HX, although we’re yet to see a laptop powered by the last two.AMD Threadripper vs Intel Core X-Series AMD vs Intel — Server, networking, and others
AMD doesn’t stretch too far beyond its consumer range, but they have enough enterprise solutions to dent the space. The most notable ones are the AMD EPYC range of server CPUs and AMD Instinct MI series accelerators. AMD also markets some of its consumer-grade-level enterprise solutions under the Pro moniker. Most of them are consumer processor equivalents that go into OEM systems. We expect more diversification now that AMD has acquired Xilinx — a big name in the FPGA and networking business. The AMD vs Intel race is about to get even closer.
If we haven’t noted it enough, Intel is a much bigger company than AMD. Its offerings go far beyond the general consumer CPU market. To begin with, the historically industry-favorite server CPUs are marketed under the Xeon brand. Intel also has Atom, a range formerly made for low-power systems, which now serves on the lower end of its server and networking solutions. Then there is the AI-focused Movidius range, the embedded solutions, the NUCs, and not forgetting its storage and networking solutions.
See also: All of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors explained
AMD vs Intel — How it will go from here and which one you should buy
AMD vs Intel is a fight that is nowhere close to finishing. As we have seen in the past, AMD has a pattern of flip-flopping, where after a stint of industry successes, it loses its way for a few years. On the other hand, Intel has always held the fort and only recently shown weaknesses that align with AMD’s current rise in the market.
Intel has had troubles with its fabrication processes for a few years now, and those troubles seem to be far from over. Even though the 12th Gen offerings are relatively solid, AMD uses a smaller fabrication process. This limits Intel to 10nm, while AMD will continue with the most efficient process they can find.
AMD’s acquisition of Xilinx will also allow it to go beyond its regular offering of consumer CPUs. It will take a long time to get to Intel’s size. However, it doesn’t seem like the colossal impossibility it looked like a few years ago.
As far as your current purchase decisions go, it’s a mixed bag if you can get your hands on it. Intel has taken the lead with the 12th Gen offerings, but AMD is still offering sufficient value with lower prices for the 5000 series processors, although missing DDR5 support. AMD is set to unveil the Zen 4 Ryzen 7000 series of desktop CPUs sometime soon in 2023, which could flip the tide again. For now, pick the Intel 12th Gen CPU or AMD Ryzen 5000 CPU that fits your budget.
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