Weebly brings more e-commerce features to mobile

Weebly brings more e-commerce features to mobile

Weebly is part of Square now, but it continues to update as a standalone product. This week, for example, the company announced a number of new e-commerce features for the Weebly mobile app.

Those features include the ability to ship and print labels, to respond to customer questions (via Facebook Messenger, which can be embedded on Weebly sites), to approve customer reviews, to create branded coupon codes and to edit every aspect of your store, including product listing and pricing — all from the app.

Much of this functionality already existed on desktop, so the announcement is about moving these capabilities onto smartphones. In a blog post, the company outlined a vision for the mobile phone to become “the new back office.”

Weebly CEO David Rusenko told me that as his team has been adding more features for merchants, he wants people to think of Weebly “increasingly as an e-commerce platform,” not just a simple website builder. And support for mobile was an important part of that.

“This is what our customers were requesting,” Rusenko said. “Basically, people are taking their entrepreneurial lifestyle and having the freedom to work on things wherever you are.”

And apparently mobile usage is already up significantly, with a 75 percent increase over the past year in customers using the Weebly mobile app to manage orders, as well as a 120 percent increase in mobile usage to manage product listings.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Square can now process chip cards in two seconds

Square can now process chip cards in two seconds

If you’ve made any payments with a chip card, you’ve probably had awkward moments — those long seconds after you’ve inserted the card and everyone behind you is (literally or metaphorically) tapping their foot, waiting for the card to be processed.

Well, Square has been working on this problem for a while now. Last fall, for example, CEO Jack Dorsey said the company had gotten the processing time down to under three seconds.

Today, the company is announcing that it’s shaved even more time off, and that Square contactless and chip Readers and Registers can now process chip cards in two seconds. To achieve this, it says it’s worked closely with payment partners — and it’s also streamlined the process so that you can remove your card as soon as it’s read, without waiting for the response from the card issuer.

In contrast, when the Wall Street Journal timed chip cards in over 50 transactions a couple years ago, it found that the average processing time was 13 seconds. Those extra seconds might not sound like much in theory, but again, if you’re in a hurry or you’ve got a line of people behind you, the wait can be painful.

Plus, it sounds like this can make a real difference for businesses. In the announcement, Regan Long, co-founder and brewmaster at Local Brewing Co., said that with her brewery’s location near the Giants’ AT&T Park in San Francisco, there’s usually “a rush of customers all ready to close out their open beer tabs at the same time.”

“With Square’s chip card reader update, we’ve cut processing time in half — helping us keep customers happy and on their way to catch the first pitch,” she added.

In addition to faster chip card processing, Square is making another speed-related announcement: With the latest update, Square’s free point-of-sale app will allow sellers to skip collecting signatures if they choose.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Toast raises $115M at a $1.4B valuation to create a one-stop management tool for restaurants

Toast raises 5M at a .4B valuation to create a one-stop management tool for restaurants

While massive restaurant chains might have resources to build out their own management systems or integrate with larger point-of-sale providers, Toast — a provider of tools for restaurants to manage their business — is raising a big round of funding to go after everyone else.

Now Toast is a business valued at $1.4 billion thanks to a fresh infusion of $115 million in its latest round of funding. At its core, Toast is a point-of-sale for restaurants, though over time it’s added more and more services on top of that. Now the goal is to be not just a point of sale, but offer a whole system to help restaurants operate efficiently. That can range from the actual point of sale all the way to loyalty programs and reporting on that information. The round was led by T. Rowe Price Associates, with participation from new investor Tiger Global Management and other existing investors.

“We’re just trying to keep our finger on the pulse to what matters to restauranteurs,” CFO Tim Barash said. “We hear a lot about the labor side of the equation. We’re working through what to do there. If you ask restaurants about the number one thing they’re thinking about, most respondents say it’s around labor — that’s a really big one.”

Starting off in 2011 as a point-of-sale business, the company now offers a complete suite of tools that help restaurants streamline both the front and back house of the restaurant. And as Toast collects more and more data on how restaurants are using its tools — like any startup with a lot of inbound data, really — it can start helping those restaurants figure out how to improve their businesses further. That might be modifying menus slightly based on what people are enjoying, or pointing them in the right direction as to when to make slight adjustments to their basic operations.

There’s also an online ordering part of the business. Toast helps restaurants boot up an online ordering part of their business quickly, in addition to offering tools to help streamline that process. A restaurant might deal with a flood of orders or throttle them if necessary. Businesses then get reports on their whole online ordering business, helping them further calibrate what to offer — and what might work better for the in-person experience as well.

The next focus for Toast, Barash said, is figuring out the labor side of the equation. That comes down to helping restaurants not only find new employees, but also figure out how to retain them in an industry with a significant amount of turnover. Attacking the hiring part of the problem is one approach, though there are other approaches like Pared, which looks to turn the labor market for restaurants into an on-demand one. But there’s obvious low-hanging fruit, like making it easier to switch shifts among other things, Barash said.

“1 in 11 working human beings work in restaurants,” Barash said. “I would say we’re still trying to figure out what we can do as a central platform of record, continuing to carry a high quality network of partners or us building some things ourselves. We’re early days in figuring them out. If you go to any restaurant in Boston, and look at all the help wanted signs, you can see the barrier to being successful is a lot of times more on the employee side than on the guest side. Then once you have them hired, you have to think about how you can retain those employees and make sure they’re engaged and successful.”

Toast isn’t the only startup looking to own a point-of-sale and then expand into other elements of running a business, though. Lightspeed POST, which also offers a pretty large set of tools for brick-and-mortar stores — including restaurants — raised $166 million late last year.There are also the obvious point-of-sale competitors like Square that, while designed to be a broad solution and not just target restaurants, are pretty widely adopted and can also try to own that whole restaurant management stack from clocking in and out to getting reports on what’s selling well.

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Square’s bets beyond a register brought in $253M last year as it posts a largely positive fourth quarter

Square’s bets beyond a register brought in 3M last year as it posts a largely positive fourth quarter
 Square posted a largely successful fourth quarter that showed continuing growth with its Cash App — with users spending around $90 million on its Cash card in December, putting it on a potentially $1 billion run rate. That would offer another significant avenue for Square to snap up additional customers as it looks to chip away at the alternatives available for directly sending cash… Read More

Source: Mobile – Techcruch

Pinterest hires former Square and Google exec Francoise Brougher as its first COO

Pinterest hires former Square and Google exec Francoise Brougher as its first COO
 Pinterest today is adding another executive to its upper c-suite with the hire of Francoise Brougher, who was most recently business lead at Square and prior to that VP of SMB global sales and operations at Google, as its first chief operating officer. Both of those previous positions are probably going to be of particular interest to Pinterest, as someone with Brougher’s experience… Read More

Source: Mobile – Techcruch