TECHNOLOGY

Switcher, Inc. Launches Shopify Solution for Small and Mid-Sized Businesses to Drive Video Commerce Sales through Shoppable Livestreams

Switcher, Inc. | June 10, 2022

Switcher, Inc. Launches Shopify Solution
Switcher, Inc. (Switcher), a leading content creation and video production software company trusted by customers across the globe, announced the launch of Cartr by Switcher Studio, a Shopify app that seamlessly integrates Shopify products with Switcher Studio’s iOS app to create branded shoppable livestreams on Facebook.

This unique solution enables customers to easily add products to their online shopping cart by simply commenting on the livestream. Once a customer has selected an item from the livestream, Cartr, a chatbot, will deploy and request specifics in terms of size, color, and quantity. This technology takes video from a marketing tactic to a sales strategy and creates a new revenue stream for small and mid-sized businesses.

Since the company’s founding in 2014, Switcher Studio has been helping small businesses and individuals create, edit, and share video content in a professional, polished manner without the need to invest in expensive technology and equipment. As live selling continues to grow in popularity, small and mid-sized businesses are looking for ways to tap into this new sales channel to not only drive revenue but expand their customer base by reaching new audiences on social media.

“Our goal at Switcher is to change the way video gets made and empower small and mid-sized businesses to take ownership of creating video that drives sales, With live selling expected to generate $35 billion in sales by 2024, we wanted to create a video commerce solution that generates revenue, creates repeat buyers, and empowers small business owners to have the tools they need to compete with national and international brands.”

-Nick Mattingly, CEO and Co-Founder, Switcher Studio

Cartr simplifies the live selling process by allowing businesses to connect Switcher to their Shopify store to effortlessly manage inventory for their shoppable streams and deliver a seamless customer experience every time an in-stream purchase is made. Small and mid-sized businesses that use Cartr will benefit from:

Selling live from iOS devices: Retailers can create branded shoppable livestreams for Facebook with just a few taps on their iPhone or iPad in the Switcher iOS app. No complicated technology or technical experts are needed.
Simplifying Facebook Live shopping: Viewers can quickly and easily express their interest in a product right on Facebook during a livestream by commenting to add it to their cart in real time. Cartr helps customers finalize their orders via Facebook DM and then directs shoppers to the businesses’ secure checkout page within their Shopify store, allowing the customer relationship to stay between the buyer and seller.
Streamlining inventory management: Retailers will decide which Shopify product collections they’d like to promote during their Facebook livestream, and Cartr and Shopify will manage inventory in one location, eliminating the hassle of multiple product catalogs.

“Our business has been live selling since early 2021, We have been amazed by how easy the new Cartr app in Shopify makes live selling for boutique owners like us. Cartr makes it quicker to set up and integrate product collections from Shopify, with products magically showing up when we are ready to go live! When viewers comment on our Facebook Live Shopping events, the Cartr chatbot makes checkout so simple. We expect our customer base and sales to grow even further with Cartr. Live selling is a new sales channel that we are excited to continue investing in.”

-Britney Renbarger, Owner of Pink Tag.

Shopify is an all-in-one commerce platform developed for entrepreneurs to start, manage, or grow their businesses. Shopify serves creators and merchants in more than 175 countries and provides the building blocks needed to succeed in video commerce.

To utilize the Cartr chatbot and create collections of products to use in your videos, businesses will need to have an existing Shopify store and install the Cartr plugin from the Shopify app store. Merchants will then start streaming live video to their Facebook Business Page using the companion app, Switcher Studio. The Switcher Studio iOS app can be accessed from the Apple App Store. Businesses will need an iOS device (iPhone or iPad). For additional support or resources, please visit the Switcher Studio Help Center.

To see a live demo of Cartr by Switcher Studio, tune into Switcher’s Facebook and YouTube livestream on June 7, 2022, at 1 p.m. EDT.

About Switcher, Inc. and Switcher Studio
Founded in 2014, Switcher, Inc. helps creators and businesses produce videos more easily and affordably through its multicamera production software, Switcher Studio. Switcher Studio lets users sync multiple iOS devices to capture video content from many perspectives—to tell stories, showcase products, and more. And its real-time video editing features to ensure that content is dynamic and polished. Plus, Switcher's integrations with streaming platforms and video conferencing tools allow creators and brands to reach their communities nearly anywhere. The tech startup, based in Louisville, Kentucky, and Yverdon-les-Bains, Switzerland, employs 40+ team members. For more information, visit switcherstudio.com or download the Switcher Studio app.

Spotlight

The National Federation of Independent Business is the leading small business association representing small and independent businesses.


Other News
TECHNOLOGY

Comcast Business Partners with Fortinet to Secure Enterprise Application Access with New SASE and SSE Solutions

Comcast and Fortinet | August 02, 2022

Comcast Business announced a strategic partnership with Fortinet® (NASDAQ: FTNT), a global leader in broad, integrated and automated cybersecurity solutions, to deliver enterprises a new set of secure access service edge (SASE), and security service edge (SSE) solutions to help enterprises protect their distributed workforces using a cloud-delivered approach to security policy enforcement. This collaboration expands Comcast Business’s managed services expertise, while giving enterprises greater flexibility to choose the cloud architecture and vendor mix that is right for themIn today’s work-from-anywhere world, IT leaders are challenged with balancing employee convenience with securing their networks. New security architectures, such as SASE, which converges networking and security via SD-WAN and cloud-delivered security, and SSE, the security foundation of SASE, enable enterprises to strengthen their security posture while enhancing employees’ experience, regardless of their location. In fact, according to a recent Foundry CIO research study sponsored by Masergy (a Comcast Business company) and Fortinet, the overwhelming majority (98%) of enterprise IT leaders surveyed cited the convergence of network and security as critical or very important, while 94% said their adoption of SASE solutions has accelerated. The new Comcast Business offerings — delivered through Comcast Business Secure Gateways — give enterprises the option to choose from either SASE or SSE solutions backed by Fortinet’s security-driven networking technology and Equinix’s flexible cloud connection Equinix Fabric™ for a complete secure network service. Enterprises wanting to enable safe access to cloud and web services can take advantage of the Comcast Business SSE solution, which brings together multiple cloud-delivered network security technologies in a fully-hosted environment. The Comcast Business SASE solution provides this hosted SSE security architecture combined with zero trust capabilities and any of Comcast Business’s SD-WAN solutions. In today’s dynamic world, no two companies are alike and very few are the same as they were just two years ago, said Amit Verma, Chief Technology Officer, Enterprise Solutions, Comcast Business. By expanding our relationship with Fortinet, we are offering our clients more choice and the flexibility to choose a solution that works for them – while providing some of the latest security solutions to help keep them ready for the day – today and tomorrow. Comcast Business Secure Gateways provide a fully-hosted set of SASE or SSE services covering a broad range of security networking solutions for Firewall-as-a-Service (FWaaS), Intrusion Prevention (IPS), Data Loss Prevention (DLP), Cloud Access Security Brokers (CASB), and Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA). Comcast Business Secure Gateways are hosted across the United States at Equinix data centers, offering up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) of cloud connectivity for public, private, or hybrid cloud deployments. The Equinix Fabric™ enables support of Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud, IBM and more than 200 SaaS providers. "In order to enhance user experience, reduce complexity, and improve their security posture against today’s most advanced and persistent threats, organizations must adopt solutions that converge networking and security, We’re pleased to work closely with Comcast Business to build SASE services that support customers at any stage of digital innovation with Fortinet’s industry leading security-driven networking technology.” -John Maddison, EVP of products and CMO, Fortinet About Comcast Business Comcast Business offers a suite of Connectivity, Communications, Networking, Cybersecurity, Wireless, and Managed Solutions to help organizations of different sizes prepare for what’s next. Powered by the nation’s largest Gig-speed broadband network, and backed by 24/7 customer support, Comcast Business is the nation’s largest cable provider to small and mid-size businesses and one of the leading service providers to the Enterprise market. Comcast Business has been consistently recognized by industry analysts and associations as a leader and innovator, and one of the fastest growing providers of Ethernet services.For more information, call 866-429-3085. Follow on Twitter @ComcastBusiness and on other social media networks at http://business.comcast.com/social. About Comcast Corporation Comcast Corporation (Nasdaq: CMCSA) is a global media and technology company that connects people to moments that matter. We are principally focused on broadband, aggregation, and streaming with 57 million customer relationships across the United States and Europe. We deliver broadband, wireless, and video through our Xfinity, Comcast Business, and Sky brands; create, distribute, and stream leading entertainment, sports, and news through Universal Filmed Entertainment Group, Universal Studio Group, Sky Studios, the NBC and Telemundo broadcast networks, multiple cable networks, Peacock, NBCUniversal News Group, NBC Sports, Sky News, and Sky Sports; and provide memorable experiences at Universal Parks and Resorts in the United States and Asia. Visit www.comcastcorporation.com for more information. About Fortinet Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) makes possible a digital world that we can always trust through its mission to protect people, devices, and data everywhere. This is why the world’s largest enterprises, service providers, and government organizations choose Fortinet to securely accelerate their digital journey. The Fortinet Security Fabric platform delivers broad, integrated, and automated protections across the entire digital attack surface, securing critical devices, data, applications, and connections from the data center to the cloud to the home office. Ranking #1 in the most security appliances shipped worldwide, more than 580,000 customers trust Fortinet to protect their businesses. And the Fortinet NSE Training Institute, an initiative of Fortinet’s Training Advancement Agenda (TAA), provides one of the largest and broadest training programs in the industry to make cyber training and new career opportunities available to everyone. Learn more at https://www.fortinet.com, the Fortinet Blog, or FortiGuard Labs.

Read More

FINANCE, SMALL BUSINESS ADVICE

Valley Bank Launches Community Lending Platform

Valley Bank | September 09, 2022

Valley National Bank today announced the launch of a Community Lending platform to streamline processing as it ramps up its efforts to provide more financial products, resources and connections to women and minority-owned businesses. In 2021, Valley made more than 6,181 small business loans in low-to-moderate-income census tracts and to businesses with a gross annual revenue of $1 million or less. Valley’s Community Lending Team, which focuses specifically on providing financing solutions to women and minority-owned small businesses within this space, quickly realized the need for a separate platform to organize the program across the Bank’s four states. This new platform makes the application and lending process much easier and faster by reducing a great deal of paperwork that would normally take weeks to process. The new platform offers women and minority-owned businesses easier access to traditional products such as payroll, commercial mortgages and merchant services, while also looking at qualifications for loans with a different lens. Instead of just considering traditional requirements related to cash flow and having three years of business history, the bank is also considering personal and business credit scores. Under the leadership of National Director of Community Lending Thais R. Sullivan, the department now consists of 15 dedicated professionals and reaches across Valley Bank’s U.S. footprint from New York south through Florida, into underserved communities where businesses often don’t qualify for traditional lending. “The Community Lending team is committed to looking at financing for these small businesses differently,” said Sullivan. “We examine their growth potential rather than their current size to determine how we can help drive long-term growth. The launch of this platform will help us as we help small businesses along the path to growth and future success.” Sullivan and her team of experienced professionals worked to create the products, resources and relationships to ensure the Community Lending team could provide timely access to the crucial elements to help businesses in need. The regional leaders for Community Lending are: Luis De La Hoz, Regional Director of Community Lending New Jersey Martine Pierre-Paul, Regional Director of Community Lending Florida/Alabama Michael Warrington, Regional Director of Community Lending New York “During the pandemic we became painfully aware how many businesses weren’t in a position to qualify for emergency funding programs like the Paycheck Protection Program,” said Sullivan. “Minority-owned businesses in particular were less likely to apply, not because they didn’t need the funding, but because they weren’t set up to qualify.” With a lack of professional relationships or experienced mentors that could help find paths to financing, many small business owners lacked the vital documentation needed to obtain a traditional loan. In addition to providing access to its own banking products and services, Valley Bank’s Community Lending solutions include leveraging strong partnerships with national and regional organizations that can provide additional education, mentorship and financing resources. These organizations include such groups as the Small Business Administration (SBA), Palm Beach County Black Business Investment Corporation (BBIC), and National Entrepreneurship Association (NEC). Valley Bank’s Community Lending team members have been working with underserved small businesses for more than two years to create custom financial solutions that make a difference. As two examples: Juan Garay, a disabled veteran and president of Facility Services Solutions Group in Edison, New Jersey, first turned to Valley Bank in 2020. “Valley helped to connect us with loans and grant opportunities,” Garay said, “and guided us in certifying our organization as a Disabled Veteran Owned Business, Minority Business Enterprise and Small Business Enterprise.” Dr. Angie Mason, DPT, OTR/L and Dr. Tyre Patterson, DPT were struggling to get financing for their startup business Dynamic Duo PT+ in West Palm Beach, Florida, despite having over a decade of experience in their field. “Valley Bank provided us real financial guidance and connected us to other professionals we needed to help our business thrive,” said Dr. Angie Mason. “We opened the doors to our office in May of this year.” About Valley As the principal subsidiary of Valley National Bancorp, Valley National Bank is a regional bank with approximately $54 billion in assets. Valley is committed to giving people and businesses the power to succeed. Valley operates many convenient branch locations across New Jersey, New York, Florida and Alabama, and is committed to providing the most convenient service, the latest innovations and an experienced and knowledgeable team dedicated to meeting customer needs. Helping communities grow and prosper is the heart of Valley’s corporate citizenship philosophy. To learn more about Valley, go to www.valley.com or call our Customer Service Center at 800-522-4100.

Read More

SMALL BUSINESS TRENDS

Sana Expands Affordable Health Insurance Offerings for Small Businesses to Alabama

Sana | September 19, 2022

Sana, a health care company providing dependable health benefits to small businesses at affordable prices, today announced its expansion into Alabama.Founded in 2017, Sana recently closed a $60 million Series B funding round co-led by Trust Ventures and Gigafund. Sana is serving a traditionally underserved market in Alabama. In addition to the lack of health insurance options for small businesses, Alabama ranks among the nation’s worst states regarding overall clinical care, according to The United Health Foundation’s 2021 report. That study ranked Alabama last in the category of mental-health providers and 46th in primary-care providers. Sana members receive no-cost virtual appointments with primary-care and mental-health providers, helping Alabamians overcome those shortfalls. “Sana has also entered Indiana and Virginia this year and plans to keep expanding in 2022, We’re on a mission to make quality health care understandable, accessible and affordable to as many Americans as possible. We’re excited to offer Alabama a better alternative to the same restrictive networks and sky-high ‘negotiated rates’ that have dominated the market for decades.” Sana co-founder and CEO Will Young Sana’s availability in Alabama means small and midsize businesses can now get health plans purpose-built to meet their needs. The state’s market is the most concentrated in the country, with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama controlling 97%, according to the most recent data from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Sana will offer a desperately needed alternative to BCBS’s monopoly. Only payroll surpasses health benefits as companies’ largest expense category. According to one report, small businesses pay anywhere from 8% to 18% more than a large company for an identical health insurance policy. Worse, 40% of small businesses reported that they’d increased the prices of goods and services due to rising health care costs, according to a 2021 survey. When Sana enters a market, 35% of its new customers are small businesses previously unable to provide health care to employees due to high costs. Launching in Alabama adds more than 800,000 employees who can benefit from Sana’s health plans.Our whole company loves Sana, it's the best health insurance experience we've had in our company history," said Andy Reeves, COO of RedTree Albums. "[It's a] better price for our company and employees and much better benefits coverage. Also it's been a huge benefit how simple Sana is to use and get help with any problems. Those looking for small business health insurance in Alabama can utilize Sana to save money and attract and retain top talent in a competitive labor market. Sana’s customers often save up to 20% compared to legacy insurers. Starting today, Alabama businesses can offer their employees health benefits packages with full medical, dental, vision and more without network restrictions or hidden fees. Sana is known for affordable employer health plans, $0 virtual doctors’ visits, low co-pays and 95% customer-service satisfaction. In addition to primary care, Sana gives employees access to virtual care with providers specializing in pediatrics, maternity and mental health. About Sana Sana provides small businesses with dependable health plans at prices they can afford. Through value-based care, the Sana Care ecosystem of world-class providers, direct primary care, and more, Sana is reducing the cost of high-quality care. Sana makes it easy for employers to administer benefits and offers members simplified health plans and top-notch customer service.

Read More

FINANCE,BUSINESS STRATEGY

"PAY WITH SYNCHRONY" APP LAUNCHES AS FIRST COMBINED PRIVATE LABEL AND BNPL FINANCING SOLUTION AVAILABLE FOR SMALL BUSINESS VIA CLOVER®

Synchrony | July 15, 2022

Synchrony (NYSE: SYF), a leading consumer financing company, announced that merchants will now be able to offer a short-term, no interest installment option, Synchrony SetPay pay in 4, via the Clover® point-of-sale and business management system from Fiserv, Inc. This buy now, pay later (BNPL) offering will further expand the reach of Synchrony's innovative payments and financing options and enable select merchants that use Clover to accelerate growth while providing more choice and flexibility for consumers – especially at the point of sale.With more than one-third of shoppers stating they are more likely to seek additional financing options now versus two years ago,1 ⁠Synchrony's SetPay pay in 4 installments offering provides customers with the ability to make four equal, interest-free payments for purchases typically between $40 and $500 with the first payment due at checkout. The offering will be part of the Pay with Synchrony app available on the Clover App Market for participating merchants using any Clover device. This app will be the first time that a combined private label credit card and a BNPL solution will be available to small small businesses via Clover.Rad Air Complete Car Care & Tire Centers, an Ohio-based car and tire servicing franchise, is implementing SetPay to offer customers a simple and flexible way to finance purchases with predictable, equal payments over a set period of time. Rad Air has worked with Synchrony since 2014 as a member of the Synchrony Car Care™ network, which helped them build a loyal customer following and increase sales volume. "We trust Synchrony to partner with us every step of the way to offer an innovative customer experience as consumer behaviors evolve, It's a game changer to be able to offer BNPL at point of sale in our shop. We now have everything we need on the Clover device to offer customers more financing and payment solutions that fit their needs and get them back on the road quickly." -Bill Snow, VP of Rad Air Franchise Systems. "The next important opportunity in payments is the ability to offer choice of diverse products and solutions. SetPay pay in 4 on Clover builds on Synchrony's growth strategy to extend our products to more customers through more distribution channels," said Florin Arghirescu, SVP, Chief Product Officer, Synchrony. "Accessing SetPay pay in 4 in the Clover App Market can help small businesses grow their customer base and offer the right financing solutions at the right time." "Small businesses operate in a competitive environment in which their customers expect to have multiple payment options anywhere they shop, As consumer adoption of buy-now-pay-later continues to grow, it's important that Clover can provide businesses with simplified access to these flexible payments solutions, including offerings like Synchrony's SetPay pay in 4." -Dan Bjerke, head of Clover from Fiserv Synchrony offers a broad suite of revolving credit and installment loan options in a variety of channels, including SetPay pay in 4, SetPay monthly installment loans for up to 84 months, and a variety of equal payment solutions offered through revolving credit programs. About Synchrony Synchrony (NYSE: SYF) is a premier consumer financial services company delivering one of the industry's most complete digitally-enabled product suites. Our experience, expertise and scale encompass a broad spectrum of industries including digital, health and wellness, retail, telecommunications, home, auto, powersports, pet and more. We have an established and diverse group of national and regional retailers, local merchants, manufacturers, buying groups, industry associations and healthcare service providers, which we refer to as our "partners." We connect our partners and consumers through our dynamic financial ecosystem and provide them with a diverse set of financing solutions and innovative digital capabilities to address their specific needs and deliver seamless, omnichannel experiences. We offer the right financing products to the right customers in their channel of choice. For more information, visit www.synchrony.com and Twitter: @Synchrony.

Read More