Stripe and Inventory Management Software
There’s one problem that every wholesaler and distributor around the world needs to deal with. Can you guess what it is? It’s not inventory management as that’s why you’re here. It’s actually getting paid on time. No sophisticated online software solution can help you if your payment systems are offline and separate from your inventory management solution.
Unfortunately, payment systems today vary in terms of complexity, cost, and ongoing charges. The traditional route of applying for a merchant account may outweigh its benefits as your business may not have the scale to justify it. Other online systems are difficult to implement in your business and they come with expensive fees and charges.
Here we’ll cover what exactly is Stripe and why you should use it. Next up we’ll explore why you should use Stripe and EMERGE App in managing your orders and inventory. Finally, we’ll see how easy it is to integrate Stripe with everyday inventory management tasks in EMERGE App. Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through with a detailed step-by-step guide.
If you just want to quickly jump into integrating Stripe with EMERGE App, just check out the following how-to video.
The Problem in Detail
So you email or mail your invoice to your customer. And then the waiting game begins. They’ve received your goods and they can enjoy 30 or 60 days before they make good on the payment. As you know, you’re extending trade credit to your customers. And now you’re waiting patiently for their payment.
As every business owner knows, cash flow is critical to the success of your business. It’s not profitability or revenue, it is plain hard cash. To translate your sales into cash, you first need to collect payment from your customers. And to ensure that you have adequate funds to pay your suppliers by the end of 30 or 60 days, you also need cash.
Invoice payments can come in many forms depending on where you are around the world. Cash, cheque, bank transfer, telegraphic transfer, or other digital payment systems unique to a country or a region. Some have stiff charges for the sender and recipient, such as telegraphic transfers. Others, such as cheques, have long clearance times that does not guarantee that you will receive the actual funds in the end.
What is Stripe?
Stripe, if you haven’t heard of it already, is an online payment processing platform that allows individuals and businesses to make and receive payments over the Internet. It offers a ready-to-use technical, fraud prevention, and banking infrastructure to power an online payment system for your business.
Technically, it provides a set of APIs that allow developers to easily integrate payment processing into their websites and mobile applications. Their APIs include anti-fraud tools that work alongside their APIs to block fraudulent transactions. There is also a billing tool that allows online businesses to manage subscription recurring revenue and invoicing.
More recently Stripe launched its Atlas platform that allows startups to incorporate easily in the United States. And it can even set up Delaware-based limited liability companies for taxation purposes. Some things currently in beta include the ability to issue Mastercard and Visa credit cards, and a point-of-sale solution called Terminal.
Why use Stripe?
We know that Stripe isn’t the only payment processing platform around. PayPal, Square, and even Shopify have their own established payment systems. So why use Stripe? Well, firstly, Stripe is popular with web and mobile app developers. Developers have commended Stripe for their clean and well-documented APIs that simply work.
In fact, the story of Stripe began when the founders struggled with existing online payment systems. The recognized that online merchants faced time-consuming and long setup processes, awkward software interfaces, and cumbersome check-out procedures. So they wrote their own payment APIs to address these shortcomings. And in doing so they’re reinventing what a truly online payment system should be without legacy systems and outdated processes.
Most importantly, unlike other established payment systems, the payment and checkout process is seamless. The customer is kept on the same web page or mobile app with no abrupt transitions or pop-up windows. This makes for a better user experience and helps with the conversion rate, satisfaction, and branding of your business.
Finally, given their developer-friendly focus, Stripe has an enthusiastic and fervent community of developers. And there are countless community forums where Stripe users can seek help or suggestions. There’s a good chance that someone else is facing the same issue or problem as you. Such momentum behind a product means that it is more likely to be adopted and use in the future.
Why use EMERGE App and Stripe for inventory management?
As you know, EMERGE App is an easy to use order, purchase, and inventory management system that works in any web browser. It’s used by small and medium-sized businesses around the world to consolidate customers, suppliers, and products in one place. Plus, businesses get complete visibility on sales orders as they work their way from quotation to fulfillment.
The small and medium-sized business user base of EMERGE App complements Stripe nicely. Business owners don’t have the time or resources to set up credit card merchant accounts. And the processes and bureaucracy may differ between countries around the world. Plus, there are ongoing fees and charges once you have a credit card payment system in place.
Similar to EMERGE App doing the heavy lifting with order, purchase and inventory management in the background, Stripe takes care of online payments so that business owners focus on what they do best: purchasing and selling goods to make a profit. It is our view that software and systems should be frictionless so that we can all get on with work.
This brings us to migrating your business to the cloud. You’re probably enjoying the benefits of cloud business computing already. You can access and check on your customers, products, orders, and shipments from anywhere in the world, anytime. Only a web browser is needed. Adding Stripe to the mix enables you to bill and receive funds from customers from within EMERGE App, without having to switch between online and offline processes.
Benefits of using Stripe with EMERGE App
There are at least four benefits of using Stripe together with EMERGE App.
Firstly, integrating a seamless payment system like Stripe with inventory management opens up avenues of opportunities. Business owners are suddenly empowered to send and receive payments online. There’s no abrupt offline transition to emailing an invoice and waiting for it to be paid via other means. And you’re making it easier for your customers to pay you quickly and on time.
Secondly, we’ve done the hard work by integrating Stripe with an inventory management system that you’ve come to love. There’s no messing with complicated APIs or coding on your end. This gives you a cloud-based, real-time inventory management solution that comes bundled with cloud-based, real-time payments and receipts.
Thirdly, built-in Stripe integration in EMERGE App means there’s no double-entry of your invoices. We know what happens when humans are tasked to manually enter data. Mistakes happen, records are lost, and customers get upset. Automatically push customer invoices to Stripe and then import their invoice status back to EMERGE App.
Finally, embed payment links in your business documents. Every PDF invoice gets a unique URL that your customers can click on to make payment. The same payment link is also stored in customer invoice records in EMERGE App. All this is done within EMERGE App so that you don’t have to tab between different applications for payment and invoices.
How Do I integrate EMERGE App and Stripe?
So, how is all this done with EMERGE App and Stripe? It’s easy. You will need to login to Stripe and EMERGE App during this process. Then some Stripe data needs to be copied to EMERGE App so the link can be made. So, to connect your Stripe account to EMERGE App, we just need two bits of information for the Stripe configuration page:
Account name: a description used to identify your account in EMERGE App.
Secret key: for example, rk_test_km9niP5ODbmDrLNbghtRZjcy002pGSilnN
There’s some jumping over hoops here but, thankfully, this only needs to be done once when you set up your link to Stripe for the first time. Once this is done, you only need to select the invoices that you wish to export to Stripe and review what information you want to import from Stripe. And syncing is done with a click or it can be set to be automatic.
A. Get Your Stripe Secret Key
Here’s how to get your Stripe secret key:
1. Login to your Stripe account and go to Developers then API keys in the Stripe menu.
2. Click on the Create restricted key button.
3. Find the Customers and Invoices resource types and set both of their permissions to Write.
4. Enter a Key name for your secret key, e.g. EMERGE restricted key, and then click on Create key.
5. Click on Reveal test key token.
Then copy and paste the key into the Secret key field in EMERGE App.
B. Review the Integration Settings
Next up, we need to review the integration settings. You can choose what type of invoices is exported and whether their status is shared with EMERGE App.
6. Let’s review the automatic Stripe settings in EMERGE App. Do note that only paid users of EMERGE App can enjoy these time-saving syncing features.
The option Automatically export invoices hourly means that you can select invoices by their status (paid, partially paid, unpaid) and then export them to Stripe every hour.
Likewise, the option of Automatically import invoice status hourly ensures that EMERGE App will get the latest status of exported invoices from Stripe.
If the invoice in EMERGE App has no due date, then you can either choose not to export the invoices, or automatically add a number of days to the due date.
7. Finally, click on the Connect with Stripe button.
Now, you’re ready to share invoices between EMERGE App and Stripe!
C. More Tips For Stripe Integration
Here are more tips to get the most out of your Stripe and EMERGE App integration.
If you are using a free plan, you cannot use the automatic import and export features. However, you can still export invoices manually from the Document tab and get their status manually from the Success tab.
The Error tab contains invoices that are unable to be exported for one reason or another. Review these error messages and then click Retry to export them again. Alternatively, click Archive if you don’t wish to export them.
Offering an online payment option, such as Stripe, for your customers is a no brainer. They’ll love the convenience of paying their invoices easily online. And you’ll get your funds faster and more securely through an online payment platform. While there are various online payment options out there, pick one that integrates nicely with whatever business software that you’re using. Here, this means Stripe and EMERGE App make an unbeatable team.