The ability to chat in real time can make communicating with both customers and team members much easier for small businesses. This week, a pair of new offerings were announced that could make an impact in this area.
First, LiveChat teamed up with BotEngine to create chat bots that can be available to customers anytime. And Zoho unveiled its new Cliq instant messenger service, which offers some interesting features on top of just IM.
Read about these new offerings and other headlines that could impact your small business in this week’s Small Business Trends news and information roundup.
LiveChat Teams with BotEngine to Make You Available to Customers – Anytime
You want to deliver the best possible customer service for your small business 24/7, but you want to do it without breaking the bank. The new integration between LiveChat and BotEngine  will let you create chat bots for any scenario so you can be available anytime for your customers.
New Zoho Cliq Offers Your Small Business More Than Just Instant Messaging
Zoho says Cliq is an instant messenger for small businesses but it’s got more than just IM. The new Cliq is a business chat software  that also features file sharing and enables audio and video calls. The ability to collaborate effectively has a great impact on the level of productivity your small business enjoys.
Amazon Echo Spot Features Video Conferencing and Other Business Tools
Meet the new Echo Spot. An Alexa enabled device that is part personal assistant, alarm clock, video conferencing, calling and more solution. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced the new Echo Spot  at its 2017 hardware event, and by many accounts it was the device that got the most attention.
Google’s Pixelbook Is Powerful but Too Pricey for Budget Conscious Entrepreneurs
With the Pixelbook, Google is looking to transcend Chromebook with a laptop for the masses. But a $999 starting price tag is going to be hard to swallow for small business owners on a tight budget. Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) just announced its latest laptop  at the company’s annual hardware event. Google is promoting the new Pixelbook as the top tier of Chromebooks.
Bumble Bizz App Mixes Small Business Networking — with Dating?
Fancy socializing, dating and networking all in one place? Now you can, thanks to the arrival of Bumble Bizz , an app designed to allow users to swipe to find connections to network and mentor with, and maybe more. The popular dating app Bumble has moved into professional domains with the launch of a new mode in its app — aptly named ‘Bizz’.
SignUpGenius Partners with WePay to Help Small Businesses Go Paperless
If you are holding any event, SignUpGenius has a proven platform to simplify the signup process . The new partnership with payment processor WePay is going to allow users to seamlessly accept payments while people are signing up. With this partnership, up to 12 million monthly SignUpGenius users will be able to accept payments when they organize an event.
Samsung’s Extra Wide Screen Shows How Two Monitors Can Make Your Small Business Better
Has the display limitation of your desktop monitor made your small business less productive? Multiple monitors  have solved this problem, but the new 49 inch Samsung QLED CHG90 looks to do it in one device. The ultra-wide CHG90 QLED monitor is being advertised primarily as a gaming monitor.
Job Growth Among Small Businesses Continues to Stagnate, Wages Continue to Climb Slowly
Wages at small businesses across the country  continue to rise but job growth at the same companies has stagnated. That’s according to the latest Paychex | IHS Small Business Employment Watch. The manufacturing sector saw some job growth. But nationally, only the Midwest saw jobs increase at small businesses.
Pair of Upcoming Webinars Can Help Your Business with Financing, Budgeting
Small businesses looking for financing have way more options today than they would have in the past. But all those extra choices can lead to confusion for small business owners. If you’re trying to sort through the range of financing options  available to small businesses, an upcoming webinar might be able to help.
House Small Business Committee Prepares for Fair and Simple Tax Plan Hearing
The U.S. House Small Business Committee is set to meet next week to discuss President Trump’s call for a major tax overhaul . The committee will hold its next hearing on Oct. 4 on the topic that most small business owners have identified as their top legislative priority.
Surefire Local Acquires Marketing Agency Specializing in HVAC Small Businesses
The acquisition of Sequoia IMS (Internet Marketing Solutions) by Surefire Local is going to bring more advanced internet marketing and SEO solutions to the HVAC industry. Both companies specialize in improving local business performance  in today’s digital environment.
Shark Tank’s Robert Herjavec Shares Advice for Small Business Owners
Entrepreneur Robert Herjavec, one of the sharks on ABC’s hit “Shark Tank,” has great advice for small businesses . Advice for Small Business Owners “You need to have distinct value,” he told Small Business Trends in an interview about his latest project, Small Business Revolution on Main Street. “The world is becoming a very noisy place and there’s a lot of competition.
25 Examples of Halloween Displays to Inspire Your Retail Store
Americans are expected to spend more than $9 billion on Halloween purchases this year. So if you don’t have some kind of Halloween display ideas, you might want to put your thinking cap on. Here’s some inspiration to help you come up with a Halloween retail display  to boost sales for your small business this fall.
Thumbtack Instant Match Can Connect Your Service Business to New Customers in Seconds
Thumbtack, an online service matching customers with local professionals, has unveiled a new automated feature called Instant Match that connects local service professionals and customers  across the U.S in real time.
Pop-Up Shops Keep Popping Up (INFOGRAPHIC)
Even in this digital age, retail stores play a big role in boosting a brand and drawing new customers. But setting up a retail store can be expensive, especially for a small business owner. How can you offer the same great retail experience  to your customers without spending a fortune?
5 Tips to Fix Your Brand from TV Star Expert Ali Craig
Want to build a strong brand? You might want to gather some valuable input from a branding expert . Ali Craig is a brand strategist, author and star of the new show Fix My Brand with Ali Craig. The show airs on the Success Network, which is available on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire and online.
MailChimp Introduces Google Retargeting Ads Small Businesses Can Use
MailChimp has launched a Google Remarketing Ads product , meaning small businesses that use the MailChimp dashboard are able to create retargeting ads all for no additional cost. By incorporating retargeted ads into the MailChimp user interface, MailChimp has made it much easier for businesses to use Google Ads.
Small Biz Spotlight
Spotlight: Shippo Solves Shipping Issues for Businesses
Shipping can be a difficult thing for ecommerce retailers and similar businesses to manage. The founders of Shippo learned that the hard way. So they set out to fix it. Shippo aims to solve a variety of shipping issues  for different businesses. Read more about the company and its offerings in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
Small Business Operations
Printful Makes Warehousing and Fulfillment Available to All Ecommerce Sellers
US on-demand printing company Printful has launched a new Warehousing and Fulfillment service , to allow businesses to have a third party handle their inventory. Businesses can store all their products with Printful, which will ship them to their customers, thereby helping small businesses overcome storage and shipping challenges.
Ring Protect Can Provide 24/7 Security for Your Home Business for Less Than $300
Ring is adding a new feature for its DIY security system  with Ring Protect. With Protect, you will get professional monitoring and unlimited camera storage for just $10 per month or $100 per year. And unlike legacy monitoring services that rely on long term contracts, with Ring there are no contracts or other fees.
Get Quick Feedback from Customers on Instagram Stories with New Polls Features
How would you like to add polling to images and videos you post on Instagram ? Instagram just announced the availability of Polls, a new interactive sticker that lets you add polls to your Stories. As part of Instagram Stories, you can now place a Poll sticker on an image or video.
Google Pixel 2 Smartphone is Here, Can It Help Your Small Business?
The Pixel 2 from Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) is finally here, and if you are a small business that relies on images and videos, you are in luck. The one selling point Google and virtually every review of the Pixel 2 are touting is the fact the new phones have the highest DxOMark Score ever .
NCR Targeting Startups with New Mobile Payment Solution
If you are one of the 3.8 million owner operators the U.S. Small Business Administration identifies as a micro business, NCR Silver (NYSE:NCR) and Worldpay (LON:WPG) have created a payment processing device called Ring Up  just for you. With your smartphone and Ring Up, you can receive payments anywhere from your customers.