Three Ways Entrepreneurs Are Using Mobile Commerce to Grow Mobile payment systems such as Swipe, Pay Anywhere and Square offer merchants free readers, apps, activation and cancellation.
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1. Brew master
West Los Angeles got its first taste of siphon-brewed coffee in 1997, when Ray Sato opened Balconi Coffee Company. Each cup at the coffee bar was painstakingly made in a Japanese siphon, using a traditional method involving vapor and vacuum pressure in two glass chambers.
Things were going pretty well as a cash-only business, but when Balconi's lease expired in 2008, Sato decided to upgrade. "We started fresh," he says. He moved the coffee bar to a bigger space on a busy corner and designed the layout from scratch.
When Balconi reopened in January 2011, something else was different: Instead of a cash register, the shop was equipped with a new iPad and a Square reader so Sato could accept credit cards and more easily sell grinders and other high-priced merchandise. "I wasn't expecting people to use cards for smaller charges, but about half of my sales are through credit card now," he says.