Garage

The new Invoicebus is here

We’ve just released a big update to Invoicebus, probably the biggest one since launch. It includes new interface design, credit card payments, Google connect, real-time email delivery notifications, and more.

All new and refined, yet instantly familiar design

We believe the design is something that can make the product or break it. It’s a phenomenon that triggers immediate connection with our senses. Sometimes it may even cause various emotional responses such as happiness and joy.

That’s why we give a great importance to the beauty of the graphical interface. The face-lifted Invoicebus brings cleaner, refined, and more appealing appearance on top the good old user experience (in which we invested significant amount of time). Here’re couple of screen shots how the new interface looks like.

 

Accept credit card payments instantly (kudos Stripe)

We’re thrilled to announce that from now on, you can use Invoicebus to accept credit card payments instantly through your invoices, with a click of a button.


To process payments on your behalf, Invoicebus uses Stripe – a great service that makes credit card payments incredibly easy and safe. If you don’t have a Stripe account yet, you may consider signing up – it’s super fast and you don’t need a merchant account.

Security info: Stripe is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1 – the most stringent level of certification available. Invoicebus uses Stripe.js to integrate and any communication between Invoicebus and Stripe happens through an encrypted SSL channel. This makes Invoicebus payments PCI compliant as well. You can learn more on Invoicebus security at https://invoicebus.com/security

We prepared a demo invoice you can use to play around and see how payments work. Feel free to use the following test card (don’t worry no real charge will be made):

Card Number: 4242 4242 4242 4242
Expiration Date: 05/19
CVC: 100

The simple payment form also allows your client to store his payment info for quick payments in future, which means he won’t be bothered to re-enter his credit card details the next time he gets an invoice from you (yay single click payments!). Furthermore, if the client has previously used Stripe checkout on any other web site, he will only be prompted to confirm the payment with a single click (Stripe already knows who the payer is only by his email address). Isn’t this awesome?

To enable credit card payments, all you need to do is connect your Stripe account with Invoicebus (Settings -> Connect with Stripe).

Google connect

Google connect allows you to use your existing Google account to login (or sign up) at Invoicebus. If you already have an Invoicebus account with non-Google email address, you can still connect your Google account and use it for all future logins. This way you won’t need to manage separate usernames/passwords everywhere.

Real-time email delivery notifications

Invoicebus deals with lots of outgoing emails per day and many times it faces situations when the email is rejected by the recipient’s email service provider due to various reasons. Even though Invoicebus tracks such emails (bounces) and notifies you as they happen, from now on it also tracks delivered emails. That means it tells you the exact time when your email was delivered to the client.

You can track these events in real-time from the document activity history. This way you won’t need to wonder anymore if the email has been delivered or not.
You will simply know ;)

Other important changes

  • Added two auto-calculable fields on the invoice: “Paid amount” and “Amount due”. If you write invoices in non-English language you may consider changing the labels of these fields.
  • Added ability to set online payment options within the invoice editor.
  • Multiple text filters in the dashboards are simplified and combined into one field (all keywords can be entered in one sentence).
  • “Pay” button(s) are added below Amount Due in the client’s preview of the invoice. This will make them better noticeable to the client.
  • “Accept” and “Decline” buttons are added below total price in the client’s preview of the quote. The “Accept” button now triggers action with a single click (no more annoying confirmation for the client).

Upcoming features:

As you may have noticed, we are moving towards complete automation of the invoicing. That means we’re taking Invoicebus to a level where it will do many tasks for you, automatically – from sending quotes, to converting them to invoices, to following-up, to saying thanks to your clients when you get paid.

Considering this, we’re developing two features that will be launched by the end of the next month:

  • Automatic payment reminders / follow-ups
  • Automatic thank you notes

And if it’s late blame these guys:

Now it’s your turn!

How do you like the latest changes? Is there anything we could do to make Invoicebus better for you? Please let me know in the comments below, I would really love to hear from you.

We’re two years old!

Hurray everyone, it’s our second birthday.

Happy Birthday Invoicebus

Another great year for Invoicebus has passed since our launch in 2011 and I have not much to say other than we’re proud of ourselves and happy to be in company of such great customers. Yes, first of all I want to thank you, our dear users; because of you and your support we’re still here, giving our best to bring to you this awesome invoicing tool.

I don’t want to get in great details, and the story of how everything begun is “documented” here on this blog, so just look through our archives I’m sure you’ll find interesting posts. By the way if you want to know how we celebrated our first birthday you can look here. I have to say although we’re still so young (only 2 years old) we matured a lot during this past year.

We’re still riding the roller-coaster with lots of ups and downs, but we for sure learned a lot about running and growing a business during the last year. I’m not saying we’re gurus at what we do or what we achieved so far but I can assure you we’re absolutely dedicated to Invoicebus and I can assure you that we’re going to be here for a long, long time. We have a lot of plans for the future, and we’re preparing a lot of great things for Invoicebus in the following year.

So without further ado, Happy Birthday Invoicebus!

Photo credit Jessica Keating Photography

Network Maintenance: Brief interruptions may occur to Invoicebus on October 22, 23 and 24

Starting on October 22nd at 10:00 PM CST, Rackspace, our hosting service provider will perform maintenance on its networking infrastructure of our Next Gen Cloud Servers in Chicago (ORD) region. This maintenance will expand the capabilities and improve the performance and reliability of our core network.

This maintenance event will not require any action from you. Due to the size of the ORD region, this maintenance will need to be performed over the course of 3 days. Below is the schedule that will be used:

Tuesday, October 22rd: 10:00 PM – 4:00 AM CST
Wednesday, October 23rd: 10:00 PM – 4:00 AM CST
Thursday, October 24rd: 10:00 PM – 4:00 AM CST

During this maintenance, your connectivity to Invoicebus could be interrupted two or more times, for a period ranging from a few seconds up to 30 minutes.

We apologize for the inconvenience. We always strive to have no-downtime associated with deploys of upgrades, but some maintenances require small delays in network traffic while the process completes.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding this maintenance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thank you.

New Feature – Get Your Invoices Paid Directly with PayPal

From now on you can connect your PayPal account with Invoicebus and start collecting payments with just a few clicks – directly on your invoices.

We’re very excited to announce this super handy feature which helps you get paid faster and easier than ever. By connecting your PayPal account with Invoicebus, a special “Pay with PayPal” button will appear on your online invoices so your clients can pay you directly with just a few clicks.

Connecting your PayPal account is very easy – just go to your account settings (see image below), enter your PayPal email address and… Voila!

Note: By leaving this field blank, the payments will be disabled and the button will be hidden.

The great thing is that Invoicebus will notify you immediately after your client sends you a payment. Plus it will automatically record the payment into your account, so you won’t need to do anything. Actually you may drink a mug of beer instead. Cheers!

COMING SOON

Another exciting feature that is coming soon is the Stripe integration – it helps you accept credit cards instantly with a single click. You may think of it like you have a credit card processor integrated on your invoices. Yes, it’s that awesome.

We hope you’ll find this features useful since we really want you to get paid faster. We’ll give our best to help you accomplish that.

Have some suggestions for us? Shoot them in the comments below, would definitely love to hear some.

Photo credit: FuFu Wolf

3 New Features: Invoice Scheduler + Email History + Bounce Notifications

Create more invoices in one day and Invoicebus will automatically send them through the month for you.

Invoice Scheduler – Send Your Invoices Later

We thought it would be great if you could create more invoices in one day and automatically send them later on a predefined date in future. This way you’ll save tons of time because you won’t need to login every time when your invoices should be sent out + you can make sure the client always gets your invoice at the right date.

The scheduled emails are sent out during morning hours 7 a.m – 11 a.m (your local time), when the chances your message to be seen are highest. Upon sending, we send you appropriate notification. You can cancel or preview each scheduled email from the Invoice Activity History.

All scheduled emails are marked with a small clock icon in the dashboard, so you can easily find/sort them.

This option is available for Quotes as well.

Email History – Preview Sent Messages

We know how frustrating can be when you can’t find an email you’ve sent, so we implemented an option for you to preview all sent messages directly from the Invoice Activity History. Of course, this way you can preview all sent reminders and thanks notes + all emails that are scheduled for sending.

Bounce Notifications

Even though Invoicebus guarantees 100% deliverability of your emails (all emails are anti-spam signed and verified) , many times errors occur during email delivery due to various reasons beyond our control such as typos in the email address, remote provider firewalls, remote server outages etc.
That’s why we implemented Bounce Notifications – notifications that are sent to you when some of your emails are not properly delivered to the final recipient. Bounce occurs when Invoicebus detects that your email cannot be delivered after couple of attempts. Then we send you a bounce notification email (similar to those which Gmail sends when your message is not delivered) and put a record in the Invoice Activity History with all details about the problem and possible solution.

I hope you’ll find these features useful. Thanks for using Invoicebus.

Questions or Suggestions?
Feel free to drop some in the comments below, would really love to hear from you.

User Engagement, You’re Doing It Wrong

In running an online business building bridges with your users is a great thing, but you have to make sure it’s a two way bridge, otherwise it’s pointless.


Before we moved to our new payment processor 2Checkout we researched which payment processor could provide us the value we’re looking for. After some googling we found a tons of companies, some well-known and others minor players in that market. Although we already chose 2Checkout because it offered the best deal for us at the time, we stumbled upon one very interesting service, so I decided to give it a try and signed up.

They’re young startup, and I liked this service form the beginning, everything was so simple and user friendly, but unfortunately it was available only for US and Canadian based businesses, and because we’re located in Europe it was out of our reach.

Everything went fine, great first impressions, and after couple of days I started receiving emails from the founder asking me why I haven’t activated my account, and offering his help if I needed something related with my account. Although I knew this is an automated message I respected their time and dedication, so I replied with an explanation of the whole international thing, and asked him some other questions I was interested in. I know how founders busy can be (I’m founder myself) so I didn’t expect immediate reply.

But something unexpected happen, there was no reply on that email, instead I received email “disconnected” from the first one, again with instructions how I can start with collecting payments in just 60 seconds. I knew this was another automated message, and I wasn’t so surprised, as this message automation is known tactic for user engagement and communication. So I said to myself “OK, not a big deal, probably he didn’t saw my first reply”, and I practically copy-pasted my previous reply. What was encouraging in this message was the statement that his email address is for real and I should “feel free to respond to this email”, and he would “love to hear from me”. Finally I bravely hit the send button.

And… his reply was …(cricket sound)… you can guess it, nothing. But don’t worry their automated emails had no problem finding my inbox. So again in the third email he offered his help, and again stated that this message was send from real email address to which I can respond to. Yeah right, I’m not going to bite this time. My reply this time was somewhat harsh stating my two previous emails and the bad communication policy they’re doing. I don’t know why I bothered sending the last email, knowing from experience that it’s probably a waste of time. And “surprisingly” it was a waste of time, but I received fourth and last automated email from him, asking me for feedback, in which I briefly stated that they don’t accept international merchants. With that, all their unsuccessful user engagement finished.

I don’t want to sound too critical and I’m not going to tell people how they should run their business and what’s best for their business, but some of them should really start to care for their users even the one using their system for free. Let me tell you this, because of our one-on-one live support which you get only with our invoicing service Invoicebus we managed to fix critical bugs, and added super features, all in all we brought Invoicebus at a greater level.

If you’re planning to engage your users with email messages, and offering help or even leave your phone number (I’ve noticed some CEOs do this) you should expect some of your users, to actually reply or even call your phone in case you provided one. So if you’re on the other side running a business, my suggestion for you is to reply on the emails and take the calls. You’ll be surprised how well people will react if you assure them there is another human being behind all that pixels on the screen. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is in the world of the online services.

Photocredit: Salim Virji

365-Day Double-Money-Back Guarantee

If we ever disappoint you – get double your money back. No catches. Seriously.

365 Day Double Money Back Gurantee

We believe in Invoicebus so passionately that we’ve decided to take all the risk onto our backs and make sure you take none. We’re super excited to introduce the iron-clad, 365-day double-your-money-back guarantee with no catches.

If at any time in the first 365 days you feel that we did not live up to our promises and you choose to leave us, we’ll pay you back DOUBLE what you’ve paid us up to the point when you cancel – no questions asked!

We’ve never offered this kind of ridiculous guarantee before, and we wouldn’t offer this if we weren’t 100% confident in our product.

How the Guarantee works:

  • You signup with us, kick the tires and pick one of our paying plans.
  • You decide Invoicebus is not for you.
  • You cancel your account with us within the first 365 days.
  • You claim your Double Money Back Guarantee.

The updated refund policy takes effect immediately.

Monthly, Annual and Biennial Subscription

Beside the money-back guarantee, we decided to give you the opportunity to subscribe for longer period on any plan and get reasonable discount in return.

  • Monthly Subscription – Regular Prices (billed every month)
  • Annual Subscription – 16% OFF on All Plans (billed every year)
  • Biennial Subscription – 30% OFF on All Plans (billed every 2 years)

Read more info here.

Don’t forget that whatever period you choose, you’ll be protected by our rock-solid money back guarantee up to 365 days.

Suggestions? Feel free to put some in the comments below.

2Checkout.com – New Payment Processor

In the past 14 months we were using Skrill as official payment processor, but it turned out to be real pain in the neck, so finally we’re saying goodbye.

From now on, all new paying subscriptions for Invoicebus will be processed by 2Checkout.com, Inc (Ohio, USA), which is authorized retailer for thousands of tangible or digital products and services worldwide.

How it works?
When you’re purchasing plan at Invoicebus website, you will be taken to the secure site of 2Checkout.com and brought back to Invoicebus upon completion of your order.


What are the benefits?

  • Super convenient – no need of creating account at their site (like Skril requires) in order to purchase Invoicebus plan
  • You can pay super-fast with
    • - Any major credit card – Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Discover, Diners, JCB, and debit cards with the Visa and MasterCard logo
    • - PayPal
  • You can easily access and update your billing details at https://www.2co.com/
  • You will receive clean and short receipts by email each month.

The existing paying customers will not be affected by this change. However, during the next 90 days, they will be asked to update their payment method voluntarily.

The Mechanics have just got a New Office

One year after we’d brought Invoicebus to the world, we made the much needed change and moved to a new location

Some of you may remember our previous office located in Skopje, and although we loved that place so much, it always felt like it was improvised place to work at. So, few weeks ago we finally got the office we always loved in the magnificent town of Bitola.

Yep, a real shiny office, not that boring corporate gray cubicle, but a place fulfilled with warmth and happiness, a real stress-free environment where creativity can flourish. We even hanged our happy bus mascot on the wall to remind us every day why we do what we do.

Here’re a few photos that Alek, the sickest photographer on the face of the earth, captured through its Nikon lens.

We really had a lot of fun and laughter during this photo-session. Here’re few more crazy shots of the day along with some behind the scenes material :)

More Awesomeness – 5 New Features

Responsive Email Windows, Email Templates, Custom Placeholders, Email Preview and Multiple Recipients. Whew!

1. Responsive Email Windows

The old email windows were nice, but they felt a bit narrow when you were writing longer messages, so we decided to redesign them. Now when you open a window to send email, the whole area is bigger and cleaner with more space for writing and nothing squeezed-in.

The most awesome thing is their resizable and responsive nature. For example, you can change the size of the window to any dimension and all underlying elements will adjust accordingly. Also, at the top right corner there’s a little “Maximize” button that puts the window in full screen and lets you focus only on your writing. The white space is plenty enough so you can read easier with more enjoyment.


BONUS
We redesigned the window for entering payments as well. Now, it looks more appealing with beautifully organized data. Here it is.

2. Email Templates

Previously, you had the option to save default messages for your invoices, quotes, reminders and thanks notes, but the option to save the subject lines was missing. Now, we’re introducing the amazing Template feature that allows you to create complete templates including the subject, the message and the attachment.

There’re 4 different templates you can create, one for each email type:

  • Invoice
  • Quote
  • Reminder
  • Thanks Note

To edit the template, click the “Edit Default Template” link from the bottom left corner of the respective window.


Please note that from now on, the info that was auto added to your emails (see image below), can be customized from the Template.

3. Custom Placeholders

Placeholders are used when you create default template, such as email template, where Invoicebus should replace the variables with actual data from the document. You can also use them when you send non-template (unique) messages and need to include invoice data within the message context.

There’re many different placeholders you can choose from: client name, document number, total price, due date, outstanding balance etc. To insert a placeholder, just type “{“ (Left Curly Bracket) and the list with available placeholders will show. Ta-da! You don’t even need to scroll the whole list – we implemented search-as-you-type. Yay laziness.




4. Email Preview

We thought it would be awesome if you could preview the emails before sending, so we created the amazing real-time preview. You can even use it in the middle of your writing, preview the message and continue writing again, without losing a bit of your focus. To toggle the preview, just hit the “Show/Hide Preview” link and the panel will slide in/out (see image below).




5. Multiple Recipients

Also, we re-considered the option for sending document to multiple recipients. Now you can specify up to 5 comma separated recipients and send the document to all of them at once, just like you do with conventional emails. For example, into the “To” field you enter: fred@flintstone.bed, barney@rubble.bed, dino@dinostore.bed (see previous images).



We hope these features will improve your invoicing experience and make it more pleasant and enjoyable. And if you think there’s something else we are missing, don’t hesitate to give us a shout – we’re all ears!

Thank you so much for using Invoicebus.


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