Rating And Scoring System
At Merchant Maverick, we evaluate many different categories of software and services for small businesses in the form of in-depth, unbiased reviews. In addition to detailed write-ups of each software platform or service, we also use a rating system, culminating in an overall score out of 5 stars.
The scores we assign to software and services are not a be-all and end-all verdict but serve as a guide for readers to learn which software platforms and services offer the most value, as well as inspiration for vendors to continuously improve their products.
Reviews are divided into a number of sections (e.g., Pricing, Features, Products & Services, Customer Service, User Reviews, etc). The key sections of a review are each given a rating of Excellent, Good, Fair, or Poor.
Each rated section has a set of criteria that we look for when conducting research for the review. To earn an Excellent rating for a given section, the software/service must meet — or very closely meet — all the criteria in that section. If the software/service is lacking in (or completely missing) certain criteria, a rating of Good, Fair, or Poor will be given for the section based on the software or services’ ability to meet the remaining criteria in that section.
Each software platform or service receives an overall score based on a 5-star scale. The score is based on the following guidelines:
|Overall Score||Section Ratings|
|5.0||Majority "Excellent" and "Good", no "Poor"|
|4.0 - 4.5||Majority "Good"|
|3.0 - 3.5||Majority "Good" and / or "Fair"|
|2.0 - 2.5||Majority "Fair" and / or "Poor"|
|1.0 - 1.5||Majority "Poor"|
Note: While we outline the criteria for standard 5-star software and services, some programs are unique and don’t fit the mold. Minimalist or niche software and services that solve specific problems, or offer unique features and benefits for a particular business size or type, are scored on how well they meet the needs of the intended audience as well as the overall value they provide.
An overall score of 5 stars means the software or service has received a rating of Excellent in most sections, has met nearly all of the individual criteria for each section, offers strong overall value to its customers, and is highly recommendable. However, no software or service is perfect. All have strengths and weaknesses that typically represent tradeoffs a merchant must weigh when making a selection. Some 5-star software or services may not be a good fit for certain businesses for any number of reasons.
By the same token, software or services receiving 4 or 3.5 stars may be a great fit for certain businesses. For example, the other options in the marketplace may be quite limited, the software/service may fulfill the specific needs of a business, or the software/service is in a category in which negotiation is possible.
This means our most important recommendation is to read the full review — do not simply rely on the final score in making a decision. Businesses should be more concerned with the best fit rather than a perfect score.
That said, we generally don’t recommend merchants consider any software or services scoring below 3 stars. Most merchants should be able to find a higher-scoring option that is suitable for their needs.
Rating Criteria By Category
- Accounting Software
- Business Credit Cards
- Business Loans
- Booking Software
- Credit Card Processors
- eCommerce Software
- Email Marketing Software
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Software
- Inventory Software
- Invoicing Software
- Mobile Credit Card Processing
- Payroll Software
- Point Of Sale (POS) Software
- Project Management Software
- Shipping Software
- Website Builder Software