Business rates system “does not reflect retail market” says ex-John Lewis boss

BEN STEVENS | January 30, 2019

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Major retail figures including former John Lewis boss Andy Street and Bill Grimsey have piled fresh pressure on the government to reform business rates.The Key Cities Group, comprised of 24 UK cities each with a gross added value (GVA) of over £110 billion, unveiled the findings of its The Future of our Town and City Centres report at a conference on the future of the UK’s high streets yesterday in London.In a year that is due to see a record number of high street stores and jobs come under threat, the report has called for a “complete review” of the current business rates system, stating that it no longer represents the modern British commercial landscape. Addressing the Key Cities Group conference, Street – who is now the Conservative mayor of the West Midlands – said that the current system “does not reflect the retail market and indeed how other companies make profit”.

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OTHER ARTICLES

Which Retail Store Is Better: Amazon or Walmart

Article | March 1, 2020

Walmart has long been the number one retailer across all of the United States, but with the age of online shopping coming into full swing, Amazon has slowly been creeping up on the brick-and-mortar giant and, according to Forbes, is set to surpass Walmart in sales in the next few years. The two stores offer similar services an all around shopping experience that has everything from food to clothes to beauty products to household items to consumers in totally different ways. There are a number of things to consider before you decide which of these retail mega stores you want to make your next purchase from, and it goes beyond just a preference for shopping online vs. in-person. How easy the products are to get, the number of product options, and, most importantly, the price point, are all definitely important to take note of. So let’s dive in!

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POS SOLUTIONS

How To Avoid Overpaying On Your POS Processing Fees

Article | March 1, 2020

Running a small business requires a tight eye on profits. More than likely, you will face scenarios in which you incur higher transaction fees you didn’t expect and could have avoided in the first place. Knowing how to navigate processing fees is a key part of your success. Whether you run a single location, a multi-location business, or even a mobile business, avoiding unnecessary fees should be part of the game plan. Unfortunately, less-than-reputable POS providers are out there, and understanding fees associated with taking payment from customers isn’t easy, but knowing what to look for will help. In this article, we cover fees to keep an eye on and how to save more on your processing fees. How To Avoid Paying Unnecessary Credit Card Processing Fees Unfortunately, if you want to accept credit and debit cards as a form of payment in your business, you’re going to experience processing fees. The financial benefits outweigh the transaction costs, but you can still save some money on your POS system and credit card processing. Negotiate Your Processing Fees The reason it can be so hard to understand the actual cost of processing fees is that many merchant service providers bury fees in the fine print, and these fees can come back to haunt you. In general, the more upfront a company is about all its charges, the more trustworthy and reliable they are because they have nothing to hide, and typically those rates will be fair. But it also helps to keep an eye on certain aspects of a contract. You can then negotiate them or repackage services to boost your profits. Transaction Fees: Choose The Right Plan When setting up your contract, you are given the option of a range of credit card pricing plans. Here are three of the most common pricing models. Interchange Plus Fee Pricing This option offers different transaction rates for different card types, bank issuers, methods of transactions, and more. By understanding these fees when processing transactions, you can benefit financially by encouraging the usage of certain cards or procedures that are least costly. Tiered Pricing In this scenario, you are charged different rates for different tiers created by your provider. It’s important to evaluate this option carefully because most transactions can fall into a less favorable tier rate. Flat-fee Structure Pricing This fee allows for one charge for card-present (CP) transactions and another for card-not-present (CNP) transactions, regardless of card type. This predictable, one-rate pricing model is easy to follow, allowing you to encourage a lower cents-per-transaction option and formulate special pricing deals. However flat-rate can sometimes come out as more expensive than interchange-plus pricing. How To Avoid Monthly PCI Compliance Charges A semi-regular fee many merchants run into is not falling in line with PCI Compliant in how they handle payment information. Being PCI compliant means maintaining important standards for customer data protection, and it is taken seriously. Compliance is required for major credit cards such as Visa and Mastercard and is becoming more popular as businesses continue to shift to online sales. Rule enforcement is most often the responsibility of payment processing companies. Your provider will charge you two fees: a PCI compliance fee – which is once a year – and a PCI non-compliance fee – which occurs every month you have not completed your yearly PCI Compliance audit. Providers are free to charge however much they like for each service, and it can range anywhere between $30-$99 a month. Monthly charges are done both directly or indirectly via higher monthly fees, processing rates, or both. In some cases, the charges begin months after originally signing up with the processors hoping you won’t keep a close eye on all your ongoing processing fees. As a merchant service provider, we at BNG Point-Of-Sale have a long and reliable history in helping our customers practice PCI Compliance within their business and avoid non-compliance fees. PCI Compliance is necessary and it does require some work by the processors, so the charges aren’t a hoax, but there are some ways to keep costs down: You can take on the responsibility of PCI Compliance yourself and forgo the processor’s fee; however, you will be on your own if issues arise. In today’s world of increasing e-commerce, it’s not recommended. You can prevent the risk of non-compliance fees by working with companies that handle compliance internally. If they (not you) are the source of customer purchasing data, they are automatically in charge of it. Square and PayPal are examples of companies that handle all PCI Compliance, and we often account for these services when onboarding our customers and annually remind them to follow PCI Compliance. At first glance, it may appear you are not charged by these companies for compliance and non-compliance, but in reality, compliance is still built into the standard fee for service; you just won’t see it specified. Still, you won’t be responsible for non-compliance fees since they own the data and are fully responsible for it. The amount of compliance required of your business depends on how you take in payment and store customer data. Since processors have numerous clients and prefer not to get specific about it, they may charge a basic fee to cover most issues. This means you could be overpaying, so it’s a good area to evaluate this price of the packaged service vs. when it is priced individually. There may be companies that don’t charge for compliance, but they are rare and may be suspect. In most cases, any free compliance is covered with higher fees in other areas. How To Avoid Chargeback Fees Chargeback fees should be avoided since they are more expensive than traditional transaction fees – especially if you are categorized as a “high risk” client. The first step is to avoid chargebacks in the first place. Chargebacks can be the result of sales errors by you and your team, a misunderstanding by the customer, or the result of identity theft. Here are some ways to combat each. Reduce Transaction Errors Know when to stop a transaction. If an error occurs, push the cancel/hold button inside the transaction. If you are unable to do this, the transaction has already been claimed by the processing company. Accurately process credits as credits and sales as sales. Receive an Authorization Approval Code (AAC) before running a transaction. Before batching your credit card processing at the end of the day, review all charges to verify all charges are correct and not duplicated. Keeping this as an active daily routine can prevent costly mistakes. Ensure shipped items arrive to the customer to avoid disputes. Select the “ship product to billing address” to alleviate data error. Keep Records Of Voids Provide records to your customer of any proof of voids and include companion documentation for any disputes showing details of each purchase. Decrease Risk Of Theft If your processor charges more for card-not-present transactions, which most do, it’s because the risk of theft is higher. By requiring a driver’s license and signature and doing manually keyed-in card payments in person rather than over the phone, you lower the risk and enjoy lower charges per transaction. Try to avoid non-qualified processing (when a card isn’t present or keyed or is missing billing information.) This type of processing is considered a high-risk factor, and processors charge accordingly. When Possible, Run Orders On Debit Cards Debit cards are considered a lower risk than credit cards and, in turn, the transaction rates are quite a bit less. This has mostly to do with the fact the purchase is a direct bank-to-bank transaction, but other factors make a difference such as PIN verification and signature requirements, bringing these purchases into a lower risk category. And typically the rates hold. You will still experience rate differences among debit cards related to how the purchases are conducted and who the issuing bank is. Special incentives such as loyalty programs for debit card users help to easily boost profits. A Final Thought On Keeping Processing Fees Low As you can see, several variables can affect your processing rates. From fines to the pricing model your merchant service provider recommends, there’s a lot to consider. As tempting as it can be to just try and find the cheapest option, be careful going with the lowest bidder. Remember, all POS and payment processing providers have to make some money to cover the costs of support their merchants. If you choose a processor with incredibly low fees, you run the risk of getting what you pay for when it comes to supporting your business. If you’re not sure if you’re overpaying on your processing fees and want a free analysis, let our team review your current monthly statements and we’ll let you know if you’re getting a good deal or not.

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POS SOLUTIONS

E-commerce Market & Trends: A Report On How India Sells & Shops

Article | March 1, 2020

You have to be living in a cave if you haven’t experienced e-commerce already! No, we aren’t really bluffing when we say this. With a business model that is growing steadily at 23% year-over-year, aren’t e-commerce markets the place to be? Further, to add on, 2020 has been a year like no other in recent history. The events of the coronavirus pandemic that marked its spread on a global scale, worked wonders in bringing us closer to e-commerce than we ever were. The e-commerce industry was the backbone of humanity amidst the time of pandemic and uncertain lockdowns across different countries around the globe. Considering the fact that e-commerce has been suited to the trend amidst the pandemic, let’s have a look at how the world’s largest democratic, India, which is also one of the hot spots for e-commerce giants, has kept up with its buying and selling during 2020. Let’s get started! The total “your order is placed successfully” notification so far: Beginning its spree of three months, lockdown in the country was enforced in the last week of March. Being the innovators of ‘jugaad’(alternative way of solving or fixing a problem), Indian’s were prepared for the event, giving the e-commerce sites, a taste of dip with 2.40% on the overall orders placed (Yes, we should also consider the events of lockdown on courier facilities). However, this wasn’t it as the highest dip was about to come in April 2020, giving a 10% blow to the e-commerce industry. While these were the lower points, the e-commerce industry has experienced a boom in orders placed after April, marking the highest for the year with July. However, we are not done with the sales yet! Wonder which particular segment was the king of sales amidst the entire pandemic drama? Guess… Seems like we Indians love our gadgets really well, yes, it was the electronics! With ‘unlock 1.0’ in action, we had our carts prepared for checking out, the e-commerce industry in India witnessed a growth of 162%. However, this was just a mere aid to the losses as June faced a setback again! Interestingly, September marked a change in the charts, making the highest number of orders placed in e-commerce platforms, marking a 43% spike in electronic sales. How Indians sold in 2020! 2020 has been a year like no other (in both senses of the word). The extended lockdowns and social distancing helped our local kiranas (General Store) to share the platform beside some large enterprises, allowing businesses of all forms to adapt to hyper-local e-commerce. Conclusion Ecommerce has earned its rightful place as the most preferred shopping mode for us Indians. Thankfully, the markets have picked up with their pace, post the events of Unlock 1.0. For any business, one of the best news that they can conclude the year with is the fact that consumers are no longer using digital platforms for their daily needs. Online platforms have earned their rightful place, making it the perfect time to depend on e-commerce business. Lastly, have also secured the 9th position in global growth.

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Retail's secret weapon: Order fulfillment optimization

Article | March 1, 2020

The start of a new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past and prepare for the future. While holiday 2019 was another record year for retail sales, brands faced some serious challenges when it came to a shortened shopping window and the ever-growing consumer expectations around timely, accurate, and convenient deliveries (and returns). Some may believe these woes to be behind us now that the holidays are over, but the potential for spikes in product demands remains throughout 2020 leading into next year's holiday season. And if history has shown us anything, it's that now is the time for retailers to implement the right processes and technologies that ensure seamless and positive customer experiences, or risk ongoing negative impacts to the bottom line.

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k-eCommerce delivers an innovative, cloud-based eCommerce solution that simplifies and accelerates your ability to sell online. Fully integrated with the Microsoft Dynamics™ suite and SAP Business One™, our solution offers a complete omnichannel platform for B2B and B2C. In business since 1999, k-eCommerce is used in over 1500 sites in 15 countries. Our highly scalable, turnkey solution offers organizations in industries including wholesale, distribution and retail, the flexibility to grow their online business. Our eCommerce and payment processing knowledge is extensive and backed by over 15 years of experience.

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