Article | April 8, 2020
E-commerce platforms are no longer secondary to that of brick-and-mortar stores. In fact, having an e-commerce platform is crucial to ensure business success today. The numbers don’t lie. Global retail e-commerce sales totaled over $3.5 billion in 2019. The value of the market is rising year on year. Running an online store can be a lucrative exercise if you get the vital processes correct. One such process is your inventory management. At heart, e-commerce is simple. You showcase a range of products online, customers find and buy what they want, and then you deliver. What’s critical, then, is that you have the items you advertise and can get them where they need to go. That’s why getting your inventory management right is essential.
Article | April 8, 2020
For every business leader, growth is the key goal. No matter what the size of the business one leads, their strategies revolve around the overall growth of the company. However, the main challenge that they had to face is to gain the lead most cost-effectively and feasibly.
Nowadays, businesses are utilizing technology to integrate, automate or redesign their process operations. It has helped them in acquiring streamlined processes, minimal cost, and enhanced production.
But how technology can help in strategizing for business growth? Here, the digital transformation of the business is the force driving success and growth. So let’s understand what is needed to gain exceptional results.
Cloud Computing & Business
Cloud computing has been around for a long time now. It can not only increase efficiency but also offers better security and fast process operation. To make it highly effective and enjoy its full benefits, it’s important to take help from an experienced team. Also, businesses can choose from the wide range of cloud service providers available in the market according to the requirements.
Honestly, the number of smartphone users has increased in recent years. So to make the product and services reachable to a larger range of customers, organizations need to hire developers and develop web or mobile apps that are responsive and user friendly. It is the best way for gaining success in any business.
Social media like Instagram, Facebook, Linked In, Twitter, etc. have changed the way people interact with each other and brands. It makes the social media platform a gold mine for businesses. All that an enterprise needs to do is create a business profile and start targeting the potential customers while connecting and engaging with them. It helps in increasing attracting, offering, and sharing products or services with the audience.
Big Data Analytics
The last and most important factor in any business growth is data. The growth strategy of a business should be supported by relevant and valid data. To use data effectively, business leaders need to learn the way to collect data around the internet and analyze it for achieving valuable insights. With the right data in the pocket, companies can easily adapt powerful strategies, approaches, and plans instantly to give an unbeatable boost to their business.
Undoubtedly, technology gives a high potential for strategizing foremost business plans. But, the entire process of digitizing business will take time. However, by listening to the customer and identifying the right tools, businesses can enjoy digital value. All that organizations need to do is keep themselves updated with new technology tools and trends that can highly impact the business growth.
Article | April 8, 2020
Gap is the latest retailer to dip its toes into the secondhand apparel market, following the lead of Macy’s, Nordstrom and others, in a bid to stay relevant in an industry shaken by changing consumer tastes. The company announced last week that it has partnered with resale platform thredUP, which bills itself as the largest online consignment and thrift store. In select Gap, Banana Republic, Athleta, and Janie and Jack stores, thredUP bags and labels will now be available for customers to mail in their clothes, in exchange for credits to use at Gap’s portfolio of stores. Macy’s, J.C. Penney and J.Crew’s Madewell brand have also partnered with thredUP in recent months.
Article | April 8, 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.
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.