Two Credit Card Policies Your Business Needs to Set in Stone

Credit cards are a big part of every business. If your store isn’t equipped for credit card transactions, you’ve already put a huge roadblock in the way of your company’s growth. But if you don’t have clear in-store and internal policies, even the best merchant services can’t help your business navigate new regulations. Here are two policies that your business needs to create and regularly review:

What’s your return policy?

Some stores don’t have a lot of returns. But whether you sell retail goods, professional services, or food, you need to have a return policy. It can encompass everything from a poor user experience to product exchanges depending on what you want for your business, but the allowances and limitations need to be clear. It also needs to be posted in your store and easy to find online. Making your return policy clear and visible is the best way to fight invalid chargebacks.

While you’re making any edits, make sure your merchant services can easily accommodate the policy. This includes more than making sure your equipment can handle reversing the transaction. Make sure the fees are low enough that you can afford the goodwill a good return policy brings.

What’s your information storage policy?

The benefit of a merchant services provider is that your company isn’t directly handling credit card information. This is incredibly important if you’re an online vendor. If you handle or store PII or credit card information, your company has to be PCI compliant and secure that information from cyber threats. Find a merchant services provider that acts as a third-party information handler. Also, train your in-store employee on how to treat any credit card information in the store. Ideally, your employees should never write down any details or even handle the cards. Find customer-facing machines to keep the line clear.

For more merchant services tips, browse our blog at BAMS.

3 Ways the Right Merchant Services Help You Keep a Positive Cash Flow

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Merchant services play a large role in your business. They help you collect revenue, but they also impact your expenses. Find the right company that doesn’t disrupt your cash flow.

1. Reliable services let you know future merchant service rates.

Every business needs a forecasted budget. A great deal of effort in the business world is focused on how to record and predict revenue. But expenses are just as important. Fixed expenses are the best type of expenses for a business, but merchant services don’t fall under that category. The total grows along with your revenue, and additional fees can add up.

So make sure you merchant services provider is as transparent as possible. You need to know the rates down to the last decimal point, and they need to be numbers you can rely on without having to anticipate surprise rate changes.

2. You get the money in your account faster.

Different merchant services have different processes. Some companies send you back the funds after a few days, and it can take even longer for purchases that were processed after their office hours. Look for a merchant service that offers tight turnaround for purchases during work hours, late at night, and on the weekends. If your company has bills you need to pay, you need to have the cash on hand to do it.

3. You don’t receive unexpected chargebacks.

Credit card companies protect their customers, not merchants and stores. That means customers have an increasing number of ways to get their money back after a credit card purchase. Sometimes it’s a legitimate return, and other times it’s a sincere complaint about an unwanted charge. But sometimes it’s less than honest. No matter what the motivation behind the chargeback, you need to know about it so you can respond quickly. Chargebacks are becoming more frequent, and they can quickly eat into your cash flow.

Go to BAMS to find merchant services that are predictable, process funds quickly, and keep you updated.

Don’t Have Dangerous Gaps in PCI Compliance

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When you’re looking for a payment processing site so you can make personal online transactions, you might just use the first thing you come across. But when it comes to your business, you want to back up your choice with some research. Different payment processing tools, like PayPal, Stripe, and BAMS, offer a wide array of benefits and supplemental features. The most important thing for your business, however, is PCI compliance.

How does PCI compliance apply to your business?

PCI DSS, or the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is a list of standards for securing payment processing details. If your company even touches payment information, whether you’re storing the information or just accepting, processing, or transmitting it, then you’re responsible for maintaining a secure environment for that data. That’s why more and more companies are using third-party providers to handle payment processing. If payments are routed through another site entirely, your liabilities are limited.

How do you know which processing service provides the best PCI compliance?

The best way to know which service is for you is to start studying your own business. How do you usually get paid? Online stores will have a lot of individual transactions. Subscription service providers, whether they provide online services or something physical like landscaping, may have automatic payments. If your company provides freelance services, you may need to invoice clients for monthly services or varying amounts.

Once you know how your company sends requests for payment and receives payment, start looking for exceptions. Stripe, for example, doesn’t have an inbuilt invoicing tool so you will need to check your additional third-party services for PCI compliance. PayPal does offer more PCI compliance, but only at certain levels of subscription.

Most e-commerce payment processing platforms are all but required to have PCI compliance, but your company may be liable for any gaps. So look for those gaps before finalizing your choice. Browse our blog for more ways to choose the best platform for your business.

3 Ways Payment Processing Reports Can Help Your Marketing Team

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Marketing strategies rely on having information. You need to know as much about your prospective customers as possible so you can reach out to them effectively. A lot of that information comes from your website traffic. What your visitors do, how they interact with the site, and what items they buy form a large part of your understanding. But the information you can gather through Google Analytics and lead generation isn’t the end of your information-gathering abilities. Payment processing reports can tell you a lot about your customers and your store. Here are some tips:

What three things can you learn from your payment processing reports?

1. What’s the average sales total?

It’s not just enough to know how much money your store is making every day or each month. It’s also important to know how much each customer is spending each time they come into your store. This gives you a lot of information about buyer behavior. Unless your store is specifically designed for small frequent purchases, like a convenience store, then larger purchases are better. Reports can let you know if your marketing and store arrangement efforts are working.

2. Which credit card types are your customers using?

Credit card type also tells you a lot about different customer personas or hypothetical characters built around the standard behaviors and interests of your target markets. But card types also matter based on the agreements you have for different types of merchant services. If you have a lot of transactions through one card type, you can negotiate for a lower percentage. If you have few transactions through credit cards, you can decide if a surcharge for small payments is right for your company.

3. How many transactions are happening at different terminals?

Different terminals at your store get different amounts of traffic. This data can let you know if one point of sale is too out of the way or is left unmanned. It can also let you know when the primary terminal is too busy and your store needs a new arrangement.

For more ways to use payment processing reports, go to BAMS.

4 Sales Tips to Influence People to Buy Your Products

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Want to increase sales? Use the following sales tips to sell more products, boost your revenue, and increase your ROI:

FOMO

FOMO stands for Fear Of Missing Out. This is what causes people to buy things that are on sale even if they don’t need them and to constantly check what their friends are up to on social media. A limited-time or limited-edition offer with a countdown clock is a great way to tap into the FOMO.

Get Them in the Right Mindset

Before you make your selling point or sales pitch, you need to first get your audience in the right mindset. An example of this is stressing how your product doesn’t cost X amount of money, that amount being much higher than your real price. This gets your audience in the mindset that your product is affordable and cheap because, in their minds, the bar of what is “expensive” or even the industry standard price is now much higher.

Pain and Pleasure

Human beings do things to avoid pain and gain pleasure. People will usually do more to avoid pain than gain pleasure, so don’t just stress how much pleasure your product will bring them; focus on the pain points that brought them to your sales page in the first place.

Cross-Selling and Up-Selling

If you are not upselling and cross-selling products to your customers, you will lose out on a lot of revenue. Many companies gain most of their revenue from the additional products that people purchase, as the first product sale is often needed to cover the costs of advertising. People who are buying are already in the mindset of spending money and will usually buy more than what they originally planned to.

For more sales tips and information on how to sell better online, contact us today and ask about our services.

5 Ways to Tap Into Human Nature to Increase Sales

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Every good sales professional knows how to tap into human nature to increase sales. Understanding what influences people to make a purchasing decision will help you boost your revenue. Here are some important things that will bring you more sales.

Scarcity

Scarcity increases value. Human nature is to want that which we do not have. If something is in abundance, people will have less of a desire for it. You have to create a perception of scarcity to increase sales. One way to do this is by offering a limited-offer discount.

Reciprocity

People tend to reciprocate favors and good deeds. If you offer your customers valuable information and tips, great customer service and discount opportunities, human nature will lead them to reciprocate the favors by purchasing your products. They will also be more likely to recommend you to a friend.

Social Proof

We tend to measure something’s worth based on how other people value it. Social proof is very important when it comes to sales. Boost the social proof of a product by encouraging your customers to leave five-star reviews and testimonials. Boost the social proof of your company overall by building your social media channels and getting followers and likes.

Authority

Similar to social proof, people tend to place more value on a statement or product that comes from an authority figure. Build up your authority by becoming an information source online, both on your website, on Youtube, and on your social media channels. Start a PR campaign and book appearances on media channels.

Unity

People like to feel as if they are part of something, whether that be a family, a tradition, a belief system, or shared values. That is why your company needs to have a mission and a purpose.

For more information about our services, contact us.

Tangible Benefits of Adding a Loyalty Card to Your Loyalty Program

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Loyalty cards are becoming a staple of the modern shopping experience. That means companies that don’t include loyalty programs, discount cards, and other incentives for recurring shopping trips are likely to miss out on return customers. Many companies are starting to centralize their loyalty programs in an app, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting rid of their cards. Here are two reasons to make sure a physical card is part of your program:

Even in the digital age, things that can be held are valuable.

A strong tenet of selling products is letting customers hold and interact with the product. Once it’s in their hands, customers are much more willing to make the purchase. The same is just as true with loyalty program cards. While apps are convenient and can hold more interactive data, physical cards can be held. Making your cards attractive or a popular status symbol, like Starbuck’s gold card or the different tiers of platinum and gold credit cards, gives them extra value. That’s far more effective than an app that’s not on your customers’ home screen.

Familiar brands are preferred brands.

Not a single day goes by when consumers don’t open their wallets or grab their keys. If your loyalty card is tucked away or hooked onto a keychain, that means your target market of core customers, people who have already made purchases at your stores, see your brand every single day. That constant reminder on the periphery of their day makes your brand familiar and comfortable.

It also encourages new leads to find your store. If a customer is visibly carrying your loyalty program card on their keychain, then their family, friends, and acquaintances will see it. Even if it never comes up, that implicit stamp of approval from a trusted source will go a long way in their eyes.

Keep your loyalty cards visible with durable, vibrant cards. Go to BAMS to get started.

Get Better Insight into Your Core Target Markets by Offering Online Gift Cards

Online gift cards concept. Blue gift card vector

Every marketing strategy your business employs requires insight and data analysis. It’s hard to understand what drives consumer behavior without knowing the consumers. If you can’t track spending and customer behavior, then you have to wait and hope for sales instead of driving sales. But if your company offers consumable products and services that are popular for gifts, you have another layer of consumer obscurity to penetrate because you’re dealing with two very different customer personas.

What are your two customer types?

Customer personas are an important organization concept in marketing. A customer persona is the ‘type’ of person who buys your products and services, or even a specific product or service, and that persona is based on the average demographic and behavior data you collect. If gift cards are part of your product offering, then you have two different types:

  1. direct customers who like your products and services, and
  2. gift-givers, who have one of your direct customers in their life.

These two buyer types, even though they’re too generic to be specific customer personas, have very different motivations. That means they need very different marketing tracks and incentives.

How do online gift cards help?

Gift cards provide a whole new set of data to help you make your marketing campaigns effective, and online gift cards are even more efficient. Each gift card has a unique code that lets you track everything from the number of gift cards purchased in given time frames to the amount on the average gift card each month. Even more importantly, the codes let you track the duration of time between the gift card purchase and the direct customer’s use of the gift card, as well as what purchases people are more likely to make with a gift card over cash.

From that last data set, you can start to find valuable trends. Direct customers who receive cards may be more likely to make larger, premium purchases because of the implicit difference between cards and cash. Gift cards purchased for a birthday might be spent faster than those purchased for Christmas. No matter what trends are unique to your company, you can plan your product offerings and sales accordingly to get quick turnaround on card usage.

If you want a trusted gift card provider who can help you get your new campaign and gift card offerings off to a good start, go to BAMS.