The Green Sheet Online Edition
November 09, 2009 • Issue 09:11:01
A gateway into e-commerce
Very few merchants today lack a Web presence, and those who do may be deterred by computer illiteracy or technophobia. In such cases, a little outreach can make the difference.
First Data Corp and Yahoo! Inc. recently announced a partnership to help encourage Web setup among both startup merchants and existing brick-and-mortar merchants who don't already have an e-commerce platform.
The idea behind the product, Brick and Click, is simple. First Data already provides payment technology and services to millions of brick-and-mortar merchants (about 5.3 million, according to Souheil Badran, First Data Senior Vice President), among whom some don't have an e-commerce domain; Yahoo!, meanwhile, is among the most well-known Web domain providers.
For First Data merchant customers interested in establishing an online presence, the company refers them to Yahoo!, which in turn provides both a Web platform and technical services to assist with the setup process, which includes things like image uploading and Web site cataloguing.
"As part of the package or bundle we are offering to brick-and-mortar merchants, we are saying if you do not have a Web presence today, here's a relationship we bring to the table with a trusted brand name so you can establish a presence online," Badran said. "That will help you increase your exposure, and if you want help selling your items as well, we're happy to help you there."
Leverage existing relationships
Badran said by leveraging its merchant relationships through the referral program, First Data makes an otherwise very complex decision significantly easier for brick-and-mortar retailers.
There are countless domain providers from which the average merchant looking to enter the e-commerce space must choose; getting referred to a specific provider by a company with which a merchant already has a working relationship makes that leap both less complicated and less intimidating, he said.
Badran added that, because merchants without existing e-commerce platforms often lack technical know-how, they also benefit from the online setup help that Yahoo! offers.
"If I need a little help Yahoo!'s there to help me, in addition to the advantage of the one-stop relationship," he said. "There are lots of options - many service providers out there - and ultimately there are two components [considered in selecting one]. It could be a matter of pricing, which is really competitive, or it could be a matter of brand name. They know the Yahoo! brand and feel comfortable using it, and ultimately the customer service prevails."
Mostly for smaller merchants
Badran said the First Data-Yahoo! partnership is targeting primarily small to mid-sized businesses, which are less likely to have e-commerce sites than larger retailers. He also said the program is perfect for merchants who want a seasonal or part-time Web presence and are looking for an easy way to set up shop online for a short stretch of time.
"Some [merchants] are saying, 'I've got a widget to sell, and I'd like to be able to be up and running fairly quickly,'" Badran said. "Or if you only sell Christmas trees in the holiday season and want to set up a quick site for the holidays and then just exit, it becomes very easy with a First Data merchant account to be able to sell the trees online.
"It's just a convenience factor, because we are offering an end-to-end solution all the way from being set up to accepting payments online, versus having to go find a Web hosting provider and then being set up separately after the fact."
First Data Corp.
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