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Table of Contents

Lead Story

You can protect your residuals

News

Industry Update

Top trends affecting payments in 2010

Best Buy boycott

Simulated onslaught to bolster security

Trade Association News

Features

Preventing the inside job

Industry Leader

Biff Matthews –
The shoulders others stand on

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

Mercator benchmarks health of the industry

Incentivizing the seller

Game cards find heaven in 7-Eleven

Views

Prepaid opportunity: Huge and growing

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

A new decade begins

Brandes Elitch
CrossCheck Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Don't break the bank

Jon Perry and Vanessa Lang
888QuikRate.com

Marketing in the next decade

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

One company per ISO deal

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

Net results

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Company Profile

Payment Alliance International

New Products

Mobile trends applied to brick-and-mortar

Digital receipts with the L4150 terminal
Hypercom Corp., TransactionTree Inc.

Flexibility with a mobile terminal

Swipe It and QuickSwipe
Simply Swipe It LLC

Inspiration

Bounce the January blahs

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

January 25, 2010  •  Issue 10:01:02

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SP
Incentivizing the seller

With thousands of salespeople at over 1,400 dealerships nationwide, the cost for Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc. of incentivizing its sales force with paper checks was a challenge. Toyota estimated that by producing approximately 150,000 checks per year at a shipping cost of $10 to $12 per batch, the car company annually topped $180,000 in distribution costs alone. In 2004, Warren Keckeisen, Accounts Payable Manager at Toyota, looked at his wife's Starbucks reloadable prepaid card and wondered why Toyota couldn't issue similar cards to its dealerships and their salespeople to reward them for selling certain makes and models of cars.

Kicking the tires

Toyota chose Citi Prepaid Services, a division of Citibank N.A., to transition Toyota from paper-based incentives to open-loop, Visa Inc.-branded, reloadable prepaid cards. Keckeisen said implementation took three months, with the program going live in August 2004.

More than five years later, the program has saved Toyota hundreds of thousands of dollars in printing and shipping costs, according to Keckeisen. Additionally, the electronic solution allows salespeople to receive their incentives in a fraction of the time it took checks to arrive.

"In the past the dealership personnel would receive a check ... several weeks after they sold a car," Keckeisen said. "And they would ask, 'What is this check for? What vehicle?' Now, they probably receive either an e-mail notice or text notice within days [indicating] when they sold that vehicle and when the payment is applied to their card."

Keckeisen pointed out that the program varies from region to region. With different makes and models of Toyota cars sold in different regions, incentives are targeted by region toward the sale of specific makes and models of cars. Incentive amounts loaded onto cards are typically around $100. "I know that the dealership personnel would like to see more dollars put on it," he said.

"But the budgets and the regions all have their own targets and their own sales. And as they meet those, they put enough dollars on there to move the product and hit their sales objectives. ... We want to spend our money wisely on incentives and push those [cars] that really need a little extra help."

Under the hood

Keckeisen reports that the program has experienced no hiccups. In 2009, Citi Prepaid provided Toyota an overview of how the program was working. From January to March 2009, Citi's automated interactive voice response service accounted for 89.5 percent of cardholder queries for such things as password resets and card replacements.

Citi has seen a decrease in the utilization - and the associated overhead costs - of live customer service support because of the effectiveness of the online portal, where salespeople go to view balances and transaction histories, Keckeisen said.

Not only has the program proven to be customer friendly, but it has also helped dealerships retain their best sellers. "I know it's a struggling market," Keckeisen said. "There's less and less people buying cars now, but [the incentive card program] is one way of retaining your good salesmen. When I go to the dealerships I will often talk with the personnel, and I will ask them about the program - they love it."


For more stories from SellingPrepaid E-Magazine, as well as breaking news and forums devoted to the prepaid sphere, please visit SellingPrePaid.com.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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