The Green Sheet Online Edition
September 12, 2011 • Issue 11:09:01
Preparation at summer's end
Labor Day has come and gone, vacation photos have been shared online and children are back in school. In the retail sphere, merchants are gearing up for Halloween and then the holiday season. While nothing ever ceases in our perpetual economic motion machine, now is an opportune time to take stock and prepare for the frenzy of the fall and winter retail seasons.
The payments industry is on the verge of implementing the Durbin Amendment to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Are you prepared for the coming changes? Are your merchants? What will you tell them when (and if) debit card use plummets at their stores? Can you summarize how Durbin will affect them?
An email blast reminding merchants of the upcoming Oct. 1 deadline for Durbin Amendment implementation might be appropriate. Processors may start charging new fees to make up for debit interchange shortfalls. You can avoid calls from irate merchants about new charges on their monthly statements with timely missives and phone calls today.
Break it down
In advance of the holidays, when retailers are busy making the bulk of their yearly revenue, are you prepared for those little and big emergencies? Do you have receipt paper in abundance for when merchants run out on Christmas Eve? Are your hardware vendors ready to help you come to the rescue when POS devices break down on the Saturday before Thanksgiving?
And if you're a small, one-person shop, how's the car? Does it need a tuneup for the winter months to come? Can your tires withstand the hectic running around that accompanies the holidays? You don't want a cranky jalopy when a desperate merchant calls you for assistance one snowy holiday eve.
And what about your technology infrastructure? Is your gateway functioning seamlessly and ready for peak holiday use? Any bugs needing fixing? Any firewalls needing reinforcing? And how about your spam filters? Are you confident that emails from panicked merchants seeking assistance won't be dumped by mistake into your spam folder? Tending to these matters could make the difference between retaining and losing merchants come 2012.
Add it up
This fall, the Electronic Transactions Association's Certified Payment Professional (CPP) program is beginning. Applications for the first round of testing are due Oct. 1, with the actual tests to begin in November. Since the exam involves a hefty entrance fee, it doesn't make sense to cram the night before. If you intend to take the voluntary test, start studying well in advance so you can pass the CPP exam with flying colors.
Ideally, taking stock of business practices is done year-round. But now might be the ideal time to polish up on protocols and tweak what needs to be tweaked before autumn is in full swing.
You've had three quarters of the year to do business and recognize deficiencies. Why not make the fixes that will push your yearly sales volume over the top? Go ahead; tend to those pesky business details today so you'll have no regrets once 2012 rolls around.
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