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Table of Contents

Lead Story

The Green Sheet turns 25

News

Industry Update

Payment ship navigates economic storm

A new PCI day

Moneris to acquire Humboldt

Revolution heats up

WSAA wows in paradise

When the pen is mightier than e-mail

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

Gift and loyalty, the year-end accelerant

Christian Murray
Global eTelecom Inc.

Views

When the pen is mightier than e-mail

Biff Matthews
CardWare International

No denial, no surrender

Scott Henry
VeriFone

Education

Street SmartsSM:
A day in the life of a successful MLS

Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services

Who moved my merchants?

Jeff Fortney
Clearent LLC

Gift and loyalty, the year-end accelerant

Christian Murray
Global eTelecom Inc.

The how, when, why of recruitment outsourcing

Curt Hensley
CSH Consulting

Escaping the PCI maze

Tim Cranny
Panoptic Security Inc.

Company Profile

International Merchant Solutions LLC

New Products

Out of the shoebox, into the server

Charge Anywhere Electronic
Wireless Signature Capture

Shield terminals in sticky situations

ExoShield Terminal Cover
Inventor: Michael Katsanevas

Inspiration

Shaping the story

Features

ISOMetrics:
Payments in brief: 1983 to 2008

Miscellaneous

POScprit

Departments

Forum

Higher risks mean higher rewards

Resource Guide

Datebook

A Bigger Thing

The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 13, 2008  •  Issue 08:10:01

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Value added workshop
Gift and loyalty, the year-end accelerant

By Christian Murray

Are you ready for the upcoming holiday season? If you have not yet contemplated your marketing and sales plans for promoting gift and loyalty during the 2008 season, it's time to take action. Offering these solutions on the front end of your sales initiatives can help close merchant accounts and accelerate end-of-year profits.

ISOs and merchant level salespeople (MLSs) who have not yet emphasized selling these products are missing out on a valuable opportunity. The holidays aren't the only time to focus on selling gift and loyalty programs, of course. But it can be easier to attract new accounts and generate card reorders at this time each year.

Take the leap

Here are some steps to help you move forward with gift and loyalty:

It may be time to re-evaluate current gift and loyalty offerings. And if you have not yet implemented a program or have not fully embraced these products within your sales channel, it might be time to get on the bandwagon. Either way, moving forward on this will ultimately improve sales and merchant retention.

Difficulty with third-party providers is something everyone wants to avoid. This could be a reason why gift and loyalty is a lower priority for some ISOs. Here are issues to consider before launching a new program or revamping an existing one:

All too often, ISOs and MLSs gravitate toward vendors that offer the lowest pricing. Initially, it is easier and less painful to offer something for free than to spend time educating MLSs on value added products. This mentality begins from the top down in an ISO.

Such organizations don't uncover and evaluate how each vendor might benefit both their merchants and their own overall sales operations.

While a bargain may have appeal, it may not be as flexible or feature-rich as a higher priced option that could be just what merchants seek in a gift and loyalty program.

Having a strong gift and loyalty offering is a major tool for the feet on the street; it also is the key ingredient in the longevity of residual streams. MLSs need to know this so they will be motivated to sell based on benefits, not price.

In many cases, gift and loyalty is not infused into the core of an ISO's service offerings, and very little product information gets absorbed by the sales team. Just choosing a vendor and pointing to the buy rates and application are not enough. Not taking these options seriously can undermine the ability and willingness of your sales team to see them as valuable sales opportunities and merchant retention tools.

Strategize

Devote time to developing a marketing or sales strategy before launching a new program. If you already have a solution that has not yielded much activity, maybe this will also help give it a kick start.

Here are some ideas:

These are just a few of many marketing ideas that can help you gain momentum and increase sales. The vendor you work with should be able to offer even more.

If you haven't already begun, now is the time to begin this process. The holidays are fast approaching, and it's important to be able to provide gift and loyalty services to your new and existing merchant customers. Many merchants request these services and want to get set up before the rush.

So give your gift and loyalty program a boost for the approaching gift card season. Dust off the conference room chairs, and get to work. Start evaluating where you are and what steps need to be taken to maximize your sales efforts. Merchants everywhere are in need of solutions that can help them increase sales.

You may be surprised by how selling gift and loyalty can enhance your portfolio growth and residual streams if you truly embrace and focus on this valuable tool. Keep an open mind, and take action today.

Christian Murray is the Director of Business Development for Global eTelecom Inc. He has more than 12 years' experience within the payments industry. GETI provides check processing and gift and loyalty solutions. For more information, visit www.checktraining.com and www.giftcardtraining.com, or contact Christian directly at 877-454-3835 or cmurray@globaletelecom.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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Spotlight Innovators:

North American Bancard | USAePay | Super G Capital LLC | Humboldt Merchant Services | Impact Paysystems | Electronic Merchant Systems