A Thing
The Green SheetGreen Sheet

The Green Sheet Online Edition

October 24, 2022 • Issue 22:10:02

Sage advice before the year-end holiday crush 2022 - Part 2

To see how new technology and changing consumer purchasing habits have informed payments industry leaders' partnerships, solutions and practices for the upcoming year-end holiday season, we asked members of The Green Sheet Advisory Board the following questions:

  1. Have you established or are you considering new partnerships at this time? Why or why not? If you have pursued new relationships, what unique benefits do you have to offer? And what have you sought to gain from others?
  2. What are the best tried-and-true solutions and new products and services you are providing merchants for the coming holiday season? What offerings have been most in demand among your customers?
  3. What advice do you have for ISOs, other services and equipment providers, or merchants for last-minute tweaks they can make before the holiday season begins?

This article contains the second and final portions of their responses; the first group of answers appeared in our Oct. 10, 2022, issue. We appreciate the industry leaders who shared their views for this two-part feature.

Dee Karawadra, Impact PaySystem

  1. We are only doing in-house development at this time of the year, using the time to finish internal projects.
  2. We are ramping up the usage of payment links and online shopping for many retailers, getting them ready for the holiday season.
  3. It's a great time of year to activate customer engagement tools for merchants to capture the email and phone numbers of their customers. This allows them to market to them all year round, hopefully attracting customers to come back and shop.

Patti Murphy, ProScribes Inc.

The third question is most relevant to my work as an industry journalist and podcast host, so I'll share insights on ways ISOs and their sales partners can help merchants make the most of the upcoming holiday season.

The year-end holiday season is by far the biggest time of the year for retailers in terms of consumer spending. Total spending is expected to be down from last year—which, at 8.5 percent over 2020, was the largest increase in year-end holiday spending in nearly a generation, according to the consultancy Deloitte. But at a projected increase of 7.1 percent over 2021 spending, based on Mastercard data, consumer spending will continue at a healthy clip this holiday season.

Indications are that consumers were already getting a jump on shopping in September, seemingly so they could have more time to spread out their budgets and get deals. When all is said and done, Deloitte expects Americans to spend between $1.45 and $1.47 trillion this year on holiday gifts.

ISOs and their sales partners should be checking in with their retailers, ensuring they are well-positioned to compete for a share of this spending pie. One strategy that often gets overlooked is gift card sales. With supply chain issues likely to continue impacting product availability, 60 percent of consumers plan to purchase gift cards this year to fill the void, according to research from Fiserv.

Consumers are most likely to purchase gift cards from discount stores and online retailers, but not to the exclusion of smaller merchants. Fiserv found nearly a third (32 percent) plan to purchase gift cards from coffee shops, for example. One in four said they would spend $20 to $30 on each card gifted; one in five expect to spend $50 to $100, Fiserv reported.

There are several advantages retailers can gain by offering gift cards. Each gift card purchase is an interest-free loan a retailer can invest in generating more sales, for example. They also are great marketing tools that tend to generate sales in excess of the value loaded onto cards.

The draw for ISOs and agents should be merchant stickiness. Once you have set up a merchant to sell gift cards, it isn’t easy for them to switch providers, as it requires new, complex integrations of gift card files with payment processing hardware and software.

So, for those not offering merchants gift cards already, it may be time to start.

Jeff Shavitz, Toolbox Payment

  1. Having been in the payments space for nearly 25 years, we have grown primarily through partnerships, association endorsements and buying group relationships. One caveat to agents and payment salespeople is that this strategy is a two-step process, and you will not enjoy immediate success with new sales hitting your residual statements. Why? You must first create a relationship with an appropriate association and explain the value proposition of your company and why this partnership will be created and provide additional benefits to association members.

    Don’t immediately suggest price as the only factor in selecting your company. Be creative and understand the needs of the members when developing a win/win/win program (first win, the association; second win, association members; third win, your ISO).

  2. When working with associations and buying groups, it has always been my philosophy that the association must also become a merchant of my ISO. In all cases, I would discount my fees/mark-up to an incredibly low interchange pass through, as having the association as a client is a very powerful testimonial. Furthermore, attending association shows is a great and meaningful way to interact with members and market your payments service.

    Speaking engagements at conferences and tradeshows always work. You must plan ahead whether you wish to be a keynote and/or speak in a break-out session on a specific topic. For those of you who are uncomfortable speaking in public, try it. Once you do it a few times, it becomes very enjoyable and a great way to earn new business and share your thoughts on the industry.

    Most associations have either an online or physical newsletter, plus their website continuously updates relevant information with its members. Writing articles on current payment topics is a great way to demonstrate your authority and educate merchants (who otherwise would not be thinking about credit card processing and its effect on their bottom line profitability).

  3. With the holidays around the corner, it's a good time to review the pricing of your portfolios (never take for granted that these merchants) and simply thank your customers for being loyal merchants.  A simple call, hand written note and yes, a holiday gift are meaningful ways to stay in touch with your clients.

Steve Sotis, eProcessing Network

  1. The first question is not applicable for ePN.
  2. eProcessingNetwork sees a bright holiday ahead for retailers with our affordable and easy to implement retail and mobile solutions and compatible contactless devices. Our cash discount program for cash, check and PIN debit transactions can help merchants looking to entice shoppers by making the most of their dollar.

    For B2B merchants, eProcessingNetwork offers the latest in mobile payment solutions with our mobile remote deposit capture feature through ePNMobile, our mobile payment solution. With the mRDC app downloaded on either their iOS or Android device, B2B merchants can deposit checks electronically with a quick capture of the check image through their device's camera.

    Integrated with ePNMobile, our mobile payment app, mRDC, adds value and versatility, making it a one-stop mobile payment solution.

    And for the B2B and B2G merchant running high-ticket transactions, ePN offers ePNLevel III.

    Unlike other gateways, we don't charge a setup fee to migrate to our ePN gateway, and we don't charge any additional percentage fees to run the Level III transaction. All our solutions and programs are designed to save the merchant time and money, with a positive impact on their bottom line.

  3. As shoppers hunt for early deals, a lot of the holiday season’s growth will be pulled forward to October, so merchants need to have their systems ready to go to help meet the demands at the register. ISOs and resellers can help them make the most of the holiday season by offering the affordable, easy-to-integrate products that work best for their business, as well as support ISVs with the needed developer tools.

For resellers unsure of what to offer, our ePN Sales Managers can walk their sales agents through ePN’s solutions via customized webinars and help you determine what products will meet the demands of your merchants. end of article

The Green Sheet Inc. is now a proud affiliate of Bankcard Life, a premier community that provides industry-leading training and resources for payment professionals. Click here for more information.

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

Prev Next
A Thing