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The Green Sheet Online Edition

March 23, 2015 • Issue 15:03:02

Use big-data resources to better serve, retain merchants

By Billy Hubbard

Let's take a little walk down memory lane. Do you remember Tony, from Tony's Taqueria, who used to be your merchant but then switched to another processor? Thankfully, the landscape has changed, and there is now so much more value that you, as ISOs and merchant level salespeople, can provide than just processing. In order to survive, and thrive, as an agent in today's technology-driven environment, you need to differentiate yourself on value, not price. You can be empowered by offering an all-in-one payment, analytics and marketing platform that helps you stand out while simultaneously helping your merchants grow sales. Today is the day to get Tony's Taqueria business back for good.

Two case studies

I'd like to introduce you to two very different business owners who have adopted this successful, value-focused approach to reduce merchant churn, win back lost customers and earn business with new clients rather than sell on price.

  • The self-made entrepreneur

    Meet Paul Hadfield, the founder of Hadfield Ventures, a high-growth Chicago hospitality consultancy. Paul started his career as a commission­-based sales rep in 2002. He ran a successful ISO from 2005 to 2013 and went on to launch Hadfield Ventures in 2014. How did he make such a fast leap? Paul followed a two-pronged approach to become one of Chicago restaurants' most trusted advisers.

    First, he makes it his job to vet every new technology that a restaurateur or hotelier, from Chief Financial Officer to Chief Marketing Officer to General Manager, would consider. Second, he's an active leader in his community including the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce and Illinois Restaurant Association, among other local merchant groups. In other words, he's an industry expert and network professional.

    But it wasn't always that easy. About a year ago, Paul was fed up with losing business due to lower pricing. He knew that for his business to stay competitive, technology would have to play a part in his product offering. Paul decided he needed to offer a way to affordably offer big data to his merchants to help them make smarter decisions about their businesses to help them grow, something they were already beginning to ask for.

    Rather than re-creating the wheel and developing his own software, Paul researched and vetted a technology partner that best fit his vision. Through partnering with a big-data independent software vendor (ISV), Paul was able to use this additional value to grow his business and, most importantly, create a sticky environment to stop merchant attrition.

    "Using my ISV partnership resources to perfect my conversation with merchants and prove that I could offer them more value and opportunities to grow their business, I knew I had an opportunity to glue myself to merchants and secure my future growth," Hadfield said. "I have received more referrals in the past six months than in the past six years because I'm delivering value to help my merchants operate smarter and faster."

  • The seasoned agent

    Dana Vosburgh is the founder of Merchants United LLC, a South Carolina-based merchant services provider. He has spent the past 25 years in the financial services and payments industry, which included working for large processors. In 2008, Dana struck out on his own to better navigate the changing hospitality technology landscape and provide his merchants with a simple way to not only accept payments, but also to understand and create more repeat customers – all from one system.

    Seven years later, Dana wants to continue expanding his merchant portfolio and stop worrying about losing customers by also helping businesses stay in business (according to The Strawhecker Group, 22 percent of businesses leave their processors because they have gone out of business).

    With the value that his ISV partner provides, Dana is able to help his customers pinpoint what it is that helps grow their businesses. Dana saw that access to big data and actionable insights would help his clients make smarter menu, staff and marketing decisions. "Now I'm not powerless alongside my customers and can offer them insights that help their business survive and thrive," Vosburgh said. "If I can help democratize big data for my mom-and-pop customers, it's a win-win, and we both grow."

A smart way to drive sales

To sum it up, your customers are trying to learn how to operate smarter and grow faster, and you're in a great place to help them access new tools that will drive sales. You'll stop competing on price instantly, secure your place as a trusted adviser and see referrals flow in. Go get Tony's Taqueria back on your books today.

end of article

Billy Hubbard is the Director of Channel Development at Swipely, a cloud-based platform that helps merchants understand customers and grow sales. With information from the payment network, in-store systems and the social web, Swipely makes it easy to understand what brings customers back. Merchants use Swipely to manage over $4 billion in annual sales and deepen their relationships with over 20 million customers. For more information, visit www.swipely.com/partnerprogram or call 888-701-5480.

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