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LaGarde Inc.

MLS contact:

Mike Levin
Phone: 800-943-5823
Fax: 913-489-0833

Company address:

25055 West Valley Parkway
Olathe, KS 66061
Phone: 913-489-0800
Fax: 913-489-0833
Web site:

MLS benefits:

  • A PCI-compliant solution for all merchant levels
  • Flexible partner, reseller and affiliate programs
  • Sales and marketing support and training

Much More Than a Shopping Cart

In today's marketplace, an online presence is essential. Experts estimate that business-to-consumer e-commerce spending will total more than $130 billion in 2005 alone. An Internet storefront not only provides a business with access to consumer dollars worldwide, but it also increases its credibility. Many consumers will visit a merchant's Web site, and if it looks "homemade," takes too long to load or serves only as a brochure without any added functionality, they might decide to spend their dollars elsewhere.

As an ISO/merchant level salesperson (MLS), part of your job is helping merchants create, maintain and continually upgrade their Web presence. These efforts help merchants maximize their exposure and the revenue from this important marketing and sales vehicle.

You might feel overwhelmed by trying to offer a merchant everything necessary for success on the Web. There is a lot to learn, and it changes daily. Even if you do know your way around a back-office server or Web design program, it still takes a lot of effort to find the best products and services to fit each merchant's needs.

While the commission or residuals are attractive, you might think that helping a merchant maintain a Web storefront is just too time consuming and labor intensive. This is where LaGarde Inc. comes to the rescue.

A Team to Back You Up

Founded in 1996, LaGarde provides e-business software and service products to small and medium-sized businesses. LaGarde's headquarters are located in the suburbs of Kansas City, Kan., in Olathe.

The company's 50-member team working to create the StoreFront line of products includes software developers, product managers, quality assurance engineers, customer support engineers, graphic designers and sales and marketing executives.

StoreFront's products include Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI)-compliant e-commerce solutions that enable merchants to create, customize, operate and market an online store. The solutions integrate with a merchant's existing accounting, POS and fulfillment systems, as well as comparison-shopping portals and online selling venues.

LaGarde designed its StoreFront e-business products to help all types of merchants use the Internet in the most effective ways to grow their businesses. Odds are you've shopped or purchased from a StoreFront site; StoreFront products have been used to create 50,000 customized e-commerce-enabled Web sites in more than 70 countries.

StoreFront is scalable and works for all business types and sizes, including those with an online presence and those without. In other words, StoreFront is for all merchants, including the small- and mid-market merchants served by many MLSs.

Additionally, the company recently released an On Demand version of StoreFront, which allows for rapid e-commerce deployment with limited upfront investment. StoreFront was the first e-commerce platform to achieve validation with Visa's Cardholder Information Security Program (CISP) Payment Application Best Practices.

Solutions That Work With Existing Systems

Some factors that contribute to successful Web storefronts include a welcoming design, intuitive navigation, quick yet detailed product descriptions, and an easy to use shopping cart. StoreFront's turnkey e-commerce solutions will help merchants achieve these goals and run successful online businesses.

Merchants can integrate the shopping cart solutions with existing accounting and POS systems.

"With seamless integration into most leading online and offline fulfillment and accounting systems, StoreFront is positioned as the ideal e-business solution for companies looking to grow their online business," said Sarah Fender, Vice President of Product Marketing for LaGarde.

Merchants can also link the solutions to other online selling venues and comparison-shopping portals. The product line includes many features from which merchants pick and choose to create the best online store for their needs.

"StoreFront solutions are scalable, making them easy to integrate into an organization's existing infrastructure, while being flexible enough to help grow with the business and change with future development," Fender said.

"Our core strength and value are our shopping cart products. They help drive sales, increase conversion rates and drive transaction volume."

LaGarde also invests heavily in data security. With the June 30, 2005 deadline for compliance with Visa U.S.A. and MasterCard International's PCI standard fast approaching, merchants need a knowledgeable provider.

"We are one of only two licensed software providers [that] have been validated for compliance," Fender said. "We can help merchants get validated for compliance."

LaGarde understands that some merchants might not know what they need, or they feel overwhelmed by all the choices. That's why the company is with them every step of the way to help determine the best features for their business.

LaGarde provides the professional services to set up, customize, operate and market online stores. In other words, ISOs/MLSs offer their merchants store setup, customization and marketing without requiring them to be an expert in the field.

"Each customer has the benefit of a personal StoreFront E-Business Consultant, an experienced online business analyst, who offers oversight of the order and provides insight and assistance," Fender said. The company also offers 24/7 support via phone, e-mail and live chat.

A Partner for ISOs/MLSs

LaGarde sells its products and services through the ISO/MLS sales channel. "LaGarde is committed to building relationships with other industry leaders to offer a network of e-commerce solutions for merchants," Fender said.

By partnering with StoreFront, organizations benefit from technical training and support to expedite e-business success, marketing training and co-op marketing opportunities designed to help reach more customers.

Partners have the opportunity to sell new, varied and unique services such as Web design and pay-per-click marketing.

"StoreFront enables MLSs to offer their merchants an e-commerce solution that meets Payment Card Industry Data Security standards," Fender said. "As a single vendor, StoreFront solutions are easy to sell and increase an MLS's yield, recurring revenues and profits."

Since LaGarde provides solutions for all types of merchants, chances are your existing customers could use a StoreFront product. LaGarde will work with businesses in all industries. "From a regional standpoint we are so diverse," Fender said. "We are processing international sales in 70 countries."

ISOs/MLSs and acquirers choose their level of involvement and commitment to the StoreFront solutions. LaGarde offers three different programs so sales professionals can select one that best fits their needs: an affiliate, partner or reseller program.

To earn money by simply passing along the name of a prospective client, consider the affiliate program. To earn a larger income and invest a little more time, consider the reseller or partner programs.

  • Affiliate

    If you want to benefit from the revenue opportunity the Web storefronts offer but don't have the time or desire to reach this market, an affiliate relationship would work best.

    "This option offers a revenue opportunity and requires no training," Fender said. In this relationship, the affiliate simply passes on a referral to LaGarde without taking on the responsibility of selling or maintaining the account. The compensation is negotiable and may be a one-time fee or a residual.

    "The affiliate doesn't need to be an e-commerce expert," Fender said. "He doesn't have to have expertise on our offers and he doesn't have to triage a customer. We analyze the merchant's needs, sell the solutions and compensate the ISOs."

  • Partner

    If you have some knowledge of Web storefronts or shopping carts, or if you have Web developers on staff, a partner relationship might provide the best return for your business.

    Partners build and implement StoreFront e-commerce solutions for their clients. Compensation is negotiable.

    "As value-added resellers, partners have access to discounts on StoreFront software and services, and add value through their consultative role with the merchant," Fender said.

  • Reseller

    Finally, if you feel comfortable selling the service and have a sales staff, consider a reseller agreement. LaGarde expects resellers to have some amount of sales expertise regarding the StoreFront solutions; resellers assume all the sales responsibility.

    They purchase the products at 30% below retail and then determine the resell price. Don't be concerned that you lack the expertise to be a StoreFront reseller. LaGarde provides resellers with technical training, marketing materials and co-op marketing.

    "LaGarde's mission is to deliver the very highest quality, most effective and affordable e-business products and service solutions to small and medium-sized businesses around the world," Fender said.

With LaGarde, ISOs/MLSs offer merchants what they need and provide a source for education, marketing support, Web design and shopping carts, all from a single source.

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