Monday, 10 December 2012

Manic Monday

Over the past few years, the first Monday of December has become a reference in the Christmas calendar and is now know as Cyber Monday (Mega Monday here in the UK). It marks the beginning of the Christmas shopping fever and has become established as one of the busiest online shopping day of the year. A source from play.com indicates that Mondays in December are the busiest days for online retailers. It also breaks records year on year, and this year is no exceptions, especially when we look at the Mobile Commerce channel.

At the beginning of November, IMRG, the UK retail association forecast a £920 million spend by consumers using mobile devices in the first two weeks of December alone; nearly a quarter of all £4.6 billion in online shopping.

This can be illustrated by reports from ClickTale which indicated that QVC (a leader in catalogue retail) saw overall sales jump 25.6% last year, resulting mainly from consumers shopping from mobile phones and tablets. Reportedly, QVC announced that some $380 million of its $2.16 billion in global online sales (almost 20%) came from mobile users.

It was also covered on Finextra that Department store giant John Lewis has seen mobile traffic and orders to its site more than treble over the last year and a third of customers are now shopping using handheld devices.

For some companies, Christmas even came earlier than expected. Take for example PayPal, who has seen its greatest sales day in company history - for mobile payments - on black Friday. PayPal’s mobile payment volume increased by a whopping 193 percent compared to 2011.

If these examples don’t convince you of the increasing trend of mobile shopping and the prominent place it is taking in the way we shop these days, maybe these figures will: Mobile Payment:

The infographic from Developing Revenues reviews the 6 key current mobile payment options and shows their potential rating if used to optimum effect...

It will therefore be an understatement to say that mobile commerce has come a long way since it was born in 1997 when coca cola vending machine first accepted payments via SMS in Finland. In 2012, one-third of people have made a purchase with a Smartphone and with the sales of smart devices expected to reach 686 million by the end of the year, now is the time for any business to consider mobile commerce (if not already done) as it is fast becoming one of the favourite buying channel for consumers.

With this in mind, here are our top tips for a happy mobile shopping this Christmas:
  • Do your research –  ensure you choose a payment provider that offers mobile acceptance as part of their standard offering so you are not left behind
  • Look out for additional promotional services – QR or Mobile Bar Codes can also be a powerful tool for businesses. These enable customers to make instant purchases, from offline marketing material like TV or magazine ads, exhibitions and brochure ware.
  • Must have – Mobile landing page. Mobile landing pages give businesses the ability to serve their mobile customers with personalised and search-specific content. These will engage your customers and provide them with a unique enhanced shopper experience which is a necessity these days.
  • Choose the security option that suits your business best – Prioritise a mobile-friendly payment page. Partner with a provider of a validated solution (i.e. P2PE solution) or use an Approved Point of Interaction Device.

Monday, 3 December 2012

12 tips for a profitable Christmas

It has been well reported that online is certainly becoming the consumer channel of choice, with a recent IMRG survey showing 96% of consumers will be shopping online this Christmas. So with this record number of shoppers being expected to shop online this Christmas, creating higher traffic through a business’s website can also mean increased costs of processing card payments.

To help businesses manoeuvre their way through this challenging time we have created 12 top tips to help you cut the costs of your payment services this Christmas.

  1. Do your research and be informed – be sure to look around for what your competitors are offering. Since the recession, consumers are forced to be smarter than before. They will use comparison website to compare prices. You don’t want to be left out in the cold.
  2. Keep a spending diary and a festive spirit – Keep a record of all your spending this Christmas. You can do this on paper or electronically. This should help you spot some simple opportunities to cut your spending and improve your cash flow.
  3. Seasonal offers – Many Online retailers will use all promotional tools they can lay their hand on at this period of the year to boost their sales. They will offer the popular promotional vouchers (favourite for 31% of Christmas spenders) or Cashback incentives. Make sure you are following the trend.
  4. What’s in your stocking? – Make sure you take advantage of all the services your provider offers. Many providers offer additional services on top of a merchant account and the payment getaway i.e. store builder, PCI DSS Compliance. These could help you save money by not relying on a third party to provide these services to you.
  5. Christmas all wrapped up – with 70% of shoppers hoping to save cash this Christmas every little help will make the difference. Have you thought about offering free delivery? This will help them avoid the crowds, blisters and last-minute panic and motivate them from buying online rather than from the high street.
  6. Merry MOTO – If you accept payments over the phone or by mail order (sometimes called MOTO), make sure your solution includes a Virtual Terminal, designed to accept these types of payments.  You should not pay any more for this.
  7. E-invoicing – Electronic invoicing is a great way to get paid quicker than relying on cash and cheques, look for a payment provider that offers this at no additional charge.
  8. Going international – Planning to price your goods or services in different currencies? You can open multicurrency merchant accounts. Guess what, you should not have to pay extra for this either!
  9. Happy shoppers – Make sure delivery of goods is within the timescales you advertise, you display and honour a clear refund policy and your website displays customer service contact details – all this helps reduce costly disputes with cardholders and will make the perfect Christmas shopping experience for your customers.
  10. Fraud prevention tools – From additional passwords to voice biometrics, payment providers offer a range of methods to reduce losses arising from fraud. As their risk is reduced so should your costs which should brighten up your Christmas!
  11. Trust your instinct – Take precautions & reduce the risks. Do everything possible to validate the order before it is shipped and don’t be negligent. We know Santa can deliver presents to any remote part of the world, but if you receive a large order from Lapland paid for from a card issued in Japan, you should be worried. If it is sounds too good to be true, it probably is!
  12. Have a happy profitable Christmas 2012 – and to help you achieve this check out CashFlows Christmas offer. http://www.cashflows.com/festive_offer.php