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Mark Fraker, the Vice President of Marketing at POS distributor BlueStar and the current Chairman of the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA), told me his father shared this pearl of wisdom with him way-back-when: “God gave you two ears and one mouth, and you should use them in that proportion.”

 

I’m glad I was listening to Mark when he said that because I picked up a valuable tip last fall at BlueStar’s VARTECH Conference in Orlando. I was participating as a panelist for a discussion on recurring revenue when an audience member mentioned the book The Automatic Customer by John Warrillow. The book proved to be full of specific details about subscription model best practices you can apply to your business. Warrillow calls out software companies in particular and provides them with resources that will help ISVs generate more recurring revenue.

 

Here are 18 of my favorite passages and concepts from the book plus those software-focused resources that I mentioned:

 

  1. This book will show you how to apply the subscription business model to your own business no matter what your size or industry.
  2. The very act of sinking money into a subscription triggers the desire for the consumer to want to “get his money’s worth.”
  3. Data has become an asset, and nobody has more customer information than a subscription business.          Data has become an asset and nobody has more customer information than a subscription business.
  4. Whether you like it or not, you are now competing in the new subscription economy, and it’s up to you to decide if you’re playing defense or offense.                                                                                                   Whether you like it or not, you are now competing in the new subscription economy, and it’s up to you to decide if you’re playing defense or offense.
  5. Subscribers are better than customers.
  6. The challenges of adopting the subscription model: The biggest risk is spreading the cash you receive from a customer over the life of the subscription. The second-biggest challenge is getting your employees on board.                                                                                                                                                 The second-biggest challenge to the subscription model is getting your employees on board.
  7. In a subscription business, understanding your financial performance requires a new set of operating statistics: monthly recurring revenue (MRR), lifetime value of a subscriber (LTV), customer acquisition cost (CAC), churn rate, and more.
  8. Sales approaches ranked from most expensive to least: Field sales people, telesales, self-serve.
  9. Most successful subscription businesses also need to invest heavily in systems and branding up front, which is why a lot of them go outside to raise capital.
  10. “Outside capital is risk capital, and it’s a great opportunity to become misaligned.”
  11. After studying 50 deals, they found only one case in which the founders got more than their venture backers. In more than half of the venture-backed exits, the founders got nothing.  
  12. Shifting from selling a one-shot product or service to selling a subscription is like the difference between a one-night stand and getting married.
  13. Convincing your own staff to build a recurring revenue stream can be one of the hardest sales of all.
  14. Your first step to reducing churn is to understand why people leave and to do what you can to improve your offering.                                                                                                                                                           Your first step to reducing churn is to understand why people leave and to do what you can to improve your offering.
  15. One of the biggest reasons people stop subscribing to any service is the perception that they are paying for something they are not using. Therefore, your biggest competitor for your subscription business is your customer’s inertia in not using your service.
  16. Charging up front actually reduces churn at the one-year point. The customer invests more time to get to know your service, which makes them stickier in the long term.
  17. Using data about your subscribers to surprise them from time to time can go a long way to keeping the relationship alive and well.
  18. No matter the size, product, or service, subscribers are better for your business than customers.
  19. Recommended resources

 

If you’d like to talk more about how to transition your ISV organization to the recurring revenue business model, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s (now Worldpay's) PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with our partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Even before I met him at the RSPA Inspire Conference in 2015, I was a huge fan of Chip Heath, his brother Dan, and their excellent writing. When I heard earlier this year the Heath brothers published a new book – The Power of Moments – I was quick to order it. The lessons in this book should be valuable to ISVs who want to generate positive, memorable (dare I say “glorious”?) experiences for both their customers and their staff. The Power of Moments helped me better understand several important concepts that I plan to implement into my work going forward.

 

Here are 26 of my favorite passages and concepts from the book:

 

  1. Defining moments shape our lives, but we don’t have to wait for them to happen. We can be the authors of them.
  2. This is a book about the power of moments and the wisdom of shaping them.
  3. When we assess our experiences, we don’t average our minute-by-minute sensations. Rather, we tend to remember flagship moments: the peaks, the pits, and the transitions.
  4. A defining moment is a short experience that is both memorable and meaningful. Defining moments are created from one or more of the following four elements:
    • Elevation: Rise above the everyday, boost sensory pleasures, add an element of surprise (e.g. a love letter, a ticket stub)
    • Insight: We realize something that might influence our lives for decades (e.g. quotes or articles that moved you, books that changed your view of the world)
    • Pride: Us at our best — moments of achievement, moments of courage (e.g. notes of recognition, certificates, thanks-yous, awards)
    • Connection: These moments are strengthened because we share them with others (e.g. wedding photos, family photos)
  5. We must learn to think in moments, to spot the occasions that are worthy of investment, to recognize where the prose of life needs punctuation.
  6. Every great service company is a master of service recovery. They transform a negative moment to a positive one. Every great service company is a master of service recovery
  7. “Mostly forgettable” is actually a desirable state in many businesses. It means nothing went wrong. You got what you expected. Think of “mostly forgettable” as only the first stage of a successful customer experience.
  8. There’s nine times more to gain by elevating positive customers than by eliminating negative ones. There's 9 times more to gain by elevating positive customers than by eliminating negative ones.
  9. To create fans, you need the remarkable, and that requires peaks. Peaks don’t emerge naturally. They must be built.
  10. Breaking the Script: Defying people’s expectations of how an experience will unfold. Breaking the script isn’t just surprise, it’s strategic surprise.
  11. In the service business, a good surprise is one that delights employees as well as customers.
  12. We feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.
  13. Dramatize the problems. Once the problems become vivid in the minds of the audience members, their thoughts will immediately turn to … solutions.
  14. Stretch for Insight: Place ourselves in situations that expose us to the risk of failure.
  15. Reflecting or ruminating on our thoughts and feelings is an ineffective way to achieve true understanding. Studying our own behavior is more fruitful. Action leads to insight more often than insight leads to action.
  16. Most employee recognition should be personal, not programmatic. What’s important is authenticity. And frequency: closer to weekly than yearly. And of course what’s most important is the message: “I saw what you did and I appreciate it.”
  17. Success comes from pushing to the finish line. Milestones compel us to make that push, because [a] they’re within our grasp, and [b] we’ve chosen them precisely because they’re worth reaching for.
  18. You can’t deliver a great customer experience without first delivering a great employee experience.
  19. Remote contact is perfectly suitable for day-to-day communication and collaboration. But a big moment needs to be shared in person.
  20. If you want to be part of a group that bonds like cement, take on a really demanding task that’s deeply meaningful.                         Be part of a bonded group.
  21. When you understand the ultimate contribution you’re making, it allows you to transcend the task list. Who is the beneficiary of your work, and how are you contributing to them? Understanding the purpose of the work allows for innovation and improvisation.
  22. Relationships don’t proceed in steady, predictable increments.
  23. If we can create the right kind of moment, relationships can change in an instant.
  24. Relationships don’t deepen naturally. In the absence of action, they will stall.
  25. This is what we hope you take away from this book: Stay alert to the promise that moments hold.
  26. The charge for all of us: To defy the forgettable flatness of everyday work and life by creating a few precious moments.

 

If you’d like to talk about how you can enhance your customer experience and your workplace culture, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv, now Worldpay partners to help them clarify their vision, hire the best team, develop staff, establish best practice systems, improve customer service, and more.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

5 Key IoT Trends for Developers

In 2017, IoT devices outnumbered people in the world for the first time, with around 300,000 developers supporting IoT technology. In 2020, the IoT industry will need 1,400 times that amount, or 4.5 million developers to support global growth, when over 30 billion IoT connected devices are expected to be installed worldwide.

 

But what does it mean for developers today? What are the biggest IoT trends and how will they impact your work?

 

While there’s nothing completely new and shiny on the IoT horizon, plenty of improvements are being made. Here are five emerging trends to keep an eye on.

 

Python and Java will dominate.

 

Learn python and java to code for IoT technology.

 

If you want to ride the IoT wave, make sure you know the dominant programming languages, namely Java and Python. A 2017 IoT Developer Survey conducted by the Eclipse Foundation lists Java as the top programming language for IoT development, particularly for gateways and the cloud. Python has gained traction for data-intensive applications and works well with small devices.

 

Research is paving the way for the launch of 5G.

 

Research is paving the way for the launch of 5G.

 

Looking toward the 2020 rollout, loads of research is being dedicated to 5G, including how the technology will be used, how companies will invest in infrastructure, and how network providers will maintain profitability. The speed of 5G provides an opportunity for more devices to constantly gather and interpret data, from wearable tech that tracks geolocation and biometrics, to home technology that monitors house temperature and lighting along with external weather reports, allowing for predictive actions.

 

Location, location, location.

 

Enterprises are continuing to adopt IoT for location-based businesses.

 

Enterprises are continuing to adopt IoT for location-based services, with lighting and temperature control systems being a key use case. This means that formerly low-maintenance appliances like your thermostat or floor lamp will now require management and monitoring, including firmware and software updates.

 

Healthcare and retail top the list of IoT use cases.

 

Healthcare and retail top the list of IoT use cases.

 

Use cases for IoT are growing fast, and the healthcare and retail industries are expected to see greater adoption of the technology in the coming year. The healthcare IoT market alone is forecast to reach $117 billion by 2020. Encrypting data transmission will be a priority, particularly for healthcare IoT devices.   

 

Developers will need to solve the security issues of IoT devices that power everyday technology.

 

Security remains a top concern.

One of the most important concerns is the need for solving the security issues of IoT devices that power everyday technology. Experts cite the prolific implementation of unsecured IoT devices as well as the growing availability of DDoS-for-hire services as root causes for DDoS attacks, which increased 91 percent in 2017. Developers will need to be vigilant about product security, including requiring https, and adding credential changes for secure devices.

It seems everywhere you turn technology is reshaping the way we do business. The FinTech ecosystem is encroaching on traditional banking norms and payment businesses are reeling to catch up. As merchant card services become more of a commodity, automated, client-focused onboarding has become a strategic differentiator for continued growth.

 

Know your customer to balance risk with reward

Traditional merchant onboarding is incredibly complex, but for good reasons. It helps to build business credibility and consumer confidence in an era of fraudulent activity and data theft. The acquirer or payment service provider must ensure the merchant is compliant with Know Your Customer (KYC) and other governmental/industry regulations.

 

KYC PayFac instant onboarding

 

With automated onboarding tools and APIs, Payment Facilitators can successfully balance demand for almost instant-onboarding while the Acquirer ensures compliance, reduced business risk and controlled costs.

      

 

More importantly to merchants is ensuring fast payment processing approval for electronic payments. Acquirers must collect, analyze and manage extensive amounts of data before allowing a merchant to start transacting payments. Even though this process is tedious, manual and extremely long, it eliminates the practice implemented by some companies to limit transaction volumes, hold funds or cancel accounts without notice.

 

Faster onboarding Can Double Your Sales Output

At the likes of payment disruptors (software companies), innovation around merchant onboarding is becoming feaverish. As a result, merchants now expect a similar experience just like consumers who can apply for a credit card and get instant approval. The ability to digitize procedures that are historically paper driven and to analyze and assess risk using advanced data analysis tools provides opportunities to dramatically improve the merchant onboarding process.

Consider the potential sales growth if your workforce had to deal with less administration, waiting, and back-office bureaucracy, and if merchant defection in the onboarding process was slashed in half.

With near real-time MID-generation and processing, Payment Facilitators can generate MIDs for sub-merchants seamlessly and instantly. Newly boarded merchants can start processing within a few minutes of the MID creation, just as soon as automated underwriting is successfully completed.

 

More control and flexibility

The greatest benefit is the ability to simplify and streamline the merchant account enrollment and onboarding process by offering a complete, white-label payment processing solution. This leads to more control over the processing experience, higher merchant conversion rates, and the opportunity to earn more revenue from credit card processing. Integrating to an onboarding API creates the potential for greater control and flexibility to efficiently update and manage important information (complex types) about sub-merchants.

 

Instant Merchant Onboarding Process

 

Automated merchant onboarding can be a valuable selling point for Payment Facilitators, delivering a unique opportunity to showcase their value to sub-merchants. Explore the power of modern technology that automates and digitizes processes to help reduce the complexities, enable rapid, highly accurate risk decisions for both e-commerce and physical store merchants.

 

PayFac APIs

As a developer, there is probably no better brand ambassador than you.  Sounds a little daunting, right?

A 2017 Edelman Trust Barometer study reported that employees were trusted far more when it came to being a great brand ambassador--more so that company executives or CEOs.  And that same trust factor carries over for freelancer developers.  Chances are you've already been in an unfamiliar situation where you had to provide a quick, fluid explain to the question, "So what does your company do?"

If that's the case, how did it go?

We talked recently with Matt Given, CEO of Intelivideo, a Video On Demand platform, specializing in helping companies sell their videos online.  Matt is a contributor to Inc.com and shared a story in the video below about a developer in his startup that "crushed it" when mingling with upper management at a business event.

 

 

You can read Matt's entire Inc.com article, here.

 

Since you never know when your time might come, here are a few things to keep in mind should the moment present itself for you, as a developer, to become a brand ambassador for the your company/client.  Follow these steps an you'll be prepared to laud the benefits of your current employer.

  1. Practice a succinct "one-liner" explanation.  It really does make for a perfect delivery.  The more you practice, the easier it becomes.  In a way, you're giving an "elevator-speech" for your company--after all at that moment you are your company's brand ambassador.  And be prepared for a follow-up explanation to your short version.
  2. Explain your USP.  What is your unique selling proposition?
  3. Engage your audience with a question at the end of your company pitch.  This opens the door to learning more about your audience.  Great communicators find that perfect balance of speaking AND listening.
  4. Have an established knowledge of the entire company.  Read up on your company.  Know the high-level details of your website and marketing.  Understanding your corporate "voice" goes a long ways toward understanding how others actually view your business, industry--and you.
  5. Be open to gathering negative feedback. It's important to be ready for dissent, because this often provides important insight into how your company is viewed by the public.  And if others see you are open to an alternate stance, you automatically give credibility to being a person (and company) that will listen to what others have to say, regardless of their point of view.

 

Jim Roddy - Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services advises company ambassadors to gauge early on in your pitch as to whether you are making a connection with your audience.

Be sure to speak for the audience – not for yourself – when providing an explanation about your company. Your description should be 100% clear to them and relatable to their situation. An audience with deep experience in your industry may understand your acronyms, but someone from a different vertical market will need more fundamental information. About 30 seconds into your explanation, I recommend asking a question like, “How does what we do fit into your world?” to gauge how well you’re connecting. “One-size-fits all” works for socks and hospital gowns, but not for your elevator pitch.

 

There's a message here for employers as well, when it comes to best practices companies can use to help train employees and contractors.  There are plenty of detailed tactics out there (just Google it), but gauging the level of your corporate enlightenment boils down to two common questions.

  1. Are your employees engaged?
  2. Are you actively training them to be brand ambassadors?

 

If your company is lacking in the above list, here is a fun list of some unique employee engagement tactics.  Let us know what you think.

  • Have teams create their own set of values.
  • Start a learning club.
  • Ban emails for a day.
  • Have open brainstorming sessions.
  • Start a "distracted jar" filled with quirky things to Google when you need a mind-break.

 

We'd like to hear about your unique situation where you "crushed-it" in telling the story of your company. Leave a comment or some sage words of advice below.

Who Has To Register with Card Brands and be PCI DSS Compliant? 

Within the context of the card brand rule, Service Providers are defined as any entity that stores, processes, or transmits cardholder data on behalf of another party or otherwise has the ability to impact the security of another party’s cardholder data or cardholder data environment.  Examples of such entities include, but are not limited to:  payment gateways, hosting providers, loyalty providers, managed security providers, document storage and destruction companies, integrator resellers, etc. Service providers that participate in these activities are required to be registered with the Card Brands and also demonstrate PCI DSS compliance. 

Visa's non-compliance penalty for Service Providers begins at $10,000 USD

How to Determine the Level of Service Provider Your Company is for PCI Compliance. 

Service Providers are grouped into 2 levels which will determine the validation efforts required by the Card Brands. Level 1 Service Providers are those that process over 300,000 Visa branded or MasterCard branded transactions annually, while Level 2 Service Providers are those that process less than that amount annually. Below is a list of required documentation based on level.

Level 1

  • Annual On-Site PCI Data Security Assessment completed by a Qualified Security Assessor (QSA) 
  • Quarterly Vulnerability Scans
  • Attestation of Compliance (AOC) signed by the QSA

Level 2

  • Quarterly Vulnerability Scans
  • Annual PCI Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ D-SP)
  • Attestation of Compliance (AOC) signed by the service provider

 

Please note that PCI DSS compliance and validation is an industry wide requirement as outlined in the card brand rules and are not unique or specific to Vantiv, now Worldpay.

 

How to Register as a Service Provider with the Card Brands (Visa & Masterard) 

 

Once you have completed your PCI DSS validation requirements and are considered PCI compliant you will need to complete registration with the Card Brands (Visa and Mastercard). Registration also allows you to demonstrate compliance and better promote your services to potential clients. In order to register  we will need some basic business information included in a registration document we will provide you, along with:

  •  Articles of Incorporation
  • Two years business financials (or business tax returns)
  • DBA business license (if different from legal)

 

Once these documents have been collected by Vantiv, now Worldpay, we will submit on behalf of your company. Each Service Provider is required to register with each acquirer relationship.

 

To learn more about the challenge and costs of PCI and PA DSS Compliance:  https://developer.vantiv.com/community/news-and-communications/blog/2017/01/31/pci-and-pa-dss-compliance-costs-challenges

If you are a partner and need help to navigate these requirements, please feel free to reach out to either the Compliance team (Compliance@mercurypay.com) or Carrie Brubaker directly (Carrie.Brubaker@worldpay.com).

 

Additional information on PCI Security Standards can be found here.

PCI Council QSA Companies can be found here: https://www.pcisecuritystandards.org/assessors_and_solutions/qualified_security_assessors

Visa Service Provider information can be found here: https://www.visa.com/splisting/LearnMore.html#pdvsp

https://usa.visa.com/content/dam/VCOM/download/merchants/tpa-registration-program-faqs.pdf

Mastercard Service Provider information can be found here:  https://www.mastercard.us/en-us/merchants/safety-security/security-recommendations/service-providers-need-to-know.html#ftn2

 

 

To the general public, the buzz around blockchain is focused primarily on the skyrocketing rise in Bitcoin prices and the growing market value of other cryptocurrencies like Ethereum, Litecoin, and Ripple.  For developers though, blockchain is a "Crouching Tiger" in Enterprise business and it's set to pounce to the forefront of many business processes we touch on a daily basis.

 

blockchain 3 hottest trends in Enterprise business

 

We caught up with Josh Mather, Sr. Solutions Consultant at Vantiv, Now Worldpay (jmather) and he had some revealing insights for where developers will find a healthy focus on adoption into Enterprise business.  His message:  If blockchain has not found its way into your coding sprint, get ready because it's coming soon to a standup near you.

 

Q:  Josh, what are your biggest takeaways around blockchain for 2018?

Firstly, we're starting to see the regular adoption of the technology in enterprise organizations.  There are things like the IBM Hyperledger coming in to manage particular networks between different supply-chain ecosystems.  Secondly, don't panic.  Developers do not necessarily need blockchain programming experience to succeed in the future.  But try to understand what does a completely decentralized global system look like and how can you tackle that from a developers' perspective?  Ask yourself what little piece can you start at and work on?  The past year was a period where blockchain became a buzzword.  In 2018, I see a lot of core pieces of infrastructure being built around blockchain right now and this will filter out over the next few years where we'll then see the application layers get built-out as companies have more use-cases for blockchain technology.

 

3 ways blockchain technology will affect Enterprise business in 2018

 

Infographic download link at bottom of article

 

Q:  Even for developers, there's still a lot of confusion around how blockchain development will find it's way into Enterprise business.  Can you give us an example of how blockchain will change Supply Chain Management?

Blockchain in supply chains provides a new traceability system for material and product traceability. The blockchain gives unchangeable visibility that can be audited and remain secure through a supply chains lifecycle and beyond. It allows anyone to track the provenance of anything.  Just look at the infographic below to see how the relationship between the farmer, the food manufacturer and you, the consumer, can benefit from blockchain technology to trace food production, assist in the tracking of the manufacturing and processing, provide better management of food safety and finally aid in the transportation of food to the consumer.  There are efficiencies all along the supply chain lifecycle.

 

The term "Farm to Fork" could be the new blockchain managed ecosystem for food retailers to manage food safety while offering the potential for better management and increased profits.

 

Infographic on how blockchain technology will help supply chain management in Enterprise business.

 

Infographic download link at bottom of article

 

 Other Enterprise Industries Using blockchain Applications.

  1. Financial Services
  2. Health Services
    • IBM and the US Food and Drug Administration started a partnership to work on a scalable health data exchange to address lack of transparency in health data while improving the trust in patient privacy.
  3. Auto Industry
    • Volkswagon and Renault are testing vehicle telematic tracking, capturing vehicle mileage, engine use, repair history and other data on blockchain to store a historical accounting of use for insurance, maintenance and resale purposes in Germany.
    • Toyota is using blockchain to test the purchase of secure, private driving data to build autonomous vehicle driving algorithms.
  4. Aviation
  5. IoT

 

Q:  Josh, where do you see blockchain making its way into the payments industry?   You mentioned some interesting news from Coinbase.  For those unfamiliar, Coinbase is one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges.

This is called, Coinbase Commerce and it allows you to exchange cryptocurrency as a form of payment in a global fashion through an easy integration with the exchange. They have one of the most well-known eCommerce platforms, Shopify, already integrated into the system.

 

Coinbase is expanding their merchant services.  They are offering a way to do an integration through Coinbase for the exchange of goods for a merchant.  Much like Vantiv Now Worldpay does transactions in fiat currency, now Coinbase is taking that model and getting it out to developers to build a crypto payment model much like PayPal.

 

"We're going to find that is a very big moment in the crypto world.  It's the largest exchange in the world and they are getting into the payments industry"  From a developers perspective, they're thinking "WOW I can write code for a crypto payment" 

 

Q:  How can developers get started in blockchain?

For developers in payments, you need to ask yourself what is the mechanism to bring blockchain into your enterprise?  Is it a KYC / AML component?  Perhaps your focus should be looking into identities where the Know Your Customer and Anti Money Laundering components can be improved.  There are blockchain projects that bring that to the table and ways for a customer to identify themselves on the blockchain.  There's also been some blockchain work around remittances and cross-border payments with Stellar and Ripple where Ripple is going down the traditional banking route and Stellar is going down the partnership route model to facilitate these transactions across borders.

 

Blockchain development is growing at a rapid pace. At the end of 2017, the job market had grown nearly 200% and it is rated as one of the top 20 fastest-growing job skills. That said, it can be tough to gain experience with this new technology. One way is to roll up your sleeves and contribute to an open source project. Many welcome the help and cherry pick the most passionate contributors.

 

We also spoke with Andrew Harris, Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Vantiv Now Worldpay  (andrew.harris)  about how developers can start a thriving coding group at your business.

 

Q:  Andrew, what words of wisdom can you pass along to developers looking to start coding in blockchain with an active peer group?

 

Sometimes the hardest part of doing “cool stuff” in the office (on your own time mind you) is finding that early morning, late evening, or lunch-hour time to commit to learning something new.

 

Luckily developers are perpetual learners and avid problem solvers. However, not all developers enjoy spending their personal time in group learning environments and the web is full of excellent resources for those of us that would rather read on our own about blockchain and step through various tutorials and walkthroughs around blockchain, bitcoin, and decentralization.

 

One of my colleagues was interested in teaming up and once we would each digitally drag a late morning user story from "in progress" to "done" status, we would then occupy a conference room over our lunch hour and read and explore blockchain through our combined brainpower. After a few sessions, we would start writing code and put the theories to practice. I know for me, applying something practically helps it soak in. Soon others were curious what we were doing.

 

If you are interested in starting your own grassroots "lunch-n-codes" session in your office just ask around and I bet you will find teammates open to the idea. Surely there are others with similar interest in tech, right? Be prepared to barter as well. If you want to spend group time working on a machine learning application using python and various frameworks then be open to working with your peers on something they might be interested in as well, such as blockchain, altcoins, or decentralized ledgers. You will be surprised how easily you can get a group interested in these types of lunch and code events.

 

One last bit of advice, don’t make it rigid, truly keep it agile. If someone wants to talk about their weekend for half of the time it is okay. Developing personal connections are not a bad thing.

 

Why do it? At the end of the day, you are adding to your skill set and more importantly can charm your friends with words like ripple, crypto, fat protocols, and my favorite: hash.

 

 

LEARN MORE:

If you're interested in learning more about blockchain, check out the following articles on blockchain technology.

Blockchain Part 1: Cross-Border Payments and Remittances 

Blockchain Explained: Debt Markets and P2P Lending (Part 2) 

Blockchain Explained (Part 3): Token Sales and ICO Funding Models 

Vantiv & Voatz Team Up To Win Blockchain Hackathon! 

Payment partner spotlight: Jeremy Julian

 

People and customer service are the keys to winning national franchises

Like many first big opportunities, CBS landed their first national franchise through an existing relationship. A former client from a small restaurant moved to a big brand chain. Impressed by CBS’s service for his former employer, he recommended CBS for the franchise, too.


The recommendation panned out and CBS delivered the great customer service they were known for to cultivate a long-term relationship with the national franchise. This success caught the interest of other franchises and led to contracts with dozens of nationally recognized brand names such as Golden Corral Buffet & Grill, Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar, California Pizza Kitchen, and many others.


Julian believes that CBS’s success can be contributed to adhering to their core company value: always focus on their client’s success.

 

“First, you have to make the decision that you want to go after a different clientele. Then, you must be willing to adapt by investing in your people, your process, and your technology to adjust to what those clients are looking for. “

Beating the competition

 

Competition in the POS industry is getting more intense each year. What used to be a relatively unknown industry has exploded and even Silicon Valley has jumped on the bandwagon. So with more competition and new technologically savvy players, how does CBS continue to win?


“It comes down to two things: finding the right people, and taking care of our clients,” says Julian. “If you don’t have the right people on your team, none of it matters. We find people that have an attitude of service from sales to implementation and even our technicians.”

 

How to compete with Silicon Valley: Invest in Your Employees


The company invests heavily in their staff. In addition to training programs, CBS offers a mentoring program and promotes growth. “It’s so important to invest in your employees,” says Julian. “If you invest in them, then they stay and they grow, otherwise they are going to leave, and then you are right back where you started.”


All of this helps create a great work culture. Julian notes that at CBS there is no such thing as “that’s not my job.” Everyone must pitch in and do what is best for the client.

 

How can a VAR or ISV meet a national franchise?

 

Julian believes that when you take care of people, they take care of you. And for CBS, adhering to their core company values has paid off handsomely in terms of referrals and relationship building.

 

Happy customers are your best salespeople.


He says that it’s paramount to “Serve the customers you already have well because you never know who is going to start that next franchise. If you treat your existing customers well, they will sell your products and services for you.”

 

Trade shows and conferences are also a great way to get in front of franchise operators, particularly payment conferences, restaurant finance conferences, and restaurant technology conferences like MURTEC, the FSTECH show, and Retail Now (RSPA)

“Be in these places, be visible, and be prepared, know what you are selling and what problem you are going to solve.”

Julian also suggests sponsoring events. Franchises and corporations often host golf tournaments, general manager conferences, and charitable events.


“If you invest in their business then they will likely invest in your business.”

 

What can a VAR or ISV do to prepare to work with a national franchise?

 

When pursuing national franchises, Julian notes that you are essentially dealing with two distinct clients: the owner/operator and the corporate office. You have to pay attention to both. Even if your owner-operator is happy, you must make sure that the corporation is happy too.


“It is so important to learn how to service your clients, truly understand their needs, and learn how you can serve them,” says Julian. “And be humble and willing to adapt your business model. We’re in a service model and so are they. So if you service them they will reward you.”


To learn more about Jeremy and the entire CBS team, visit Custom Business Solutions, Inc.


Do you have a Partner Spotlight story to share?


We'd like to hear from you if you have a unique story to share with our Partner Spotlight. Leave a comment below and we'll get in touch.

Not long after ABBA was making musical hit history in the U.S., Terry Ziegler’s company, Datacap Systems, Inc., entered the payments scene destined to make a difference. The company initially made a splash in the Electronic Cash Registers (ECR) market and then helped power the integrated payments revolution.

 

Datacap’s business model is built on simplifying payments and enabling generations of developer and reseller communities to grow their businesses with the Datacap “formula.” This formula consists of creating an easily accessible way of translating POS language to any number of premiere processing/card brand languages and back to the POS.

 

And Datacap did all this without needing to play ABBA.  They took the chance out of payments.

 

Throughout its history, Datacap has been ahead of the curve and a true leader in the integrated payments industry. Marc and Jeff Katz, the founding brothers of Mercury Payment Systems (now Worldpay), knew this and built their company using Datacap’s technology.  Mercury innovated on the Datacap technology by bringing the localized NETePay client-server distributed software architecture into a hosted environment. The result: greatly reduced the cost and effort of installation and maintenance.

 

I suspect in the early 2000s, the Katz brothers were probably not singing ABBA's hit from an earlier era.  They removed the "Take a Chance on Me" by innovating on the solid and reliable technology of Datacap Systems.

 

A foundation for payment processing

Datacap technology was a centerpiece of Mercury's early rise in the integrated payments space and has been revolutionizing the market during the various business re-alignments in our short history of mergers and acquisitions. First, with the change in the partnership-model moving to an equity company. And later with the acquisition by Cincinnati-based Vantiv.

 

With the recent Worldpay merger, the company is entering into a new era of global reach, and the integrated payments organization is again strategically re-aligning to meet new business needs.

 

In a previous article Rapid-fire Recurring Revenue Recommendations, Jim Roddy talks about recurring revenue options ISVs and VARs should consider. The release of NETePay 5.07, is a step in the right direction to implementing new revenue streams.

 

 

As an engineering partner to the payment ecosystem, Datacap is notably instrumental and impressively responsive in turning around and delivering requested software.

 

As I hear that ABBA song in my head one more time, I suspect each processing generation begins by taking a chance on the new. Whether heritage or new TechVitality, technology is always evolving.

 

You have dreams of increasing your recurring revenue, but you can’t find time to investigate new products and services. I’m going to give you a shortcut to recurring revenue riches with a pair of quick-read bulleted lists that will jumpstart your progress.

 

Are you offering these six products/services on a recurring revenue basis?

  • Data analytics: Provide your merchants with statistics about their competition and enable them to receive alerts about their social media mentions.
  • Gift/loyalty: A rewards program will help your merchants increase traffic, awareness, and consumer loyalty.
  • Online ordering: What used to be a “nice-to-have” feature for merchants is becoming a “must-have” as consumers use their phones to make more purchases.
  • Managed services: Charge a monthly fee to monitor each merchant’s network. Keep them secure while also avoiding downtime.
  • Wi-Fi: Enhance the customer experience by ensuring your merchants have reliable and secure Wi-Fi.
  • Payment processing: A full-service payments provider (as opposed to a bare-bones one) will reduce your overhead so you can pursue more recurring revenue initiatives.

 

You can't be a trusted advisor if you offer only reactive service.  

 

If you’re not embracing all six of these products and services, you’re missing out on opportunities to increase your recurring revenue and make your relationship with your merchants stickier. You can’t be a trusted advisor if you offer only reactive service. Guide your merchants into new technologies that will increase their sales and lift their bottom line.

 

Because I engage with leading POS resellers and ISVs every week, I’ve learned some key principles and tactics related to recurring revenue:

  • If you aren’t offering all six of the products/services listed above, pick one or two to investigate and then test them with clients with whom you have a strong relationship. Implement the new offering, scale it (market to all your merchants), and then investigate one or two more products/services to add to your linecard.
  • Offer a 90-day trial period for new services to current customers. Prove to them that it works and they tend to buy-in.
  • The break/fix business model was a sprint: sell as much hardware, software, and peripherals as you could in the initial sale. The recurring revenue business model is a marathon: how much technology and services can you sell to the customer in the long run?
  • White-label products whenever possible so if you switch vendors you can make a change that is less disruptive to the client.
  • Aim for monthly recurring revenue to exceed monthly expenses. Additional project work that month will fall to the bottom line.

 

As I said at the outset of this piece, this is a 400-word shortcut to start you down the path to recurring revenue riches. For more information on this important topic, watch my hour-long webinar on recurring revenue or read my nearly 40-item list of recurring revenue products and services for POS solution providers.

 

 

For more On the Edge content, please visit the Vantiv Partner Advantage website.

 

Jim Roddy is a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services. He has been active in the POS channel since 1998, including 11 years as the President of Business Solutions Magazine, six years as a Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) board member, and one term as RSPA Chairman of the Board. Jim is regularly requested to speak at industry conferences and he is author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

As a Project/Program Manager during the growth stages of my subscription video startup--I often struggled with managing developers.  I've fallen victim to many of these transgressions, often feeling a palatable sigh of exasperation during stand-up meetings.  (Quick disclaimer--I've never done #2)

 

I've been that manager.  Here are a few pitfalls to avoid when working with any developer team.  Happy coders make for awesome code!

 

 

it take 25 min for developers to refocus after an interruption

 

1) Avoid interrupting your developer teams:

Dude (I'm saying this to the earlier version of me)--there's a reason the developers wear headphones--it's to block out the distractions.  And yeah, it looks cool, but they don't like their music any more that you like yours.  They just need space.  Here's a game changer to think about before you interrupt your developer team.  Studies show that it takes approximately 25 minutes for developers to get re-focused after a coding interruption.  So the next time you think about breaking their flow--consider that you're killing a half hour of production. Ouch!

 

2) Never ask a freelancer to work for free:

Never ask someone to use their hard-earned skills for free to make money for you. Like, never ever. And no, the opportunity for “exposure” or “portfolio additions” is often not worth the headache. Check out this facepalm-ending exchange from Clients from Hell.

 

 

 

3) Don’t expect your developer to work themselves to death to meet deadlines you also can’t meet:

If your project is dependent on images, copy, and resources that need to be created and sent to the developer, make sure those deliverables actually, you know, get to the developer on time. Otherwise, you’re looking at missed deadlines and it won’t be their fault. It’ll be yours. Check out a real world example of this in Jesie Castro’s Last Minute Luke entry on the TrackDuck blog.

 

4) Keep the meetings to a minimum:

When it comes to meetings.  Have an agenda, have a goal and have a timer.  If you can communicate via email--do it.  According to Scrum.com, they have a suggested breakdown of what the monthly sprint should look like in an agile environment.  Daily scrum meetings--15 minutes max.  They also suggest the following.

  • Sprint Planning - max 8 hours/mo.
  • Sprint Review - max 4 hours/mo.
  • Sprint Retrospective - max 3 hours/mo.

 

use unix philosophy to beat scope creep

 

5) Stop adding to the Feature Creep:

It's alive and growing at a rapid pace!  Stop adding more features into the software development queue.  Take a myopic look at your feature set and take a clue from an old developer axiom called--the Unix philosophy.  Simply stated, just do one thing really well.  The Unix philosophy emphasizes building simple, short, clear, modular, and extensible code that can be easily maintained and re-purposed by developers other than its creators.

 

6) Your site has 99 problems and lack of back-ups and source control is 98 of them:

Does your site code live in 3-5 different places? Do you not remember where the most recent site back-up files are stored? French chefs use mise en place to make meal prep easy and orderly. Give the same courtesy to your developers. Make sure you’ve consolidated and centralized what code you have, and have reliable back-ups stored away just in case something goes awry. Just read this horror story by Dan Pratt on what happens when disorder leads to chaos.

 

7) Bad Code - Stop spreading the madness:

If you're handing over code from one developer to another, understand that each developer writes code in their own style.  Have your original developer document, document, document.  And abide by this mantra--"Always code as if the person who ends up maintaining your code is a violent psychopath who knows how to find you."  Check out this story of a 9-page WordPress site that had over 900-thousand files on it due to a weird directory structure.

 

8) Time Trackers - Big Brother is not welcome here:

Tick Tock, Tick Tock.  Asking your Dev Teams to track their time on various projects could cause an outcry for revolution from the tyranny of Big Bother.  So skip the Orwellian developer landscape, stop lurking over their shoulders and break this coding flow killer.

 

time tracking software can save your dev team on average $18,000 per year

 

But if you have to initiate time tracking, beware of these perils.

 

What are some of your best Dev Horror stories?  We'd love to hear them in the comments below.

Get off the freelance hamster wheel.

Being a freelance developer is a bit like sprinting on a hamster wheel.  Like most freelancers, you live for the autonomy of choosing your clients, working an 'all-nighter' (okay, maybe not that) or having the freedom of making your laptop be your office.  Your desk can be the beach, the couch or the local coffee joint.

 

Sounds idyllic, but for most freelancers that hamster wheel never stops once you jump on.  Which begs the question, "Why did I get into freelancing in the first place if all I'm ever doing is worrying about where the next job comes from?"

 

 

According to the Freelancers Union "53 Million" Report there are some interesting stats regarding the freelance industry:

  • 34% of the workforce are freelancers.
  • Freelancers contribute an estimated $715 Billion to the US economy.
  • 69% of freelancers said technology made it easier to find freelance work.
  • 77% of freelancers say their best days are ahead of them.

 

We talked with Jason Resnick, a freelance developer for over 20 years about his journey from the freelance hamster wheel to living in the 'Feast.'  Jason has developed an online learning program specifically geared for freelance developers and designers to help them find and keep continued recurring revenue.  His Feast program includes videos, downloads, templates and business development best practices for all factors in the freelance business and sales cycle.  But the free, 'Getting Clients' 5-part, email course walks you through a tutorial on leveraging Twitter and Craigslist.

 

Why did you build the 'Feast' training series for developers?

The Feast program is about building your business as a developer, designer and freelancer in general.  You don't work to live, but when you are a freelancer oftentimes you quit one job to leave one boss and you then get 20 bosses.  Feast is about defining your solution to your clients problems and building a business around that so that you have a proper sustainable business that can support your ultimate goal of why you became a freelancer in the first place.

 

 

Tell us about your free email campaign for visitors that specifically leverages Twitter and Craigslist.

This is my free, 'Getting Clients' 5-part, email course that details the exact process I put in place myself when I started freelancing to get clients."  Social interactions are not my strength, so I looked at myself as a developer and looked for ways to jump ahead of the line to get those opportunities to my phone and desk as soon as they get posted online.  The free, multi-part email course details a way to set up lead-gen channels on Twitter and Craigslist using a few free tools to get delivered the kinds of jobs that you want.  And since being first is often critical, these tips can bring you to the top of the list.

 

Click here to sign up for the Getting Clients email series and get all his detailed videos for leveraging IFTTT with Twitter and Craigslist.  After signing up for free, Jason's video does a great job of walking you through the entire process, but here's a brief outline of what you'll learn there.

 

Twitter hack:  Finding prospects that need help with overflow work.

  1. Have your email outreach template ready to go for when you find leads.  (Jason has a sample on his site you can download for free)
  2. Use the advanced search in Twitter.
  3. Put in your search terms.  (Example:  web development agency, development team, etc.)
  4. Follow any prospect in a private list.  This is your reference for the next step in the process where you can automate updates from each prospect.  (Note:  Remember that when you add Twitter accounts to a private list, they do not get notified)
  5. After making your private list, go the the profile page of each prospect and turn on mobile notifications for that user.  This is critical because you will now get a mobile notification every time this prospect Tweets.
  6. When you find a prospect Tweeting about a job, have your email outreach template handy for an immediate reply.  (Note:  The key is here is to be one of the first respondents.  And have a killer email outreach template.)

 

 

 

You describe Twitter as a 'firehose of information."  How can developers leverage it to get new clients?

Twitter is my home away from home.  I built my business using Twitter.  It's search tool is very powerful.  Just like Google.  So learning the nuances and jumping into the cocktail party that is the Twitter firehose is important.  You need to get in there and engage. Tweets lasts 8 seconds, and you want to be the first to respond.

 

Craigslist hack:  Automate job searches and notifications for multiple locations.

Jason's video on using automation tools gives you a visual breakdown of the entire process, but this is a brief outline of what you'll learn there.

  1. Timing is everything when it comes to Craigslist, so the first thing you need to do is setup an IFTTT account.
  2. On Craigslist, pick the hotbed locations for developer opportunities.  You'll repeat these steps for every location and keyword combination that you choose to use in your searches.
  3. Copy the URL from any searches.  You'll need that URL later in the process.
  4. In IFTTT, you'll setup an alert from Craigslist to your phone using a recipe.
  5. Jason suggests using an app within IFTTT, called 'Pushover' for phone notifications.  He says this allows you to separate these notifications from email or SMS messages.
    1. In IFTTT, to create a recipe, choose a trigger channel.  In this case it is Craigslist.
    2. Paste the Craigslist URL that you saved earlier as your source.
    3. Then choose an 'Action' channel.  This notification could be SMS, email or as Jason suggests, using 'Pushover.'
      1. Within the action you can choose to select the ingredients, or attributes you'd like to have forwarded to your phone.  These attributes are the common fields that show up in any Craigslist ad.
      2. After you make this action, you can title it for easier recognition when the alerts come to your phone.
  6. Create notifications for every city and keyword you wish to automatically track.
  7. Use an outreach email template to respond the moment you see a new opportunity.  Remember, being first, or close to first in responding is key.
  8. You've now automated a very laborious process.  The days of going to Craigslist to scour multiple locations are over!

 

 

Developers view Craigslist as a source of "bottom-feeder" jobs, but what's your message for pundits?

Craigslist is usually the wasteland for jobs, but I've got jobs from major corporations that posted on Craigslist.  Oftentimes they'll take the first few respondents and then they'll remove their ad.  My video walks you through use of another free tool to send you alerts when a job posting happens on Craigslist.  The other opportunity is that Craigslist is very local orientated.  So if you're not in the same town as a job posting, it's a way to have that digital face-to-face with a large corporation.  The automation that I detail takes away the need to always hit refresh.  You just set up the search and it pings you when a hit happens.

 

But there's more to it than engaging in the right manner on social media.  What else do you need for success?

Tuesday night is my lead-gen night.  There has to be some accountability to go through all my alerts and review them and reply back with an email I had already crafted.  It's virtually the same paragraph formula but for a sentence or two crafted to the specific job.  You need the accountability to set the time aside to reach out and then more importantly to follow-up.  A lot of companies find freelancers flaky, so follow-up.  To be able to have some professionalism through the sales process, here's the outreach and then here's the follow-up, that's a level of professionalism that they're not always expecting.

 

What can others take away from signing up for your email program?

I've had major brands come through Craigslist.  And I still use Twitter on a daily basis to network and jump into conversations.  I've made my business off of what you can learn in this Getting Clients email series--we would not be having this conversation around my six module "Feast" training program were it not for me setting up these social media tools to automate some lead generation tasks.

 

Our next conversation with Jason covers the first three modules in his online series. Topics covered include setting a framework for your freelance business, discovering your unique pitch, positioning your business, organization, learning how to podcast, lead generation and setting up support and payment tools.

 

Click here to sign up for the Getting Clients email series.  Jason walks you through the entire process of using Twitter, Craigslist and IFTTT (If This Then That) to automate your social media freelance search process.  Let us know in the comments below what your key takeaway was after going through the program.

Payment partner spotlight: Jeremy Julian

Jeremy Julian has payments in his blood. He’s worked in nearly every aspect of the business his father founded 23 years ago—Custom Business Solutions, Inc. (CBS) — and has been instrumental in the company’s growth. As CBS’s Chief Operating Officer, his current focus lies in customer acquisition and successful product deployment. Julian is an optimist but also a realist and it is this blend of qualities that has contributed to CBS’s success over the years.

 

From day one, CBS has pushed the boundaries of the typical responsibilities of a value added reseller (VAR). Early on, the company began customizing the POSitouch software they resell to better meet the demands of their customers. It didn’t take long for CBS to eventually develop their own add-on POS software solutions, essentially becoming both an integrated software vender (ISV) and a VAR.

 

 

“We became an ISV about six years ago and have written our own POS software for restaurants, starting with iPad tableside ordering,” explains Julian. “Our decades of experience helped us design a POS solution that takes the best of other solutions and build it into one.” 

 

Over the years, CBS has expanded their territory by buying out other POSitouch VARs and winning business with big national franchises. As a result, CBS now supports customers across the western U.S. and overseas, with company offices in California, Colorado, and Texas.

 

Finding their niche

Based out of Irvine, CA, one hour south of Los Angeles, CBS made a point at the beginning to go after high-end, upscale, trendy restaurants – all of which require top shelf customer service. Landing these high profile accounts helped CBS develop a reputation for themselves. And it’s this reputation that led to their first wins in the national franchise space.

 

an early client helped land this payments ISV many national clients

 

“We focused on a different clientele—the restaurants everyone knows about, where Hollywood stars and movie producers dine, and we aggressively went after them and did whatever it took to get these accounts,” said Julian. “When your solutions are in these high profile accounts, everyone sees your products, and they want the same functionalities. These early wins helped open up a lot of opportunities for us to sell to local chains that often grew into national chains.”

 

CBS has always been committed to doing what’s right for the customer, customizing their solutions to better suit their customers’ needs and partnering with other solution providers when they need to. Whether joining forces with companies like Vantiv, now Worldpay, or other ISVs, this collaborative approach has made CBS successful.

“We are not rigid and insist on one way to do business,” says Julian. “Even in those cases where we can’t fulfil a client’s needs, we will go out of our way to find someone who can.”

 

“The client is the boss, they are the ones paying the bills. And if you don’t take care of them they’ll go find someone else that will.”

 

How do they keep growing?

Jeremy attributes CBS’s continued growth to being bold enough to take the risk to invest in whatever the client needs for their business.

 

the payment integration for this cruise line took over 6 months

 

For example, when the company pitched their solution to Norwegian Cruise Line, they weren’t entirely sure how they would deliver the same quality products on a cruise ship that are used in land based restaurants. But with the right team and the right attitude, CBS overcame challenges they didn’t even know existed.

 

In order to deliver a solution that would work on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship, CBS invested six months of development time to customize their iPad POS solution to handle payments that roll up to the cruise ship’s rooms. They sent staff to Germany to help install the solution on the ship while it was being built, and had employees on board during the inaugural sail.

 

It was a big initial investment, but it has paid off handsomely. The Norwegian Cruise Line connection led to business with an island resort in Belize, a cruise ship in China, and another cruise ship in Europe. The company is also engaged with three other cruise lines, as well as amusement parks and grocery stores.

 

It’s bets like these that made a big impact and opened up doors CBS did not even know existed.

 

Any parting advice for new VARs or ISVs?

“Take chances. Go after clients who have big reputations. You can ride on their coattails if you do a great job.”

Here are the top 5 pieces of advice Julian offers VARS and ISVs that want to expand their business:

  • Define yourself. Who do you want to be? What problems do you want to solve?
  • Be flexible. Understand that it’s going to change. Your vision today is not what you will deliver in the end.
  • Dig deep to meet your customer’s demands. This will differentiate your company from competition.
  • Understand how to operationalize what you are delivering to your clients.
  • Know your go to market strategy.

 

For more on Jeremy at the entire CBS team, visit Custom Business Solutions, Inc.

 

Do you have a Partner Spotlight story to share?

We'd like to hear from you if you have a unique story to share in our Partner Spotlight.  Leave a comment below and we'll get in touch.

integrating credit cards on your website

 

Are you planning on integrating credit card payments on your website? Before you code your payment form, think about the customer experience. Try these 5 easy tips to make payments easy and worry-free for your customers and you’ll be rewarded with more completed sales and less abandoned shopping carts.

 

1. Pare down your form to the bare necessities using common sense logic.

Make it easy for your customers to breeze through checkout by shrinking the amount of data they need to enter. Save your users from a “credit card type” drop-down menu by coding the form to detect the card type automatically with the first 4 digits of the credit card. There’s a handy guide for this here. Same goes for the address field. All you need is a zip code to automatically populate city and state fields.

 

Don't forget mobile users when you integrate credit cards on your website.

 

2. Even better: include a card scanning option for mobile users.

When you’re integrating credit card payments on your website, keep your mobile users in mind. I’ve been super grateful for Apple’s new credit card scan feature on iOS every time I’ve bought podcast tickets on my mobile phone on one of those event apps that gives you a teeny amount of time to reserve event tickets.

 

3. Offer incentives and loyalty points.

You want your customers to come back, right? Rewarding customers for shopping at your store is a great way to encourage them to come back and spend. Try offering a free sample at checkout or points that are redeemable for a discount on their next order. The benefits can vary from larger sales to an increase in return business. When you’re integrating credit cards on your website, giving a reward in exchange for a sale is a great way to delight customers.

 

when integrating credit card payments on your website, make it easy to split payments

 

4. Allow customers to pay for purchases on more than 1 card.

Say you have a group of friends who want to pool their money to buy a giant dinosaur sculpture (a totally reasonable purchase). Sure, they can buy their new dino statue on one person’s card and reimburse each other through various cash sharing apps, OR you can provide a user experience that will surprise and delight these dinosaur aficionados by coding a checkout that will allow a customer to divide a purchase among many cards. When integrating credit cards on your website, convenience and ease of use will delight your customers. Particularly if you’re selling higher-priced items, something like this could make the difference between a customer completing the purchase on your site or somewhere else.

 

5. Keep in mind that design can reinforce perceptions of security (and perceptions of vulnerability).

If your payment form doesn’t look safe or secured, you’re going to scare your customers away (and drive them to a competitor). Little designed elements can make a big difference. Check out how Wave designed their payment form to give a sense of security: https://uxdesign.cc/the-anatomy-of-a-credit-card-payment-form-32ec0e5708bb#8

 

gjsissons

Google Pay

Posted by gjsissons Feb 9, 2018

An opportunity for increased sales and conversions


Mobile wallets have been in the news recently, with much of the focus on the relatively slow adoption of mobile wallets in North America. When looking at statistics though, the answer we get often depends on the question we ask. Rather focus on a few mobile wallets, we might instead ask, “What percentage of online purchases are made using stored credentials?”


According to Mckinsey, the answer to this question is a much bigger number - already around 50 percent. Every time we purchase an app or movie in the Play Store, buy something on Amazon Prime, or shop at our favorite web store, the chances are good that we’re using digitally-stored credentials. Mobile wallets represent just a slice of a broader set of digital payment options already accessible from mobile devices.


For online shoppers, convenience is king


Few customers have the patience to key in payment card and address details on a small screen device like a phone. Unlike the point of sale, where mobile wallets provide only minimal added convenience, for online purchases the difference in convenience is huge. For online merchants, providing access to stored credentials is essential. Consumers purchasing online would much prefer to authenticate themselves with a thumbprint or password than key in a hundred or more characters. This consumer behavior explains why according to the same Mckinsey study, total U.S. digital wallet transactions (broader than just mobile wallets) is forecast to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2020, representing approximately 18-20 percent of retail spending. For wallets, online commerce is where the action is.

 

About Google Pay


Google Pay is a new service offered by Google, implemented using the new Google Pay API.  Google is one of the world’s most recognized brands and Google users across the globe have hundreds of millions of credit and debit cards saved to various Google accounts. These users make purchases on Google properties like the Google Play, YouTube, Chrome and more.


With the new Google Pay API, merchants can reach these same customers by letting them use their cards on file with Google to make quick, easy purchases from mobile apps and websites when they’re shopping from mobile devices or using the Chrome browser.

 

pay_with_google.PNG

For mobile users, this offers a new level of convenience. Even if I’ve never visited a merchant before, as a consumer, I can select “Google Pay” as an alternative to keying in payment card details. Google will look up any payment cards I have on file, present them to me, and allow me to choose the credential to use as shown above.


Google Pay extends Android Pay functionality, however unlike Android Pay which can be used at the point of sale (tapping your phone in a store or restaurant) Google Pay is designed for online purchases only. Consumers that have already activated their Android Pay wallet can continue to use their Android Pay credentials, providing a seamless transition for users and merchants already supporting Android Pay. The main difference when users Google Pay is that they can access any payment card on file with Google, even if they’ve never activated a mobile wallet.

 

Lowering the barriers to online commerce


For merchants, Google Pay is an important innovation. Juniper Research estimates approximately 24 million Android Pay users in 2017, and Google already has hundreds of millions of cards on file across its various platforms. By removing the need for consumers to pre-load a payment card into a wallet, merchants can benefit from faster checkouts, more conversions, and increased sales.


While Google Pay is significant for all merchants, it may be especially important for small merchants competing with larger online retailers. Google Pay helps level the playing field, providing all merchants with the opportunity to offer the same streamlined purchase experience that users expect from tier-one retailers. Consumers can enjoy a seamless checkout experience even if they’re visiting a merchant’s website for the first time making it easier to attract new customers.

 

Google Pay and Vantiv


Vantiv is presently one of just a few payment providers able to offer Google Pay functionality for merchants. Vantiv’s Google Pay integration utilizes an existing server-to-server connection between Vantiv and Google that facilitates the secure and efficient transfer of payment credentials and provides developers and merchants with a straightforward integration experience.


Whether merchants are already using Android Pay with Vantiv, or are just getting started with digital wallets, Vantiv can help merchants get up and running quickly.


Developer resources for Google Pay will be available at Vantiv’s developer portal, Vantiv O.N.E., in the Mobile & Digital Wallets section once Google officially unveils the Google Pay API. Extensive documentation and code examples on Vantiv O.N.E explain how developers can add Google Pay functionality to their Android App or their website.


If you have questions or comments about Google Pay or any other digital wallet, we’d love to get your thoughts and comments.