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What's the right payment API for developers?

When coding a payment solution, choosing the right payment API to help with your payment processing should never be taken lightly.  As developers, whether it's a payment integration for eCommerce, point-of-sale, mobile, Enterprise, or any combination, let's define what is a payment API.

Most payment applications (APIs) are transactional and involve sending and retrieving messages to and from remote systems across dedicated links or IP networks.  Payment API processes can include authorizing a payment, setting up a subscription, or initiating a bank transfer from a mobile app--to name a few of the common requests.

That's a hefty definition that comes with a stark reality for development teams.  On average, a comprehensive payment integration can take more than 6-months!  Here's why. 

 

Businesses demand a simple payment solution that can manage a variety of powerful capabilities and value-added features including analytics, account updating and reporting functionalities.  That's where a robust API is critical, allowing for the touch points between complex applications and financial business processes that grow each year as new trends and features become available to better serve the growing payment needs of your clients.  The process of managing, testing and certifying payment integrations take time.

 

So now that we've defined an API, let's dive into what type of API will you need for your merchant processing development project.

 

What are the types of APIs for payment developers?

When it comes to payments there are numerous APIs, but most fall into one of the categories described in Payment APIs Demystified - Five Common Types.

 

Once you master the mechanics of coding to an API in one of the standards listed below, the other APIs in the same family become more readily available to integrate into your payments development.  Because most payment transactions are message-oriented, protocols play a huge role in payment processing. 

 

In short, an understanding of the five types of APIs common in payment applications will move developers down the path to choosing the best payment API for coding payment processing and take you to the beginning of your payments journey.

 

  1. ISO 8583 Standard - Although better described as a protocol or message format, the ISO 8583 messages may travel from a merchant terminal or ATM, through to a merchant acquirer, through to card networks, and ultimately to card-issuing banks.  Quick Fact:  Most developers probably won’t code ISO 8583 messages directly unless they are working at a large retailer, bank, payment processor or payment gateway.
  2. SOAP XML Web Services - The Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) is a W3C XML based standard that allows organizations to publish interfaces such that they are discoverable and platform agnostic.  Quick Fact:  A nice property of a SOAP API is that it is self-documenting.
  3. HTTP/S POST APIs - Developers use their own HTTP requests to send messages directly to a network endpoint.  Often referred to as HTTP APIs, it is standard practice to send traffic over an SSL/TLS encrypted HTTPS connection.  Quick Fact:  While POST APIs can support any type of payload, JSON is often preferred because it is lightweight, flexible, and easily parsed.
  4. REST APIsA Representational State Transfer is an architectural style for expressing an HTTP-based API.  Developers who understand how to code to HTTP POST APIs (above) will automatically understand RESTful APIs because the mechanics of interacting with them are the sameQuick Fact:  A RESTful API borrows from object-oriented design principles and typically provides multiple URL endpoints that correspond to objects being manipulated.
  5. SDKsSoftware Development Kits are client-side libraries that abstract and simplify coding to all of the above interfaces and are usually programming language aligned.  Quick Fact:  SDKs simplify coding, but also introduce a new source of complexity in the form of a client-side software component that their application depends on.

 

How to start with your Payment API Integration

Now that you've selected an API for your business needs, it's time to get coding.  So here are the typical processes developers need to follow to test and certify an integration. (We'll use the Express Certification Overview  as an example to explain these steps)

 

  1. Setup a free test account.
    • Visit Getting Started with Express.  For Worldpay, sign up for a free, production simulated test account.  After signup, look for an email containing hyperlinks, including the Express Interface API to help you begin integrating your hardware and/or software solution.
  2. Test Your Integration.
    • The Worldpay Integrated Payment production simulation certification environment allows developers to code, test and evaluate your integration to the Express Interface.  And remember, if you get stuck, ask our integration experts or review the documentation here on Vantiv O.N.E.
  3. Submit your RFC.
    • The RFC and Scenarios document gives our certification team your hardware and software details.  This documentation is required along with details on your company policy on securing sensitive cardholder information.
  4. Certification Testing and Review.
    • After our integration team has all the necessary documentation--your integration team will also need to complete and submit all appropriate scripts, which our certification team will review your test transactions and respond with any needed changes to your integration.
  5. Express Certification Letter.
    • Once certified, your team will receive an official Letter of Certification and you'll be directed to a Partner Manager to begin boarding live merchants.

 

For help in choosing the right payment API

There's a lot to consider.  Everything from PCI Compliance, tokenization, fraud protection, global support for multiple currencies, sandbox functionalities and what SDKs are available in multiple coding languages (including Java, .NET, PHP, Node.js, and C++). 

 

Plus you'll want the best team of payments experts ready to assist in your integration--since the sooner you complete a payment integration, the sooner you can start processing payments!

 

Are you ready?   Choosing the right payment API for payment processing is as simple as reaching out to our Worldpay team of API experts that are continually updating our online documentation.

 

Create a Vantiv O.N.E. Account

Create an account in our Developer Hub and get the latest news and payment integration tools, plus links to kick-start your payment integration.  Let's get started!

 

Learn More:  Create a Test Account Quick Links

Getting Started with Express 

Install Requirements for triPOS Direct 

triPOS Cloud Quick Start Tutorial 

triPOS Mobile SDK Tutorial 

Getting Started with MercuryPay 

Lately, most of my consultations with software developer executives have focused on marketing – at their request, not mine. We discuss best practices in website content, SEO, content marketing, blogging, list building, inbound marketing, outbound marketing, and email marketing. To help spread the word on that last topic, I made email marketing the subject of my latest blog post on the Vantiv, now Worldpay Partner Advantage website: 8 great email marketing building blocks for the POS channel.

 

Today, we'll pull back from tactics and take a broader view of marketing thanks to the classic book The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing by Al Ries and Jack Trout. The 22 laws were published in 1993 – before most of the tactics I listed above were conceived – but they’ve held up for 25 years now. That figures because the word immutable means “unchanging over time.” An illustration of that is seen in Law #13 which says narrowly focused specialists are stronger than generalists. Ries and Trout wrote back in ’93: For example, White Castle has never changed its position. A White Castle today sells the same “frozen sliders” at unbelievably low prices. Fast forward to 2018, and White Castle is still going strong slinging sliders.

 

Here is the complete list of the laws plus some of my favorite passages from the book:

 

  1. The Law of Leadership: It’s better to be first than it is to be better. People tend to stick with what they’ve got. If you meet someone a little better than your wife or husband, it’s really not worth making the switch, what with attorneys’ fees and dividing up the house and kids.
  2. The Law of the Category: If you can’t be first in a category, set up a new category you can be first in. If you didn’t get into the prospect’s mind first, don’t give up hope. Find a new category you can be first in. It’s not as difficult as you might think. 
  3. The Law of Mind: It’s better to be first in the mind than to be first in the marketplace. If you want to make a big impression on another person, you cannot worm your way into their mind and then slowly build up a favorable opinion over a period of time. The mind doesn’t work that way. You have to blast your way into the mind. The reason you blast instead of worm is that people don’t like to change their minds.
  4. The Law of Perception: Marketing is not a battle of products, it’s a battle of perceptions. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.
  5. The Law of Focus: The most powerful concept in marketing is owning a word in the prospect’s mind. The essence of marketing is narrowing the focus. You become stronger when you reduce the scope of your operations. You can’t stand for something if you chase after everything.
  6. The Law of Exclusivity: Two companies cannot own the same word in the prospect’s mind.
  7. The Law of the Ladder: The strategy to use depends on which rung you occupy on the ladder. While being first into the prospect’s mind ought to be your primary marketing objective, the battle isn’t lost if you fail in this endeavor. There are strategies to use for No. 2 and No. 3 brands.
  8. The Law of Duality: In the long run, every market becomes a two-horse race. The customer believes that marketing is a battle of products. It’s this kind of thinking that keeps the two brands on top: “They must be the best, they’re the leaders.”
  9. The Law of Opposite: If you’re shooting for second place, your strategy is determined by the leader. A good No. 2 can’t afford to be timid. When you give up focusing on No. 1, you make yourself vulnerable not only to the leader but to the rest of the pack.
  10. The Law of Division: Over time, a category will divide and become two or more categories.
  11. The Law of Perspective: Marketing effects take place over an extended period of time.
  12. The Law of Line Extension: There’s an irresistible pressure to extend the equity of the brand. One day a company is tightly focused on a single product that is highly profitable. The next day the same company is thinly spread over many products and is losing money. When you try to be all things to all people, you inevitably wind up in trouble.
  13. The Law of Sacrifice: You have to give up something in order to get something. The world of business is populated by big, highly diversified generalists and small, narrowly focused specialists. Typically, the generalist is weak.
  14. The Law of Attributes: For every attribute, there is an opposite, effective attribute. If you are to succeed, you must have an idea or attribute of your own to focus your efforts around.
  15. The Law of Candor: When you admit a negative, the prospect will give you a positive. This law only proves the old maxim: Honesty is the best policy.
  16. The Law of Singularity: In each situation, only one move will produce substantial results. Most often there is only one place where a competitor is vulnerable. And that place should be the focus of the entire invading force. It’s hard to find that single move if you’re hanging around headquarters and not involved in the process.
  17. The Law of Unpredictability: Unless you write your competitors’ plans, you can’t predict the future. As changes come sweeping through your category, you have to be willing to change and change quickly if you are to survive in the long term.
  18. The Law of Success: Success often leads to arrogance, and arrogance to failure. Ego is the enemy of successful marketing. Objectivity is what’s needed.
  19. The Law of Failure: Failure is to be expected and accepted. Too many companies try to fix things rather than drop things. If a company is going to operate in an ideal way, it will take teamwork and a self-sacrificing leader.
  20. The Law of Hype: The situation is often the opposite of the way it appears in the press. Real revolutions don’t arrive at high noon with marching bands and coverage on the 6 o’clock news. Real revolutions arrive unannounced in the middle of the night and kind of sneak up on you.
  21. The Law of Acceleration: Successful programs are not built on fads, they’re built on trends. Forget fads. The best, most profitable thing to ride in marketing is a long-term trend. Fad = Ninja Turtle. Trend = Barbie Doll.
  22. The Law of Resources: Without adequate funding, an idea won’t get off the ground. You’ll get further with a mediocre idea and a million dollars than a great idea alone. Spend enough; you can’t save your way to success.

 

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 the author of the book Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer.

Whenever the founder a thriving software company tells me that a book lifted his business, I make sure to add that title to my reading list. This happened to me again recently when a Vantiv, now Worldpay, software developer partner said Built To Sell: Creating a Business That Can Thrive Without You was key to his success. He’s not sure if he’s going to sell his ISV business in the near future, but he’s going to be ready if opportunity knocks.

 

The lessons from Built To Sell can be applied to most SMBs, but the advice is especially germane for software companies. Here are some of my favorite passages and concepts from the book:

 

  1. Smart businesspeople believe that you should build a company to be sold even if you have no intention of cashing out or stepping back anytime soon. This approach is having an “options strategy” as opposed to an “exit strategy.”             Have an options strategy instead of an exit strategy.
  2. There are approximately 23,000,000 businesses in the United States, and yet only a few hundred thousand are able to be sold each year.
  3. Don’t generalize; specialize. If you focus on doing one thing well and hire specialists in that area, the quality of your work will improve and you will stand out among your competitors.         Specialize; don't generalize.
  4. “In each business I’ve sold, we created a standard service offering, a consistent process for delivering our product or service. We made sure the product or service was something clients would need on a regular basis so we could count on recurring revenue.”
  5. Owning a process makes it easier to pitch and puts you in control. Be clear about what you’re selling, and potential customers will be more likely to buy your product. You need to train people to handle all the steps of your process so you don’t have to be the guy piecing every project together from scratch.
  6. Don’t become synonymous with your company. If buyers aren’t confident that your business can run without you in charge, they won’t make their best offer.
  7. Once you’ve standardized your service, charge up front or use progress billing to create a positive cash flow cycle.
  8. To sell your business, you need to demonstrate to a buyer that you have the sales engine that will produce predictable, recurring revenue.
  9. Take some time to figure out how many pipeline prospects will likely lead to sales. This number will become essential when you go to sell because it allows the buyer to estimate the size of the market opportunity.
  10. Two sales reps are always better than one. Often competitive types, sales reps will try to outdo each other. And having two on staff will prove to a buyer that you have a scalable sales model, not just one good sales rep.
  11. Ignore your profit-and-loss statement in the year you make the switch to a standardized offering even if it means you and your employees will have to forgo a bonus that year. As long as your cash flow remains consistent and strong, you’ll be back in the black in no time.
  12. You need at least two years of financial statements reflecting your use of the standardized offering model before you sell your company.
  13. Build a management team and offer them a long-term incentive plan that rewards their personal performance and loyalty.
  14. Think big. Write a three-year business plan that paints a picture of what is possible for your business. Remember, the company that acquires you will have more resources for you to accelerate your growth.
  15. If you want to be a sellable, product-oriented business, you need to use the language of one. Change words like “clients” to “customers” and “firm” to “business.” Rid your website and customer-facing communications of any references that reveal you used to be a generic service business.
  16. A business reliant on its owner is unsellable, so the owner becomes trapped in the business.
  17. Before you start this process, engage a good accountant experienced in helping business owners with succession planning.
  18. Six forms of recurring revenue, presented from least to most valuable:       recurring revenue forms from most to least valuable The only thing more valuable than an automatic renewal subscription is a hard contract for a defined term.    
  19. As you ascend the recurring revenue hierarchy, expect the value of your business to go up in lockstep.
  20. Hire a sales team. Once you have created and packaged your offering and started to charge up front, you need to remove yourself from selling it.
  21. Stop selling everything else. Stopping yourself from accepting projects outside of your scalable product or service is the toughest part of creating a business that can thrive without you.
  22. Launch a long-term incentive plan for managers. You need to prove to a buyer you have a management team who can run the business after you’re gone. You need to show that the management team is locked into staying with your company after acquisition.

 

There’s plenty more great advice in the book and on author John Warrillow’s Built To Sell website. The resources page includes links to white papers, videos, cheat sheets, and webinars that can help you create a business that’s built to sell.

 

 

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.

Why develop an Apple Pay mobile wallet?

Help unlock more conversions for your customers by understanding the statistics behind the Apple Pay mobile wallet.  While mobile wallet adoption has lagged in the US when compared to global trends, the room for growth in digital wallet use are undeniable.  Here are just a few statistics every developer should know when making a case for integrating to Apple Pay.

  • Eighty percent of Americans have never used a contactless payment system, compared to approximately 80% of Australians and Brits who do.
  • By 2020, over 60 million users are expected to use mobile wallets in the United States.
  • Mobile payment activity in China was nearly 50 times greater than in the U.S. in 2016, and the number of Chinese mobile payments is expected to multiply by 7.4 times by 2019.
  • Europeans ages 55-64 comprise the group with the fastest growth rate for mobile banking adoption.
  • Nearly 30% of iPhone users have setup and used Apple Pay at least once.

 

iphone-30-percent-installed-applepay

 

The reasons for implementing with Apple Pay

For developers, how you implement an Apple Pay mobile wallet is critical to building a robust payment process. Reducing friction in the payments funnel online helps customer satisfaction, which increases customer engagement and reduces cart abandonment by online shoppers. Proper development work translates into higher revenue potential and lifetime customer value. So code wisely for your customer needs.

 

For users, Apple Pay provides an easy and secure way to buy goods, services, and make donations in an iOS app or on a website. Users can authorize payments using Face ID or Touch ID to release tokenized credit and debit card payment credentials that are securely stored on their device.

 

eCommerce and mobile commerce are the fastest growing segments in payments, but 68% of visitors abandon a site or app because there are too many steps. Digital wallets are a key component in helping simplify the transmission of payment and customer credentials and securely transacting in a digital commerce environment. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay help optimize your experience for in-app, web and mobile web environments.

 

digital wallet drivers shopping cart abandonment online

 

Developer’s playbook to getting started with Apple Pay

 The video provides a primer every developer should understand when beginning the process of coding an Apple Pay mobile wallet.  Get your development team set-up for success by following these easy steps...

 

 

 

Getting started with Apple Pay:  mobile wallet first steps

Apple offers resources to help you get started quickly.

 

Getting started with Worldpay:  mobile wallet next steps

If you are already integrated to Worldpay, work with your Relationship Manager to get set up with a Worldpay Integration Consultant.

  1. The consultant will be able to provide you with test credentials for Worldpay’s test environments and provide additional insight and requirements for the integration.
  2. Worldpay offers different test environments including a sandbox, pre-live and post-live environment.
  3. You can learn more about these environments in Certification and Testing Environments.
  4. To get started with testing - Apple provides test cards you can load into an Apple Pay Wallet for testing. 
  5. Please see this page for reference: - Apple Pay Sandbox Testing - Support - Apple Developer
  6. Gather your Test Credentials in order to test your digital wallet in a pre-live environment.
  7. Decide on your decrypt.
    • Worldpay offers multiple integration approaches which can help simplify your integration and meet your business needs. A Worldpay expert can help you decide on the most logical solution. Learn more about the integrations listed below on Vantiv ONE’s Apple Pay Community Page.

      • Vantiv eProtect – helps simplify integrations and reduces PCI scope.
      • LitleXML – Vantiv, now Worldpay responsible for token and processing.
      • Merchant Decrypt—Merchant decrypts token and processes payment.
  8. Download this Vantiv eCommerce Apple Pay solution document for review.
  9. Engage with the Experts, and feel free to ask any questions in the Vantiv ONE Q&A.

 

Download our digital wallet infographic

Whichever solution you choose in your Apple Pay mobile wallet implementation, make sure your digital wallet is primed for engagement, integration flexibility and future evolution.

 

digital wallet values 

 

For more information on Apple Pay:

Apple Pay integration matrix - Find your Apple Pay integration method with our mobile wallet matrix.

Apple Pay on Vantiv - Why one-size does not fit all developer needs.

Mobile & Digital Wallets - A primer for non-developers.

BoC StadiumBefore we officially announced the Vantiv purchase of Worldpay and intent to rebrand, back in the third quarter of last year, we got the privilege to begin working with Banc of California to be the sole payments provider for the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) at the new Banc of California stadium in downtown Los Angeles at the former location of the Los Angeles Sports Arena. The intent for the stadium is to be the first cash-less stadium in the United States.

 

For those that don't follow Major League Soccer (MLS) or soccer in general, a little background may be in order. The "beautiful game" as it is called, has been on a tremendous growth path in the United States. Attendance in MLS has grown from 1.8 million in 2008 to 3.5 million in 2017. This is higher than both NBA and NHL average game attendance and given the rise and popularity, star-studded teams have begun to pop up and LAFC is no exception.

 

From the start, the intent appears to be to create a Los Angeles community inclusive soccer club, improving local infrastructure, pushing forward sustainability and providing the community with jobs, event space and year-round dining options. The stadium has a seating capacity of 22,000 and has 130,000 square feet of public open space. Did we mention the intention to be the first cash-less stadium in the United States?

 

WorldPay Process

On a large transactional venue like this, there are many pieces that have to come together to get the payment processing operational before first kick-off. At Worldpay, we have many teams and processes that work together to make all systems go. When complex solutions enter our landscape, our business development teams, along with our solution teams, work hand-in-hand with our partners, LAFC, and the vendors to ensure a smooth payment processing experience.

 

We got the privilege to work with these fine vendors, facilitating payments:

 

  • SeatGeek - SeatGeek integrated to us for both card not present and card present transactions on our Express platform utilizing triPOS cloud for the card present piece (To the right you can see one of our triPOS terminals in the LAFC ticket office. If you purchase tickets for LAFC, you are working with Worldpay.
  • SkiData - SkiData integrated to our Express platform and provided mobile capabilities to LAFC and its vendors.
  • Appetize - Appetize provides the vending POS services for LAFC and the stadium.
  • Fanatics - Fanatics provides the merchandising POS services for LAFC and the stadium
  • Venuetize - Venuetize provides the mobile application experience and touched many parts of our Express platform, along with many of the vendors listed here.
  • EverPark - EverPark provides parking services for the stadium.

 

With the appropriate solution identified and road-mapped into the system for the vendor, the next step, if it is necessary (sometimes vendors are already integrated to the specified solution), is to begin the integration process.

 

The integration process involves working with our developer integrations team. This team of platforms experts is highly technical on both the hardware and software side. The developer integrations team works intimately with the vendor to ensure their integration is completed, certified and ready to process. Once the certification is complete, the vendor works with us to ensure operational readiness before our first install team walks our partners through go-live, providing valuable services, tools, and resources to streamline this critical step in the process.

 

 

The stadium go-live

The teamwork involved for a large event like this is enormous. Worldpay only plays one role, albeit a critical role, and that critical role gave rise to an amazing event and a beautiful stadium.

 

 

We got to witness a lot of exciting events at the stadium, including a few celebrity spottings. Here is Will Ferrell, pulling his Tesla into the stadium parking:

 

To top it all off, LAFC got the win in the closing minutes of the game. The fans were ecstatic, and so was team Worldpay.

 

 

Conclusion

These are dream projects and LAFC is helping make dreams a reality for so many organizations and individuals. Right out of the gate, LAFC has one of the most supported clubs in North America. We look forward to continued partnership with LAFC and BoC and thank everyone that was involved At Worldpay, we take modern money to a new level.

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.