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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.

My favorite story about one of my favorite topics (execution) comes from my favorite NFL team (the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) during my least-favorite era of theirs (a 26-game losing streak from 1976-77). Bucs head coach John McKay, who used his dry sense of humor as a coping mechanism, was asked after yet another loss what he thought of his team’s execution. He replied, “I’m in favor of it.”

 

 

That’s funny, but let me now give you a serious execution-related quote that I’ve repeated dozens of times since reading the book Execution – The Discipline of Getting Things Done: “Execution is the missing link between aspirations and results.” When I talk with software developer executives, they all have plans and ideas, but the ones who are actually winning are the ones who are actually executing.

 

developer meeting hack

 

Execution addresses this important topic on both macro and micro levels. Since reading this book in 2006, I’ve tried to follow the best practice Execution shares about former Chrysler, Home Depot, and GE executive Robert Nardelli. The book says, “Nardelli never finishes a conversation without summarizing the actions to be taken. He made his vision credible by breaking it down into bite-size successes. … Never finish a meeting without clarifying what the follow-through will be, who will do it, when and how they will do it, what resources they will use, and how and when the next review will take place with and with whom.” I figured if that tactic worked for a guy with a net worth measured in the hundreds of millions, it could work for little old me.

 

Here are 30 more of my favorite passages and concepts from the book:

 

  1. Putting an execution environment in place is hard, but losing it is easy.
  2. Execution is not just tactics – it is a discipline and a system. It has to be built into a company’s strategy, its goals, and its culture. And the leader of the organization must be deeply engaged in it.
  3. Leading for execution is not rocket science. The main requirement is that you as a leader have to be deeply and passionately engaged in your organization and honest about its realities with others and yourself.
  4. The problem with many so-called strategies is that they’re too abstract and shallow, or else they’re really operations plans, not strategies.
  5. No strategy delivers results unless it’s converted into specific actions.
  6. To understand execution, you have to keep three key points in mind: (1) execution is discipline, and integral to strategy; (2) execution is the major job of the business leader; (3) execution must be a core element of an organization’s culture.
  7. Execution is a systematic process of rigorously discussing hows and whats, questioning, tenaciously following through, and ensuring accountability.
  8. Execution is a systematic way of exposing reality and acting on it.
  9. People leave with no commitments to the action plans they’ve helped create. This is a formula for failure.
  10. Shaping a plan: (1) involve all the people responsible for the plan’s outcome in shaping the plan; (2) ask specific hows of execution; (3) set milestones for the progress of the plan.
  11. If you’re really executing, and you have the resources, you are listening to tomorrow’s customers as well as today’s and planning for their needs.
  12. The Building Blocks of Execution – 7 Essential Behaviors
    1. Know your people and your business
    2. Insist on realism
    3. Set clear goals and priorities
    4. Follow through
    5. Reward the doers
    6. Expand people’s capabilities
    7. Know yourself
  13. Cultural change gets real when your aim is execution.
  14. We don’t think ourselves into a new way of acting. We act ourselves into a new way of thinking.
  15. You get what you measure for.
  16. A good motto to observe is “truth over harmony.” Candor helps wipe out the silent lies and pocket vetoes, and it prevents the stalled initiatives and rework that drain energy.
  17. An organization’s human beings are its most reliable resource for generating excellent results year after year.
  18. Why people aren’t in the right jobs: The leaders aren’t personally committed to the people processes and deeply engaged in it.
  19. The foundation of a great company is the way it develops people.
  20. Ask this important question in the hiring process: How good is this person at getting things done?
  21. If a strategy does not address the hows, it is a candidate for failure.
  22. A good strategic plan is a set of directions you want to take. It’s a roadmap, lightly filled in, so that it gives you plenty of room to maneuver. You get specific when you’re deciding the action part of the plan, where you link it with people and operations.
  23. Milestones bring reality to a strategic plan.
  24. A good strategic plan is adaptable. Once-a-year planning can be dangerous.
  25. A strategic plan contains ideas that are specific and clear. Numbers are obviously needed, but those that are detailed line by line and are mechanically extrapolated over five years offer little in the way of insight.
  26. Watch out for taking on too many projects.
  27. One powerful technique is to send each person a memo outlining the details of the agreements.
  28. Quarterly reviews help keep plans up to date and reinforce synchronization.
  29. A stretch goal has basically two purposes: (1) it can force you to think about doing things in a radically different way; (2) it can help you to execute exceptionally well.
  30. The heart of a business is how the three processes of people, strategy, and operations link together. Leaders need to master the individual processes and the way they work together as a whole. They are the differentiation between you and your competitors.

 

If you’d like to talk more about how to instill more discipline in your ISV organization, please reach out to me. My job as a Reseller & ISV Business Advisor for Vantiv’s PaymentsEdge Advisory Services is to work with Vantiv 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 Futuristic Applications of Fitness Wearables

 

What’s the future version of today’s humble step tracker or health app? Our resident tinkerers at Vantiv labs took on an API challenge to enable commerce with fitness wearable technology for usage in a sharing economy business model (like a gym membership where you only pay for the equipment you use). Click here to check out how they combined Fitbit’s API with Vantiv’s API. Read on to discover five more futuristic applications for fitness wearables.

 

Smart Patches

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart patches

 

Forget about your Fitbit. Patches that stick directly to the skin are the new future for wearable tech. Smart patches have the advantage of being worn all the time – unlike wrist wear which needs to be removed to be charged and can’t get wet. Some pro sports teams are already testing smart patches that analyze health by monitoring sweat on their athletes.  Plus patches worn under clothes offer a discrete option for health monitoring for folks who prefer a bit more privacy.

 

Smart Clothing

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: smart clothing

 

Smart fabrics with sensors hidden in your t-shirt or waistband might be able to track your heart rate, fat ratio, calorie burn, and provide you with updates on your shrinking waist size. For professional athletes or patients in rehabilitation, biosensors in clothing might be programmed to detect unusual muscle contractions for doctors to track. Supa is already using AI and heart rate sensors in their line of women’s sportswear that even tracks UV absorption.

 

Drones

 

future of fitness wearables: drone running buddies

 

Imagine heading out for a run with your own personal drone that will fly ahead of you and set the pace to improve your mile time or meet your distance goals. In a 2015 study of joggers using running drones, the joggers reported enjoying the “companionship” and “personality” of their drone jogging buddies. The best thing about a jogging drone? It’s way less flaky than a human partner. (Ahem, looking at you, Becky.)

 

Smartglasses with Augmented Reality

 

the future of wearable fitness technology: augmented reality and smartglasses

 

While Google Glasses were roundly mocked when they launched, the promise and potential of wearable tech glasses is still a tech ideation darling. Augmented reality paired with a slender, lightweight glasses frame instead of a bulky headset could seriously enhance a workout. For instance, a runner training for a race could pop on some smartglasses, download an app similar to Zombies, Run!, and enter an immersive augmented reality – where their evening run is spiced up with zombies, obstacles, and video game-style missions.

 

Tattoos

 

future of fitness wearables: tattoos

 

Harvard and MIT researchers have combined biosensitive tattoo inks with traditional tattoo artistry to create tattoos that double as biomedical mood rings. The inks change color depending on body chemistry. For an example, an athlete could monitor the status of their recovery, or a diabetic could tell their blood sugar level by the changing color of their tattoo. The applications could go beyond chronic conditions as well: temporary tattoos for short duration monitoring (like for hospital stays or surgical recovery), or for situations where continuous health monitoring is needed for a specific duration (for athletes in physical therapy or for experimental patient trials).

How a city app changed the way I pay for parking (and why I don't even mind spending more money)

As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about payments, I’m well aware of the impact of frictionless (or invisible) payments. Recently I witnessed a change in my spending habits due to payments innovation.

 

A decade ago Amazon revolutionized the ecommerce world with its one click checkout and countless merchants followed this trend -- or at least tried. Technology behemoths and Silicon Valley startups lead the way with innovative payment methods that make our shopping experience seamless.

 

While the retail and ecommerce world continue to race ahead, government and utilities are only now catching up. I’ve never been a fan of cash and much less nickels and dimes, so the fact that we have to pay parking meters with quarters always put me in a tough spot. Where are the darn quarters! Making a trip to the bank or supermarket to load up on quarters is always a hassle (no ATM gives bills less than $20). As a result, often within the city I end up taking the cab to avoid parking meters.

 

How can I get this important service – parking my car -- without the hassle and unnecessary friction of using cash? Enter the new mobile app - BostonPark which lets me store my vehicle details and card payment info. Whenever I’m near a parking spot it tells me how much parking time is left as well as the street cleaning schedule -- so I can avoid parking fines!. Since Boston has different times for resident parking and metered parking, it allows me to pay remotely if I’m running late. If I decide to stay longer and want to extend the parking time, I no longer have to rush. No more worrying about the dreadful orange violation ticket on my car window shield. The best part – no more scavenging for quarters!

 

This app has significantly changed my parking spending habit. As government agencies introduce more digital services and make payments easier, consumers like me will likely use the government service rather than alternatives (for example, driving and parking instead of taking an Uber). I look forward more frictionless experiences in public services!

As developers, we often let work dictate when, or even if, we take a vacation. Goodbye sandy beach--hello Sprint session! While it may seem admirable that you put in extra hours, you may be doing yourself a disservice and miss out on inspiration.

 

European Union (EU) workers automatically get a minimum of 20 paid days off. And data show they are on to something--as that time off does not mean lower productivity. In fact, nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation (OECD) in 2015, measured by GDP per hour worked, were in Europe. The United States ranked sixth.

 

Data show more time off doesn't have to translate into lower productivity. Nine of the top 10 most productive countries in the OECD in 2015, measured by GDP per hour worked, were in Europe. The United States ranked sixth.

 

According to an article in the Huffington Post, there are some staggering figures to validate the benefits of taking your PTO. Unfortunately, many do not fully unplug. (it helps to read these in the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi for full effect)

  • 41 percent of people tend to check in with work during a vacation.
  • 84 percent of US executives have cancelled vacations because of a work emergency.

 

Wendy Schofield CEO - Mobile Pay, Inc.

“Clear the path for innovation and new successes by allowing yourself downtime to clear your mind of the noise & clutter.” - Wendy Schofield

 

We spoke recently with Vantiv partner, Wendy Schofield, CEO of Mobile Pay, Inc and she recounted how taking time off ultimately lead her company into a new business model. After a short vacation, where she was able to completely get away from work, inspiration struck and upon her return, she immediately called her developer to lay out the plans for making secure mobile payments. That was back in 2006!

 

Fast forward to the present, Wendy credits allowing herself free time away from work to recharge and open up new creative thought processes. She suggests going through a quick checklist for warning signs that it might be time for a vacation.

  1. Step back and recognize when you are too spread out.
  2. Realize that it is more productive to do one thing well, rather than too many tasks at one time.
  3. Give yourself that well-needed time off to clear the day-to-day clutter.

 

Partner Spotlight - Mobile Pay, Inc 

  • Collectively, Mobile Pay, Inc. and Wholesale Payments Group create a catalog of solutions for the public and private sectors for accepting payments and offsetting costs of payment processing.
  • Create full scale relationships with service providers, MSPs, ATM Operators, and processors to enable them to service merchants and institutions with a local presence to support those entities.
  • Services include credit/bank card, and check payment processing, ATM placement and sales/service, free payroll solutions, cash advances, equipment leasing, petroleum and more.
  • Niche markets include government and education, petroleum, utilities, rental payments, POS specific processing, credit/bank card terminal placements and service, eCommerce, and retail.

 

So remember to take time off and tell your boss or client to do so as well. They may come back to you inspired with a new challenge!

Reaching peak performance (or DevFlow) as a developer is not about working yourself or your team raw, it’s about having an awareness in your work.  Flow is great when you have it, but oftentimes hard to replicate.  So here's a hit list of six surprising and easy hacks that should be in every developers toolkit for hitting maximum DevFlow. 

 

1)  Do not commit to impossible tasks.

 

 

This can lead to mental clutter and disables focus.  Multi-tasking is a lie. While computers can switch context with ease, human brains just aren’t wired like that.  According to a Forbes article on multitasking, the term first appeared in an IBM paper in 1965, referring to a computer's ability to process multiple tasks simultaneously.  Focusing on more than one thing decreases productivity by 40% and lowers IQ by 10 points.  Duh.

 

2)  Try white noise headphones to lessen distractions

Ditching extraneous noise can speed the ramp up into flow.  White noise draws and focuses your attention without disturbing your emotional quotient and improves concentration by preventing outside disturbances.

 

3)  Put the phone away!

 

Turn off the ringer and put that "time suck" device out of view.  The average smartphone user checks her device 221 times a day. Some people are so attached to notifications that they experience phantom cellphone vibration syndrome

(yup, it’s totally a thing.) Charge your phone in a drawer so you can’t see those candy-colored notifications pop up to distract you from the task at hand.

 

4)  Collect your data before digging into the code

Searching for data during a coding session can kill the flow, so get your research together before the deep dive. This is just an organisational tip where having your data close at hand can lessen the need to search for the info while you are in the coding moment.  It's about staying in a coding flow to write code, not searching for it.

 

5)  Understand that flow is not always relaxing

 

stand up desks increased efficiency by 53%

 

For a change of pace, increase focus by trying to code at a stand up desk.  According to a Washington Post article, stand up desks were attributed to a 53% increase in work outcome and productivity over the course of six months.  Employees who worked at stand-capable desk sat down on average 1.6 hours less than those at a sitting desk.

 

6)  Allow your brain some buffer time

It often takes 10-15 minutes to get into the Flow, so starting and stopping coding sessions for meetings crushes any semblance of flow.  So when you’re blocking out your productive flow time, make sure to add buffer cushions around meetings to give you time to download your notes and follow up on deliverables before moving on. The next time you get a meeting invite, schedule 15 minute blocks of buffering time around it, in order to prepare, switch tasks, and get in gear again for the next coding push.

 

If you can recognize productivity killers and can be open to some quick hacks--You have a greater chance to reach and stay in a state of DevFlow.

 

So hack-away with these new tools and get in the flow!

Do people say your head is in the clouds? If they do, you’re likely on to something. At least if your head is in charge of your healthcare practice’s technology. Because you’ll be on the cutting edge of adopting this new technology. Check out 3 ways cloud technology is a gamechanger for health services providers.

 

 

1) Administrative costs.

 

20 percent of consumers have unpaid medical bills due to confusing billing processes.

 

No surprise here: inefficient billing practices are revenue drainers. Nearly 20 percent of consumers have unpaid health care bills due to confusing payment processes. And, up to 80 percent of medical bills contain mistakes, which results in a loss of approximately $125 billion annually.

 

up to 80% of medical bills contain errors.

 

Meanwhile, healthcare providers operating in the cloud are enjoying $8 billion in annual savings. Check out how digital payments reduced one provider’s administrative costs by 25 percent, and reduced time spent on submitting claims and processing patient payments by 88 percent.

 

2) Patient service.

Patients expect 24/7 availability from health service providers. Can your patient portal keep up?

Patients are accustomed to 24/7 availability and service from their banks, their retailers, their dog groomers –you get the picture. They’d like the same level of access and service from their healthcare providers.

 

In this new digital landscape, healthcare providers need to deliver Internet-based services that connect healthcare professionals with patients, to talk about upcoming procedures, aftercare, and medication management. Providers are increasingly turning to cloud solutions to modernize their legacy apps and IT infrastructure to make this happen.

 

3) Scalability and efficiency.

Getting up and running is half the battle and again, cloud technology claims the edge here. Cloud deployments typically take only 3-6 months, compared to the 12-month timeframe to implement an on-premise solution.

 health care cloud spending is expected to reach $9 billion

Healthcare cloud spending is skyrocketing, expected to increase from $3.73 billion in 2015, to $9.48 billion in 2020. And companies that offer the solutions health services providers are seeking will undoubtedly reap the financial benefits. Will yours be one of them?

When it comes to eCommerce, consumer behaviors are changing fast. Gone are the days when customers had the patience to key in details like payment cards, billing, and shipping addresses. Increasingly, consumers demand easy-to-use payment solutions that allow them to check out in seconds. This is especially true on mobile devices, where tapping details on a small screen is tedious and error-prone.

 

For merchants, responding to this shift is critical. According to comScore, $22.7B in online purchases were made from mobile devices in Q4 of 2016, up 45% from the same period the prior year confirming continued strong growth in mobile payments, and greater than 50% of these payment transactions involve the use of stored credentials. The increased use of stored credentials suggests that consumers are seeking easier, more streamlined online payment methods, even on the first customer interaction.

 

Introducing Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout is a simple service that makes it easier to pay online.  Once users set up an account, they can quickly make payments from any device including a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop. Visa Checkout works with major credit, prepaid or debit cards across all devices. 

Visa Checkout can help drive higher conversion by potentially eliminating the login friction for online shoppers. Registered users can speed through checkout with biometric authentication in participating merchants’ mobile apps and, if the user has linked his/her Google Pay or Samsung Pay to his/her Visa Checkout account, use biometric authentication in mobile web. Returning users can also choose to stay signed in on trusted devices. All of these capabilities help provide a convenient, password-less shopping experience.

 

From a merchant perspective, adding support for Visa Checkout is easy. In partnership with Visa, Vantiv is expanding our portfolio of supported Digital payment solutions to include Visa Checkout for merchant websites and Android and iOS apps to provide customers with more convenient ways to pay online. 

For merchants there are several potential benefits:

  • Improve customer convenience and loyalty
  • Reduce abandoned shopping carts and increase conversions
  • Convert more first-time shoppers by avoiding the requirement that they set up profiles on your website or mobile app in advance of a purchase
  • Avoid potential errors and administrative costs owing to incorrectly keyed shipping or billing details

 

Worldpay Integration for Visa Checkout

Visa Checkout integration on Worldpay will initially be for online purchases on our high-volume core processing platforms. Worldpay's Visa Checkout integration leverages eProtect, a solution that provides added security for merchants, a streamlined integration experience, and an opportunity to reduce PCI scope by avoiding the need for merchants to handle sensitive card data in their applications. 

“Worldpay's commitment to provide businesses of all sizes a solution to enable seamless digital commerce complements Visa’s vision to make payments accessible to everyone, everywhere,” said Vish Shastry, Vice President, Digital Products, Visa Inc. “Visa is excited to deepen our partnership with Worldpay through Visa Checkout and make payments simple for both merchants and consumers.”

 

By leveraging eProtect, impact on existing merchant back-end systems is minimized allowing merchants to get to market faster with minimal disruption to existing operations.  From a back-end payment processing perspective, merchants can handle Visa Checkout transactions just as they would transactions involving a traditional payment card as shown below.

Figure 1: Worldpay simplifies payment integrations and reduces PCI scope by avoiding the need for merchants to store card data in their systems

“We are delighted to be partnering with Visa on this important initiative,” says Scott DeAngelo, Worldpay’s Head of Product. “With Visa Checkout, customers can quickly make payments from any device. Merchants processing with Worldpay can take advantage of a straightforward integration that can help improve conversions, sales, and the bottom line.”

To help merchants quickly get up and running, Worldpay has a dedicated developer community for Visa Checkout on its Vantiv O.N.E. developer portal.  Once logged into this free resource, developers can learn about the technology, explore code examples, and discuss implementation details with Worldpay and other third-party developers and industry experts.

To learn more about how Visa Checkout and Worldpay can help improve your online sales, Contact Worldpay or visit our Vantiv O.N.E. developer community at https://developer.vantiv.com/community/mobile.