Payment Options

Fold it Up?
October 1, 2007

If you’re like most catalogers, you’ve either discussed giving up the use of a bind-in order form with envelope or you have already eliminated it. There’s a definite trend to eliminate the bind-in order form/envelope typically found in the center of catalogs. Is that really the right thing to do? This month, I’ll offer the pros and cons of using a bind-in order form/envelope, provide you with actual test results and give you the criteria to use to make the right decision for all the right reasons. Facts Don’t Lie I first explored this topic in a Catalog Success column back in

Case Study: Deferred Payment Solution Increases Ross-Simons’ Q4 Conversion
November 1, 2006

Problem: Ross-Simons wanted to make its luxury products more affordable without lowering prices. Solution: It implemented a deferred billing program. Results: Conversion rates during seasonal, deferred-billing promotions experienced double-digit increases. A few years back, Ross-Simons recognized that its customers had limited options when it came time to pay for their purchases. When customers ordered online or over the phone, “it was either take the Ross-Simons credit card or pay with your Visa,” says Larry Davis, the multichannel jewelry, home décor and accessories merchant’s vice president of marketing. “We wanted a more flexible solution.” Although the Cranston, R.I.-based company had a house

Order Entry System Reduces Shipping Errors
September 1, 2006

Problem: The order entry system for My Grandma’s of New England routinely transposed data from one order to another, causing shipping errors and other assorted problems. Solution: The company implemented a new order entry system. Results: Shipping errors were virtually eliminated. My Grandma’s of New England had an order entry system (OES) that was wildly unstable, often causing data errors that resulted in shipping methods from one order being applied to another order, disappearing entirely or customer greetings placed on an order to end up on the wrong order. So last November, the company implemented Morse Data’s InOrder OES to reduce shipping errors caused by its legacy

How to Comply With the New Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards
September 1, 2005

The new Payment Card Industry (PCI) standards, which recently went into effect, are meant to help merchants beef up their data-security practices to better protect their customers’ credit card information — a commendable endeavor, indeed. But figuring out how to actually comply with the standards has left many merchants scratching their heads. Following are the answers to frequently asked questions about the standards. What is PCI? It’s a new, unified set of data-security standards from Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover card companies. Until this year, each card company had its own data-security standards. PCI, then, is a way for merchants to complete

Cash Out Cash on Delivery
July 1, 2005

Problem: Drysdales wanted to reduce the number of refused cash on delivery (COD) orders returned to its fulfillment center while still allowing customers to pay in cash. Solution: It implemented Western Union’s Cash Payment Solutions as a part of its catalog management software. Results: COD orders were reduced by about 50 percent. Drysdales, a multichannel merchant of western apparel and gifts, started using Western Union’s Cash Payment Services in November 2004 to reduce the amount of time and money spent dealing with COD orders that had been refused by recipients. Western Union’s Cash Payment Services enable merchants to accept cash as payment for items

Freezing Out Fraudsters
April 1, 2005

Problem: Omaha Steaks wanted to prevent as many fraudulent orders as possible from shipping. Solution: Instituted a comprehensive fraud-protection program, and it hired fraud-prevention professionals. Results: Saves about $1 million annually from catching fraudulent orders before they ship and in credit card chargeback fees. Ron Eike, director of operations for food purveyor Omaha Steaks, called it his company’s “million dollar problem.” How to prevent fraudsters from using stolen credit cards and other illegal means to buy the company’s gourmet goods? Omaha Steaks established in the early 1990s a comprehensive fraud-protection program, which includes technological means of flagging suspect orders. It also

Payment Processing: Batch vs. Real Time
November 1, 2004

In today’s world of payment processing, some catalogers advocate processing credit card transactions using batch (where a large volume of transactions are forwarded for approval all at one time), while others use real-time processing (each transaction is authorized as it comes in). As for yourself, you may want one or both of these processing services, depending on the nature of your business, the type of goods and services you offer, and the internal procedures you use to handle transaction cycles. Using today’s sophisticated technologies, merchants can write complex, rules-based code that allows a customer transaction to flow from one part of

Get What’s Coming to You
October 1, 2004

For catalogers, payment fraud accounts for a high cost of doing business. On the Internet alone, estimates are that losses from payment fraud exceeded $1.6 billion in 2003. For direct-response merchants, credit card fraud losses averaged 1 percent of orders in 2003, which may not sound exorbitant, but in terms of total sales, the costs are huge. The good news is that online fraud losses declined from 2.9 percent of total online revenues in 2002 to 1.7 percent in 2003, according to Cybersource Corp./Mindwave Research. The cost to your customers also is high, because for every fraudulent order, merchants reject another three or

Safeguard Your Gold Mine From Cyber Theft
January 1, 2004

Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America, affecting hundreds of thousands of consumers every year. As an online merchant, you’re more susceptible than ever to being an unwitting accomplice to this crime by becoming the target of spoofing: a practice in which fraudsters emulate your Web site or e-mail, or otherwise represent themselves as your company. Moreover, by inadequately protecting your customers’ personally identifiable information (PII) and credit card numbers from cyber-thieves, you may be unknowingly contributing to the alarming rise in consumer identity theft in this country. In the following article, I’ll focus on ways you can reduce your chances

Credit Card Processing: A Primer
August 1, 2003

You know that you must accept Visa and MasterCard; most catalogers wouldn’t be in business without them. And you know that credit card processing can be expensive, typically costing more than 2 percent of sales. But you probably don’t know if your payment processor is doing a good job, or if you’re getting value for your money. And what you don’t know might be hurting your business. But a little information goes a long way. This article will provide ways to evaluate a payment processor, and tips to help you understand your options and make sure you’re getting the biggest possible bang