After nearly five years of legal battles, a federal court has ruled that American Express's merchant agreements violate antitrust laws and has resulted in higher costs for consumers. The lawsuit, filed by the Justice Dept. and attorneys general for more than a dozen states, alleged that so-called "anti-steering" or nondiscrimination provisions of the AmEx merchant agreement prevent merchants in the U.S. from pointing their customers to use other cards — like those on the Visa, MasterCard and Discover networks — that charge lower fees to merchants for each transaction.
Once upon a time, I was a young wine merchant in Brooklyn, N.Y. and a new customer came into my store looking to buy several cases of expensive wine for a wedding. I was so excited by the big sale but, for whatever reason, I couldn't connect to my credit card processor. The customer asked me to type in the card number because his card's magnetic stripe wasn't working. And so I did. I put the transaction through, only to find out days later that the card didn't belong to the customer and I was on the hook for the cost and out of the product. I decided then and there to educate myself on everything I could do to keep my business and my customers’ personal data safe from fraudsters. Here are six tips:
Costco shoppers who have been limited for years to American Express credit cards may be able to pluck a new option from their wallets or purses next year after an exclusivity deal between the companies expires. American Express said Thursday that it hasn't been able to come to an agreement with Costco on renewal terms. The current agreement covers U.S. stores and dates back 16 years. It will end March 31, 2016.
During the holidays, small retailers feel like the little kid in a big family, jumping up and down to get attention. They can't match the pre-Black Friday hoopla of the big-box stores, so they're trying new ways to say, "Hey, look at me!" American Express launched the most successful national campaign in 2010, naming the Saturday after Black Friday "Small Business Saturday." It's a win-win-win, with consumers getting discounts at participating small businesses when they use an Amex card, retailers receiving tons of free TV advertising for the event, and American Express adding more retailers that accept its cards.
Unless you've been living under a rock, you know by now that Apple launched a bevy of new products and services yesterday in a star-studded (can you say Bono?) event in Cupertino, Calif. Of all the the major announcements — the launch of the iPhone 6, the iPhone 6 Plus, the Apple Watch and Apple Pay — the latter is arguably the most important news for retailers.
A payment card industry security consortium warned retailers on Wednesday of the urgency to secure their systems against "Backoff," a malicious software program that steals card numbers. Backoff "represents a very real threat to the security of cardholder data in all organizations," wrote the PCI Security Standards Council, an organization founded by MasterCard, Visa, American Express and other credit card companies. The U.S. Secret Service and Department of Homeland Security warned last week that 1,000 U.S. businesses may be infected by Backoff, which wasn't detected by most anti-virus security software until earlier this month.
Entrepreneurs across categories are recognizing subscription models as a practical solution to help bring in new customers and engage existing ones. From Birchbox (cosmetics) to Blue Apron (ingredients with recipes), just about everything is now available via subscription. It's important to note that entrepreneurs and business owners need not build a company entirely around the subscription model to benefit from the rise of today's growing subscription economy. Just about any business selling physical goods that need replenishing can act on this trend. The below infographic visualizes how subscriptions can easily help business owners to better serve loyal customers while growing their lifetime value and simplifying internal operations.
The customer is at the forefront of any retail business. A satisfied customer leads to loyalty, which results in maximized sales. Meeting the consumer's expectations is an important focus for retailers, and self-service technology is transforming the customer experience for the better. In today's hectic lifestyle, consumers are looking for the next best automated service that makes their lives a bit easier. According to the 2012 American Express Global Customer Service Barometer, two-thirds of consumers would pay more for a more superior customer experience.
With the paradigm shift from brick-and-mortar to online retail, too many business owners think that great customer service has lost its importance. A customer, however, is always a customer, and whether the purchase process takes place in a store or on a laptop, in order to get repeat business, you want to give your buyer the easiest, most enjoyable experience possible. If you're unsure how to improve customer service online, follow these helpful pointers:
A typical mommy blogger who considers blogging her full-time job can average anywhere between 1,000 to 1,000,000-plus unique visitors to her site each month. This is in addition to the thousands of fans a mommy blogger can have on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social platforms she uses to spread messages about your products.