Coronavirus has changed and altered many components in our economy, from consumer behavior and consumer spending habits to supply chains and financing. In this video, we conducted a live presentation with Chad Tongco of Primaris Market Development, a small business consulting firm in California, to discuss how business can adapt in order to succeed in the radically different business economy in the post-COVID world. This is a video series and in this first video, one of the topics includes alternative financing and some preliminary information for that realm, such as when it makes sense, what it looks like, and how it can work. Click the image below to watch the presentation - it is a great watch during lunch!
As always, if there is anything we can to help you and your business, please let us know!
I just wanted to send you a quick PCI Compliance update as this is something that can dramatically impact your business. Even though the number of phone orders have increased due to COVID-19 and the various shutdowns, these transactions have not been deemed any less dangerous to chargebacks. If there is not sufficient proof of purchase collected and if the card data is stored improperly/insecurely, this can still be a perilous situation for businesses and your customers. There are, however, steps to take to ensure you protect your business while also protecting your customers. There are many details associated with each item but I wanted to simplify it as much as possible for you:
Especially during times like these, it is wise to have proper protocols in place for changing the way in you receive payment as well as security standards and knowing who can access your payment processes within your organization. These are some of the important reasons why selecting your processor is so important – there is more to moving money than just a few button clicks; even though it may look that simple in the moment, there is much more at stake if these details are left unattended. If you or someone you know needs assistance with any of the above items or if you are unsure if you have adequate protections in place, please do let me know and I will be more than happy to help in any way possible. At Merchant Masters, these are all problems we solve through our consultative approach to help you succeed.
Stay safe and be blessed!
The ins and outs of PCI Compliance can sound complex and confusing, especially if you are just opening a business or are in the midst of transitioning your business to accepting credit cards. Regardless, if you are reading this blog, the most important takeaway is that PCI Compliances is NOT optional, PCI Compliance is mandatory. In fact, any business (large, small, and everywhere in between) that takes credit and/or debit cards, is required to abide by the PCI DSS (an abbreviation for Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard). While it may appear confusing at first, it essentially covers the “collection, storage, transmission, and use of customer and account information embedded in these cards” (Connolly & Haley, 2008).
When a business accepts credit/debit cards, the business has a responsibility to ensure PCI Compliance throughout its operations, from the highest levels of the organization to the lowest. The penalties that a company can face for failing to be PCI compliant can carry a heavy to toll – both legally and in regards to the publics’ perception and trust (but we’ll address these consequences another time). For the moment however, it is enough to recognize that PCI compliances is necessary and compulsory.
Being compliant requires certain security measures electronically, such as having data encryption, but there are others. Apart from these precautions, PCI Compliance additionally extends to any data that exists in paper form, which means that “all data, regardless of format, used throughout the organization must be safeguarded” (Connolly & Haley, 2008). It may come as a surprise that even in the technologically driven age we are in, there are still many PCI Compliance failures resulting from “manual processes, poor business practices, insufficient training, lack of policies, human misconduct, and sometimes just plain staff carelessness” (Connolly & Haley, 2008).
This is why it is important to enforce an environment and build a culture that is educated about and involved in upholding PCI Compliance within your business. Sometimes the third-party that you select to handle your merchant services/credit card processing will be able to assist you – not only in explaining PCI Compliance but also in giving you tips on how to go about auditing your compliance. Whether you personally setup your own credit card processing or rely upon a third-party, the liability remains. This is why experts stress that PCI Compliance is an “important business function” (Connolly & Haley, 2008), because in the end, PCI Compliance is anything but optional.
Connolly, D. & Haley, M. (2008). PCI DSS Compliance: Just Whose Responsibility is it?. Hospitality Technology. Retrieved from https://hospitalitytech.com/pci-dss-compliance-just-whose-responsibility-it
Can a POS system really save money? Yes, and in fact, experts say that the right POS system has the potential to save “much more then you can imagine” (Ravindra, 2018). This is particularly true when dealing with an integrated POS system.
Why is that? The right integrated POS systems comes with a few noteworthy perks for saving both money and time. While there are multiple ways it accomplishes this, we’re going to focus on two specific areas – namely, accuracy and maintenance.
By improving ordering accuracy, it is possible to further reduce certain costs – such as ones related with supply surpluses. With an integrated POS system, through its inventory tracking (including automating its inventory tracking process) can allow you to “track busy and slow times of the year” while also saving on “labor costs” (Siebert, 2017). The nature of such a system also can reduce human error, because when employees are logged into a centralized, integrated system there is greater transparency and “business owners can easily track any miscalculations” (Siebert, 2017).
So how does it affect maintenance? If you opt to go with a POS system that is integrated, this simple step can help you opt out of some tedious maintenance costs and lost time. Having an integrated POS system can allow you to sidestep the frustrating issue of having a vendor shift the responsibility on a different element of the POS system – which forces you to devote valuable time and finances to resolving the technical problem. With an integrated POS system, such technical mishaps are much simpler to solve because “one company is typically responsible for maintaining your technology” (Ravindra, 2018). So, in terms of saving your own valuable time, sales, and customers – choosing an integrated, one-stop shop POS system can definitely put you ahead of the game.
Despite the fact that acquiring a POS system does incur an upfront cost, experts stress that the right one “can save a lot of money for you,” and that it is “highly economical in the long run” (Ravindra, 2018). In the end, the right integrated POS system that fits your needs can ultimately save you from having to foot the repair bill, protect your time (so that you’re not the one wrestling with any technical problems), and streamline your inventory process so that you can actually reduce costs.
Ravindra, S. (2018). The Significance of POS System to Automate Sales and Increase Productivity. Global Digital Marketing Summit. Retrieved from https://gdms.texilaconference.org/blog/
Siebert, W. (2017). How a POS Can Help Streamline the Restaurant Inventory Process. Modern Restaurant Management. Retrieved from https://www.modernrestaurantmanagement.com/how-a-pos-can-help-streamline-the-restaurant-inventory-process/