FTC Releases Staff Perspectives on Lead Generation

by Jonathan Pompan and Ellen Berge on Oct 5, 2016 12:00:00 AM ERSP, Advocacy, FTC, Support Services

For many years, the Electronic Retailing Self-Regulation Program (ERSP) has been recognized as an effective means to self-regulation by industry members, regulators, and legislators. Now, the program that helps to build consumer confidence in advertising has gained recognition for its recent expansion into covering lead generation marketing by the staff of the FTC.

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Christmas in October: Pros & Cons of Early Holiday Sales

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Oct 3, 2016 12:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, e-Commerce, Retail, Support Services

At this point, it’s somewhat of a cliché to comment that “the holidays just keep getting earlier each year.”

This year, the holiday shopping season crept right up into the end of the back-to-school season, with Walmart releasing its “25 Hottest Toys for the Holidays 2016” list on September 1. Now we have to ask—what are the benefits to retailers to continue pushing holiday shopping earlier, and is there a downside?

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Risky Business: The Dangers of Offshore Merchant Accounts

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Aug 8, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, e-Commerce, Support Services

Friendly fraud has caused chargeback rates to soar, making acquirers more cautious about accepting risk liability. As a result, offshore payment processing is an enticing option for high-risk merchants who seem to be running out of domestic options.

While securing an offshore account might temporarily solve some of the merchant’s short-term problems, working with an international bank will likely introduce more complex issues down the road.

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[OPINION] U.S. Merchants: Stop Leaving Money on the Table in Europe

by Jerome Traisnel on Aug 5, 2016 12:00:00 AM International, Support Services

Editorial Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.

As companies continue to grow across borders and customers look to become shoppers of the world, a noticeable paradigm has emerged with merchants in the United States—common payment methods in America don’t do well in Europe. This is due in large part to the lack of understanding of payments in Europe by U.S. merchants, and the reasons consumers shop internationally. The current American “one-payment-type-fits-all approach” does not work with European consumers.

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What’s Millennial Brand Loyalty Worth to You?

by Matthew Katz on Aug 2, 2016 1:23:34 AM Digital Marketing, e-Commerce, Consumer Behavior, Support Services

Millennials make up an increasingly significant piece of the global spending pie. A study from the Dartmouth Center for Marketing Research estimated that Millennials born between 1980 and 2000 possessed a spending power of $2.45 trillion worldwide in 2015. As the younger portion of the generation begins to control more money and become more financially independent, that number is expected to rise, and businesses want to be there when it does.

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Millennials & Mobile Banking: Shaking Up Traditional Banking

by Matthew Katz on Jul 11, 2016 12:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, e-Commerce, Support Services

There are 80 million Millennials in the U.S. alone. Individuals born between 1980 and 2005 are increasingly having a major influence on a number of industries, but perhaps none more than that of banking. From choosing digital banking over the traditional “consumer-teller” practice to eschewing banks altogether, it’s clear that Millennials have put banks on notice. With the growing amount of money Millennials control, banks, now more than ever, must find a way to engage with and provide what this generation is looking for or risk losing it for good.

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What Does the Panama Canal Expansion Mean for Direct Response Marketers?

by Patrick Moulton on Jul 7, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, Support Services

June 26, 2016 marked a milestone date for global transportation with the delayed opening of the $5.25 billion Panama Canal expansion. This expansion is expected to result in significant changes for the future of global shipping; however, it is unclear at what speed we will see these changes as significant upgrades to transportation infrastructure are required. The project was originally scheduled for completion in 2014, to coincide with the canal’s 100th anniversary.

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Load Balancing: When it Works (and When It Doesn’t)

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Jul 5, 2016 12:00:00 AM Support Services

Merchants who accept payment cards are probably aware that there are certain terms and restrictions associated with securing a merchant account and maintaining payment-processing capabilities.

Merchant accounts have definitely become a valuable asset for online merchants, and it’s important to make sure these assets are handled with care.

One element of payment processing that can either enhance or damage processing abilities is load balancing.

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Millennials & Mobile Payments: What Is the Price of Convenience?

by Matthew Katz on Jun 21, 2016 12:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, Consumer Behavior, Support Services

We live in an age of accelerated technological advancement. With everything they need right at their fingertips, Millennials are having a major influence on a rapidly evolving consumer landscape. A force of 80 million Americans born between 1981 and 2005 with real spending power increasingly prefer mobile payments via smartphones and tablets over brick-and-mortar shopping. Gone are the days of hanging out at the mall. This trend is changing not only the way merchants must connect with customers, but how goods and services are being bought and sold on a grand scale.

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[Q&A] How Can the Industry Safeguard Against Heightened Regulatory Scrutiny?

by Electronic Retailing Association on Jun 17, 2016 12:02:14 AM Advocacy, Support Services

Recently, ERA spoke with Manatt’s Richard Lawson, a partner in the firm’s Consumer Protection practice, who, until recently, was Director of the Consumer Protection Division for the Florida Attorney General, about a fundamental part of the direct response ecosystem—payment processing services. Lawson shared his perspective on why enforcement efforts are picking up in the sector and the best ways processors and independent sales organizations (ISOs) can protect themselves in light of heightened regulatory scrutiny.

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4 Little-Known Lead Generation Tactics

by Danica Jones on May 12, 2016 12:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, e-Commerce, Consumer Behavior, Support Services

4_Little-Known_Lead_Generation_Tactics-911303-edited.jpgWhat is the lifeblood of any business? At the end of the day it is all about leads. Before a sale even happens, it takes its form as a lead. All marketing activities—SEO, PPC, PR, and other acronyms—work in concert to ultimately drive leads. The dilemma for the marketer is that as one lead generation channel grows in effectiveness and popularity, the cost for that lead increases. This results in a decrease in ROI. Here are four lesser known lead generation tactics that can make a huge impact any company’s bottom line.
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Loyalty Lore and Truisms

by Jerry W. Thomas on May 5, 2016 12:00:00 AM Consumer Behavior, Support Services

Editorial Disclaimer: The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.

The many “truisms’’ of customer loyalty lore are mostly a set of mythologies to deceive the gullible and exploit the innocent. Let us explore these mythologies and then talk about best practices for customer satisfaction and customer loyalty research.

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Smoothing the Electronic Retailing Supply Chain

by Eric Best on Apr 28, 2016 12:00:00 AM e-Commerce, Retail, Support Services

At the core of electronic retailing is a direct relationship with the consumer. From the very beginning, there is a point of connection with the shopper—something compelling that spurred him or her to action—establishing a strong foundation for future interaction, loyalty, and lifetime value.

In the high-pressure e-commerce environment—where we constantly face aggressive metrics for sales revenue, margin, and conversion—it’s easy to forget about those human relationships and their long-term value. But thinking about your customers first and optimizing your supply chain around their needs can yield incredible dividends, turning one-time shoppers into repeat customers and transforming customers into advocates for your brand.

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The Case for Telemarketing Amid the Digital Age

by Peter Koeppel on Apr 19, 2016 12:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, e-Commerce, Support Services

With the majority of direct sales now coming in over the Internet, some direct response marketers have pulled the plug on inbound telemarketing. The motivation to do so has been driven primarily by online marketing’s ability to capture a lead or sale at a significantly lower cost, not to mention the hassle and logistical challenges that telemarketing presents. But marketers who are not speaking with their clients may be missing out on a valuable opportunity to engage in a dialogue with their consumers that can be of tremendous value. Here are just some of the ways that telemarketing can help create value for marketers...

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4 Reasons to Use Tokenization to Protect Your Online Payments

by Pattie Mercier on Apr 8, 2016 12:00:00 AM e-Commerce, Support Services

When you think about data breaches, what comes to mind? News headlines of name-brand businesses coping with the aftermath of attacks? “Hactivists” targeting well-known organizations?
 
There are countless considerations as you fortify your business against the threat of data theft and its associated losses. Tokenization is one of the most simple and straightforward ways to protect you and your customers against the negative effects of a data breach.

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Your Strict Refund Policy Can Hurt You

by Curtis Kleinman on Mar 16, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, e-Commerce, Support Services

Every merchant tries to create a refund policy that will protect each sale. Most payment processors prefer at least a 30-day unconditional refund policy. Many insist their consumer ship back the unused portion of their product. No merchant wants to be taken advantage of by having their product used in full and the customer receive all the promised benefits. Then request a refund just because consumers can get away with it.

Think of it this way, handling refunded products can prove costly in several ways.

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Building Community

by Ian P. Murphy on Mar 14, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, Support Services

Listen Up Espanol (LUE) has long supported buildOn in engaging high-school youths at Benito Juarez Community Academy in Chicago. But since giving back is such a strong aspect of the company’s values, LUE (now ListenTrust) offers employees at its call centers in Portland, Maine, and Mexico a chance to help, too. Once a year, they hit the road to construct schools in underserved rural areas around the world with the international nonprofit. “The goal for us is to build a school every year,” says Tony Ricciardi, company president and co-founder.
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The Recipe for Awesome Customer Connections

by Craig Handley on Mar 8, 2016 12:00:00 AM Support Services

In the month of March, the DR industry focuses on housewares and I would like to share a few elements of the successful secret sauce that makes kitchen products a profitable category. One of our most successful campaigns involving products from the kitchen had an increase over 15 percent on the average order value in just a few months.

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Choosing the Right Fulfillment Partner Can Be Key to Direct Response Marketing Success

by Tony Altman on Mar 7, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, e-Commerce, Retail, Support Services

In today’s expanding world of omnichannel marketing, marketers must have the ability to not only offer their products across a multitude of different platforms, but they must also be able to deliver the product to the customer once the sale has been accomplished. Consumers have multiple options available to satisfy their shopping needs. They might be compelled by an infomercial to pick up the phone and order, they might shop in-store at a brick-and-mortar retail location, or they might shop via a desktop, laptop, smartphone, or smart TV.

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‘Buy Now’ Ads: The eCommerce Miracle for Conversions?

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Mar 3, 2016 12:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, e-Commerce, Retail, Support Services

With both mobile devices and social media now ubiquitous, e-retailers are tailoring their approach to cater to new, more savvy online shoppers. Click-to-buy ads are the hot new trend for increasing sales.

Are they really as great an ecommerce development as they seem?

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Shop Talk: Understanding the Purpose Behind a Billing Descriptor

by Curtis Kleinman on Feb 15, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, Support Services

Q: What is a billing descriptor?

A. A billing descriptor is how your companies purchased item appears on a customer’s credit card statement. A billing descriptor is usually 21-25 characters long. You may only use numbers and letters (no other symbols) and you can leave spaces. All letters are usually capitalized. I recommend using the name or your product/website and your customer service phone number.

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Selling Online? Here’s the Checkout Conversion Index You Don’t Want to Miss

by Scott Conti on Feb 12, 2016 12:00:00 AM Digital Marketing, e-Commerce, Retail, Support Services

eCommerce is expected to reach a total of $327 billion in revenue in 2016 and according to Forester, will account for almost 9 percent of total retail sales. If you’re an eCommerce merchant, how are you going to get a slice of that pie? Reducing checkout friction and payment processing declines are two of the most important factors to consider.

Digital commerce and the influence of connected devices are changing the way consumers shop and pay. Making it easier for them to buy online can help you save sales and customer relationships, not to mention stay one leg up on the competition.

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Customer Connection: Use Trust and Timing to Grow DR Sales

by Craig Handley on Feb 8, 2016 3:00:00 AM Consumer Behavior, Support Services

If you ask anyone what the key to successful customer service is, the answer will often be some form of ‘treat your customer how you would like to be treated.’ However, this statement fails to recognize the importance of a personalized customer experience—each individual customer has a preferred form of interaction and treatment.

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1st Quarter Problems: Low Sales, Returns, and Chargebacks

by Monica Eaton-Cardone on Jan 28, 2016 12:00:00 AM DRTV, Retail, Support Services

The holidays have come and gone. With the annual rush of consumer spending in the last two months of the year now behind us, we’re settled in for holiday season’s ugly backside: slow sales, returns, and chargebacks.

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Are Trial Offers Dead?

by Curtis Kleinman on Jan 20, 2016 12:00:00 AM Support Services

As an agent who offers a dozen payment processing solutions, I see several banks no longer accepting risk-free trials. Thus, it’s more important than ever to choose the right payment processor. Trial marketers will be put under heavy scrutiny when applying for a merchant account. This will significantly crimp the ability of some marketers to scale sales upwards. With a short trial period, it’s difficult to find banks to accept you. Once your chargebacks are over 1 percent the list gets slimmer.

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Editorial Disclaimer

The statements, opinions, and advertisements expressed on the ERA Blog and other online entities owned by the Electronic Retailing Association are those of individual authors and companies and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Electronic Retailing Association.