Small Business Merchants, the EMV deadline is approaching quickly.

Small Business Merchants, as well as all merchants, must be ready to accept EMV enabled credit cards by October 2015. As we hear more about security breaches, merchants must protect themselves or they will be held liable for all fraudulent charges, rather than the credit card companies next year. EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is a global standard for inter-operation of chip cards, point of sale terminals, and automated teller machines for authenticating credit and debit card transactions. As a merchant, this is the most powerful defense for you against credit card information theft. The “swipe and sign” method that we currently use will soon be a thing of the past. The “microchip” that is put on the card will require the use of a PIN number to complete the transaction. In the event that your information is stolen or compromised, the data is of no value without the chip. This new technology is necessary and long overdue as we continue to hear of security breaches involving credit card numbers all over the world. In a recent Nilson report from leaders in the payments industry, the US accounts for almost 47% of all credit card fraud in the world. To put that into perspective, fraud losses increased 15% year over year, to an alarming 11.3 B. The new EMV technology is designed to directly defend against these “skimming” tactics utilized by thieves to gain access to the information from the magnetic strip on the back of cards. So, as a small merchant, in order to meet the new standards, you must get a new terminal or add an external PIN pad to your existing system. In the big chains, we are anticipating […]

Responding to Negative Online Reviews

We all know that receiving a negative review is not fun. This “attack to your pride” can linger for a while in your search results, online directories and can send your potential new customers in another direction.   There are several ways in which you should deal with them and use them to your advantage. In order to limit the damage that these reviews can cause, you must address them promptly as this will limit the damage that it could potentially cause for your business. A Harris poll identified that customers actually trust businesses more when they see a few “bad apples” in the list of reviews. The key is to limit the damage of each review by reassuring readers that your business is actively addressing the problem and improving from the feedback that you get from your online reviews. When you proactively respond to the negative review, ensure that you do it professionally as you do not want to start an online feud. There are a few easy steps to keep in mind when you begin to respond to negative reviews: 1.Always address the problem directly. We have learned that the reason that people post a negative review is that they want everyone to know what their specific problem was and the details of their bad experience with your product or service.  When you craft your response, make sure that you allow yourself the time to think about how you want to respond. It should have a direct empathetic understanding of the “pain point” of their negative experience. This will ensure that subsequent readers understand and aware that you are actively addressing the issue. 2.Always lead with an apology and make sure that you […]

Customer Loyalty, turn every transaction into a relationship.

In today’s competitive marketplace, customer loyalty is the highest priority to the success of your small business. It can be a great way to show customers that you value them and provide them incentives to return more frequently. Mobile Loyalty programs help solves the creation and distribution problems of your program. At G5, we are able to design and create your program in a short period of time. We are able to provide tracking and customer intelligence that provides your business with a great “local mobile marketing” strategy. The benefits to your business of a loyalty program are simple: loyal customers come back often to take advantage of the rewards that you are providing and grow your bottom line. The digitalization of the traditional loyalty programs offers many benefits for both the retailer and the customer, these include: • Easy ways to design a program. • Enhanced distribution • Lowers overhead costs • Apps are scalable as they can grow with your business and provide online shopping and payment processing as well. As you think about starting a loyalty program, be considerate of what your customers will actually find valuable, there’s no “one size fits all” approach for all businesses. Observe customer trends and listen to what they say so you’ll be able to think of ways to make your incentives and rewards as unique as your business. Keep in mind, freebies don’t always appeal to everyone, so offering something like discounted services or workshops may be a better way to build loyalty. Call us today at 800-221-2219 and we can customize a program to make your customers more loyal than ever!

Local prospects are using mobile, are they seeing your business?

When we partner with many local businesses, they want advice on where they should concentrate their online marketing for the greatest return. We let them know that one thing for sure; mobile optimization must be one of their top priorities. “Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access during 2014” was a headline from back in 2008 by Mary Meeker, an analyst at Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers who reviews trends in technology. Also, as an example in a new study in 2013, 50% of insurance shoppers started their research on a mobile device, based on a consumer study by Nielsen. The more recent behaviors indicated that people will continue to look for a mobile friendly site that works for them. Some additional interesting facts on “mobile” from the same studies reveal: • 61 % of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site • 50 % of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly • Over 35% of the 600M Facebook users access using “Facebook Mobile”. • 200M You Tube views occur on mobile devices every day. • 50% of the 170M Twitter users use “Twitter Mobile” It is clear that having a mobile accessible website is going to help your business, regardless of the industry you are in. So, make sure that you have a clear understanding between mobile-optimized and mobile compatible. Most websites today are “mobile compatible” and they meet the basics standards, meaning they are viewable. In contrast, a “mobile-optimized” website is designed specifically for a smartphone or a tablet, not a desktop or laptop computer.

“10 Traits of Highly Successful People”

  “10 traits of Highly Successful People” We have always heard that in life, it is often a fine line between success and failure. It is common belief that “Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.” This quote comes from Booker T Washington, who was one of the foremost African-American leaders of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Those looking to succeed must first fail or learn from those who failed. The reality is that successful individuals aren’t just born. The following traits will guide you to success: 1. Fail. No matter how hard you work, failure can and will happen. The most successful people understand the reality of failure, and its importance in finding success. Rather than running and hiding when you fail, embrace it. Learn from this mistake and you won’t fail in the same way again. 2. Set goals. Those who are successful set daily achievable goals. Find success by solidifying S.M.A.R.T. — smart, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely — goals. Stop juggling a mental to-do list of just long-term goals and establish small daily goals to achieve your vision. 3. It is not about luck. Many relate success to being in the right place at the right time. While this is an element of success, there’s also the crucial involvement of blood, sweat, and tears. Don’t hold yourself back by waiting for the perfect timing or idea. Some of the most successful people got there by hitting the ground running, even if timing wasn’t perfect. 4. Continually evaluate. Success comes from regularly monitoring behaviors, strategies, and tactics. How can you make adjustments if you don’t know how you’re doing? […]

“Hire a Veteran”

We are now 10 years after the start of the Iraq War; it is hard to believe for most of us. As our country continues to transition out of this conflict, the need for employment of our veterans continues. We are familiar with the case for hiring our veterans. They have worked in chaotic environments that none of us will ever be able to imagine and are highly responsible, mature and most all of them have significant managerial experience and skill sets that are transferrable to civilian occupations. So why then is the gap between veteran and nonveteran unemployment rates 9.7% and 7.7% respectively? It is Training. When you are in your Military Occupational Specialty (MOS), which is your job, you are exposed to one, if not more, languages that you must understand in order to have success and protect your troops. An example of this is: “Lima Foxtrot, this is Kilo Tango, request permission for FARP, over?” For most of you, that is a cryptic statement, but to our veterans, it is clear. The military is known for its jargon and acronyms.  However, imagine what a veteran thinks when they hear a statement like: “The value is multiples of EBITDA, assuming all of the front office synergy targets are achievable.” Our veterans face this challenge, and more, trying to understand the language of business, than we would to decipher the language of the military. The great news is that veterans are very good at business practices as they have field operational experience, but need your specific industry training. Take a look at your training and on-boarding programs for your company and make sure that they meet the needs of veterans. The best way to […]

“Enjoy your future”

“The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time…” Abraham Lincoln    

“Let’s get our message out there”, oh yea, “out where?”

We have all heard this in meetings and had discussions and agreed that this is one of the best strategies to grow your business. Then the conversation revolves around, “out where?” The next logical question that you would ask is, “Who are we trying to reach?” Unfortunately, because we are usually trying to grow quickly, we say “everyone.” This is where the plan, if there was one, falls apart because it is not possible to, nor do you want to, reach everyone. You must determine “your” specific audience and go after them. In our company, we focus our targeting small and mid-sized businesses. We look for ways to help them save money on their electronic processing, but also we help grow their business through social media solutions to bring customers in their doors. That is who we target, but we are also flexible and work with businesses of all sizes that need any of our services. So, “how do you do that?” You must have a plan. There are a few things that you can do to get out there quickly, like blog or conduct online trainings. These help, but in the end, will not get you the results that you are looking for to take you “viral”. Your business plan, development and execution, will be the key to your success. Some of the goals that you must set should include: a)       Determine who my target audience is. b)       Grow this list monthly, by “x” %. c)       Blog continually, have my articles written ahead of time and ready to post according to a schedule that you determine. d)       Utilize other sorts of media, like video or reports, that will help promote your company and its […]

Mobile Wallets, where are they?

Mobile Wallet’s, where are they? We are continuing to see new articles and news that we are going to see the disappearance of cash. The indications are this new technology will change the way we manage our money and finances. “Mobile payments and purchasing at the physical point of sale have experienced little adoption in the U.S. marketplace despite abounding innovation in mobile and payments technologies,” according to a report on the mobile-payments industry from Javelin Strategy & Research, a consulting firm in Pleasanton, Calif. The report also indicates that only 9% of U.S. mobile phone owners have made a purchase with a contactless point-of-sale payment in the last year. In 2012, the mobile retail payment total was 20.7 billion, only $400 million, about 2%, came from POS mobile payment. When we begin to take a look at why this is so, the research indicates that is because of the following reasons: Our Phones Aren’t Ready Phone manufacturers are slow to adopt the NFC technology (Near Field Communications), as only 3% of smartphones in the U.S. have this capability, according to the Wall Street Journal. The most significant challenge, as stated by industry experts, is when Apple introduced its “Passbook”, their own solution, on the iPhone 5. Other methods have been introduced, like QR codes, to make the transaction happen on the smartphone. But, there remains no significant advantage in these methods to drive significant adoption. What is the incentive to change? The CEO of Sunrise Equity Partners thinks “A successful mobile payment solution will then need to add value in order to drive consumer adoption.” The advances of “Digital couponing is also extremely important. Imagine grocery shopping and automatically receiving any available coupons without […]

They need a reason, to “follow” or “like”

In the last few years, you may notice that the amount of signs that say “Like us on Facebook”’ or “Follow us on Twitter” are not as common as they had been. The main reason for that is companies who tried, or are still trying, realize that this strategy did not work in getting more people to help grow thier business. We have been seeing a transition of more people using their mobile devices to stay active on their social media, than they did a few years ago. I am not saying that these signs do not work, but they must have a reason, and you have to make it worth their while. I have recently noticed in a local restaurant that I frequent, they have a sign that says, “Get a 10 % discount if you like us on Facebook”, and it went on to say that we will only post every other day and we will include relevant content, not jokes or links to our blog. We will also include weekly discount specials on our food.” This strategy is working for them as they consistently are adding likes to their page. They also let them take advantage of another 10% discount, if they posted that they were there and what they are eating. This is another good example of how to stay engaged with your customers and getting more people to visit to your business. Using signs or posters is an ineffective way to drive customer engagement, get fans and followers. Typically, these people are already your customers and if you are treating them well, ask them to tell their friends about your business. As a reminder, it does not always need to […]