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January 5, 2021

On the web

November 16, 2020

On the web

For Small-Business Owners, a Shifting Landscape of Resources


“Small businesses across the country have been pounded by the pandemic. Entrepreneurs have been forced to make drastic cuts and pivot to new business models to keep going. Financial aid, though, is what has kept the lights on. But today, many sources, including private foundations and the federal government, that once offered loans and grants have either closed their financial aid programs or put them on hold.”

October 13, 2020

On the web

Hoping to be LatAm’s Top Digital Bank for SMBs, Xepelin Launches a Lending and Revenue Management Service


“There’s another entrant in the startup race to provide financial services to Latin America’s small and medium-sized businesses. Financial services have been a huge opportunity for startups coming out of Brazil, Colombia and Mexico in recent years, and now Xepelin , a new company from Chile, is looking to join the fray.”

October 1, 2020

On the web

U.S. Economy Plunges 31.4% in the Second Quarter but a Big Rebound is Expected


“The U.S. economy plunged at a record rate in the spring but is poised to swing to a record increase in the quarter that just ended. The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that the gross domestic product, the economy’s total output of goods and services, fell at a rate of 31.4% in the April-June quarter, only slightly changed from the 31.7% drop estimated one month ago.”

On the wires

Is Your Business Ready for the Digital Future? Mastercard Launches Small Business Digital Readiness Diagnostic to Help Businesses Go Digital

“As small businesses accelerate digital transformation efforts in response to the pandemic, today Mastercard is announcing the U.S. launch of the Small Business Digital Readiness Diagnostic , a free online tool to help entrepreneurs future-proof their businesses for a digital world. The new Diagnostic tool is an expansion of Mastercard’s Digital Doors curriculum, which helps to ensure businesses have the right tools to maximize their digital presence.”

April 15, 2020

On the web

March Retail Sales Plunged Record 8.7% As Coronavirus Shutdowns Took Hold

Wall Street Journal (pay wall)

“U.S. retail sales posted their largest drop on record in March, as widespread shutdowns from the coronavirus pandemic prompted American shoppers to sharply reduce spending on cars, clothes, restaurants and bars. Retail sales, a measure of purchases at stores, at restaurants and online, decreased a seasonally adjusted 8.7% in March from a month earlier, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That marked the biggest month-on-month decline in retail spending since the Commerce Department started the data set in 1992. American shoppers responded to the pandemic, stay-at-home directives and stock-market drops in March by reining in spending on big-ticket items such as new cars, electronics, clothing and furniture. From a year earlier, retail sales were down 6.2% in March.”

March 13, 2020

On the web

SpotOn taps $50M to take on Square and more in payments and financial services for SMBs


SpotOn — which provides point of sale payment solutions, alongside a number of related tools such as marketing, appointment booking and loyalty services — has raised $50 million in funding, a Series B that it plans to use to keep expanding its business after a strong year: in the last 12 months the startup says that it has grown revenues by 150% and in these first couple of months of 2020 has added 5,000 customers to its books. The aim is to grow the company both in the US as well as internationally.”

February 28, 2020

On the web

Visa Says Fuel-Pump EMV Upgrades Are ‘Doing Pretty Well,’ But Others Are Skeptical

Digital Transactions

“In any case, the card networks have said they won’t postpone the liability shifts again. Scharff said counterfeit fraud inside c-stores, where EMV upgrades are much farther along, dropped 36% in 2017-18, but at the pump it increased 36%. “So counterfeit fraud isn’t going away, if there [are] still places for it to be completed, it’s just migrating to the less secure environment,” she said.”

February 11, 2020

On the web

Supermarkets of the Future Will Be Built on Service – so Invest in Payments

The Grocer

“In store, active service includes the form of payment at the end of the customer journey. Fitch research has shown that payment is one of two integral factors that contribute to a positive shopping experience. Retail experiences are defined by ‘peaks’, the emotional high point for the customer, and the ‘end’ – usually payment before departing. If the payment process is annoying and convoluted, then it will negatively impact the whole journey and it will be fresh on their mind as they leave the store. If it is positive and the retailer can offer multiple ways to pay, they will be viewed as more service-orientated.”

February 10, 2020

On the web

Merchant Payments Operations: Reporting and Analytics

Payments Views

“In Kavita Jiandani’s post Assessing a Merchant’s Payments Operations , she introduced Glenbrook’s methodology for our in-depth assessment of a merchant’s payments operations. In her introductory piece, Kavita highlights the major Key Assessment Areas we evaluate during each engagement. In this Payments Views entry, I continue with a focus on one of the Key Assessment Areas: Reporting and Analytics.”

February 4, 2020

On the web

Kabbage Launches Custom Loans for Small Business

Mobile Payments Today

“Kabbage Inc., a provider of cash-flow solutions to small business, announced the launch of a custom loans program for Kabbage Payments customers. The program allows small businesses to get anywhere from a three-day to 45-day loan that they may repay in full or allocate 100% of Kabbage Pay revenue toward the balance.  Custom loans have a one-time fee starting at  0.1% and pricing is adjusted dynamically, according to a company release.”

January 28, 2020

On the web

Grocery Delivery Goes Small With Micro-Fulfillment Centers

Wall Street Journal

“Grocers looking to fill online orders more quickly are testing micro-fulfillment systems that can spit out as many as 4,000 orders a week but can still be housed in the back of stores or in urban areas where space is at a premium. The store owners are evaluating whether automation can help tamp down costs while speeding up deliveries and they are turning to a new set of startups aiming to make e-commerce fulfillment more efficient in a small footprint.”

January 23, 2020

On the web

After Bankruptcy, Nearly Half of Retailers Close All StoresSecured creditors are recovering all or most of their investments when retailers file for bankruptcy protection, even as nearly half these companies don’t survive with a physical presence, according to Fitch Ratings research. Among large retail and supermarket chains that filed for bankruptcy protection over the past 15 years, 45% closed all of their stores, the ratings firm said in a new report. Fitch found that the bankruptcies of 25 out of 55 retail and supermarket companies ended in liquidations.

Wall Street Journal

“Secured creditors are recovering all or most of their investments when retailers file for bankruptcy protection, even as nearly half these companies don’t survive with a physical presence, according to Fitch Ratings research. Among large retail and supermarket chains that filed for bankruptcy protection over the past 15 years, 45% closed all of their stores, the ratings firm said in a new report. Fitch found that the bankruptcies of 25 out of 55 retail and supermarket companies ended in liquidations.”

January 13, 2020

On the web

NY Lawmakers Propose Electronic Payment Platform for the Unbanked

Non Profit News | Nonprofit Quarterly

“More than one in four Americans lack adequate access to credit. Nationally, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reports that 6.5 percent of households are unbanked and 18.7 percent are underbanked. How can this be remedied? One option that NPQ has covered would be to activate the US postal system to provide limited banking services, a practice that is common in other countries and was practiced in the US itself from 1911 to 1967. At the federal level, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has been a leading advocate.”

Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass: ‘Amazon Is Working’


Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass says the retailer’s partnership with Amazon is going well, despite Kohl’s reporting dismal holiday sales that cast doubt on the strategy. “I get this question, ‘Is Amazon working?’” Gass said Sunday at the National Retail Federation’s annual Big Show in New York, in an interview with CNBC’s Courtney Reagan . “Amazon is working. This returns program is working. We’re seeing the traffic. We’re getting new customers.””

January 3, 2020

On the wires

December 30, 2019

On the web

You may be surprised by who carries the most credit card debt

Washington Post

“Turns out, Americans with a net worth of more than $100,000 are more likely to have credit card debt than people who have a negative net worth. Taking a deep dive into the numbers, 58 percent of people with this level of net worth owe at least $2,500, and 39 percent are carrying at least $5,000, Bankrate.com found.”

November 15, 2019

On the web

November 11, 2019

On the web

Returns Totaled $369 Billion In 2018, But Many Can Be Prevented – Retail TouchPoints

Retail Touch Points

“Returns hit the bottom line in multiple ways: the value of returned merchandise was $369 billion in 2018, and it takes, on average, more than seven people to handle processing a return. Additionally, 80% of first-time customers who return their order will never buy from that retailer again. However, most returns happen due to preventable issues, such as shipping the wrong item, a damaged product or inaccurate product description. This puts 65% of product returns under retailers’ control, and every $1 million in returns prevented adds $500,000 to their EBITA.”

October 9, 2019

On the web

Toys ‘R’ Us Relaunches Its Website, Where Online Sales Are Powered by Target


“Toys “R” Us is back online, thanks to a new deal with Target. Tru Kids , the parent company that acquired the defunct toy chain following its bankruptcy, has announced the relaunch of the ToysRUs.com website as it begins the process of opening its retail stores across the U.S. As a part of its comeback strategy, the Toys “R” Us website’s product pages will redirect to Target.com when consumers click the “buy” button to make an online purchase.”

October 4, 2019

On the wires

TNS and WannLynx Provide New Revenue Opportunities for Convenience Stores As EMV Deadline Looms

“The deadline for upgrading gas pumps to EMV transactions is in October 2020. Since this technology upgrade requires a significant investment by store owners, the ability to deliver timely and value-added offers can lead to new revenue opportunities and help improve the return on investment of the new dispensers. Most importantly, end-to-end control of a store’s terminals puts the c-store owner in the driver’s seat for the four-to-five minutes that it takes to fill a customer’s gas tank. The TNS —WannLynx collaboration enables c-stores to deliver key messaging and engage a customer with a variety of incentives to purchase other products or services.”

September 16, 2019

On the web

September 3, 2019

On the web

On the wires

August 28, 2019

On the wires

REI Co-op Launches New Credit Card Benefits for Cardholders to Enjoy a Life Outdoors

“REI Co-op is adding new benefits to its REI Co-op World Elite Mastercard®, making it easier than ever for cardholders to enjoy life outdoors. In addition to 5% back on purchases at REI cardholders now enjoy 2% back on mobile wallet purchases, and extra savings on REI’s adventure travel trips when they use their Annual Dividend – all with no annual fee and no foreign transaction fees.”

August 27, 2019

On the web

More Than a Third of Retailers Admit They Are Unprepared for the Digital ‘future’


“New research has found that a worrying number of retailers are not actively preparing for the future, with 35% admitting to having no business transformation strategy in place for the rise of digital technology and changing consumer habits.   The survey of 100 top UK retailers, conducted by full-service eCommerce agency PushON , found that 20% have not invested anything in developing the digital side of their business in the past year.   Of those retailers that do have a strategy in place, only 27% said that they are currently progressing well with their transformation.”

Why Mobile Payments Don’t Deliver for Merchants

Digital Transactions

“Mobile payments so far account for a mere 2% or less of U.S. general-purpose card payments, according to some estimates, and that’s no surprise to some executives who believe mobile payments haven’t delivered for many merchants. “I don’t think anyone in the market is solving problems for the retailers,” Laura Townsend, senior vice president of operations at the Minneapolis-based Merchant Advisory Group, said Monday. Townsend was a panelist at a session about “merchant-centric” mobile payments and loyalty programs at this week’s Mobile Payments Conference in Chicago.”

August 23, 2019

On the web

Target’s Same-day Pickup and Delivery Services Growing at Double the Rate of 2018


“Target’s investment in same-day pickup and delivery options is paying off. The company, which today offers same-day in-store pickup, drive-up and same-day delivery through its acquisition of Shipt, said this week that these services combined have more than doubled their sales in the last year. In addition, they accounted for more than a third of Target’s digital sales, up from about 20% last year.”

August 21, 2019

On the web

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