Yeah, I got my first EMV-enabled card!

Jenn Reichenbacher

July 22, 2014

A milestone. I open my mail on just a regular day to find it – something I have been waiting for – my first EMV credit card. Standard to some and irrelevant to others, as a professional in the payments space, I actually understand EMV and what it means to me as a customer as well as the industry at large. It’s no secret that the U.S. is one of the last countries in the world to adopt EMV. For those not familiar with EMV, the cards look pretty much the same as traditional magnetic stripe card, exclusive of an integrated circuit or ‘chip’ within the card – but, they greatly reduce counterfeiting and fraud. Worldwide, EMV has already become the standard for credit cards with 1.5 billion enabled cards in circulation (45 percent of the total) and over 21 million EMV enabled POS terminals (76...

SMB – Getting Started with Social Media

Jenn Reichenbacher

June 27, 2014

Social media is here to stay. Just look at the numbers. Facebook – Over 1 billion users worldwide in only 10 yearsLinkedIn – 240 million active users worldwide with 3 million business pagesTwitter – 560 million active users generating over 5,700 ‘tweets’ per secondGoogle+ - 400 million active users with nearly 1 million new users added each day   And, social isn't just about personal connectivity. All of these sites have evolved into powerful engagement and marketing forums for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). But for many business owners, the challenge is in getting started. What are my first steps?Is there a cost? Do I need to advertise as well? What types of information should I put on my page(s)?What is my business going to yield from these efforts?...

Showrooming, Webrooming and Local Searches

Jenn Reichenbacher

May 14, 2014

Each month, approximately 2.9 billion people access the Internet and a good portion of that activity is centered on shopping. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), online (e-commerce) retail sales now comprise over six percent of all retail activity.Over the past several years the hot conversation was around showrooming, the process of walking around the inside of a store but failing to purchase any products. Today, the focus is shifting to webrooming, the act of researching a product or a service on the Internet before going to a physical store and buying the item. In fact, in 2013, the number of people who engaged in webrooming surpassed the amount of individuals who participated in showrooming.While showrooming created challenges for brick and mortar retailers, webrooming...

Stats Don't Lie: Loyalty Programs Deliver for SMBs

Jenn Reichenbacher

April 24, 2014

Loyalty – the quality of being loyal to someone or something. For businesses, building loyalty with existing customers is often critical to their long-term success. In fact, loyalty programs in the U.S. date back to the late 1700s when a merchant started giving out copper tokens to existing customers that could then be exchanged for items in their store. Granted, over the past 200 plus years, loyalty programs have evolved, but the core objective remains the same – incent existing customers to keep coming back.  Today, loyalty programs come in many flavors and formats. From a rewards program integrated into a pre-funded digital wallet, like Starbucks, to the paper punch card at your favorite sandwich shop to the key fob from one of many retail chains. As you look around it sometimes...

Stats Don't Lie: Gift Cards Work for SMBs

Jenn Reichenbacher

April 8, 2014

Americans love gift cards. We like to give gift cards as well as receive them. In fact, they’ve been the most requested item on holiday wish lists since 2007. As an industry, gift cards eclipsed $118 billion in 2013, an eight percent increase over 2012. While e-gifting fueled a significant portion of the overall growth (increasing from just $300 million in 2012 to an astounding $3 billion in 2013), traditional retailer gift card volume grew as well, rising from $36 billion to $39 billion. For small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) gift cards may be viewed as just a ‘nice to have’, but retailers need to understand the business value gift cards can, and will, deliver to their bottom line. Just check out the following information (statistics compiled by Gift Card Granny). Retailers benefit...

SMB Tips: Keep Customers Coming Back with Loyalty

Jenn Reichenbacher

March 27, 2014

Consumers love a deal, discount or special offer. For generations, retailers have been providing incentives to consumers to get them to visit their business and make a purchase. Today, according to RetailMeNot, 92 percent of consumer use coupons in one way or another. In fact, coupons saved consumers over $1.8 billion dollars in the first half of 2013 alone - amazing!For small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) a great way to distribute coupons or special offers is actually through a rewards or loyalty program. Before you throw your arms up and run away, loyalty programs are actually easier than you think. Gone are the days of paper punch cards and manual management. Today’s technology advancements have made it down right easy for businesses of any size in any vertical to develop and...

I Used My Isis Wallet, And I Have an iPhone

Jenn Reichenbacher

March 18, 2014

NFC, BLE, something new – as the world waits on Apple® to see what they do or do not include in the next iPhone®, existing users have a new way to pay today. While iPhone users have been able to pay by phone using QR codes through digital wallets (LevelUp), mobile commerce applications like those from Isis® have been restricted to non-Apple devices. That is, until now. With the launch of the new CashWrap™ case from Incipio®, iPhone (5/5s and 4/4s) users can now take advantage of the convenience and value of paying with their Isis wallet using NFC technology. An iPhone user, I was thrilled to get my CashWrap case and set up my Isis Mobile Wallet®. After linking my American Express card, I was ready to shop. I set out seeking my first experience. After checking out the available offers, I...

Connected 24/7 – Good or Bad?

Jenn Reichenbacher

March 4, 2014

Look around you. Whether you’re in walking down the street, on the subway, at the airport, or in the local coffee shop, there’s an obvious common theme – the vast majority of people are on their smart device. According to PewResearch, 55% of American adults own a smartphone and another 42% have a tablet computer. Statistics from eMarketer predict that, in 2014, Americans will spend more time on digital devices than watching TV – amazing! Whether on a smartphone or tablet, Americans today are nearly always ‘on’ – engaged and connected 24/7/365. Using devices to their full potential, it’s no surprise that we spend an average of five hours per day on smartphones and tablets (non-voice activity). While some of these statistics initially surprised me, when I really examined my own daily...

What Does Loyalty Mean to Me? Experience and Value Are Key

Jenn Reichenbacher

February 11, 2014

I would definitely consider myself a loyal customer. I regularly visit the same retailers, merchants and even restaurants over and over again. And, for those I really love, I’m an ‘evangelist’, often raving or sharing socially about something they served, a special deal or a cool thing they did for me while I was there. So what keeps me coming back? When I think of loyalty, from the consumer viewpoint, I think of two things – experience and value. With experience, it’s really about the products or selection offered, the engagement of the sales or wait staff and the overall quality of the engagement. There’s nothing worse than walking into a store and having no interaction with anyone that works there or, in the case of a restaurant, waiting several minutes before someone visits your...

Common Themes at the Mobile Payments Conference

Jenn Reichenbacher

February 4, 2014

This was my first time attending the Mobile Payments Conference (MPC). Organizer TMCNet mixed things up a bit for 2014, moving the location from New York to Miami and running the event in parallel to one of their larger conferences, ITExpo. Not sure of what to expect, I went in to this event with an open mind to two plus days of learning and networking with some of the best and brightest from the industry, including representatives from MasterCard, ROAM, iConnect, Tyfone and FIS. With just over 100 attendees in total at MPC and panels and keynotes touching on everything from mPOS to analytics to security, it was obvious to all in attendance that the world of mobile is about much more than just payments. From the very first panel discussion on Monday to the last conversations, one common...