Many retail business owners claim customer service sets their business apart but don’t have the numbers to prove it. If 3 out of 4 consumers will really pay more for good customer service, it’s time we defined what that looks like.

3 out of 4 Shoppers Willing to Pay More for a Good Customer Experience

An ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) study found that 73 percent of consumers said they are encouraged to spend more money than they had originally planned when they receive good customer service or have a good customer experience. But what makes a customer experience “good?”

Implementing the right CX (customer experience) strategy could improve your business’s growth and profitability, but it might not be as easy as you think. 50 percent of shoppers said their customer service expectations are higher now than they were just three years ago. Here’s what they said they wanted, according to Retail Touch Points.

5 Takeaways for a Good Customer Experience

62% of shoppers want to interact with friendly, knowledgeable employees

People skills, soft skills, emotional IQ – call it whatever you want, but any employees who deal directly with customers should be positive, approachable, friendly and have sufficient training to be able to easily answer common customer questions. This means resisting the temptation to rush the employee onboarding and orientation training, and reinvesting in employee training on an on-going basis.

59% of shoppers want to be able to easily find what they’re looking for

Standard thinking for brick-and-mortar retailers is to put the most-purchased items at points farther away, and putting popular items far from one another, so that customers must pass by less-popular products to get to the ones they are looking for. But is that what’s best for customer experience?

Consumers are voting with their devices, with many now opting for ecommerce shopping or order online and pick up, even for often-purchased commodities like groceries. If it’s important for you to have customers come into your business and browse, is there something you can offer in return for shoppers willing to forego convenience?

And it’s not just about location. When shoppers are comparing two or more options, it’s also important for them to feel confident that they found the right product, the best option for their needs. A combination of well-informed staff, good in-store signage, clear explanation of features and benefits, and similar types of information will give your customer more confidence in their buying decision.

59% of shoppers want the checkout process to be fast and easy

Convenience, convenience, convenience! When you compare the process of going to any brick-and-mortar retail store to shopping online, there’s no comparison when it comes to ease of shopping and checkout. Where the brick-and-mortar retail has the advantage is the immediate gratification of ownership. Eliminating barriers in the purchasing process by making it easy for shoppers to check out and deploying a fast credit card processing solution streamlines the customer experience.

Likewise, offering a variety of payment processing options such as scanners customers can take with them, having customer credit cards on file for payments or quick pickups, offering customers the ability to checkout online while shopping in-store and ensuring adequate staffing and POS equipment at the point of sale can all contribute to a faster, easy-to-navigate checkout that lets the customer personalize the way they pay.

57% of shoppers would pay more for a particular item if they knew they would receive strong service

Strong service is what turns commodities into must-haves. it’s what helps to sell big ticket items where competition is fierce. If you want to know the difference, go car shopping. See how different the experience is at your local entry-level vehicle dealer than it is at your local luxury car dealership. Both automobiles will get you from point A to point B, but you’re only going to want to go back to one of them!

90% of shoppers say they are vocal about their retail customer experiences

Today, a retailer could go from anonymous to infamous in a matter of minutes. Deconstructing the customer experience in order to eliminate pain points and add in positive touches gives your customers reasons to recommend your business to their friends, loved ones and co-workers.

Why pay more for credit card processing?

Not only do we offer fast, efficient credit card processing solutions, we also offer free local setup, installation and support in many regions. If it’s been a while since you evaluated your merchant services card processor, customer rewards and other loyalty marketing or your payment processing POS equipment, we would be happy to give you a free, no-obligation quote to compare against your current plan or help you better-understand merchant services fees.

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If you think of the credit card processing transaction as the end of the buying cycle, think again. Consumers want to continue engaging with your brand, so here are 15 post-sale engagement marketing emails you can send to help you keep the relationship alive and well.

You Made a Sale, Now What? Keep Growing Customer Relationships Using Email After the Sale

New research points to the importance of providing positive customer experiences after the cash or credit card payment processing has occurred. Consumers overwhelmingly prefer email  as the channel for post-sale brand interaction, so we came up with fifteen different types of marketing emails you can send to build positive brand perceptions after the money is in the bank.

“For brands to behave as though the sale is the end of the relationship is like viewing a wedding as the end of a romance.”
Elizabeth Kraus, The Marketing Desks

A report from ACCENT Marketing Services called Beyond the Point of Purchase reported that 86 percent of consumers say it’s important to have a positive experience with the brand after making a purchase. Nearly eight of every ten will tell friends and family if a brand manages to “wow” them. Creating positive, post-sale interactions with buyers should be a big part of your overall marketing strategy.

15 Marketing Emails to Send After the Sale to Keep the Customer-Brand Relationship Alive

1. The Service Survey

Use payment processing loyalty automation marketing to send a brief 3-4 question survey asking customers to rate their experience. Include at least one open-ended field where they can voice any questions, concerns or leave brand-compliments they would like to convey. When they do, be sure to repurpose those positive comments into your marketing as testimonials.

2. The Poll

Send a post-sale poll question to solicit your customer’s opinion about something in your business you have considered changing or new products or services you plan to add. This can be a great way to introduce them to new or add-on products or accessories in advance of a formal pitch.

3. The Testimonial Solicitation

Send an email after the sale asking customers to tell you what they liked most about their purchase or their experience with your brand.

4. Make Them the Experts

Let customers know how important you think they are by asking questions; such as, what is the best feature of the product they purchased, or what type of buyer they would most recommend the product for.

5. Link to an Online Rating Site

Invite customers to visit your site and leave a 5-star rating for the item they purchase or their experience overall.

6. Link to Review Sites

Send an email inviting satisfied customers to visit your page on Yelp, Amazon, Google+ or some other review site to leave a review and recommendation for your brand, services, staff or products online.

7. Ask for a Referral

Send an email with a request for customers to forward to a friend who may benefit from your products or services.

8. Talk Up Accessories and Add-Ons

Now that your customer is enjoying their purchase, they may be open to considering accessories and add-ons that would make their experience even better. Send marketing emails with special offers on the accessories or add-ons that would enhance their satisfaction even more.

9. Service Offers and Packages

Let customers know that you stand behind the products you sell, and that they can expect the same great experience with your business when they avail themselves of your periodic maintenance or service offers.

10. Upgrades

If customers loved model 1, when the time comes, they’re going to love model 2 even more. When the time is right, follow up with customers with marketing emails to let them know about upgrades that are available to them.

11. Personal Thank You

The thank you note will never go out of style. Send an email to customers after the sale to thank them for their patronage.

12. Still Satisfied?

Some goods and services have a long buying cycle; check in from time to time to see whether your customer is still happy with their purchase, whether the product is living up to its warranties and guarantees, or whether it might be time for them to buy again.

13. News and Awards

There’s nothing wrong with letting your fans know why they were smart to buy from you to begin with. Let them know when you receive an award or pass a significant milestone, and acknowledge that none of it would have been possible without their support.

14. The Next Big Thing

Something groundbreaking coming to your industry? Email is a great way to let customers know about the next big thing that will be coming to your business and how they can get in on the ground floor.

15. Get Intel and Build Better Buyer Profiles

Once you’ve earned the customer’s trust, use email to interact, ask questions, and add to the store of knowledge you have about your target markets and ideal buyer types

You might also like: 9 Ways to Generate Revenue with Point of Sale Marketing

Customer chargebacks send a signal that something didn’t go quite right. What you learn from failed transactions could help you turn today’s chargebacks into tomorrow’s sales, depending on how you respond.

Customer Chargebacks Shouldn’t Be the End of the Story

No retail or wholesale distributor looks forward to customer refund requests; however, momentary customer dissatisfaction doesn’t need to be the end of the story. You have an opportunity to do better next time, make things right, go the extra mile and otherwise turn frowns upside down, when you take the time to discover the root of your chargebacks and respond the right way.

Inspired by a Chargebacks911 whitepaper titled Understanding the Sources of Chargebacks, here are four strategies that can help you improve your refund policies and implement post-chargeback marketing tactics. The marketing work you do after a failed customer transaction can help you avoid a bad review and renew customer goodwill toward your brand.

4 Ways to Respond to Customer Chargebacks

1. You Made a Mistake – Now What?

20-40 percent of customer chargebacks are attributed to merchant error. Whether the cause is internal process or human error, chargebacks will happen when what the customer receives isn’t what they ordered or wanted. Here’s what to do (and not to do):

Don’t inflate customer dissatisfaction by making them feel like they are on trial. If you made a mistake, own up to it and apologize. The less combative your return process is, the more likely the customer is to accept an exchange for the item they originally wanted.

If you’ve already owned up to your mistake, apologized and tried to make things right but the customer still demands a refund, give it, but don’t give up. Allow for a cooling off period then reach out to the customer later on with a special offer. If they take you up on it, make sure you get it right!

2. Your Customer Says They Didn’t Make the Purchase – Now What?

1-10 percent of chargebacks are attributed to criminal fraud. While criminal fraud is a reality, it’s worth noting that there are times customers mistakenly think their credit or debit cards were used inappropriately when in fact they were not. This commonly occurs when a spouse or family member uses a credit card without telling the card owner, the card owner forgets about making a purchase or when the merchant name on the credit card statement doesn’t match the business name.

Make sure your card processing company lists your business name properly on customer transactions. If you believe a refund is being requested in error, follow card processor and bank dispute policies appropriately. Sometimes you’ll have to agree to the refund, but there may be instances where you simply need to clear up misunderstandings. Reach out to your customer and ask whether this is the case. Most will be appreciative that you caught the mistake and feel reassured that their card hasn’t been compromised.

3. Your Customer Has Buyer’s Remorse – Now What?

Buyer’s remorse is a common – but serious – problem for merchants, one that can even produce emotional and physical discomfort in buyers who feel like they made a mistake; such as: anxiety, nausea or breaking out in a cold sweat. It’s such a big deal that there are even laws and regulations in some industries (real estate, auto sales, etc.) where buyers have a specified amount of time to change their mind.

If you believe buyer’s remorse is at the root of a customer refund request, see if they’ll share their concerns with you so that you can reassure them or somehow mitigate their discomfort. If not, and you make a refund, reassure them that you value their business and hope they’ll consider doing business with you when they’re ready. Make it a point to reach out to them at some point in the future to see if they are ready to make the purchase they weren’t quite ready to make before.

4. Your Customer is a Serial Returner – Now What?

There are people who routinely make purchases for the emotional satisfaction it produces knowing that they will return them almost immediately. There’s even a name for them: Returnaholics. There are even a few who buy items to use for a specific purpose or event and then return them. These serial returners might not mean any harm, but chargebacks cost your business in many ways (time, accounting, restocking, re-marketing, etc.) beyond the refund.

Serial returners may need to be educated or encouraged to change their behavior. In some instances, the behavior is so costly to your business that they might need to be encouraged to shop elsewhere. As in the case of any type of business, there are some customers who aren’t good for your business.

Your response to a buyer’s refund request can set the stage for future business transactions; one in which the customer rewards your leniency by purchasing even more and telling their friends how great you were to do business with. Make sure you have a plan for processing customer chargebacks that leaves the door open for tomorrow’s sales.

Forbes list of customer experience predictions for 2019 starts off with the customer’s expectation of convenience and speed. From the beginning of the customer experience to the end, including at the point of sale.

You can win over a new customer only to lose them at the point of sale.

Consider this: A customer visits your brick and mortar or online store, and you manage to surprise and even delight them with a high level of customer service and product satisfaction… right up until they try to reward you by paying. Up until the last moment in the buying journey, your business got it right. But at the point of sale, something goes wrong, something is down, something is slow, something is clunky and cumbersome.

Given that this is the last moment in the customer experience for this transaction, doesn’t it stand to reason that a bad experience at the point of sale due to a problem with payment processing or poorly chosen merchant services equipment and software could negate or even replace all of the good brand impressions your business made up until the end?

Customizing your point of sale solution can create a competitive advantage.

Even if your point of sale payment processor and merchant services have performed well or adequately in the past, as technology continuously improves, the capabilities your point of sale equipment and software provide might be outdated now. If your competitors have new and improved merchant services tools and your tools don’t measure up, you’ve handed them a competitive advantage.

Working with a local payment processing company like 253 Payment Pros can put the competitive advantage back on the side of your business. Our goal isn’t just to sell you a point of sale solution or merchant services package and move on to the next customer, we want to make sure you get the most appropriate payment processing solution in place, and we are happy to customize an equipment and software package that serves your business well. What’s more, we want to work with you for the long haul. We can educate you on the latest technology and tools to make sure you are getting the most out of your point of sale solution.

Use marketing automation to improve customer satisfaction beyond the point of sale.

The second prognostication in Forbes’ customer service predictions for 2019 also argues for taking a fresh look at your payment processing solution: The triumph of digital over traditional communications. This is where your merchant services software can really shine, in generating automated email marketing that can:

  • reinforce positive customer perceptions about your brand
  • drive referrals via rewards, email and social media
  • increase positive online reviews and ratings
  • encourage feedback for customer support and satisfaction
  • increase customer visit frequency
  • communicate loyalty rewards totals and opportunities
  • increase revenues through special offers, add-ons and upgrades

Gift cards, loyalty and rewards programs facilitated through your payment processing solution can increase customer satisfaction, retention, referrals and much, much more. It’s also probably one of the most under-utilized tools; many businesses fail to take full advantage of the loyalty marketing options available to them in their merchant services software. We would be happy to help you set up post-sale marketing automation so that you can see an increase in revenues from sales of gift cards, return visits from loyal customers and referrals earned through high customer satisfaction.

Simple, seamless point of sale experiences satisfy consumer’s desire for self-service.

Number three on the Forbes 2019 customer satisfaction predictions especially reinforces the need to re-evaluate your merchant services solution overall, and payment processing in particular. Today’s customers want you to be available to them when they need you, but they also want to be able to serve themselves.

More than 8 out of 10 customers across all industries try to complete their own customer journey independently before reaching out to a brand representative (Gartner research). The extent to which a customer can research your products and services, find what they want from your business and complete payment to you without needing the help of someone on your team can create a competitive advantage for your business.

Upgrading and updating your point of sale software and equipment could be the key to satisfying customers who want to self-serve. And when paired with loyalty marketing software, these customers can still feel like they did business with a high level of personalized customer care, even if they never spoke directly with one of your employees.

Digital point of sale is not nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.

Another of Forbes’ predictions is something that shouldn’t surprise: The need to be a digital business. Once again, if you’re working with aging point of sale equipment and software or part of the customer transaction is still performed manually, now is a great time to reach out to us. We can help you with a customized point of sale solution that suits your business’s needs and packs a punch when it comes to return on investment.

When was the last time you upgraded your payment processing and other merchant services? When was the last time you even evaluated whether you have the best point of sale equipment and software in place? Get a no-stress, cost or obligation quote:

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Digital signs aren’t inexpensive, but the marketing benefits for retail stores and restaurants can be significant. Here are ten ways digital signs help retail marketing.

Invest in Digital Signs, Reap These 10 Benefits – Digital Signage Statistics Infographic

Some of the benefits of installing digital signs in your restaurant or retail store are readily apparent. Unlike non-digital signage, marketing messages can be changed more frequently and video-based marketing is a proven winner with today’s shoppers. Even so, the cost of using digital signs for marketing can seem prohibitive, since retail stores or restaurants may need to be prepared to pay for:

  • Screens (often LCD televisions) and mounts
  • Player hardware
  • Software purchase or subscription
  • Installation, on-boarding, setup and initial training
  • On-going support or maintenance

All of this, before the unit is even turned on. Given that this could mean an expense of a few to many thousands of dollars depending on the number of digital signs installed, it’s not a strategy to be implemented lightly. Fortunately, statistics seem to show that the investment is well-worth the cost. As you evaluate which marketing strategies you might use to grow your retail store or restaurant business more quickly this year, consider these ten marketing benefits enjoyed by businesses with digital signs.

Infographic: Digital Signs Statistics Shows 10 Retail Store and Restaurant Benefits

1. Improves Recall

Marketing displayed on digital signs have a recall rate of 83 percent. A Nielsen survey of travelers found that 82 percent recalled specific ad campaigns they had seen during the last month. Plus, since digital displays can be changed frequently and used to display multiple messages over the course of a given customer’s or diner’s visit, they capture 400 percent more views than static displays.

2. Increases Spending

Digital marketing displays bump up average purchase amount at the POS (point of sale) by nearly 30 percent. One big reason for this is how they “feed” the impulse-buy-friendly consumer’s brain. One in five consumers say they made unplanned, impulse buys of products they saw advertised digitally.  Additionally, businesses that use digital signage enjoy a 32 percent upswing in overall sales volume. Digital marketing signs provide the opportunity to make shoppers or diners aware of special or limited-time offers, closeouts, or to introduce them to previously-untried menu options or products. They can be employed at any point in the restaurant customer’s journey, from the entry way to the waiting area, table, bathroom and right up until the POS point of sale transaction.

In one experiment, two static signs went head to head with one digital display in an effort to prompt customers to go to the help desk to receive a free tote bag. Both locations had similar amounts of traffic during the experiment; however, only six people took advantage of the offer in the location where static signs were displayed, while 610 people grabbed the free tote bags in the location where the digital display conveyed the offer – over 100 times more.

3. Increases Retention

Not only do digital signs improve the customer’s ability to recall specific marketing messages, they also improve customer retention for the businesses that use them by 30 percent. Digital signage gives the retailer or restaurateur a uniquely powerful way to engage and interest patrons, which in turn, can help the shopper feel more personally connected to the business.

4. Improves Satisfaction

Using digital signage boosts customer satisfaction by 46 percent. Digital messaging can help patrons feel like they’re “in the know” and make them aware of anything from a flash-sale to in-store only offers, closeouts, and other sale-related data that makes them feel reassured they are getting a great value for the money they spend at a business. They can also be used to let customers know about how the business is participating in the community, charitable give-backs, brand story, company history, and other information that can make the consumer feel happy about choosing to do business there. Digital signage can also be used to help guide the shopper to the items they’re looking for more quickly, giving them additional time to browse before they need to leave or helping the consumer who doesn’t particularly like shopping expedite the process.

5. Generates New Traffic

Businesses that implement digital signage generate a 33 percent increase in the number of repeat buyers; moreover, they also increase in-store traffic by 33 percent. Improved brand and marketing message-awareness can lead to more word of mouth marketing and referrals occurring outside of the business. In fact, in one study of small businesses that had installed outdoor LED digital signage, an impressive 86 percent – nearly 9 out of 10 – believed the new signs had brought them new customers, and nearly as many (83) noticed an increase in sales after installing the digital signs.

6. Keeps Customers In-Store Longer

In retail, the longer a customer stays in the store to shop and browse, the more they’re likely to spend. Using digital signage in-store produces a 30 percent increase in the length of the shopper’s visit.

7. Reduces Perceived Wait Time

Digital displays with engaging content serve as an entertaining distraction, reducing the dissatisfaction that waiting engenders. Whether restaurant patrons are waiting to be seated, waiting for their food, waiting for a sales person, waiting to check out at the point of sale (POS), digital signs can be used to amuse, educate and interest. As a result, even if wait time is equivalent, consumers perceive wait-time to be as much as 35 percent less at businesses where digital signage is present vs. those without.

In addition, digital devices can be used to set expectations and display information about wait times, call customers forward, and let people know which cash registers or stations are available for whoever is next. Expediting the queuing process reduces wait time for everyone, and also helps to manage expectations and reduce customer anxiety (such as the anxiety that they might have been overlooked or forgotten).

8. Significantly Improves Brand Awareness

It should come as no surprise that digital signs are 47.7 percent effective when it comes to brand awareness. Another Nielsen study on “Awareness and Effectiveness of Digital Display Screens in Grocery Stores” found that patrons exposed to point-of-sale digital ads exhibited a 31 percent increase in brand awareness and recall.

9. Creates Intrigue

59 percent of people who saw digital signage wanted to learn more about the advertised topic. Digital displays can often be programmed to display many different messages, exposing the patron to many different brand and marketing impressions during a given visit to the retail store or restaurant. The more retailers and restaurateurs recognize and take advantage of the medium to entertain and engage, the more they can create interest and intrigue among customers.

In addition, digital signage can be used to display information about offers scheduled for the future, helping to spur repeat visits and to potentially increase the frequency at which the customer regularly visits the business.

10. Improves Employee Engagement, Productivity

Customers aren’t the only ones whose behavior is impacted in ways that benefit the retail store or restaurant. Businesses with digital signs had improvements of 20 to 25 percent in employee engagement, with a corresponding increase in employee productivity. Digital displays can also help employees remember to engage with patrons about specific special offers or new products, or motivate the customer to ask the salesperson for more information as a conversation starter.

The good news for retailers and restaurateurs who have been discouraged from installing digital signage due to cost concerns is that unlike the cost of most things – which only rises over time – the cost of this technology has decreased significantly. While the average cost of digital signage was $8500 in 2004, that number dropped to $3720 in 2010. Like similar technologies, it’s one whose highest cost is at the pioneering phase, that is reduced significantly and quickly as more companies enter the marketplace and volume as well as continued advancement decreases the cost of equipment, software, and infrastructure for everyone.

Digital Signs Statistics Infographic Shows 10 Retail Store and Restaurant Benefits

The questions business owners should ask themselves can tell them all they need to know about whether their organization is healthy and prepared for growth, or whether they need to make changes to remove obstacles that are standing in their way.

Slow – or Grow? 5 Key Questions Business Owners Should Be Able to Answer

In a world where companies need to stay one step ahead of the competition to succeed, it’s important to ask yourself as a business owner “Am I obstructing or nurturing my business?” Here are five questions business owners should ask themselves, to find out whether they are helping or hurting their chances of business growth.

1. Does my business foster effective, open lines of customer communication?

Current and potential clients need more than just an option to comment on a social media post to voice their needs. Whether you’re a start-up or an established business, it’s important to both open up for discussion and listen to the conversations. Often times businesses fail because they do not listen to the needs of the customers not because they choose to ignore it, but because they never give themselves a chance to hear it.

A quote from the book Nail It then Scale It: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Creating and Managing Breakthrough Innovation, written by Nathan Furr and Paul Ahlstrom, asks: “Which would you rather do – talk to customers now and find out you were wrong, or talk to customers a year and thousands of dollars down the road and still find out you were wrong?

2. Where are we headed next?

Complacency is something you can’t afford. In an ever-changing market place, no matter what your business is, anticipation is the key to success. As Helen Keller once said, “The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.

Knowing where you want to go and knowing how to get there are two very different things. Certainly, without preparing for growth and setting goals you’re unlikely to reach your intended destination.

As a business owner, you certainly hope demand for your product and business will go up. It’s imperative to understand the projected need for your products as well as to answer the question ahead of time, “How will we meet this need?” Failure can sneak up on you quickly if you don’t have a plan. Depending on your business the plan will vary, but the basic idea to have in place is to set a goal, and draft out how to reach it.

You might also like: 6 Musts for a Business Year-End Checklist

3. Are we the Flintstones or the Jetsons?

Ok, so obviously no one is out there clocking into work using the tail of a colorful parrot after driving to work in their foot-pedaled stone age car, and certainly no one is flying in to work and dropping down through a tube into their desk chair. When deciding whether your company is more like the Flintstones or the Jetsons, the idea is to ask yourself, am I keeping up with the times to stay ahead, or am I making things painful for my clients and customers?

This is inclusive of all aspects of business including software programs, ways of communication, and most importantly technology. Not only does old technology drive people away (and not to mention sometimes insane), but it also leaves your business susceptible to viruses and being hacked. Keeping up with, or better yet, ahead of the times not only keeps your current clients stay satisfied, but also attracts new clients to your business.

One of the most important areas of technology to assess is your business’s POS (point of sale) process, whether this occurs online or off. Today’s customers anticipate seamless point of sale transactions that enable them to enroll in loyalty and rewards programs, set up or change account settings, automate payments for future purchases, generate automated responses such as downloads, send receipts directly to their email or mobile phone, and much more. A slow, complicated or clunky point of sale process can can dampen a customer’s enthusiasm for returning to your business in the future, cause them to abandon their cart before completing their purchase and even create sufficient frustration to result in a bad review for your business. 

4. Are we connecting with our audience?

If you were a comedian, would you bust out a political commentary type of joke set about taking rifles away from cowboys for performances in the heart of Texas? Probably not. Plain and simple, the thing to remember in business is you can never forget who your audience is.

When asking yourself this question, make sure to evaluate if your message is too broad, too narrow, or just right. Yes, a broad message might reach more people, but it won’t resonate or be as effective as a narrow, targeted messaged that focuses on your main clientele. Especially if you have limited resources, focusing on getting your messages across in a streamlined fashion is a non-negotiable.

5. Is our ignorance really bliss?

They say if a tree falls in the forest it really does still make a sound. Well, as a business owner, you can’t really afford to test out that theory.

Listening to the pains of your customers might sound like a task easy to avoid, especially if business is booming. However, before you know it that boom could turn to bust if the needs of your clients are not addressed.

Understanding the needs and pains of your customers will help you reinvent your marketing and product strategy to ensure you are always making it happen for your clients, sometimes even before they even know they need it.

Is your company speeding up or slowing down? Status quo is a fallacy; you’re either gaining ground or losing it, every time you flip your sign from “Closed” to “Open” to start the day. Make sure you understand your goals and keep them in the forefront of even day to day operations.

Effective POS marketing strategies could make the last point of the buyer’s journey the most profitable one for your business.

9 POS Marketing Tactics Increase Average Spend and Generate New Revenues

If you evaluate the customer journey in terms of how it breaks down across each point, you may find that you’re failing to take advantage of many opportunities that could help you influence customers to spend more overall, choose upgrades, add-on accessories, and try new products or menu items. Instead of thinking about your marketing in terms of channels, lay it out so that you can see what occurs at each step of the buying journey:

  • Before the first time a customer visits your store or website
  • In-between customer visits to your store or website
  • As the customer arrives at and enters your store or website
  • What happens right after they arrive
  • While they’re browsing
  • As they approach the (POS) point of sale
  • At the point of sale register or checkout process – when the actual merchant services POS transaction occurs
  • After the POS – what happens after the payment processing transaction?

In this model, what occurs during the point-of-sale portion of the customer visit (including what happens immediately afterward) could constitute one-third of the opportunities you have to impact how much the customer spends and whether they spent more than they would have otherwise (because of the marketing tactics you employed at the POS).

9 POS Marketing Ideas for Generating Higher Sales

As they approach the POS

This is when the customer has clicked on their cart or started the checkout process online, when they’re approaching the cash register or standing in line, waiting at the table for you to bring the bill or take their payment, etc. At this point in the buying process, the customer has mentally stopped shopping. In their minds, they have everything they need in their carts (or tummies). However, according a poll, five out of six Americans admit to impulse buys, so the game is by no means over!

  1. Appeal to pioneers and early adopters.

These are the individuals who just looooove being the first to try something new. They relish being ahead of the rest when it comes to new technology, products, or services. While customers are waiting to start their transactions, use marketing to ask whether they missed out on new arrivals to your company’s line up.

  1. Use technology to mitigate the wait.

Studies show that consumers perceive their wait time to be less when digital signs, kiosks, and other devices are present. While you have the customer as a captive audience, entertain and engage them with digital displays, videos, or interactive messaging.

  1. Remind them of past purchases.

The idea behind Amazon’s “dash” buttons is genius: Make it easy for customers to replenish supplies as soon as they run out (or even before). Before the customer transactions is completely underway, use information about their historical purchases to generate questions that might remind them it’s time to repurchase something they may be running out of or which they would enjoy again.

During the POS transaction

This is the moment where the payment processing transaction process has begun but has not yet been completed by the merchant services company. Questions and suggestions raised here can instantly increase the amount of the sale and make the customer happier, since they didn’t miss out on something they couldn’t find or miss an opportunity to scoop up a special deal.

  1. Start with what they couldn’t find.

Tried and true, asking customers if they searched for something they weren’t able to find is a great way to ensure they leave with everything they came for. It’s also an invaluable way to discover whether there are additional needs your business could be meeting by adding specific menu items, products, or services based on customer demand.

  1. Tell them what they might also like.

Another e-commerce point of sale technique that brick and mortar businesses of all kinds could be using is the “you might also like” suggestion. This is where you can talk about the benefits of upgrading, upsizing, and add-ons like accessories or warranties that might enhance their purchase.

  1. End with last-chance opportunities.

Before payment is submitted, ask customers whether they want to take advantage of any last-chance or limited time offers. These are offers that help customers feel like they’re getting the most value for their dollars and in an era where direct mail and email offers often go unread, they’re also offers that customers might be unaware of and open to considering before payment processing is finalized by the merchant services company.

After the POS transaction has concluded

This is the time immediately after the merchant services transaction. The post-POS marketing tactics you deploy here give you a chance to get feedback, ask for reviews, and remind customers about what’s coming to your business in the near future, so that you can immediately get them thinking about returning. Post-POS marketing and marketing done in-between visits can increase the frequency with which the customer visits, thereby increasing their lifetime value to your company.

  1. Information on the receipt.

Many businesses now use receipts to generate coupons for future visits, ask customers to complete online surveys, or remind them about upcoming events. Plus, since many people keep receipts around for accounting or tax purposes, they can provide a lasting reminder about your company long after the payment processing transaction has been completed.

  1. Ask for a review or rating.

Stars and positive reviews are the new word of mouth. They are the data that prospects use to decide whether to try your business in the first place, and set expectations for how they perceive your brand, and how they feel about doing business with you. While your company is still top-of-mind in the moments following a successful point of sale transaction, ask the customer to leave a review for your business and make it easy to do so, with digital devices placed in-store or an online link to a review site provided with the digital receipt.

  1. Get the registration.

Every POS merchant services transaction should give your business the opportunity to gather contact information for email marketing. Email is far and away the channel most consumers cite as their preferred method for receiving brand communications. Make sure that if you haven’t yet gotten the customer’s email address otherwise, you capture it at the point of sale, by emailing receipts to customers rather than print them directly in-store or online.

Every point during the buying journey offers unique opportunities where your business can engage the customer. Make sure you’re making the most of the last – and most powerful – part of the customer journey so that you’re not leaving money on the table.

More than half of millennials dine out once a week, compared to just 43 percent of the remaining population. See how these restaurants exemplify what it takes to attract this generation.

In-Touch Restaurants Attract Millennials by Understanding their Dining Desires

50 percent of millennials dine out according to, and they do so for more reasons than just to eat food. They use it as an opportunity to gather with friends, eat local, and show philanthropic support. As a restaurant, understanding the desires of this generation is crucial as they hold $200 billion in spending power and are projected to make up 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.

Be current, be hip.

To attract millennials, restaurants need to continually update your menu, adapt cooking practices, and mold their ambiance to stay on top.

When you think about millennials’ favorite sit down restaurant, Red Lobster is the first that comes to mind, right? Don’t worry, we were just as surprised as you. In May 2016, Red Lobster was named the number 1 choice with 18-24 year old’s, over 173 other brands. What did they do to revamp?

  1. Updated their menu. Red Lobster constantly updates their menu to the newest food trends in the country. Recently they added new flavors such as chimichurri and spicy Tennessee bourbon.
  2. Adapted cooking practices. Red Lobster took feedback from their customers and increased the size of their shrimp by 47 percent. They also prepare more dishes in house (over shipping) and added more sauce to their dishes.
  3. Molded their ambiance. Red Lobster encourages their customers to dine in by offering a new line of unique alcoholic beverages and has made sure their restaurants are designed to hold large parties, which perfectly fits a millennial’s desire.

On top of these changes, Red Lobster has embraced their role in pop culture. Pop singer, Beyoncé, mentioned the restaurant in one her songs in February, and sales went up 33 percent the day after she released her song.

We understand not every restaurant can get a shout out from a pop singer, but staying current with your menu and ambiance is an effective way to grab hold of your millennial audience.

Be online, be mobile.

As a restaurant owner you should be asking yourself these questions: Do you have a website, do you have an app, is your menu available online, how easy is it to order, and are you racking up online reviews?

59% of Millennials Review Menus Online Before Going to a Restaurant

59 percent of millennials review menus online before going to the restaurant. Millennials research places to eat like they research buying a product on Amazon. They will go to your website, look at your menu, read your reviews on Yelp, and look at pictures of your dining experience.

19% of Millennials Use Mobile Devices to Research Restaurants

19 percent of millennials will use a mobile device when researching a restaurant. Being mobile friendly goes beyond your website – and you don’t have to spend thousands of dollars to create an app either. Creating a simple online order process won’t cost you much and will make it easier for millennials to order on the go, as they sometimes prefer. Your website can even help save on labor costs by eliminating or at least reducing the amount of manpower needed to:

  • take restaurant reservations
  • chalk up points or rewards to a customer’s loyalty account
  • find out whether rewards can be redeemed
  • act as a digital POS (point of sale) for to-go orders (or any customer check)
  • promote ancillary services like catering, special events, membership programs, and so on
  • estimate staffing needs (based on reservations, advanced orders and trends)
  • and much more

For fast food and fast casual restaurants that want an app, consider Starbucks as a model. Starbucks users can use the Starbucks mobile app to pay and order ahead so they can bypass the line, avoiding a potentially lengthy point of sale experience in-store, and receive promotions to entice them to return every day. Regardless of whether millennials will be taking their food to go or eating at your restaurant, enabling point of sale functionality through your website or mobile app can be an attractive perk for customers, especially if they are short on time.

Be healthy, be local.

Counting calories is so last year if you talk to millennials. Understanding the ingredients in your dishes as well as where they came from now takes precedence.

30% of Millennials Prefer to Eat Food Labeled as “Organic”

30 percent of millennials prefer to eat food that is labeled as organic. Many restaurants have taken part in the farm to table movement. The idea of this movement is the minimize the miles between your food source and your restaurant.

The great news is this kind of food doesn’t have to break the bank. Chipotle, and Five Guys are the most popular restaurants that have adopted the healthy and local menu. Chipotle serves meat with no human antibiotics while Five Guys writes their meat and potato source on their whiteboards every day. Make it a priority to help millennials understand where your restaurants food originates.

Be giving, be ethical.

Of all the generations, millennials are the most likely to visit a restaurant with good social ethics. 40 percent of millennials are more willing to endorse a company with eco-conscious values over a company without a societal stance.

40% of Millennials Prefer Restaurants that Express Eco-Conscious Values

Your restaurant in no exception. Think about Chick-Fil-A. Everything about their brand shows what they stand for; it’s easy to see how they are involved in their community. If your restaurant is involved in local community events, you should be publicizing your involvement on social media in order to attract philanthropic and charity-minded millennials.

Incorporating these four millennial drivers can help your restaurant capture the attention of this generation and attract more millennials.

Understanding the desires of the millennials will help your restaurant move faster as this generation continues to move into its buying power. While not all millennials have the same taste in food, they do look for the same qualities in choosing a restaurant. Adapting your restaurant to these changes now, will help not only help you attract millennials, but will also help you stay current, and stay resilient as times continue to change.

With holiday shopping in full force, it’s crucial that your retail business staffs enough employees to keep your customer’s experience in your location as relaxing, stress-free, and positive as the rest of the year. Here are six tips for attracting the best seasonal retail employees.

Hiring the Best Seasonal Retail Employees is Crucial for Holiday Sales

If you’re understaffed during the holidays, there’s a good chance one or more of your customers is going to have sub-par service at some point during the season. How does being understaffed affect sales?

78 percent of customers have bailed on a retail transaction because of a poor service experience, and 91 percent of unhappy customers will never again willingly do business with the offending retailer. Since holidays are a high stress, high traffic time, hiring the best holiday employees is key for retail business success. Here are the six tips that can help you attract the best seasonal retail employees, so you have a better chance of hitting – or even exceeding – your holiday sales goals.

6 Tips for Attracting the Best Seasonal Retail Employees

Look Early

Even if holiday candidates are only going to be on the books for a few weeks, their impact on your organization’s sales and reputation can be long lasting. Just like hiring a full-time employee, you need ample time as a hiring manager to select the best seasonal employees, and train them on customer service, POS (point of sale) software and equipment, loyalty and rewards programs, internal procedures, and so on. While most businesses target November to start posting their open positions, consider posting in September and October to ensure you have first pick of the best available talent.

Is your candidate jolly?

Around the holidays, your team can encounter various stressful situations from customer escalations to long wait times at the point of sale. When hiring a holiday employee, they should be able to stay positive through the holiday craze and never sacrifice customer service.

Posing a role-play in the interview where the holiday employee must act on a tough situation rather quickly is a beneficial way to gauge how they’d handle the situation in real life. This also eliminates potential candidates who may say they would act a certain way but really aren’t that way in a real situation. These “jolly” seasonal retail employees are also crucial to keeping a positive and engaged company culture, and a performing team will help your business operate smoothly through the holiday season.

Recruit local college students

Have you considered advertising your seasonal retail positions to college students? Partnering with nearby universities can help you access a solid pool of candidates when it comes to hiring for holiday positions.  In some cases, seasonal employment at your company could even help fulfill internships required for college majors. It’s worth your time for you to reach out to local trade schools and universities with a goal of creating mutually-beneficial partnerships. You could end up with a steady source of the best seasonal candidates and reduce seasonal hiring costs in the process.


Retirees represent a large pool of potential holiday workers as the baby boomer generation reaches retirement. Imagine if you own a boutique retail clothing shop and you hire a retiree who spent their career at Nordstrom! They have a lifetime of knowledge that will mesh well with your customer base, as well as your employees. They also have a love for fashion and will stay engaged in their position. Retirees also want to enjoy their time off, so they like the flexible work schedules that are needed around the holidays. Give ‘em a shot!

Go beyond seasonal

Some of the best seasonal retail employees are the ones who see a temporary position as a stepping stone to full-time employment and not merely a job. These types of candidates will likely be your superstars during the holidays and want to use the skills they learn from you not just for a few months, but for years to come.  As an employer, you can use the holidays as a probationary period or test run. Seasonal hires who perform outstandingly could be a great fit for a current or future full time position.

Employee referral program

Great hires come from great hires! Start a company incentive program that pushes your current employees to refer their connections that they think would be successful candidates. When your employees are stretched thin over the holiday season, the last thing they want is to work with people they do not like or trust. Using a referral program allows your team to be comfortable in the holiday hires as well as take the edge off as your team handles tough customer situations.

Using these six ways to hire the best seasonal retail workers will help your team transition into the busiest season of the year.

Employee culture is the key to a successful holiday season. Allowing yourself time to hire the holiday worker that best fits your team and pulling candidates from outside of your typical candidate pool will help make the transition into the holidays as smooth as possible.


The Best Merchant Services Rise Above Commodities

Much of what is sold under the heading “merchant services” is commodity based. But much of what is delivered under the banner of merchant services varies widely depending on which provider you choose.

What sets the best merchant services companies apart?

At the end of the day we have to measure our success by what we have done for you as our customer. What sets a merchant services provider apart are some of the same factors that make 253 Payment Pros one of the best merchant services companies you could work with:

  • We want to work with you forever, so we aren’t going to over-promise, under-deliver or give you a bait-and-switch experience
  • We want your referrals, so we are going to give you the best rates we can and we’re going to add value at every step from the application process to installation, setup and programming of your equipment and the service we provide over time
  • We want your success, so we are going to custom-tailor merchant services solutions to your business, instead of forcing your business into solutions that are less than ideal
  • We want your loyalty, so we are going to provide you with consistently great customer care from knowledgeable reps who know and understand the unique needs of your business

But don’t just take it from us, hear what some of our customers have to say! 

1. “We get the support we need, right when we need it.” – Powderhaus Brewing

As one of Idaho’s premier breweries, Powderhaus Brewing needs all of their processes running smoothly at all times. With our merchant services, they no longer have to worry about this side of their business. With true next day funding and the lowest processing rates in the industry, Powderhaus Brewing can rest assured knowing that they have a true partner in payment processing, with their best interests in mind.

2. “Not only do we save hundreds every month, but the service is amazing!” Bouquet Flowers

Bouquet Flowers needed a payment processing partner to trust after having been gouged on rates through her bank. Not only were we able to providing a significant savings on processing rates, but the level of local service we were able to provide brought a peace of mind previously missing from the experience. As one of the areas finest flower shops, we’re proud to be a partner in their continued growth.

3. “We save anywhere from $300 to $400 every single month.” – Extreme Pizza

Before working with us, Extreme Pizza was paying significantly higher rates for
their credit card processing while missing out on much needed service and support. Not only were we able to lower their processing rates dramatically, but we helped to streamline their delivery service by outfitting their drivers with mobile terminals, allowing them to process payments anywhere. To top it all off, they now receive the local support they had originally expected, but did not receive with their former provider.

4. “We’re on track to save thousands this year!” – Bob’s Bicycles

Bob’s Bicycles is one of Idaho’s original and most prominent bike shops, with over 30 years in business. During that time, they’ve heard all the stories when it came to payment processing, with few promises being fulfilled. We stepped in to provide Bob’s Bicycles with the lowest processing rates they’ve ever received, while also optimizing the way they take credit and debit cards, in-store and online.

Merchant Services – Industries

We offer merchant services payment processing and point of sale solutions for nearly any type of business, but we have also done some deep dives into industries that give us the ability to craft efficient, effective programs for: