Wednesday, November 11, 2009

MegaPath’s Black Friday Strategy

Black Friday will soon be upon us. This is the day after Thanksgiving that marks the traditional start to the Christmas shopping season. It’s a day that retailers brace for and depend on. For as Black Friday goes, so goes the profitability of the year.

Credit Card Swipe - Is your business Black Friday ready?The name Black Friday is generally attributed to the accounting practice of using red ink to show losses and black ink to show profits. Many retailers struggle all year long just to pay the bills and keep the lights on. Black Friday represents, at least symbolically, the change of the company’s fortunes from red ink to black ink. That’s how important the holiday shopping season is every year. It can be the difference between profit and loss, survival of the business or bankruptcy.

Since Black Friday and its online equivalent called Cyber Monday (The Monday after Black Friday) kickoff the most stressful and highest sales volume month of the year, it behooves retail businesses to have robust processes in place ahead of time. That includes the ability to process credit card transactions rapidly and securely. Lose your connection to the credit card processing companies, even for an hour, and you risk a stampede of irate customers out your front door and directly to your competitor. It’s even worse online. If your site is down or slow or you can’t accept credit card payments, your competitors are just a click away.

With this in mind, MegaPath is asking retailers, “Are You Prepared For Black Friday?” Even with predictions that consumers will be spending slightly less this year than last, there will still be a torrent of sales activity this shopping season. In fact, it might be argued that with less spending each customer becomes more valuable. Anything you can do to give that customer a pleasant shopping experience will work to your advantage.

MegaPath is a major competitive telecommunications carrier and leader in managed IP services. They serve the retail sector with high speed network connections specifically designed to support secure payment transactions. They call their service a “Payment Processor Extranet.” As the name implies, this is a specialized form of connectivity unlike simple Internet broadband. MegaPath’s Payment Processor Extranet connects to your retail site-to-site MPLS VPN service to securely carry credit card and other payment information from your point of sale locations to credit, debit gift and private label card payment and check payment processors. You choose which processors you work with and can and or change them at any time. MegaPath provides a fully redundant proactively monitored communications network to the processors to ensure that your transactions will get through.

For gas stations, convenience stores and other retailers not connected in a MPLS network, MegaPath offers “StoreConnect,” an IPSec encrypted service that works over a wide variety of broadband connections including DSL, cable, wireless and T1 lines. Like the Payment Processor Extranet, this service gives smaller retailers access to the leading payment processors for fast, secure and reliable transactions.

One of the most important processes involved in payment transactions is PCI or Payment Card Industry security. This standard involves a firewalled secure network protected by encryption and strong access control. MegaPath’s retail solutions are designed from the ground up to be PCI compliant.

So, what’s it going to be this year? Will you depend on slow dial-up access from your POS terminals that will likely keep your customers waiting and irritated as they stand in line? Or will you make the transaction process as transparent to your customers as possible with fast and reliable broadband connectivity? If you choose to make your transactions fast, efficient, reliable and secure, there’s no time to waste. Get more information about MegaPath and other retail connectivity solutions and be ready to make the most from the Black Friday weekend and the entire holiday shopping season.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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