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How speeding up your website can increase sales

Saturday, 26 May, 2012

EVOCANADA_evo_canada_merchant_service_accountStrangeloop, an interesting value-add website optimizer for high volume e-merchants, reduces web page load times in order to drive more turnover and consequently increase transactions.

Located on the landing page of Strangeloop.com, visitors can toggle a slider and position it at a specific level of monthly sales revenue. As a result, the application highlights how the optimizer can directly correlate to added revenue simply by increasing page load times.

The results are staggering.

Large multinational corporations such as Visa, Sodexo, Petco and Auto Anything have already turned to Strangeloop’s intuitive site optimizer for both Web and mobile sites. Using an “advanced set of acceleration treatments,” Strangeloop streamlines and simplifies web pages in real-time by customizing them to the unique parameters of each browsing platform.

Not an out-of-the-box standardized liquid ciali software platform by any means, Strangeloop prides itself on customization and boasts that the technology is more than a one-size-fits-all approach. Considered a tailored experience mechanism, the optimizer allows for monitoring and modification of page loads based on web traffic of a specific moment, ever changing to the usage trends and needs of a given website at specific times. The site optimizer also builds in a clever tracking mechanism to predict a given users’ viewing patterns to pre-load pages and create an illusion of faster load times.

Offered as both an appliance to a company’s own datacenter or as a cloud-based service, Strangeloop can work with any IT infrastructure currently in place and lead to increased conversion rates, higher revenues, improved search engine results and most importantly, happier customers!

Clinique UK augments print ads to drive sales

Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

In a bold move to continue supporting a 360-degree ad campaign, Clinique UK is deploying improved reality platforms to enhance current print ads and help drive sales. They invited users to interact through print and out-of-home ads via smart devices during the month of March.

Teaming up with the enhanced reality Blippar application, which can be easily downloaded for iOS and Android platforms for free, the print ads come to life by creating an interactive version of the ad viewed directly on a user’s mobile device screen. By interacting with the advertisements users can view more detailed info on the showcased product and even make a purchase if so inclined.
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Jessica Butcher, founding partner and marketing director for Blippar, notes that print is a stagnant medium that needs to continue to evolve, “Print is, by its nature, old news as soon as it comes off a printing press, and this technology enables it to be used as a trigger for real-time information updates, a digital bridge to mobile Web pages, content downloads or interactive touch screen experiences. Augmented reality is simply one of the forms of content delivery that can be facilitated by this technology.”

This augmented reality platform goes even further by allowing users to connect with a store locator through GPS, view products and brand related videos, connect to Clinique’s mobile site and share comments and view threads via Facebook to see what other people are saying about the product.

This level of interaction brings new meaning and value to print advertising, and when tied into a relevant mobile campaign, a brand can reach higher levels of engagement and drive sales.

“Digital Wallets” change how payments are made and consumer information is protected

Friday, 24 February, 2012

EVOCANADA_evo_canada_merchant_service_accountAs major credit card companies Visa and MasterCard continue to develop and deploy mobile payment applications for smartphones equipped with NFC technology, payment processing between merchants and consumers will continue to evolve.

Many traditional brick and mortar retailers may not necessarily see the need to update their current POS terminals to accept mobile payments, as this emerging technology seems more suited to e-commerce. That said, the idea behind the “digital wallet” as a payment method may dramatically shift how sensitive client information is handled during a transaction.

Consumers are increasingly concerned with identity theft and likewise merchants worry about being sued for information leaks in their POS systems. Mobile payment applications change this very dynamic by giving the ability to consumers to keep all important payment information contained in their “digital wallet,” linking only to their respective banking institutions and cloud data management service, the two safest places to store this information.

Digital wallets will effectively turn the mobile payment enabled smartphone into a Personal Point of Sale (PPoS) device, which includes all the current features and capabilities of a standard retail POS terminal but with added levels of information security and less transfer of info between payment terminals.

Initially set-up for online shopping cart transactions, these new mobile payment applications will no longer require consumers to give out sensitive payment information during the checkout process, rather a transaction number will be pasted into the PPoS. This new PPoS system gives consumers the added ability to keep control over sensitive payment information and merchants no longer need to handle sensitive information and keep it secure.

Online merchants will also benefit from the added element of the mobile payment transaction being considered a “card-present” sale, reducing discount rates, limiting charge-back incidents and decreasing opportunities for fraudulent payment activity.

Planting the entrepreneurial seed: How Sprouter.com is helping small business in a big way

Sunday, 19 February, 2012

EVOCANADA_evo_canada_merchant_service_accountFounded in late 2009 by media maven Sarah Prevette, Sprouter was built on the notion of creating an online community to give start-ups and small-business owners access to professional guidance from experienced industry veterans.

Entrepreneurs log into the portal and are lead through a series of information pages where they can ask specific questions, browse topics, comment in discussion forums and share info with other networks. Sprouter by no means uses crowdsourcing to answer questions, as all answers are gathered from the panel of proven experts and their associates. This panel of experts is carefully chosen to provide real-world advice on various topics such as business law, marketing and funding.

Taking their initiative offline, Sprouter also hosts a series of events called “Sprout Up” allowing users to connect in a live conference format with other entrepreneurs, business owners and panel experts. Hosted monthly, over 600 entrepreneurs meet and greet at each event and gain insightful information to help build up their respective businesses. Complementing these events is a periodical magazine called the “Sprouter Weekly” which aggregates common questions on the site and outlines useful information for start-ups.

Allowing access to business minds such as Aaron Patzer of Mint.com fame and Tim Berry, founder of Palo Alto Software, Sprouter provides an instant connection to a wealth of information, potential investors and expert knowledge instantly, all in an easy to use web based platform.

Western Union and MasterCard team up to make electronic payments more convenient

Thursday, 16 February, 2012

 

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It is estimated that 2.5 billion adults worldwide do not have access to standard financial products and services. Traditional money transfers and pre-paid credit cards are helping to bridge this gap and offer consumers convenient, low-cost options for financial services.

Western Union and MasterCard have recognized this need and see an opportunity to develop a crossover network between both companies’ electronic payment networks. Over the last year, both companies have been collaborating to develop a partnership that would see MasterCard become the pre-paid card of choice for Western Union and Western Union the preferred money transfer solution for MasterCard. As such, cardholders will be able to access these global networks to reload funds at any MasterCard rePower location as well as selected Western Union Agent locations. Consumers using the Western Union money transfer service will also now be able to send funds directly to eligible MasterCard holders, offering a viable, non-cash solution to these financially underserved clients.

According to Hikmet Ersek, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western Union, “This agreement sets the stage to globalize prepaid services. We’re opening up more options for consumers around the world by combining Western Union’s global network of money movement solutions with MasterCard’s world class global electronic payments network.”

“The primary focus of our global partnership is to enable greater financial inclusion for consumers and provide additional electronic payment options that create efficiencies in their daily lives,” said MasterCard President and Chief Executive Officer Ajay Banga. “We look forward to all of the benefits that our partnership will bring to consumers around the world.”

Visa’s V.me mobile wallet to launch in 2012

Tuesday, 14 February, 2012

A hot topic heading into 2012 is the emerging technology coined the “mobile wallet” which Visa intends to capitalize on. Expected to launch sometime in late 2012, V.me is the official brand name for their proprietary mobile wallet.

Mobile wallets refer to applications on smart devices that allow users to store debit, credit and prepaid card information to be used for POS or online payment processing. Visa’s hedging on a similar strategy they currently employ with the various banks using the standard credit card service, the V.me mobile wallet will also be made available to companies such as PayPal, ISIS and Google Checkout along with an open beta development platform.

The advantages of a mobile wallet are that they allow customers to shop and purchase without transferring sensitive payment information over to merchants via a standard debit or credit card terminal. This added level of security, combined with the convenience and flexibility of standard payment processing and the ability to shop easily using a mobile smart device, all add up to why mobile wallets are an emerging trend and gaining momentum.

Visa is hoping this trend will continue to develop and take their existing credit and debit card business in new directions. For more info on this platform by Visa, visit www.v.me.

By Evo Canada Merchant Services

A quick guide to savvy social media

Wednesday, 8 February, 2012

It’s understandable that smaller businesses may be overwhelmed on how to utilize social media to capture the essence of designing and implementing content for these platforms and to capitalize on this low-cost marketing initiative.

Here a few simple steps that will start you in the right direction, and pave the way to savvy social media marketing for years to come.

Develop a cohesive plan: Like any project or business planning, detailed framework is necessary to keep your content organized, time appropriate, and platform appropriate. This plan will also allow you to focus on creating content that is more relevant to your consumers and social media blueprint.
Use social platforms independently: An effective technique that should not be overlooked is linking your content to all the various social media platforms. For example, a blog post on Tumblr can link to both Facebook and Twitter. Although this is a good start, each platform behaves and interacts with users differently. Your content needs to reflect this contrast in audience and social media channel.
Market research is your friend: You can seek out your target market by noting which pages users like and which blogs and tweets they follow/re-post. Posting content blindly in each platform can be exhaustive. Ease into it slowly, and tailor your marketing based on what generates the most response. The choice of platform and type of content becomes easier to select and develop once you’ve tapped into the attention of your consumers.
Measure, measure, measure: Analytics are powerful tools built into most social media platforms; they allow you to measure all kinds of data about your audience. The geographic location of your target market can be a powerful metric in your marketing.
Advertise: People need to find your social media pages and sites, begin this process by using services like Facebook Ads and Google AdWords; both are low cost and can grow your audience exponentially.
Consistency is king: Remain consistent with your content subject matter, tone, and timing of posts. Too much alternate material may confuse your audience. Define “character” traits, values and specific interests your target market is attuned to and always build your content using these same principals and influences.
Engage your users: Quality versus quantity. Indulge your audience; give them creative, thought-provoking yet easy-to-digest content and they will keep coming back while spreading the love of your brand.
Be smart about content: Sensational gossip will only provide an audience for a fleeting amount of time. Most groups of consumers form an interest in content that is relevant and interesting.

No matter how daunting it may seem, the operative rule is to ease into the process by starting with the go-to platforms of Facebook and Twitter. Take the time to look around, see what is happening within the various sectors of your market and fine-tune your content and messaging before the full blown launch. Good luck!

The Hyper-Connected World and your Merchant Services Provider

Tuesday, 7 February, 2012

Connections are all around us, from daily use of smartphones to highly enabled Web 2.0 sites, people and businesses communicate and transact in more ways than ever before. Many look solely to technological advancement, as the catalyst for innovation but what we often forget is the work that goes on before a new technology comes to life.

A simple idea based on the desire to fulfill a need generally forms the basis for technological advancement. In order to properly understand what needs are left unfilled, one must have a clear understanding of their respective “ecosystem” in order to find solutions to current and/or future problems.

As for payment processing, there are a plethora of options merchants may or may not know are out there and need guidance to decide on what may be the best for their business and customers. Further, more people are interacting and sharing info with brands and products of preference, creating a world of opportunity on how to use this data to connect longer and deeper with customers.

Merchant service providers are at the frontline of technology and understanding the needs of customers. They are trained to be knowledgeable on emerging technology and grasp the fundamentals of each of their client’s “ecosystems” and business infrastructures. As such, they can provide insights into how to optimize payment-processing systems and connect with customers on new levels by incorporating technology.

Work with a merchant service provider more closely and go beyond basic payment processing needs to brainstorm new ideas. Instead of viewing technology as innovation, see it more as a tool for business advancement and get “hyper-connected” to customers sooner.

By Evo Canada Merchant Services 

Got creative? Get funding!

Thursday, 29 December, 2011

Merchant service account evo canada payment processing For most creative people, professional or amateur, it’s not about the money, but all about the process. That said, we are all part of a bigger wheel and unfortunately have no choice but to contribute financially to society…in other words: get a job, get paid and pay bills.

An often-daunting task for most creative people is securing financing for their idea or project. Kickstarter.com is here to help and hosts a revolutionary approach to funding projects. Not to be mistaken with a venture capital firm, business bank or investment fund, Kickstarter is an online community built around the encouragement and cultivation of new ideas and exciting projects. The online platform allows for everyday people to contribute financially or “pledge” to projects of their choosing and see them come to life. Projects vary in size and scope with a focus on the constructive spheres of music, film, art, technology, design, food and publishing.

Not being about lending money or investing, creators keep 100% ownership and in turn offer special promotions, gifts, rewards or experiences to “pledgers” depending on amount pledged and project type. Ranging from 3D printers to recording artists, product developers and theatre groups, a donor can pledge almost any amount to any project with a specific reward given back as a result.

Taking an “all or nothing” approach, each project must reach its funding goal in order for money to exchange hands. In other words, “sponsors” will not get charged until the project is successfully funded. By doing this, Kickstarter provides protection to its participants and creators.

New ideas are introduced through a project highlight page where creators post videos, documents, images and anything pertinent to explain the idea and encourage potential donors to pledge money. There are limits though and not every idea or project is accepted on the Kickstarter platform.

Gone are the days of hefty interest rates on a business loan or giving up your heart and soul to an investor who wants more equity, Kickstarter allows the idea and creators to take centre stage, changes the game for raising funds and helps keep creativity at the heart of a growing online community.

EVO Canada Cares – where innovation and community come together

Wednesday, 16 February, 2011

We all dream of philanthropic pursuits, but often lack of time and resources get in the way of giving back to the community. Current challenging economic times have also put pressure on financial resources available to fund local projects, community outreach programs and special causes. At EVO Canada, we understand these limitations and like you, always look for ways to do more, which is why we launched the EVO Cares program.

Since it’s inception we have seamlessly helped our customers give back to their communities in a low cost, hassle free, streamlined way. Through a simple referral program, EVO Canada will donate a minimum of $500 to your charity.
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Over the last year we have been fortunate enough to donate to organizations of all shapes and sizes, from the Canadian Red Cross to the MS Society of Canada and even less known community based organizations such as the L’Association Pour un Maroc Meilleur and Troupe Crème Brulee musical comedy. No charity or cause is too big or small as EVO Canada strives to proactively give back to our communities each year.

Contact EVO Canada Cares’ Josh Sorensen at 1-877-355-2082, extension 2964, and find out how your business can take a few small steps to make a difference in your community today!