July 31, 2007, 12:00 AM

IRCE 2007: Report from the Conference

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Despite long programming times, Discovery Interactive is pleased with several new alternative payment programs, Kelly Day said. It took four programmers several additional weeks to interface with PayPal, but now 13% of all transactions on Discovery Interactive`s e-commerce site pass through PayPal. "We were incredibly surprised with the results," Day said. Discovery Interactive also is achieving goods results with Bill Me Later from I4 Commerce. Since introducing Bill Me Later as a new billing option last fall, the service now accounts for about 3% of total orders. Alternative payments reduce a merchant`s overall processing costs and give shoppers more purchasing flexibility, Jay DeWitt told attendees. "Alternative payments challenge the status quo," he said. As an enhancement to its alternative payments program, DVD Empire is working with PayPal to attract younger shoppers who want to shop online with a web-enabled handheld device. "They are helping us to reach a demographic we really want," said Alicia Berry.


Knowledge is power
Getting A Better Deal: Negotiating Lower Discount Fees
Derek Kleinow, CEO, TigerGPS.com
Steve Mott, principal, BetterBuyDesign
Greg Worch, senior vice president, national accounts, Chase Paymentech

Knowledge is power when it comes to negotiating a better discount rate, Steve Mott told attendees. Even though payments can be hard to understand, retailers need to take the time to learn the specific terms of their contracts, including how much they are paying for chargebacks and value-added processing fees, to begin negotiating. "You need to get smart fast," Mott said. Derek Kleinow, CEO of TigerGPS, an online retailer of global positioning systems and related gear, said negotiating a better deal also goes beyond just seeking out the lowest processing fees. "Rate is not the only factor," he said. "You have to manage for the overall cost of card acceptance." To obtain a better deal, small merchants can ask potential processors to supply them with an upfront risk assessment and benchmark pricing, said Greg Worch. "Find a payments processor who understands your business," he said. "Benchmark your organization versus your peers."


Meeting the standard
Complying with the New Card Company Security Rules
Dave Glaser, vice president, professional services, CyberSource Corp.
Scott Sweren, national practice manager, Fortrex Technologies Inc.
Steve Weiskircher, vice president of information technology, Crutchfield Corp.

Merchants shouldn`t underestimate the time and cost needed to remain fully compliant with Payment Card Industry data security standards, said Steve Weiskircher. The PCI standards from Visa and MasterCard are requirements for the handling of credit card information. Crutchfield has spent about $230,000 to remain in compliance. The company spent $70,000 on an intrusion detection system and $20,000 on a visitor management system. Crutchfield began studying PCI standards compliance early on, but as late as 2005 still had trouble getting basic answers on deadlines and auditing procedures. "There was a lack of available information at the start," Steve Weiskircher said. Failure to comply with PCI standards can also be costly, Scott Sweren told attendees. "Visa assigned fines of $4.6 million in 2006," he said. "All PCI programs and procedures must be well documented." As an alternative, third-party software can provide flexibility and security in satisfying PCI requirements, said Dave Glaser. "An automated program eliminates manual data handling," he said.


A bite out of crime
Web Security: Identifying and Avoiding the Scam Artists
Julie Fergerson, vice president, Debix Inc.
Timothy Laudenbach, credit risk manager, Best Buy Co.
Martine Niejadlik, senior director of risk detection, PayPal

Most retailers have adequate safeguards to protect against fraud. But criminals are sophisticated at stealing personal information and merchants must look for new ways to improve their fraud detection system and screen the results. "The crooks are getting smarter," Julie Fergerson, founder of the Merchant`s Risk Council and vice president of Debix Inc. told IRCE 2007 attendees. Criminals are becoming adept at creating fake Internet protocol addresses and using real names to create realistic, but false, e-mail addresses to commit fraud. Retailers can troubleshoot problems by looking even more closely at data from their address verification, order screening and card verification systems. Manual reviews, while a bother to customers, also help to spot potential fraud. "Lots of little warnings alone might not mean anything, but closely scrutinizing the combined results might signal a bigger potential problem," said PayPal senior director of risk detection Martine Niejadlik. "Criminals know what to target."

Workshop: Designing Retail
Web Sites That Sell
June 7, 2007


Think like a customer
The Latest Concepts in Retail Site Design
Harold Ferrari, sr. mgr., e-commerce, Interstate Batteries
Howard Kaplan, VP, marketing, Future Now
Neil Clemmons, SVP, strategy, Critical Mass

The redesigned InterstateBatteries.com includes dynamic breadcrumbs that show visitors how they got to the current page. "If they realize they made a wrong choice three steps ago and chose Makita Tools when they meant Milwaukee, they can click back to that point," said Harold Ferrari. Other features added were context-sensitive tags that adjust content according to the path the customer took, and dynamic HTML menus that save site real estate.

Connect to both the emotional and functional needs of your customer, advised Neil Clemmons. Different types of customers should see different content. Information and tutorials about complex products can help upsell customers, he said.

Howard Kaplan suggested keeping technology specialists out of early design discussions while marketers hammer out a selling strategy. "Once you know how people want to buy," Kaplan said, "the technology people are more likely to solve the problem."


Can I see inside?
Making Rich Media A Rich Source of Sales
Jeff Schueler, president, Usability Sciences Corp.
Craig Horsley, web site operations manager, JC Penney Co.
Tari Huddleston, sr. mgr., e-business, The Home Depot Inc.

Jeff Schueler said zoom was the favorite feature in a recent Usability Sciences study of five rich media implementations, found helpful by 76% of testers, followed by rotate (59%), color changes (54%) and video (38%).

The top rated of the five implementations was a grill selector from Home Depot that lets visitors search by brand, fuel type and features. Clicking on a grill expands the image, and there are audio and video explanations of features. One negative: you can`t look under the cover of all grills. "People always want to be able to look inside something," Schueler said.

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