Audits affect all sectors in some shape or form. These exist to protect consumers and merchants, they are therefore extremely important, despite the fact they can sometimes cause a few eyes to roll. At Cardstream however, we ungrudgingly intend for security to be absolute. Aside from our broad range of fraud prevention technology, we make sure that we are ahead of the curve in regards to PCI DSS compliance to keep merchants processing safely. To that end, I’d like to inform you of new PCI DSS guidelines that are coming in. PCI DSS 3.1 will be retired in October of this year making way for PCI DSS 3.2. Cardstream are here to inform you on these changes we’ve been accommodating since its announcement.
Multifactor Authentication – This is now a mandatory request for non-console administrative access where previously it was only necessary for remote access to a system. Multifactor authentication is the act of providing two forms of identification as necessary access to the system as opposed to just one. This can be in different forms of ID, such as biometrics, passwords or smart cards. A password in itself is now insufficient.
TLS 1.1 Change – Due to feedback and the PCI SSC’s understanding of the payments industry; they identified that the original date for the TLS 1.1 migration (June 2016) was not ideal. In PCI DSS 3.2 that date has been expanded to accommodate a longer migration period, therefore TLS 1.1 will now need to be in place by June 2018. Cardstream will be following suit.
Penetration Testing – In line with incoming standards, service providers are now expected to perform penetration testing every six months, instead of every year, this is sub-requirement 22.214.171.124. The testing routine 11.3.4 has been added to ensure the testing is completed by a qualified internal or external third party. Penetrating testing is the attempt of a party to identify, by attempted infiltration, any problems in the service provider’s security.
Ongoing Monitoring – Requirement 10.8 and sub-requirement 10.8.1 are being introduced in the standard’s framework. These requirements expect service providers to detect and report all failures on critical security control systems. The purpose of this is for companies to provide a system that alerts them when critical controls fail: without this companies may find issues can go unnoticed and become cracks in the system that attackers could infiltrate.
Also being brought to people’s attention with PCI DSS 3.2 is the need to stop using outdated and unsupported software in the CDE (Cardholder Data Environment). This is because when patches are brought out for security, for example into Windows XP, that patch won’t reach that software, making the system potentially penetrable.
These are some of the bigger PCI DSS 3.2 changes that are being bought in and Cardstream are fully prepared for this transition. Please see our shiny new PCI DSS 3.2 certificate here.
For any information about Cardstream security and additional fraud checking services, or to just to poke around for details about our gateway, why not give us a call on 0845 00 99 575? A member of the Cardstream team will be ready to answer any questions you may have.
Being prepared is something that was always drummed into me as a child. From the enchanting Lion King song from the villainous Scar, being a Cub Scout and their famous motto ‘Be Prepared’ to my own parents urging me to ‘plan for every contingency’ when it came to exams. Even the hedgehogs crossing the road chirping merrily ‘Staying Alive’ by the Bee-Gees (“Stop, Look and Go!”) in road safety adverts. By being cautious and having a plan-b you can remedy any shortcomings of plan-a. Cardstream are a pragmatic bunch and realise the importance of mitigating risk, and in terms of a payment facility, minimising downtime. Of course our gateway has 99.9% uptime, so there is such little outage it’s not even worth mentioning, around seven minutes planned maintenance over the spread of 365 days.
But of course, your entire payment facility isn’t hosted by Cardstream. We give you the gateway and can connect you to multiple acquirers. We have absolute faith in all of our acquiring partners, but sadly there is some downtime that can’t be foreseen. It’s important in the event someone isn’t prepared, that you are.
Cardstream are an independent Payment Gateway. That means we work with all of the UK merchant account providers and some within Europe too. So when you join Cardstream, you have at your disposal the opportunity to put multiple merchant accounts in place, spreading your risk. Due to our independent position, Cardstream are in a unique place to get rates for your back-up merchant account. If one merchant account provider goes down, you can carry on. Stability and consistency are important to a business. To organise a quote for a new merchant account call 08450 00 99 575 or email [email protected] and someone will be ready to help you set-up your back-up merchant account.
The swinging 60s. Revolution was at the heart of these years. Technology and the zeitgeist were evolving, music was evolving and retail was evolving. It’s all connected. At a time when the identity of Britain is something that people are presently debating, it seems appropriate to look back at some other defining events in our history. One such event is the introduction of the plastic to the UK: the beginning of the age of the credit card.
How old is the Credit Card?
Outside of the UK, the Diner’s card had started to take hold as an idea and a payment method. In February 1950 it launched and a year later there were 20,000 Diner Club cardholders; this was in New York after a soon-to-be founder embarrassingly forgot their wallet at a restaurant. The function of this card was for travel and entertainment, much like other cards that would begin to emerge, they too had to be repaid in full at the end of the month. MasterCard had ideas like a credit card as early as 1946, but Diner’s Club set this perpetual wheel in motion. Cards up to 1959 were all cardboard or celluloid!
The age of the Credit Card is 50 years as of the 29th of June 2016 for Britain. Which means that credit cards were released in the same year that England won the world cup. It truly was a busy time for England. They were given something to celebrate and the means to fund the celebrations as 1.25 million plastics cards were sent by Barclays to their customers from June the 29th. Barclays were ahead of the game and the credit card revolution for Britain had begun.
Barclay’s objective was apparently to “reduce the use of cash in shopping and other transactions and the scheme is designed to appeal not only to those who must travel and spend a good deal of money in restaurants but also to the everyday shopper throughout the country.” Barclay’s biggest competitors didn’t yet have an answer for this for half a decade.
Once Barclay’s new credit card project had launched their customer base quickly grew before the competitors could begin to enter the market. In fact, 1.7 million of these cards were already in circulation before Access, now not in circulation, was released by a team of high street bank competitors. The age of the credit card was well underway. However, the limits were vastly different to what they have now. In 1966 the credit limit was only £100 and you could only borrow for one month, the interest rate was 1.5% and only 27,000 outlets accepted the card across the UK.
People have been applying for their credit cards for over 5 decades, making them nearly as old as The Beatles (who performed their last UK concert in this year) and just like The Beatles, it’s gone on to shape the culture of the following half century. In keeping with the more liberal movement, credit cards helped to disassemble barriers women had to purchasing whimsically as other credit methods at the time required a male guarantor. Compare to now, I have to ask the girlfriend to get a pair of trainers on credit! Maybe we owe more to the age of the credit card than we think.
Of course, the credit card itself it still evolving, as retail and technology change, so do us all. We now have virtual credit cards that allow us to pay for goods without opening our purse or getting out of our chair. Our generation have extraordinary freedom in their credit and purchasing, we can buy music from today and from decades before us. From jewellery purchases to charitable donations, credit, and credit technology give us the ability to change our own appearances and change the world around us. Here’s to another 50 years of evolution.
Technology cannot be grown. You can’t plant it and pluck it a few weeks later. It takes development and expertise, time and financial investment. How much better it would be to simply have another person do all the hard work and then you rebrand it for your own distribution. This is a process referred to as white labelling and it is used in a variety of sectors, for example:
• Supermarkets – for goods such as cereals, biscuits, crisps or other goods;
• cloud technologies;
• electronics; and most relevantly
• Payment gateways.
By rebranding an existing solution you have the benefit of having an already advanced and market moulded technology available to offer your clients. The Cardstream white labelling solution is particularly turn-key. You can have a solution ready for your business to resell in a fortnight as soon as negotiations are finalised. What has taken Cardstream nearly two decades to produce is yours to profit from within a fractionally short time frame. If you need a new function for your existing gateway product, then your company won’t need to develop it: we do, sparing you the expense and culpability in the process. Stay functionally relevant without lifting a finger, except maybe to tick a box.
ISO’s and Other Companions
Independent Sales Organisations are level-headed and aggressive in marketing folk, never one to turn down a lucrative opportunity. We know 85% of them white label a payment gateway. It compliments their existing product. Further to this, they are missing out on income by not taking advantage of a payment gateway. Some other examples of companies that could potentially be either missing out on or complimented by their own white label solution could include: ticketing companies; companies that process large volumes of memberships; website design companies that want to provide an entire e-commerce solution to their clients or any other business that feels having some money per transaction through their website is something worth investing in.
Reseller solutions especially fit-in businesses such as the above as it provides a more holistic solution for your business. It becomes sticky as the entire solution would be provided by your company. Such as you processing the tickets and not missing out the costs that would usually go to your payment provider, garnering more funds per transaction.
Which to Choose?
Each gateway is unique. They’re unique in technology, attitude, agenda and aesthetics. We’re all established and successful as a result of our investments in these aspects. And hats off because we all do our own thing and we do it well. Choosing a gateway as a merchant is complex. But choosing a platform upon which to run an entire business is more complex. Cardstream hope to make their gateway simple, cost effective and tailored towards white labelling. Being independent from an acquiring bank perspective means that we have solid relationships in the UK merchant banking space and can therefore board any company with a UK (or European) merchant account. Being so heavily invested in white labelling means that our platform is engineered with this exact business model in mind. Even been to a tailor? We are the tailors. Our gateway is that perfect shirt that fits just right.
Cardstream also have other aspects of their gateway that are designed for the accommodation of a white label solution. For example our range of shopping cart modules that will help to board clients from a large range of e-commerce platforms, such as integrations with the giant Shopify and popular WordPress plugins.
A Harmonious Working Relationship
Cardstream have quite a few pairs of ears at work, ears that are planted firmly to the ground. Our dedicated team and Account Managers work closely with our reseller partners. You are guaranteed a phone call during working hours to help with any issue with no automated voice intermediates, a ring or two and you’re through. Additionally you are guaranteed an email response to any enquiries within an hour, but usually within a handful of minutes. We give you the attention that is essential to any working relationship. Our objectives are set by the requirements of our partners too. You don’t always necessarily need to ask, if we notice trends in the requests of our partners, we develop accordingly.
To rebrand Cardstream’s Payment Gateway has a low set-up cost and rebranding fees. Your needs as a company are evaluated with a personal Strategic Channel Manager who will work closely with you to develop a relationship and white label solution that is mutually beneficial to all parties and something you can trust in.
It’s common for authors to over-state or labour the point in their titles to grab the reader’s attention. After all, we as people like to draw attention to our best bits and keep people’s focus there. Overstating them if you will. Except that’s not the case here. Cardstream is unique. It’s humble in serving its merchants and partners. It’s agenda confluences with its customers’ and it cares. We develop according to demand, by listening to what you have to say. We try to behave as if we are the best payment gateway.
You can’t run a technology company as large and connected as ours on fair heart alone. It takes time and money investment to become the best payment gateway. You want to be on our side because of what we can offer you. Say you ran a hotel. You want to make sure that your demographic isn’t restricted to one particular type of person, else they may be put off by your décor or room sizes etc. We’re all familiar with Basil at Fawlty Towers and how he strives to allow only the poshest patriots into his hotel, ostracising his clients in the process. Cardstream have spent over two decades developing a Solution that accepts a diverse a range of merchants and partners as possible. From High Risk merchants to Low Risk, from local businesses to non UK merchants, from the smallest charities to larger corporations. This is a technical endeavour as well as the result of the tireless relationship building we manage. How have we made this possible?
First and foremost; Cardstream is an independent Payment Gateway. This here means that we work with all of the UK merchant banks and operate with some in Europe too. There are several advantages to this: we can board any UK business that approaches us with a MID, regardless of previous gateway; we can contact a larger range of acquirers to help our merchants get a new MID, increasing the chance of a high-risk business getting an account and helping to keep merchant account rates down; the ability to spread risk by having multiple MIDs connected to the same gateway, avoiding any potential processing problems if one account becomes unavailable. Using these same relationships we can indirectly assist with services we don’t provide, such as card machines and IVR systems.
Secondly we have a Price Guarantee, meaning that Cardstream cannot be beaten on price for the Payment Gateway. Combine this with the more cost effective fees you are likely to get from a merchant account through Cardstream, you could potentially have an unparalleled pricing scheme helping in the search for the best payment gateway for your site; cost is important too. Under the price guaranteed tariff, you would have access to the services you would expect from the best payment gateway: a virtual terminal, a payment gateway and a pay button. You are free to investigate all of these services Cardstream provide by asking for access to our Test Accounts. The integration page gives a great deal of information, including guides on our iframes, Hosted and Direct Integrations, all of which are responsive. Perfect for viewing on devices of any size.
What seems like the most adverse competition in the forms of ‘Off the Shelf’ solutions such as PayPal and Shopify can be beaten out on pricing. To some SMEs where every penny counts, the best payment gateway will be the one which doesn’t deduct the most pennies or pounds from their transactions. Speed of set-up may be a factor, but Cardstream can also do fast. With our large range of acquirers we can quickly return a quote to you to begin an application within two working days. We of course support PayPal too, by using Cardstream there’s no conflict in decision between the two popular choices.
One of the biggest endeavours of Cardstream is to be a provider for white-label solutions, which we’ve put ourselves in a strong position to accommodate. We’ve managed this by developing a large range of integrations with leading providers in e-commerce and partnering with all of the UK Acquiring Banks. This means companies looking for a rebranded Payment Gateway should find it easy to add this new product to their existing range of services.
Some other super services we offer include: the much sought after Recurring Transactions for all you subscription or contract based business out there; free and unlimited tokenisation; 3D Secure function; a dedicated support team and account manager, available with no delay or voice direction and an email Support service that is very quick in response.
We are, of course, PCI DSS Level 1 Certified. Security, price competency, excellent customer service, technical support and integration. That’s a pretty good package for only £18 a month.
Google helps me to manage a big chunk of my life. Their technology developments always reshape the way I do things. I’m talking about Gmail, Google Drive, Google Maps, Forms, the search engine and the list goes on. More free technology than I know what to do with. Google has now added payments to the list of ways they support my lifestyle with Android Pay. I use Chrome to check social media and do my shopping. Then I use Android Pay to pay for it. With reflection, it could be argued that my life would be less convenient without Google. Certainly less holistic. So, what does Google’s payment technology bring to the virtual table?
Android Pay was released on May the 18th and development of this for our merchants and partners is already well underway so that the good people of Britain may begin using this exciting feature. This potentially increases brand loyalty and decreases abandoned carts on your website. Android Pay will sit alongside other popular payment options we will support, such as PayPal and MasterPass.
Why should you want Android Pay?
If you’re like me and live in the UK, you will notice that we were quite bereft of online wallet payment options on our Android platforms. Meaning we still paid for our cheeky Nandos with cards made from plastic, a rather archaic pollutant that for over a century, est 1907, we haven’t been able to move on from. And I don’t know about you, but I want to pay with my phone to impress the attractive person in the queue behind me. Major Banks such as Lloyds, HSBC and Nationwide etc. understand this imperative too and so are backing the scheme. Thanks lads. Of course it’s not just to look flashy. It has practical applications too.
For those of us who are not brand loyalists and shop centred on pricing and convenience, you often find that you have quite a few loyalty cards as a result. For example I have Match and More, Nectar, Club Card, also Boots, Game and Subway cards. It can be a bit fumbly at the checkout trying to navigate through these all, especially with the person behind you tapping their foot, eager to complete their own shopping. Well, with Android Pay the system will incorporate your reward schemes automatically to the payment, saving time and centralising your cards to one secure environment.
Android Pay Security
Security options do depend on your platform, but biometrics, particularly thumb/fingerprint, are the most popular methods of device accessing right now for devices that support it. Fortunately my thumbprint is quite constant, whereas sometimes my brain forgets things, amongst the most consequential are passwords and anniversaries. So Android Pay will be protected by the biometrics of now and the future. In the event you have a device such as S7 Edge then you can take advantage of biometrics, if you have an older device then Android Pay is still an application that you can use. However you must take advantage of a passcode to protect your account. The newer devices can use either. Horses for courses.
Cardstream and Android Pay
It is our objective to be one of the first gateways to support this awesome new platform, giving an element of exclusivity to Cardstream. Why not read more about the Cardstream Android Pay Integration? Don’t miss out and contact us to get live in time to offer your clients this payment option. If you are a developer you will find the Google Developers page a useful link to download guides and other resources. Watch this space as more payment methods will be added in the future, ensuring your gateway is progressive and accommodating.
WordPress is a big deal. Would you like to know how much of a big deal it is? It powers 25% of the internet. That’s billions of pages. 60.5 million new comments appear each month on WordPress. We are, after all, a talkative bunch. So why is it so popular? I’ll walk you through it.
Firstly, WordPress is a well-managed system, we know this because it releases updates every day, this shows that their ear is firmly to the ground as they attempt to continually develop. One way they could do learn about necessary systemic changes is by attending their forums and building based on the activity within. Of course forums are a great place to troubleshoot amongst a community and also projects expand as a result of having a community involved.
WordPress is both front and back end customisable, this means that your website is, in every sense that matters, yours to do what you want with. If you want it to be upside-down and be covered in pictures of watercress then you’re in luck. Of course if you wanted something more conventional, then WordPress offer a massive range of templates for you to choose from. This could considerably save you time on web-design and the templates will be of a good standard, so you can be confident in your website’s new look. Further to this, if you have an existing website, then you can map it to your new WordPress one, whilst this comes at a fee, you then won’t have to double up on domains.
What else is good about WordPress? Well, it’s free. Free is arguably within most people’s budget. On top of being free, it offers a huge range of plugins and widgets to spice up your site and assist in effective management of it. Some examples could include the first ever WordPress plug-in ‘Hello Dolly’. The function of which is to supply a line from the song ‘Hello Dolly’ on each of your WordPress administration pages. More functionally useful plugins could include things like Jetpack, which is a page management tool, telling you how many visits you’ve had to your site; informs you of downtime; automatically optimizes and speeds up images using the global WordPress.com content delivery network and a centralised dashboard for your admin tools. Or perhaps Buddy Press, a plugin that generates a social network. Or WordPress Video Player, which aids in the simple embedding of video media into your site.
WordPress is extensible and popular, an ideal place to start producing your website. For people hoping to build an e-commerce store, the omnipresent WooCommerce module may be a good place to start, a hugely versatile plug-in to WordPress merchants may use to start their e-commerce venture. Cardstream offer their own in house-supported module of WordPress, saving you doubling up on communication when facing any technical problems. Links for the download and GitHub page are below.
The date is May 21st 2015 and the BBC have just released an interesting article (and then so did I), debit and credit card payments have now overtaken that of cash payments. The significance of the outsizing is apparent and the implication of it is this: if you’re not taking payments online, then you’re missing out on money to your organisation; and get this “Cash volumes are expected to fall by 30% over the next 10 years”. So as time goes on more customer opportunities to an organisation will also increase in the digital world, whilst cash usage adopts a nasty looking ski slope-esque motif on data graphs.
What does a business do? Sure, it could get a card machine, but digital payments to organisations don’t all happen in-store, in fact a great many occur on the internet: ecommerce. Let’s look at the main options for taking payments online:
Wire transfers are considered unsafe if the persons involved don’t know each other due to the anonymity factor. These can be used for illegal or fraudulent activities. With everything else though, Cardstream have got your back. What’s more, we don’t actually charge per payment option. Our one month tariff covers all of these options for helping your business take payments online. But behind the ingenious technology we’ve designed and produced to help you, you need a merchant account too. A merchant account is a banking facility whose role it Is to move funds from your clients bank, into your own business bank. Cardstream have relationships with all of these banking services in the UK and are able to refer to any one of them for an account for your business. Our independent relationship with the merchant banks allows a quotes to be built that may be lower than if you were to approach the company individually. You may also hear the merchant banks referred to as an acquiring bank or a merchant acquirer.
For only £18 a month and a small transaction fee, you could begin taking payments online for your business by debit and credit cart and have free Support and Advice from professionals at Cardstream.
The future is only ever full of development, sometimes we can predict it and other times the driving force is super elusive. But we move along in the passenger’s seat regardless, knowing or trying to guess where we end up. Of course some people are better at making predictions than others, with research we can make informed guesses from market trends or where the consumer is pointing. One of the best ways to do this is, arguably, by looking at the past. So here’s an informative e-toast to 2015 and a speculative welcome to 2016.
Change the Channel
Ecommerce is a vast virtual city. The roads are search engines, the shops are representations: it is littered with advice and discussion. It is littered with convenience and transparency. Yet despite some major points in the favour of online payment to retail payment, the high-street still massively outsizes us. There is something about being present, being able to look at goods in 3 glorious dimensions from suppliers that seem more trustworthy, if only because they have a shop front. This isn’t to say that e-commerce is dwindling. In 2015’s second quarter alone, reports revealed that e-commerce retail increased by 14.1 percent since its 2014 counterpart. Oppositely store retail increased by a relatively small margin of 1.0%. But this isn’t a war and there’s no friction between the two, they co-exist, even better they promote and build each-other. Ideas of ‘Unified Commerce’ are predominant (the idea of many channels of the same company sharing data and resources), they can feed each other. For example exclusive in-store promotions when you spend £40 online. Which may be why holistic customer experiences, such as same day delivery are being offered. The customer experiences the same catering as being in store, i.e. instant access to their purchase. 2015 Ecommerce saw delivery times and prices being pressed down and even delivery services joint together with retailers to feed the consuming public in a short a time period as possible. Which may be why one study of 65 million transactions found that 75% of transactions online are given a 5 Star review, the internet, it seems, is a more positive place then we think.
So we know that 2015 was a time for consumer orientated development, with drives to facilitate greater detail in product specification and transparency. M-commerce is another example of an increase in technological demand, our blog early last year reported various predictions about 2015 m-commerce growth. Well as mobile technology and retail confluence, the barriers for e-commerce in 2016 will continue to drop off. Developments such as biometrics for security, larger screens and greater website functionality all help in the m-commerce experience. Which may be why the m-commerce growth is projected to be an exponential 42%, this is comparative to the e-commerce growth as earlier referenced (14.1%). These figures may balance out in the future, or one may gain more sway on the other, but this depends largely on the Smartphone. However with there now being a stunning 2 billion mobile users worldwide, it is an area I feel confident in saying is a key area for development.
Here’s what an info-graphic kindly given by Remarkety has to say on Ecommerce 2015 insights, facts, figures and geography:
Please check out their great and informative website and some of their recommended services:
For those of you who didn’t get a Smartwatch for Christmas and haven’t spent the subsequent few days repeating ‘Okay Google’ and side-swiping at your wrist: baffling less technologically savvy members of the generation before us, I’ll describe what a Smartwatch is, what it does and who does it.
There has been a real take-off in Smartwatches in Ecommerce 2015, in the second quarter Apple sold 3.6 million watches worldwide. Which means they have a 20% share of the wearable technology market, the larger chunk is owned by Fitbit who don’t quite have the function or capabilities that Apple, Samsung devices etc may have to offer, due to them being geared towards a different audience. This means that Apple essentially dominate the first wave or generation of Smartwatch sales.
Why should you get one? Well, the truth is that they’re trendy, functional and convenient. They’re not essential to the use of your everyday communication management, but they help. They’re probably less distracting whilst at your desk than trying to sneak a glance at your phone. Just rotate your wrist and you can see your most recent text or social media prompt. Like Fitbit watches, they track your fitness, I now feel answerable to a watch for my physical well-being. You have an alarm on your wrist, something you’re unlikely to miss if it’s vibrating. You can read and send texts by voice or a button press, saving you trawling through menus and typing. They have templates you can take advantage of pre-installed. The function range depends on the watch, its operating system and the device it’s paired to, but it really makes a great accompaniment to your arsenal of mobile technology.
ApplePay is an awesome reason to get a Smartwatch, with supporting stores or venues you can take advantage of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology by placing your watch against the compatible card reader. Snazzy. Which brings us neatly to our next topic.
Android and Samsung to Join the Fray
With the current monopoly Apple have over the Smartwatch market it is inevitable the rival companies will want a slice of the Apple pie. So in the wake Android and Samsung Pay are going to be coming to the UK. This is big news for android users who have been waiting eagerly to follow the example of the Apple consumers and pay on the go, from the wrist. Whilst we don’t have specific dates, speculation is rife and just because they may be late to the party, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t be able have as much fun. It will depend on the platform and devices from which they operate evolve, the wallets functionality, security, ease of access and just how charming the interface is.
Such payment providers will be expected to comply with the new PSD2 (Payment Service Directives) 2016 instructions. Number 2 is an initiative which seeks to allow such services to be permitted access to cardholder’s banks, this will remove some barriers technology may be facing at the moment. In exchange they have to undergo checks and security usually reserved and imposed more strictly on payment gateways such as Cardstream and other similar institutions.
Your Friendly Neighbourhood Payment Gateway
Well we’ve spoken in some detail about the customer experience, the face of their ecommerce future in 2016. What about the Cardstream future? Well we have only gone and integrated with MasterPass for our merchants and resellers. You can expect this to be released in the kick-off to the New Year, there’s even news articles about our new partnership:
As always we will keep our ears pressed firmly to the ground and mould our service over 2016 to keep it current and ensure our gallant strides continue in the right direction. Watch this space as our list of integrations and developments expands. If you are new to Cardstream or E-commerce generally, why not contact us in 2016 to see how we can assist your business and help it grow.
Happy New Year.
For further details on anything discussed, please see sources below
Remember that time the UK had a bountiful harvest and then created a holiday celebrating it? No? But America did in 1621 and they called it Thanksgiving, Britain being the multicultural foster parents we are, want a piece of that pie. Except not that bit, because that would involve eating turkey twice a year, we actually want to join in on Black Friday, which is to not have a piece of that pie and eat it anyway. But, what is Black Friday and more importantly, who benefits?
Black Friday is the kick off to shopping season, the beginning of the Christmas period, unofficially, and the ideal time to get the goods. This is because it is the last public holiday before Christmas, although the honorary Remembrance Day should be observed, and if we can’t celebrate celebrating Christmas (definitely a celebration in itself), well what can we celebrate? Therefore in the build up to Christmas a frenzied spending day of deals and discounts is in order to make Christmas kinder on the wallet. So, that’s what it is. Well, who benefits from Black Friday?
Good question, and the answer isn’t an easy one. But maybe some statistics will help us find out. I can tell you that the UK is to hit 1 billion pounds within one day of sales for the first time in history, so that definitely sounds like a good thing. The UK economy getting a 1 billion pound investment. Last year’s £810  million has had a gigantic 25% dropped on top of it. The population of Britain may have increased by only 0.5%, an indication that more people are getting involved and those of us who were already involved are spending more also. So a rise in popularity is definitely noticeable. On average over Black Friday 2014, we charged down the aisles, both virtually and physically, spending at a rate of £9,375 every single second. Phew! I bet the stores made some profit out of that, I bet ASDA sold a lot of Orange Juice. I bet they’ll do the same again this year. Nope. It turns out consumer spending doesn’t necessarily equate to profit.
I Predict a Riot
According to an interesting article from the Guardian , ASDA did not have a good time last year. Aside from not making a profit, selling more TVs than bottles of orange juice and having 2 million sales calls before 8am, they decided to reign it in a bit this year. By this they mean either leave it strictly online or spread the festivities over many days to reduce the tumult. The logistics of Black Friday can be a headache. One must consider additional staff members, security, the cost of the goods they’re buying from the industry and the margin they must purchase them to still turn out a profit despite the discount, and extensive additions to their computers for data handling, unsociable hours and the very real possibility of catching a stray left hook trying to break up two people who really want a discounted camera so they can take Black Friday selfies.
It can be considered sensible that ASDA may choose to react in this way. Well are they alone in their decision? No. REI has taken a stand this year and told its staff members, ‘go home and have the day off, furthermore, you’ll be remunerated your usual days’ pay.’ But they’re not alone either. For reasons unbeknownst the Apple Store doesn’t take part in Cyber Monday. An event we’ll touch upon shortly.
So if not all the commercial stores are raking it in, what about the online ones? Well the truth is, yes. Online shopping does fantastically well. Although a server is no different to a store, you can only fit so many people to one hub. So imagine Argos’s surprise when it had 660,000 people visit the online store in one hour last year, although a queue waiting for my item ‘487’ can often feel this long anyway. So some of the major retailers’ websites went down. Even the search team ‘Black Friday’ had tripled in use according to Google . So it seems that online stores benefit, despite maybe a few hiccups.
Do we benefit? Well that’s entirely up to you. It seems that consumers definitely get things cheaper compared to the rest of the year, but would they be inclined to buy another product because of the leftover money they would typically have spent? Would that new product mean you spend more? You’d definitely get value for money in both cases. So it depends on your objective, if you want more for less or you want the same for less and can still afford to heat your house over Christmas, then you’re a winner.
Cyber Monday is the Monday immediately after the Black Friday. It came about when Shop.org realised that “77 percent of online retailers said that their sales increased substantially on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a trend that is driving serious online discounts and promotions on Cyber Monday this year” a 2005 notice. 9 years, a coined term and marketing investment upon marketing investment later online sales grew to a record of $2.68 billion.
Although there is much in common between these two material events, for example the busyness and commercial element. They do vary in these details in themselves. For example, it is an event more geared towards online shopping as opposed to the High Street. What people purchase changes too, for example clothing sells more in comparison to Black Friday, where TVs and beauty products sell.
Plus it looks as though online pandemonium is a lot less physically painful than real pandemonium and we have the internet to attend to us all individually at the same time, something impossible in Walmart at 11am with a human representative during the midst of Black Friday.
This year we expect sales to reach $3 billion on our Cyber Monday globally. Happy spending.