Posts Tagged ‘payment service provider’

5 Essentials for Moving Your Business Online

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Online BusinessWhat with the internet getting so big and popular and all, it has reached the point where having a business and having a website is basically synonymous. If you don’t have a website, unless you are a market stall, you don’t have a business…or at least, you are not making the most of it.

So to get your business online, you obviously need a website. This is just the beginning though. Too many businesses phone up the first website company they come across, give them some colour scheme and accept what they are given. They then throw their products in and hit ‘Go Live’. Then they sit back and wait for the orders to start piling up in their inbox.

Unfortunately for them there is so much more to it. They may as well not have bothered if they are not willing to spend a lot more time and energy making it the best it can be. There is just so much competition out there that websites need to be of a high calibre to make any impact or provide any return on investment.

Worthwhile Content

The first and most essential element of all is worthwhile content. You can spend £10,000 on your website design and development but if you don’t invest in providing useful, user friendly, valuable information then it will all have been a waste. Ecommerce sites for example need to not only provide pictures and prices; they need high quality images, good solid descriptions and detailed price breakdowns.

A Unique Online Selling Point

Another essential element is a unique selling point. This is something that makes your business stand out online ahead of your competitors. While your existing business may have one in place, this may not do so well online. Good online selling points are things like ‘Free Shipping’ and ‘Free Returns’.

Security

People are very aware of their vulnerability online. This means that anything that seems unsafe, especially when their credit card details are concerned will make them run a mile. You need your site to look professional, be free of adverts (where possible) or any pop-ups and offer reassuring information like your physical address and a phone number. Furthermore, how are you processing payments? This certainly has to be secure and brings about the issue of payment gateways and which payment service provider is right for you and your customers.

On Page Credit Card Gateway

Sticking with reassuring customers and payments; sending them to an external site to take their card details is a major turn off, so it is essential that you nip this in the bud now by immediately applying an online credit card gateway that can be used from the checkout seamlessly.

SEO Services

Finally, search engine optimisation is not technically essential, but you won’t get much traffic quickly without a professional casting their eye over your site and explaining what you need to do to be as attractive as possible to search engines and your customers.

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Why Do Computer Hackers Do What They Do?

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

Shadowy Hand over KeyboardIt seems like every day at the moment, that there is the report of a new group of computer hackers, or an existing one that hasn’t been caught yet, breaking into and disrupting the online activity of a large corporation or online firm. They might cause it to slow down, they might steal data or they might cause it to shut down all together. But for what reasons do they go to all this effort, especially when money is not a goal?

Look at the latest claim by a group of hackers called LulzSec which says that it managed to bring down the public section of the CIA’s website: CIA.gov. There were reports from various news agencies that the website did appear to be inaccessible for parts of Wednesday (15th June 2011) and the group Tweeted the message: “Tango down – cia.gov – for the lulz”. LulzSec claim that it used a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack, which floods the target server with inbound requests until it crashes. This was not there first target either as they have been responsible for several major online attacks this year already and have been raising the profile of hacker groups along with others such as a group called, ‘Anonymous’. Who in fact may be the same group or at least be made up of many or some of the same members.

Political ‘Hacktivists’

Of course there are hackers who will use their skills for evil (i.e. stealing stuff) but LulzSec and Anonymous are both activists. Their efforts are largely aimed at companies and corporations who they believe have not acted in the best interests of citizens or consumers. This is of course disputed by the companies or corporations involved in every instance, but the groups have exposed flaws in the security of some companies and brought websites to a grinding halt because they believe they have done wrong.  They have also been part of political movements like their support for the people of Iran after allegation of vote rigging and subsequent demonstrations and riots, where the government tried to censor news online.

Prestige

While the work of these groups is often altruistic, there must be an element of prestige sought by these groups. Being able to present themselves and their actions on a global scale must be a thrill especially as repercussions can include arrest. Some will argue that their efforts are just a bunch of geeks causing chaos there will always be just as many people happy to see that someone is ‘fighting the good fight’ for people online.

Whatever your opinion on hackers and their actions they are certainly set to be a bigger part of global life in the future. Let’s hope they mostly use their powers for good.

Are you concerned about your online security?

At Lancore we always ensure that our clients have the best security measures in place for our payment processing services. Security here is vital and as a leading payment service provider we know the best secure methods for your site and will always be on hand to guide you through them.

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Who has the Next Big Mobile App for Your Business?

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

Do you have a Twitter account for your business? Chances are that you probably do (if you don’t, you should) because you heard that along with other social media applications, For any business selling online, having a good payment service provider isn’t enough to get the profits flowing into your site. Twitter is a great way for you to interact directly with your customers and to show that your business is a forward thinking tech savvy entity.

Now what you may not know is that Twitter launched all the way back in 2007 and had its big break at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive festival in Texas, a hot pot of opportunity for entrepreneurial developers. They lined up along with all the other hopeful tech start-ups praying that some influential people would see the genius behind their idea. Luckily for them the right people did and started a wave of adoption for their app. Now every corporate hegemony, commercial franchise and corner shop is Twitting, Tweeting and Twooting to great effect every day.

So what is the next big mobile app?

Since Twitter has done so well on the back of this event it stands to reason that maybe the next big app will come out of the same event. Here are some of the names being hollered from the stands at this year’s SXSW:

Hashable – Digital networking tool

This networking tool is described as being the replacement for the business card. This application allows you to post, through a Twitter style sharing platform, everyone who you meet and are introduced to. You can check in with people, track your meetings and calls either publicly or privately. You can swap information just like swapping business cards using their email address or Twitter ID. Plus you can see who your friends are networking with to help expand your network.

This app if it is widely adopted could become very popular very quickly.

Scvngr – Don’t just check in – Interact with your customers in a new fun way

Scvngr (pronounced ‘scavenger’) is on the surface a lot like the check-in functions offered by Foursquare and Facebook, to let people know where you are. What Scvngr does is go a whole lot further. Not only does it allow you to check in to your location, it also offers a new level of interaction.

Let’s say you are a restaurant business and you have signed your business up to Scvngr. Your customer comes into your outlet and checks in. You then offer them things to do at this location. Quick fun things to do which they can complete in order to gain points that add up to a reward of something like a free drink or a discount or whatever you want to offer. All of the things they do are posted online and all improve the notoriety of your business.

Both of these apps are a hot tip for the future and by getting your business signed up soon will give you a good chance of taking advantage of their success and importantly boosting the payment processing capacity of your business.

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What Fundamental Aspect of Your Website is Wrong?

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Website FixWhen a visitor or potential customer arrives at your website for the first time, they form an opinion of your site and your company as a whole in a few seconds. This means that you need to make sure that every element of your homepage (primarily) and all the deeper sections of your site are completely tailored to give your visitor the best emotional response and first impression. Think about the last time you arrived at a site that looked odd, was unappealing, and made you feel awkward in some way…did you stick around? I doubt it. You don’t want to be in their shoes.

One of the key elements that are so often overlooked by people designing their company website is the colour scheme. Every colour has an effect on the emotions of your visitor, which as we have learned, will have an overriding effect on their perception of your company and your brand. A common way to approach the design of a company website is to use the company brand colours. This could be a real problem if your company colours do not emotionally appeal to your web visitors. What you can get away with on a letter head may translate into a colour scheme that scares away online customers.

So what’s best for your website?

Business

With a business or corporate website you generally want to convey that your company is professional, trustworthy and indeed holds an element of power. To give this impression immediately to your visitors, the best colour to use is blue. Blue naturally produces a calming effect and is a common colour used by royalty. Incorporating blue as a major theme in your business website will help visitors see you as an intelligent authority figure, but if you have anything to do with food you may want to use it more sparingly as it acts as an appetite suppressant. This colour scheme coupled with a clear indication of secure payment gateways and professional money transfer services will show your company in a very professional and distinguished light.

E-commerce

When choosing colours for your website if you are basically an online shop, what colour you choose should be decided by what products you sell. For example, if you are selling products for children then you are best to base your colour scheme on red. This colour is proven to catch their eye, is cheerful, energetic and will provoke a positive emotional response. Use sparingly though as red can also be associated with danger.

Use this same theory to pick your colours appropriately and you should be able to get this fundamental element of your website right from the start. Your visitors will be appropriately emotionally charged and, in turn, be more likely to reach one of your websites goals i.e. a sign up or a purchase.

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Get Ready For the Bounce Back After Catastrophic December Retail Figures

Thursday, January 27th, 2011

2011 Profit GrowthStatistics recently announced across the national press have shown just how disastrous both the coldest December in 100 years and the lingering atmosphere of the economic downturn has been for the UK retail sector.

In a depressing report the Office for National Statistics explains how retail sales volumes have overall dropped by 0.8% from November and how the regular December spike in spending basically didn’t happen this year. What’s more, there doesn’t seem to have been a rush by consumers to try and beat the VAT rise which many retailers had hoped would have filled a significant shortfall.

All sectors have been affected too including fuel, clothing, household goods and food so no matter what business you are in; the chances are you have not had a happy December. However, what traditionally happens after a big fall, is a big (or at least a significant) rise in sales, just because people tend to need stuff and will feel more inclined to spend their money when conditions change and retailers lower their prices to entice them back.

So what can you do to make the most of this situation?

Assuming you have a website already (if you don’t, stop reading now and go get one) there are a number of things you can do which will help you capture disaffected customers looking to spend without spending too much. Ensuring that your website has secure payment gateways provided by a respected payment service provider is also critical.

Improve PPC Budget

Pay per click (PPC) is a great way to target highly motivated customers in a place where you can appeal to their desires directly. Basically, paying for a link to appear at the top of search engine results pages for keyphrases which people will be typing in if they want your product cheaply will give you a greater chance of pulling in traffic than by many other means. By increasing your budget in this area you can make sure you are at the top. All you need to do is write an advert that appeals to tired consumers looking to start spending again and keep tweaking it until you get results.

Social Media

Social media is the modern day word-of-mouth, and word-of-mouth is an important way of getting your products out to the right people. By developing a social media marketing portfolio, including Twitter, Facebook etc, and by offering incentives, you can open up a large network of potential customers in a short space of time. Timing your incentive offers just right will help you to ride the wave of consumers flocking back to their traditional spending levels.

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5 Things You Need To Have On Your Ecommerce Homepage

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Ecommerce HomepageOpening an ecommerce website is a lot like opening a high street shop. You can’t just throw all your merchandise on the floor and stick a cashier at the back and open the doors. You need to seduce your customer, you need to offer incentives, you need to make it easy for them to find and move around inside and you need to show off you products effectively.

If you currently have or are currently building an ecommerce store, there are a number of elements which you really should have in there somewhere to give your online business the best possible chance of success.

Translator

If you hope to attract more than just a small percentage of the world to your website you really need to have a simple, obvious and reliable translator in a prominent position on your homepage. This should allow anyone who arrives at your site to instantly translate your page into their language so they can start to interact with you website.

USP

Having a unique selling point is a real must for any ecommerce store. Why should a customer pick your products over your rivals? Are you cheaper? Do you have unique products? Do you deliver after 7pm? Whatever your specialist subject, you need to stamp it front and centre on your homepage so people who arrive immediately think: ‘I’m going to buy from this site because…’

Featured Products

A key thing to include on your homepage is a collection of your best selling or featured products to give customers an idea of what you sell at a glance, to show off your best stuff and to encourage people to click on something to take them deeper into your website and hopefully down your sales path.

Home Button

A very important button to include through your whole site is a ‘home’ button. This can often be replaced with your logo though. Either way this is important to allow people the chance to escape back to the start of your site if they feel they are lost. It is better to let them start again than to trap them as this will only force them to leave and never return.

Clear Navigation

Keeping your navigation on your homepage and throughout your site is incredibly important. If you don’t make your navigation consistent and intuitive you will lose lots of customers. Provide things ‘megamenus’, ‘breadcrumbs’ and a sitemap to allow customers to never be more than a couple of clicks away from any one section of your site.

Quick and Easy Purchase Process

Ok, so this makes six things and it isn’t exactly just about the homepage. The process through which your customers make a purchase is vital none the less. As a payment service provider Lancore knows how vital it is that you can assure your customers of the security and reliability of your payment gateways. It’s important to provide some kind of assurance within the purchase process of how secure your customer’s details are.

Get these all sorted and your site will be heading in the right direction.

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How Important Is Twitter To Your Online Business?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

It all depends on you really…

A recent survey in the US, found that currently, 8% of online Americans use Twitter. The report produced by the Pew Internet & American Life Project is the latest in a line of interesting stats coming out of Twitter this year. This survey of 2,257 US adults carried out in September 2010 highlights (despite the relatively small sample size) the 8% that use it, but more importantly highlights the large amount of people that use it, but only very occasionally.

For a payment service provider such as Lancore, respect in the market is vital and as such social media interaction can allow us to develop alongside potential users of our money transfer services. This same basic model can be extremely useful for the vast majority of online businesses (big and small) in creating the kind of interaction that promotes them in this multi-million user marketplace.

While the US may be seeing a relatively lower than expected usage statistic, but no less impressive, the fact is that the rest of the world makes up the majority of new users. With overall user numbers skyrocketing up to 105million+ since 2006, you can take your finger off the ‘delete twitter account’ button for now. Stats released by Twitter at their developer’s conference back in April should convince you that Twitter is a valuable place to post your information:

  • 300, 000 users added per day
  • 180 million unique visitors daily
  • 3 billion requests a day – meaning a lot of tweets are read
  • 55 million Tweets posted daily
  • 600 million queries on its search engine daily

These stats should give you an idea of just how popular Twitter is. Now the question was: How important is Twitter to you online business? The answer, as I said, depends on you. Basically if you are able to post regularly, provide good unique content or at least link to or re-tweet relevant content for you business, you will eventually grow you followers. With enough followers you business will have a handy platform from which to speak to your customers through a popular and easy to use medium.

Twitter Analytics is a new dashboard coming around the end of 2010. This will give you access to valuable information on your users that can help you track: who has re-tweeted your posts, how often they have re-tweeted and any mentions, follows and un-follows. You can also track the success of an individual tweet which would come in very handy so you can work out what kinds of information your business is putting out there, is being gobbled up by your users.

Twitter is a steadily growing social medium. Online businesses might sit and look at the stats here and there and question whether or not to start a Twitter account or to delete the one they have due to lack of inquiries from that source. The fact is that you may just be ‘tweeting’ the wrong sort of thing. Using Twitter Analytics can help your business optimise your tweets so that you can tap into the billions of tweets being read every day around the world.

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Will The WikiLeaks Data War Affect My Online Business?

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Payment companies Visa, MasterCard and PayPal have all fallen victim to digital attacks at the beginning of December due to their withdrawal of service to WikiLeaks. A group of online campaigners, under the name Anonymous have been behind a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks on the company’s websites after they stopped serving WikiLeaks in the wake of its release of classified US embassy cables. A DDoS attack basically bombards the target website with page requests to the extent that the site can’t cope and crashes.

If you have an online business which receives payments through Visa, MasterCard or PayPal payments via an internet merchant account you may be quite rightly worried by this digital war being fought and its effect on your business. Having payment companies websites crash will have many thinking their transactions will be lost, their information hacked or their accounts erased. Indeed, Visa, MasterCard and PayPal’s websites did crash:

MasterCard – Observers claim corporate website down for about 6 hours. MasterCard confirmed some disruption in web services. They stated that no customer account information was at risk.

PayPal – Confirm DDoS attack and that their services were down for half an hour.

Visa – Not confirmed by Visa but claimed by hackers. They have stated however that there was no effect for online retailers.

While it seems that these big name payment companies have stood up to the attack, the true extent of the damage will perhaps never be known.

Anonymous, the groups behind the attacks are standing up for freedom of information and to campaign in order to keep the internet open and free. They also consider pressure from the US government was behind these payment companies’s withdrawal of service. Amazon, who originally hosted the WikiLeaks site, is also reported to have been attacked. As was Sarah Palin’s website after she spoke out condemning the WikiLeaks releases and the DDoS attacks.

The latest move by the Anonymous group has seen them releasing a voluntary botnet download tool which signs users up to an army of machines which work together to launch digital attacks. While this sounds sinister, the reasons for this action must be remembered as the aim is to disrupt the card companies and not affect account holders in any way.

Nevertheless, Lancore is happy to be one of the few payment service provider companies to have a globally recognised ‘Advanced Fraud Protection System’ which makes the chance of any of their account holders being affected completely impossible.

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How Moving Online Will Ensure You Make It through These Tough Times

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Lancore could well be your financial saviour.

If you think BP had a tough time, look at some ‘brick and mortar’ businesses in your area which have gone bust. While BP has recently come out of their oil spill disaster and is now back in profit despite the terrible press they received, most businesses aren’t so lucky. BP of course has incredibly deep pockets and a product that many people can’t live without.

If you don’t have a few billion saved up somewhere and your product isn’t quite as desirable as oil, you may be concerned about how your business will fair in the next few years. Well, one way to give yourself a real chance of staying in profit in the future (while your competitors fall by the wayside) is to move online.

Customer Retention

With a great website and a strong brand you can ensure that all your customers can stay in touch with you even if they don’t feel like going down the high street. Lancore can ensure that their payment experience is second to none and that you will be able to keep track of all their online credit card processing with ease. Being able to retain the customers you do have is key to staying afloat. Get your website sorted and get the word out about it.

International Appeal

With half the world online now and people less worried about buying products from overseas, being able to sell your products to anyone in the world is of great benefit. This is another facet of ecommerce that Lancore is good at as we have international coverage and can let you take payments from anywhere in the world and in a wide range of currencies. You can also translate your website automatically into lots of languages with a few simple plugins, turning your business from a local one into a multinational one in no time at all.

Solid Foundation

Having a website for your business with solid payment gateways gives yourself a excellent chance of survival. It is actually not uncommon for online sales to overtake those from your shop (or equivalent). This means that if you need to free up some collateral you can move your business to run entirely online and sell your physical assets. It may sound drastic now, but when you see your regular report from Lancore and compare it to the takings from your shop, you may begin to understand.

Keep your business alive…get online now!

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Top 3 Ways Lancore Will Affect Your Online Business?

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Business SuccessWhen you open an online business or make the wise decision to move your business online, you will need a partner who knows how to handle your money in a fast, reliable and professional manner which allows you to relax safe in the knowledge that all the hard background work is being done for you. That way you can focus on what you started a business for in the first place.

Working with Lancore by your side, you will open up a host of opportunities which would be impossible to manage on your own:

Increase Your Sales

Lancore’s global payment gateways are part of a cutting edge system which links your business to countless banks around the world. If you thought you were making money, just wait until you have orders coming from all four corners of the planet. That’s over 6 billion potential customers and with the world going online and mobile, the opportunities which having a strong payment gateway provides are too good to miss.

With solutions for every kind of online payment for every kind of business from small one man operations all the way to large ecommerce companies, you will give your business a huge boost and maximize your profits in no time at all, by getting in touch with Lancore.

Open You Up To New Markets

Having a business can be an extremely rewarding endeavour but how often have you wished you could spread your empire further afield. Lancore can help you spread your operation not just to the outskirts of your town, but all the way around the world. The relationship Lancore has built with international banks has given them the tools to give your business global reach. Multi currency transactions are just part and parcel of Lancore’s services.

Secure Your Money

Dealing with countless banks and customers transactions can be a struggle for even the most accomplished businessman. What Lancore promises, is to provide you with the most secure, most reliable financial money transfer services available online. Their servers are the Fort Knox of online security with multilayered encrypted data to ensure that when you join forces with Lancore, you will be sure that your future is safe.

The bottom line is that Lancore’s range of services will help you make more money for your business. Their innovation and technical prowess shines through starting with their customer service all the way through to their final product.

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