Monday, July 21, 2014

Visa Checkout for Online Purchases

Visa has announced the launch of Visa Checkout, a payment service that replaces and enables consumers throughout the United States, Canada and Australia to pay for goods online, on any device, in just a few clicks, according to a press release. 

Consumers can enroll any Visa debit or credit card, plus other branded cards, in Visa Checkout to make purchases from a PC, mobile device or within a mobile app. by entering their username and password to complete the payment process directly on the merchant’s website.

A new mobile SDK (Software Development Kit) is available, allowing developers to build and implement a native in-app checkout experience for iOS and Android-based devices. This can be downloaded from the Visa Developers website at

The Marketplace Fairness Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act Would Kick The Can Down the Road

As Multichannel Merchant magazine has reported, the Marketplace and Internet Tax Freedom Act, which was introduced in the U.S. Senate on July 15 by Senators Mike Enzi (R-WY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Mark Pryor (D-AR), if passed, would keep the Internet free of across-the-board sales taxation for 10 years, while giving states the ability to enforce their sales tax laws on businesses selling to consumers located within their borders. Currently, based on the 1994 Quill decision, Web purchases are taxable only in states where the merchant has a "nexus," i.e. a store, warehouse, or other physical facility.
There are three salient issues here:
1) From the point of view of the consumer, if they are active direct purchasers now (via their computer, tablet, phone, catalog, or phone), they may notice higher purchase prices on many items because the Nexus requirement will be eliminated. I doubt that this will depress sales much, however, since the convenience of direct sales will not be hurt by this. If you live in a state that collects sales taxes, it will eventually bring price parity to the marketplace.
2) From the merchant's point of view, this will place an even greater premium on free shipping than exists already, in those states with sales taxes (and likely in all states). 
3) From a systems perspective, the imposition of sales taxes on items shipped to virtually every state will mean that third-party sales tax management solutions will become even more popular (or necessary). Keeping track of all the rules and regulations is not something that any OMS vendor is going to willingly embrace, while the third-party sales tax collection services obviously excel at this. Since these packages are typically rather expensive (mid-five-figures), we may see more entries into this niche, which will give merchants more choice and potentially lower the pricing on them. 
Overall, though, it will make direct sales more expensive, and shift the complexity from keeping track of nexus for each merchant to keeping track of tax rules in each of the 44 states that collect sales taxes.
Ultimately, a universal direct sales tax, by being simpler, would reduce overall costs, level-the-playing field, and most likely result in higher direct sales revenues across the board. Like many compromises, the proposed legislation just kicks the can down the road.

Friday, June 20, 2014

PRC Approves Potpourri Holdings' First-Ever Catalog NSA

Last March Potpourri Holdings Inc. filed the first-ever catalog Negotiated Service Agreement request, which The Postal Regulatory Commission recently approved (Click here for the complete ruling.)

Demonstrating both the USPS’s commitment to growing catalog volume and its improved understanding of how the unique catalog business model functions, this is the third Market-Dominant NSA approved since 2006’s postal reform act (PAEA) It took a lot of time and much hard work by Potpourri to come to fruition, but the American Catalog Mailers Association (ACMA) expects it to pave the way for other cataloger NSAs. ACMA also anticipates it will be among several initiatives by the Postal Service to boost catalog mail volume.

According to ACMA, the essential moving parts of the NSA are as follows:

  • The Postal Service has established annual and quarterly thresholds to recognize Potpourri Group's recent catalog mailing activity.
  • Carrier Route and High Density mail above the quarterly threshold receives a lower postal rate, making incremental mail volume feasible for Potpourri and generates additional, incremental contribution volume for the Postal Service.
  • Covering five years, the thresholds are adjusted to recognize volume growth from the increased circulation.
  • The discounts apply only to Carrier Route and High Density volume, and are tiered at 10%, 15%, and 20% off published rates, dependent on the actual volume mailed
  • Frugi's Growth Required Scalable Solution

    Frugi, a fast-growth Cornish based ethical organic clothing brand started by Lucy & Kurt Jewson, recently celebrated its tenth year. The business has experienced unprecedented growth and has won the Queens Award for Export.

    Fortunately, a new scalable retail platform from MNP helps keep the fast-paced growth on track. The immediate challenge was inventory management and real-time integration to ensure a consistent brand experience regardless of channel, which for Frugi’s include direct sales via catalogues, online marketplaces, and separate B2B and B2C eCommerce sites. In addition, B2B is a major part of the business for Frugi, including sales to John Lewis and a significant number of independent stores.

    The capacity to deal with high double-digit growth, manage inventory by channel, provide a holistic view of customers, and support top-line scalability were key factors for Frugi, as they are for many of MNP’s fast-growth client base.

    MNP's OMS (order management system) was selected to provide the central enterprise retail platform, real-time inventory management for all sales channels, and bi-directional Web service feeds with the bluCommerce eCommerce platform. The OMS centralizes customer data for customer service and to enable the marketing team to grow top-line sales from the extensive customer data available. Marketing will be driven from segmented customer-level attributes, with outputs to third-party service provider More2.

    MNP provides a modular approach to enterprise retailing solutions including PLM, PIM & Buying, OMS, WMS, and in-store tablet solutions in the UK, Germany and USA.

    Tuesday, May 20, 2014

    Honolulu Cookie Company Implements CORESense to Manage its eCommerce Operations

    CORESense, a provider of all-in-one, cloud-based retail management & eCommerce software solutions, has announced that Honolulu Cookie Company has successfully implemented CORESense's Ecommerce Enterprise Solution to mange its growing eCommerce business, including their online storefront,

    Founded in 1998, Honolulu Cookie Company is dedicated to spreading the spirit of Aloha around the world with gourmet cookies made in Hawaii.  With a wide variety of cookies and packaging to choose from, Honolulu Cookie Company’s customers can currently purchase items online or in one of their shops. By leveraging the flexible design capabilities of the CORESense eCommerce software solution, Honolulu Cookie is serving up a search- and user-friendly shopping experience across desktop and mobile devices. 

    “We needed a next generation eCommerce platform that would not only deliver a great shopping experience but also enable us to deliver great service after the sale,” said Jaynel Panquites, Ecommerce Manager, Honolulu Cookie Company. “We selected CORESense because they were able to deliver a robust Website combined with the end-to-end operations management capabilities needed to streamline our operations, enabling us to deliver great customer service. Having everything managed by one Web-accessible system provides us with the real-time view of our business we need to proactively respond to customers and profitably grow our business.”

    Friday, May 09, 2014

    Widdowson Group Selects MNP for Fulfillment Improvements

    Widdowson Group, a mainstream logistics provider with extensive warehousing and a fleet of over 120 vehicles, headquartered in Leicester, UK, has chosen its WMS solution from MNP-Media Ltd. to manage its fulfillment services for Internet retailers.

    Established over a century ago, Widdowson Group offers a range of storage, distribution, transportation and value-added services, mainly to the retail and wholesale industries. The company has recently increased its scope to offer logistics services to Internet retailers and realized its WMS was not designed for high volumes of small orders picked in eaches.

    Widdowson Group turned to MNP, an experienced provider of supply chain solutions specializing in efulfilment, to provide a WMS solution optimized for this kind of operation.

    “We chose MNP because of their expertise in Web order management, e-fulfillment and parcel carrier
    integration. They really understood the differences between traditional pallet or case picking and the
    processes required for managing Web orders. They were able to demonstrate high competence in this area and we are very pleased to partner with MNP to provide improved service to our clients together with a reduced cost base,” said Paul Caygill, Head of IT for Widdowson Group.

    Pierre D’Arbost, Managing Director of MNP added “Widdowson Group is a very highly regarded logistics provider and we are delighted to be able to help them expand their operations into large scale fulfilment of web based orders.”

    Wednesday, April 16, 2014

    Perry Ellis Rolls Out Starmount Mobile POS

    Starmount has announced that Perry Ellis has completed rollout of its mobile POS and mobile selling software to approximately 60 stores. 

    The retailer reports that its top stores conducted 16.4% of all transactions on mobile devices during the busy holiday season. Moreover, Perry Ellis saw an average increase of 14% in the size of transactions conducted on mobile devices, compared to normal POS registers — underscoring the value of using mobile devices to engage with customers on the store floor.
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