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Retail advice: if you are concerned about rising EFTPOS merchant t fees, here are some steps you can take to help

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It’s an easy complaint to make – my merchant fees are going up, it’s not fair, time for me to consider another supplier.

Okay, yeah, that’s an easy take. It’s a cheap shot by us to call it out. But, let’s explain and explore it with you.

Our advice is to look at your data first.

We have thoroughly looked at hundreds of thousands of baskets from many retail businesses.

The most common reason merchant fees are increasing is because of more sales transacted using EFTPOS.

While sometimes the actual fee basis, flat fee per Tx or percentage, increases, this is rare.

Yes, the most common reason a retailer paid more in merchant fees last month than the month before is because more transactions were paid for on a card.

So, the EFTPOS provider is not the cause of the issue.

Retailers is some marketing groups have access to preferential rates that see them paying the lowest fees in the country.

But, that addresses only the base cost.

To address the growing cost to the business, of people using a card to pay, you need to be an engaged retailer. Here are some ideas:

  • Promote cash payment – if you want the costs associated with cash of course.
  • Be clear as to the cost of using a card. You could apply a surcharge, which I think is a ridiculous idea though.
  • Price knowing that cards will be used. Build the cost into your pricing model. Keep the bump under 2% and it is less likely to be noticed.
  • Lower a cost elsewhere to cover the cost. Look at your labour cost, for example. Shaving a hour of employee rostered time can save you around $30.00, that’s equal to purchases of $3750.00 on a card – depending on the type of card used.
  • Increase sales. While you should be single-mindedly focussed on this anyway, increasing sales helps you address the EFTPOS cost and more in the business.

It’s easy to kick a bank over EFTPOS fees. But … before you do that, look at your own behaviour. Here are common points in retail businesses that retailers overlook when they kick a supplier:

  • Dead stock. It’s easy to identity but often not. A problem not seen is not a problem to some. In my experience on conducting an audit of stock performance, usually, 20% of stock on the shop floor over which the retailer has full control underperforms and should not be there.
  • Bloated roster. Some prefer to spend money on people so they have time to themselves for relaxing, golf or to sit in the back office, where no customer purchases from.
  • Wrong trading hours. Some stay open too long while others are not open long enough. Either way has a cost to the business.
  • Being blind to theft. Theft in retail, like a local newsagency business, costs on average between 3% and 5% of turnover. Not watching for it, tracking it and mitigating against it has a cost to the business.
  • The wrong product mix. GP% is a key measure of retail business performance. Increasing yours beyond what is traditional for your channel provides you with a buffer. For example, transaction count / sales can decline and you can be okay. Measure GP%. Set a goal. Chase it. The air is cleaner in above average.
  • Ignorance. It’s not bliss. It’s not! There are insights in your software that can guide better decisions, faster decisions, more financially rewarding decisions. Yet, too many in retail don’t want to know. That failure costs them plenty.

The 6 items on the above list are all on the retailer to address.

We get that it’s easy to complain about high EFTPOS fees. If you are contemplating that, please take a moment to look back inside your business, look at the reason why and see if there are decisions you could make that are more valuable than complaining about EFTPOS fees or changing supplier. Our team here at Tower Systems would be happy to help.

Rising EFTPOS fees are likely not a problem since the y reflect rising sales, unless your provider is hiking your fees, which is rare.

By Mark

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