Shift Your Sales Strategy to Online

Social distancing has increased the adoption of online shopping as people spend more time at home. Thus, having an e-commerce presence has never been more important to reduce the distance between you and customers. Yet, many small businesses are still not using the internet to conduct business. In fact, 36% of U.S. small businesses don’t have a company website, according to Small Business Trends. Now is the time to get online, or to refresh your e-commerce presence if you already have one.

Remind consumers they can still shop with you, even from a distance

A website is a must-have for any business right now. Consumers spending more time at home still need to shop. And you need to be able to accept payments for purchases online.

Break down physical walls

Whether connecting via a mobile-friendly website or a mobile-ordering app, consumers are increasingly engaging with businesses from their sofa. A website makes your business accessible from anywhere in the world by potential customers that have an Internet connection.

Create another marketing channel

A website is an online billboard. It gives you another chance to introduce people to your offerings and another way to find you. Existing customers can refer you to their friends and relatives using only your web address.

Interact with customers in the way that they choose

According to the National Restaurant Association, 54% of adults order directly from a website or mobile app because of the customer experience it provides. Joan can pre-order meals from her favorite restaurant on her mobile device and simply pull up to the curbside parking spot to pick up. Zack will pick up his meal in-store, but pre-ordering helps him bypass the line. Ted can order food delivered to the comfort of his home and avoid crowds altogether.

Stay in contact with customers

A website provides two-way communication with potential customers. If you have just added delivery as a service, be sure to talk about it. Encourage your customers to leave feedback on your products and service. Your customers may be on self-quarantine, but that doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected and continue providing excellent service.

An online presence can keep your business going when people are practicing social distancing and cities are enacting stay in place. When fears pass, your website will continue to be a valuable asset that can change and improve your business in the future.

 

About Heartland
Heartland provides entrepreneurs with software-driven technology to manage and grow their business. The company serves more than 400,000 merchants nationwide, delivering trusted solutions for payment, payroll and human resources, point of sale, customer engagement and lending. Heartland is a leading industry advocate of transparency, merchant rights and security. Heartland is a Global Payments Company (NYSE: GPN), a Fortune 500 Company. Learn more at heartland.us.

GET READY FOR SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY®.

As an organization that serves local business owners and customers, the Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association (FRLA) is proud to support Small Business Saturday® this Nov 24.

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010 to help strengthen local economies. Today, it’s a holiday shopping tradition and part of a nationwide Shop Small® Movement dedicated to uniting communities and supporting all kinds of small businesses. From the corner store to your favorite diner to a trendy online boutique, it’s unique small businesses like yours that help local communities stay vibrant.

Participating in Small Business Saturday is a great way to reach new customers and promote your business. Here are some ideas for getting involved on Nov 24:

  • Let your customers know that you plan to participate in Small Business Saturday. Visit com/MarketingSupport for free promotional assets, such as ready-made social posts, to show your support.
  • On Nov 24, transform your store. Get free merchandise while supplies last to help your business make an impression. Don’t wait — apply for Small Business Saturday merchandise starting Sep 27 at com/MarketingSupport. Terms apply.
  • Connect with your community. Connect with other organizations in your community to see how you can work together on Small Business Saturday events and promotions.

Join us this Nov 24 to celebrate Small Business Saturday.

Bleisure: An Opportunity to Increase Overnight Visits and Incremental Spending

Easy traveling, invigorating sunshine and an abundant array of activities make Florida the perfect state to hold a trade show, convention or business meeting. In 2017, Florida welcomed a record 116.5 million out-of-state visitors with more than 12.8 million of them traveling to the Sunshine State to attend business events, such as trade shows, meetings or conferences. According to the latest economic data, in 2016, business travelers spend $17.3 billion, representing 15.5 percent of all visitor spending in the state.

With travel combining business and leisure on the rise, Florida has been presented with an opportunity to increase overnight visits and incremental spend. This increase in bleisure travel is attributed to millennials who see the affordability and efficiency of tacking on to existing business trips. The millennial bleisure traveler spends 4-6x more than the average traveler, and is 65 percent more likely to add at least one day of leisure onto their business trip.

This fiscal year, to capitalize on this trend, VISIT FLORIDA will launch a bleisure marketing campaign targeting domestic and international business travelers. An important component of this campaign will be Florida’s meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) market. VISIT FLORIDA understands the meetings industry is big business in the Sunshine State, and knows properly marketing to this segment will be crucial.

In addition to the bleisure campaign, VISIT FLORIDA has created a host of programs to help VISIT FLORIDA Marketing Partners reach this vital market.

Florida Encounter, VISIT FLORIDA’s signature event for the meetings, conventions and incentive travel industry, will take place November 28-30 in Bonita Springs. The three-day trade show will bring together meeting professionals and top Florida hotels and resorts, attractions, and event suppliers to showcase Florida as the premier meetings destination. This year, based on feedback from a diverse group of industry Partners, VISIT FLORIDA is refreshing the event. New this year, Cvent’s audience will be leveraged and new standards will be used to attract and vet meeting professionals. In addition to the traditional one-on-one appointments, this year’s event will feature more opportunities to network outside the trade show floor. To facilitate these opportunities, the floor will be redesigned to feature a small meetings village, designated networking lounge, and professional photo station. CEUs will also be offered for meeting professionals in attendance. To learn more and register, go to FloridaEncounter.com.

Through VISIT FLORIDA’s partnerships with key meetings industry organizations such as Meeting Professionals International, Professional Convention Management Association, IMEX America and Connect, VISIT FLORIDA is able to offer Partners participation and sponsorship opportunities at meetings industry shows and marketplaces across the country. These options include stand sharing, meal sponsorships, in-room gifts, registration bag inserts, e-marketing to planners and speaking opportunities. To learn more about these opportunities, go to VISITFLORIDA.com/planner.

For those planning or hosting an event in the Sunshine State, VISIT FLORIDA developed Cover Your Event insurance. This free program provides coverage that will reimburse a meeting in the unlikely event of a cancellation due to a named hurricane. The premium on this insurance is at no cost to the organization planning the meeting and helps ensure meetings professionals can take advantage of Florida’s venues any time of year. To learn more, go to FloridaMeetings.com.

To assist local governments and non-profit corporations/organizations as they attract national minority conferences and conventions to the state, VISIT FLORIDA administers the Minority Convention Grant program. Funds from this reimbursement grant program can be used for marketing purposes such as, advertising, direct mail, brochure production, sales videos, presentations and other related projects. Applications for FY19/20 Grant Program will open December 2018. For more information, go to www.visitflorida.org/resources/grants/minority-convention-grant-program.

To take full advantage of VISIT FLORIDA’s meetings professionals programs and engage visitors through VISIT FLORIDA’s multiple marketing channels, join as a Marketing Partner at VISITFLORIDA.org/join. If your property has designated meeting space, VISIT FLORIDA encourages you to submit a listing to be placed on FloridaMeetings.com, a resource for planners looking to book their next meeting in Florida. For more information, call the VISIT FLORIDA industry hotline at 877-435-2872 or email partner@VISITFLORIDA.org.

Draw in Summer Crowds with Island Oasis On the Rocks

Certain on-the-rocks cocktails immediately evoke summer. Margaritas, Moscow mules and mojitos, to name a few, will have summer vacationers lining (or swimming) up at your bar. Giving classic on-the-rocks cocktails flavorful new twists will make your bar stand out from the crowd at happy hour (or any hour). Here are a few easy ways to expand your menu with new, on-trend cocktails.

 

Repurposed Perfection

If you are already crafting blended cocktail favorites with Island Oasis® mix, you can expand your menu by crafting new cocktails with mixes you already have on hand without investing in extra inventory and space. The same mix you use to blend your signature margarita tastes just as good served on the rocks– no matter the flavor you choose.

Make it happen:

Classic Margarita

3 oz. Island Oasis Margarita Mix

3 oz. Water

2 oz. Tequila

Pour over ice and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge and serve.

 

Painless Prep

Pre-batch cocktail mixes without ice and store them in the fridge for super easy serving. When the rush hits, just shake with ice, add a garnish and serve. One of the beauties of prebatching is that you can customize the size. Prebatch a handful of cocktails and serve a flight of mini drinks. Start with this twist on the popular Moscow Mule, the fastest-growing cocktail year-over-year [1].

Make it happen:

Kentucky Mule:

12 oz. Bourbon

1 carton (32 oz.) Island Oasis Moscow Mule Mix

20 oz. Carbonated Water

Batch liquid together and store in refrigerator. To serve, fill mule glass with ice and dispense matched liquid over top. Garnish with a slice of lime.

 

Craveable Creativity

Serving drinks on the rocks opens up the door to even more creative mixology. You can customize flavor by muddling fresh herbs or an on-trend flavored syrup. Customization is hugely attractive to consumers, 61% of them say they want the ability to customize their alcoholic beverages away from home [2]. Adding small nuances to an already great cocktail allows you to build enticing LTOs or sought-after seasonal sips. Pump up the drama by topping with an eye-catching (and delicious!) garnish.

Make it happen:

Peach Chipotle Lemonade:

-1.5 oz. DaVinci Gourmet® Peach Chipotle

-3 oz. Island Oasis Lemonade (dilute 1:1 with water)

Build cocktail over ice and garnish with mint leaves.

 

Offering indulgent, refreshing summer flavors is simple with on-the-rocks cocktails. Expanding your menu with Island Oasis beverage mixes is opens up your menu to new flavor profiles and serving options without driving up back-of-house costs. Stay up to date on the latest Island Oasis inspiration by following Kerry Foodservice on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


[1] Technomic Specialty Drinks, On the Menu Q4-2017
[2] Mintel On Premise Alcohol Trends: US, May 2016

Securing Your Payments Processing

October marks the two-year anniversary of the U.S. migration to EMV smart-chip enabled payment technology. Despite the fact that the migration was accompanied by a card-present fraud liability shift to the party using the least secure technology, Visa reports that only about 2 million U.S. merchants have transitioned to this new level of technology. This leaves nearly 67 percent of U.S. merchants vulnerable, as fraudsters turn their focus to non-EMV enabled businesses.

EMV, which stands for Europay, MasterCard and Visa, is the global standard for cards equipped with computer chips and the technology used to authenticate chip-card transactions. EMV cards are embedded with a smart chip that creates a unique transaction code that cannot be used again, improving the payment security for consumers.

How criminals take advantage
According to the Verizon 2017 Data Breach Investigations Report, Accommodation and Food Services was “the top industry for Point of Sale intrusions.” While this isn’t a new problem – hotels and restaurants have been plagued by counterfeit, stolen and cloned credit card activity for years – the liability shift has further highlighted the issue.

Criminals prefer magnetic strip cards. When criminals purchase credit card numbers, the data – regardless if it is magstripe only or EMV technology – is loaded on a standard magstripe counterfeit card. If they attempt to use the counterfeit card as an EMV-enabled terminal, the terminal can detect that the card being used has EMV capabilities and the system will prompt the fraudster to “dip” the card instead of swiping. Attempts to process the transaction without “dipping” the EMV enabled card will be declined.

Some fraudsters have been scamming your businesses for years without you knowing about it because, previous to the liability shift, the issuing bank was taking the loss. All the scammer has to do now is call the credit card company after their card is swiped at an old terminal and claim the charges on their chip-enabled card weren’t accurate, leaving you to empty your pockets. While the chargeback amount may not be big, it wouldn’t take many of these false chargebacks to really cut into your profits. Without the ability to accept EMV transactions, business owners are seeing liability shift chargebacks for which there is no defense.

If upgrading to EMV simply isn’t an option for your business, here are a few tips you can use to protect yourself from fraudsters.

• Verify that the last four digits of the card number match the last four digits on the printed receipt
• Compare the signatures on the card and receipt
• Check cards for legitimate features like holograms, logos, CVV/CID/CVV2 and AVS verification, etc.
• Never rerun a card if it declines – for any reason

Comprehensive Coverage
EMV chip technology improves security by providing card authentication. However, the most advanced credit card thieves can rewrite the magstripe, tricking even new EMV chip-reading machines to think the card is chipless when swiped. If you have purchased the EMV card-reading equipment, but are not encrypting transactions as part of your upgrade, your business may still be at risk. While EMV-enabled terminals offer increased security and reduces credit card fraud, you need to employ a comprehensive approach for the best security.

• Tokenization – replacing card data with a “token” protects card data while at rest in your POS system. This is particularly imperative in a hotel environment, where customer data is typically stored for days, weeks or even years. Even if your system is hacked, tokenization makes the data stored in it unusable to cybercriminals.

• End-to-end Encryption – this powerful technology removes card data from the merchant’s network, protecting the data in transit so it cannot be intercepted or monetized.

• Incident Management Program – According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, nearly 50 percent of small businesses fall victim to fraud as some point in their business life cycle. Every business should have a plan in place for how they will handle an incident, should one occur. Containing the breach, responding quickly and communicating appropriately is the best way to prevent reputation damage and stem losses.

Heartland Secure combines EMV, tokenization and end-to-end encryption together to give your business the most comprehensive security solution on the market. We are so confident in our ability to protect credit card data the moment it is used, we offer an unprecedented breach warranty to all merchants who are Heartland Secure and employ Heartland Secure-certified devices for as long as they are processing with Heartland, at no additional cost.

To learn how Heartland Secure could help your business protect against fraud, contact Angela Ihry
at angela.ihry@e-hps.com.

What is a Raw or Undercooked Egg?

When your foodservice customers order eggs sunny-side up, scrambled, or in an omelet, are you putting them at risk for foodborne illness?

Cooked eggs may not reach a temperature that destroys viruses such as avian influenza or bacteria such as Salmonella enteritidis. Your foodservice kitchen may even be using raw eggs in Hollandaise sauce or Caesar salad dressing, introducing foodborne illness risks to your guests. Read more facts about Salmonella and eggs in the Field Guide to Egg Safety.

When is an egg safe from Salmonella?

So, at what temperature is an egg no longer considered “raw” or “undercooked”? An egg is considered fully cooked—that is, safe from foodborne illness—when it has reached a temperature of 155°F for pooled, hot holding or for later service. Over hard eggs, for example, have reached this temperature. However, foodservice customers are far more likely to order eggs sunny-side up. Eggs served this way represent the lowest cooked temperature of any egg option, only reaching a temperature between 75°F and 104°F.

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Balancing safe egg temperature and quality

Omelets and scrambled eggs are also common culprits in Salmonella enteritidis outbreaks. Your foodservice guests don’t want dry, rubbery eggs, but cooking them softer carries with it the risk of Salmonella contamination. The fact is, the majority of the ways foodservice operations prepare eggs do not result in fully-cooked eggs.

Salmonella, eggs, and the CDC

The number of Salmonella outbreaks originating from foodservice kitchens is the reason the CDC pays special attention to how eggs are stored, prepared, and staged in foodservice kitchens. The CDC says dangerous egg-handling procedures are putting foodservice guests at risk of foodborne illness. They urge foodservice operators to use pasteurized shell eggs. Read more: CDC “Cracks Down” on Unpasteurized Eggs in Restaurants.

Pasteurized shell eggs—safe at any temperature

Currently, only about 1 in 5 restaurants uses pasteurized eggs, according to the CDC. Because the FDA does not consider pasteurized shell eggs a TCS (potentially hazardous) food, Davidson’s Safest Choice® pasteurized shell eggs greatly simplify your egg HACCP plan, help you stay in regulatory compliance, and allow you to safely serve eggs in your foodservice operation any style your customers want.

Free WiFi: So Much More Than a Customer Service

When it comes right down to it, there are only three ways to increase same-store revenues: get more customers, get existing customers to return more often, or get them to spend more on each visit either by selling them more product or by charging more for what they are already buying. Anything else is just a variation on one of those basic themes.

Sales promotion has long been used to drive these sorts of customer behaviors. Until recently, however, a challenge has been that it is often hard to target promotions to specific customers in order to maximize response and minimize waste. Promoting blindly can be costly. A coupon in the newspaper or dropped to a mail route may reach new prospects, but also risks discounting existing customers who would have been happy to pay full fare. These aren’t the results that stores want or need.

But what if you had the ability to identify and segment customers based on traits such as how often they visit your location, how long they stay, or how much they spend while they’re there? And what if you could target specific customers and trigger promotions automatically based on such behaviors? Three recent advances have made this easy for single- and multi-location stores alike, and explain the current surge in location-based customer analytics and marketing.

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Making Technology Work For You

Technology has been and can be a huge asset to many businesses. In today’s society, there are so many different technological tools and resources to make your business better. Oftentimes what businesses don’t consider is how these tools can help retrieve the information they need to increase productivity and customer communication which will ultimately increase their profits. Examples of these tools include, loyalty programs, gift cards and email marketing. These different options help to benefit your company by extending reach, creating engagement, retaining customers and receiving feedback. Loyalty programs, gift cards and e-mail marketing are ways to help to focus on your current clients by retrieving information about their visit and notifying them about potential offers and deals. The goal is to keep your current customers loyal and happy which will result in increased sales and revenue.

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Another benefit of these technological tools is that they provide vital customer data which can be used to help to grow your business. Wi-Fi is an example of a technological tool that provides customer data which can help grow your business. Wi-Fi is no longer and “added plus” but is something that is expected to be included in most operating businesses. This form of technology will not only benefit your customers but will benefit your business as well. According to the media company, Examiner.com, “There is no better purpose for an organization to provide a good experience to their customers and information technology helps provide the infrastructure to manage customer data.” When customers connect to a supplier’s Wi-Fi it gives the customer a good experience and in return the supplier is able to retrieve and manage customer data and customer feedback. This new information is a huge asset because now as a business you are able to use the collected data to conduct market research. The market research will help to inform your business what you need improve upon and where you need to move your focus to keep your customers loyal. Without having this data as a business you are lacking vital information that has the potential to help maintain and grow your company.

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Almost all businesses want to use technology; however, most of them don’t want to deal with the labor that comes with it. Unfortunately there have not been many efficient ways when it comes to growing a company’s user base due to the manual process it takes to collect and enter this data. There is no need for a business to hold the responsibility of manually collecting and calculating the loyalty, proximity and usage of a customer. Oftentimes this leads businesses to avoid these tools altogether. What they don’t understand is that by avoiding these tools altogether; they are lacking vital information that has the potential to help their business grow tremendously. Luckily, there are companies like Captive Eyes who help to create that interactive experience for your customers, while automating data collection for third party systems. Technology is a beautiful thing and if used efficiently can benefit your business greatly, increasing sales and profits.