When a customer enters their credit card information, several steps happen that ensure a balance between the merchant’s additional sales revenue form a given purchase and an equal debt incurred by the credit card provider in the buyer’s name. Credit card processing is a service that facilitates these steps. In return for facilitating these transactions, a small fee or percentage is taken out of the seller’s revenue. Therefore, a credit card purchase does not translate into 100 percent of the purchase price debited to a seller.
Note how many small businesses prefer dealing in cash because credit card processing fees add up to a significant fraction of total revenues for a small business. A larger business can absorb these processing fees much more easily. Merchant accounts are separate from a business account used for business operations. The provider of merchant accounts verify the security and integrity of electronic payments.
Business managers should keep in mind the pitfalls of measuring PR effectiveness. Mainly:
•Separating a PR strategy from what would have happened in a given market environment
•Tangible vs. intangible benefits of PR
The first point relates to likely success/failure of a business or its sales if a PR strategy was not executed. For example, a PR pitch might claim that in the past year, a previous client recorded sales increases of 20. All of that increase, allegedly, due to the PR strategy in question. However, if similar businesses or competitors had sales increases of 15-25 percent in the same timeframe, a proprietor might want to rethink hiring a PR consultant or assistant. On the other hand, if similar increases were had by clients while similar businesses without the PR strategy boasted 5-10 percent increases, the PR method is worth further consideration.
The second point relates to benefits of PR. Admittedly, sometimes effectiveness is not as simple as percentages and comparisons. Intangible benefits like goodwill, a positive reputation with customers and others in the business community, as well as enhanced morale of business employees and contractors is important, but not easy to quantify.
When trying to raise a brand’s profile, make sure that the PR strategy outlines the magnitude and type of benefits that a PR method will likely generate.