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Software

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    Addressing Expanding Regulations for Auto-Renewal Consent

    Automatic renewal arrangements are popular and beneficial for both companies and consumers. Customers are saved the trouble of having to continually take actions to keep their subscription active, while companies improve their retention rates and forecasting abilities.

    However, in the last few years, the legal environment has become more restrictive on automatic renewal arrangements. There’s been a push at national and state levels (Vermont being the most recent state) to better inform and protect customers from accidentally entering into long-term subscription service agreements, as well as enabling them to cancel out. It’s important for companies to be aware of, and plan for, complying with these regulations.

    Fortunately, we have experience handling auto-renewal features, having …



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    Make a Statement with Detailed Statements

    Sending a clear and concise, yet detailed, invoice to your customers for every order is critical to receive accurate and timely payments. But some customers want to see a single statement that includes multiple orders, with the detail for each transaction.

    This is where the Detailed Statements feature in Advantage comes into play.

    Detailed Statements allows you to generate a single statement number that covers multiple invoices for a customer and tracks billing efforts against that statement. It also provides the linkage from that statement back to the order details. This allows you to access the in-depth information and present it to the customer at the level of detail that you choose.

    Whether you provide an invoice representing a single debit to your customers or a statement that …



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    Increasing website sales by identifying abandoned shopping carts

    Many sales efforts focus on untapped markets and selling to new customers. However, there’s a segment of lost sales that may be slipping past you unnoticed---abandoned shopping carts. These are items selected on your website by customers who then elected not to complete the purchase process. 

    Abandonment Rate: As High As 80%

    The Baymard Institute has estimated an average abandonment rate of 69.89%, as of June of 2018. (Link here) Other sites reflect a figure just over 80%. That’s 7 or 8 customers out of 10 who have visited your site, added something to a shopping cart and then abandoned it without making a purchase! Some statistics claim that over 60% of these are recoverable. Consider the increase in revenue if even half of those turn into actual sales. 

    Reasons Why Carts Are …



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    New Visa Authorization Requirement

    It seems as if everywhere you look, you see new cyber-security practices being implemented. For example, Visa recently introduced new requirements for businesses that store cardholder payment information for use in future transactions, such as recurring payments and installments. These requirements restrict card use for anything other than a specific authorized use.

    How it works

    The first time the information is used in a “future use” transaction, Visa passes back a new Transaction ID element (Visa’s term) on authorization requests. The business must retain this ID and send it with subsequent transactions in the “future use stream” for this card/Transaction ID. But only for this specific card and Transaction ID.

    That’s not all

    Visa also requires that the merchant obtain and store …



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    Advantage Speaks Chinese at Bayard

    When Advantage moved to .NET in 2012, it paved the way for Unicode. Unicode is a computer industry standard that enables the use of other characters in addition to Latin, such as Cyrillic, Hindi, Japanese or Chinese. In its recent upgrade to 2016.0, Bayard took "Advantage" of these new capabilities to address the needs of its Hong Kong Subsidiary, Bayard Asia. For the first time, thanks to Bayard, Chinese characters are displayed on Advantage user screens. Awesome!

    Bayard Asia

    Bayard has had a presence in Asia since 1977, operating mainly from Hong-Kong. There, it publishes 5 magazines in traditional Chinese (Little Toy Car, Little Red Apple, Little Red Panda, Red Apple and White Antelope), and also markets 6 publications in English, from the "Box" collection (Story Box, Adventure Box, …



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    Creating Custom Report Output---the Easy Way

    With the 2018.7 release of Advantage comes an improved way to create custom report output, based on your select criteria. This functionality is available at the browser. It’s easy, it’s robust, and it’s a great way for end users to create custom reports and outputs.

    One of the best features of the browser-based approach is the ability to see real-time results. You can both see the results and export them to a CSV or PDF file. In addition, you can run this from within Advantage, incorporating the report into a jobstream or scheduling it to run on a regular basis.

    When you add a new select set in the browser, you are prompted for the Select Set Type and Data Source. These are validated drop-down fields; each also has a “quick search” tool to allow you to find values based on words or …



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    One City per Postal Code? Not Always

    When looking at postal codes around the world, there are cases where two different cities are served by the same postal code. For example, the zip code 94608 in California is used for both Emeryville and parts of Oakland. One postal code, two cities.

    Additionally, there are cases where the name of the city varies, depending on the language. Brussels is a great example. In Dutch, it’s Brussels. In French, it’s Bruxelles. Both are official languages of Belgium.

    Within AdvantageCS, cities can be set up to handle both of these cases, thereby making address self-service more targeted to the customer and label generation more specific. Both are subtle ways to improve customer service and provide a more personalized product to your customers.

    Using the Postal Code setup view, you can now …



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    Extensibility Services in Advantage

    Advantage offers many integration options within a technical ecosystem. One of those is done through Advantage’s Extensibility Services framework. This framework allows our clients to create custom implementations of standard interfaces (e.g., address hygiene). This approach is an integral part of AdvantageCS’s open system strategy.

    The mechanics of the framework are straightforward: Advantage provides the extensibility service contract and interface files while the developer provides the implementation of the service. The service itself could be local to the Advantage software, distributed on a network, or web-based. In contrast, Advantage also supports many out-of-the-box point-to-point integrations to specific vendor packages (e.g., CyberSource for credit card transactions).

    The …



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    ‘Tis the season to give online gift certificates

    The Cider web platform provides a robust environment for customer self-service and order placement.  Now, just in time for the holidays, the platform also supports payments made through gift certificates.

    Gift certificates are already a native payment method in the Advantage software package, but now the Cider platform will also support payments made via Advantage gift certificates. You can choose whether or not a certificate is usable for web orders. 

    This feature also permits the ability to use a partial amount of the gift certificate, with the remaining amount available for future orders.  Online customers can enter a gift certificate number directly, if they choose. If a customer has a partially redeemed gift certificate on file, they can select it and use it for payment.

      …



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    Card Vault Coming Soon to Advantage

    The Importance of Data Security

    In late summer of this year, news broke that Equifax had been the victim of a massive data breach, likely one of the largest thefts of consumer data ever---see article here.  As one of three primary agencies charged with tracking consumer credit in the US, Equifax fully understood the consequences of what it means for a consumer to have sensitive financial data stolen.  While it appears that a sophisticated hack was involved, the case highlights the importance of data security and the risk that a company takes on in handling sensitive data.

    The theft of one’s Social Security number, credit card data, or other personal data can cause many problems in today’s world.  It also costs businesses billions of dollars (maybe it’s trillions of dollars by now) a …



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