Merchant Payment Services Value Provider for Furniture Stores

Merchant Services Furniture StoresMerchant services and payment processing for furniture stores is a specialty that Cornerstone Business Solutions takes great pride in.  It takes a real specialist to understand and anticipate the payment needs of home furnishings and mattress retailers.  Of course there are plenty of credit card processing companies that can set up a merchant account.  Thousands of companies will promise the absolute best rate, when in reality most rate structures will be similar and based upon interchange.  The expectation should be an excellent pricing structure, not the selling point, particularly when it involves this unique industry.  Beyond a low processing rate, furniture stores have special needs and considerations.  These needs can only be met with a ‘concierge’ bank card representative that has the connections and understands both the furniture business as well as the payment services industry.

Some of the challenges in payment processing that furniture stores face are:

Most merchant services providers won’t approve furniture stores because they are considered high risk.  Unfortunately due to a past record of charge backs and instability of some furniture stores, combined with the high ticket size and monthly volume, the industry is often considered high risk for many providers and is on their restricted list.

Reserve accounts are common within the industry.  Many of the banks that will approve furnishings businesses will put a portion of their deposits in a rolling reserve as security.   This means the business doesn’t get all of their funds right away from the cards they accept.  This can tie up tens of thousands of dollars in working capital.

Credit card funds are often held and delayed.  Often, a credit card processing company’s risk department will put a hold on funds if it’s a large ticket, holding up the funding getting deposited for a long period of time.  Merchants may have to ‘fight’ to get the money they are owed.  Also furniture stores often have large promotional sales with huge volumes on those dates.  The extraordinary volume can have some risk departments holding all the merchants funds.

Bank card providers set up the processing and fail to service.  Many agents and credit card processing companies are eager to sell a merchant account, but fail in the servicing aspect.  Areas of expertise that a merchant should expect help with include PCI compliance, continued rate optimization, settlement recovery assistance and terminal support.  It’s critical to have a personal agent that can be reached for support on the weekends of big sales.

Banks aren’t always a viable source for growth capital needs.  Easy and fast access to capital is critically important to the growth of a furniture store.  Merchant cash advances are funds advanced based upon the projected future sales of the business.  These funds can help fund marketing and advertising as well as build inventory that can be turned around for quick profit.

Bad checks can be extremely costly and difficult to collect on.   In the furnishings business, one bad check can be a huge loss to the business.  Having an adequate check protection program in place is critical to avoid these losses.  It’s also important to have a cost efficient program based upon the individual needs of a particular furnishings store.  Many options are available and it’s important to choose the correct one.

Earning customer loyalty instead of giving away discounts.  Although it’s common practice to discount furniture and have sales, these discounts may drive sales, but they do little to build future loyalty.  Some furniture stores are now offering electronic gift cards in lieu of some discounts.  These funds are good for future use and ensure the customer returns for future needs.

These are just some of the special payment processing needs for furniture retailers.  If these basic needs aren’t met, the entire business could be jeopardized.  When analyzing the service provided by a merchant payment provider the following questions should be asked:
• Does your merchant services provider really understand the home furnishings industry?
• Who is making sure that you aren’t stuck holding bad checks?
• Who can you call when your credit card processing terminals go down?
• Who is offering you capital for inventory and growth when you need it?
• Does your merchant service provider make sure you get your funding on time, every time?
• Who is helping you get your share of the $7.25 billion Visa/Mastercard settlement?

Cornerstone Business Solutions and Robert McBeath have helped home furnishing retailers with answers to these questions for years.  With a long history in merchant payment solutions and servicing the industry, they are uniquely qualified in being the ‘concierge’ service provider for furniture stores nationwide.  For more information, please feel free to call Cornerstone at 309-820-0076.

 

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Comments

  1. Really good information. I can see why your business would be so helpful for this industry. Thanks

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