Blog : Business Advice

How Current Events Can Affect Your Business

How Current Events Can Affect Your Business

We know, it’s easy to get tied up in your own little world running a business — working 16-hour days, weekends, holidays, covering for absent workers, you name it. But there’s a larger world that you can’t ignore. It can be difficult to stay up on current events and trends when you’re running your business… but you really should because these outside forces can have an effect on your bottom line.

Take some time to check the headlines each day, particularly those of your local media outlets such as TV stations, newspapers and industry-related blogs. And then think: Has anything happened, or is anything about to happen, that can change what I offer or even how I do business?

If you’re a convenience store owner, for example, you should be clued into approaching major storms that will create premium demand for items like water, batteries and food, and order supplies as far in advance as you can.

If you’re a bar owner, you can attract customers by throwing viewing parties for sports events or the latest hip TV show.

If you’re a restaurant owner, keep an eye on trend pieces about foods that are becoming popular, and if it makes sense, adjust your menu accordingly to appeal to that demand.

If you’re a dollar store owner and everyone’s talking about fidget spinners, order a few boxes of them before the fad is played out.

You get the idea. There are certainly current events that can impact your business, no matter what your business is.

In every case, make sure to crow about these new offerings in your social media, marketing and advertising.

But beyond using current events to create demand, you should also be paying attention to news from the government and the financial industry, as well as from the trade publications, associations and websites in your specific industry. There might be new taxes or fees that could impact your business, for example. Or new laws or regulations may affect your operations. It’s important to stay on top of all of it, stay ahead of the curve, and adapt as necessary.

A well-informed business owner has a better sense of the market and the forces that control it. He or she knows that business is always evolving, and that the business must keep up — or lose relevance.

Why You Need to Set Up a Loyalty Program

Why You Need to Set Up a Loyalty Program

In the world of retail, there are few things more valuable than the repeat customer. These people are the foundation of your business, not only purchasing goods and services from you, but acting as your unofficial brand ambassadors with their family and friends, as well as on social media.

In short, these are your most loyal customers. You should reward them in kind in the form of loyalty programs.

Some examples:

  • Buy nine sandwiches, get the 10th free.
  • Cumulatively spend over $200 over time and get a $15 discount on your next trip.
  • Use a loyalty card and get cumulative rewards, like discounts, access to new products, and free stuff.

Programs like these are proven to create loyal customers who come back to you again and again, because not only are you great at what you do, but you’re giving them added incentive to visit even more often. It is also important to reward these existing customers because it costs five to 10 more times to attract new customers than to service current ones.

Not only that, but loyalty programs give you a great look at each customer’s purchasing habits over time, and they collect valuable contact data for your marketing purposes.

There’s surely a loyalty program that can work for your business. At Meridian, we can craft a loyalty program that suits your business’ individual, unique needs.

Let’s start the conversation! Call us at 334.422.9333, email us at, or fill out this handy form, and we’ll be back to you quickly.

How Gift Cards Drive Business

How Gift Cards Drive Business

If you aren’t offering gift cards to your customers, you’re missing out on a great way to attract new business. If you’re already offering paper-based gift certificates, you really should upgrade to plastic gift cards, as they have more perceived value.

There are a variety of reasons why gift cards are great for business:

Additional spending. Studies show that when consumers have a gift card, they often will go into the store and spend more than the amount of the card. That’s business you likely never would have received otherwise. Even better, if the consumer chooses to visit twice or three times in order to exhaust their gift card, that’s more opportunities for upselling!

Improved cash flow. Gift cards are a great way to stream cash into your business without having to immediately exchange goods and services for it. This cash can help you upgrade your business, or simply earn interest. Also keep in mind that many consumers forget they have the gift cards, so they may never redeem them. Or they’ll partially redeem them and forget to close them out. Obviously, that’s not a positive outcome for the consumer, but bear it in mind that you could occasionally be getting free money with unredeemed gift cards.

It’s very effective advertising/marketing. Just think, someone is giving a valuable card emblazoned with your logo to a consumer who may never have visited or been aware of your business before. So think of your gift cards being great marketing tools to expand your customer base. Blow them away with your retail experience and you may create new customers for life!

You can use them in direct mailers. What’s more compelling than a coupon? A gift card, of course. Even $5 or $10 gift cards could encourage consumers to go out of their way to enter your store. And once they do, who knows how much they’ll ultimately spend?

At Meridian, we offer a variety of gift card programs that can strengthen your bottom line. We’ll craft a solution that is perfect for your business. Give us a call at 334.422.9333, email us at, or fill out this handy contact form. Let’s see what’s the right fit for your business.

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How Businesses Should Deal with Chargebacks

How Businesses Should Deal with Chargebacks

Chargebacks. They’re an unfortunate circumstance. For one, you might have an unhappy customer that you need to take care of. But just as bad is the money that just fell out of your pocket in the form of not only a lost sale but extra fees.

Why do they happen? A variety of reasons, as you probably know. Identity theft. Improper order fulfillment. Customer dissatisfaction. Incorrect or duplicate charges.

Fortunately, there are a number of steps you can take to reduce chargebacks.

Make your identity clear. People often forget making purchases on their credit cards. When they get their monthly bill, they may be suspicious of business names they don’t recognize. Make sure your payment descriptor matches your company’s name as much as possible.

Be deliberate. We all know that paying with a credit card implies that it will be a speedy process for the customer, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be careful. Check the expiration date. Enter the security code. Check to see if the signature on the back of the card matches that on the receipt. And if there’s no signature on the back, ask to see ID before you process.

Don’t put it off. If you are alerted to a dispute, try to address it with the customer as quickly as possible. To do this properly, invest the time in making sure you are offering outstanding customer service, as the disgruntled customer will likely appreciate it. You might be able to resolve the issue, save the sale, and not incur more fees.

Hang onto proof of the transaction. If your business isn’t keeping a physical or digital paper trail of each transaction, you’ll have nothing to fall back on during a chargeback scenario.

At Meridian, we’re always happy to talk with businesses about how you can reduce and handle chargebacks. Just contact us and we’ll be happy to share advice.