TSG recently launched a new product called TruShop. Trushop is a unique ‘mystery shopping’ service that can evaluate and test businesses and business partners from the eyes of the merchant. Through the process, TSG evaluates and analyzes the capabilities, services, and overall perceptions of various sales channels, as well as individual products and services.
From an advisory standpoint, TSG saw a need in the merchant acquiring industry for management to gain insights and clarity on what is happening at the ground-level of their organization, specifically regarding a merchant’s experience in relation to their services.
TSG has the ability to collaborate with small to medium-sized businesses, across multiple verticals, to provide payments providers with deep insights. Below are some aggregated highlights of findings from the merchant perspective:

Application Response Time: during a recent TruShop exercise, TSG evaluated major U.S. acquirers and reviewed how long each acquirer took to send the application to prospective merchants. From this, TSG found that the average time it takes for merchants to receive the application is two days, with the maximum being four days.
Lengthy Applications: some may be straightforward, while others may be cumbersome. TSG’s TruShop found that one large acquirer provided merchants with a 108-page merchant application, while the average application length was only 14 pages. This is a reflection of the balance acquirers attempt to establish between underwriting and approvals. From a merchant’s perspective, when looking for a new provider, they only think about the hurdles to card acceptance.
Blurred Lines: merchants are confused about the payments ecosystem, and the ‘blurred lines’ of companies involved in their payments system has led to further confusion. In an eCommerce environment, for example, a SMB may be working with a developer, a shopping cart provider, a gateway, and an acquirer – who should the merchant call when problems arise and how would they know to do so?
Single Sales Approach: TSG has found that sales representatives and resellers often seek to sell the same point-of-sale system to merchants, regardless of their size, product needs and requirements, or vertical specialty. Representatives are often uncomfortable talking about any other system, or alternatively, in the case of resellers, margins are often higher on one system versus another, creating incentive to push something even if it isn’t the best fit.
Education: unprepared and uneducated sales agents is all too common. For example, during a recent TruShop exercise, a representative confused a point of sale system for a retail store with a solution for vending machines, and provided the merchant with marketing material for competing solutions. Additionally, education of partners and resellers equally important. Partners and resellers are seen as extensions of the brands they sell, and if an acquirer or point-of-sale company chooses the wrong one, the merchant’s perspective of that brand can be forever tarnished. For example, TSG recently evaluated a very competitive software solution for restaurants, but the reseller of the software was unable to answer any questions or even competently navigate the software.

Through the scope of TruShop, TSG can benchmark, monitor, and evaluate internal processes of almost any company within the payments ecosystem. TruShop can provide a true holistic view of your organization, through the perspective of your clients. How easy is your merchant experience? Contact us today to find out.

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