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Office Depot and Century Payments to launch electronic payment processing service

BY Staff Writer

Boca Raton, Fla. — Office Depot announced the launch of Office Depot Merchant Services, an electronic payment processing service for small and medium-sized businesses.

In partnership with Century Payments, Office Depot will provide a private branded solution to enable small and medium-sized businesses with direct access to accept electronic payments via all major debit and credit cards at the point-of-sale. Businesses can now conveniently accept payments using a variety of cutting-edge equipment options that will allow companies to process payments from a retail location, through the Internet or with a mobile device.

"Understanding how to accept different types of electronic payments and choosing the right merchant processor for your business is vital," said Steve Schmidt, executive VP corporate strategy and new business development for Office Depot. "Office Depot Merchant Services makes it simple to accept all types of credit cards — no matter what type of business you have."

In addition to simplifying payment processing, Century Payments has pledged to donate one backpack to the Office Depot Foundation for every new customer that activates an account with Office Depot Merchant Services.

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Walmart offers holiday price guarantee

BY Marianne Wilson

Bentonville, Ark. — Walmart on Monday said it will offer shoppers gift cards if they buy items and then see lower prices at other stores during the holiday season.

The chain’s "Christmas Price Guarantee" will apply to good purchased Walmart stores in the United States from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25. Under the program, shoppers who buy a product at Walmart and then find the identical item listed for a lower price at another store can receive a gift card for the difference.

Items placed on layaway, where a buyer reserves merchandise by paying a deposit, are also be eligible for the program.

The plan excludes Black Friday ads, expired ads, Internet prices, percentage-off ads, clearance ads, and certain other offers. Shoppers must bring in their Walmart receipt and a competitor’s printed ad by Dec.25 to get the gift card.

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Study: Retailers not engaging mobile shoppers

BY Staff Writer

New York City — While 43% of smartphone owners have installed and used a retailer’s app, only 14% of those who installed them say the app led to a purchase decision, according to the most recent Retrevo Pulse Study, an ongoing study of tech industry trends conducted for the consumer electronics shopping and review site.

"Retrevo’s findings indicate that customers are willing to download and use retailer’s mobile apps," said Manish Rathi, co-founder and VP marketing Retrevo.com. "But when only 14% of the installed base actually indicates it ‘helped them buy something,’ it’s time for retailers to rethink their mobile engagement strategy. In today’s market where many brick-and-mortar retailers are trying to stay competitive, retailers can’t afford to merely serve as a showroom for Amazon."

The study found nearly two-thirds (66%) of respondents have looked at a product in a store and then made the purchase online from somewhere else. The number of "defectors" jumps to more than three quarters (78%) for smartphone owners who may have an easier time doing research wherever they happen to be.

Electronics was the category mentioned most, with 58% of shoppers checking out the (58%) this type product in the store and then buying it somewhere else online. The next category on this list is shoes (41%) followed by apparel (39%). According to Retrevo, retailers need to aggressively find a way to persuade smartphone owners to make their purchases in the store or at least buy from them online.

More than half the smartphone respondents in this study indicated they have used a mobile device in a store to help them buy something. Most of those used their phones to check prices and get coupons but many also looked up ratings and reviews on products they were considering buying before making the big decision.

According to Retrevo, smartphones don’t have to be the enemy of retailers.

"Our message to retailers," Rathi said, "is: Get your app together! A carefully crafted app can help provide consumers the information they need to make them want to buy something."

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