The Google Checkout problem that I wrote about last week turned out to be a silly security certificate detail. Mocha solved it without even replying to my support request. Everything’s running along ticky-poo now. The last remaining fallout from the Sunshop upgrade is a cosmetic flaw stemming from outdated templates. I hope Eric will get around to that before too long. The many customizations in my templates make replacing them perilous.
Upgrading PayPal from Standard to Express poached a lot of sales from credit cards. That rocks for two reasons. First: The typical credit card transaction costs me about 4.5% of gross. Rewards cards, non-US accounts, and other special credit card categories can cost upwards of 5%. PayPal takes “only” 4% for the identical transaction. Second: PayPal pays interest on deposits, which partially recovers my processing costs. I don’t earn anything on deposits to my business checking account. Payment processing consumes 4.65% of my gross sales (actual YTD figure, not counting the $15 monthly Authorize.net fee).
Google Checkout beats them both. My AdWords spend earns me enough free processing credit in Google Checkout to cover an entire month’s sales. Even if I exceed that credit, Google’s rates are just over 2%. In fact, the one GC transaction that I’ve successfully processed so far actually paid me 13 cents! Go figure. GC could take a significant whack out of processing costs if it catches on. In retail, recovering a couple percent of gross is a huge deal.
I can’t affect the economy, but I can jump on the recessionary mentality with a clearance sale. I took merciless markdowns on lots of old stock, and sent out a 10% off coupon, in hopes of freeing up a few more bucks before I hit tomorrow’s Boston Gift Show. The 184 delivered newsletter emails drew 69 opens (37.5%) and 29 clicks (42%) that delivered three known sales. That’s pretty good. All of those numbers should still creep up a little bit in coming days.
I’m going into the gift show tomorrow (in the cold rain again; why is it always raining when I have to walk from South Station?) with my open-to-buy at negative $1,400. That’s not as bad as it sounds. For one thing, most of those overspent dollars are in lighted caps, which is the best place for them. And remember that I decided a few weeks ago to invest in some new merchandise, even if it means infusing more cash or carrying some temporary debt.
Speaking of the economy…did you know that I get a few cents every time somebody clicks on one of those Google ads? If you can spare a few seconds, help a brother out. AdWords says I haven't had a single click in the past three months. Sure, they're serving up boring ads...but come on.