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  • Buy Now, Pay Later

    Five thousand years ago, the Mesopotamians invented the shekels, which is now known as arguably the first form of money. We've come a long way since then, especially now with the invention of bitcoins. A big part of the money and payment ecosystem is offering credit, and the history of credit cards is a fascinating read. Those who grew up in the nineties would probably remember the credit card imprinter. A vendor would put a credit card on top of the machine, place several layers of carbon paper, and slide the bar back and forth, making a clunky yet authoritative sound. The raised surface of the credit card (that has the customer's name and credit card information) would then be imprinted on the carbon papers. Fast forward to the recent times and now almost every street-food vendor in Los Angeles has a credit-card reader connected to their smartphone. Now, on top of credit cards, payment merchants have even made it easier to purchase with the option to buy now, pay later (BNPL). Using a credit card itself is a "buy now, pay later" option, but BNPL vendors like Klarna and Afterpay take it even further by giving customers the option to pay even later without a credit card. How BNPL Works for Customers A regular transaction involves two parties: the customer and the vendor. A BNPL transaction adds another player into the mix. When the customer decides to use the BNPL option, The BNPL merchant pays the vendor in full while the customer will pay the BNPL merchant in installments. When the customer joins a BNPL merchant, they'll have the option to link their bank account to their BNPL account. A customer who uses the BNPL checkout will go through a soft credit-check screening that in a few seconds will tell them if they're eligible for the option. This screening doesn't affect the customer's credit score and takes into account their payment history and credit card rating. BNPL vendors will do a soft check for every purchase, meaning a customer who has been approved for a previous purchase may or may not be approved for the next one. Unlike credit card payments, the installments are scheduled and have a specific amount. Some BNPL vendors impose penalty fees for late payments. How BNPL Works for Businesses BNPL merchants promise convenience for both customers and sellers because they want people to use their service. But here are some things a business owner needs to consider before installing a BNPL option: Your type of business and the monetary value of your merchandise Fees and commission Ease of integration Impact on customer Your Type Business and the Monetary Value of Your Merchandise Part of BNPL's appeal is that the installment plan helps dampen the "sticker shock" a customer may experience upon looking at the price sticker/tag. Businesses that sell big-ticket or luxury items like electronics such as TV and washing machines can benefit from adding a BNPL option to their checkout process. However, we're also seeing fast-fashion websites offering BNPL checkout to capitalize on customers who spend impulsively. So, if you want to encourage a more thoughtful purchase, BNPL may not be the best idea. The demographics of your market play an important role in deciding whether or not you should implement the BNPL option. Research by the Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets shows that younger shoppers embrace BNPL as an alternative to credit cards. Here's a more complete breakdown of the demographic that favors the BNPL method. Another report from the Mercator Advisory Group found that in 2019, the size of the BNPL lending market was around USD 3 billion. In 2020, it shot up to USD 39 billion (a 1200% increase). They project it would surpass USD 100 billion by 2024. The BNPL market has become very lucrative that not only banks and credit card companies have developed their own BNPL system, but also companies like Apple have joined in. Fees and Commission Most BNPL merchants don't disclose their commission and other fees upfront, so vendors who are interested in using the BNPL payment option will need to contact these merchants to find out how much they take out of each transaction (including returns and refunds). In general, the fees vary from 2% to 8%. Some BNPL merchants add a fixed cost on top of every transaction. Keep in mind these fees will run parallel with how large their network of vendors is and how many customers they have. Joining a BNPL network means your business may get more exposure, especially if the BNPL merchant offers ad and brand placement opportunities on their app or website. Ease of Integration Even a good e-commerce site can't have everything. That's why they partner up with developers to create supporting apps and widgets to make things easier. Some BNPL merchants' services include brick-and-mortar stores, but integration for both physical stores and e-commerce sites, integration remains a big headache. Make sure you know what e-commerce platform you use and if they integrate well with the BNPL merchant you consider partnering with. Ask if there's an additional set-up fee for the integration and if there's 24/7 technical assistance if something ever goes wrong. Impact on Customer This is such a gray area. On one hand, businesses shouldn't really be responsible for a customer's financial decision. On the other hand, businesses have to strive to provide the best customer service experience. There are numerous BNPL nightmare anecdotes when it comes to customers not being able to pay on time and getting hit by penalties, or customers who keep getting charged even when they've decided to return the item. You may say, "Oh, but how is this my fault as a business owner?" And you're absolutely right: it's not your business's fault. But this may make your business look guilty by association or worse: you may be caught in the middle of the dispute. The final thing to remember is that BNPL payment system is relatively new to the world of commerce. New policies will be forged, new technologies will be invented, hopefully, to offer better protection to both the customer and the vendor. If a BNPL service is something you consider installing for your store (whether physical or online), don't forget to find out what the merchant's exit clause is, just in case you decide to no longer use the service.

  • Pastel Hues for Peak Spring

    Spring (technically) began a month ago, but its beauty and charm are on their way to the top. This season signifies revivals and new beginnings, and we all need a healthy dose of optimism. This is when pastel comes in. Pastel colors (like soft blue) are born when their original color (blue) is diluted with white. This new color becomes a softer, more mellow representation of the original, making it the perfect palette to mark new beginnings. The birth of pastel "Pastel" has two meanings: pastel the art medium and pastel the color chart. As an art medium, the original pastel was a powdered pigment mixed with a binder like gum arabic or glue derived from animals like fish. It was thought to have originated in sixteenth-century Northern Italy. Back then, there were only three colors of this art medium: black, white, and red. Now, there are about 1,600 colors. Pastel the color chart grew in popularity sometime in eighteenth-century Europe when the Rococo style in art and fashion took over. Fashion-wise, this was a turning point from the vibrant and rich fabric-dye hues associated with the upper class. Architecturally speaking, Rococo marked the beginning of a softer, more feminine, and sensual color palette, a contrast from its predecessor, the more masculine Baroque. Madame de Pompadour (the influential mistress of Louis XV) was credited to help birth this movement as she was the patron of many Rococo-style painters, like François Boucher. However, it was Marie Antoinette (wife of France's King Louis XVI) who became more closely associated with pastel colors, and therefore their downfall. The death and rebirth of pastel It was after all Marie Antoinette who notoriously (and allegedly) said, "Qu'ils mangent de la brioche" or "Let them eat cake" when she was told sometime in 1789 that her French subjects had no bread or food to eat. This quote, whether true or not, highlighted the disconnectedness of the French royalty from the regular citizens. The French Revolution overthrew the Royals and everything associated with them, including Rococo art and architecture, and pastel colors. It wasn't until the roaring twenties that pastel made a comeback, and it decided to stay. Under the dripping bare lilac-trees a large open car...stopped. Daisy's face, tipped sideways beneath a three-cornered lavender hat... In the Great Gatsby (published in 1925), F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote about lilacs and lavenders, pastel colors associated with the frivolity of the rich, mimicking their Rococo heyday. The power of pastel lasted and reached its cyclical peak in the fifties after the war. Pastel become the dominant color palette in advertisements as they convey youth, joy, warmth, and optimism. It was visible in all aspects of life, from fashion to architecture to... toilet paper? But through it all, it was the popular 80s television show Miami Vice that arguably truly cemented the popularity of pastel, thanks to its main character, James “Sonny” Crockett's affinity for pastel tees, sports jackets, and suits. Pastel reigned over neon colors and no longer became a feminine color. Current Pastel Nowadays, we acknowledge the power of pastel colors in our lives. They're calming and soothing without dominating. They can both mellow down and pep up the mood. Pastel has gone through many deaths and resurrections that they're no longer just the figurative representation of rebirth, they've become its literal symbol. And as such, they're perfect for spring.

  • Get to Know Prima's Warranty

    When running a business or a company, you have a lot of things going on, from selecting and purchasing inventory and creating a marketing calendar, to scheduling shipment and maintaining your store and or website. Now, imagine doing all of that plus dealing with customers who go back to your store to complain about their broken luggage. Prima USA Travel takes away that extra task by implementing a renewed set of policies to cover the warranty of our brands: American Green Travel, Puíche, AMKA, American Sport Plus, ArgoSport, and Vino Via (launching soon). You can read more about Prima's manufacturing defect warranty here, but here's the short version: American Green Travel luggage: ten years American Green Travel accessories: one year Puíche: ten years AMKA: one year American Sport Plus: one year ArgoSport: one year The warranty for Prima's brands only covers manufacturing defects. Although we stand by our products, we acknowledge that sometimes they don't come out perfectly. And when it happens, you can rely on Prima to take care of it so you have one less thing to worry about. That said, to make this process even easier, we need your help to: Remind your customer to register the product on our site Educate your customer about the possibility of damages caused by other causes Remind your customer to register the product on our site When your customer purchases a Prima USA Travel suitcase, travel bag, or travel accessories from your store, let them know their product is covered by a warranty limited to manufacturing defects. Every item has a tag that shows our website (primausatravel.com), as well as the link to register the product and activate the manufacturing defect warranty (primausatravel.com/warranty-returns). But if it doesn't, you can refer the customer to those links. All the customer needs to register the product to get the manufacturing defect warranty are: Details of the product (name, size, and color - these can be found on the box) The order number Name of your store A legible image of the receipt (this can be a scanned copy or a photo or a screenshot) Once they register their product, they'll get an email with the warranty number. They can use this number to open a damage claim. We've also simplified the damage claim process, making it intuitive and user-friendly. They only need the warranty number and photos of the damages. Educate your customer about the possibility of damages caused by other causes It's easy to blame the damage on the bag being poor quality, but there are also other important factors to consider, such as improper handling by transportation agents and even the customer. According to the Air Travel Consumer Report 2021 written by the US Department of Transportation, American Airlines has the highest number of mishandled bags (average of 7.21 bags out of 1000 in 2021, and 6.30 bags out of 1000 in 2020). On the other end of the spectrum is Allegiant Airlines, with only 1.92 mishandled bags out of 1000 in 2021. For international travels, a report from the UK-based manufacturing company Trifibre (with data from the Civil Aviation Authority) found that out of all 823 claims for broken luggage between 2015 and 2020, the top three airlines responsible for the most damages were Ryanair (13% or 108 claims), Emirates (6% or 47 claims), and Alitalia (5% or 40 claims). Remind your customer to be aware of their airline's policies regarding damaged or mishandled luggage, as each airline has a different set of rules. Think of it as finding out where the exits are at a theater or auditorium, just in case something happens. Sometimes, the customer can also be responsible for the damages, such as dragging the suitcase through rough surfaces like asphalt or pebble paths, dragging the suitcase up and down the stairs, overpacking or underpacking. We'd also like to advise the customer to do the following when changing the TSA lock's combination: write down the code and put it somewhere safe, or take a photo of it and put it in the cellphone's secure folder. As a manufacturer, Prima USA Travel takes pride in proactively helping your luggage business grow by alleviating some of the worries, namely quality control and aftercare. If you have any questions regarding the warranty of our brands, please don't hesitate to reach out to us.

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