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Efficient Planning Systems

Computers and the latest developments in telecommunication technologies have resulted in more efficient payment systems. Do you agree or disagree? Support your answers with examples and justification.

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Absolutely, I agree. Take, for example, a basic retail transaction. You can go to a website, like Verizon Wireless, pick out a phone, purchase one with your credit card, and it shows up a couple days later. You can then pay your bill online using credit card, or electronic check. There's never the need to visit a store, or lick a stamp.

Let's look at this from a business perspective. Let's say I offer a specialized B2B service that is dependant on a monthly fee. I could offer Auto-Pay to my clients where I bill them every month via credit card, check, or even Paypal. The invoices for their services will be emailed.

Finally, consider the following:

"Abandoned shopping carts. Fraud. Fragmented front-end and back-end systems. Customers who want to pay by check or debit card. Slow purchase authorizations. These are just some of the issues that have online merchants scrambling for stream-lined, efficient and affordable payment solutions.

With online sales projected at $108 billion by 2003, an efficient and effective checkout and payment system isn't just convenient-it's critical to keeping a new generation of Internet-savvy shoppers buying on your site and coming back for more.

But there's a lot of work to do: 70 to 90% of online merchants re-key order information into an offline point-of-sale terminal to begin the fulfillment process, says Joseph Marino, an e-commerce analyst for Current Analysis Inc., Sterling, Va. This disconnect can mean big headaches for retailers-as many witnessed during last year's holiday shopping season. Along with the risk that order information will be re-entered incorrectly, customers often don't find out that items are out of stock or on backorder until it's too late, leaving them angry and unwilling to return to the site.

Though e-commerce systems get retailers up and running online, most do not offer an integrated payment application that ties back-end fulfillment operations into the front-end checkout process. The good news is that the online technology market is overflowing with companies that provide products and services for nearly every payment need. And with today's open technology platforms, most companies offer applications that allow online retailers to easily expand and upgrade their systems as needed. Once integration is in place, online merchants can adapt quickly to the changing payment patterns of technology and consumers.

But getting there is costly. A fully integrated payment system ranges in price from $200,000 to several million dollars. On top of that, per-transaction fees can run 5 to 40 cents, depending on volume.

To soften the blow and justify ...

$2.19