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Re: Pay Pal - explained

Oh, Andrew, you're making me feel like such an old foggy.  Be that as it may, and having
already stated that I have nothing against Pay Pal, I refuse to admit that I am stuck in the
old world and so I must dispute you point by point.

Andrew Lietzow wrote:

> Hi Chick,
> This has been an interesting discussion. What we are talking about with Paypal.com is
> whether the internet is really changing the way that the world does business.   For some it
> most definitely is, for others it definitely is not.

Actually, I don't think that's what we were talking about.  What we were talking about is
what is best for a hosta business, accepting Pay Pal to the exclusion of credit cards, or
vice versa.  I doubt that I have ever lost a sale because we don't accept Pay Pal.  I may be
wrong, but I doubt it.  Secondly, as the world is now, you have in your wallet everything you
need to buy plants from me, but if I want to buy something from you, I have to sign up for a
service I have no real need for.

If the internet really does change the world so that I must have Pay Pal, as I understand
your description of the process, I can make that change in a few minutes.

>    (I have a question.  Can you tell me your Credit Card number, from memory?
> How about your email address?  Which is EASIER for you?  Me, I have some cards and I'm
> hard pressed to remember even the last four digits of just one of them, let alone the
> whole set of 16 numbers.  My email address, though, I've got that puppy down pat.  All of
> my customers know their's by heart, too).

An interesting question, but I don't know what it has to do with the issue.  I don't have to
remember my credit card number.  It's always in my wallet and it ain't that hard to get at.
Here's a similar question.  Next time a customer comes in and hands me a credit card, I say,
wait, do you really want to wait for me to process your card, wait for approval, wait for the
ticket to print out, have to sign your name and go though the indignity of me checking to see
if it's really your signiture, or wouldn't you rather just hand me the cash and be gone,
saving me a couple percent on the transaction as a bonus?

Oh, you don't have the cash, then gimme the credit card.  I'll do everything I can to allow
you to give me money.

Until the two options are on an equal footing, it doesn't matter which is easier to
remember.  What matters is which method makes you the most money.  The thing to remember is:
You, and virtually everyone else in the country can easily buy from me because they have a
credit card, but I can't easily buy from you because I don't have Pay Pal.

> I don't have any problems taking checks, but then I sell 97% of my business via the
> internet.  Most of my customers are very web-savvy, having already purchased the products
> over the internet.    I would imagine that few people are that fortunate (or unfortunate,
> dependent on your perspective 8<)).

Eliminating bad checks was your selling point, not mine.

>   I went from 0 to 230 varieties in stock in one
> year.  I expect to have 400 varieties at the end of this season, and from 500-600 next
> year.  I intend in three years to be at a business volume where many are after ten or
> 20.  Not many people want to operate at this breakneck speed of a growth rate, nor can
> they.  Growing a business this quickly can get quite complicated.

Admirable, but I don't see where it's germain.  Actually your production goals are not that
complicated.  There are lots of nurseries who grow a lot of varieties.  I list 500 hostas
this year, actually grow closer to a thousand, but since I don't do it all from TC, some take
a few years to build up stock.  We also grow about a thousand varieties of perennials, 80
different hydrangeas, about 50 different coleus, and uncounted annuals and tropicals.  The
hard part isn't growing a lot of different hostas, actually that's pretty easy.  The hard
part is selling them.  I would be more interested in how you intend to build your sales at a
breakneck speed, and how did you find out how much the rest of us are selling after 10-20
years so you know you can reach our level so quickly?

> I don't have that
> option--I HAVE to learn what it takes to grow the business quickly.  What I have to do is
> examine the best practices of those who are successful and then determine whether I want
> to adopt those practices.  I don't have to invent many, I just have to determine whether
> I want to adopt best practices that are already in existence.

Which best practices are we talking about?  The practice you are talking about is Pay Pal and
I don't know of anyone else that uses it.

> A lot of vendors (particulary in the nursery trades) don't see the need to do bar coding
> either.

OK, guilty.  What is the need for bar coding.  What can you do with bar coding that I can't
do easily without bar coding.

> And that is kind of how it is with this Paypal.com thing.

I agree with that.

> People like me eat up this
> technology because they find it helpful.  Others say that this is not for them--too much
> high-tech or they don't see the need.

Guilty again.

>  No big deal.  If your market doesn't require
> paypal.com type services, then I wouldn't worry about it either.

I don't think any market, especially the hosta market, "requires" Pay Pal.  If you like it,
fine, but I think the rest of us in the market have proven that it is not required.

> But for me, I am
> planning to add international sales to my market target this year and without paypal.com,
> I would have to deal with up to 16 different currency conversions and oh what a pain that
> would be.  There are already enough business problems without that one, too.

I'm on shakey ground here, because I looked at international sales and decided that the
potential benefits did not equal the pain in the ass factor. It's an old fashioned
cost/benefit analysis.   But, if I understand the process, which I emphasize again I may not,
I don't think you have to do any currency conversions.  I think you just charge the credit
card in dollars and the bank does the conversion.

> Whether that is a good idea or not, now THERE is where a guy like you or Bob Kuk could
> help.  Last time I checked, though, Bob didn't like computers much either so I don't
> believe I can email him to ask.

When you say that Bob doesn't like computers much "either", I assume that means you think I
disagree with you because I don't much like computers.  Au contrare.  My first computer was a
Kaypro, using CPM.  Anybody remember that, Windows children?  We currently use 3 computers
here, and are putting our order together for another new Dell.  I designed and built our web
site, designed and built our order processing system that keeps track of our customers, our
plants, our orders, and our shipping.  Actually, I'm pretty good with computers, and I still
don't know why I need a bar code on my labels, which, by the way, I make on a computer.

> But I suppose there are few on the planet that grow
> better Hostas than you and he, and the world is already beating a path to your door.

Don't try to butter me up, whipper snapper.

> But
> what about little ol' Pandy out here in Des Moines?  I've got some great Hostas (because
> many of us have the same suppliers) but until last year, there was NO HostaHaven.com, so
> how could people have even heard of me?  (Remember that this discussion started because
> Pat was wondering about easy ways to conduct transactions OVER THE INTERNET).

Well, we went over that earlier.  Marketing is the answer.  How does Pay Pal make any
difference in how many people have heard of you?

> Maybe you can see why I HAVE TO make it easy for folks to buy from me over the
> Internet--I don't have a legacy of 25 years of experience to fall back on.  I simply HAVE
> to be great with customer service in any way that I can or I won't achieve my
> objectives.  There are lots of formulas for success that will work.  Having great Hostas
> is certainly part of the equation.  But we all have great Hostas so we have to have
> something else that differentiates us.

I sure hope your wrong on that.  Because I have always believed that customer service is part
of the equasion, but typically only enters the equasion when something goes wrong.  What the
customers cares most about is hostas.  Size, cost, selection, and what they look like when
they arrive.  To keep the focus on Pay Pal, I think that very few customers will decide
between your hostas and mine because of method of payment unless one is uncommonly

> For those who don't like Paypal.com, they either
> send a check or money order, or they buy from you or someone else.  I just happen to
> think it's the greatest thing since Al Gore invented the Internet and I know that most of
> my credit card buyers are already paypal.com members. The ones that are not soon will be
> because they are web-savvy.

I don't dislike Pay Pal, and I hope I'm not flattering myself to think I may be as
"web-savvy" as most of your customers.  But I don't see any reason why I would start using
Pay Pal to buy on the web anytime soon,  so by using it to the exclusion of credit cards, you
have eliminated the possibility that I, or anyone else other than the 4 million users, is
likely to buy anything from you.  I just don't know why you would want to do that.  But them
I'm old and getting senile.

> For the other customers, we are more than glad to take a personal check just like you and
> Bob Axmear, but I still prefer Paypal.com...That's okay, isn't it?

It's just fine by me.

> As for whether one can grow their business more quickly because of Paypal.com, forget
> that I said that.  Actually, I hate the service and you will, too, if you sign up.  Don't
> give it another minute of thought  because it's simply not worth worrying about...  8<))

There you go.

> Hosta la Vista!
> Andrew Lietzow

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