Can opener company pops the top on e-business

Delta, B.C.-based CrownWare Manufacturing this week plans to launch an online shopping function for its recently-introduced line of consumer can openers, the CanPro. The company is among the first small or medium-sized enterprise

(SME) to choose the 1Step Payment Solution from Toronto-based Soltrus Inc., a company formed least year as a joint venture between Telus and CIBC.

Cindy Chong, an office manager at the family-run CrownWare, described herself as one of the growing number of merchants who are looking for a more simplified way to explore e-commerce. The CanPro is already available locally in B.C. in downtown retail stores, but company’s first entry into the consumer segment required new distribution methods, she said. Getting an Internet merchant account to accept credit card payments, was proving more challenging than she expected.

“”I went to a chartered bank, and they didn’t seem to know what I was talking about,”” she said. “”I was looking into it and was being told you needed all these servers, you had to learn all this new technology.””

Anthony Santilli, Soltrus’s vice-president of marketing, said the bureaucracy often stalls the growth of e-business among SMEs.

“”The standard offering is that they have to invest large sums of money up front to off-set some risk assessments,”” he said. “”This (1Step) was intended really to simplify the process and allow more access to the small and medium-sized enterprises to start selling products online quickly without some of the barriers that get into that space.””

1Step is comprised of an Internet merchant account, a processor account and a payment gateway, and allows users to offer online shopping within five to seven days. Merchants using 1Step can accept both Canadian and U.S. currencies and receive e-mail notification as transactions are conducted.

“”The shopping cart is hosted on their site and price is very reasonable,”” Chong said. “”The set-up fee was almost a third of the price of others we looked at.””

Advanced fraud protection features include address verification and the Verified By Visa program, which was recently introduced to the Canadian market. Chong said she wasn’t worried about the usual credit card fears, though.

“”The billing address has to be the same as the shipping address, so if you steal someone’s credit card, the bill is going to go to the person (who owns the card),”” she said. “”It’s not going to go to the thief’s address, so they’re never going to get the product.””

Santilli said the sales volumes achieved through 1Step vary widely from one customer to another.

“”The forecast is really up to the end user,”” he said. “”A lot of that will depend on their marketing initiatives, where they’re advertising, how they’re driving demand to their Web site.””

Chong said CrownWare is taking a cautious approach for the time being.

“”We’re not in a big rush,”” she said. “”I should probably do some more advertising, but we have put it on the packaging.””


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