Payments Dialog

Payments Dialog: Reclaiming Valuable Time for your Development Team

Remove compliance burdens from internal teams when you implement Payments Orchestration

Written by
Peter Mollins
Publication Date
August 9, 2022
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Reclaim valuable time for your internal teams to focus on your core business functions with Payments Orchestration. Let Payments Orchestration manage and maintain the burden of PCI compliance, updating expired credit cards, pulling KPIs from customer payments and more. Making for a smooth, secure checkout experience for your customers to keep them transacting; growing your overall revenue.

Want to learn more about how Spreedly can help your organization adapt and grow your payments? Reach out to us here.

Payments Dialog Full Transcript:

Peter Mollins: Hi everybody, this is Peter Mollins with Spreedly. Really excited to have you here for another Payments Dialogue. I'm joined by three members of the Tool Farm team. So very excited to have Micah Sharp, who is the director of engineering, Michelle Terpstra, who's the director of digital content and Rich D'Angelo, who is the director of business development. So Micah, Michelle, Rich, welcome to this Payments Dialogue.

Micah Sharp: Thank you for having us.

Michelle Terpstra: Thank you.

Peter Mollins: Absolutely. So maybe if you don't mind, maybe we just start with a bit of context. If I could just get each of you to give me a bit of context on your role within the organization and any kind of quick background on yourselves.

Michelle Terpstra: My name is Michelle and I handle a lot of the social media for Tool Farm, and I write articles and research those articles. The articles that are geared towards our customers, what they may need to learn about which is about our products as well. And I also handle some customer support questions, depending they're directed to the right person and my specialty is more about plugins and what they can do. So a lot of times the customer will have a question about what's the best product for this type of effect. And that would be a question I would answer for them. So I do a lot of other things too. I help update the website and we all do a lot of different things. We have a lot of buckets.

Peter Mollins: That sounds great. Terrific. Thanks, Michelle. And Micah.

Micah Sharp: Yeah, my background was as a software engineer. I worked for many years for a company called Red Giant. That was one of the bigger vendors for Tool Farm. And I left them in 2016 after being the general manager and decided to get back into my programming roots a little bit and join Tool Farm, who is owned by my brothers of all things. So sort of getting into the family, back into the family a little bit. And so my job now is pretty much to keep the website maintained, working, working well, and adding features that support our customers. And then any new tools whether the sales team needs something or the marketing team needs something to maintain. We have both WordPress and then we have our sort of own backend CRM.

Peter Mollins: Right. Terrific and Rich.

Rich D'Angelo: Hi. I head up business development for Tool Farm. And in this role, I work with our vendors as well as our customers who are both resellers and end users more or less to ensure that we're delivering maximum value and service to all of our stakeholders. I've been working in the media and entertainment industry for about 20 years, usually on the manufacturer side, computer hardware and software for media entertainment. And I've been with Tool Farm since 2015.

Peter Mollins: Terrific. Well, we've heard a little bit about Tool Farm, but could one of you maybe describe a bit more about the Tool Farm business and what are the solutions that you offer up to folks in the market?

Michelle Terpstra: Well, our business is mainly video editors and 3D artists and audio developers, that type of thing, or sorry, audio engineers who are interested buying software and plugins for digital media creation, whether it be for the web or for corporate video or sports video. There's so many applications for this. And so we cater to those types of customers who create their own content. And what sets our business apart from other businesses out there is that well we sell everybody's products because we are a reseller. So customers are able to get everything in one place that they need. If they need audio tools, if they need something for video editing or a 3D renderer, for example.

And another thing is that we know the products. So customers can contact us and we can help answer specific questions about those products that they need, hopefully helping them with the best solution for what they need. And we also have great customer service because we have our phone number on the website. People can contact us via our live chat. So with the expertise and products and the availability of our customer support, where we like to be a cut above everybody else, who's selling video plugins and products.

Peter Mollins: Right. That makes sense. I mean, I'm sure people have a lot of questions when they're looking to evaluate and then purchase those solutions. So having someone there that knows what they're talking about must be a big advantage.

Michelle Terpstra: We hope.

Peter Mollins: One of the things that you mentioned was that, because you're a reseller, you're dealing with multiple different merchants. So it sounds like perhaps there might be some orchestration that's involved with your payments, considering that there are multiple platform or solution providers that you're reselling, is that the case?

Micah Sharp: Some of that. The flow is customers come to us and they need... Our bigger customers, we have the ability to issue an invoice as a result of a PO and do terms from time to time, that kind of thing. But the vast majority of the people that come to the website are just like any other website where there's an e-commerce solution, credit card number and all that kind of thing. And that's kind of where Spreedly comes in. As far as that stuff, making its way to the original developers, it varies. We have some where we've implemented automatic connections behind the scenes. Other times, it's a monthly report or whatever each particular vendor prefers. So there's a lot of variables there and there's no single sort of pathway that I can offer.

Peter Mollins: Right.

Micah Sharp: Yeah.

Peter Mollins: Okay. That makes sense.

Micah Sharp: As far as measures are concerned. Yeah.

Peter Mollins: And so when you're thinking about your payments for that e-commerce element, what do you think about in terms of measuring success for payments? How do you approach that?

Micah Sharp: Well, number one, anytime we do anything that's in that world, the number one measure of success is that it works and it's not complicated. So there's some fixed things when it comes, this is specifically around credit cards, there's some fixed things that we have to know otherwise there'll be rejection. So there's addresses have to be right. The card number, obviously, the CVC little code, dates, things like that. Those we can't get around that. I mean, I have a philosophy of less UI is better, but there's some things we just can't get around, but there's some tools that Spreedly has given us for things like retaining cards, retaining address information, that kind of thing, where it's sort of a one time deal. And we have a lot of repeat business where people just kind of flow through and just that's my card.

I mean, it's the same as any store card anywhere in any e-commerce site, it's the same kind of thing. But the measure that we have for success is that it's a very smooth transaction and there's no like, "Hey, my card's not working and this isn't working and what's this error?" And this and that. So, I mean, there's other ways we could measure success.

It would be like, "Oh, how are our sales this month compared to last month based on changes to technology or features." But number one is that it just works.

Peter Mollins: I'm sure that's very important in a situation where you have the repeat customers where you have customers coming back over and over again.

Micah Sharp: Yeah

Peter Mollins: How else do you try to ensure that you have a great seamless payments experience for your customers?

Micah Sharp: The main thing is, anytime we do anything, we'll do a lot of testing. And Spreedly has actually a really, really nice testing platform from test cards to sandbox gateways and things. We can buy stuff with fake cards at will to make sure everything works. So that's, to me, that's really useful. The other thing is really just to keep an eye on because I've known Spreedly as a company for some time now and just keep an eye on, as you guys grow, the new features that come up. Sometimes they're not quite as relevant to us or they're relevant, but it's like, "How much time do we want to put on it?"

But as you guys grow and add things, we're slowly starting to take note of places where it's like customer retention and smooth process from cart to checkout. If somebody's card is expired, that should have already been taken care of.

Peter Mollins: Right.

Micah Sharp: Well before they're in the cart thinking about, "I want to buy this thing." And then it fails. And I know Spreedly has a lot of these features, some of that we've sort of custom taking care through custom code on our own.

But every year you guys come up with something new where I'm like, "Gosh, maybe we should just be using them.'

Peter Mollins: That's where they get you. Yeah. It sounds like things like account updater or network tokenization sounds like that would be right up that alley.

Micah Sharp: All that stuff. And I will admit we're a little slow. I told this to Meghan when we first met. I wasn't sure we were going to be a good test case because we were really a set and forget.

Peter Mollins: Right.

Micah Sharp: But it just works. We got our API together, we got our credentials, we created our gateway tokens, set it, it works. We're done.

Peter Mollins: Right.

Micah Sharp: And so it's sort of out of mind a little bit, but we will start taking a look at some of the further offerings just to try to improve the experience where we can.

Peter Mollins: Terrific. Well, this has been really interesting to chat with you a bit about how you're exploring payment orchestration and bringing that great payment experience. But I'd love to hear maybe about the future. Where's Tool Farm headed? It sounds like you're doing a lot of innovation providing a real benefit to folks that need those kinds of tools. So perhaps I'd love to hear more about the direction that Tool Farm's headed.

Rich D'Angelo: Sure. I can...

Micah Sharp: Sure. I'll let Rich. But before I do, I think that the most important thing that I realized I didn't really say is the number one service that Spreedly provides for us is PCI compliance.

Peter Mollins: Mm-hmm.

Micah Sharp: No interview is going to be complete without those words. I mean, our compliance is so easy as a result and some of the tools. So.

Peter Mollins: It's true. I mean, I think one of the aims there is provide you with that PCI compliance so that your engineering team can focus on adding value through the rest of your e-commerce experience and the rest of [inaudible].

Micah Sharp: That's exactly. We sell video tools. We don't necessarily want to be in the credit card security business.

Peter Mollins: Right.

Micah Sharp: And you guys provide that for us and very well, I might add. Yeah.

Peter Mollins: Well, terrific. Thanks, Micah.

Micah Sharp: All right. Yeah. Well, excuse me. Sorry, go ahead. Rich.

Rich D'Angelo: Oh yeah, no, no problem. We have an increasingly diverse customer base. It ranges from independent artists, the small businesses to fortune 500 companies to also a substantial part of our business is actually reselling these tools through other resellers to provide through their other customers. And likewise, the licensing for the products we sell is becoming increasingly diverse. And I think that process of distilling diverse licensing to a diverse group of customers, including resellers moving forward, it's part of our value add, but continuing to find ways to automate those processes and make them seamless and delivered in the way all those different types of customers want them is where we're going in the future and will continue to set us apart from anyone else that offers this type of service. We're kind of in a unique spot in that we're focused on a very specific niche.

And though there's many, many resellers and distributors that sell software, there are none that actually sell exactly what we're selling. So everyone is kind of looking to us to be that solutions provider. And for us to be successful, we need to make it as easy as possible for customers to get their licensing no matter who they are or where they're buying it and payments part of it, API integrations are part of it. So I think this continued automation and delivering as quickly as possible to our customers is where we're going in the future to continue to add value.

Peter Mollins: Terrific. Michelle or Micah, any other concluding thoughts before I wrap it up?

Micah Sharp: No, I think Rich said it, right. I mean, it's all about convenience and our challenges, we have so many different kinds of customers with different needs and so many different vendors that deliver their, it's mostly software these days. There's a couple of shippable things, but they deliver in different ways. And so trying to sort of create that flow from there, the way they deliver it to us, to us delivering it in an easy way to our customers is really the ticket to our future in those automations and that sort.

Peter Mollins: That's great. Well, Micah, Michelle, Rich really enjoyed the chance to connect and to hear more about the story at Tool Farm. So thank you very much.

Micah Sharp: Thank you for having us.

Rich D'Angelo: Thanks for having us.

Michelle Terpstra: Thank you.

Peter Mollins: Absolutely.

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