You probably noticed that in some shops, people keep their first earned bill in a frame, displayed on a wall. There are many reasons for this, including personal and emotional memories of the very first step to success.
But, considering the number of arrangements one has to make when starting a small business, this bill was undoubtedly a cause for celebration. Getting to your first sale is a tough row to hoe. And one of the most important decisions in this process is how to accept payments.
In this post, we will clarify the contemporary hassle with various payment solutions and help you decide which are best for your small business.
A Thing or Two about Payment Solutions
A business can receive income for goods or services in many different ways: by payments such as cash, credit card, mobile, and E-wallets directly from customers, or by factoring invoices through specialized finance groups.
That diversity of payment solutions is due to the advancement of technology and online banking. And companies are eager to provide customers with as many payment options as possible.
While the growing number of choices is beneficial for customers, it can be a bit complicated for businesses to keep up. Many business owners long for the good old days when the choice was simple: cash or card.
However, those days are gone, and we have to embrace the advance of payment technology. The payment processing industry isn’t showing any signs of decline, so as a business owner, you should know which options are on the market.
That means you will probably have to do extensive research to understand the pros and cons of each option. Which payment options comply with local regulations? How much more are the fees for card-non-present transactions? And so on.
It might take some time, and even after you make decisions, you want to keep learning and following trends. But once you figure it out and implement the options you think are best, additional payment solutions will impress your customers and boost users’ experiences.
Best Payment Solutions for Your Small Business
In order to make things easier, we have grouped the most popular payment options into 9 categories. We’ll briefly explain how these systems function and what benefits they bring.
Credit cards are by far the favorite payment method among customers. Almost 75% of customers prefer paying with credit cards, both online and in retail establishments. Therefore, it is important to accept credit cards, regardless of
- your niche
- whether you have an eCommerce or brick-and-mortar shop
- whether you are product-based or service-based
What’s particularly important about introducing credit cards as your payment option is to ensure safety. You should try to find a system that fully complies with the PCI DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard). Only a PCI-compliant provider can ensure the customers’ and your own data are safely processed.
Additionally, you will know a credit card payment system is good if they have a role and permission feature, which enables you to restrict access to sensitive data, allowing it only to trusted members of the staff.
If you own an online store, RegPack provides automated billing for your website These online payment forms comply with the most recent PCI-2 standards.
Online Payment Gateway
This payment solution is particularly suitable for service-based and online businesses. A payment gateway is integrated into your website and allows your customer quick and easy purchasing.
A great thing about gateways is that customers can save their data, so the next time they want to buy something from your website, all they need to do is click.
Some of the most popular gateway providers are PayPal and AmazonPay, although there are many more.
Consider Deferred Payment Plans
If you are working with people of average income, keep in mind that deferred payment can mean a lot to them.
This is an especially good option if you are a service provider. On one hand, people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford your services, now can. On the other hand, as a service provider, you have nothing to lose as you don’t have to pay for product manufacturing, shipping, and so on.
Therefore, it can be a good idea to allow your customers – families and other small businesses – to pay the amount in several installments. Of course, it is in your interest to develop a system that grants credit only to clients with a steady income and long-term employment.
Another way to encourage timely payments is to use an automation tool. “Buy now, pay later” software can automatically debit clients, send them required info, invoices, and payment reminders, etc.
Also, you can integrate payment gateways with chatbots, allowing you to use AI technology to boost your payments and user experience even further. Not only will it help you answer questions about products or payments at the moment a customer wants to buy, but AI can also help with cross-selling, upselling, and reducing cart dropouts.
The largest benefit of email invoicing is easy and fast payment processing. When you send invoices to your customers via email, they receive all the payment details in one place. Immediately after the purchase, they will receive a receipt and have confidence that the transaction went well.
Email invoicing is great for business owners because it gives you a database of all your customers and their email addresses. Additionally, the platforms that provide email invoicing usually have the capability to create financial reports based on gathered customer data.
This type of payment is especially suitable for service-based businesses. When you’re ready, you’ll find there are many sites with email invoice templates you can use. Also, there are apps that will help you automate the entire invoicing process, making it seamless for both your customers and your team.
Create an Online Shop
If your shop is strictly brick-and-mortar, it might be a great moment to open a virtual version. There are many benefits, and as people are now used to shopping online, it would certainly make your loyal customers even happier.
Furthermore, your revenue would depend less on you working longer hours. People could buy whenever they want, and you don’t have to be present. Also, if you have an online shop, you get instant access to the global market so that people from all around the world can see and purchase your products. The same goes for digital services as well.
However, an online shop doesn’t mean much to some traditional services (e.g., massage, cleaning, or plumbing, etc.), as they have to be physically present to provide their services. But these same services can schedule appointments online to keep their calendars full.
Having an online shop is amazing because the software saves you from many chores you would otherwise have to do. From payment processing to collecting taxes, your system can leave you with much more time to dedicate to other issues, like tracking your team’s scheduling and timekeeping or ordering more inventory.
To create your virtual shop, you can download and customize one of the thousands of free WordPress eCommerce templates online.
Mobile Payment and Digital Wallets
It goes without saying that more than Millennials are spending a lot of time with phones in their hands. Because of their popularity, mobile phones are something businesses can’t really ignore. And they don’t want to ͢͢— phones and apps are some of the easiest and most efficient ways to send money online.
The purpose of digital wallets is to give consumers 24/7 access to their bank accounts from their phones, so they’re always able to pay your business without having to visit a bank.
There is no business or niche that can’t benefit from mobile payment services. They are a definite must-have payment option if you want to expand business for your shop or service.
Mobile App Integration
If your business has already developed a mobile app or is planning to do so, make sure it offers the same payment solutions as your website and physical store. As previously mentioned, people are used to shopping with their mobile phones.
If a customer needs to open their laptop because they can’t pay for your product from their phone, you can expect a lot of cart abandonment cases.
To avoid that, you could employ a developer to add and integrate the required gateways. Or, you could use platforms that provide fully integrated electronic billing systems, such as RegPack.
Allow Recurring Payments
Here is something you can do for your loyal customers. If you…
- sell something people need frequently (e.g., cosmetics or medications)
- cater to clients who come back regularly, or
- run a service-based business (i.e., customers pay for monthly or yearly subscriptions)
…then you need a recurring payments option.
It is a great way to improve the customer payment experience and strengthen your sales at the same time.
There are multiple ways you can introduce recurring payments. If you have a virtual shop, the easiest way is to use a WordPress plugin. Or, you can rely on payment management tools, one of them being RegPack recurring billing software.
ACH and eCheck
ACH (Automated Clearing House) is the US financial network for managing deposits. It is similar to PayPal, except ACH is controlled by the federal government and NACHA (National Automated Clearing House Association). Payments made through ACH come directly from the customer’s bank account over a very secure payment system.
Therefore, you should accept ACH and eChecks if your business is operating in the US, or if it has a significant customer base there.
These payment options are great for businesses that have frequent transactions and high amounts to process. They allow payments that are similar to traditional checks but happen paperlessly online.
Money can fly in through many gates. Whether you choose to accept standard credit cards, take advantage of AI trends, or use various types of chatbots, is up to you.
To make the right choice, it is important to know how to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and constantly learn about their needs and preferences.
Regulating how you will receive money is one of the most important things to resolve before you start your business. Also, even if you are a veteran, new options are coming up every day, so it’s a good practice to keep yourself informed about the latest trends if you want to stay one step ahead of the competition.