Coupons and other promotions are an excellent way for you to attract new customers and keep existing ones coming back to your ecommerce enterprise. However, there are always a few unscrupulous people who will abuse your generosity to perpetrate fraud on your business. Taking steps to stop these criminal behaviors before they happen can save you time, aggravation, and money.
If you process credit cards online, you are part of an ever-growing landscape of ecommerce businesses whose clients live not just in your town or state but all over the country. If you have an international footprint, they are even more geographically far-flung. While your expanded customer base can lead to positive national exposure, it can also make keeping track of your buyers more of a challenge. That’s where closley monitoring your business’s activity via your point-of-sale (POS) solution’s customer management and inventory tracking tools can be a godsend.
Before you start a coupon promotion, have a solid strategy firmly in place. You already know that your customers could come from many places, so prepare for this by offering different discounts or coupons depending on the part of the country, continent, or globe where the consumer lives. Then use your POS to keep track of which incentives are being used and by whom.
Another way to retain a handle on your customer rewards is to make them very time-sensitive. Be as generous as you want, but include a clear expiration date. That way, any damage that a fraudster does manage to do can be chronologically contained.
Focus on Giving Away Your Own Coupons
One of the best ways to reduce fraud is to do most of the heavy coupon lifting yourself. Many merchants prominently feature their most valuable coupon codes for all to see on their own home page. Alternatively, entice customers with the prospect of a generous discount in exchange for providing their email address.
Carefully Harness the Power of Affiliates
Even though you might prefer to dispense most of your discounts in-house, passing on some of the task to others is a powerful mechanism that has put many companies into sales hyper-drive. Affiliate marketing is a very effective way to get the word out about your business. With this system, you essentially pay a commission to another website whenever they refer one of their customers to you. They only get paid when a customer purchases one of your products or services. In order to promote what you have to offer, you may decide to allow these affiliates to share coupon codes or otherwise promote your brand.
On the surface, this can turn out to be a great marketing tool. However, it can backfire if you fail to be totally transparent about the terms and conditions of your promotions. It’s a smart idea to require that all of your affiliates “noindex” your brand pages. Once they do, your information will not come up as part of customers’ search results. As a result, the only buyers that affiliates can refer to you must come from their own blogs, forums, and promotions. Furthermore, affiliates must be told in no uncertain terms what will happen if their referrals engage in abuse of your coupons.
Stop Fraudsters at the Time of Registration
One of the ways that customers take advantage of ecommerce businesses’ coupon offers is to register over and over for the offers using different email addresses and mobile phone numbers. It is a relatively simple process to buy online phone numbers and receive SMS via websites that can be found after only the briefest of online searches.
To combat this phenomenon, one of your best weapons is to set up a phone verification process that new registrants must complete. After providing a legitimate phone number, the applicant receives a call or text message with a unique one-time code that they must provide online before their account is approved. Your phone number verification service can provide to you, in real time, information such as phone type and registration location, carrier, phone forwarding and SIM swap status, velocity, intelligence, and any reports of fraud.
Once you are armed with these data, you can immediately act on red flags by suspending the application until you can contact the customer directly. At that point, you can either resolve any misunderstandings or stop a potential fraudster in their tracks before they have been able to do any harm.
Consider Not Offering Coupons
This suggestion probably sounds counter-intuitive. Why would any ecommerce merchant want to shoot themselves in the foot by failing to furnish loyal customers with the motivation to make repeat purchases and refer their friends? The answer is that for some companies, giving out coupons just isn’t worth it. However, that doesn’t mean they have given up on providing incentives for loyalty.
Consider companies such as the shoe, clothing, and luxury handbag seller Zappos that offer free shipping and returns year-round. Although they neither give out coupons themselves nor allow other websites to do so, Zappos customers know upfront that they are receiving other valuable rewards. Many of these sellers also express their gratitude to purchasers by emailing a thank-you promotion that can be used for a few weeks after the purchase date.
In the end, the best way to avoid coupon fraud turns out to be no different from one of the strategies you have kept in mind since you first outlined your business plan: Know your customers. Ask yourself if they would respond better to geographically targeted promotions, affiliate strategies, or other sources of value that you build directly into your website. In addition, be aware that there is usually at least one rotten apple in every barrel, and it is essential that you protect yourself by taking steps to ensure that your hardware and software are up-to-date and you have security safeguards in place.
The truth is that online competition is back-breaking enough without also suffering numerous assaults from online crooks. By maximizing the fortress that protects you, your website, staff, and customers will all be safer.
As a restaurant owner, no one needs to tell you that you are in a cut-throat industry. With your profit margin often razor-thin, constant worries about staffing and food quality, and your ongoing work to bring in new customers, every minute is precious. That’s why you need a merchant account provider who can make your life simpler, not more difficult.
Accepting Mobile Payments
Today’s smart restaurateurs are embracing modern technology by optimizing their websites for mobile devices. If someone is looking for a new place to eat, there is a very good chance that their search will take place over their mobile phone.
Once you have made your website mobile-friendly, you’re still not done. You should look for a merchant account provider who can set you up to accept payments from both Apple and Android phones. By so doing, you will accommodate the increasing numbers of patrons who are leaving their credit cards behind in favor of relying exclusively on their digital wallets and mobile devices for payment. The last thing you want to do is to lose valuable customers just because you don’t offer their payment method of choice.
Efficient Payment Processing
It’s one of your biggest frustrations: A large group of customers asks if you would be willing to split the check. Because you want to accommodate their wishes and provide them with the best possible service, you agree to do so. However, your clunky old point-of-sale (POS) solution becomes overwhelmed by the onslaught of all the various types of credit cards, and the experience seems to go on forever. In the end, neither you nor your customers feel good about the situation.
If ever you needed a message from the universe telling you it’s time to upgrade your equipment, you just got it. Fortunately, there are updated systems that conduct payment processing for restaurants quickly and accurately regardless of the types of credit, debit, and gift cards you throw at them.
There are several important features to consider in a POS solution. Make sure the merchant services provider you choose can give you equipment that gives you the following:
- Speed and efficiency.
- Hardware that is both reliable and able to be upgraded regularly by the provider.
- Customizability to your needs.
- Equipped with reporting and analytics features.
- Capability to incorporate online ordering, a useful enhancement either now or in the future.
- Inventory tracking.
- Customer support.
If you see yourself taking off in a big way in the next few years, you may also want to be sure that the system you buy from your merchant account provider will allow you to roll out features such as tableside payments and self-service kiosks.
Increased and Enhanced Security
Did you know that according to PCI data security standards, you are required to have a security camera in place to oversee the areas where credit cards are being processed? When both your employees and your customers are aware that they are under surveillance, the level of security increases a great deal. Furthermore, you should take steps to see that your merchant account provider furnishes you with a cutting-edge POS solution that encrypts data and possesses various authentication features.
Ability to Choose and Customize
As you search for the merchant services provider that best meets your needs, bear in mind that you will probably be in a relationship with this company for several years. Therefore, you should insist on finding one that allows you to customize your bundle of features according to your establishment’s size, profit amounts, and customer base. After all, a neighborhood diner requires different things than a large banquet venue, and you owe it to yourself to work with a provider who listens to you and works hard to understand your requirements, and even grow with you in the years to come. You want a representative who will help you to determine exactly what features you do and don’t need since you most likely will not need to waste your financial resources on every one of the numerous bells and whistles that currently exist in the payment processing world.
At the very least, however, you should get a system that enables you to compile reports and automate some of your day-to-day tasks. To that end, you need to work with a merchant services provider who can explain how these features work. Once you get them up and running, they will enable you to track your sales and buying trends, take care of many payroll and accounting tasks, keep track of staff hours, and cultivate ongoing relationships with your customers via promotions and loyalty programs. With the valuable patron database your system can help you to initiate and maintain, you can keep in touch with people via email, sharing the news about promotions, menu changes, and special events. If you do it right, the patrons you value so much will feel cared about and will be even more likely to make a return visit.
Your merchant services company isn’t just the conduit that allows you to accept credit and debit card payments from your customers. In fact, this vendor can be your life-line that provides you with tech-savvy, customer- and staff-friendly solutions for virtually all of the issues that arise on a daily basis in your busy restaurant. Because this company is sure to play a pivotal role in your eatery for months and even years, take whatever time you need to do your homework and arrive at the one you like best. The process may seem like a waste of time now, but you will thank yourself time and time again.
Embed This Infographic
Copy and paste the code below to get this infographic onto your website or blog.
Payment Trends That Could Reshape Your Business in 2019 – An infographic by the team at Total Merchant Services
Not so long ago, business owners were grappling with the decision of whether to accept debit and credit cards in their physical stores. Although just a few years have gone by, that concern seems virtually archaic now. That’s because technology is racing forward at such a mind-bending pace that entrepreneurs have no choice but to adapt and evolve if they want to succeed. Devices such as the mobile phone, as well as other customizable innovations, are turning shopping into a very personal and individually tailored experience for both shoppers and the companies from whom they buy.
Most likely, you are familiar with the “smart speakers” that are becoming commonplace in so many American homes; perhaps you have one or two yourself. They allow users to play games, access weather and sports scores, set a timer, ask any number of questions, and make phone calls, just to name a few functions. As more and more in-home devices such as thermostats and security systems come on board, consumers will be able to also operate them via this technology. It won’t be long before you can also add shopping to the list of “smart speaker” bells and whistles. Amazon’s Alexa already enables users to attach their accounts and make simple purchases.
In the upcoming months, this capability is sure to expand and become more refined. One way this will happen, as unsettling as it may first sound, will occur when your speaker registers your desire to purchase a particular item and transmits the information to an automated chatbot to complete the transaction. It might sound straight out of science fiction, but automated ecommerce is right on the horizon.
People are never separated from their phones these days, and that can definitely work to your advantage as an entrepreneur, thanks to mobile payment technology. The digital wallet is slowly but surely being accepted by consumers as a convenient and secure way to make payments. All that’s required is that they input their credit card information into the app that’s built into their Apple or Android phone. When the time comes to make a purchase, the consumer simply holds their device near the stores near field communication (NFC) reader and provides their pass code, fingerprint, or facial ID. Within seconds, the payment goes through securely without the need for the merchant to have access to the customer’s data.
In addition to the upside of added security, a point-of-sale system capable of mobile payments can also be used to entice customers to buy products and services from you more frequently. That’s because modern POS solutions are equipped with software that enables you to set up a customer database. Once that’s in place, it’s a breeze to start an email newsletter that contains appealing discounts, and to reward your most loyal customers as well. Everyone likes to feel special, and programs like these let your buyers know that their business is one of your highest priorities.
These days, all of the major mobile phone providers are embracing digital wallets. That includes:
- Android Pay
As carrying cash becomes increasingly rare, these wallets are in an excellent position to become customers’ payment method of choice.
Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies
In spite of the fact that it has been on the financial scene for several years now, Bitcoin and its cryptocurrency competitors still possess a certain air of mystique. Although they are perfectly legal, they continue to make many customers a little queasy. There are good reasons for their wariness. The value of Bitcoin, the most recognized currency in this category, has fluctuated wildly even from one day to the next. That leads many people to prefer to entrust their wealth to cash, stocks, and bonds.
In addition, people who buy things with cryptocurrencies often do not have a seamless purchasing process. Whereas a standard debit or credit card buy can be completed in a matter of seconds, security and financial considerations have tended to make cryptocurrency acquisitions time-consuming and sometimes unreliable.
Once again, technology has come to the rescue with a device called Flip. Through the use of its FitPay Payment Platform, the Flip device allows people who hold Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to exchange them for U.S. dollars. The funds can be stored on the Flip contactless payment device. When a customer wants to make a purchase, they can simply use their e-wallet, as they always do wherever contactless payments are accepted, by bringing their Flip device in close proximity to the retailer’s NFC reader.
When biometric authentication is used, a person is identified via an automated method that recognizes them on the basis of behavioral or physiological characteristics. These may include fingerprint, face, hand or palm geometry, iris, retina, signature, or voice. Since these features are highly unique to each of us, the security of transactions can be maximized through the use of this form of authentication. Even now, biometrics are being used by a wide array of entities: local, state and federal governments, the military, and private corporations and companies. Applications that utilize the technology include electronic banking, federal IDs, law enforcement, and social services.
This powerful technology can also be used to make other systems more secure, including credit cards, digital signatures, and encryption keys. Of all the main types of security checks that require customers to show something to verify their identity, biometrics are by far the most convenient and secure. Your biometric signature cannot be stolen or borrowed, and it is virtually impossible to forge one. That goes a long way toward explaining why biometrics are expected to be used in more than 18 billion transactions in just three short years.
As you can see, technology is taking today’s businesses on a rocky but exciting ride. Just when you think you have a handle on the innovations that are making marketing and displaying your products appealing to a new generation of consumers, along comes a bevy of alternative payment strategies. Given the speed at which everything is moving, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. After all, change is scary, and most of us are uncomfortable with it.
Nevertheless, it’s vital that you remain flexible and open to what’s newer and better. If you become intractable, you may find yourself kicked to the curb by your more open-minded competitors. With that in mind, it’s time to take the bull by the horns, keep your ear to the ground and continue to remain abreast of the constantly evolving developments both in your field and in the payment processing arena. That’s the only way you can stay ahead of the curve.
With each passing year, more and more consumers are buying some, if not all, of their goods and services online. In order to pay the merchants from whom they make their purchases, most customers are inputting their names, addresses, and credit card data numerous times over a broad range of ecommerce sites. The Secure Remote Commerce (SRC) specifications now being proposed by EMVCo are seeking to revolutionize the way people pay for what they buy.
What is SRC?
While online shopping is the preferred way to shop for many, consumers still complain that the checkout process can be tiresome. There are so many different ways to checkout depending on the format and process used that consumers, and even merchants, can get confused. The SRC specifications are a set of standards being implemented as a way to streamline the checkout process.
The Advantages of SRC
When buyers are forced to manually input their credit card data over and over again, the likelihood of difficulties rises significantly. For one thing, SRC would standardize the technical framework that consumers use to make their payments, thereby allowing them to use their credit and debit cards across all payment channels. Furthermore, the payments could even take place on different browsers and via mobile devices. In the end, data would be more secure and less prone to the human error that happens with manual entry.
How Would it Work?
Many customers are already familiar with digital wallets. With this technology, they input their card information into an application on their mobile device. When the time comes to make a purchase, the customer simply brings up their digital wallet, places the mobile device near the retailer’s NFC reader, verifies their identity via fingerprint or facial recognition, and the purchase is transacted. No actual numbers, expiration dates, or security codes are entered because the payment is tokenized. The same would be true for SRC payments.
How would buyers be able to confirm that they are who they say they are?
After the first login, the SRC recommends that cookies be used to verify the consumer’s identity. As an additional safeguard, the issuing bank can require that the customer prove their identity on the bank’s application by providing fingerprint or face recognition authentication.
The Remaining Concern
SRC does not happen automatically. In order for consumers to have a platform to store and tokenize their card information, their issuing bank must connect to the token service provider (TSP) offered by card schemes such as Mastercard, Visa, and American Express. At this time, many issuing banks remain committed to low rate payment processing but have not seen their way to taking on the significant investment of time and resources necessary to adopt SRC.
We have already seen that the EMV security standards have made purchases at point-of-sale locations more secure by enabling the customer to retain possession of their card at all times. Now with the introduction of SRC, the same safety can be brought to the ecommerce milieu.
Finally, buyers and merchants alike can have security without sacrificing convenience and vice versa. Faster and more secure checkouts lead to fewer shopping cart abandonments and happier customers. In other words, once issuers make the commitment to embrace the added safety and efficiency of SRC, everyone will win.
When you began dreaming about starting your company, one of the first tasks you completed was probably to write a business plan. Although it may have felt as if you could check that job off your list, the fact is that a good written description of your business and its goals is a dynamic document.
As the year comes to a close, it’s time to re-evaluate so that you can start 2019 off on the right foot.
Compose a Short Summary
Although your entire plan might require a longer document, it’s important to craft a concise description of what your company continues to be, as well as the need it’s meeting. This is where you answer the implicit question of how you address a concern or serve a particular population. This document should leave the reader wanting to know more.
Describe Your Business Model
You need to be clear, both to yourself, and to customers and investors, about how you are going to make money. What products or services are you selling and to whom? How will you keep existing patrons and cultivate new ones as your business grows?
Provide a Sales Forecast
Your plan needs to illustrate how you will continue to market your products and services. If there are certain lead generation or marketing strategies that have succeeded for you in the past, furnish details. Since your plan is as much about the future as the past, also include industry trends and benchmarks that will give your predictions credibility.
Make a Funding Request
Unless you are independently wealthy, you will probably be gearing this document toward investors. If you are making a funding request, be sure that it calibrates well with the financial statements you provide, and be clear about exactly where investors’ money will be going. People will not be interested in buying in if there is not a clear Use of Funds section.
Update and Rewrite
Keep in mind that your business plan is a dynamic document. Just as you aren’t using the same credit card terminal that you had a decade ago, your plans and forecasts should also change and be in line with the times. That also applies to your financial outlook, which you should re-examine and tweak annually. To that end, don’t let your first draft be your last. Rewrite and update with the times. Your document should evolve right along with your business and as colleagues and competitors add their input into the mix.
The end of the year is a great time to simultaneously look backward and forward. While change isn’t always comfortable, it’s a necessary part of doing business. Embrace it, and make sure your business plan reflects the progress you have made, as well as the goals you are looking to achieve.
Embed This Infographic
Copy and paste the code below to get this infographic onto your website or blog.
Like it or not, the holidays are coming. If your business is like many U.S. companies, you might make close to one-third of your annual sales in November and December. Since happy customers tend to buy more and bring their friends, you have everything to gain by making their purchase experience as fast and seamless as possible.
Holiday Season Shopping at A Glance
There are several positive factors that are leading customers to feel more relaxed about spending money on their loved ones this season. Many of them who had previously been receiving the minimum wage have recently experienced pay increases due to the passage of state laws. In addition, the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.7 percent, which is the lowest since 1969. While this does not reflect the job situation of Americans who were not actively seeking work, it still reflects an overall dip in joblessness. In general, people who know they will be getting a steady paycheck are more likely to spend money, an estimated $1007.24 per person this year, on the things they need and want.
Well over half of that amount, $637.67 per person, will go towards gifts this year. In an effort to get a piece of that pie, many stores are starting their holiday deals earlier both in-store and online and are coming up with creative ways to entice people away from rival retailers. Loyalty programs, targeted emails and deep discounts are just some of the strategies being used, and it appears that customers are taking the bait. Roughly five percent of their available funds are, after all, expected to go toward holiday deals that are not gift-related.
Holiday Shopping Behavior
Everyone likes a bargain, and people will often go to extraordinary lengths to find one. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the majority of consumers won’t jump at an item just because it is on display. Instead, they wait for it to go on sale.
The dawn of ecommerce has definitely changed the buying patterns of many customers, even the big procrastinators. During those all-important seven days before Christmas, people are more in a rush than ever. As a result, they pick out and pay for their purchases online to save time and then go to the store for a quick pick-up.
Just over half of shoppers purchase exactly what they had planned to get before entering the store; only 19 percent leave the store carrying items they did not expect to buy. For retailers, this behavior underscores the importance of maintaining a dynamic ecommerce platform with compelling deals that keep changing as the Christmas deadline draws closer.
Top Three Busiest Projected Shopping Days In 2018
It should come as no surprise that November 23, the day after Thanksgiving known as Black Friday, was one of the most frenetic shopping day of all. That’s when e-retailers and brick-and-mortar sellers alike display all of their deals to their maximum effect. Another very popular day is the last Saturday before Christmas; this year, it falls on December 22. Shoppers will also flock to the stores on the previous Saturday, December 15 of 2018. During these days and all others leading up to December 25, it is important to make payment processing easier by:
• Having your POS up and running and in good working order. Be sure your software is upgraded to the latest version and that your staff is well-trained in all of your POS solution’s uses. That includes processing payments, generating receipts, dealing with refunds and returns, and even handling back-office issues if you have entrusted them with these tasks.
• Taking advantage of mobile POS. Nothing infuriates people more than waiting in long lines, and mobile POS solutions allow you to cut the queue time drastically. Purchases can be made right on the sales floor, or members of your staff can take payments and print receipts while people wait in line. If you adopt mPOS, you are sure to experience a positive bounce in your sales just as other retailers have. No one can argue that a 146 percent increase in sales is not significant.
• Making self-service options available to customers. Not everyone will embrace this change, so you will always need to give people the option to have their payment processed by one of your staff. However, self-service is a great way to allow more independent-minded buyers the chance to check out and head out in a very timely fashion.
Ecommerce Holiday Shopping and Payment Processing
If you don’t already have a website for your business, it’s time to seriously consider jumping onto the ecommerce bandwagon. That being said, the busy holiday season might not be the best time to take this step. At the very least, resolve to have your site designed, up and running well in time for the 2019 holiday rush.
Why is there such a need to embrace the internet? Keep in mind that 59 percent of shoppers do some or all of their purchasing via their smartphone, laptop, or desktop. The vast majority, 77 percent, cite convenience as the primary reason. Do you want to miss out on that opportunity? Numbers don’t lie, and the annual rise in ecommerce purchase amounts on critical days such as Thanksgiving and Black Friday provide convincing evidence.
If you have a website, make it a priority to provide a smooth, frustration-free environment where customers can make their purchases quickly and securely. Since customers tend to prefer to check out without taking the time to set up an account, always offer them a guest checkout option. Feel free to dangle the advantages of establishing an account in front of them, however. These may include having access to tracking information, the ability to store payment data, and VIP access to discounts and other promotions. That being said, people don’t like to be badgered. If they have a positive purchasing experience on your site now, they may well make a repeat visit and set up an account later.
Another bonus that appeals to at least 47 percent of shoppers is free shipping, particularly now that many of the major shopping sites offer it on most purchases. Although providing this might be financially difficult for businesses with an ultra-thin profit margin, offering free shipping can paint you in a positive light with bargain-hungry buyers and motivate them to make repeat purchases on your website in the future.
One of the best ways to give your brick-and-mortar store a boost and to reach out to new customers is to expand your business by establishing an ecommerce presence. Although the internet can seem easy to use and quite approachable, setting up your website is just the tip of the iceberg. You need to put a full-fledged plan in place if your online shop is to succeed and augment your physical store in the best way possible.
Plan in Advance for Your Shopping Cart Platform
In order to give your customers a way to purchase what you are selling, you will need to choose an ecommerce platform that contains shopping cart software. Believe it or not, the experiences that customers have as they check out are so crucial that they determine whether the buyer will follow through with the purchase or click away in a matter of seconds. Abandoned shopping carts are inevitable to some extent, but you want to keep their numbers as low as possible.
To that end, figure out in advance what features you want in your shopping cart software. Most ecommerce entrepreneurs require seamless integration with shipping, product copy that is maximized for search engines, responsiveness to mobile devices, the ability to customize and adapt as their needs change, and integration with the accounting software that they may already be using. The more that you can automate your process from the start, the better off you will be. Making processes automatic can keep you from needing to manually enter information into a spreadsheet or typing out your own shipping labels by hand.
Ask your vendor about value-added items such as customer loyalty capabilities, gift cards, and other promotions. They may already be included free with your cart software, or you may be required to pay a bit more for them. In spite of the expense, they can be a fun and innovative way to get potential online customers interested in buying from your e-store.
Consider Bundling Cart Features in the Beginning
As you have already seen, shopping carts contain numerous features. Some of them, for instance, come with online hosting already included. Since it is likely that your sales will be modest at first, even if you are doing a brisk trade at your brick-and-mortar location, it makes good financial sense to leave the designing and hosting to the professionals. Once you are stable and established, you may want to customize your website on your own, but that’s a challenge for a later day.
Prepare Your Infrastructure
Before you decide on a shopping cart or even consider beginning to process credit cards online, it is important to have all of your ducks in a row. For one thing, settle on a design for your brand logo that represents both your brick-and-mortar store and your ecommerce site. If the one for your physical location works well, no changes are necessary.
Now you can move on to your home page. Since online customers are easily frustrated and distracted, make sure that this page is clear and easy to understand. Don’t attempt to crowd it or to overwhelm visitors with busy colors and patterns. Your home page is your one and only chance to make a favorable first impression, so don’t waste it.
Next, devote your attention to categorizing your products in ways that customers can easily understand. Obtain images for each product that are clear, and then write accompanying copy that gives customers an accurate description of what they are looking at. Compose your return policy with transparency as your number one priority. If you’re in doubt, run it past friends and colleagues.
Give Some Shopping Cart Trial Runs
You have many options when it comes to ecommerce platforms, making it a challenge to know which to select. Fortunately, most allow you to give the system a trial run for 14, 21 or even 30 days before buying. By all means, take advantage of this benefit – but not until you have your infrastructure in place. After all, the clock is ticking as soon as you set up the cart, so encourage friends, family, and customers at your retail store to make a purchase on your site. Of course, ask them to provide you with feedback about your site as well as how the purchase went. After all, positive customer experiences are the holy grail of ecommerce.
List the Products That Have the Highest Potential to Sell Well
You have the advantage of already having your foot in the retail waters. Therefore, you probably have a very good idea of what your bestsellers are. At least while your website is in its infancy, it makes sense to feature these tried-and-true items. Meanwhile, you can conduct your own experiments to expand your offerings by floating a few products on eBay or Craig’s List.
If they are popular there, you have good reason to believe they will be big sellers on your website as well. As a general rule, however, avoid trying to market items that are overly complex or that require in-person explanations. They might be better suited to your physical location.
Make Security a Priority
It is a myth that data breaches and fraud only happen to big businesses. In fact, smaller enterprises are often targeted by criminals because their owners are less likely to have invested in security measures. Consequently, it makes sense to invest in an anti-fraud screening service that is specifically designed to detect and intercept fraudulent orders before they go through and become chargebacks.
On another note, make it a priority to monitor your ecommerce platform’s security. From time to time, it doesn’t hurt to call your provider to ensure that you have the latest software upgrades. Criminals are constantly coming up with new ways to circumvent security measures, and you need to make every effort to stay one step ahead of them.
Broaden Your Sales Channels
Your best bet as a new ecommerce entrepreneur is to start small with your website, but that doesn’t mean it needs to stay that way. Just as you can feature products that are popular with your retail store customers on your website, you will eventually have the chance to make your sales flow in the other direction as well from your website to your physical location. In addition, you can consider marketing your wares on wholesale venues as well as eBay and Amazon, at local fairs and bazaars and even internationally.
Launching your ecommerce site is a little bit like standing at the top of a hill ready to move a large boulder. The learning curve and challenges may seem formidable at this stage, but once you make that first hard push, the components will be put in motion and progress can be made. Obviously, it will be important to control the direction and momentum of your business just as you would need to do with that rolling boulder. However, today’s technology has the potential to provide you with a vastly expanded customer and product base that you can translate into huge profits.
The level of success you are able to achieve during the holidays can either make or break your small business. For many enterprises, sales between October and December represent a significant portion of their intake for the entire year. That’s why it is so important to do everything you can to maximize your chances of translating the gift-giving spirit into solid profits.
Learn from History
Because the past is the best predictor of the future, it makes sense to look back on trends from preceding years and react accordingly. To that end, use your point-of-sale solution’s analytics tools to see what sold well and what didn’t, and then learn from the data.
In a similar vein, recall your advertising and promotional campaigns, resurrecting what worked and rejecting what didn’t. If you have an ecommerce site, track what pages and product categories resulted in the most sales, replicating the best.
Get Creative for the Holidays
At a time of year when competition is particularly cut-throat, set your business apart from the rest by giving your creativity free rein. Think about your strengths, tailoring promotions or offers that put your assets in the best possible light. You can lure your customers in using various enticements: discounts, coupons, upgrades, free shipping, bundles, free gifts, and partnerships with other companies.
Decorate for the Season
Celebrate this festive time of year by sprucing up your brick-and-mortar or virtual shop. You don’t need a degree in interior design to succeed. When in doubt, do a bit of competitive research, using what your competitors are doing as a springboard to get your own creative juices flowing.
Be Transparent About Shipping Deadlines and Holiday Hours
Time seems to speed up as the year draws to a close, and it’s all too easy for customers to leave their shopping to the last minute. You can help them avoid being too late by posting your holiday hours, return policy, and shipping schedule prominently both in-store and on your website. Be clear about when the last day is that they can ship items using various methods to ensure that they arrive on time.
Start Planning for Next Year
Even though the line at your register or mobile payment processing system might be longer than usual, you should still take the time to think of each buyer as a long-term customer. Cultivate lasting relationships by handing out coupons that encourage shopping during the more relaxed months of January and February.
Your mobile payment processing system or stationary point-of-sale solution may contain customer loyalty capabilities that enable you to easily set up a rewards program that will keep people returning throughout the year. Once the new year begins, you will have the opportunity to warmly welcome them to your customer community as you figure out ways to keep them interested and engaged.
For many retailers, the holidays can generate up to 30 percent of their annual sales. By learning from past experience, using educated guesses to predict future trends, and being creative and welcoming, you can embrace the spirit of the season while benefiting financially at the same time. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
More and more people are using the internet these days to shop for products and services. However, many remain squeamish about the security of online payment processing. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to ease their concerns and increase the likelihood that you will get online business.
Make Your Website Your Best Ambassador
In many cases, the first impression people will have of your business happens when they visit your website. If it is clear and professional-looking, their confidence will go up a few notches. It is the virtual equivalent of having an appealing and clutter-free physical location where people can easily see the products on display and discuss them with friendly staff.
To that end, be sure that your site features a contact page that tells customers what you sell, who you are, and how you can be reached. Although it should go without saying, you need to follow through and respond to customer inquiries at the phone number or email address you provide as quickly as possible. Procrastinate and you risk losing them forever.
Back Your Polished Appearance with Website Security
Your reputation depends on ensuring that customers’ sensitive credit card information cannot be intercepted by criminals. To that end, you need to pay for the SSL security certificate that shows your customers that their payments are safe. While data breaches can still occur with even the best protection, they are highly unlikely to happen.
Don’t Be Afraid to Toot Your Own Horn
Are you a member of a trade association or the Chamber of Commerce? Have you received any awards? Displaying these as well as a high Better Business Bureau rating isn’t a matter of being egotistical; it shows potential customers that objective organizations have found you to be trustworthy. Don’t hide your light under a bushel; flaunt this precious recognition.
Go the Extra Mile For Security
Although it is not required that you take the additional step of requiring a customer’s CVV code when they make a purchase, doing so can actually make buyers feel more secure, especially during the holiday season when risk for credit card fraud is at a high. While they might groan inwardly at needing to pull out their card again to retrieve the information, most will be secretly relieved that your business is taking this added security step.
Also, consider investing in an address verification service that will flag suspicious purchases. Chargebacks will happen to every business owner at some point, but it is in your financial best interest to keep them to a bare minimum. Taking these precautions can help.
Make Your Purchase Process Simple and Transparent
Buyers don’t like being shuttled from one page to the next while they are in the process of making a purchase. With every jump, they fear that their information is less safe and more vulnerable to being hacked. Fortunately, you can still have a secure ecommerce platform that does not involve pop-ups or require visitors to leave your website to make their payment. If you’re not sure how to optimize your website for a more streamlined buying experience, contact your online payment processing provider.
In and of themselves, each of these steps is not time-consuming or too costly. Even so, incorporating them into your ecommerce strategy can make all the difference in the world. After all, a customer with peace of mind is much more likely to make their payments online, not only once but over and over again.
If your business takes credit cards, you are processing payments numerous times a day. It goes without saying that, sooner rather than later, a customer’s card will be declined. Because this can happen for a number of reasons, it makes sense to understand these codes in order to know how to proceed.
01: Refer to the Issuing Bank
The credit card issuer (Visa, Mastercard, etc.) stopped the transaction from going through for some reason. Ask your customer to use a different card, suggesting that they contact the issuer to get to the bottom of the problem.
02: Refer to Issuer (Special Condition)
Similar to code 01, this stems from the issuer. Therefore, recommend the use of another card for the moment, and direct your customer to contact their issuer to learn the reason for the code.
04: Pick Up Card (No Fraud)
You will get this code if the card is either expired or has been stolen. As the merchant in a retail environment, you are required to confiscate the card and return it to the issuer.
05: Do Not Honor
As the name implies, you should not accept this card. The customer must pay for their purchases using different means.
07: Pick Up Card, Special Condition (Fraud Account)
In this case, the issuing bank has found this account to be fraudulent. Don’t accept payments with this card, and strongly consider not selling anything to this customer in the future. At the very least, only accept cash.
12: Invalid Transaction
The transaction you are attempting to run is incorrect. For example, you might be processing a refund. Check carefully to be sure that your configurations on all payment batches are correct.
13: Invalid Amount
Usually resulting from a data entry error, this happens if you put an invalid number in the number field. Perhaps you input an incorrect symbol or a negative dollar amount, for example.
14: Invalid Card Number
This is another entry error that happens if you transpose numbers or otherwise fail to correctly type in the right string of digits when manually inputting a customer’s credit card number.
15: No Such Issuer
American Express (AMEX), Visa, Mastercard, and Discover have numbers that start with three, four, five, and six digits respectively. You get this error if you fail to enter the correct initial numbers that match the card type.
19: Re-Enter, An Unknown Error Occurred
In this case, all you can do is to try again. If you keep getting the same error, contact the issuer.
28: File is Temporarily Unavailable
This code comes up if there is a glitch during authorization. Your best bet is to enter the numbers again, contacting the issuer if the error continues.
41 and 43: Lost Card, Pick Up (Fraud Account)
In these cases, the card owner has reported the card as lost or stolen. Don’t run the card again, and don’t provide goods or services to the customer. If this is a recurring payment and you have not had problems with the card in the past, contact the customer to obtain alternate payment information.
51: Insufficient Funds or 65: Activity Limit Exceeded
Your customer’s issuing bank is denying the transaction because the customer either is already over their credit limit or this transaction will bring them to that point. Request another form of payment, or ask your customer to contact the issuer to have their limit raised.
54: Expired Card
Make sure you entered the date correctly. The customer should confirm their expiration date, obtaining a new card if necessary. In the meantime, ask for a different means of payment.
57: Transaction Not Permitted – Card
This occurs if the card is not configured for the specific type of transaction you are attempting. Request that your customer call the issuer to have the transaction approved. Once it is, try again.
58: Transaction Not Permitted – Terminal
This happens if your merchant processing account is not properly configured to accept the transaction. Ask your account provider if your POS can be re-configured accordingly.
62: Invalid Service Code – Restricted
This can happen if your system is not configured to accept AMEX or Discover, or if your customer is trying to pay online with a card that is not authorized for internet payments. In these cases, contact your merchant account provider or have your customer pay with a different method respectively.
63: Security Violation
This happens when the CVV or CID code on the back of the card was not read correctly. In most cases, running the transaction without including the code will work just fine. Just be sure to let your customer know that you have done so in case the transaction is flagged as fraudulent.
85 OR 00: Issuer System Unavailable
This is usually a temporary communication error. Wait a minute, and try running the transaction again. If the error continues, contact the issuer.
85: No Reason to Decline
This category covers errors that are otherwise unexplainable and usually resolve on their own. Try again, contacting the issuer if the problem continues.
91: Issuer or Switch is Unavailable
Again, there is no specific reason for the failure. Try again, and contact the issuer or your payment processor if the situation continues.
93: Violation, Cannot Complete
Because of some problem with the customer’s account, the transaction has been denied. Ask the customer to pay with a different card and to contact the issuer to get to the bottom of the problem.
96: System Error
A problem arose during the transaction, so wait a minute or two and try again. Call the issuer if the problem persists.
RO or R1: Customer Requested Stop of Specific Recurring Payment
The customer has asked their bank to stop the recurring payments that have been coming into your account. Follow up to make sure this was not a mistake.
Getting a handle on these denial codes benefits both you and your customers. Having these numbers on hand can help you to run your business more smoothly. Furthermore, you will be able to clearly explain what your customer needs to do to resolve any issues that arise.
Not so long ago, people purchased goods and services in one of two ways: via cash or check. Some used the services of banks to keep their money safe while others simply chose to squirrel it away in various places throughout their homes. When the time came to buy goods or services, people usually had to have all of the money required for small and medium-sized purchases on hand, with credit being reserved mostly for big-ticket items like homes.
Then came the plastic credit card in the 1970s. It was not only the perfect replacement for paper money, but it also enabled consumers to spend more than they actually had in their bank accounts. For years, paying with plastic seemed to be the quintessential way to transact purchases, until the revolutionary technology came along that catapulted the industry onto an entirely new level. The e-wallet is one of this century’s most innovative and promising ways to buy. Linked to the ubiquitous smartphone, e-wallets look to be the next big thing.
Whereas the plastic cards of today involve a so-called “dipping” process that can take some time to complete, check-out is unbelievably seamless with e-wallets. Once the information is inputted, it’s simply a matter of tap and go. Using contactless technology known as near-field communication (NFC), a consumer can put their phone near a specially equipped reader and conduct a payment within seconds.
In addition, e-wallets can be used to carry multiple types of currencies. Whether you use Euros, dollars, yen, or dinar, they still provide the same smooth buying experience. Whether consumers want to tap out their transaction on a smartphone or click the mouse of a personal computer, the digital wallet is the 21st century’s intelligent update to the credit card.
The Rise of Mobile Wallets
In less than three years, the number of e-wallet users worldwide is expected to jump by a whopping 30 percent and total 2.1 billion. The skyrocketing rates are no coincidence. When behemoths such as Walmart and Starbucks build a bandwagon and start the engine, consumers are sure to jump on it in droves. Although others such as Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and Apple Pay are sure to join in on the party, heavy hitters such as PayPal and Alipay are projected to remain at the top of the tree, allowing merchants to accept payments from customers using both QR and NFC technology.
What Makes It So Accessible?
E-wallets are taking over the payment landscape because they reside on that most prevalent of all devices, the smartphone. By 2019, almost one-quarter of the world’s population will have ready access to a digital wallet. In addition to being widely used, smartphones are becoming cheaper while still containing the QR and contactless reading capabilities that mobile wallets require. Whether someone is in a remote village or in downtown Manhattan, the smartphone is serving as a uniting factor for all consumers.
Convenience of E-Wallets
The setup and login process is simple. To setup an e-wallet, a person only needs their account number, expiration date, and a password or fingerprint that acts as verification. Even when converting foreign currency, fees are low and the turn-around time is rapid.
Adoption of the e-wallet is steady, but it was initially slower due to consumer concerns about data breaches and other security issues. Fortunately, e-wallets have been embraced by the major smartphone producers, who now build the technology right into their hardware. Thanks to the strong encryption algorithms inherent in today’s e-wallets, a customer’s sensitive data is hidden from view, enabling payments to go through without the merchant or third parties having access to it. Because these solutions are constantly being upgraded as breaches occur, they remain highly impenetrable.
Alternative Credit Options
Now that an increasing number of consumers are making e-wallets an essential part of the way they buy products and services, savvy companies like PayPal have decided to capitalize by joining in on the credit card business. As a result, it is now possible to sign up for a PayPal credit card that can be used as a payment source.
Why would someone want to choose an e-wallet credit option over a traditional Mastercard, Discover, Visa, or American Express solution? For one thing, interest rates can be as low as zero percent with these upstarts, making them far more appealing than rates that are often in the double digits for the conventional credit card offerings. Furthermore, even higher-risk consumers are being allowed to start with low credit limits, which can be gradually increased over time as long as people can demonstrate a history of reliable payments.
The Growth of E-Wallets
With their appealing interest rates and consumer-friendly credit limits, e-wallets are quickly gaining approval from a large swath of buyers. In addition, an entire generation of millennials is now entering the prime buying time of their lives. Considering that an estimated 58 percent of this cohort are ready and willing to forego cash entirely in favor of e-wallets, this bodes well for the future of digital payment technology. The onus is now on smaller merchants to take the plunge and upgrade their point-of-sale technology and payment protocols to allow for digital transactions. Once they do, they are sure to see the benefits.
Embed This Infographic
Copy and paste the code below to get this infographic onto your website or blog.
The restaurant business is fiercely competitive. Whether you flip burgers in a back corner of rural America or are the owner of a top-flight eatery in a lively urban metropolis, quality food and excellent service always need to be at the top of your priority list. At the same time, don’t forget about staying on top of digital trends since they could make much more of a difference than you may think.
Why Innovative Digital Payment Solutions Are So Important
Sure, there is something to be said for the appeal of novelty, and that is as true of the restaurant industry as it is anywhere else. However, there are other reasons why digital solutions are taking the culinary business by storm.
For one thing, they can boost your efficiency. After all, having a tablet at each table that allows customers to view the menu, order appetizers and entrees, play games, and make credit card payments goes a long way toward freeing up your staff. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t have work; they can simply use their time in better ways. They can explain what is being offered, help out if another part of the establishment has more demanding tables, and have extra time to chat with and be charming to their customers.
In addition, digital payment technologies can leave your patrons feeling more in control of their dining experience. When people can order and pay on their own schedule instead of that of your servers, their overall mood is much happier when they walk out the door. That can ultimately lead to customers sharing positive reviews of your eatery with their friends and family. Since so much of the restaurant business happens because of word of mouth, this is a big win for you.
Another advantage to cutting-edge payment technologies is the added security that both customers and merchants experience. Today’s smartphones come equipped with built-in digital wallet applications that allow users to input and safely store their sensitive credit card payment data, including card numbers, expiration dates, and security codes. When a restaurant has the capacity to accept contactless payments using their restaurant payment processor, customers can simply place their device near your reader and input a password or a fingerprint. Within a matter of seconds, money has electronically transferred from their account with no need for a physical card or wallet. When people know how fast and convenient payments will be and that they do not need to have cash on hand, they may even spend more. Once again, you are the chief beneficiary.
Make Your Own App
Big chains such as Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have been garnering a good deal of success with their slick and professional apps for years. When they use them, customers can not only take advantage of special discounts and coupons but also order items in advance. At the same time, the restaurants in question gain access to valuable customer reporting.
By hiring a mobile app developer, businesses of all sizes have the ability to create their own app which can make the checkout process easier and smoother for customers. The less people need to stand in line to order and pay, the happier they will be and the more room you will have for those customers who may never warm to the idea of ditching the human touch.
In recent months, Burger King has introduced its virtual WhopperCoin to Russian consumers. Each time someone buys this particular iconic BK sandwich, they receive one WhopperCoin token via their digital wallet. Over time, these can be combined to purchase Whoppers during a later visit to the chain or even traded online with other consumers. You might consider being creative and adding some form of this quirky way to pay.
Harness the Smartphone with Food Delivery
Perhaps you have been weighing the pros and cons of offering delivery services to your customers. Up until recently, many entrepreneurs have shied away from delivery because of the cost as well as the hassle. After all, you had to find someone who would do the driving. You would also need to either reimburse them for mileage or furnish your delivery staff with cars. In short, the thought of figuring out the ins and outs of this process might just have seemed to be too much.
These days, mobile phones allow customers to order via their devices through a third-party app such as Uber Eats. Then, instead of your staff doing the work, one of their drivers simply comes to your door when the order is ready and brings it to the customer. Sure, you pay a fee for this service, but it may be worth it. Just think of the added reach your brand might achieve.
Augment Your Customers’ Reality
At a time when augmented reality is in its infancy, it may be challenging to imagine how it could impact the owners of small restaurants. However, the potential is there. When you consider that the coffee giant Starbucks has already incorporated it into their Shanghai Reserve Roastery to make it more interactive and customer-friendly, it’s not so hard to see how the technology could eventually trickle down to you. With their virtual tour guide app, customers can interact with various key features at the roastery and learn more about them in an updated way, somewhat similar to the audio tour headsets that have been the hallmark of museums around the U.S. for years.
As this technology evolves and becomes more inexpensive, micro-establishments will be able to get into the game, making dining in even more of an experience. These systems are also being utilized by large restaurants such as KFC in order to train their staff. In KFC’s AR escape room, for instance, trainees play a game in order to learn the complex process of preparing the chain’s signature chicken. Modeled after the escape rooms that have become popular entertainment spots for parties and other social events, the game does not allow new staff to leave the virtual room until they succeed at frying the poultry just right. Take a minute to think about how that might help you and your servers at some point in the future.
No matter what food you serve or how large or small your establishment might be, you know as a restaurant owner that change is a fact of life. The digital payment technologies that are coming down the pike represent the next wave of innovation. However, you will always have people who simply want to put down cold, hard cash for the food they buy. The wise restaurateur will make both types of customers feel equally welcome.
On the Surface
Consumers and merchants already know the dangers of today’s data breach culture. Businesses both large and small have fallen prey to criminals who use various modes of identity theft to hack into systems and steal valuable customer information for their own evil purposes. Perhaps one of the most common of these activities happens when someone steals a person’s credit card and then takes it into a physical store. If you accept credit card payments, this could happen to you. While there, the thief simply swipes or dips the credit card, perhaps providing a bogus signature if you require it. Then they simply walk out the door, product in hand. Unless you have great surveillance equipment, a vigilant police force, a savvy customer who reports the loss of their card, or a large helping of luck, chances are good that the bad guy won’t get caught.
Is Requiring an ID a Solution?
In light of how easy it is for people to make counterfeit purchases with our current system, doesn’t it make sense to require all customers to show state or federal identification each time they make a credit card purchase? You and your staff could even make copies of the cards if there were any questions about a customer’s integrity. Therefore, you may believe that it stands to reason that you should institute an ID-required-at-all-times policy.
Not So Fast
While this might seem like an idea that everyone can get behind, the major credit card companies have other opinions. Both Mastercard and Visa actually prohibit you from requiring ID cards as a condition of taking their particular form of plastic as long as the customer has signed the back of the card and that signature matches the one on the receipt. American Express is less firm; it does not restrict you from demanding that customers show ID, but it does stipulate that you treat its customers no differently than others. What that means is that if you don’t require ID from a Mastercard patron, you can’t expect it from the Amex holder who is next in line. Discover allows you to request identification from customers if you like.
Other Ways to Enhance Credit Card Security
Fortunately, looking at identification is not the only way to safeguard yourself against credit card fraud. You can also do the following:
- Use an address verification system to compare the numbers in a customer’s address to information on file. Available only from banks, this software isn’t fool-proof, but it can help you to identify red flags that warrant further investigation.
- Monitor suspicious behaviors such as if the customer does not have a wallet, purchases very expensive items, has a strange variety of goods such as multiple identical sweaters of different sizes, buys right when the store is ready to close, or tells you that their card does not work and can’t be swiped.
- Make your network secure by upgrading all software, limiting employee access, utilizing encryption, and keeping business and personal accounts separate.
- Report suspicious incidents immediately. Don’t wait to notify a card issuer of suspected fraud. The situation should be dealt with right away, minimizing the risk that you will be held accountable.
As you can see, the issue of whether to request identification from a customer is not as clear-cut as it may first appear. It is just one imperfect monitoring method that can be used in limited circumstances to aid you in safeguarding your business. The more you employ the full toolkit of security measures, the safer your small business will be.
As the owner of a medical facility, the well-being of your patients is one of your top priorities. Your concern must extend not only to the quality of the medical interventions you provide but also to the security of patients’ personal data. Following some basic rules can maximize their security and yours, ensuring that you are compliant with federal and financial industry regulations when it comes to healthcare payment processing.
Are Data Breaches a Serious Issue in the Healthcare Industry?
In recent years, public attention has focused on the vulnerabilities of mega-companies such as Anthem, which unscrupulous hackers have exploited in order to obtain patient data including names, social security numbers, and payment details. Healthcare providers both large and small are susceptible to attack both because they possess the data that criminals want, and because many lack the technological expertise and equipment to combat them.
If large companies like Anthem are victimized, what is a small owner like you to do? You might be lulled into complacency, believing that your electronic health records are inherently secure. Even if they are, hackers can attack you if your payment processing system is not compliant with federal HIPAA and Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS).
Change the Way You Provide Receipts
Some processing systems provide receipts to customers by text or SMS. Unfortunately, because SMS is not considered by HIPAA to be a secure technology, you are not allowed to send protected health information (PHI) through that vehicle. Instead, furnish a paper receipt or send the receipt via a secure email system.
Sign Up for a Business Associate Agreement with Your Processor
If your payment processing company does nothing more than facilitate payments for you, you don’t need to take this step. However, if they provide any additional services such as gift or loyalty cards, reporting, account analysis, or other additional features, HIPAA requires you to get a business associate agreement.
Secure All Stored Card Numbers
Any numbers that you keep on hand for any reason and in any format must be kept securely. That means having a locked storage space for any written authorizations that contain this customer information that is so desirable to criminals.
Make Sure Your Credit Card Processing Hardware is Secure
Your system uses the internet to communicate with your processing company. Therefore, you are required to be sure that your connection is PCI-compliant. If your system enables you to use an iPad or other tablet, you also need to take steps to make it secure as well.
Data breaches can happen to anyone, no matter how small or large the organization might be. Don’t stand by and become the next victim. Take these steps today, and protect yourself and your patients well into tomorrow.
Ask a roomful of entrepreneurs about their biggest pet peeve, and we can virtually guarantee that late invoice payments will be at the top of the list. It’s a tricky situation: You want to provide your customers with the understanding and flexibility that offering to extend payments brings. At the same time, late payments hold up your cash flow and lead to all sorts of grief. That’s when setting up recurring payments for your customers can provide you with the solution you need to receive payments on time, while allowing flexibility from your customers as they can choose when the recurring payment will be made.
Set It and Forget It
With recurring payments, your customers simply agree to pay a specific amount, which is withdrawn at a set interval from their bank account and transferred seamlessly to yours. The process couldn’t be easier: You simply input the customer’s payment information, monetary amount to be paid, and date of payment, and you’re ready to go. Only minor tweaking needs to be done once in a while if changes occur.
Say Goodbye to Late Payments
Trying to get a late payment out of a procrastinating customer is like pulling teeth. You might sometimes even need to charge fees to light a fire under the tardiest of the tardy. Recurring billing virtually eliminates not only these fees but those terribly awkward telephone calls as well. Our guess is that you won’t be sorry this task has been taken off of your shoulders.
Enhanced Customer Relationships
When you aren’t haranguing people for payments and customers aren’t trying to avoid you, your relationship will benefit. You can actually get back to what brought you together in the first place: your products and services.
Just think of all the paper you will save when you no longer need to use it for so many bills, envelopes, invoices, and stamps. When you operate electronically, you win and so does the environment.
Payment Information Is Kept Safe
One of the many advantages of recurring payments is that they are set up through a virtual terminal, which is part of your merchant services account. This allows you to keep your sensitive customer payment data secure because the card data is encrypted adding an additional level of security for your customers. When data is stored snugly in the cloud, you can have peace of mind in the knowledge that you are less susceptible to a data breach.
Automated processes are saving busy entrepreneurs countless hours each year. Just by jumping on the recurring billing bandwagon, you too can reap the benefits. Achieve smoother cash flow, happier staff and customers, a cleaner environment, and advanced security today.