Cut to the chase on card payment solutions
With so many choices in merchant account providers and payment processing companies, it might sometimes feel like you’re comparing apples to apples. In the end, whether you select a Red Delicious or a Jonathon apple it isn’t going to matter. Is it?
However, if you get creative with that apple, you may be able to turn it into something that rocks your world.
It’s somewhat similar in the world of merchant services, metaphorically speaking.
How creative you get as a business with payments, and whether your merchant service company can collaborate to help your business be as innovative as possible, is essential to your success.
How accepting card payments can truly solve business problems
Let’s look at some hypothetical business problems and how they might be solved with a bit of creativity between a small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) and a payment processing company (often referred to as a merchant account provider).
Business problem: Julia has three brick-and-mortar dog boutiques in Minneapolis, selling everything from dog snacks to supplements to accessories. She expanded rather quickly and is having a difficult time tracking her inventory, being everywhere at once, and increasing customer traffic at three locations.
Payment solution: Working with her POS hardware vendor and her merchant service provider, Julia upgraded her POS terminals at all three stores and created an integrated payment system that includes inventory tracking, sales figures, analytics, a loyalty program, and more. With new demographic insights, Julia is able to pinpoint which customers are buying the most, and when. She now caters to those particular customers’ needs.
In her case, Julia discovered her biggest tickets were purchases made by females in their 40s, living in particular zip codes, and shopping on Saturday mornings between 10 a.m. and noon. Julia decided to market to those customers by texts on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m., encouraging them with promotional offers and inviting doggies along for sample treats. The result was a 50 percent increase in traffic during those optimal purchase hours. Julia can now also track inventory and sales from any internet-accessible device, even her mobile phone. Her payments and business operations are integrated into one system, helping her to grow with more confidence.
Hint: If you have a retail business with one store or multiple stores, consider an integrated payment system that not only allows you to accept debit and credit cards, but better run your business, too.
Business problem: A popular NYC lunch spot is in overdrive with lines out the door from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, yet slow for the rest of the day. It’s both a sit down and carryout location, making coordination between waitstaff and customers even more complicated. The owner, James, has to staff up to the max to be prepared for his busy times, but paying those employees is cutting into his profits. Plus, when stressed-out NYC customers see the long line, many of them go elsewhere.
Payment solution: James found a payments processor that would enable him to take all kinds of mobile payments, allowing him to handle the flood of customers during his busy lunch period. Now James’ restaurant offers mobile ordering ahead of time, so customers can come in and their lunch is ready and waiting. His staff is also equipped with mPOS devices, busting lines by taking orders and payments while customers wait. And, with mPOS devices, waitstaff can also take orders and payments right at the tables.
With his new EMV-enabled POS device, Jim discovered he could also take near field communication (NFC) contactless payment from mobile wallets, such as Apple Pay and Google Android Pay. Now, customers can pay with a single wave or tap near his POS. Working with his payments processor, Jim not only accepts credit cards, he’s also solved a number of business problems.
Hint: If you have a restaurant, large or small, look into how mobile payments of all kinds can help you during your busiest times of day.
Business problem: Christopher owns a B2B company selling his own organic cotton blank t-shirts to small businesses who design custom tees for their customers. His niche market has taken off in the U.S., and now it’s not unusual for his larger customers to order hundreds of shirts at a time. Christopher is thankful for the big orders, but getting paid from larger companies efficiently can present some problems: some don’t pay by credit card, some do; some require POs; some have slow beaucracies. In the meantime, while he waits for his money, Christopher has to order supplies to keep making his blank tees, which creates a cash flow problem.
Payment Solution: Christopher found a payments company that offers an option for direct debit from his customers’ bank accounts into his business bank account, so he can facilitate funds being exchanged expediently. As he considers going global, this payments solution company can also exchange currency in dozens of countries, increasing his future market share.
Hint: If you have a B2B company, find a merchant provider or payments processing company that can help you eliminate cash flow problems and facilitate your growth.
Business problem: Kate wanted to start small with her Mid-Century Mod eCommerce store, playing it safe, but she definitely wanted to control the brand experience with her own website. She decided not to go with Etsy or Ebay, where she thought she might get lost in the mass of other sellers, but that meant having to decide on which companies to trust to accept credit card payments from her customers. And, she wanted her customers’ credit card data to be safe, too. PayPal was a good choice, but it was only one choice. To become legit, Kate knew she needed to offer secure, credit card payment options to her customers. But which ones?
Payment solution: Kate decided to simplify card payments with two choices: a well-established aggregated card payment solution that’s easy to set up and processes secure payments without a big underwriting process, and Apple Pay, which simplifies credit card mobile payments and accepts credit card payments from the newer MacBook Pro with a simple click.
Hint: If you’re starting an e-comm business, the first questions to ask yourself are: How big do I want my business to be? How fast do I want to grow? How can I provide a secure payment experience for my customers? From there, you can decide upon the best card payment solutions for your company.
Business problem: Samantha is a mobile massage therapist who has a steady clientele, many with weekly appointments. Taking cash and checks was getting to be unwieldy because she has to deposit checks and keep track of cash payments and tips. Samantha also does monthly chair massages at the local Farmer’s Market to pick up an occasional new client. As her little massage business grew, she herself was developing business pain points.
Payment solution: Samantha decided on a mobile payment acceptance solution that worked via a a dongle attachment which converted her smartphone into a mobile credit card acceptance device––no hassles involved. Now, her mPOS is always with her and she can accept payments anywhere she has a wifi signal: at someone’s house, on the road, at a farmer’s market––and all of her payments are tracked. She can also set up recurring auto-payments for her weekly appointments with ease.
If you have a small, on-the-go business, and want to keep it small, there are a number of companies that now offer mPOS devices that can simply turn your smartphone or tablet into a credit card payment solution.
Get creative with payments and increase your chances of success. Collaboration between you and your payments processor is vital to growing your business and making it a success. Be sure you find an accessible, supportive company that helps you innovate with the latest technologies. The payments world is changing rapidly, and so are your choices in merchant services providers. Find a company that takes your greatest business problem and helps you find a real solution.