Brick and Mortar to Click and Mortar. How to Take Payments Online
If you are a brick and mortar merchant without an online presence, it’s time to consider venturing on to the web. Online sales in the U.S. are forecasted to reach $423 billion by 2020, up 56 percent from $335 billion in 2015. An additional 25 million shippers will be both browsing and buying from retail websites by the end of this decade, reaching 270 million. If you don’t have an online presence, you are likely missing out on big sales potential. As you develop an online presence to sell your products or services, here are three best practices you should keep in mind.
1. Security First
The proliferation of card data breaches has brought payment security to the forefront of concerns for consumers and merchants alike. Even as solutions to protect sensitive data have become more effective, hackers continue to exploit weaknesses. Often, small businesses are an easy target. In fact, 80 percent of data attacks target small merchants. Payments experts extol the effectiveness of encryption for protecting cardholder data in transit, and tokenization for protecting cardholder data at rest. Additionally, PCI compliance (which is mandatory for all merchants accepting payment cards) offers a tangible framework for merchants to identify and address payment card data threats and vulnerabilities that could lead to a breach. Look to your payment processing provider for assistance regarding both technology solutions and PCI compliance.
2. Toot Your Horn
When designing your webpage, make sure you clearly describe your business and offerings. Include product photos and reviews. Display your contact information on every page of your site. Your billing descriptor, which identifies your business on the customer’s credit card statement, should be easily recognizable as your company name or brand. Make sure to include a toll-free telephone number for customer inquiries. Set up a system for orders so that customers receive an email confirmation immediately after placing an order as well as when the order is shipped, and if a refund is processed. Be sure to include a clear explanation of your policies for billing, returns, shipping, back orders, and privacy. This information should be included both on your site and in all email communications.
3. Reduce Your Risk of Chargebacks
Chargebacks can be costly, and there are several steps you can take to help reduce your risk. Conduct an Address Verification System (AVS) check and contact customers for order confirmation on AVS failures. Test card validity prior to deposit by using a Zero Dollar Verification” (ZDF). It’s a good idea to avoid “$1.00 Authorizations,” as these can appear in online statements and confuse customers. Be sure to ship goods within seven days of authorization, or obtain a new one. Submit your deposits to your processor within two days of shipment. Use voice authorizations only as a last resort– because they bypass processors’ systems, they cannot be used to refute chargebacks.
As you move from brick-and-mortar to click-and-mortar, your payment processor can be an invaluable partner. For more information about best practices for accepting online payments, contact a trusted payments expert.