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7 Questions to Ask When Choosing an Online Payment Service

Your customers, your revenue, the success of your marketing campaign, and acquiring health insurance: what do all these have in common? According to a study by Entrepreneur.com, these several different aspects of your business are your top professional concerns. Your customers and your revenue are extremely crucial, and no one can argue that increasing revenue and creating happy customers are the cornerstone of a profitable small business. When you are devoted to increasing your online sales and creating repeat customers, you must make the transaction as smooth and painless as possible, and you must do this so well that a first-time customer is eager to shop with you again. Here are seven questions to ask when choosing an online payment method for your business.

1. Is it easy to use?

This one seems obvious, but not all businesses take the user-friendliness of their online stores seriously. The biggest let down for potential customers is when they add everything to their online shopping carts only to realize they can’t find the “Complete order” button. Or when they are browsing your site, find an item they like, and the “add to cart” feature is hard to find or is altogether non-functioning. Make sure you visit sites that are currently utilizing the online payment service you are considering. Go through the site like an actual customer would and test it out. Note any deficiencies and contact the service to see if there is a solution to make sure the errors aren’t replicated in your own store.


2. Is it compatible with mobile devices?

Business2Community reported this past spring that over 32 percent of online purchases are made on mobile devices. Mobile commerce is a huge source of online revenue. You do not want to limit your business only to face-to-face or online sales, or you’ll be missing out on potential income. Make sure your chosen payment service can be optimized for mobile devices.


3. Does it attract repeat customers?

You’re probably wondering how an online payment service can attract repeat customers all by itself, but it can be done. The easiest way to do this is to offer a subscription based service to your customers. Do you sell coffee? How about a “Coffee Sampler of the Month” club? Do you sell baked goods? How about a “Cookie of the Month” club? Keep in mind, if you decide to offer subscription based services, your payment service must provide support for this. Many don’t, so ask about it up front.

4. Does it accept multiple forms of payment?

Obviously your online payment service needs to accept multiple types of credit cards, but does it also accept multiple types of currency? This may be a non-issue for domestic businesses, but if you’re shipping worldwide, your service needs to be able to charge people in their native currencies and convert them in real-time.

5. Are you stuck with transaction fees?

Transaction fees are so last year. They’re unnecessary, and they eat up your budget. Popular online payment services like PayPal are notorious chargers of these fees, but online payment services like Shopify offer innovative pricing solutions for their services that do not rely on these fees.

6. Is there a setup fee?

Oftentimes, payment services charge an upfront fee to get you signed up and set up. These setup fees range anywhere from $100-$250. However, more and more services are choosing to forgo the setup fees altogether to obtain you as a customer. Don’t be afraid to shop around, and if you notice a vendor you really like has a setup fee, make contact with them and see if they are willing to negotiate this. Most of the time, they know their service is at a disadvantage by requiring the fee, so they may be flexible. It doesn’t hurt to try.

7. Is it secure?

One of the easiest ways to establish integrity with your customers is to keep their data safe. In 2013, USA Today reported that credit card data theft increased by 50 percent between 2005 and 2010. Unfortunately, it is still an imminent threat to all consumers. When customers shop with you, they need to know that their credit card and personal information is safe, and if it somehow gets compromised, they need to have confidence that you and/or your online payment service provider will handle it competently and openly. At the very minimum, the service you go with should have data encryption. But do one better, and get the most for your money and peace of mind by insisting that your payment service is PCI compliant. If your chosen service is PCI compliant, they conform to the standards set forth by the Payment Card Industry’s Data Security Standard, which are the highest standards set forth in the industry. Remember, protecting your business and customers against fraud is a vital practice of all good businesses.

Choosing an on online payment service that meets the specific needs of your business might seem harrowing at first, but once you narrow down the features that are most important to you and your customers, your list of potential choices will get much smaller. Best of luck selling!

Image source: iStock

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