Customers use the Internet all the time to search for whatever they need. Be it a physical product or booking a service online, we are now used to using our computer or mobile device to quickly find the right supplier and information we desire. However, what happens next is where business tends to get lost. Many websites expect their customers to either call or place an enquiry about a product or service, rather than offer the option to just make the purchase. As you might expect, this is where customers and sales can get lost as people will look elsewhere or lose interest.
Introducing E-Payment Processing
E-payment processing is a service offered by a bank (or payment gateway company) that allows your website to securely collect payment information and process a financial payment instantly online. This process, known as authorisation, will make use of any of the popular credit / debit cards such as Visa and Mastercard which the customer must possess.
Most customers will already be familiar with online payments when using popular services such as renewing their Internet service, shopping from Amazon or paying their utility bills. You are therefore more likely to that your customers will be happy to use this system for its convenience and ease of use.
Security and Perception
In the past, online payment processing was technically challenging and complex for businesses to develop. Evenmore, customers perceived it to be a security threat and were shy of providing their credit card information on a website. However, with recent adoption of robust security measures, such as use of SSL encryption and standards for handling of this data, this has vastly improved. Customers will now be willing to make online payments and will know what to look for on a website that demonstrates the right trust signals and security assurances.
The benefits and convenience of online payment for both the customer and your business are clear to see. Depending on your business model, accepting payments online could result in a significant increase to your business as more customers choose to buy from your organisation based on convenience or helps you gain an edge over the competition. This does however come at a price. Payment processing companies (and banks) will charge their fee for processing such transactions. These may include a setup fee and a percentage commission per transaction, similar to utilising a card processing using a POS in-store. Prices start from around £20 per month, but vary between different providers.
Your Checkout Process
Payment is a small (albeit important) step of your business transactions. Consider payment as just one step within a process that is your complete sales transaction. Building your shopping list, calculating price (including shipping and tax), collecting details about your customer and delivery address as well as payment and confirmation notifications are just some of the typical stages required. You should therefore consider what are the steps that apply to your business, with particular attention to the information your business will need to fulfil the order.
Revenue and Cashflow
Adding the option to make a payment on your website is not just about convenience to the customer but also a factor that can affect your bottom line. By creating a new sales channel for your business, you are effectively automating part of your revenue generation process. This benefits your business without adding pressure on any of your other sales methods, such as telephone or email ordering. In fact, it can increase your sales figures whilst reducing your need for adding extra staff.
Evenmore, getting pad at the point of order can be beneficial in terms of cashflow. Whilst the bank and payment company may take a small fee from your transactions, this may be offset by the benefits to your cashflow as you get paid earlier and with less paperwork.
Clean Sales Data
An automated online sales channel may have one more important advantage to offer you. This is the opportunity to collect and process data in an automated manner. Data collected from online transactions are easy to store and analyse such that you obtain a continuous stream of reports, trends and indicators that are invaluable to your marketing team and management.
Choosing A Payment Processor
Choosing the right payment gateway platform is crucial for your online business success since the performance of your online sales channel will also depend on the service and support you will get to run your operation every day. Payment processors will each offer some form of online portal system to allow you to do routine tasks like transaction reconciliations, collect statements and make refunds.
A key criteria for the selection of your payment processor is their certification level. The recognised industry standard in this sector is PCI/DSS.
Based on our experience in helping businesses adopt online payments within their sales process, we have teamed with two long established and reliable brands:
The market leading multi-channel electronic payments provider in the UK, accredited by all major banks and offering great packages for SMEs. Sage Pay today serves over 50,000 customers across Europe. Sage Pay is also fully PCI certified.
A specialist e-payments company with an expect team and extensive portfolio of success stories including small and large retailers as well as financial institutions. Transactium is also fully PCI certified.
In conclusion, as e-payment companies refine their offerings, the complexities of payment processing are now a thing of the past. You can therefore focus your energies and resources towards getting your business and sales processes right.
At Webcraft we have helped many businesses to take implement electronic payments and to develop their online presence into a transactional sales channel. If you wish to know more about electronic payments or you are looking to add online payments to your website, speak to our experts.