SMBs must keep up with customer payment preferences
March 05, 2014
It's no longer enough for small and midsized businesses to simply accept credit card payments, checks and cash, and then consider their payment processing strategy complete.
While these three long-standing forms of payment are cornerstones to a competitive plan, being adaptable and open to changing consumer habits and new processing types is also important. Integrated payment systems that accept a variety of payment types and have the capacity to work in a variety of locations provide an edge for businesses by meeting the needs and desires of their clients.
A white paper provided by Hybris Software pointed out how developing technology across a variety of fields - from smartphones and tablets to in-car touchscreen technology - has advanced the processing market by providing consumers with more choices. Businesses can still be competitive in the payments field; however, they need to stay up to date on current developments and have a proactive frame of mind.
The 'agile commerce' concept
Businesses need to provide options that clients feel comfortable using. A limited offering of avenues for payment - or even worse, only accepting a single kind - means that a significant amount of patrons may seek out another business that caters to their preferences.
The increase in purchases made remotely via computers and mobile devices is one indication of the trend. The ease of use of these channels means that more people are beginning to use them, whether to make a purchase for delivery or to pre-pay and then pick up merchandise at a physical location. Small and midsized businesses that don't offer any sort of virtual terminal credit card processing are missing out on orders that their local competitors are filling.
Touch points for consumers are quickly growing
Word of mouth and traditional advertising used to be the only touch points that businesses had to manage to attract customers. The explosion of the Internet as a commerce channel has led to more ways that customers can learn about and interact with companies.
From review websites to social media, there are far more possible paths than ever before. Business site MarketingProfs pointed out that current consumers are influenced by friends and family, online community groups and people in positions of authority about certain product when making purchases.
Part of a holistic strategy for turning successful touch point use into purchases is a flexible and adaptable payment processing strategy. Once businesses draw in potential customers, they have to offer convenient payment options.