The coming of a new year typically brings one question to the business owner – how do I make sure my business is optimized for growth in the new year? It is important to start with the right mindset and plan in place in order to make the most of the year for your business.
There are some obvious places to start when evaluating where to plan for growth in your business – like sales or marketing – but one area that is often overlooked is how your business accepts payments. It is easy to fall into a routine with whatever processor you started your business with, but it is often worth an exploration to see if you are getting the best value for your dollar. Let’s look at the shifts and trends, as well as “resolutions” that can help your business in 2017.
Shifts and Trends
As the payment landscape continues to change rapidly, keep the following three shifts in mind as you take a closer look at your current merchant services provider, and make sure they are providing you with the most up-to-date technology for the best cost.
The most important thing about accepting payments is security. In order to protect the business owner as well as the consumer, companies have been working overtime to improve the security of payment processing, and the big thing to come out of this work is cloud-based technologies.
What is “the cloud” anyway? Basically, it means that instead of storing information and programs on your computer, limiting access to that machine, information lives online. When data and programs are online (on ‘the cloud’) they can be accessed from multiple computers by authorized users.
Not only are cloud payments more secure and allow access from additional locations, they give the business owner the ability to integrate their payment solution with a variety of other tools, streamlining business operations and making your life that much easier. It’s not just payment systems that are moving to the cloud – accounting, customer management, and other services are headed there, too.
Cloud-based solutions aren’t the only way to stay secure, but they can help with security while providing flexibility to run your business remotely.
Resolution: In 2017, get comfortable with cloud technology. Try out cloud-based software and explore how it can benefit you.
Mobile payments are making huge waves moving into 2017. It’s predicted that within the next year, half of today’s smartphone users will use mobile payments as their preferred method for transactions.
Not only are consumers gravitating toward paying with their smartphones with programs like Apple Pay, more and more businesses are starting to adopt mobile solutions for accepting payments as well. Having a mobile card reader for your smartphone or tablet means more flexibility for your business and more options for your customer.
Mobile solutions don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. These days, almost every payment processor offers a mobile solution for smartphone or tablet card acceptance. Use CardFellow’s free quote request tool to see what it would cost your business to take payments on the go.
Now that mobile payments are common, there are a variety of readers, pricing models, and features so you can be sure to find the one you need.
Resolution: For 2017, consider trying a mobile solution if you take payments outside of a traditional store or restaurant setting. Delivery drivers, contractors, and landscapers are ideal candidates as they take payments at clients’ homes, but any business owner that hits the road could benefit from mobile payment options. Artists who attend fairs, businesses that exhibit at tradeshows, and others are also great candidates for mobile.
Related Article: Square Alternatives and Competitors.
It’s no secret that online shopping is becoming more and more popular, but it might come as a bit of a surprise that online payments for things like consulting or legal services are increasing as well. In fact, in 2014, online court payments in Pennsylvania increased 23% to $77 million – and that trend is continuing to increase. In an industry that traditionally relies on checks in the mail, the recent influx in online invoicing is simply further proof that the landscape for payments has shifted irreversibly.
Resolution: In 2017, consider taking payments in new ways to make it more convenient for customers to pay, increasing their satisfaction and likelihood of a positive experience. Allowing online payment through invoices can benefit B2B businesses, while adding “buy” buttons or ecommerce to an existing website can increase conversions from consumers.
In order to prep for growth in the new year, it is important to keep these trends and options in mind while evaluating your payment processing solutions. Cutting down on barriers to payment and making it as easy as possible to pay is crucial for completing transactions. If you accept payments the way you know your consumers want to make payments, you will put less friction in between the consumer and the purchase and set yourself up for success in 2017.
Ellen Cunningham contributed to this article.