3 CRUCIAL COMPONENTS OF EFFECTIVE ONLINE PAYMENTS FOR SMALL BUSINESS
Not that long ago, the possibility to process payments on a website was reserved only to bigger companies that could invest in their own payment processing systems and other complicated tech tools. Not the case anymore. Thankfully! These days, even the smallest, one-person businesses can handle online payments and seem like a serious corporation when doing so. How come? All thanks to the modern tech solutions, which, besides the functionality, also offer quite affordable pricing. But let’s take it from the top and focus on the first crucial component for effective online payments.
- WEBSITE STRUCTURE
Most online payment technologies are way easier to work with if your website runs on one of the popular website management platforms. The top player in this game is WordPress (by the way, the site you’re reading right now runs on WordPress). WordPress is a free solution and your web host’s support team will be more than happy to help you get it installed.
Another reason why WordPress is highly recommended is because you can get a number of security plugins that will help you to keep your site hacker-free (the best one is called Bulletproof Security – it’s free). This might not seem like such an important issue at first, but it really is crucial if you want to handle online payments and convince your customers to give you their credit card numbers.
The last piece of the puzzle is a quality theme/design. The best way of getting it is to shop around in one of the well-known theme stores. The first league in this game includes stores like: Studio Press, DIY Themes, and Theme Fuse. Getting a theme from these stores will require a minor investment, but it’ll most likely set you up for years to come (Note. Make sure to go through all components on this list before actually selecting a theme.)
- GOING MOBILE
One of Business Insider’s predictions for 2020 is that more people will access the web from mobile devices than from desktops. What this means is that if your offering is not mobile-friendly, you will leave a lot of money on the table. There are two steps to making sure that this doesn’t happen:
- Check if your website is mobile-friendly. Try accessing it through various mobile devices, including tablets. I know that this sounds basic, but it’s actually the best way of making sure that everything is in order. In case you stumble upon any problems, they are most likely caused by the theme/design you’re currently using.
- Make sure that your payment processing solution is mobile-compatible as well. (This is actually the next crucial component on this list.)
- Take the data you get from these transactions and analyse it using something like Microsoft Power BI, or another business data analysis tool. This will give you insights such as what method is most used, bounce rates, any bottlenecks and so on. Very valuable data in order to streamline your processes.
- RELIABLE PAYMENT PROCESSOR
There are two main ways in which you can enable online payments on your website
*You can hand over payment processing to an external solution, which will take care of everything in exchange for a cut of every payment.
*You can perform payment processing directly on your website.
One of the most popular external solutions for online payments is PayPal. The company provides mobile payments across the whole web. Their main advantage is that the platform is easy to integrate in every website (there’s a number of plugins available), and that payments are done instantly (there’s no delay between your customer hitting the buy button and you receiving the payment).
The main downsides are that the fees can consume a significant part of each payment, and that PayPal is still not available in all countries. The other approach – processing payments on your website directly – works on a slightly different basis and doesn’t force you to pay all those big fees when withdrawing the money. Companies like ACH Payments make it possible to integrate direct payments on any website, accept all major credit cards, set up automatic recurring payments (if your business needs them), and get every payment through an online clearing house as quickly as possible.
One more thing to realize is that, as a business owner, you have to be ready to accept payments from any source and geographical location. The only way to achieve this is to provide multiple payment methods to work simultaneously. For instance, like I said, PayPal does not work in every country. This may require some more effort setting everything up, but it can result in more instant credibility for your small business. The thing is that every prospective customer who sees that you have the infrastructure to accept a number of various payment methods will instantly regard you as a more professional merchant.
I encourage you to use this list as a resource when going through the setup process for online payments on your website.
Finally, one more step that you absolutely have to take is to test if the payments are working correctly. Do some test payments just to make sure that the money ends up where it should. The last thing you want is to lose profits due to some technical difficulties.