The fact of life is that consumers everywhere are now living their lives online. They prefer to connect with one another online, choosing products and companies online, and even managing their finances online. The entire customer journey (for B2B and B2C customers) begins online first (hello Search!). As it begins, so it ends- online. We’re talking about offering your customers the ability to pay online of course! Don’t worry – offering online payment methods is easier than you think.
As more and more companies are switching to online (or even app) payments, those that still require old school manual payments are increasingly getting forgotten about. That means not paid. That means YOU are not getting PAID. Don’t just take our word for it, we interviewed a real life delinquent customer to get insider their head (don’t worry, we’ve got the stats to back it all up t00).
Among younger shoppers, 32% abandoned their “shopping” experience because the company did not offer online payments (even when older survey participants were included, that figure was still over a quarter of the group!). B2B customer and owners alike want online payment options, according to MasterCard’s Merchant Scope study…but most small business owners said they just aren’t sure how to get it up and running.
Well, that’s what we are here for! Not only will adding online payments improve customer satisfaction with your business, it can also make a dramatic difference in your ability to get paid on time. And isn’t that every entrepreneur’s goal?
Here are the 5 best online payment methods that you should definitely add to your business:
1) Accepting Credit and Debit Cards On Your Website
Probably the first and most basic step to providing an online payment option for your customers is through accepting credit and debit cards on your company’s website.
You have two different options when it comes to enabling credit and debit payments —you can set up a dedicated merchant account, or use an aggregated account, such as PayPal, PaySimple, or Stripe. An aggregated account is quick and easy to set up, but will charge you fees (PayPal’s fee is a flat fifty cents per transaction) on top of any charges from the credit card companies.
Having a dedicated merchant account reduces those fees, but can be more time consuming to set up. You’ll need to go through comprehensive underwriting, and may have a hard time getting approved if you are a brand new business or have a less than stellar credit history.
2) Using Email Invoicing
What happens when you send customers a paper invoice? You have to prepare and print the invoice, send it by mail, wait for them to receive and hopefully open it, and then go through the process of paying you. Each of those steps takes time and leaves ample room for delays to add up, all of which equal you getting paid later and later.
By upgrading your invoicing process to a click-to-pay email setup, you can help your customers pay you faster and easier, sometimes within minutes of your completing the invoice. Quickbooks and online services like Freshbooks offer easy options for sending invoices via email, which you can connect to your website’s online payment portal to allow payments at the click of a few buttons.
3) Providing Autopay Options
If you are charging clients on a retainer or subscription basis in which they pay you the same amount every month, there are several online payment methods that allow customers to autopay.
Using an online autopay option helps you to get paid on time because customers don’t have to go through remembering whether or not they’ve paid you. The amount is simply drafted from their bank account or charged to their credit or debit account each month, and neither you nor they have to think about it at all!
If you’re already using Paypal as your aggregate merchant account service for processing credit cards, it is probably also the simplest way to set up subscription or or autopay services as well.
4) Offering Mobile Friendly Payments
Once you’ve added basic online payment capabilities to your business—through accepting credit and debit cards, email invoicing, and even autopay systems—your job is not done. The 2015 consumer not only expects to be able to make payments online, they want easy and convenient mobile friendliness.
Even if your site already offers a variety of online payment methods, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easy for consumers to pay from their mobile device. Have you ever tried to fill out a form from your smartphone on a site that isn’t mobile optimized? It is frustrating to say the least, and most customers will just give up.
Partnering with a service like Paypal or Squarespace can help you to enable mobile payments more quickly and easily, including one click buying and mobile-based subscription sign up options.
From Amazon’s one-click-to-buy and subscription everything services to the ubiquitous nature of online and autopay options, your modern consumer has become accustomed to ease and convenience when it comes to making payments.
5) Payment via Your Receivables Management App
If you’re currently utilizing a quality receivables management app (like the FG Receivables Manager), you can use their online payments feature as your own! With the FG Receivables Manager, you can offer your customers the ability to pay you online straight from your payment reminder email –easy!
Spending the time and resources to add online payments to your business is an investment in making the leap to the modern world, creating both happier customers and a stress-free receivables process.