August 30, 2017
Having a modern, optimized digital presence is a lot like owning an oceanfront property business. You have access to and from all the world's ports beyond the horizon, but staying ship shape is the way to keep a few step ahead of your competition.
The companies that know best how to navigate their advantages operating online while minimizing costs are the real winners in today's world. To that end, I’ve put together a few tips to help maximize gains for your business from online payments.
Choose the Right Online Payment Gateway for Your Business
This is a key part of making the most of any online sale capable business. Understanding the associated costs, which ones your payment processing company can take off your hands, and at what price is crucial to maximizing your gains. With hundreds of choices for online payment gateways, it’s best to begin by deciding on the features and benefits most important to your business.
Think Big - Optimize for Global Markets
Technology brings the world closer together every day, and it pays to look globally to expand your market power. While localizing languages for versions of your site can be a hefty investment, the backend tech that makes it all work doesn’t have to be.
Everyone prefers to pay in their native currency. While many payment processing companies will slap you with an extra fee, this isn’t always the case. Setting up a preferential payment system for the best rate for transactions in local currency is the first step toward a major competitive edge when expanding to new sales territory.
Shift the responsibility for payment issues off of your customer support
Look to the value of your time. What is the cost for you and your employees to do this, and is there a better way?
A common opportunity to save time is by outsourcing the responsibilities of customer support to cover payment issues. I would never advocate for cutting support for issues with your products, but when it comes to payment, it should really be the responsibility of your payment gateway company.
Provide clear and accessible contact information on your site for your customers to contact with any payment related issues. Including a diagnosis of common payment problems in an FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on your site will be both helpful to your customers when things go amiss, and can help effectively mitigate dissatisfaction if the problem isn’t your responsibility.
However, it’s important not to sacrifice the quality of your customer support in this process. If your new source for support gives customers the runaround or takes too long to solve their issue, you’re certain to lose them as repeat customers down the road.
Automate ACH Payments
Another easy way to improve time efficiency for you and your employees is by integrating automated clearing house payments (ACH payments) directly into your platform. This eliminates the need of building an in-house cash management team by making it simpler to manage bulk transactions. These payments are for employee or affiliate payouts, and consolidating these services with your online payment gateway can save a tidy sum for your time, as well as your bottom line.
Take a Hard Look at Setup and Continuing Costs
The costs of launching and running online business can add up quickly. You could be paying to hire a developer for your website, the shopping cart, integrating a payment gateway with your shopping cart, and to set up a reliable fraud prevention mechanism.
Then once your business gets going, you could be paying around 3% of your transaction to a processing company for in-country orders. That cost could be closer to 4 ½% for orders from abroad.
Any time you're working with affiliate companies to your business, it pays to line by line to find exactly what those fees buy for you. Get right to the heart of the value those services you’re already paying for, and if it’s not right for your business, know that you have other options.
Protect Against Erroneous Chargebacks
A customer of yours goes through their credit card statement at the end of the month. They see a fee they don’t recognize, and call their card company to have it cancelled. If that charge was your business, you’ll likely lose the product and all the revenue for it, even if the sale was legitimate. Worse yet, too many of these can trigger a hold on your account, shutting down your entire operation until it’s resolved.
The simplest way to solve this is by ensuring that customers can easily recognize your business when remembering what they purchased. Make sure their purchase comes across to their credit card as exact name of your online store, and not another company name.
Of course, there is always the threat that a chargeback could be from an actual case of fraud, making this next point is particularly important...
Do Not Compromise Security
Buying online isn’t the wild west it once was. Maintaining the level of modern customer protections that enables people to fearlessly shop online has it’s costs and benefits.
Credit cards have come together to form the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). It’s important that your online payment gateway receive level 1 compliance with this standard. This is to help you maximize your gains with consumer confidence in your business, and mitigate the potential fraud for which you would otherwise be liable.