With lots of pundits claiming another recession may be on the way, starting an online business can be a good way to go. It’s more likely to survive market shake-ups, and with so many customers preferring to shop online, it just makes sense. Online businesses have three main concerns:
- Delivery / shipping
- Payment options
- Customer care
The latter is an issue with any business type, but it becomes more crucial online, because it’s your primary point of contact with customers. It’s unlikely they’ll ever meet you in person, so your virtual persona forms their entire perception of your business. Also, online shoppers are driven by convenience, meaning they’ll regularly shop outside of ‘office hours’.
Support around the clock
To keep them satisfied and loyal, you should ensure they can access make purchases on your site 24 hours a day. As for payment, the only practical option is to get an affordable merchant processing account. If you look carefully, you can get one that offers bonuses at no extra charge, such as a virtual shopping cart, and 24/7 customer service by phone.
If your online business deals in goods or services that you need to deliver to the customer yourself, you can give a pay-upon-delivery option. In that case, your delivery team can carry a portable card reader, which allows customers can swipe their credit cards. These electronic payment terminals are offered at no extra charge by some merchant processors. Programming the keypads to accept various cards may also be included at no additional charge.
Smart shopping for smart customers
You could also have your customers pay through smartphone apps. Talk to your merchant processor to see if their platform has a smartphone app. Many of these apps are available at no additional charge. This way, your delivery person can confirm the payment right on their smartphone. Cash normally hits your account in 24 to 72 hours.
One thing to verify is whether your payment processor can help you with potential chargeback problems. That’s when a customer is unhappy so they go over your head, straight to the bank, and demand a refund. Your account will be debited the customer’s cash plus a chargeback fee, and a black mark appears on your account. It could lead to pricey penalties in the long run. So talk to your payment processor about helping you design a clear policy for refunds and returns. It’s the best way to avoid chargebacks.
For more information on choosing the right credit card processing system for your online business, or to sign up for a own merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.