When human beings first discovered trade, we mainly used the barter system. It worked for a while, but was cumbersome because products were often bulky and there wasn’t always a clear way to estimate value. With time, we progressed into standard forms of exchange like beads, salt, precious metals, and eventually cash.
In the 21st Century, we have taken a few more steps forward, making payments with virtual money. This includes credit cards, debit cards, checks, and digital payments. There are few situations where we still handle coins and paper cash. Most of us now live our lives one swipe at a time. It’s a much simpler system that’s easier and safer.
However, as a business person, it helps to keep your customers comfortable. This means providing the products and services they need in a timely, convenient, polite manner. It also means you allow them to pay you in a way that works for them.
Paper or plastic
There are different types of customers. Some are regulars, and would follow your store location to the ends of the earth. Others are just passing through, so they use your business simply because it’s there. To turn the incidental customers into regulars, it helps to make their purchasing process as painless as possible.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to do this is to allow them to pay at their convenience. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should always extend credit terms to strangers. It does mean you should offer multiple payment channels to make life easier for them.
In your physical store, have an efficient cashier that can work the till in a fast and friendly way. He or she can accept cash payments from customers that still prefer the comfort of tangible dollar bills. The cashier should also have an electronic keypad so that he or she can swipe credit cards and debit cards. Consider accepting checks as well.
Security concerns over payment
There are lots of reasons why businesses are uneasy about payment options. Some old-school traders simply don’t trust technology. They feel safer with paper money. Others worry about the cost of bounced checks, or the hassle of verifying customers to avoid fraud. And for sellers who are unfamiliar with NFC payments and apps, mobile payment is alien.
Each of these payment systems needs a little training. Cashiers need practice to quickly process money and give the right change. Electronic keypads need a little on-boarding to get the system right. And from a customer perspective, checks can help them stay on budget.
Rather than seeing multiple payment options as a barrier, think of it as a way to ease your customers’ lives when they already have a lot to deal with. Take some time to train your staff on efficiently handling the various payment methods. The easiest option is to open a merchant processing account. These processors can co-opt cash, card, and check payments into a single system, making life easier for everyone. For more information about accepting multiple forms of payment or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.