Consider options for accepting payments online
Gone are the days when accepting online payments was unusual or difficult. Today, most customers expect to interact and purchase products using online or electronic methods.
So, when considering online payments, look at who your target market is and how they want to interact with you.
As Lisa Legena, Manager of Business Advisory Services at the Small Business Development Corporation explains: “A bonus of online payments is that this system can integrate with your businesses technology and reduce the amount of time you spend on book keeping or entering customer data”.
In addition, there are increased opportunities for customers to impulse buy, but she warns you need to have systems in place to protect yourself against fraud.
For example, some people ask for your CVV number if you’re using an online credit card payment, so that they can verify you are the card holder and avoid fraudulent transactions.
Sonja Kanban, Business Adviser at the Small Business Development Corporation, says another option is allowing clients to make regular payments prior to a service.
“Some hairdressers are now allowing their clients to pre-pay for services through direct debit. They are paying a regular, fixed amount to cover the costs of future services,” she says.
“It’s good for the business owner as it gives them regular cash flow and helps the customer because they don’t have to pay a large amount of money at once.”
There are also examples of tourism businesses where customers can pay for their holidays in increments. This helps improve their cash flow.
If you are a service-based business, such as beauty salon and you offer online bookings, you may also want to consider obtaining a small non-refundable deposit at the time of the booking.
This will offset any loss you may incur if the client does not turn up to their appointment.
Before taking online payments, make sure you use a trusted merchant service to protect your customers – if their payment data is compromised in some way and they leave bad reviews on your site, it could damage your brand.