You’ve started an ecommerce business, congratulations! You’ve taken the first necessary step to reach your goals. I’m assuming you’ve chosen a niche, created a website, and are now ready to take the bold step of making your debut.
Before you do, have you given thought to your ecommerce payment processing? Owning an ecommerce store means more than selling products online. You need a way to collect payments online. Remember, this is a part of your entire shopping process. Your customers want a seamless experience from start to finish when they shop on your store – this means from the moment they find you all the way through the payment processing and shipping, they want a seamless experience, which is why paying close attention to your payment processing is crucial.
Make it Easy
Have you ever tried to check out on an ecommerce site only to get frustrated and abandon the cart? This is what you want to avoid. Users want a painless experience. How do you make it easy? Start by keeping them on your site. When they have to navigate offsite, maybe to PayPal or another payment processor, you risk of losing them. Some customers don’t feel comfortable leaving the site and others just get sidetracked and don’t complete the transaction.
If your site has too many distractions, it can send customers away. Most people have a few second attention span when looking at anything online, including making a purchase. You want to keep them as focused as possible to keep the sale.
The easier you make the process, the less likely they are to change their mind. Online shopping has a much higher risk of cart abandonment than ‘real life’ purchases, so anything you can do to simplify the process, the more sales you’ll achieve.
Keep your Checkout Process Branded
Customers are often leery about using their credit cards online with a company they’ve never done business with before. If your checkout process looks a lot different than your website, you may find shoppers back out before completing the purchase. You want everything to look as authentic as possible.
Keep everything as similar as possible. Use your logos, colors, and all other branding on the checkout page, just as you have it on your website. You want customers to feel reassured that they are safe and that they aren’t giving their credit card information to an unauthorized third party.
Any reassurance you can provide during the checkout process, the better your chances of completing the sale become.
Don’t Require Registration
While it may seem ideal to require registration for every sale made, that can turn customers away. If you’ve shopped at any of the big-name stores before, you’ve likely seen the option for ‘guest checkout’ as well as registrations. Registering is great because it gives you a chance to email customers after the sale, trying to bring them back, but not everyone wants that.
When you require a registration, you may push customers away. Some people are private about their information and don’t want to share it. Not to worry, though, most POS systems still capture the necessary information for you to provide stellar customer service.
Provide an Emailed Receipt
Don’t let your customer service end at the checkout process. Automatically send your customers a receipt via email. Not only does this make it easier for customers, but it also gives you an opportunity for further sales.
Use your receipts as an opportunity to cross-sell, upsell, or ask for repeat business. Provide coupons or promos for a future purchase. Make the purchase dated, and you’ll bring customers back in a shorter amount of time. Creating a sense of urgency helps customers choose whether or not to continue patronizing your business.
Know the Terms of the Sale
Before you choose an ecommerce payment processing system, know the terms of the sale. Not all contracts are created equal. Look closely at your contract. Is there a specific term required? Are you locked into the contract for years or is it a month-to-month contract? Is there equipment included in the purchase or is everything a la carte?
What are the payment processing fees? This takes away from your profits. While you must pay something if you want to accept credit cards, you don’t need to overpay. Figure out which processor offers the best deal on the equipment, the payment processing, and the contract before making a choice.
Remember, your ecommerce payment processor choice affects your bottom line. While you don’t want to cut corners and risk the level of service you provide your customers, you also don’t want to give away all of your profits.
Starting an ecommerce business is exciting! Before you jump in head first, make sure you have all of your ducks in a row, including your ecommerce payment processing. How your customers interact with your business during the payment process is just as important as their shopping process when they go through your catalog. They need a seamless experience to feel safe, stay motivated, and to complete the sale.
Take your time choosing your ecommerce payment processor. Know what others say about it as well as its capabilities. You need a service that provides everything you need, whether that’s registered guests, a loyalty program, inventory integration, or the ability to accept payments such as PayPal or Venmo.
Make a list of what you need before choosing a payment services provider for your ecommerce business. You’ll be glad you did when you have a seamless experience that customers trust, bring them coming back time and again.
Lou Honick is the CEO of Host Merchant Services. Prior to founding Host Merchant Services in 2010, Lou was the founder of HostMySite.com and received numerous awards including SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year, Inc Magazine 30 under 30, and multiple listings on the Inc 500. As a serial entrepreneur, all of his companies have operated on a singular devotion to outstanding customer service and support. Lou is a respected expert on the topics of customer service, payments and fintech, Internet technology, and entrepreneurship.