In the past it has been challenging for small businesses to offer easy ways for customers to pay without being out of pocket themselves. With the technological advancements today, faster and simpler payment methods are available which benefit both the customer and your business. These new technologies aim to help businesses expand internationally, improve relationships with customers and gain insights into consumer spending.
How Customers can Pay
PayPal is a great tool for small businesses. It is easy to install into the back end of your website and allows the customer to pay securely via PayPal or using their credit card. PayPal have launched a new app which acts as a digital wallet. This is an app which can be downloaded on smart phones, and once you are signed in, you can see your account balance, pay a bill or place an order. Customers can even pay at the counter in participating stores. If your customer forgets their wallet, they can still access their money and make a purchase, they can also order and pay ahead (e.g. coffee) and pick it up on the way to work. This is such a great tool to use for your business, it is relatively inexpensive and makes enhances the customer experience.
There is another new product called Square. This system makes a credit card reader that attaches to smart phones and is currently being rolled out in US Starbucks stores. Square aims to provide a more personalised service, and like PayPal, allows customers to order and pay on their smart phone. Each company who has an app and uses Square as the core payment system can have a loyalty program tied to it and can also provide certain information about customers. Starbucks are utilising all aspects of this technology. Once you have agreed to share information with Starbucks, when the customer walks into a store, their photo and order information will come up on the cashiers screen. This means that the cashier can greet the customer by name, and know their favourite coffee and food.
Some banks in Australia have also used a similar technology as Square, for small businesses. A tradesman for example, who is dependent on cash in their business, can take payment with their phones, and if they have an account with that bank, they can access the cash the same day.
In 2014 it is expected that $18.8 billion revenue will come from mobile phones. Technology is changing fast and it is now easier than ever for your business to be up to date, and offer a more personalised service and an easier way to pay.