Friday, March 19, 2010

How you accept payments online could be costing you sales!

This topic came up at the Network Circle so I thought I would create a blog post about the negative effect your chosen method of payment processing could have on your sales.
Did you know that you could lose sales based off of how you process your online transactions?

Are you losing sales because your only method of collecting payments is via Pay Pal?

There are huge benefits in having more than just Pay Pal as a payment option for your online sales! The major one, an increase in sales!

How you accept payments could possibly have a negative effect on your sales. Website owners and online sellers have grown to love and trust Pay Pal. Well, most have grown to love and trust Pay Pal for collecting website payments online. Pay Pal is a payment processor who became popular by Ebay users and is now being used on websites all over the world today. 

As business owners we know and recognized the logo as soon as we see it and use it while shopping online for our personal enjoyments, but did you know that not everyone is familiar with the company or logo!? 

I know you are probably thinking, Now how is that possible! Well, think about it. If you were not in the online website business or online sales business and you had no connection to the online world of sales would you be familiar with a company that processes online payments? If you visited a website and found a product or service that you wanted, got to the checkout page and saw a button to make a payment that said Pay Pal instead of pay via credit card. Then you clicked on the button and it took you to a page that looked like you had to sign up for an account in order to pay for your order. Would you feel comfortable with completing the sale or would you start to worry because the checkout does not say pay by credit card and looks like you have to have an account with Pay Pal in order to buy something?

Human beings are creatures of habit and those that shop online are use to seeing a standard set up for checkout. They expect to see the words "Credit Card" as a payment option. If you are only using Pay Pal for your payment processor regardless if you can still take credit card payments with that option, you are setting yourself up to lose a lot of business. Most buyers do not know what Pay Pal is or have never heard of it. When they are directed to the Pay Pal payment screen they may think that they have to either have an account with Pay Pal to order on your site or do not see the very small link at the bottom of the Pay Pal checkout page that says something like : Don't have an account? Pay with credit card or debit card.  So unless you state somewhere in your checkout that you accept credit card payments via Pay Pal then you will have a lot of buyers that will end up abandoning their shopping cart. 

Now don't get me wrong, having Pay Pal as a payment processor is perfectly fine, but you may want to consider investing in a credit card processing company. It's a small investment that could really boost your sales. You could provide two payment options for your customers : Pay Pal and Credit Card. That way those who are familiar with Pay Pal can use their Pay Pal account to complete the sale and those who feel more comfortable with using their credit card will have that option to do so.

I have spoken to so many website owners who have seen an increase in sales as soon as they switched or added a credit card processing option to their checkout. So many that it's just a subject that can not go unnoticed or ignored as an option to increase your sales.

Below is a list of suggested credit card processing companies that you can look into for your online business. Some charge a monthly fee, some charge an annual fee, and some charge a monthly fee plus a per transaction fee. Make sure you read all of the fine print and even contact any company to ask questions before considering signing up to use their services. 
Here are some questions that you can ask:

Is there a monthly fee? If so how much?

Is there a annual fee option?

Do you charge a per transaction fee? What is the percentage per transaction?

What is your minimum sales amount per month? Some companies require you to make a certain amount in sales in order to use their services. 

How soon will I have access to my payments?

What credit cards can I accept? You may have to pay separate fees if you want to accept AMEX or Discover. Always better to ask to make sure.

If you are a service provider company, you may want to find out if they have a recurring billing option.

Here is a list of some companies that you can look into. I am familiar and have used some of them below but not all, so make sure you look into each one and read over their terms before making a decision:

If you find that you can not afford to work a merchant processing fee into your budget right now and all you can do at the moment is use Pay Pal or Pay Pal Website Standard. That's okay too, just make sure you let your customers know somewhere on your checkout  pages or on your site that you accept credit payments through Pay Pal and they do not have to have an account in order to complete their online order. As soon as you can afford to, definitely consider signing up with a credit processing company.

Your online success may depend on it!

Carla Phillips