It was recently estimated that over 2 billion people were shopping online by the end of 2020. That’s roughly a quarter of the world’s population, and an astounding statistic whichever way you look at it.
Figures like these crops up every now and again to remind us that we’re moving full steam ahead into a cashless future. The local bank branches are gone, ATMs and cash machines are few and far between, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated fears that physical money could harbour diseases.
With these problems in mind, it is no surprise that many businesses now accept payments online. Fortunately, it is not as difficult as you may think, and we’ve compiled a complete guide to accepting payments through your website so you can start earning money online.
What are the benefits of accepting online payments?
Whatever your business does, online payments could help you to increase revenues and lower the risk of losing money. The benefits of accepting online payments are far-reaching and different for each business, but the bottom line is that almost any firm would benefit from the key advantages brought by internet transactions.
For one thing, taking payments online is a real time saver. For businesses that are used to compiling, printing, posting, and waiting for invoices, sending a link for payment via email can feel like a real breath of fresh air. By developing online payment capabilities, you will save yourself time that can instead be put towards the things that matter most.
Improving cash flow
In addition to this, firms that accept payments through their website can look forward to improved cash flow. This is because rather than having to pay via bank transfer or some other format, clients can pay you via your site at any time of the day – on any day of the year. You will no longer be waiting for cheques to clear, and the money will be right there feeding back into your business.
Fortunately, you will not have to shell out much to secure these benefits and completing transactions online could save you money. Online payments reduce the administrative costs of sending out paper invoices and could contribute to your company’s drive towards more environmentally friendly practices. The other advantage, of course, is that you will not have to pay someone to perform manual invoicing functions.
Attracting new clients
It might sound too good to be true but accepting payments on the internet could help you to attract more custom. Fewer people are carrying cash than ever before, and given the restrictions arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, many physical retail locations have closed their doors for the time being. By allowing clients to pay online, you will make it easier and more convenient for them to give you their custom – and they could even pay using the browser on their phone.
Provided that you team up with the right payment solutions provider, online transactions will significantly cut down the workload required to reconcile your transactions with accounting figures. The very best online payment solutions will centralise you are reporting and even automate some of the processes leaving your team with enough time to get on with other accounting tasks.
Offering secure payment options
If all that was not enough to encourage you to adopt online payment capabilities, this will. By manually collecting customer payment information, you could be putting your business at risk of the penalties that could be issued should you suffer a data breach.
By implementing a safe and secure online payment solution, you could protect your business from this risk whilst building further credibility with customers who will be pleased to see that you offer flexible and secure payment options.
The easiest way to take payments through your website
The benefits of accepting payments through your business website are plain to see, but the methods for doing so are less obvious. In fact, there are lots of ways to accept payments online, from credit and debit card processing through to direct debit integration – but sometimes it is better to keep things simple.
Rather than explaining every single way you could programme card payment capabilities into your website, our focus is on the easiest of all – using an eCommerce payment gateway. In essence, an eCommerce payment gateway connects your site with a checkout system that allows you to accept payments made by Visa, Mastercard, American Express and other methods. All the handling is dealt with by the provider, who will handle the payment and even send out automated reports afterwards.
It is the most straightforward way to start an eCommerce business and with reputable providers like UTP offering payment gateways, you could be kickstarting a new era for your firm’s approach to transactions.
How to create an omnichannel shopping experience
Even if you are accepting payments online, the chances are that you will still need to retain some form of physical presence in the market. Fortunately, it is not hard to link your online activities with real-life customer care to create what is known as an omnichannel strategy.
In contrast to the siloed structure of different sales channels, omnichannel strategies focus on providing consumers with a seamless experience whether they are shopping online, from their mobile, or in person.
By implementing an eCommerce payment gateway solution and accepting online transactions, you will already have taken the first step towards uniting your sales channels under a single, more effective banner. The next task is to bring your brick-and-mortar stores up to standard, and that really can take some doing.
Ultimately, your goal is to make the shopping experience as friendly and convenient for your customers as possible. That means making it easy to find products, providing real-time order tracking, and issuing receipts on high-quality card machine paper.
Once all these steps are accounted for, you will be left with a more functional business that works like a well-oiled machine. All that will be left to do is to get on with building your business and serving your customers.
Online payments made easy
Modern businesses need to accept payments through the internet if they are to have any hope of keeping up with the competition. Fortunately, it is super easy and extremely affordable to put an eCommerce payment gateway in place – so you can start accepting online payments and attracting more customers without any hassle at all.