The amount of sales made through digital platforms has been on the rise for many years, thanks to the technological boom of recent decades. In fact, research into online shopping shows some pretty mind-blowing stats:
Anyone not living under a rock’s aware that 2020 hasn’t been your average year (understatement of the decade), and the impact of COVID-19 on online sales and digital payments has been astronomical:
No doubt then, as a business owner, you want a slice of the pie. The ability to accept digital payments could help you recover from the effects COVID-19 has had on many businesses, and help to boost your bottoms lines and bolster your sales in the long-term.
Here at takepayments, helping businesses thrive is our bread and butter, so buckle in for our 10 top tips when starting your digital payments journey.
First things first you need to step back and take a look at your business and answer some important questions:
And so on and so forth. Answering these questions will help you work out what form of digital payment is best suited to your business needs as different solutions work better for different products and environments.
For example, if you’re setting up a website from scratch and don’t require a high street presence, a payment gateway is likely to be the best fit. On the other hand, if you already run a shop but want to start taking orders over the phone, a virtual terminal would probably suit you better.
It’s always a good idea to consider your future plans when setting up a digital payment solution as a means of future-proofing your business.
While you’ve always got the option to switch up your payment solution, it would save you a lot of time and effort down the line if you prepared in advance, and lord knows growing businesses have enough to deal with as it is.
To give you an example, let’s say your business is making and selling cushions online and after doing some research you decide pay by link is your best option, since to begin with you’ll only be dealing with a handful of customers per month.
But what if your top-notch marketing efforts mean the orders come flying in six months down the line? Will manually invoicing 10x as many customers really be the best use of your time?
A payment gateway, on the other hand, would work both at the beginning and in the future, and if you opt for a payment provider who offers personalised pricing (spoiler, like us!) you’ll only ever pay what you need to.
With the above in mind, do your research on the options available on the market for taking digital payments, and the good news is you’ve got plenty to choose from.
We’ve already briefly alluded to a few digital payment methods, but let’s take a closer look at each:
Remember: there’s no rule on how many payment options you can offer, so if you think a combination of solutions is right for you, there’s nothing stopping you!
Once you’ve gone through the first three steps you’ll be armed with all the information you need to work out which digital payment solution is the right fit for your business.
For some businesses, it’ll be an easy decision and for others, there might be a couple of contenders - that’s where we can help. We have a team of UK-based experts who can come and visit you, chat about your needs, and help you work out which option is best for you based on your specific needs.
And if you aren’t at that stage yet, our dedicated support team is always available for advice and support over the phone or by email.
Any business who wants to accept card payments needs a merchant account, so to start taking digital payments you’ll need to set one up.
A merchant account is essentially a holding pen for funds - when a customer pays, their money is held in your merchant account while the bank runs all the checks necessary before the funds are deposited into your business account.
It can sound more complicated than it really is, but don’t worry, here at takepayments we’ll get you up and running with a merchant account for free as part of our service.
Top tip: take a deeper dive into the world of merchant accounts with our article - what is a merchant account?
With so many options on the market these days, our advice is to do your research before signing up with a digital payment provider and be on the lookout for things like:
We already mentioned planning for growth, and that’s just as important when it comes to your provider too - you want a provider who fits your business size now and will also stay with you - and support you - as you flourish.
Digital payments don’t have to be taken through a website, but nonetheless a top-notch website is a sure-fire way of attracting customers to your business and highlighting what you’ve got to offer.
If you’re not a tech whizz, the idea of setting up your own site from scratch can be a bit daunting, but don’t panic! There are now plenty of great website hosts who make it easier than ever to create a seamless site.
Top tip: check out our guide on how to create a website for your business, which breaks down the best options on the market.
Some of the most important elements of a great website are:
If you do decide to add a payment gateway or link your payment system (like beepaid) to your site, any payment provider worth their salt will hold your hand through the whole process - needless to say, we do just that.
On the subject of websites, don’t forget the all-important element of search engine optimisation (SEO).
Search engines are the first port of call for the majority of people on the hunt for a product or service, in fact, Google alone is used to make 63,000 searches every second, and SEO is key to making sure your business is found in those results.
Essentially, SEO is the process of optimising the content on your website so the likes of Google rank it highly. There are several elements involved so we won’t go through it all in this article, but to find out more about SEO and how it can help your business head here.
What we will say though, is to start taking as many digital payments as possible and boost your business’ bottom lines, don’t forget about SEO.
While digital payments are super popular and gaining momentum all the time, there are still consumers who’re wary of the safety of handing their details over online.
Trust in internet safety has been described as the ‘lifeblood’ of online shopping, so to be sure your digital payment system is used to its full potential, you need to make sure it’s safe and secure.
To give you an example, here are the safety features you’ll find with takepayments solutions as standard:
Last but not least, don’t forget the importance of marketing - without it, all your effort setting up digital payments won’t reach the widest audience possible.
You’ve got heaps of options when it comes to spreading the word about your top-notch new offering, including:
Top tip: For a deep dive into advertising and marketing, check out our guide to advertising your small business online.
Here at takepayments, we don’t charge sign-up or exit fees, we offer short 12 month contracts, and all of our packages are personalised to meet the needs of the businesses we serve - after all, no two businesses are the same, right?
To find out more about any of our digital payment options, or to discuss which solution is the best fit for your business, chat to one of our dedicated experts today on 08082 393 254.