What’s next? Products have been found, the website looks nice, a strategy has already been developed to get and keep customers. What more is there for me to do?
This is usually around the time it becomes obvious that there is nothing in place to accept payments unless they bring in cash. How many people want to pay cash? Is the business web-based or a brick and mortar store? Unless you’re selling a product that people are willing to walk in and hand you money, you need a way to accept credit cards. Three main systems need to be put in place. Each one is equally important.
- Merchant Services
- Payment Gateway
- Strategy to spot the naughty
Where can the customer enter their credit card information when they buy something from my website? “Show me how I get my money!!!” is what I hear every time I consult on a business. Payment Gateways and Merchant Services my friend, are a beautiful thing. First you need a service to actually send the money from their account to yours. This is a merchant service. These are usually set up through financial institutions. If you set up your service through a financial institution or not, you will be making transactions into a financial institution. Banks usually require a better credit score to get setup, so when this is a problem for you, you have options to go through smaller dealers who resell services.
Here is a few points to Consider when dealing with smaller dealers. Dealers from smaller companies who resell merchant services may enforce a limit. One of the first questions they ask is what dollar amount in transactions do you expect to do in a month. Then, they may enforce a cap on your account. If you have a wonderful month and money is flying into the account faster than our consciousness can believe, you need to make sure that your merchant service doesn’t unexpectedly stop working. Or that nice company you’re using to process payments sucker punch you with overage charges. When talking to dealers, find out if there is a limit on how much you can process. If your business hits a limit we’re definitely trying hard to surpass, and your merchant service stops working, you may find yourself missing out on a lot of moola. if you know you have a limit, you can prepare and make alternative solutions available.
Payment Gateways are pieces of software that bridge your customers credit card or bank account to your merchant service. There is a lot magic happening here, the gateway transmits the data while providing the necessary security. Most online payment gateways have easy to install plugins for most shopping carts. Easy to setup up and install, they usually have wonderful virtual terminals to manually process credit cards. Most implementations now include either a nice phone app, or a MMOW(Mandatory Mobile Optimized Website) as stated in the article, Customer Retention.
In a perfect world, we would never have to worry about theft. No one cheats, stealing doesn’t exist, and spouses are always faithful. It might sound funny, but isn’t it more fun not living in a perfect world. Think about it, we could fall asleep, and let everything handle itself. We can leave a million dollars on the table and not one person would take a penny. How boring is that? Life is exciting, we always have people trying to be sneaky. Don’t waste time getting mad, instead think of interesting ways to spot those that shall not be named. Come up with a system to quickly identify people not to sell to.
Why does the customer on the phone need a $15 keyboard overnight shipped when they live fifteen minutes from an electronics store? It’s because the minute you send notice the package has been shipped and they believe you have went home for the night, they are going to do a chargeback. the keyboard will usually arrive right before you see the email from the merchant service company telling you the charge is in dispute. Now they have everything, the keyboard, the money is gone, the shipping cost wasted, and a big smile on their not so nice face because they got us. I say no more!! Every time you deal with a not so nice person, make notes and develop a system to identify who accepting payments from is not an option.
If you would like detailed information on techniques I have developed to spot bad customers, please comment below. After years in business, I have quite an inventory of tricks and techniques. The series would include customers to avoid as well as customers one should avoid at all cost. With interesting out of the box tricks that will make you think I’m a business genius, or totally mad! Totally mad is my guess, but if you want the series, you get to make the choice for yourself. It will have to be a series of articles instead of one monster page, so please, anyone reading this, if you’re interested in that series. Let me know if this is something you’re interested in.
Bosses are walking around, Children are making crashing noises in the other room. Spouses or significant others are calling, or picking up dinner. Either way it’s time for a recap. Merchant services are accounts attached to your bank account to process payments from customers. They are usually acquired through large financial institutions, but if credit will not allow this, they can be purchased through smaller dealers. Smaller dealers may have restrictions some of the bigger institutions do not. Payment Gateways are software bridges that transfer the payment information in a secure way. Both are required for an online shopping cart to work. When setting up a site, both may be purchased together, or can be acquired individually. Customers do not always have the best intentions, so always protect your backside. And one last thing, Sell Hard and get as many payments as humanly possible!!!!!