By Jeff Blackman
Today’s consumers expect convenient shopping experiences and credit cards are the go-to payment method when it comes to spending, especially for millenials. With over 183 million credit card holders in America, it is imperative that small businesses fully assess the benefits of integrating credit card processing into their business and, in turn, become aware of all the ways to use it to its fullest potential. Small businesses unsure of whether credit card processing is right for them, should consider the following proven benefits:
- Improved customer retention – According to a TSYS Consumer Payment Study, only 11 percent of respondents said they preferred to use cash while shopping, while 40 percent preferred credit cards and 35 percent preferred debit cards. As small businesses are constantly working to accommodate the customer, owners should make sure their business processes are convenient and aligned with preferred payment methods. A simple alteration like this can immensely improve customer satisfaction and increase retention.
- Speedy client checkout – Swiping and walking away is the new normal for consumers. Brett Wilson, operator of Indiana-based pet groomer Smoochie Pooch, implemented DaySmart Software’s 123Pet Software business management system with integrated credit card processing capabilities. He shared, “Adding integrated payments to my business software simplified a few things for us, mostly the speed and accuracy of the checkout process.” Processes like these not only support the customer’s preferred payment method, but also provide business owners with the peace of mind that they can better serve their customer and move onto another task seamlessly.
- Increased cash flow – With customer satisfaction and retention up, business owners are likely to see an increase in cash flow – especially where credit cards are involved. An MIT study on credit cards’ affect on consumers showed that customers can be willing to pay up to 100 percent more when they’re using a credit card. Implementing integrated credit card processing could improve the business’s chances of making an additional last minute sale and increasing overall revenue.
- Streamlined organization – Cash payments do not leave a paper trail, making it harder to keep track of internal and external payments. With integrated credit card processing, a simple card swipe automatically verifies and records the payment, and adds relevant billing and personal information into the software program. With this streamlined process, small businesses avoid making common mistakes caused by employees manually logging payment entries. This type of organization also provides businesses with up-to-date reporting, enabling greater potential for analysis and a “single source of truth” for the business.
- Ensured security – Keeping large sums of cash on hand is a security risk for small business owners. The less cash businesses have on the premises, the less susceptible they are to theft. By moving to a credit card-focused system, small businesses will lower their onsite cash quantity and reduce their vulnerability. When integrated with a business management software solution, the credit card files (called “tokens”) are secured within the system, enabling the business to prevent hackers (or employees) from accessing card numbers from the small business itself and removing that exposure.
- Enhanced services – According to Wilson, “Securing the card numbers means I don’t have to worry about someone getting into my system and compromising my customers. It also means I’ve been able to start collecting some fees for no-shows, or deposits for particularly expensive services at the time they are booked.” Storing card numbers (or their secure tokens) within the business software allows for the business to promote the sale of recurring packages, like memberships, which leads to passive recurring income for the business and high-value services for their customers.
Consumers expect credit card capabilities and any small business not prioritizing that is at a distinct disadvantage. With improved customer satisfaction, new revenue opportunities, increased cash flow, card security and overall operational optimization, every small business owner should consider integrating credit card processing solutions today if they want to power their growth and better serve their customers.
Jeff Blackman serves as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at DaySmart Software, the leading provider of business management software driving small business growth. Twitter: @daysmartinc.