Your business has many moving parts. Marketing, advertising, product development, logistics, and administration are just a few of the components that must be handled with care in order to build a successful online store. For many of these, you likely have a grasp on what makes them tick, but one aspect of eCommerce that goes largely misunderstood, however, is the payment system.
Choosing the right payment method depends on a number of factors. The most obvious of which is cost and ease of implementation. But the internal benefits of your choice are less important than the external benefit you provide to your customers.
When customers make a purchase, they experience a number of fears. From deciding whether the site is trustworthy to battling buyer’s remorse, your role in this experience is to allay their concerns. One primary way to accomplish this is with an easy payment system, run through a trustworthy vendor. This is a primary reason for selection of the following options.
For many businesses, this is the only option. And while not technically correct, the benefits may merit so. Native transaction pages backed by the trustworthiness inherent in being an official vendor is the industry standard for payment in online retail. Coupled with the guidance provided by the experts at one of the largest financial figureheads in the world, it’s easy to see why so many opt for merchant accounts.
The downsides, however, can provide real challenges for small businesses. Unlike the options that follow, setting up a merchant account is not an easy process, requiring a great deal of verification and shopping around for an “acquirer” with reasonable transaction rates. Furthermore, paying on your site, whether on desktop or mobile, will require entering card information, which can be a sale-ending hassle on mobile phones with small keyboards.
Of the myriad vendors in the online world, Google’s name carries particular weight, and for good reason. Their track record of innovation and enabling online activity (to the benefit of their own services of course) have been driving forces behind the creation of Google Wallet, and this reputation precedes itself. Customers who purchase through Google Wallet will have the comfort of knowing their payment is being handled by a trustworthy source, and this level of comfort leads to higher conversion rates.
The features of Google Wallet are manifold. Customers are likely to have a Google account and, as long as their card is set up in the system, transactions are a breeze. Wallet’s 2-click mobile transaction system is a particular boon in a device context that’s frequently lamented for its difficult payment process. Additionally, you can upgrade to Google Offers to distribute savings across Google’s ubiquitous channels.
The downside to the system is the requirement of a Google account with a connected card. The requirement of setting up an account can be viewed as an unwelcome additional investment in the transaction process. For repeat, established customers, this may not be viewed as an issue. But for the new and wary, it can be a deal-breaker.
PayPal is an obvious choice when the conversation of payment systems arises. Its reputation over years of service inspires the needed confidence in buyers that drives conversion, and its function as an all-encompassing business account and payment system can help small businesses keep their personal finances separate.
The downside, however, is cost. A standard account (free) allows customers to make purchases through the system, but transactions are completed on a PayPal page. This departure from your established trusted site can leave some buyers feeling uneasy. In addition, transaction fees of 2.7% + $0.30 can add up quickly if you’re making a lot of sales.
However, the innate benefits of the system make it worth the choice. The biggest benefit lies in the fact that customers don’t need a PayPal account to complete a transaction, which alleviates the feeling of undesired commitment. Coupled with the Square-esque card-reader (included free) and the absence of cancellation fees or long-term contracts, selecting a new service in the event of dissatisfaction is a snap.
As you can see, choosing the right payment system depends on a number of factors. In doing so, your business must weigh the convenience provided by the system, both internally and externally, against the implicit trust communicated by the system used. Evaluate your individual needs and make the choice that best suits your circumstances, and your sales conversion, and customer confidence, will reap the benefits.