When customers come to the register to pay for their meal or purchases, many can now simply hold up their mobile phones instead of handing over dollar bills or pulling out a credit card. Since mobile payment programs are relatively inexpensive and don’t require sophisticated technical knowledge to implement, many small businesses have been quick to adopt the new technology.
“Mobile has really taken away the requirement that you have to build big systems and be a large company to be successful with technology,” says Gene Signorini, the vice president of mobile insights at Mobiquity. “In many ways, it is easier for small businesses to adopt mobile payment programs because they don’t have a large infrastructure to work through so small businesses can jump right in.”
Here are five ways offering a mobile payment to your customers will help you increase sales:
Integrate and increase incentive programs.
One of the biggest benefits of using a mobile payment option is the ability to integrate loyalty and incentive programs into the mobile payment applications. Instead of customers having to keep up with punch cards or key ring tags, all of their information is stored in the application each time they make a purchase with their mobile device. “If businesses use technology to link a payment to their points or other loyalty programs then it adds value to the customer. This makes the customer want to return, which then increases revenue,” Signorini says.
Ability to offer credit card payments.
Previously, many small businesses, especially those operating at remote locations such as a farmers’ market or a food truck, were unable to accept credit card payments. Being a cash-only business often decreased sales because customers without enough cash on hand were unable to buy their products. So when a cash-only business can start to accept credit card payments through a mobile payment program, they immediately increase their customer base and increases sales.
Track customer trends and inventory.
A common struggle for small businesses is tracking inventory and customer behavior. But with mobile payment services, you can automate these processes and better serve your customers. “Small businesses using mobile payments can now track what product and services they are selling to understand customer demands. Not only can they now capture payment information, but they can learn about their customers and use that information to improve service,” Signorini says. For example, a business can use the purchasing data to learn that they sell a lot of chicken sandwiches on Thursdays, and make sure that they have enough ingredients on hand. By meeting customer demand, they increase product sales and improve customer service.
Increase speed of checking customers out.
Customers like quick service, especially when paying since that is typically their least favorite part of the shopping or dining experience. Most customers and staff find that it’s considerably quicker to pay with a mobile device than a credit card. Customers typically are more willing to return if they don’t have to wait a long time in line.
The time savings can also directly increase profits by allowing you to accommodate more customers in the same period of time, especially for businesses with a very busy period during the day, such as a lunch rush at a restaurant. “By using mobile payments, we can move customers through the hot dog shop quicker. During a busy lunch we can serve 250 customers if we keep people moving,” says Keith Garabedian, owner of Hot Diggity in Philadelphia.
Save money on credit card fees.
Some mobile payment companies charge less per transaction than credit card companies, which equates to direct savings for the company. Garabedian says that one of the reasons he uses LevelUp for mobile payments is that he doesn’t pay any transaction fees until a customer meets incentive levels. With Square mobile payments, the business pays 2.75 percent of each sale as the transaction cost, which is a lower fee than those associated with some credit cards. Since each company structures payment differently, investigate the different mobile payment programs to determine which is most cost effective for your business.
Jennifer Gregory is a journalist with over 17 years professional writing experience. Jennifer blogs via Contently.com.