As it has always been, consumer preference for payment dictates who lives and who dies. We're already seeing the future of online payment solutions in China, where Chinese consumers are paying for nearly everything using online and mobile payment options.
So far, businesses and customers in the U.S. have only scratched the surface. But the signs point to an online payment revolution heading our way. Just as Netflix reimagined the way we access video entertainment and Amazon forever changed the way we shop, the convenience of online payment solutions is a big lure to customers.
As a business owner or manager, it's important to understand that consumers are driving the digital disruption in the payment space. As with any other sea change, it's about monitoring the trends, staying ahead of the curve and turning online payments into an advantage for your business.
Online Payments: Why Now?
It's a critical junction for business owners and managers. You can jump in and become part of the digital disruption or adopt a wait-and-see attitude. However, sticking with the status quo, even for a little while, could result in your customers embracing mobile payments and leaving you behind.
With technological enhancements continually increasing personalization and giving instantaneous access to information, adding convenience to your customer interactions is a must.
The good news is the technology behind online payment solutions levels the playing field for small and midsize businesses, giving you a way to keep pace with the big guys. Online and mobile pay options provide opportunities to explore new markets and products, as well as increase supply chain efficiencies. From small entrepreneurs to major brick and mortar retailers, online collaboration tools and the internet's 24/7 global marketplace have completely changed the way businesses operate over the past decade. Online payment options are about to do the same.
Why Your Business Needs an Online Payment Strategy
Right now, I'm seeing forward-looking small and midsize business owners take one of two paths. Many are taking advantage of online mobile solutions that make products and services more accessible online, especially when combined with social media. Others, particularly midsize businesses, are seeking more custom-fitting approaches that include machine learning and behavioral tracking components that utilize loyalty rewards as currency within a custom mobile application. These solutions take payment convenience to the next level for consumers while delivering a wealth of data that businesses can strategically dissect and deploy to anticipate customer needs throughout the buying process.
Regardless of the path, here are four key ways you can make implementing an online payment strategy an integral part of your business plan in 2019.
1. Stay relevant.
Offering online payment solutions will ensure your business keeps up with consumer spending habits. You can start by making your products and services available for online purchase. Consider exploring technologies that can combine electronic payment capabilities with the ability to implement loyalty programs, issue gift cards and track customer preferences.
2. Be convenient.
I don't need to tell you that customer expectations are higher than ever. With technological enhancements continually increasing personalization and giving instantaneous access to information, adding convenience to your customer interactions is a must. Using online payments allows you to make your products and services even more accessible. For example, you could add mobile kiosks to cut down on wait times or create subscription services to simplify repeat purchases.
3. Beef up security.
Fraud costs are borne by merchants directly and account for billions of dollars in losses every year. Online payment solutions can ease that burden, if they leverage blockchain technology. Blockchain's public, detailed, irrefutable transaction ledgers significantly reduce opportunities for consumer fraud, which lessens financial burdens and improves profit margins for merchants. As you evaluate new payment options, seek new networks that loose the chains of the status quo in which merchants are left holding the bag.
4. Streamline and save.
Online payment technology simplifies payment processes and aggregates data, which lowers costs. And anytime you make payment easier for your customers, you increase the likelihood that you're paid promptly. Not incidentally, you reduce additional steps to track and follow up on overdue payments. Along with implementing solutions for your clients, maximize your efficiencies by working with service providers and supply chain vendors who provide you the same payment options.
Convenience is no longer a value-add; online technology makes it a requirement. Anticipating your customer's appetite for payment convenience can do more than keep your company competitive. It can be a driver of growth and profits—sooner than you might think.
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