When you’re a startup, you need to provide customers with a positive experience that makes you stand out from the competition (and ideally, makes them want to return to your business and refer it to others).
While you may consider them little more than a point-of-sale tool, mobile payments are a cost-effective technology all small businesses should leverage to look less like the “new kid on the block,” and more like an established business that customers can trust.
Here are a few reasons why mobile payments are perfect for your startup.
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They Put the Customer in Control
One study conducted by SurveyMonkey revealed that 86 percent of respondents prefer paying with a credit card. Despite that, the Longview News-Journal reports a study revealing that more than half of the 1,000 small businesses surveyed don’t accept credit or debit cards. Mobile payments turn the smartphone or tablet you already own into a secure payment-processing tool you can use to accept customers’ debit and credit card payments.
Because many mobile payment providers offer free or inexpensive dongles that plug into the headphone jack of the mobile device to process cards, along with the option to key card information into the mobile payment provider’s app to process payment, you can start using mobile payments with little to no upfront investment.
They Can Eliminate Checkout Lines
Mobile payments empower you to accept payments anywhere, and many providers allow you to accept payments that are held in queue until you can connect to a secure Wi-Fi network for processing when a password-protected online connection is not available. Because the visual of a long checkout line can deter customers from making a purchase, according to MIT researcher Richard Lawson, mobile payments simultaneously provide a seamless checkout process while reducing the likelihood of lost sales.
You Can Offer Customers Maximum Payment Security
Most debit and credit cards in the United States include Europay, MasterCard and Visa (EMV) chips (shown as a square on the card’s front). Though most businesses were required to adjust point-of-sale terminals to accommodate this new technology by October 2015, fewer than 40 percent have it in place, according to ARS Technica.
EMV chip card processing offers enhanced security that magnetic strip cards do not, including encryption technology that replaces the customer’s sensitive data with a random set of numbers (called a token) before payment information is sent over a network for authorization. Mobile payments are a cost-effective way to leverage the security features of EMV technology, and many providers offer EMV-compatible mobile payment tools for less than $50.
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Customers Respond to Small Businesses That Use Mobile
Now that consumers who own a mobile device outnumber those who do not, they increasingly use those devices to support every facet of life. In fact, The Associated Press recently reported that the majority of customers now prefer to use text messages or instant chat to communicate with businesses, compared with phone calls or email. When you accept mobile payments, you accommodate your customers’ technology preferences and demonstrate that you understand who they are and what they value.
Mobile Payments Can Overcome Lack of Trust
Customers may not be as willing to buy from a small business whose quality and reputation they’re not familiar with, particularly if you sell big-ticket items or purchases that are fragile or have the potential to be defective. When you accept mobile payments, you empower customers to overcome any purchase hesitancy they may have, thanks to the purchase protections offered to cardholders by many credit card issuers.
Mobile payments also allow you to leverage the trust that consumers have for brand names like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover, according to a study by Ogilvy & Mather when you’re building brand recognition as a new business.
They Can Help You Execute a Successful Loyalty Program
A survey of small-business owners conducted by the National Federation of Independent Business revealed that while nearly half of small-business owners handle their own marketing efforts, just as many don’t know whether their marketing efforts work.
Loyalty programs are a popular marketing tool you can use to encourage customers to buy repeatedly, and many mobile payment providers make the execution of such programs seamless. When your mobile payments are connected to your loyalty program, customers can see how many points or rewards they’ve earned, and apply them to their purchase total when they’re ready to redeem.
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Eliminate Trips to the Bank
The revenue you make from purchases made with mobile payments typically is transferred to your business bank accounts within 72 hours of transaction approval, less payment processor fees. You have the peace of mind that your cash flow is intact with electronic deposits, without having to make unnecessary trips to the bank.
Mobile payments deliver many benefits for startup owners who need to establish a positive relationship with customers and compete with much larger retailers, despite having limited resources. When you turn your mobile device into a mobile payment tool, you’ll leave a lasting impression on customers that you can leverage to further build your business.