The following article is a guest blog post by Angie Mansfield
Why Does My Business Need to Be More Mobile?
How tech-savvy are you when it comes to running a small business that offers its customers the latest in technology?
If mobile payments have not been on your radar screen in the last year or two, then it may very well be time to give them some more attention.
Accepting mobile payments from your customers means allowing them to pay for goods or services using their smartphone or other device.
With more than 137 million smartphone users in the United States as of 2013 (a number expected to grow to more than 190 million by 2016), more and more people are shopping on their mobile devices.
If you're not accepting mobile payments, you're missing out on a piece of that ever-growing pie.
Why should I offer mobile payments?
Here are a few reasons you should consider going with this new payment method:
- You can accept credit cards, without expensive equipment rental or long-term contracts.
- You'll generally pay lower per-transaction fees than you would with a regular credit card processor.
- You'll increase the speed of check-out -- making the buying process more convenient for customers and encouraging them to come back.
- You can accept payments anywhere -- a great feature for service-based companies that don't always do business from a brick-and-mortar store.
Okay, but is mobile payment processing safe?
- The ability to remotely wipe the device you use to accept customer payments, in case it's lost or stolen.
- A service that's PCI compliant, meaning that it doesn't store your customer's information -- and both its app and card swiper are encrypted to protect your customer's banking details.
There are so many payment providers - how do I choose?
With so many mobile payment merchants, it can all turn into a confusing jumble when you're trying to decide on the right one for your business. You can cut through the clutter by setting clear goals and essential needs for your business. Here are a few more things you can do to help you decide: Research. How long has the provider been in business? What's its financial health look like? You don't want to get setup with a provider, only to have it disappear a year from now.
- Find out if your local competitors are using mobile payments, and if so, which company they're using.
- Run a Google search for reviews of each company. Are there a lot of complaints about their customer service? Security concerns? Hidden fees?
- Tap your social media network. What's the buzz on the companies you're considering? Ask for recommendations - and who you should stay away from.
- Make sure the provider you're considering is available on all platforms your customers will want to use. If it's iOS-only, or Android-only, you'll be excluding a potentially large chunk of your customer base.
Mobile shopping is on the rise.
With clear goals and a plan in place, you can ride the wave of this technology trend and land on a healthier bottom line.
About the Author: Angie Mansfield writes about a range of small business topics, including the importance of mobile payments.