Greasing the Wheels of Payment: Make It EasyPosted: April 18, 2012
TAKEAWAY: Always make it easy for customers to buy your product.
Earlier this year I visited the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo. If you’re unfamiliar with this event, it’s the face of all things Texan — a quasi-billboard of Lone-Star culture. While perusing the trade booths, my group and I walked by the petting-zoo area and stopped when we came upon a booth with baby lambs. I’ll have to admit — they were really cute.
For a small fee, parents could purchase a framed picture of their children posing with the cuddly critters. What parent could resist purchasing a cute picture of their kid? I mean, this entire event is tailored to families. Children are everywhere.
There was only one problem in the whole operation — a sign, hanging on a post for all the world to see, proclaiming the law of the land: “CASH ONLY. NO CREDIT.”
I was stunned.
Looking at the families by the petting zoo — at the countless fathers and mothers around the arena — I wondered how many of them had cash on-hand? How many of these booths will bypass potential sales because of their affinity to hard currency?
I can’t remember the last time I purposely carried cash. Definitely not on a daily basis. And I know in the past it was a big deal for a mom-and-pop booth to purchase and provide merchant services, but those days are over. The digital age has come. Even governments are providing electronic currency. If you want to see data that backs up my “accepting-debit-and-credit-increases-sales” claim, look here, here, here and here.
Greasing the axles
Today’s technologies give us ample opportunities to innovate and evolve our businesses in ways that streamline operations and customer experience. Here are two companies that are doing just that:
Case #1: Square
Let’s take a look at the aforementioned company, Square. Relatively young, Square is sweeping the merchant services industry by creating a simplified system on two levels:
- It’s easy for businesses to begin using — any business that has a smartphone or mobile device can use Square, and Square has a basic payment system that includes a flat rate for all users with no upfront cost — and,
- It’s easy for businesses to utilize with their customers — purchases are made on mobile devices through streamlined applications.
Square currently has three apps: the Square Card Reader app to receive payment; the Square Register app, which turns your iPad into a retail store register interface; and the Pay With Square app, which enables consumers to open a “tab” at participating retailers, allowing them to pay without the use of cash, credit or smartphone gadgetry. With companies like Square out in the market place, there is almost no reason to accept cash or check only.
Case #2: Ambur
Ambur is another company that is innovating internal operations management. The Ambur app (software “by waiters, for waiters”), which was designed for restaurant management, allows the use of iPhones and iPads to take orders and manage in-house systems. Everything is integrated and streamlined.
Square and Ambur solve payment and operations problems, but making the purchasing process easier for customers is more than just “cash or credit.” It involves the entire retail experience, including in-house promotions, employee training to help customers, quick queues, etc.
Here are three steps to grease the wheels of payment:
1. Simplify the process.
2. Make it quick.
3. Provide payment options.
Make it easy for customers to purchase your products. And if you can, make it fun (Square is rocking this).
What protocols and systems do you have in place that might slow down the purchasing of your product?
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