In the rapidly expanding Internet of Things, there is increasing pressure to bring payments into your customers’ daily experience through mobile or cloud-hosted apps. The balance is shifting from card-present transactions to integrated in-app or smart-home features, meaning it’s not out of the question that you could purchase and pay for groceries right through your refrigerator.
At the same time, we see new payment types gaining an ever-expanding foothold. Accepting credit and debit cards is just not enough anymore. Increasingly, the young and mobile customer base expects to use in-app features or their digital wallet, and make payments using everything from traditional card brands to Apple Pay and AliPay.
Meanwhile, merchants will need to offer gift cards, loyalty cards, and maybe even CareCredit to be competitive. And they need to be able to take payments on-the-go, set up monthly membership charges, or send out invoices which can be paid with the click of a button – all in a truly personal way which recognizes customers and their preferences.
That is one tall order. So how do you succeed?
As you payment-enable your software, app, or website in this complex market, here are a few potholes to avoid:
1) Going It Alone
Despite the complexity of how you use them – adding payments should NOT be difficult. If you are spending a lot of time and money on developers, you are going down a dangerous path. Instead, invest more time upfront in finding a payment partner with middleware which will handle this complexity FOR you, allowing your IT folks to just drop it in and customize the experience within a matter of hours. Your team should be focusing on what makes you different – not reinventing payments.
2) Getting Locked In
When you are looking for a payment partner, don’t be afraid to have high expectations. A good partner can work with a variety of gateways or processors, can handle more than just credit and debit, and can give you access to online, smartphone, and in-person transactions for the same customer. Changing partners down the road becomes harder after you have built a history of inventory and customers over time.
3) Short-Term Vision
Today, you might just need a simple checkout for your web cart. But what comes next? Will you need to adjust inventory from a beach in Tahiti? Monitor sales from Budapest? Send cloud- hosted invoices which can be paid from Asia? This is a global economy. Think big. What about your customers – can they tap to renew a membership from a text or invoice? And will your payment partner have their preferred method of payment on file when they do?
4) Putting on Blinders
Yes, you need your payment partner to handle the complexity for you, but that doesn’t mean you are off the hook for understanding it. Are there limitations to the solution? Can you only take certain payments if you use certain devices or certain gateways? Be aware of factors which could limit you down the road. Ask a lot of questions before you invest in the relationship.
5) Penny-wise, Pound Foolish
What is the real total cost of accepting payments? Did you consider development time, technical support, updates for your merchant or customer mobile apps, or the likelihood of fraudulent credits or charge-backs? Make sure you are going to have both ease of integration AND solid customer and technical support. Don’t shortchange yourself on the long-term expense to pick the easiest solution. Also, ask about how you get access to your funds – will the money be available same-day? Next-day? How will that impact your business and your inventory?
Integrating payments will be an exciting ride – buckle-up before you get started. And steer around those potholes.