As a business owner, you’ve probably lost count of how many times you’ve heard that e-commerce is the way of the future. At the same time, with in-store spending at brick and mortar locations predicted to make up nearly 90 percent of all retail sales in the United States in 2019, you might also be wondering whether e-commerce is overhyped.
The short answer is it’s not. Though online sales, whether from desktop or mobile devices, might only represent a small percentage of business right now, here are six key reasons why offering an ecommerce credit card processor is an important strategy for growing your business.
E-commerce might not represent a significant portion of total sales activities today, but it’s a safe bet most of your sales will made by online some time in the not-too-distant future. The value of online sales worldwide has steadily increased year-over-year, and is expected to keep growing. According to Euromonitor International, online retailing is the world’s fastest-growing sales channel and is expected to dominate all retail sales by 2021.
While you might assume that younger consumers are doing the bulk of online shopping, research shows it’s popular across all age groups. More than 96 percent of American adults use e-commerce platforms on a monthly basis while millennials, Generation X and boomers are equally likely to shop online. That means it’s not just businesses that target millennials that can’t afford to miss out on the opportunity to grow sales.
The path to sales is increasingly complex. While once upon a time, customers had no choice but to visit your store directly to make a purchase, today the journey can only be described as meandering. A customer might browse products in your store and then go online at a later point in time to make a purchase. They may research online and then visit your store, or they may complete a purchase in its entirety on your website or in your store. The point is that if you limit yourself to just a single sales channel, your are also limiting potential sales. According to a study published in the Harvard Business Review, 73 percent of shoppers use multiple channels during their purchasing journeys compared to just 20 percent who buy in-store only.
By not offering ecommerce credit card processing, you might not only be limiting your potential customer base – you might also be limiting your sales volume. According to research, online shoppers spend more – up to 25 percent – than their brick-and-mortar counterparts. If your sales strategy is multi-pronged, even better. The same study, conducted by Oliver Wyman, also found that when a shopper visits a store and then buys online, their total at checkout is 64 percent larger.
Whether or not you already have a website, getting started with e-commerce is easier than you might think. Online credit card processing requires several key things, including a website and shopping cart software, to allow customers to browse and select what they want to buy. You will also need a Payment Gateway and online merchant account in order to collect and receive credit card payments. If you choose a credit card processor that integrates with common platforms, connecting these dots so that you can start making sales and growing your business is easier than you might expect.
One thing that might be holding you back from growing your business with e-commerce is the perception that online transactions are at greater risk of fraud. More specifically, the card-not-present nature of online transactions, combined with the fact that e-commerce sellers typically don’t collect signatures, might have you concerned that you’d have no way to prevent a chargeback in the event of a disputed credit card charge.
That’s not actually the case. If your business sells big-ticket items or you want the extra reassurance of proof should a dispute occur, it is possible to collect remote signatures that provide clear evidence that a purchase was authorized by the cardholder.
The risk of data breaches that can expose cardholder information is also something you shouldn’t take lightly – but at the same time, it also shouldn’t hold you back from leveraging e-commerce opportunities. Because security is paramount for a successful e-commerce strategy, it’s important to closely evaluate Payment Gateway Providers. Also, look for a vendor that is PCI Level 1 compliant, meaning they adhere to the highest tier of the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards. This includes encryption of cardholder data and annual security audits to expose and address any system weaknesses.
Are you considering e-commerce to grow your business? Are you already selling online? Let us know where you’re at in the e-commerce journey.