While the ecommerce market has grown rapidly in recent years, and is set to continue to boom, the fact is that most retail transactions are still actually completed in bricks and mortar stores. However, as more and more consumers get used to the convenience and quick process of buying online, it’s imperative that retailers use every tool at their disposal to streamline transactions in store, and to offer customers an excellent experience at every touchpoint.
One of the ways they can do that is through using mobile payments (mPOS). A BI Intelligence report forecasted that there will be a whopping 27.7 million mPOS devices in circulation by 2021 in the United States, up from just 3.2 million items seven years prior.
For many retailers though, the introduction of mobile payments isn’t a priority yet, so mPOS adoption continues to lag. However, if you’re an entrepreneur who hasn’t started using this tech, you’re probably not just missing out on sales, but also losing the opportunity to build consumer loyalty and increase referrals.
Mobile payments allow retailers to help customers complete checkouts more quickly, and locate stock in store. They also enable businesses to better manage inventory and to customize shopping experiences for clients, to name just a few benefits. If you’re ready to start providing this payment option to your shoppers this year, read on for some ways you can go about choosing a system wisely.
Determine Which Features You’ll Need
To begin with, before you start narrowing down your shortlist of providers, it’s important to stop and think about what kind of features you need in a system. Not all operators provide the same kinds of services, so the more clear you are about what you’re after, the easier it will be to narrow your search.
For example, you may only need a basic merchant account if all you’ll do is process debit or credit card payments on a smartphone. However, you might alternatively require a raft of features, or something in particular, that means you should look for a more comprehensive service. Some entrepreneurs want a mobile payment system to incorporate a loyalty program or some inventory management functionality, while others may prefer a company that specifically serves their business niche.
Something else to think about is whether or not you want to choose a provider that offers scalability in its features, and flexibility in its plans (this is important if your business is growing and the number of or type of transactions you have now will be different in the future). You might, perhaps, need a merchant provider that can accept things like American Express and Diners Club cards, PayPal, and Apple Wallet transactions, and loyalty points.
Evaluate Security Levels
Next, keep in mind that the security protocols of the mPOS system you choose also need to be comprehensive so that not only will your customers’ details be kept safe from prying eyes, but also your firm’s. Remember: hackers across the globe are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to break into accounts these days, plus consumers are particularly sensitive to data hacks and will typically discount companies if they’ve been hacked.
As you learn more about the firms on your shortlist, find out what level of security they can provide you with. For instance, do they use an integrated, or a safer semi-integrated, payment architecture? Plus, do they use complex encryption algorithms and have data encryption in place for all exchanges; do they enable CVV2 verification on transactions; are the highest-level SSL certificates accepted; are there restrictions on how data is sent and stored via an Internet connection; and do they provide billing address security for every transaction?
Weigh Up Fees
Of course, for most business owners, one of the prime factors evaluated when choosing an mPOS system is cost. However, while you certainly do need to think about this, make sure you’re actually comparing “apples with apples” when you weigh up the different options.
While some firms may look the most affordable at first glance, a bit of research may reveal they charge extra for things that other providers don’t. For example, they could have additional fees for setting up your account or integrating their software with your system; for taking certain types of transactions; for providing customer support; or for changing plans or canceling your account.
As well, look into the different ways companies calculate transaction fees. Some have a variable fee calculated according to the number of sales made by month or other period, while others have different plans to choose from, or may just charge a flat fee per transaction regardless of the amount of transactions or dollar value of sales per period. You’ll have to determine which option will be the best value for money for you, based on the kinds of sales figures (current and projected) you have.