You’re a savvy and driven business owner. You work hard to sell amazing products while providing everyone who clicks on your website or walks through your doors with the highest level of customer service possible. Now, it’s time to take your success to the next level by understanding how various modern types of payments can benefit both your physical and ecommerce operations.
What is the payments revolution?
The methods that consumers use to purchase items and services have evolved exponentially over the past few decades. Just a few years ago, for instance, everyday food and clothing items were generally purchased with cash and checks, leaving credit to cover only big-ticket items.
Then came the widespread adoption of credit cards, allowing consumers to spend more than they had in their pockets. It didn’t take long for plastic to begin usurping cash as customers’ preferred payment method. Once hacker-prone magnetic stripe cards were replaced with EMV chip cards in the middle part of the last decade, even security-conscious consumers who had previously been wary of plastic jumped aboard the bandwagon.
The power of the modern POS system.
What has driven this game-changing payments revolution? Believe it or not, it is the humble processing hardware and software that businesses use to accept card payments. Once designed solely to read consumers’ cards and transmit information back and forth to and from the payment processing company, point of sale systems have quickly morphed into feature-rich workhorses for businesses of all sizes. Let’s take a closer look at what they entail.
In effect, today’s smart POS systems represent the happy marriage of payments hardware and software. That hardware could include the following:
- A computer (desktop or tablet) that runs your POS software and syncs with your card reader and cash drawer. (This may have a standard display or a touchscreen.)
- A barcode scanner to read merchandise labels and integrate with your POS system to aid in record-keeping.
- A customer facing display to show buyers the total purchase price as well as custom messages.
- A portable, contactless card reader. You will want one of these if you want to offer mobile payment processing to your customers.
- A receipt printer.
These various components are designed to work seamlessly with payments processing and business operations software that goes far beyond merely conducting purchases. Although a visual inspection of your POS hardware might not impress you all that much, you will quickly change your tune once you learn about the numerous ways it can simplify your daily working life.
Knowing what to order, when, and how much is one of the critical components that can either make or break your business. The probability of oversights, omissions, and other types of mistakes is high – especially if you’re attempting to perform these tasks by hand or in a collaborative effort with other members of your team,
Thanks to contemporary POS systems and barcode scanners, you can now offload these time-consuming tasks. Each time your customers purchase a product, your POS records the sale and updates your inventory. With just a few clicks of the mouse, you can create reports that track past sales and forecast future ones. Your equipment can even automatically reorder supplies when they run low or alert you in time to ensure that your customers always get what they want when they want it.
Anyone who has had to swim through a sea of paper receipts to keep their finances organized has probably fervently hoped that there would someday be a better way. Once you have a POS solution in place to accept payments, your wish will be granted. Just be sure that the system you purchase integrates with the accounting software you use and you can finally say goodbye to manual spreadsheets.
Accept payments anywhere.
The credit card terminals of the past were tethered with wires, requiring you and your sales associates to be moored behind your cash register. However, today’s mobile payment processing solutions give you the freedom to accept payments from customers wherever and whenever, including on your sales floor, in a different state, or even abroad! As a result, you can significantly expand the scope and footprint of your business, offering your stellar products to an entirely new group of customers.
Accept different types of payments.
Plastic credit cards have certainly become the standard for many customers, but this is just the beginning of the payment options you can offer your patrons. Increasingly, customers are expecting to have a plethora of choices when it comes to how they part with their money. With a modern POS, you can meet their requirements by offering payment options including the following:
- Credit and debit cards.
- Gift cards.
- Contactless payments. These touchless payments are most often made using a wearable device such as a fitness tracker, smartwatch, or Apple/Android phone equipped with a built-in digital wallet. The customer pays by placing their device near your contactless card reader, enabling the payment to be securely processed within just three or four seconds.
- Recurring payments. Your POS is equipped for so-called subscription or recurring billing. Under this arrangement, the customer agrees to have a set amount of money withdrawn from their credit card or bank account on a specific date at a predetermined frequency. This type of setup is particularly useful for ongoing services or to coordinate long-term payments for bigger-ticket items.
Your POS system should allow your valued customers to pay with their preferred method, without compromising checkout efficiency or security.
Satisfied buyers are at the core of your success and your POS system can work behind the scenes to enhance the shopping experience that you provide to them. Nestled within its software is the functionality you need to maintain a dynamic database of your patrons that you can leverage in several ways!
- Offer customer loyalty rewards based on purchase amounts, number of dollars spent, etc.
- Launch a newsletter chock full of product descriptions, how-tos, and insider information that can combine to cement your relationship with individual customers.
- Distribute email blasts that notify subscribers about flash sales, new products, and store updates.
- Send targeted messages based on previous purchases that entice patrons to make additional purchases.
- Reward guests for referring others to your physical or online store.
Even if you have a large base of customers scattered across the country or around the world, your POS system should help you to provide each person with their own unique, curated shopping experience and relationship with your business.
These days, shopping is much more than browsing for and acquiring goods or services. With competition tougher than ever and expectations at an all-time high, you cannot afford to compromise when it comes to the products, services, or options you offer. Now that you accept non-cash digital, mobile, and card-based payments, let your POS solution carry some of the weight. The result will be satisfied buyers who are happy to provide positive testimonials and will likely return to your physical and/or online store again and again.