How and Why to Make eCommerce a Permanent Part of Your Business

How and Why to Make eCommerce a Permanent Part of Your Business

When businesses shut down during the height of the pandemic in 2020, many owners scrambled to figure out how to continue making money with their doors closed. If they couldn’t figure it out quickly, those doors may have closed for good.

Many moved to contactless payments with “tap to pay” and virtual terminals so they could more easily manage social distancing requirements, take orders by phone and offer curbside pickup. Others used the opportunity to move their businesses online, taking orders and payments on their website. Both were a lifeline in a time of need.

With the country opened up again, these solutions can transition into a more permanent part of the revenue stream to help grow the business more quickly.

The best way to manage ecommerce in the long term is with an all-in-one payment gateway. These are comprehensive payment and sales systems that give you:

  • API for your website
    An all-in-one gateway can tie directly into your website, making it easy to set up online ordering, invoicing and payments. With everything in one system, transactions are easier for you and your customers.
  • Customer information manager
    Keep everything you need to know at your fingertips by securely storing tokenized customer details for future use, invoicing and recurring payments or memberships.
  • Invoicing
    Generate invoices to your customers, email them a secure link to access it and receive payments using the same system.
  • Recurring payments
    Make it even easier for your customers to pay by setting up automatic recurring payments.
  • Virtual terminals
    Log into a secure website to key in credit card information without the card or a traditional terminal. It’s more secure and can be done from anywhere.

All-in-one payment gateways can also be extremely affordable with simple monthly fees.

For businesses that managed the shutdowns without online sales, it’s still an idea worth exploring. 2021 is turning into a blockbuster year for starting a business, so competition will intensify very quickly. You can bet many of those new businesses will start with digital and online payments on Day One.

eCommerce comes with a host of other advantages, as well, for all types of organizations.

Restaurants and Retail Small Businesses
Modern ecommerce solutions allow businesses of any size to compete with big chains—without the enormous overhead they carry. A small pizza shop can set up online ordering and delivery using a payment gateway that costs a lot less than a proprietary system at Domino’s.

B2B Sales
Many B2B companies are already set up with fully integrated systems. Others use a patchwork of different systems and providers. And I still see those who insist on doing it the old-fashioned way, using a traditional terminal to punch in a credit card number written on a piece of scrap paper. Using a payment gateway, businesses can generate invoices, take payments, set up recurring payments and do it all more securely. Why take the risk of manual entry? Compliance and security alone are reason enough to consider an all-in-one system. Also, think of the time savings that setting up recurring payments provides over hand keying multiple transactions on the first of every month.

Churches and Nonprofits
Sometimes change is difficult, and organizations may be reluctant to adopt modern methods. They may see it as unnecessary and prefer to take donations the same way they have for decades. Consider, though, how much easier it is to make an online donation than to mail a check or call in your credit card number. Think of how much more a church might take in if it allowed for automatic tithing through recurring payments instead of relying on in-person church attendance and the collection plate.

I always tell my clients to never turn down a way for people to pay you, as long as it’s safe and secure. Working with a trusted financial partner, you can implement a system that allows you to take in more money and tie it directly to your deposit accounts. Be cautious in your choice, though. Many banks outsource these processes, leaving you in the hands of someone you don’t know when you’re in a payment pinch.

 

Mike Tesoro is a merchant services advisor at Pinnacle Financial Partners based at the firm’s Northshore office in Knoxville, TN. He can be reached by phone at 865-602-5276 or by email at [email protected].


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