Contributed post by Mike DePaolo, Sr. Partnership Manager, eCommerce, Vantiv
Vantiv, a leading credit card processor for businesses of all sizes—and a Gold Partner Sponsor of our upcoming Subscribed San Francisco 2017—provides tips for creating a quality online shopping experience, and for selecting the best payment processing partner for your business.
There was a time not that long ago when simply having a website was all the online presence a small business needed. Nowadays, customers are expecting to not only find information online, but also a quality shopping experience, including proactive customer service.
Shopping cart experience
The online shopping experience needs to be quick and easy. That starts with a site that is designed and developed from the perspective of your customer. It must be easy and logical to navigate, provide sufficient product information, and allow customers to add items to a shopping cart and/or save items for later.
Your site should offer customers the option to create a secure account, which simplifies the checkout process with one click purchasing. This also helps customers remember items they’ve purchased or viewed in the past. By encouraging customers to log in to your site, you can create more targeted offers such as customized pages based on prior purchases, searches, and other gathered customer information.
Quality customer support
Just as important as the online sales process is quality customer support. Making it easy for customers to contact you, and having well-trained representatives ready to assist goes a long way to cultivating a positive experience. Make sure your phone number is clearly posted (this is still consumers’ desired method of communication), and offer a contact form and perhaps even live chat.
Another popular customer service feature is self-help support, including well-thought out FAQs, and a help desk forum where customers can search for answers among questions other customers have already posted.
Merchant services are an important part of your business, allowing you to accept credit and debit card payments from your customers. In addition to facilitating payment acceptance, your payment processor should also offer ways to help you manage and grow your business. In this way, they become a true partner, invested in the success of your business.
So how do you choose a payment processing partner? Here are some factors to look for:
- The latest payment devices and technology that allow you to accept credit and debit credit cards, including chip cards, seamlessly, whether in-store or online, with a physical card, or a mobile wallet
- The most secure processing solutions such as EMV chip card technology, tokenization, and advanced encryption
- PCI compliance assistance and data breach protection options
- Responsive 24/7 customer service
- Solutions designed for specific industries that are customizable for your specific needs
- Access to a library of industry data and research
- Equipment financing
- Loyalty and gift card programs
- Fast access to processing funds
- Competitive rates
When you are evaluating potential payment processing partners, be sure to keep these factors in mind. You can also ask for recommendations from business colleagues and industry associations. The time you spend choosing the right partner now will be well worth it in the long run.
And finally, you should stay in touch with your online customers, even after they leave your site. After a purchase, reach out to them via email or text to make sure they are happy. Contact them about abandoned shopping carts to see if there is anything you can do to help. And, of course, add them to your ongoing email communications (you do have a consistent email campaign, right?).
Just having an online presence is no longer enough for small businesses. You need to have a website that is designed with your customers’ interactions first and foremost, and provides quality and immediate customer service.
Register now for Subscribed San Francisco, June 5-7 2017 for actionable breakout sessions; hands-on training; inspirational keynotes from IDEO, Fender, Symantec, Caterpillar, GE Predix, and Ford; non-stop networking; and a chance to meet with Vantiv to learn more about how the right payment processing provider can help accelerate your business.