For years, small businesses have felt the sting of large competitors. Many mom-and-pop shops can barely keep up with the retail giants down the street that offer lower prices and accept debit and credit cards.
Although credit card-processing technology was a bit of an enemy to small stores in the past, today it can work to their advantage. Mobile-payment services like Intuit GoPayment enable independent merchants to accept credit and debit cards without paying high transaction fees. Now small businesses can not only compete on convenience, but also offer the personal attention that customers crave.
Here are three ways that you can use mobile payments to compete with big-box stores.
Make Invoice-Related Cash-Flow Problems Disappear
Small businesses that invoice their clients — such as caterers, in-home technicians, designers, and attorneys — typically experience a delay between providing services and receiving payment. The lag occurs regardless of how timely client payments are, and it worsens whenever customers drag their heels.
For larger businesses, this delay may not be much of a problem. With ready access to other resources, waiting for payments doesn’t pinch their budgets as tightly. Smaller businesses, however, must either learn to operate with minimal resources or secure the needed capital through loans or credit. Mobile payments can keep the cash rolling in at the time of service.
“More of these firms are avoiding borrowing or tapping credit lines by turning to services like Intuit GoPayment … payment applications that come with credit- and debit-card readers for mobile devices,” note Angus Loten and Emily Maltby in the Wall Street Journal.
Accept Credit Cards With a Smartphone
Processing credit and debit cards the traditional way isn’t cheap. Mobile payments offer an affordable alternative by turning your smartphone or tablet into your point of sale.
The only fees are those associated with the mobile-payment provider. Most charge a small percentage of each transaction. This can easily be offset by incorporating the fee into the cost of the item for moderately priced goods, explains Isaac O’Bannon of CPA Practice Advisor.
Appeal to a Younger, Broader Customer Base
Traditionalists may not be eager to pay for purchases through a mobile app, but times really do change. Technology is less intimidating and more appealing to younger people, particularly customers under 40, O’Bannon observes.
Mobile payments can help you change the way your business looks and operates, too. For example, without a cash register, your sales clerks could roam the store helping customers and ring them up on the spot. What could be more convenient for customers?
Mobile payments also enable you to expand your reach, because you can accept payments wherever you go. Let’s say you set up a booth at a local trade show or holiday fair. You aren’t stuck accepting cash or nothing at all anymore. More customers can walk away with your goods in their hands, instead of wishing they’d remembered to bring cash.