With more ways than ever to enable an online storefront, your options for doing so may seem a little convoluted and overwhelming. In this article, we’ll explain some key components that may not be on your radar when searching for the best payment processing solution for your business.
The Current State of Payment Platforms
With the ecommerce industry continuing to grow and evolve at rapid rates year after year, there has never been a better time to start breaking into the market than now. Whether you’re a small, medium, large, B2B or B2C business – there are payment processing options catered specifically to your unique needs, niche, and business objectives.
Challenges may rise, however, when you start to analyze some of the different providers out there, and comprehend the various features they offer and rates they charge. There are lots of considerations in this regard: Does it need to be set up as quickly as possible? Are you looking for an intuitive user interface? Do detailed analytics matter? Are you comfortable paying an implementation fee? How about a flat monthly subscription? Would you be better suited having a portion of each sale pay out to the platform as a small fee?
Clearly, there are many things to think about when it comes to ecommerce enablement, but there are also some lesser known elements that may not immediately come to mind or may not even seem obvious during the selection process. With that in mind, we’ve taken some time to lay some of those out for you.
Quick vs. Lengthy
Before we dive any deeper, it’s important to understand payment gateways and how a traditional gateway functions compared to a modern one. A payment gateway securely transfers credit card data from an ecommerce website to a credit card payment network for processing, which then returns the transaction response back to the website.
This relationship can be handled in two ways – via a traditional process or a modern one. Activating a traditional payment gateway is a lengthy process that requires you to directly sign up for a merchant account, whereas its modern counterpart has already established that relationship, saving you the time and effort that goes into securing that yourself.
This article will specifically focus on modern payment gateways. If you’re interested in learning more about setting up a traditional one – which certainly has its benefits despite the arduous commitment – you can do so here.
Important Elements to Look For
While we’ve highlighted some key aspects to think about during your platform search below, this is by no means a definitive list. As mentioned above, depending on your business’s needs, there will likely be other important considerations you need to make. Having said that, however, these elements will likely be relevant for you.
1. Integrates with Business Applications
If you’re an ecommerce business, or planning on becoming one – there’s a good chance you’ll be relying on different types of business applications to manage your operations. Some examples of this include an invoicing tool, a customer relationship management system, and accounting software.
You’ll want to ensure that the payment platform you choose can fully integrate with your other business applications, whatever they may be. A lot of time and energy can be spent manually adding individual transactional data to each of these different applications, which can be completely avoided if your payment platform automatically does the work instead.
There are ample benefits to doing this, like better streamlining your digital infrastructure, having stronger safeguards in place for protecting and preserving data integrity, archiving more detailed insights on your customer’s purchase trends which can then be turned around and used to provide a more personalized customer experience, reducing mistakes that would be caused by human error, and simply saving more time so that can be redirected towards your core business.
Regardless of what applications you’re using (or planning on using in the future), make sure that you’re doing your due diligence and understanding whether or not the platform you’re considering can provide an integrated payments experience, and can plug in quickly and efficiently.
2. Chargeback Management
Unfortunately, your business will always have to deal with chargebacks, but depending on the payment platform you use, this could either be a simple and easily-managed process, or it could be very time consuming.
Most payment platforms will have some form of chargeback management in place, but the type of management will vary. Some platforms will require you to reconcile key items such as proof of purchase and fulfillment, which you will then need to submit via an online ticket, to having the entire representment process managed for you. Some will even go the extra mile and offer a dedicated team that is abreast with the latest chargeback and compliance standards, takes the time to understand your products or services, and then works with you on enforcing mitigation strategies and techniques based on combatting potential risks and maintaining a healthy standard – something that can be very difficult to stay on top of in your own right.
Any form of automation with chargebacks is a good thing, but the more support your payment platform can give you, the more disputes you will win, and the safer your business will be from facing stiff penalties that could literally stop your business from being able to sell its goods and services. It’s always a good idea to weigh out your business and its ability to manage the chargeback process. Chances are, you’ll likely want to outsource this to the professionals.
3. Customer Service
One factor that doesn’t typically come with an out-of-the-box modern payment solution is personalized human service for your customers when it comes to their payment-related inquiries. This can be incredibly valuable in a time where the ecommerce market is becoming more complicated and highly competitive, giving your business a unique advantage over some of your opponents.
To build on this, it can be an incredible nuisance and source of confusion for customers to have to go through a third party when they have questions or concerns about their payment, especially when they may not realize that the third party operates as the payment gateway for their business. This is only exacerbated when there is no human to contact to try and seek assistance.
By having a team in place that not only can address their needs, but also has a strong understanding of your business and offerings, you’re positioning yourself to leave a more lasting, positive experience for your customers. It will help improve conversion rates, reduce costs and prevent chargeback rates!
Luckily, there are some payment platforms (which we’ll get into more below) that are designed to augment other, third party payment solutions. So even if you’re using a third-party solution, you can still incorporate this aspect without having to completely change your platform, giving your more control and flexibility to really enhance the user experience.
4. Billing Support
Having a program in place to offer personalized support for your customers is a great thing to have, but it is equally as important to be able to get the same kind of support for your business when you have changes or questions about the transactions you’re processing.
Billing support is something some payments platform will offer, but it’s important that your selection is closely aligned with the type of support you’d like to have. Are you comfortable with an online ticketing system that may take several business days to hear back from, or would you prefer immediate human contact with someone who can sort your problem out in real time? Some platforms offer a more personalized approach, so it’s important that you know what to expect when it comes to billing support.
Much like customer service, billing support is another area that can be used to supplement existing third-party platforms, so keep that in mind as well even if you’re already actively selling things online.
5. Augments other Payment Gateways
We’ve touched on the fact that there are a lot of pros and cons to an out-of-the-box solution, with most of the cons revolving around a lack of support and utility in exchange for a very quick and simple deployment so that you can start selling fast and with minimal effort.
What’s important to realize is – even if you have one platform in use already and want to continue using it, you’re not completely at the mercy of its limitations. There are some payment platforms out there that can actually support your existing solution, and fill in some of the gaps that we brought up above.
It would actually be prudent to have a second solution in place – which a lot of businesses do larger or growing. They can kick in and keep your transactions processing should your primary platform go down or have its account frozen.
Whether you’re already up and running, or getting started with your ecommerce business, make sure you’re analyzing the various ways payment platforms can supplement one another, as it could make a very significant impact on your bottom line.
6. Subscription Management
As the subscription economy rapidly rises, more and more businesses are finding ways to increase their foothold in the market, and rightfully so. Even if you’re not currently a subscription business, you should strongly consider it – as there are lots of creative ways you can implement the model successfully without causing disruption to your current operations.
There are no shortage of options when looking for a payment platform that can support subscriptions, but there are a few key features you’ll want to look for to ensure the solution you’re onboarding can work efficiently and accommodate your needs: how easy it is to change the price of your subscription? You’ll likely be doing this on a frequent basis, so flexibility is important. Do you run promotions or free trials? If so, can this be deployed without hassle? Does it offer dunning management, which is designed to engage subscribers who have problems with their credit card, avoiding unnecessary customer churn.
Subscription payment platforms tend to come with lots of different features at varying rates, so keep an eye out for the above ones specifically and avoid getting stuck with a platform that offers you more bells and whistles than you actually need, because you might end up paying an arm and a leg for it.
7. PCI Compliance
Your ecommerce business may want to store the payment information of your customers – especially if you’re a subscription business and collecting payments from them automatically – therefore, you’ll want to make sure the payment platform you’re considering meets current payment data security standards. Failing to comply with PCI standards could see your business paying staggering fines of $100,000 a month.
Familiarize yourself with the twelve principals of data security, and verify that the platform you’re moving forward with has the right level of PCI compliance in place.
Don’t Let Your Platform Limit Your Growth
Now that you have a clearer idea of what to look for in a payments platform, the next step is to actually move forward with the right solution.
The PayMotion platform is designed to automate the payments portion of your business in its entirety so that you can focus on what matters the most…your business!
In addition to offering all of the elements listed above, PayMotion can also support you in the form of fraud mitigation, tax collection, license key management, customizable transaction communications and much more.
If you’re interested in finding out more about how PayMotion can work for your business, click here to learn more or to schedule a personal demonstration.
Processing payments shouldn’t need to be a labor-intensive task. With the right partner in place, you can supercharge and simplify your business and capitalize on new opportunities.