Written by: Kathy Martin, Director of Payment Services, Union Savings Bank
Once you have dazzled a new prospect and they are ready to make their first purchase, what kind of experience can they expect through the checkout process? If it has been a while since you evaluated your small business merchant system, it might be time to take a closer look. Here are 4 common myths about merchant services to help you decide if it’s time to make a change.
Myth #1: The only time to change merchant systems is when there’s a problem.
We’re all guilty of believing this myth in one way or another, whether in our personal or professional lives. If something is working as expected, there’s no point in changing it, right? As a small business owner, though, you understand that finding ways to improve your operations and customer experience can make a world of difference.
Could you be offering a more efficient in-store experience? Are there more e-commerce options that could help you grow your online sales? Do you anticipate a long-term change in sales volume? Using these kinds of criteria at least once per year to evaluate your current commerce system is a good way to discover possible improvements or reasons to change platforms.
Myth #2: A merchant system is just a product, and the cheaper the better.
With so many commerce solutions available, choosing one for your small business can feel a bit like window shopping. Once you decide on the basic functions you need, it’s tempting to simply price shop until you find the cheapest product. But a low price tag alone will only get you so far.
Finding a provider who will partner with you is key when selecting a commerce solution. This partnership begins with education – starting with theirs. A commerce provider needs to understand your pain points, trends in your particular market and the preferences of your unique customer base. Taking the time to learn more about your business from the start will help them present the options that will help you most.
The next step is for your commerce provider to educate you on all aspects of the system. Finding a partner who will provide a walk-through of the system to not only you but also to your employees is essential. This should include training in any applications unique to your employees so they can better understand their role with the new system.
Once the training is over and system is installed, choosing partnership over product and price tag alone will prove even more critical if you encounter an issue. Working with a partner means that rather than having to troubleshoot on your own, you can have system experts on your doorstep to help resolve the problem and get your business back up and running more quickly.
Myth #3: Merchant systems are one-size-fits-all.
From maximizing points to utilizing digital wallets, much has changed in the world of debit and credit cards. And as the way consumers use their cards evolves, so have merchant systems. Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to finding the right system could be losing money for your small business and sacrificing convenience for your customers.
Merchant systems can vary based on a myriad of factors. One of the biggest mistakes small businesses make when it comes to selecting a system (or hesitating to change) is considering convenience alone. Options like Square often appeal to small businesses since it has only one fee and appears to be a simple option. However, business owners need to beware of processing limitations as well as policies that can impact fraud mitigation, so be sure to do your research before jumping on board. These types of solutions also rely on online support versus in-person assistance, potentially making problem-solving more difficult.
Other factors to consider when evaluating merchant systems include the average amount per transaction and how people typically pay. What is the breakdown of debit and credit payments in person and online, as well as the percentage of customers who pay in cash? If you run a primarily cash business but want to maintain card payments as an option, it’s important that you consider a system that supports this balance.
Location also plays a part in selecting a provider. Depending on where your business is located, your options and preferences may differ, potentially limiting merchant systems that cannot be customized for your business. Look for a provider that can help you build a system that caters to your business’ specific needs and is familiar with your local market.
Myth #4: A community bank can’t offer the Merchant Services options we need.
One of the most common misconceptions about choosing a merchant services provider is that working with your local community bank would restrict your options. In reality, a community bank can offer many advantages to small businesses looking to change and improve their merchant offerings. Your bank’s familiarity with the local market from geography to demographics can be a significant asset to your business. With this knowledge, they can recommend options that best suit your customer base. Proximity to your business can also mean in-person support rather than hours spent troubleshooting over the phone.
When it comes to technology, your local community bank can likely offer options that are not just equal to larger banks and merchant providers, but customized for your business as well. At Union Savings Bank, our Merchant Services team can provide competitively priced solutions complete with peer-to-peer payment options, online payment apps, ecommerce solutions and more, as well as in-person training, setup and support for all.
Before you ring in 2019, evaluate your current merchant system to decide if a change could help your business continue to grow and succeed. Our Merchant Services team can provide a complimentary statement analysis to help inform your decision. Contact us today.