Written by: Dianne Provenzano, VP Head of Treasury Services, Union Savings Bank
There are quite a few myths surrounding merchant systems and what they can do for your small business. From waiting until a problem arises before exploring new options to shopping for a system based on price alone, small business owners can do themselves a great disservice by buying into these fallacies. While we busted these and other myths in a recent blog post, another still remains: merchant payment solutions are just for accepting credit card payments.
Processing credit and debit card, online, and contactless payments are certainly important merchant system capabilities. But there’s much more to merchant services for small business than accepting payments alone.
Here are three additional benefits to merchant payment solutions that can help take your small business to the next level.
Securely retaining customer data – Many small businesses have regular customers who walk through the door or shop online for the same products and services each and every time. If your small business has these types of customers, you and your staff may be able to anticipate exactly what they need before they even have to ask.
For repeat customers whose visits may span weeks or more, anticipating these needs may be a bit more challenging. With business merchant services that securely retain your customers’ payment method, preferences and purchase behavior, you can treat your occasional customers like regulars, making each buying experience a personal and memorable one. This data retention can also increase security for your customers by connecting individuals to their credit or debit cards in the system. If the card user does not match the profile in the system, it may be easier for your team to spot the discrepancy and request a secondary form of identification.
Inventory control – Another benefit of merchant payment solutions beyond accepting cards is inventory management. Your merchant system can be used to track the items and materials you purchase, what gets sold to customers and what is taking up valuable space on your shelves. After all, inventory that proves difficult to move is not just the bane of instore display design. It’s a costly weight on your bottom line, tying up money that can’t be used elsewhere in your business.
Inventory management through your business merchant services can also help you identify purchasing patterns, such as seasonality or spikes in popularity of certain items. This insight can help your small business avoid running out of popular items or overstocking inventory at the wrong time of the year. And, as this article in the Small Business Chronicle points out, inventory control is also critical to businesses without a traditional storefront, such as manufacturers. Ignoring purchasing patterns in the manufacturing space can put not only your business behind the ball, but it can also delay projects and deadlines for your customers. Relying on your merchant payment solutions to manage your inventory can help keep both you and your customers happy.
Partnership with your merchant payment solutions provider – One of the biggest myths we busted in our earlier blog post is that a merchant system is just a product, and the cheaper the better. Shopping around for the best prices and determining how to get the most bang for your hard-earned buck are smart moves for a business owner. But as you likely know, there’s often much more than price to consider when making a decision for your business.
Partnering with a merchant account services provider that can help you get the most out of your merchant system is essential. A partner that can help educate, train and support you and your team will help you get the most out of other system benefits like data retention and inventory management.
At Union Savings Bank, our Merchant Services team does just that – and more. We believe that as a community bank, it is our responsibility to support our local businesses, with exceptional service as our top priority.
In addition to being just a phone call or email away for system support, we also help our customers examine the data they collect through their merchant payment solutions. This enables us to see which payment methods are most commonly used as well as other purchasing trends. With this data, we can work with customers to find the best possible rate. And with no contract fees or termination fees, partnership with Union Savings Bank is truly on our customers’ terms.
Merchant payment solutions can be the most powerful tools in your small business arsenal. Aside from giving your business the flexibility to accept more payment options, your system can give you a clear view into purchasing behavior, customer preferences, your inventory and more. These insights can inform the decisions that will help you bring your small business to the next level. If you are ready to get more out of your merchant payment solutions, give my team a call today. We look forward to helping your business grow.