Whether you’re a new merchant or you’ve been running your business for a long time, you’re probably familiar with merchant services providers and their role in payment processing. In fact, accepting non-cash payments from your customers is impossible without partnering with one of these companies since they act as intermediaries between you and the numerous other players in the payments industry. Although you may already be well aware of this fact, you might not have a keen understanding of the role your merchant services provider can play in increasing that all-important flow of cash into your coffers. Let’s take a look at four ways they can do precisely that.
1. They allow you to offer a diversity of payment options.
Today’s customers are no longer content to purchase products or services with cash or even via the use of standard credit cards. While these methods are still popular, buyers also want to be offered additional ways to give you their money. These may include debit and gift cards, contactless payments, and buy-online-pickup-in-store (BOPIS) options, as well as options like split billing, recurring payments, and subscriptions.
What role does your merchant services partner play in this process? They are usually the providers of the point of sale (POS) solution that integrates with your other business accounting and reporting systems. When you sign up with a provider that can give you the maximum number of customer payment options, you can provide your patrons with the buying experience they are demanding with increased frequency, leading to greater retention and higher sales numbers.
2. They help you streamline and manage your business operations.
Not so long ago, entrepreneurs were faced with a monumental task. Successfully running their businesses involved piles of spreadsheets, piles of ledgers, stacks of receipts, and never-ending billing headaches. The job of tracking down late invoices alone was enough to make just about any business owner pull their hair out piece by piece.
Today’s merchant services companies can now offer you several highly effective tools (including online merchant portals and your POS solution itself) that will have your business running like a well-oiled machine.
• Customer relations management. With buyers’ permission, you can store contact details and purchase histories for your loyal customers that can help you shape the products and services your store offers.
• Inventory management. Say goodbye to those tedious spreadsheets on which you attempted to keep track of what items were popular, which to take off the shelves, and which to reorder. Instead of error-prone manual records, your POS can automatically monitor your stock. That means with just a few clicks, you can generate clear, data-driven reports that can help you streamline your product ordering.
• Employee management. Good workers are your business’s best brand ambassadors. As the human faces of your store your customers interact with, it is they who influence the buying experience to the greatest extent. By the same token, a lax or negative employee can sabotage even your best efforts. Use the tools in the POS solution your merchant service partner provides you to monitor the performance of your workers.
• Report generation. The tools packed into your POS system can gather a tremendous collection of data about your customers, inventory, and sales. However, that data is useless unless you can easily translate it into a form that you and other leadership staff can understand and use. Luckily, most contemporary POS software is designed to help you create reports targeted to answer vital questions about revenue and sales trends, profits and losses, and more.
• Automated invoicing. Instead of needing to chase down delinquent payments, you can set up your POS system to send automated bills and payment reminder emails. That will leave you free to handle more pressing concerns.
3. They provide greater payment security to you and your customers.
These days, data breaches and hackers’ criminal behavior seems to be in the headlines on a regular basis. As a result, the security of the virtual terminals and other POS solutions you use is more important than ever. When you partner with a reputable merchant services company, you can rest easy on these fronts.
That’s because the right provider will be as invested in the security of your payment transactions as you are. Without exception, they should adhere to the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards (PCI DSS) that have been set forth by the credit card companies. Just as importantly, they should be able to streamline the compliance process for you as well. As a direct result, both you and your customers can then rest assured that the payment data you store, manage, and transmit is as protected as it can be against criminal attacks.
4. They offer Next or Same Day Funding options.
When you run a business of any kind, cash flow is everything. It is, therefore, in your best interests to have access to your profits as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, this has been a sticking point for many small to mid-sized businesses. Until recently.
Today, most quality merchant services providers now offer you faster options when it comes to accessing your money. Instead of being required to wait for several days for your payment processor to assess the risks involved in releasing your proceeds to you, many companies now allow you to request that your monies be transferred into your account by the next business day if not that same day.
When you get your hands on the cash you have rightfully earned, you can use it for any number of things, like: paying your staff, making emergency purchases, updating inventory, or settling bills early to save money.
In summation, your merchant services provider performs several vital roles. More than simply a conduit for payment acceptance, this company can be an integral partner and ally to your business as you continue to grow. Take the time to choose your provider wisely. You’ll likely be rewarded with more sales and higher profits!