Digital Payments and Your Small Business

Everything’s going digital these days, and if you’re a small business owner—particularly one with a brick-and-mortar location—you may have heard that this includes payments. Not so very long ago, customers basically had two options when paying for goods and services. apple payThey could use cash or credit cards (or in some cases write checks, though if you’re like me you probably prefer cash or credit!). Now, people have multiple new ways of paying for things without ever opening their wallets. And if you’re a small business owner, that probably means you’ll have to make an adjustment.

I know, I know… It seems as if every month or two there’s a new topic aimed at business owners trying to persuade them to stay out in front of some recent development. But I’m not writing to talk about some social media trend (like how to grow your business with periscope) or a one-time marketing ploy. This one’s actually a pretty big deal, as digital payments appear to be here to stay. If you’re not fully accommodating to customers who want to pay this way, you’re going to be missing out (starting about a year or two ago). So let’s take a look at some of the factors and reasoning involved.

It’s Not Just Apple Pay

When you hear “digital payment” you probably think first about Apple Pay. At least, I know I do given that sometimes Apple seems to have a monopoly on all things tech-related. But the truth is the digital pay wave is about much more than Apple Pay. For one thing, other tech companies have launched services meant to compete with Apple Pay, and there are other independent apps meant to help with specific kinds of payments (like Tab, which helps people pay at restaurants without waiting for the check).

Even Bitcoin is becoming a real factor for some small businesses. We think of Bitcoin and other so-called cryptocurrencies as operating mostly online, but we’re also seeing more actual store locations accepting Bitcoin in person. So in short, from the highly publicized Apple Pay to the cryptocurrencies developing in the shadows, there are a lot of digital payment methods out there that your business could be missing out on.

The Adjustment Is Easy

Not every small business owner is necessarily tech-savvy (I know the idea of building a company website once seemed like climbing Everest to me). For that reason, the idea of actually working out the specifics of accepting digital payments might seem daunting. But here’s the lovely little secret: it’s actually super easy!

This list of digital transaction options for small businesses should give you an idea of just how many different services there are that can help you accept these payments. Some of them (like the popular Square) are geared more toward helping you take card payments on mobile devices, and that’s something your business needs to be able to do as well. But there are also plenty of digital payment processors that are pretty easy to integrate in your business. So don’t be intimidated by the concept, because it’s pretty much as easy as buying a tool.

There Are A Lot Of Benefits

It should go without saying that with all the digital payment options out there, accepting them opens your business up to more customers and more transactions. At this stage it’s probably fair to say that most consumers who use digital payments haven’t quite given up on carrying their wallets around just yet. But most of them also like to go digital when they have the chance, and you can give them that chance!

The reality is that some of the numbers out there describing the boosts a business can get by facilitating these payments are pretty staggering. One post on why businesses should accept digital payments claimed that the small businesses surveyed increased sales by 68% and customer satisfaction by 73%. It also claimed that 67% of the businesses found their accounting process improved, and 62% thought inventory management improved. And, getting back to the point I made in the previous section, 69% of businesses said digital payments were easy to adopt!

Plus, It Just Feels Cool

Numbers and strategies aside, there’s a value to feeling like you’re on the cutting edge of something in a small business. Accepting a range of digital payments, you’ll feel like your business is new and fresh, and your customers will pick up on that feeling.

Hopefully this provided a pretty thorough picture of what all the fuss is about in this regard. It may seem like a trend or an optional perk, but with the way things are going, this will all become pretty vital for small businesses in the near future.

About Nate Goodman

Nathan Goodman is a freelance fiction writer and the bestselling author of The Special Agent Jana Baker Spy-Thriller Series. "A terrorist on the loose, a country in panic, and time is running out..." For a free copy visit the author's website.