Truly integrating payments into your business involves going beyond just having a ‘Buy Now’ button at the bottom of your product page. Payment integration in the true sense of the term gives businesses the power to streamline the collection and consolidation of payments automatically. This is done using an efficient API that intelligently credits and debits the thousands of accounts that it might be processing at a given moment.
- Efficiency: Having an API that integrates payments lets you increase your margins. When you automate critical processes such as collection, processing, and distribution of payment information, you gain the ability to reduce overheads significantly. Reducing the scope for human error lets you focus on what matters and compete with the best in your industry.
- Security: It is a universally accepted fact that credit cards form the backbone of our retail economy. 38% of all point of sale payments in 2020 in the United State were made through credit cards. Considering how prolific of a payment method cards are, it’s easy to forget the high rates of failure that businesses have to contend with when they rely on credit card payments over other methods. Having an integrated system for payments lets you accept more reliable payment methods such as e-checks as well.
- Availability: Small businesses can at times find it difficult to get approval from banks and service merchants due to their risk-averse nature. Having an integrated payments system lets you bypass these hurdles and get a robust payments system going without being hassled by mountains of paperwork and rejections.
#1 – Be UX-Conscious
User experience or ‘UX’ refers to a design philosophy centered around creating a design that is pleasing and responsive to the browser. Not being cognizant of the impact that intelligent UX can have on potential customers can represent a serious blow to your business. Deloitte found that over 90% of customers would lose any initial interest upon seeing a messy website, resulting in failed leads. Being conscious of how UX can be a funnel to onboard new customers can be a powerful tool when trying to integrate payments into your business.
Let’s recall an example we are all familiar with: Instagram. You’ll notice that to delve deeper into something that catches your eye, you never have to do any real searching. Everything a potential customer could need to execute a rapid purchase is right at their fingertips, below the post. That is smart, integrated UX that combines design and business philosophy.
How does this apply to your business? It can be as simple as keeping your hyperlinks updated and functional and always making sure that they are strategically placed such that your reader never has to hunt to find them. More design-savvy businesses are integrating their payment gateways right into their product pages, thus essentially designing their UX around payments.
#2 – Choose a Gateway
A payment gateway’s job is to serve as a bridge between your customer and the payment processor. Do the work necessary to understand your business’s unique needs so that you can then pick a payment gateway provider that offer you what you need. There are two types of payment gateways:
Non-hosted gateways are, you guessed it, hosted directly on your website. This comes with its own suite of implications for your business. Customers are less likely to get distracted or change their minds before completing the purchase since they don’t have to head to another window to pay. These directly integrated payment gateways allow you to customize them to your heart’s content; you can stylize them according to your brand or keep them minimalist and functional.
The downside of non-hosted gateways is that it’ll be your responsibility to take care of any potential security concerns and to actually integrate the gateway into your website. There is also the double-edged sword of design to consider. The degree of freedom with this method is such that skilled designers will be able to craft unique and interesting gateway dashboards that help increase conversion rates, while inexperienced new players might find themselves with something of a handicap, being limited by their own inability to design an effective gateway.
With a hosted gateway, the heavy lifting is done by an intermediary that takes customers to a page where they can complete the transaction. While you do lose the ability for some fine-tuning and customization, you no longer have to worry about security or integration yourself. The plug-and-play nature of hosted gateways can be an appealing factor for both businesses and customers, as they tend to offer the usual payment options that shoppers prefer.
It’s worth noting that a hosted gateway can sometimes cause dips in conversion rates because buyers, especially keen ones, tend to lose interest or get spooked when they see that they’ve been redirected to a different website. Additionally, you’ll be locked into the payment options offered by the provider.
#3 Get PCI-DSS Certified
Businesses, especially those going for direct integration, need to keep security at the forefront of any operation. With cybercrime soaring, an SSL certificate is the bare minimum sign of a reliable and secure business. Moving upwards, safe payment gateways will almost always be PCI-DSS compliant. These compliances are handed out by the PCI Security Standards Council and essentially tell your customer that their critical data (names, addresses, D.O.B, card numbers) are not being stored by the payment gateway.
#4 Be Future-Proof, All The Time.
Integrating payments into your business is only the first step to a more streamlined operation for a business owner. Once all is said and done and you have picked between a direct/indirect gateway, gotten certified, and have a UX worth your product, you’ll have to make sure your store keeps up with the times.
Even small businesses are incorporating new advancements into tech all the time. Chatbots on landing pages and machine learning to figure out consumer preferences are some of the most popular examples of this. When it comes to the integration of payments, one thing you’ll want to look out for is tokenization – the process of changing a sensitive piece of data, such as a social security number, into a string of random characters called a ‘token’ which has no meaningful value if breached. Having a gateway that supports tokenization will soon be a sign of universal reliability for customers, as they will be able to shop hassle-free without ever worrying about CC fraud or having their addresses stolen.
Get Ready For The Long Run
As daunting a task as integrating a seamless payment processing service might seem, as with most things the most difficult step to take is the first one. Business owners tend to find that once they’ve got a framework in place for what kind of service they’d like to offer their customers, the other elements fall into place quite naturally.