If you are planning to start a new business in the retail sector, for instance an ecommerce store, a physical shop, a specialist boutique, or a market stall, then there are lots of things that you need to consider in terms of how you will operate. A key one of these, both in the online and bricks and mortar sectors of retail, is what type of payments you will have the capability to accept. Here we look at what you need to think about before setting your policy and getting the kind of infrastructure – for instance wireless credit card machines or PayPal merchant accounts – you will need.
For Online Retail
If you plan to sell through an ecommerce store only, then you will obviously be unable to take cash payments. You will therefore need to make sure you have chosen a software product that allows you to take payment via credit and debit cards. Some stores only accept Visa and MasterCard, however you can offer your products to a wider range of people by also accepting Diner’s Club and American Express. Since you will have to take cards in order to be able to sell at all, the only real question you need to consider is whether or not you want to accept online payment systems such as PayPal. Accepting PayPal can be a very good idea, because a lot of people like being able to pay online without giving out card details and it can be very convenient. It is advisable then to offer this as an option. However, when it comes to the other online payment systems available such as Skrill, you may want to think about whether adding these as an option is worth the hassle of having to open accounts with every payment system you want to use, when only a small number of your customers may choose this way of paying.
In a physical location, even when they are mobile (like food trucks or stalls at events), cash is obviously going to be a payment method you will accept, so make sure you have a plan for managing the ‘float’ in your cash register so you can always provide change. Other than cash, you need to consider whether you want to take checks, and cards. Checks are very much on their way out and can be risky to accept, so think hard about whether you want to take them. Cards, on the other hand, are a very good idea, and you can get some great solutions now that allow for affordable credit card processing with devices suitable for even the smallest and most mobile businesses.
Review Your Approach
We therefore recommend starting out with cards and PayPal if you are online, and cash and cards if you are a physical store. However, there is no real one size fits all solution for every business, so remember to keep reviewing your approach as you progress with your business, and considering adding more ways to pay as trends change (for example considering things like Apple Pay), or phasing out methods your customers don’t seem to really use.
By doing this, you can offer flexibility while still keeping overheads down.