There is no question that local, independent businesses are essential to our communities. Sometimes we frequent them so often that the owners can feel like family, remembering the names of each of our children or knowing our favorite fudge, and in the case of my local baker, has dog treats waiting for the furry family members. The local businesses play an integral role in creating the character of the city and helping to create that sense of community we all look for. But just being “on the corner” isn’t enough anymore. Today, local businesses have to stay ahead of consumer trends so they continue to succeed and even thrive in today’s quick in-quick out shopping environment.
Whenever I hear, “Would that be cash or check?” I immediately think the clerk might as well as follow that up with, “paper or plastic?” I may love that little deli down the street, but is knowing Sophia’s favorite cookie flavor worth a trip home to grab a check, or go to the ATM? Personal checks are drawing near extinction, being replaced with credit and debit cards, with mobile wallets quickly following.
We are in the midst of a payments evolution. Consumers are now accustomed to convenience, rewards, and in the past few years, offers. For most independent merchants, this can seem overwhelming, so let’s take baby steps in embracing this new reality.
First step, accept credit cards…with your smart phone or tablet.
Accepting credit cards is the easiest way to not only increase sales, but to begin adapting to the evolution of payments. Today’s smartphones make card acceptance easier than ever thanks to POS solutions that make accepting credit cards as easy as inserting a card reader into the audio jack of your phone. All a merchant needs to do is download a payment app, insert a secure audio reader, swipe and cha-ching! You can be increasing sales in under 10 minutes!
The mobile part of the acceptance should be very compelling for a small retailer. Imagine being able to checkout a customer from anywhere in the store, eliminating the need for them to wait in line. Or easily take your shop’s payment acceptance and inventory management capabilities on the road with you and out to local fairs and events.
This is the personal, one-on-one customer service experience that independent retailers are known for. Plus, it elevates the concern of customers about carrying large amounts of cash, and for merchants, how to recoup funds from fraudulent checks. The possibilities are endless with mobile payments.
Small merchants can attract new customers, increase sales and provide loyal customers convenience by accepting cards. Independent business will always have ingrained charm and local appeal, but they can can now power that with advancements to maximize their business potential. Accepting credit cards through a mobile device is the first step in becoming acquainted with emerging trends. If you already accept debit or credit cards, bravo! We can chat about the importance of mobile acceptance next month. For those merchants who are still only accepting forms of trees, there is no better time to join the present and prepare for the future.
Oh, and if anyone is still wondering, Sophia’s favorite is the sugar cookie.
VeriFone has even made the processing clear and straight forward and easy to understand. SAIL by VeriFone offers merchants an upfront 2.7% (2.95% for American Express) swipe fee. No hidden fees, no fine print or contracts. Merchants can cancel the processing at any time and are under zero obligation. SAIL gives merchants a way to ease into the present and ditch the paper.