How does your store accept payment? Retail businesses today have a seemingly endless selection of payment gateways to offer. From traditional credit card terminals to mobile credit card processors, technology has reinvented the checkout line. There are a variety of options available, depending on what makes sense for the unique retail environment. For example, customers can chat with employees while swiping their card, or can skip the line altogether with an iPad kiosk.
Today’s retail payment gateways are dynamic, flexible, and secure. Choosing the right one can help your business engage customers and encourage loyalty, while also increasing the efficiency and convenience of your store’s payment process.
Here is a guide of the features and benefits of the payment gateways retail shops can use today.
Traditional POS Systems
They may be the old kid on the block, but there is still a lot of value to in traditional point-of-sale systems. This is especially true for large retail outlets, who need large financial investments to update their payment gateways. For one thing, they are familiar. Consumers have used them for years, checking out at grocery stores, coffee shops and gift boutiques. They use the standard credit card processing terminal, which may include a touch screen, barcode scanner, cash register, and receipt printer.
Out with the old?
Once upon a time, they were considered to do everything. They accept cash, credit, and checks, while also seamlessly keeping track of sales. Nowadays, the conventional all-purpose POS systems are lacking. As a result, newer, more tech-savvy retail payment gateways have been embraced for their flexibility, convenience, and efficiency. Still, many experts, such as Rick Caldarella, from Veracity Payment Solutions, point out it will take years for mobile systems to make traditional POS systems obsolete. Right now, they are merely providing more options for businesses, and consumers.
We're still be a few years out from mobile payments dominating, according to Forrester Research. That said, using tablets and smartphones offers benefits to both retail shops and customers. This means many stores have already evolved, or plan to give their payment gateways a makeover.
At first, popular options like Square were being used primarily by mobile entrepreneurs and small businesses. Today, even high-volume stores are going for the best mobile payment options to improve their business.
Most mobile wallets use Near Field Communications (NFC). This is wireless technology, already built into smartphones. Others use downloadable apps. This is probably the most convenient option. Customers pay in the ‘tap-and-go’ style, using credit card data stored on the user's mobile device. No cash or card is required.
Mobile wallets, such as Isis and Google Wallet, offer the efficiency advantage. Consumers no longer have to carry their wallets around, as long as they have their smartphone. Businesses can therefore enhance customer experience and expand their customer base, attracting tech-savvy shoppers.
In with the new?
As a drawback, for merchants to be mobile wallet capable, they must spend on hardware and software changes. Many consumers still prefer to use credit cards. So retail businesses have to decide if (or when) it is the right time to put the necessary pieces in place. This includes employee training and system support, to offer digital wallets as a payment gateway.
Many tech startups have developed apps that can be used to turn a simple iPad into a fully capable POS system. With Square for example, stores can accept a full range of payment options. This includes digital wallets, credit card or debit payments, and cash. The systems also create digital receipts, and provide in-depth data.
Payfirma is another app that gives retail businesses the ability to accept payments securely. The retailer sends a receipt via email. This can boost future sales, through features like personalized messages and social media links, and track data. PayPal Here allows customers to make purchases with their PayPal accounts, besides other methods. For businesses already using Intuit QuickBooks, Intuit GoPayment turns any iPad into a kiosk with a plug-in reader. It then integrates payments with the popular accounting software.
The greatest advantages of tablets as POS systems are the opportunities for customer engagement. When making a payment, customers can sign-up for rewards, give feedback, or search for coupons. It also allows consumers to place orders themselves. This is a huge plus in high-volume restaurant environments. Customers can pay confidently, knowing their financial date is secure. Businesses don’t have to worry about their iPads, which can be securely placed in a tablet stand or mount.
Retail payment gateways are changing, and quickly. Many businesses have already jumped from traditional POS systems to mobile payment methods. New apps, and hardware, are always being developed - and the currents ones improved. This means the technology will only become more efficient, convenient and exciting.