Accepting credit cards as a best practice can drive customers directly to your door

You’ve heard it before. If you’re not accepting credit cards, you’re not seeing your greatest potential in sales.  

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Accepting credit cards as a best practice can drive customers directly to your door

Jul 9, 2018

Accepting credit cards as a best practice can drive customers directly to your door

You’ve heard it before. If you’re not accepting credit cards, you’re not seeing your greatest potential in sales.

But if you prefer a cash only business, will it really hurt sales if you don’t accept credit cards and continue to just accept cash?

The answer is… a resounding yes.

Among the top 10 benefits of accepting credit cards is convenience for the customer. And providing a positive customer experience that results in customer retention and word-of-mouth about your business is important. Consumers like using cards because:

  • they don't want to carry cash
  • they want to save cash in hand
  • they don't have enough cash on hand to make a large purchase
  • they want the rewards (think: cash back rewards and airline miles) that their cards offer, or
  • they are required to use a card while making reimbursable purchases for their employer

Moreover, payment cards also have the potential to directly boost sales because they encourage impulse buying. According to a study by slickdeals.net the average consumer spends $5,400 per year on impulse purchases.

More relevant still, millennials and other younger consumers are decidedly more impulsive than older generations. Per a study by creditcards.com, 95 percent of the youngest millennials (25 and under) have made an impulse buy, and “those under age 25 are five times more likely to make an impulse purchase for a friend, compared to people in other age groups.” Online impulse buying is on the rise, too, worth noting because virtually all e-commerce purchases are made using a credit or debit card.

So the first step to expanding your opportunity to make additional sales is to accept credit cards. Step two is to use the latest payment processing technology to make it easy for customers to pay once you get them in the door. That is, offer a full spectrum of payment solutions so customers can pay the way they prefer to pay.

For instance, you can accept mobile payments using tablets or smartphones, which not only enables you to check out customers from anywhere in your store, but also encourages the aforementioned impulse buying and reduces the risk of losing sales due to long checkout lines. Also, consider adding contactless payments which are compatible with coupons and special offers that can attract new customers and increase sales. Finally, it has become almost expected that you’re able to accept payments online through your website or a payment portal, so don’t forget about enabling an online processing solution.

Know too that in some industries, like healthcare, consumers have indicated a willingness to switch providers simply because a particular provider offers them a better, more convenient payment solution. “Those who place a high priority on convenience and a frictionless experience through automated and electronic payments will be rewarded with customer loyalty and brand trust,” stated the eighth annual Trends in Healthcare Payments report.

Meanwhile, don’t lose sight of tried-and-true ideas which include using gift cards as incentives, offering holiday specials and recycling marketing ideas that worked well for you in past years. In many cases, your payment processor may have data that can help you make informed marketing decisions. They may even know of proven marketing strategies that have historically been effective in your industry, particularly if you’re a member of a professional association or society that endorses or recommends a processor.

Of course, you never want to lose sight of the basics, like striving to offer outstanding customer service and making sure that your customers or clients — not to mention their personal information — are safe and secure.

To accept credit cards or not to accept credit cards? The answer will depend on your customers and your willingness to put best practices in place to meet their needs.