Payment solutions, specifically smart terminals, have evolved from just being a device for payment acceptance to providing merchants with tools to boost their business, learn more about their customers and improve in-store experiences. Even though securely accepting payments is critical for any merchant, today’s solutions can not only add value to the customer’s experience but also help merchant improve efficiencies.
Today’s payment solutions are equipped with powerful operating systems that can run third-party apps, which help merchants achieve these goals. Here are four strategies that can help merchants and solutions providers to gain more out of their payment solutions:
1. Learn from Your Customers and Evolve with them.
Businesses need to learn from their customers and evolve their practices, whether it’s growing their product lines or improving the in-store experience. Gathering that information about a customer’s in-store experience efficiently is critical but can often be a tough task. This is where payment solutions can help merchants.
There are many customer insight software solutions that enable merchants to ask their customers short, multiple-choice questions while they pay. For example, merchants can ask their customers about the in-store experience or level of satisfaction, to understand what the shoppers expect from the brand.
These surveys can easily be conducted right from the payment device during the checkout process. This also helps to make the payment process feel quicker as shoppers are engaged in sharing their feedback and not just waiting for the transaction to go through. With the data collected, business owners can better understand their customers and refine their in-store strategy to better serve them.
2. Create Loyalty and Build Stronger Connections with the Customer.
Merchants need to build customer trust to grow their business and having your own loyalty program can be a very effective way to engage with customers. However, developing and managing a loyalty program can be a complicated, especially for small businesses. By deploying payment solutions that seamlessly integrate with loyalty software solutions, merchants can easily manage loyalty programs in their stores. These solutions also allow customers to earn points with their purchases and redeem them in-store.
In a typical instance, a customer can check their loyalty points on the payment solution by entering their phone number associated with the account. They can then choose whether to redeem those points for the current purchase or save them for another time. This makes it easier for merchants to electronically track repeat purchases and maintain loyalty programs without any additional overhead cost. It also makes it easier for the customers to gain benefit from these loyalty programs.
3. Let Customers Pay Using the Method They Want by Accepting Alternative Payment Methods.
Merchants have the capability of accepting alternative forms of payment beyond mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, etc. Digital currency companies, such as Canada-based MintChip, and cryptocurrency companies, such as Bitcoin, have also worked with merchants to allow customers to use these payment methods. With consumers getting used to mobile wallets in the market, it is only a matter of time when they start to expect to be able to pay via these alternative methods as well. To prepare for a move to a cashless society, merchants need to be ready with payment solutions that can seamlessly integrate with software applications that enable them to accept alternative payments. There could also be instances in which a QR code is used to verify the payment method, and with the right applications, the payment solution would be able to accept it. This way, merchants give their customers the choice to pay using their preferred method.
4. Use Apps to Boost Efficiency and Run Your Business Effectively.
Every business, especially a small business, needs tools that can assist with tasks such as employee timesheets, digital receipts, marketing automation, etc. Many software solutions or apps available on payment acceptance devices help merchants do exactly that.
As employees walk in, they can clock in on a payment solution and the business owner will know exactly how much time they’ve worked for the week while streamlining their business processes. Other apps can assist owners in capturing additional information from customers, such as phone numbers or email addresses that can be used to opt-in to newsletters and promotions or to send digital receipts.
Future of Payments Built by Developers
As more developers get familiar with these systems, there will soon be a myriad of applications that merchants can leverage to boost their business in many ways. Whether these applications involve loyalty, business tools, alternative payment methods or anything else, merchants will truly gain more out of their payment terminals.
If you’re looking to learn more about the next generation of payment terminals that allow your customers to go beyond payments, contact us and get started.
Ryan Ahern is Payments Solutions Manager at Ingenico Group, North America