Startups in the e-commerce space must generate revenue; it is the lifeblood of all business.
Having a product or service people want to buy is one thing, while creating a payment process that makes it easy for them to pay you is a tougher task.
According to analytics company Kissmetrics, “The first step of your checkout sets the tone for the entire checkout experience. It’s when you’re supposed to put your best foot forward. Yet this is where we see the largest drop-off of customers in the checkout funnel. No matter the size of the store. No matter the price of the product.”
Meanwhile high-profile datay security breaches have made consumers leary of sharing their financial information with established brands – an unknown startup will find it much harder.
If your e-commerce site is hosted by a third party then it’s likely you do not require a merchant account. Stand-alone e-commerce sites that use shopping cart software are often in need of a merchant account and payment solutions.
So, what is currently the easiest way to accept payments online and on a mobile app? What’s on the horizon for payments? Here’s a look at several tools that will help you grab a larger share of consumers’ digital wallets and easily receive payments in years to come.
1. Credit and debit cards
It is a no-brainer that you must receive credit and debit card payments if you want to be paid for online goods and services. It is not physically possible for buyers to pay you with cash over the Internet and bank wire transfers and checks in the mail are outdated in today’s digital age.
The advantage of debit and credit card lies in the fact that almost everybody in the United States and much of Europe has a card linked to their bank account. Hence, you’ll be able to sell to a large part of your target audience without forcing them to register with an “unknown” digital wallet. However, accepting credit or debit cards on your site will require you to keep your PCI compliance scope in check.
PayPal, a well-recognized and trusted online payment solutions provider, is probably the easiest way to build trust with buyers if you are a fledging e-commerce startup. People with PayPal accounts have already trusted PayPal with their financial information; hence, they won’t mind using PayPal at checkout to pay for your goods and services.
Showcasing PayPal as an approved payment provider provides a third-party endorsement that it is safe to do business with you. To start, PayPal absolves the need for you to be PCI compliant (since PayPal is already compliant).
Moreover, the transaction is processed on secure PayPal servers; hence, you’ll worry less about abandoned carts at checkout. If you want to design and host your own payment experience with PayPal, you can use PayPal Payments Pro (which requires extra fees) and you’ll need to contend with PayPal’s API. PayPal currently charges 2.9% plus $0.30 on every transaction. This service charge typically drops as sales volume increases.
Canadian digital currency startup BitGold aims to become the next PayPal, with a twist, to advance the digital payments revolution by helping people securely acquire, store, and now spend gold with unprecedented simplicity.
In late 2014, BitGold successfully closed a $3.5m Series A funding round and has raised$30 million in total from investors, according to Forbes. As of mid-2015, The Gaurdian reports the Canadian “startup hasn’t tried to launch its business in the United States. “It would be incredibly complex” from a legal and regulatory standpoint…”
BitGold has introduced gold payments by issuing globally accepted Prepaid cards to users that are accepted by more than 35 million merchants worldwide. Their trajectory aim is to create a Gold OS merchant network that enables Bitgold global payments and a distributed API into e-commerce, invoice and payment platforms.
Accepting BitGold payments might give your business a competitive advantage as users adopt this new gold standard and the company rolls out into new markets, eventually the United States.
Stripe might be a cool payment system for your e-commerce startup if you have already developed a level of credibility and trust with buyers.
Stripe is designed to help customers complete the checkout process on your website instead of directing them to another site to pay for the items in their carts.
If you choose to integrate Stripe into your checkout process, you can rest assured the user experience would not be marred by navigation to a third-party site at checkout. With Stripe, you have the complete freedom to create the payment experience you want or use Stripe: Checkout, their clean and elegant checkout experience.
Stripe allows you to accept other forms of digital payments such as PayPal, credit and debit cards. Stripe is also optimized for web and for mobile devices. However, you should expect to part ways with 2.9% and $0.30 on every successful sale completed through Stripe.
2Checkout is another global, online payment processing service that helps you accept credit cards, PayPal and debit cards. You’ll need to apply to have 2Checkout integrated on your website. Once your business is approved, you can choose between a Plug-and-Play integration for your website or select one of 2Checkout’s shopping carts.
When a buyer clicks the “Buy” button on your website, they’ll be directed to a secure 2Checkout page to make the payment, then they’ll be redirected to your site . Note that 2Checkout charges 2.9% plus $0.30 on every transaction and conversion to your home currency incurs an average fee of 2-5% above the daily bank exchange rate.
Braintree aims to be the easiest way to accept payments online and on a mobile app. Apply online, instant approvals. With Braintree e-commerce businesses can accept PayPal, Bitcoin, Venmo, Apple Pay, Android Pay, cards, and whatever’s next — all with a single integration.
A key highlight of Braintree’s offering is access to foreign currency payments which have previously been one of the most difficult parts of expanding an e-commerce business overseas—they have it built in for the moment you’re ready.
Meanwhile, their social integration is key for online merchants that brand build and sell socially. For instance, Braintree teamed up with Pinterest to offer Buyable Pins for mobile Pinners. Now, with a few taps, those Pins can become purchases.
Today’s consumers expect a variety of payment options at checkout. While it’s not necessary – nor practical – to offer every conceivable payment method on the market, you’ll want to take a look at your target audience to see which payment methods they prefer. Then, you’ll be able to capture the majority of people visiting your company website.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Jonha Richman is a business strategist with over 8 years of experience. She has worked with brands such as IKEA, Dove, RebelMouse, among others. Connect with @JonhaRichman on Twitter.
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