Mobile Payments

As eCommerce sales continue to increase, so do mobile payment options for consumers who want to purchase on the go. Forrester Research expects mobile payments in the U.S. to hit $90 billion by the end of 2017. With the right tools, you can increase your own sales at offline events.

Step Lightly Into Mobile Payments

You have your ecommerce site up and running, with a few sales coming in. Then let’s say you get a booth at a local home show. People will be stopping by to see whatever it is you’re showcasing/selling, and the time comes when they want to purchase it. You won’t want to hand them the keyboard and say “OK, now buy it.” This is where mobile payments come into play. With a tablet or smartphone, you can run their payment through for them. For instance, you may have an iPhone credit card reader that you use to swipe their credit card and collect payment. The equipment and process is simple.

The eCommerce/Mobile Payment Connection

Your challenge will be that most mobile payment systems are standalone. They weren’t developed to link to a particular ecommerce site. Mobile Payments Today says the future of mobile payments is the integration of their systems to your ecommerce site. For now, your online order management, customer resource management and inventory control will need to be informed of a sale through a mobile payment system.

One way to do this is to walk the customer through your ecommerce site to find and select the product they want. Then enter their information for them in the check out process. You will want to create an additional payment type called “mobile payment.” This payment doesn’t go through your website’s normal payment process. That will happen with your smartphone device. The payment needs to get booked as revenue, so you have the right tracking information for it. You could also put payments through as a cash transaction, but your receivable reports won’t reflect the right information.

Maintain Data Security

Your ecommerce site is optimized to keep the customer’s information secure. You’ll need to make sure that the mobile payment system you select does the same. For instance, all transactions need to be Payment Card Industry (PCI) compliant. It needs to use Secure Socket Layer (SSL) type encryption. The device should not save any credit card information on itself. Customers want to know that you are watching out for their privacy when they hand you their credit card.

The Manual Alternative

Without any more effort on your part, you could arrive at the home show, set up your booth, take customer orders and collect payment. But you’ll have to record a lot of customer information to manually enter later. You’ll also not have visibility to your inventory. This may not be a problem when selling house plans online, but if you’re selling cat beds, how will you know when you’re sold out? Tick marks on a notepad? Try to make use of your existing ecommerce site to help you keep orders and inventory organized. It will reduce the risk that you’ll forget some important customer information that you’d like to have later.