Across the Board

Blog on e-business and online payments.

6 Things You Won’t Hear from an Online Entrepreneur

When you think about selling on the Internet – it’s not always an obvious matter of do’s and don’ts.

There are as many ways of running online shops (or offering SaaS services, or doing any other kind of business in general) as there are people living on this planet. Amongst all of the diverse possibilities of getting things done, however, there are some ways that nobody in their right mind would agree to nowadays, let alone insist on.

Just for the fun of undermining things – let’s take a look at some hypothetical false claims.

Imagine: what the world would look like if the fictional outlooks presented below were the actual standards of thinking? Guess we will never find out.

I Can Manage Without Online Payments

Remember the times when it was enough for a merchant to place a bank account number on their homepage, along with the request for customers to transfer the money straight to it? Those times are long gone.

Every self-respecting Internet business integrates a payment gateway into its webpage and receives money via various methods offered by the provider. (Paying with credit card is predominant, but there are also many other options.)

I Never Get Returns

Ah, a beautiful dream, isn’t it? Alas, a mere dream.

Every merchant has to deal with returns, as there are no truly ideal businesses, and, accordingly, no ideal products. Even if everything seems polished to perfection, there are cases when a customer feels dissatisfied. Their displeasure usually entails their want of getting back the money spent. It’s painful, yes, but such is the nature of any kind of business.

Some returns can be predicted and avoided by taking action (these are called controllable returns) and some of them can’t be really dealt with (uncontrollable returns – for instance when a customer orders the wrong product by mistake.)

Every company needs to take on a well-thought-out strategy of managing returns and eliminate as many of them as it is humanly possible.

Chargebacks? Nah, Don’t Have ‘Em Either

Seriously. Have you ever met an Internet entrepreneur claiming they never had any problems with chargeback disputes whatsoever? I’m pretty sure I haven’t.

As I’ve mentioned earlier: every business has to deal with dissatisfied clients. Some of them won’t ask you for a refund, but simply issue a chargeback. A very common cause of chargebacks are fraudulent transactions – not much you can do about those. (Well, actually there are some ways to keep them at bay.)

The Best Provider Is the Cheapest Provider

Yeah, um, no. That’s really not a great rule to follow.

A truly good payment service provider for every full-fledged online business is the one that can offer the best solutions. Which means: flexible solutions. Additional options, accepting various payment methods and tailoring the service to your specific market, whether you sell your product worldwide or in just one country – these are the key factors you should take into consideration before you choose your provider.

If a provider responds to your needs well and is proven to offer security for your transactions, in the long run it usually saves both your time and money to splash out and pay a little more for the service.

PayPal Should Be Enough to Sell Worldwide

PayPal is a good way to start selling online, especially if you are fresh on the market. (Not everyone wants to entrust a relatively new company with their credit card data, after all.) If you wish to sell more though, you should also offer other payment methods that your purchasers might want to use.

Considering your target audience’s needs means finding out more about the payment methods used in their countries and adapting to these preferences. (In Poland, for instance, bank transfers and cash on delivery still are the bee’s knees for most people, especially from the older generation. And implementing, let’s say, American Express payments while targeting US market? Probably a good idea.)

Apart from characteristics of the country you are selling in, you should also have in mind the segment of market you are addressing your offer to, the types of devices your clients mostly use, and, of course, the age of your target group.

All of these factors really matter, so it’s crucial to do some research before deciding on specific methods. With the gathered info and help of your payment provider (For yes, many service providers offer such help; another reason to choose a good one instead of a cheap one!) you’ll be able to decide on what’s best for you.

…And That Whole Security Thing? So Overrated!

Nope. Just nope.

I mean, if one particularly loves high level of stress and wants nothing more than to increase the level of cortisol in the bloodstream then sure, knock yourself out! Ignoring safety measures is the way to go. Otherwise – make security your highest priority. (I can assure you that your customers will love you for it.)

A serious company should think about securing purchasers’ data, both the card info (it’s very important not to store it) and the whole purchasing process. Being PCI compliant and having a valid SSL Certificate are a must.

A Quick Summary

It is impossible for a seller to say things along the lines of the headers above. They’re quite the opposite of what is the norm nowadays.

  1. In the 21st century online payments are here to stay, one can’t do without them anymore.
  2. PayPal is only one of many payment methods, therefore may not be enough if you want your company to grow.
  3. The old truth that quality always costs less is valid, despite its age. (At last some constant in this ever changing world!)
  4. Speaking of quality – even after you have done everything to ensure it, there always will be a percentage of clients that want their money back for some reason.
  5. Ergo: there will be returns. There will be chargeback disputes. Always.
  6. Security is important. (Duh!)

Experienced executive, people-oriented leader, doer, entrepreneur. CEO at PayLane. Business educator on Also on Twitter.

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