You have a killer product or set of super well curated products that you think people will love, you have a website that works and you have gotten the word out about your shop. Now people want to purchase from you, you have the shipping figured out and the big question remaining is, how will I get their money online?
On top of the risk incurred with processing credit card and debit card payments online, there is the risk of making the process so cumbersome that people abandon their purchase before they checkout and the transaction is complete. Here is a list of best practices to consider when setting up a checkout process and collecting payments online:
Offer Different Payment Methods
Offering different payment methods increases your chances of a successful conversion and it is something customers expect today. However, it's not useful or practical to offer EVERY payment method under the sun. Consider having 1 to 2 main payment methods that your target customers prefer to use and stick with those.
Allow Online Payments Without Requiring an Account
Most people do not want to remember another password and forcing people to create an account is a huge conversion killer for first-time buyers.
Most people assume that "new account" = a FLOOD of new marketing emails that they don't want to see.
Consider allowing customers to check out as a guest.
Avoid Redirecting Customers To Another Site To Complete Transaction
You worked so hard to get them to your site, don't let them move on and break the purchase chain by having to log into or use another site to complete the purchase. This is the main drawback to PayPal.
Only Gather The Information You Need
Again, nothing kills conversions like extra steps, form fields, time and the risk of unwanted marketing materials. Make check out a 100m Dash, not the 400m hurdles.
Reassure People of Your Site's Security
Whenever you deal with other people's sensitive personal information, a little reassurance goes a long way. You typically want a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification on your website, so people know their transmitted credit card information is secure. Also, you will want to make sure that you and whichever payment processor you use are compliant with the PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC). Be sure to display your credentials during checkout.
There are a million different payment processors out there and different systems that come with integrated Point of Sales. Each of these have their own pros and cons, and if you plan to do any serious business online and want an intuitive, safe, and secure processing partner who will grow with you, then you have one main partner you need to consider: Stripe.
What Is Stripe?
At its core, Stripe is a software company that helps businesses accept payments and manage their businesses online. They do this through a series of applications, internal payment platforms, and cloud-based infrastructure that cut through many of the complex and bureaucratic roadblocks in the global financial system and simplify their corner of the world: online payments.
By removing traditional barriers to online payments, their mission is to increase the GDP of the internet.
So, what does this mean practically?
Simple, Transparent Pricing
They use simple transparent pricing 2.9% + 30c per transaction per successful card charge, this is known as a transaction fee. This fee is a pay-as-you-go fee with no monthly fees or any other hidden fees. It is always a fixed fee (30c) and a percentage of the transaction (2.9%) every time they accept a credit or debit card. You won't pay for any failed charges.
Traditional merchant accounts require a monthly fee to use their service, with different transaction fees depending on what card you use, with regular hidden fees and no real way to predict the actual "per transaction" to the business.
Stripe has been independently audited by a PCI-certified auditor and is certified to PCI Service Provider Level 1. It uses adaptive machine learning to fight fraud and automatically block suspect transactions in real time. It uses billions of data points to block transactions that would end up costing you hours of time, human interaction and resources to resolve.
Fast and Predictable Transfers
As retailers, you want money in your bank account fast since cash flow is everything. Transfers arrive in your connected bank account on a 2-day rolling basis.
Traditional Merchants: 5-day average wait time or longer
Easy To Use
Everything you need to access related to transfers, account balance, refunds, invoices, subscriptions, and access logs are all easily accessible through their online dashboard or iOS/Android mobile apps.
Less of A Hassle
Stripe's approval process is simple and straightforward and allows you to begin accepting payments within 10 minutes. In order to mitigate the inherent risk of providing you credit services, your first payment is typically deposited in your account 7-days after your first transaction. More information here.
How Do You Implement Stripe?
Any e-commerce solution you implement will need to have an electronic payments integrated with it. Here are general steps and documentation for popular e-commerce website platforms: