As the holiday season approaches, your ultimate advantage isn’t just a great product or stunning marketing campaign—it’s the untapped potential of turning to a new payment processor to power your success.
The holiday season is one of the most important times for many retailers, especially for online retailers. Online shopping is becoming the first choice when it comes to holiday buying. In fact, recent studies conclude that over two-thirds of holiday shoppers will by purchasing their gifts online this year. So, online retailers need to prepare months in advance to ensure they are ready to take advantage of this busy buying season.
An online retailer has to deal with a lot when preparing for the holiday rush. From inventories to promotion, they must prepare well in advance so everything is for those final few weeks of the year.
But one area that businesses may be forgetting about is payment processing. Accepting payments online may seem like a basic function. However, the right payment processing and features can immediately increase conversion rates and sales.
Not all payment processors offer these specialized merchant services. So, if you’re an online retailer, you may need to take stock of your current processing solution.
Below, we’ll go over some key areas where a new payment processor can drastically help online retailers capture more sales, increase conversions, and even lower costs.
Signs You Should Switch to a New Payment Processor for eCommerce
As the big holiday season approaches and you start to prepare, it’s the perfect time to check if your payment processing shows any warning signals.
It’s possible that certain things you may consider normal are actually not normal at all and instead are the signs of a payment processor that’s hurting your sales and revenue.
Here are some warning signs that your payment solution may hold your eCommerce business back.
Increased Fraud Or Chargebacks
Not all payment processors have the same fraud protection. When you make a transaction, your payment gateway first sends the transaction data to your payment processor. Each payment processor may have different filters to spot fraud before the transaction continues to different financial institutions.
Being able to fully configure these filters on your end means you can play an active role in setting up the fraud protection that works for your business. This can mean filtering by IP address or region and other customization features.
A highly-rated payment processor can work with you to help you battle fraud and chargebacks. So, even if you’re unsure what steps to take, calling your payment processor is always a good first step.
If you’re noticing increased chargebacks or fraud, it may be time to start shopping for a new payment processor before your costs keep rising into the next holiday rush.
Lack Of Advanced eCommerce Features
Many payment features are unique to eCommerce. Also, eCommerce is always evolving, and merchants need to be ready to adapt to changes in customer behavior.
For example, many eCommerce businesses now use a recurring business model. This can be things like memberships or subscription box services. These eCommerce business models need advanced recurring billing tools to help reduce churn. These advanced features help increase the total lifetime value of each customer as well as reduce the cancellation rate.
As the eCommerce space gets more competitive, acquiring customers can get expensive. There’s no reason to lose a recurring customer because of a minor payment processing issue.
If you’re experiencing a higher-than-normal churn rate or other recurring billing statistics that you’re not happy with, it may be a sign that your payment processing is to blame.
Lack Of Payment Integration
A lack of integrations is another sign you may need a new payment processor. A fully integrated payment processing solution means your payment systems and the rest of your business systems all work together seamlessly.
One example is if you use a CRM to manage your customer data. Many online businesses and eCommerce sites now use a CRM to track every touchpoint their customers have with their brand.
The right payment processing solution can instantly merge all your sales data with your other customer metrics. This means you can dig into your customer data to find trends and look for ways to increase sales and revenue.
Integrations can also be made with your business’s accounting or back-office software. By doing this, all your data is up to date and accurate whenever needed.
A fully integrated payment processing solution will improve your invoicing workflow by enabling streamlined payments. This means faster payments for your business to increase cash flow.
Higher Transaction Fees
This one may be the most obvious to many online merchants. Lower fees are something that can immediately improve your bottom line. Depending on your current payment processor, you may pay higher fees on every transaction. This means less money in your pocket for every transaction during the critical holiday sales period.
If you signed up for your merchant account some time ago, your business has likely changed. You may be able to negotiate a far better deal for your processing by switching providers.
Another issue could be that your payment processor simply uses the wrong fee structure for your business. For example, if they only offer flat rate fees but you have a high average ticket price, this may not be a good fit.
Like most businesses, your needs today are likely far different from when you first launched your eCommerce site. Ensure your payment processor fits your current needs before the critical holiday rush.
Poor Customer Service
If you’ve ever had a question about payment processing and found it difficult to get an answer, this is a sign that it may be time to switch before the holidays. Reliable payment processing is just as important as reliable customer support.
Customer service should be paramount when it comes to payment processing. This is especially true with an eCommerce business. An inability to accept credit or debit cards, even temporarily, can cost you big money.
As an eCommerce business, you need a payment processor with in-house technical support to help with everything from billing to technical issues with APIs.
Slow Processing Or Website Speeds
If your online checkout process is slow, your payment processing may be to blame. In some cases, calls to the payment gateway API can be slow, which slows down your customer’s checkout experience.
The checkout is a critical process in eCommerce, and bad experiences here can hurt repeat business and even conversions.
Slow websites can be killer when it comes to conversions. If you’re like most eCommerce businesses, you’re probably spending a fortune on paid ads and lead generation to drive traffic to your site.
Ensure you get the most out of your advertising spend by optimizing your site and checkout for fast payment processing and an enhanced checkout experience.
Benefits of a New Payment Processor for an Online Store
Improve Customer Experience
The customer experience or customer journey is something that all eCommerce businesses need to be aware of. When a customer is browsing your site and decides to make a purchase, everything from that point on must be easy and intuitive for the customer.
Any pain point or friction during that process leads to an abandoned cart or, even worse, a lost customer for good.
One way to reduce abandoned carts and improve the customer journey is to have full control over your payment processing. The more control and options you have over your payment processing, the more you can streamline and improve your checkout process.
Some payment processors offer limited tools and options, which lock you into using a specific payment workflow in your checkout. While this may work, it may not be ideal for your brand and customers.
Cart abandonment is a key reason for lost sales in eCommerce, and it almost always happens at the checkout phase as customers enter their billing information.
The right payment processor and options to customize this process and reduce abandoned carts can instantly boost your sales this holiday season. This is especially true during the holiday rush since many of your customers will be first-time customers.
Your regular customer may put up with a slightly clunky or confusing checkout, but new customers will have a higher bounce rate and, therefore, lost sales.
Increased Security and Fraud Protection
The holiday shopping season can mean more sales, but it also means increased fraud. With increased credit card usage during the holidays, hackers become more active, and fraudulent activity goes up. Fraud can cost over 7.5% of a business’s annual revenue.
Having the right payment processing options helps you battle fraudulent transactions before they go through. This saves you on chargeback fees and also saves you from shipping inventory that you’ll never recover.
Not all payment processors allow you to customize your fraud and security filters to fit your business and risk profile. Not being able to customize your fraud filters means losing money, especially during busy times.
Another thing to consider is that your payment processor could have fraud settings that are too strict for your industry.
Both of these situations mean you could be losing money. The solution is switching payment processors and gaining full control over your fraud and security settings.
Add More Payment Options
Today’s customers want every option when it comes to paying digitally. Accepting credit cards is a great start. However, depending on your business, there may be additional payment methods that can help to attract new customers and sales opportunities.
For example, offering recurring payments for certain products or services. With the tools to implement recurring billing, you can set up monthly subscriptions for services or products, such as subscription boxes.
Another option is ACH transfers. For eCommerce businesses that sell higher-value single items, having the ability to easily accept ACH payments or down payments can increase sales.
These are just two examples, but there are many payment processing services that you may not be aware of that your customers want. If your current payment process doesn’t offer these, it’s time to switch to take full advantage of this increased sales opportunity this holiday season.
When it comes to conversions, trust plays a huge factor. If new customers to your website are apprehensive or lack trust, it can hurt your conversion and overall sales.
If you’re currently using a payment provider such as Square, this can cause some consumers to believe you don’t run a serious business.
Using a provider like Square often causes the customer’s bank statements to display that they made a payment to Square, not your business, which is another issue. Your business name only shows after the charge settles. This can confuse your customers and also harm your branding efforts.
When you switch to a new payment processor that is also a merchant account provider, you can customize how your business name appears on customer statements. This helps reduce confusion and possible chargebacks. It also helps build your brand in the eyes of your customers.
Adding Online Sales To Your Physical Store
Even if you don’t currently have online sales capabilities, adding this option before the holiday rush can increase your revenue and add another channel for you to drive sales.
Some physical businesses may be apprehensive about offering online sales because they fear setting up a secure online store may be too difficult or time-consuming.
However, this isn’t the case at all. Not only that, with the right payment processor, you can easily add e-commerce payments to your existing website without knowing any code or doing any programming.
Using Hosted Payment Pages
One simple option for adding eCommerce options for your customers is using hosted payment pages. While integrating payment processing with an eCommerce store isn’t that difficult, some business owners would rather not bother with such technical implementations.
For those business owners, hosted payment payment pages are the perfect alternative. With hosted payment pages, your business doesn’t host sensitive forms or credit card data on its website.
When customers make a purchase, they are transferred from your site to the hosted page to enter their credit card information. When the purchase is complete, the customer is redirected to your website.
With these hosted pages, you can accept online purchases through virtually any website without worrying about complex security issues. You also don’t need to know any code.
You can modify the hosted pages based on templates. From there, it’s as simple as adding a link to your website that takes customers to the hosted page for secure transactions.
If your payment processor doesn’t offer these hosted payment pages, contact ECS Payments. Our experts can show you how to integrate these into your current website to increase sales and offer a way to attract more customers to your brand.
Is it Hard To Switch to a New Payment Processor For eCommerce?
Depending on how involved you are with the technical side of your eCommerce business, it’s possible you think that switching payment processors will be difficult.
But even for larger eCommerce businesses, switching payment providers is relatively easy and won’t impact your current operations if done properly. In fact, some of the largest eCommerce sites often change their payment processors, and their customers never realize it.
It also doesn’t take much time, so you can easily switch before a busy holiday shopping season and have everything ready with plenty of time to spare.
If you use a popular shopping platform like Shopify, Wix, or WooCommerce, it’s easy to switch processors.
Most of these platforms and almost all other eCommerce sites will have a separate piece of software that handles the site’s shopping cart and checkout functions. You’ll have access to this software and its configuration as an eCommerce business.
Once you have a new payment provider, you must enter the new payment information into your shopping cart and checkout software.
Your shopping cart software is what communicates with the credit card processing networks. So, this is likely all you’ll need to change to start accepting transactions through your new processor.
Importing Existing Customer Data
Depending on your current eCommerce configuration, customer information may be stored with your payment gateway or payment processor. You can easily bring this with you to your new payment processor. Every payment system will have an export and import function for data.
You can access this through the merchant dashboard. Once there, you can choose to export your customer data in various file formats. Pick the format your new payment gateway accepts and export the data. Then, in the new payment gateway, you simply import that data. Your new payment processor can also help you with this process.
Tips To Prepare Your Online Store For This Year’s Holiday Season
Making sure your payment processing is perfect is critical, but there are a few others to consider to maximize your sales this holiday season.
Check Your Analytics
Check your analytics and site statistics carefully. Pay special attention to where customers click away from your site or abandon carts.
We mentioned some of this may be due to your checkout process. Carefully review these stats and fix any site issues before the holiday rush begins.
Prepare Your Promotions
You don’t want to wait until the last minute to decide on your holiday promotions. This includes any changes to the website, such as header images or banners. It also includes ad budget changes that you may want to make.
Of course, don’t forget about your past customers. Make sure you have a promotion ready to reach out via email or text to all your past customers as the holiday season approaches. Generally, you want a series of messages separated by a week or two, each increasing in urgency to take advantage of your holiday promotion.
Secure Your Inventory And Supply Chains
The last thing you want is to have customers but nothing to sell to them. Review your sales analytics and determine what products or trends you anticipate will be hot this holiday. Then make sure you have access to the product supply you need to be able to keep shipping right up until the last minute.
Improving Your Conversion Rate
You don’t want any of those holiday visitors to have last-minute second thoughts before clicking on that purchase button.
Your site and all landing pages should have already undergone optimization for a good conversion rate, but if not, now is the time to improve conversions. Consider adding things like customer reviews or social proof on specific pages of your site. These elements can create a sense of trust and help to improve your website conversion rate.
Don’t forget to upsell. Your product and checkout pages should have relevant recommendations based on a customer’s selection. Most shopping cart software and shopping platforms allow you to add these easily.
Increasing the average size of your orders means that your overall cost to acquire new customers goes down. It’s a great way to boost revenue during the busy holiday season.
Another option is third-party companies that offer a live chat feature that you can integrate within your website. You can use this chat feature to make product recommendations based on keywords or other criteria. This can improve user experience and also help guide potential customers through your website.
Finally, check your social media accounts to ensure they are up-to-date and regularly updated with your seasonal promotional messages.
More Help With Optimizing Your Online Store This Holiday
If you’ve noticed you’ve outgrown your payment processor, don’t wait until next year to take action.
At ECS Payments, we specialize in helping our merchants maximize their online sales. Our payment experts can help you implement the latest online payment technologies to increase conversion and reduce costs.
Contact ECS Payments to speak with one of our experts and learn why the right payment solution can help you have the most profitable holiday shopping season yet.
Frequently Asked Questions About The Benefits of a New Payment Processor
Signs that suggest it’s time to switch to a new payment processor include high ratios of fraud or chargebacks, a lack of advanced payment options and integrations, expensive transaction fees, and poor customer service. If your business is experiencing any of these issues, contact ECS Payments for a comprehensive payment processing solution with advanced features and excellent customer support.
Switching to a new payment processor can help improve your customer experience, increase security measures, add more modernized payment options, lower costs, and find integration solutions that work for your business tools. ECS Payments offers solutions to help businesses optimize their online stores for the holiday season. Contact us today to find out more.
Switching your eCommerce payment processor is easy, even before the holidays. Switching to ECS Payments won’t disrupt your current processing. We even help you to migrate all current payment data from your old processor to us.
To prepare your online store for the holiday season, check your analytics for insights, then prepare promotions to match. Next, secure your inventory and supply chains, and make sure to focus on improving your conversion rate. You can optimize your website, add customer reviews, use upselling strategies, integrate live chat features, and ensure your social media accounts are up-to-date for a better conversion rate. ECS Payments can provide expertise in your payment processing to help businesses streamline the checkout process.