By Michelle Hansen, Senior Product Marketing Manager/ Yapstone
We’re already two months into 2019, and if you’re like 53 percent of other Americans (according to Statista), you probably made a New Year’s resolution or two at the beginning of the year.
Of course, these yearly promises are specific to the individuals that make them, but a quick review of the stats show that they all have something in common: they tend to revolve around these four characteristics:
- Lose weight
- Eliminate toxic people
- Save (or make) more money
- Create meaningful relationships
These are certainly worthy goals for one’s personal life, but they can also be directly applied to business; specifically, for online marketplaces.
If you think about it, a marketplace is just like a giant person – it’s a living, breathing entity with strengths that must be flexed and weaknesses that must be strengthened. And when you consider just how much of a positive impact sharing economy marketplaces can make in the lives of millions of people– it is high time we start setting resolutions to optimize their reach.
Payment Resolutions with Familiar Themes
The sharing economy is so attractive because of the financial freedom it affords its users. So, this year, marketplace leaders might think about building business resolutions around payments.
Experts suggest that setting smaller goals lead to successful resolutions. By solely focusing on improving payment processes is an attainable goal, which can have a positive ripple effect across the entire business. Below are four powerful payment resolutions for marketplaces. You might notice a familiar theme!
- Lose the “Wait”
Having access to funds is important to every business. Improve your cashflow by reducing the waiting time for your payments. And while you’re at it, make sure your sellers are getting paid on time.
According to PYMNTS, merchants can improve cash flow while providing customer convenience by encouraging recurring payments. As detailed in their article, companies such as Amazon have seen billions of dollars increase by implementing a “set it and forget it” payment model.
Another way to optimize cash flow is to improve your payout methods. Slow payouts can understandably irritate sellers, making them reluctant to use your marketplace again. Keep them coming back by providing advanced payouts or automated payments.
- Eliminate toxic people
No one is more toxic than a fraudster. And marketplaces are especially vulnerable to fraud because of the sheer nature of connecting unknown sellers to unknown buyers. Reduce risk and instances of fraud for a healthier 2019 by learning from last year.
Look back at your chargeback history and fraud related trends. Are there any common themes? Is fraud concentrated in certain geographic areas, at certain times of the year or for certain types of transactions? Take note of the types of purchases, buyers, payments, geographies, etc. where you may see higher occurrences of fraud and create a plan to take extra precautions.
Big ticket items such as automobiles and boats are especially prone to fraud, according to the Better Business Bureau. So, marketplaces must pay close attention to who they are doing business with. Watch out (and advise your sellers) to watch out for suspicious behavior, such as last-minute purchases or bookings, inconsistent contact information and addresses, unnecessary urgency, or other red flag behavior.
- Save (and Make) More Money
Every year, we look for ways to maximize sales and minimize unnecessary expenses. Make 2019 the year you do both.
It’s a given that the easier you make a task, the more likely it will be to complete. When a familiar payment method isn’t available or convenient (e.g. a customer must type in their credit card number), many merchants lose the sale. Find out what types of payments your customers prefer to help facilitate payments and conversion.
And while you’re at it, convert expense generators into money-makers.
Many companies are learning that payments are not just a necessary business operation, but can be monetized. By building payments into a service you provide to customers and sharing the risk and rewards with a payment partner, you can convert payments from an expense to a revenue.
- Create Meaningful Relationships
You can’t build a strong relationship with anyone unless you truly know who they are as person. Thus, you can never know too much about your customer.
One of the most crucial ways you can get up close and personal with your customers is learning how they like to pay. Most of us know that the use of cash continues to decline, but did you know that bank transfers and alternative payment methods are expected to exceed credit and debit card payments in the global marketplace?
As noted in The Paypers, offering local payment choices and local currency pricing can greatly improve customer satisfaction and loyalty. Try surveying your customers to learn more about their payment preferences and what you can do to make checkout easier.
Marketplace companies should never leave their customers high and dry. Invest in stellar customer service to trouble shoot any issues.
Excellent customer service isn’t a nice to have, it’s a need to have. PwC reports that just one bad experience can be costly with up to 49 percent of consumers leaving a brand after just one bad experience. And with 70 percent of consumers expecting 24 hour support (according to Call Centre Helper)– providing real-time support 24/7 is critical to business success. Customer support is often more important than cost – with up to 16 percent of consumers willing to pay more for a positive customer experience.
Even if your team can’t respond immediately, there are options such as putting in place a robust FAQ library or chatbot for immediate support – to keep your customers happy and coming back.
They say “money makes the world go round” – and it’s a true sentiment. Making these four payment resolutions can significantly impact your business success in 2019 and beyond. Here’s to a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!
Michelle Hansen is a Product Marketing Manager at Yapstone helping marketplaces improve customer experience, engagement and sales through payments. She has authored articles in national publications, blogs, newsletters and websites for companies including Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Ellie Mae.