By Craig Walker of Xero
The way consumers pay for services is evolving rapidly. Rapid innovation in cloud technology and a sharper focus on the customer experience, led by companies like Airbnb and Uber, have started a payment revolution.
Tech companies of all sizes are looking to prioritize the payment industry when shipping updates, with Apple and Google looking at ways to make the experience as seamless as possible.
This renewed focus on redefining the way payments are made is impacting everyone. Small business owners are finding themselves in an unprecedented position where getting paid is easier than ever. In addition to this less customers are dropping in the middle of their purchase cycle.
This all comes from an increase in P2P (peer-to-peer) payment rails from industry leaders including Square Cash, Venmo and Apple Pay through to emerging players like Stripe who are disrupting the disrupters.
Simplifying Is Key
At this point it’s not hard to imagine a future where cash doesn’t change hands. At Xero, we are constantly focused on delivering updates aimed at speeding up the payments process for small businesses because we know that is what our customers need.
Small businesses can send online invoices anywhere, anytime. Invoices feature a bright green “Pay Now” button so customers can make the payment on the spot. Business owners can see when the invoice has been viewed, and forgot about reminding the customer to pay, the reminder process is automated.
The payments system on a business’ website can be the one thing that defines whether a customer ultimately makes a purchase. Using a trusted payment system takes the hassle out of the process for a small business and leaves customers knowing their financial information is secure.
Putting up hurdles between the customer and the checkout will send them elsewhere. Automation takes the pain out of payments for the customer and gives small business owners time to focus on other important areas of growth in the organization.
One Payment Option Is Not Enough
When it comes to payment options, more is more. Giving customers as many payment options as possible increases the chance of them buying. Xero gives small business owners the flexibility to accept payments from their customers via credit card, PayPal and Stripe.
The amount of information businesses can learn from their customers’ online payments is almost endless. Businesses can use the how and when of a customer payment to analyze the relationship between the transaction and the customer profile. Now business owners have even more data, which they can use to optimize their offering priorities, sales pushes and customer engagement.
Today it’s easier than ever for small businesses to connect their payment data with their accounting software and online banking. Having a real-time overview of their business’ cashflow in one place, such as an interactive dashboard, means small businesses can see exactly what is happening in their business.
While technology and consumer demands will continue to evolve, so too will the payments sector. Small business owners can take advantage of this disruption by embracing cloud-based solutions and reaping the rewards.
Craig Walker was one of Xero’s founding members, beginning in Wellington in May 2006 as Chief Technology Officer. He is responsible for translating the company’s vision into technical reality. Craig was recognized in 2007 as New Zealand’s Hi-Tech Young Achiever of the Year, before moving to San Francisco where he established the company’s first US office in 2011. He is now based in New York running a small engineering team building cool and wonderful things for Xero’s customers.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this guest post are those of the authors alone and do not represent those of CBS Small Business Pulse or the CBS Corporation. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are verified solely by the authors.