Small business owners always look for new opportunities to generate revenue and to better manage their cash flow. Among the strategies owners should consider is using the PayPal platform. PayPal entices security-conscious consumers to shop more online, and it also gives small businesses a quicker way to ask clients for payment when invoice time rolls around.
PayPal Addresses Small Business Security Concerns
Turning mobile shoppers into mobile buyers is a challenge that many small businesses face. Dan Leberman, vice president and general manager of PayPal's North American online SMB, says that PayPal includes several elements that make it easier for merchants to convert customers into buyers, and security tops the list.
"Consumers want to know that the pipes through which their payments go are clean," Leberman says. "And not only completely clean, but that they are even more secure than the other channels they have." He says this is especially true for shoppers who experiment with new payment technologies, as their awareness of security issues may be higher than their less-techy counterparts.
But the more headlines the average customer sees about the latest data breach, where payment card data is exposed by systems that aren't properly secured, the more consumers will be wary of giving out their credit card information for online purchases. Chalk up another plus for PayPal, as consumers can rest easy knowing their data isn't actually shared with the merchants they're buying from.
"Therefore, none of that payment information goes through those digital pipes in order to complete the transaction," Leberman explains. Customers can trust that PayPal protects their data from exposure, and small businesses can rest easy knowing that they have less hacker-worthy data flowing through their systems.
Make it Easy for Customers to Buy
While consumers' trust in the PayPal platform increases their comfort inn using the platform for online purchases, it also makes the process much easier than traditional Web-based buying. How? Think about entering payment and shipping data on a mobile device. It can be a real pain. The screens are small and site navigation is often less than ideal.
"When you use a digital wallet—and more specifically PayPal—you remove all that friction. In our one-touch model, you can just hit the button and be done," Leberman says. Even if customers aren't shopping with the PayPal app, the most they'll need to do is enter their username and password. No more worries about remembering credit card numbers and expiration dates. The system will even pre-enter customers' shipping addresses for them.
"It makes it much easier for customers to move from the impulse of wanting to buy to actually completing the transaction," Leberman says.
Close Sales Anywhere
Small businesses often have opportunities to make money in places where traditional clunky registers simply can't go. PayPal offers a product that lets companies bring in revenue no matter where they (and their customers) happen to be.
The PayPal Here platform accepts credit cards through a tablet or a smartphone, and it also features the PayPal Here software developer kit (SDK) companion. "It creates an incredibly easy-to-use virtual register," Leberman says. It doesn't saddle business owners with the complexity or physical size and weight of a cash register. Instead, it combines transaction security with the ultimate in portability.
"You get all the benefits of PayPal's online trust and protection in that offline world," Leberman says. Rather than leave the door open for a customer to forget to visit your website after leaving a farmers market or holiday bazaar, you can make the sale right then and there.
Small Business Invoicing Made Easy
The key component to generating revenue is getting paid. PayPal helps make that happen, too. "Our invoicing solution falls under that principle of simplicity and ease-of-use, and it has been one of our most popular PayPal merchant account features for a long time; basically since PayPal has been around," Leberman says.
Small businesses can quickly invoice from the PayPal Here app on their mobile device or from the PayPal website. They can even invoice directly from Excel. Saving customer info within your PayPal address book makes future invoicing even faster. And if a payment is slow in coming, the merchant can quickly send out reminders to keep cash flowing. Look for a suite of improvements to the existing invoicing solution later this year, which Leberman says will make the process even easier.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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