One of the most often discussed debates when it comes to the world of online business is the method with which owners offer their customers to pay for the services rendered. Everybody has heard the tale about the witless consumer who gave his or her credit card number to some nameless company on the Internet and ended up with thousands of dollars charged to his or her card. There are about a thousand variations on the same horror story, which means that customers have high standards when it comes to giving out access to their financial resources online.
Namely, Your site is going to have to offer your customers a way to conduct transactions with you in a method that is both secure and user-friendly. Not having a payment method listed on your site that is well-respected and trusted will seem unprofessional and send the vast majority of potential customers elsewhere. With the competitiveness of the online market, theres no reason to lose a customer base due to perceived overtures of unreliability.
Most online businesses these days conduct their transactions through PayPal or through some form of online shopping cart. The pros and cons of both can be debated for days on end, but here is a quick overview of both.
PayPal is well known and proven, and has high levels of customer satisfaction. Even more intriguingly, its free of monthly fees for the user. The payment for services through PayPal is docked through a service charge, which is taken out of every transaction. There is much debate about at What point PayPal starts to become less cost-effective than a shopping cart, but the overall rule of thumb seems to be that if your business does less than 1000 dollars a month of money exchange, PayPal seems to be the best option. If your revenue level is higher than that, its best to have both a PayPal option as well as a shopping cart.
A shopping cart system requires a monthly maintenance fee, which can seem prohibitive to smaller businesses. However, once your business sees serious growth, its a good idea to invest in shopping cart services, if nothing else than for the peace of mind they can bring. Paying the fee means that somebody else deals with the hassle of embedding the software into your site, takes care of all the bugs that pop up, and generally ensures that things are running smoothly. With a PayPal account, the owner has to add this to the list of responsibilities.
The most important thing to keep in mind is that as a respectable online business owner, you must offer your customers some form of reliable payment method. Otherwise, you can kiss a great deal of potential revenue goodbye when customers seek out your competition for a more secure method of payment.