Online payments & e-commerce
Selling your services online can be of great benefit to your business. You can reach a wider audience 24 hours a day, track your progress, gain insight into what works, and connect with customers like never before.
So it’s not surprising that retail stores aren’t the only ones getting in on the action. Professional service organisations such as law firms and architects are increasingly turning to the web to sell, sell, sell.
In this module, you’ll learn how to set up and take payments through your website or mobile device, how to make those payments safe and secure, and why selling online can improve productivity and business outcomes.
Part 1: Taking payments online
Online shopping is booming in Australia, and for good reason. It’s convenient, fast and can sometimes be cheaper than buying products from traditional brick and mortar stores. At the same time, many professional service organisations are also reaping the benefits of selling their services online. Globally, there’s been a big rise in online marketplaces like freelancer.com – a space for employers to hire freelancers, and for freelancers to find work.
If you’re thinking about moving your service delivery model online, you need to work out what you can offer. For example, an accounting firm could provide a fixed-price tax return service for their clients, while a law firm could offer online consultations about simple legal issues. It’s a new way to engage with clients and makes it easy for them to buy online directly from your business.
Before you start selling your services online, you need to make sure the payment process is simple, safe and secure. A good customer experience will likely keep them coming back for more.
There are three ways to take payments online:
- Direct debit
- Credit card
Keep in mind that to process credit cards you’ll need an Internet merchant facility with one of the major banks and would typically require two years’ trading history to gain approval.
With so many concerns about online viruses, fake websites and scammers, it’s important to make your website secure. Customers want to feel safe when they visit, especially when they make an online payment.
There are a few things you can do to make your website secure.
- Get a commercial strength firewall
A firewall can stop hackers and prevent viruses. Most websites are hosted by third party providers, which will also manage your firewall. Choose a trusted provider and seek advice from colleagues who already have online payment facilities.
- Include encryption techniques
This is special code in your site that’s virtually impossible for hackers to decode.
- Use Secure Socket Layer (SSL)
SSL indicates the information customers enter on your website is safe and secure. The icon usually looks like a key, padlock or similar security sign at the top of your browser. It’s also good to state that online payments are protected, rather than relying on the icon alone.
Part 2: Selling your professional services online
Taking your services online can be of huge benefit to your business. Here’s why.
You don’t need deep technical knowledge
Anyone can set up an online payment system. Once it’s up and running, you can easily and effectively make transactions with customers for a fraction of your traditional service cost per sale.
It’s extremely cost effective
An online selling process is automated. Simply pay for the initial software and set up, and watch your ROI increase. There are many tools and resources to help you create an online payment system.
You can reach a much wider audience
As soon as you start selling online, you’re not just reaching local customers, but national and even global customers too.
You can sell while you sleep
A website never closes. Customers can browse and buy anytime, day or night, from anywhere in the world. Just be sure to provide customers with all the information they need to feel safe when they purchase from your site.
This includes making sure:
- the customer knows the exact final charge including all taxes and other costs; and
- the customer is informed about donating or spending money with you, including policies on returns, refunds and complaints, as well as how to contact you quickly with queries or concerns.
It’s easy to track what works
Unlike traditional sales avenues, you can get accurate reports to see how customers found your website and what pages are of most interest. Google Analytics allows you to gather information about your customers’ age, location, browser and operating system, how long they spend on your site, and much more.
This information can help inform the direction of your marketing tactics so you can target the right people and attract new business.
If you’re thinking about setting up an online store, these resources may help. All information was current at the time of writing. When you go to any of the links below, you will be leaving the DBK site.