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More than payment processing: 5 next-level functionalities every small business should have in their tech stack

Friday, April 21, 2023

When choosing a merchant services provider, small business owners should know the true potential that can be unlocked with the right payment processing software. Thanks to powerful data and technology, payment processors can offer many more functionalities and features that can help your business grow.

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SEMrush found that 80% of small businesses are not taking full advantage of available technology.

But without it, you could be left behind — the same research determined that “small companies that fully utilize technology earn two times more revenue per employee, experienced nearly four times the revenue growth annually, and were almost three times more likely to create jobs in the next year.”

So, what exactly could you be missing out on? Today we’re covering five ways your tech stack can help your small business grow, including:

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1. Acceptance of various payment methods

Convenience is paramount to customers, whether they’re shopping at a startup or a large corporation. With the right merchant account provider, businesses should be able to accept many kinds of payment methods and stay ahead of the curve in fintech trends.

Gone are the days of only accepting traditional credit card payments (like Mastercard, Visa, American Express and Discover). Many transactions can be handled online, while in-person payments are being transformed by touchless technology. Here are payment methods businesses should be prepared to accept:

  • Credit and debit cards
  • Contactless credit card payments
  • Mobile payments from digital wallets, like Apple Pay®
  • QR code functionality
  • Online payments
  • ACH payments straight from a customer’s bank account (convenient for businesses with monthly fees for subscriptions or memberships)

Newer payment solutions that saw increased use during the pandemic, like scan-to-pay with QR codes, are likely to remain popular. In fact, Juniper Research predicts that QR code payments will account for 27% of all digital commerce transactions in 2024. To keep up with demand, businesses should look for a powerful POS system that enables QR code functionality.

Despite our post-pandemic return to normal, other contactless payments are also here to stay.

Nearly 50% of consumers now say they will not shop at a store that doesn’t offer a contactless way to pay.

However, 19% of US small business owners don’t offer their customers a digital payment option at checkout.

These numbers reveal that businesses can get a leg up on their competition if they choose a merchant services provider that allows for the acceptance of a variety of payment methods and ensures customers can pay how they want.

A woman pays with a smart watch at a checkout counter.
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2. Data analytics and reputation management

In addition to state-of-the-art payment integration, business owners should look for technology that helps support their growth strategy through powerful analytics and reputation management features.

Platforms can use intelligence about customers’ buying habits to turn data into higher revenue. This information can help you analyze the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns, compare your business performance with that of your competitors and allow you to make informed decisions for your specific business needs.

The right software can also help manage your business’ social reputation. Whether you own an online business or a strictly brick-and-mortar shop, it’s more important than ever to take care of your presence on the web. Customers place plenty of weight on online reviews — that includes not only the scores from other customers but also the way a business responds.

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Research shows 87% of consumers used Google to evaluate local businesses in 2022

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88% are likely to use a business if the business owner responds to all reviews, whether positive or negative.

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If your business has a low volume of online reviews, consider simply asking customers to chime in — 65% of consumers left reviews in response to requests from a business.

When considering solutions in your tech stack, don’t lose out — analytics and reputation management tools offer new ways to engage customers, manage reviews and drive return visits.

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3. The power of omnichannel

You’re probably familiar with the term “omnichannel.” Omnichannel shopping is when a retailer provides multiple channels for a customer to make a purchase — such as in-store at a point-of-sale card reader, online transactions at an e-commerce website and through an app for mobile devices.

Research from Visa found that half of America’s small businesses had no online presence pre-pandemic, causing many of them to have to scramble to implement an omnichannel strategy. One reason so few small businesses had an online store pre-pandemic was that they were concerned about data privacy and security — 32% of respondents to a Visa survey listed this as one of their top concerns about shifting their business online. Visa’s survey also found that 53% of these businesses are “likely to purchase a fraud management tool/solution to help protect their business and customer data from being stolen.”

If you share this concern about protecting your customers’ data, don’t let it keep you from building an omnichannel strategy. The right payment processor will offer the security features you need to protect online credit card transactions. Look for a platform that includes encryption, tokenization, EMV technology, PCI compliance support and a breach warranty.

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4. Cost-effective B2B payments

When running a business, “hidden costs” might creep up on you and affect your bottom line — one area to watch out for is B2B payments and the cost of paying vendors.

In March 2020, PYMNTS found that paper checks were still the most common B2B payment method, with 81% of businesses still paying other firms using this method. However, it’s estimated that on average, processing a single paper invoice can cost $22 — an expense that can quickly add up.

More and more businesses are looking into digital B2B payments as a way to reduce friction and costs. Digital B2B payments involve an online, electronic payables tool that provides businesses an efficient means to make payments to suppliers while reducing exposure to risk.

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5. People and payroll management

You already understand that there’s more to your business than just numbers on a page — your employees are integral to your success. But did you know you could outsource the tedious back-office tasks that come with payroll and people management?

Not only is HR time-consuming, it can also be risky to do it on your own. Research found that the average organization makes 15 corrections per payroll period — mistakes that can incur costly fines and even drive good employees to leave. Adding people management solutions to your tech stack can eliminate the stress of payroll while saving you time and allowing you to focus on growing your business.

These modern tools can help make even the most painful parts of business a breeze — from time tracking and scheduling to labor law compliance and tax management. And if you’re starting at square one, you can even get help hiring the right people for your team.

A woman inserts a credit card into a wireless card reader to complete a transaction.

Find the right payment processing for your small business

From the start, your payment processing company should offer plenty of benefits, like round-the-clock customer support, transparent pricing and competitive processing costs. But if you want more for your business, build your tech stack with software that boasts additional functionalities that can supercharge your growth. Learn how we can help create the solution your business needs today and in the future with powerful features that grow with you.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this document does not, and is not intended to constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available are for general informational purposes only. Information provided may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information, and readers of this information should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter, in the relevant jurisdiction. All liability with respect to actions taken or not taken based on the contents here are hereby expressly disclaimed.

Heartland is the point of sale, payments and payroll solution of choice for entrepreneurs that need human-centered technology to sell more, keep customers coming back and spend less time in the back office. Nearly 1,000,000 businesses trust us to guide them through market changes and technology challenges, so they can stay competitive and focus on building remarkable businesses instead of managing the daily grind. Learn more at heartland.us