Every other week, On Small Business reaches out to a panel of young entrepreneurs for answers to some of the most pressing social media and technology questions facing small business owners. The following responses are provided by members of the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), a nonprofit organization comprised of entrepreneurs.
Q: Mobile payments are coming on strong. Should small business owners be taking steps right now to prepare for this trend?
Aaron Schwartz, founder and chief executive of Modify Watches in Berkeley, California:
If you have sell a physical product, you absolutely should invest the time to accept mobile payments. As a startup, one major goal should be increasing conversions. Mobile payments can improve your conversion percentage by lowering the barrier to a sale. Some companies create mobile apps to allow e-commerce pages to be more easily accessed from a smartphone, but mobile payment systems, by offering an incredibly simple way to pay for a product, are significantly better.
In person, we use Square religiously. The interface is intuitive and we are able to maintain a proper inventory count. Most importantly, the customer experience is fantastic! You swipe your card, and we emailyou a receipt. This has come in handy at live-selling events -- we even manage our retail location with Square because it’s so much faster!
Nikki Robinson, founder and chief executive of Gloss and Glam in New York, New York:
“If you feel that your business could benefit from mobile payments, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t use it. Most of the mobile payment services don’t require a sign-up fee, and they send you free card readers. At Gloss and Glam, we use Square but there are other great mobile payment services, like Intuit or Sail.
The most important thing to do when beginning this process is figuring out your company’s revenue so you can determine which mobile payment service is most effective for you, based on the service’s credit percentages. As we all know, technology changes drastically on a regular basis to support consumers’ needs to be faster and more efficient; therefore, we need to make sure our business procedures follow suit. Why not keep your company as technologically savvy as possible with mobile payments?”
Erika London, co-founder of iAdventure.com in New York, New York:
Yes! Failing to keep up with trends, regardless of how fleeting they end up being, puts you in a vulnerable position — you risk your customers assuming that you lack the necessary resources to offer services on the same level as your competitors.
Mobile payment systems don’t generally require a long setup time, or even much training for your employees, and they do have a number of advantages. Your customers will be intrigued by reduced transaction fees and increased convenience, while you as a business will have an easier time managing your incoming payments.
You’ll be are able to gather more information about your customers, and you’ll have the ability to start tracking and analyzing information about your customers’ purchasing trends. Mobile payments are just the beginning of monetizing new technology, and it’s in every business’ best interest to adapt to them.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC recently published #FixYoungAmerica: How to Rebuild Our Economy and Put Young Americans Back to Work (for Good), a book of 30+ proven solutions to help end youth unemployment.
Do you have questions you would like to see answered by these young entrepreneurs? Share them with us in the comments below or via email and we’ll pass them along to the YEC for future series.