Retailing experts will tell you that changing a consumer habit can be hard. Even in the online shopping world we tend to find what works for us and stick with it. We are not resistant to change, but often we are slow to embrace it. But once that change is embraced it becomes rock solid.
In the early days of the Internet shopping by computer resembled shopping from a catalogue. You picked out what you wanted, printed out your order form and mailed it in with a check. Or there was a toll-free number you could use to call in and order using your credit card. The virtual shopping cart did not exist as we know it today.
And it took some time for this to catch on, in part because this happened during a time when we still accessed the Internet through a phone modem, which had to be purchased separately from our computers. As a group we barely understood the ‘net much less how to use it to shop.
Fast forward to today and things are as different as night and day. Most people have access to some form of high-speed connection and there is hardly a household in America that does not have access to the online community. And we have formed solid new Internet shopping attitudes and habits.
First, we know that we can find just about anything we're looking for, usually at a decent price. Second, we have dozens of choices. And last but not least - to turn a phrase - we now expect every site we are going to do business with to have credit card processing when we pay. And that last point is set in stone.
Due to that shift in online consumer shopping habits it is either folly or fatal for anyone to have a business on the ‘net that does not have merchant account services. More than 80 percent of everything bought in this country over the computer is paid for with a credit card and that number is rising steadily.
Because of this - and the number of sites available - when people don't find what they are looking for on a certain site they click away. And they don't come back. Any business consultant will tell you that losing a customer in this fashion has to be avoided at all costs because trying to recover someone who has left because of disappointment is nearly impossible. However, there is a simple solution to this and that is adopting the mind set that you as the e-business owner will be doing everything you can to make as many of the people happy as often as you reasonably can.
That means there is a lot of money to be made by ‘net businesses that are savvy enough to have online credit card processing. But for those businesses that have not added the merchant account option there is still time to jump on the bandwagon. Thanks to competition it has never been easier to apply for accredit card services, and several e-businesses are running their first credit card transactions within 24 hours of being approved.
Jim Osterman is a Web content developer with CardAccept.com, a leading merchant account provider offering innovative credit card processing solutions.