Direct-to-consumer selling happens wherever people connect. Today, that means direct selling representatives need to be ready to make a sale and process payments whether the customer interaction happens on social media, at a trade show, or on the sidelines of their child’s soccer match.
The anywhere, anytime flexibility of modern direct selling creates a unique buying experience that combines convenience with personalization. Eight in ten customers say they’re more likely to buy when a shopping experience is personalized for them. As a result, many direct selling companies are capitalizing by enabling representatives to purchase wholesale inventory to have on-hand for retail sale opportunities as they happen at events or one-to-one.
However, for many representatives, selling on-hand inventory often requires work-arounds and manual payment processes that can make the experience cumbersome and labor-intensive. The good news is that modern direct selling technology can create payment processing efficiencies, enable tracking and reporting, and meet evolving customer expectations.
3 essentials for payment processing ease
1. Offering options is non-negotiable.
The days of accepting one or two payment methods are gone. Consumers have a range of payment options available – and they expect retailers to give them choices when they’re ready to make a purchase. In fact, 42 percent of consumers won’t complete a purchase if their preferred payment method isn’t available.
Direct-to-consumer sales are no different. Even when a sale happens on-the-go, customers expect the seller to have the ability to take payments by cash or check, credit or debit cards, or digital wallets. Mobile point-of-sale (MPOS) technology enables direct selling representatives to turn their smartphone or tablet into a cash register that accepts all types of payments. The best MPOS apps also help minimize payment security risk with capabilities that meet the highest Payment Card Industry (PCI) data security standards.
In some cases, independent sales representatives tackle the payment processing challenge on their own, subscribing and paying for solutions like Square and Clover. And while this allows them to meet customer needs and process payments for their one-to-one sales, it can create issues behind the scenes for the direct selling company. Plus, reps often pay for features they don’t need in a direct selling model. Instead, companies should explore options to offer mobile point-of-sale technology to sales reps that can be tailored for the sales model and integrated with the company’s back-end software platforms.
2. Automation equals ease.
Adding up sales totals and calculating sales tax manually is a recipe for mistakes. And if manual processes take too long, customers may decide to avoid the hassle and the purchase. Fifty-eight percent of consumers say they won’t complete their purchase if the checkout process is complex.
One way to streamline the process is through automated calculation of the purchase prices, promotional discounts, and applicable sales tax. Providing representatives with technology tools to automatically calculate sales transactions and determine sales taxes keeps the focus on the customer experience and not on looking up sales tax requirements or calculating discounts. Sales tax calculations can get complicated because the tax amounts vary at the state, county, and city levels. Look for integrated point-of-sale tools that can track local tax rates and automatically calculate them based on the geo-location of in-person transactions, such as a trade show event, or the customer’s shipping address.
When automation is combined with overall back-end software integration, direct-to-consumer companies gain advantages. Not only are independent reps empowered to sell anywhere, but they’re also able to accept payment in-person, capturing the purchaser’s signature onscreen. Or they can create and automatically send an invoice for the customer to pay later. That means there’s no stack of orders to be manually input at the end of the day – and all of the details are automatically captured and shared with the company’s back-end software for commission payouts, compliance reporting, and inventory management.
3. Customer experience is the difference-maker.
Successful modern direct selling is all about delivering customer experiences that stand out. Seven in ten consumers say experience is an important factor in their purchasing decisions. Direct selling representatives have a unique ability to create personalized, one-to-one relationships with their customers, which can translate into sales success. The purchase and payments processes are at the center of most customer interactions.
The integration of payment and mobile point-of-sale tools with back-end software platforms enables reps to deliver an enhanced customer experience. For example, at a trade show event, reps can process on-hand sales transactions through their phone using their mobile point-of-sale tools and also set up a tablet so that customers have an option to browse and buy additional merchandise through the rep’s personal replicated Ecommerce site. For added convenience, representatives can post QR codes at their booth to give customers a quick and easy way to access the rep’s Ecommerce site, place orders to be fulfilled through drop-shipping, and securely process their payment, even if the representative is busy helping other customers. Delivering stand-out experiences and payment processing ease starts with choosing the right technology for your business. ByDesign Technologies’ Freedom platform provides end-to-end software solutions to help you build and grow your direct-to-consumer business, both online and off. Plus, our newest solution – Wayroo – delivers an all-in-one app that provides reps with the ability to process payments anywhere, anytime, along with integrated social commerce and inventory management capabilities.
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