Summary: Society continues to evolve as our relationship with technology strengthens. This digital era is changing how payments are handled.
As technology continues to develop so do our lifestyles. The evolution of the internet coupled with consumer devices that can easily fit in a backpack or pocket has made us more connected than ever before. Technological devices have made it easier for us to receive, store, and share information. It is possible to communicate with people and browse stores from around the world, from any location and at any given time. With fewer payments being made with cash, merchants need to turn to digital methods of handling transactions, which include purchases made online and in traditional, physical stores.
It has been reported that, year after year, more and more people are making their purchases online via their computers, tablets, or smartphones. Shopping online adds a whole new degree of convenience that previously was not there. When one shops online they do not need to concern themselves with driving to the store, finding and potentially paying for parking, making sure what they want is in stock, and ultimately waiting in line to make a purchase. With online shopping, almost anything you can think of is no more than a few buttons away and be delivered directly to your doorstep.
In order to handle payments online, stores most have some sort of merchant processing in place. This processing allows a business to accept transactions from credit or debit cards and some can even support gift card and loyalty programs. Online payments can either be consumer-to-business, (e.g., paying for a gift on Amazon), business-to-business (e.g., Costco buying inventory from a supplier), or consumer-to-consumer (e.g., paying someone back for dinner via Venmo or PayPal). Mobile wallets and online accounts actually make it possible to shop without even needing your physical credit or debit card on you.
Selling in a Physical Store
If you are selling goods in a traditional, physical store, there are steps you can take to adapt to the transition to digital payments. Payment companies like Charge.com offer services that make the process of handling transactions very smooth and pain-free. Look into companies that can offer reasonable rates and that have reliable track records to guarantee your business is in good hands. Some companies offer solutions for both online and physical stores. For physical stores, however, there is a good chance that you will need to purchase a credit card terminal where customers can swipe their cards, which will come with additional fees.