Taking card payments online feels like a big step. When people think of e-commerce, they tend to imagine purpose-built online shopping carts. These run on advanced software that features shipping, stock taking, automated tracking, product variations and more.
While these solutions are possible and work perfectly well, it’s heavy work and not necessarily within everyone’s budgets. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take card payments without a shop.
Alternatives To Traditional Online Shopping Carts
Some businesses are at the halfway point. They want to take payment via a website, but they don’t yet need a full-blown online store. Just because they don’t have a flashy shop does not mean their business shouldn’t take payments online. Is this you?
There are many ways for customers to pay through your website without the complexity of a shopping cart. Some methods are achieved by changing the way you invoice, others by neatly embedding third party services into your website.
However you go, it is possible to create a seamless experience for both yourself and the customer. Here are a few solutions that might serve as an alternative to traditional e-commerce software.
Take Fixed Price Payments With GoCardless
GoCardless lets you make Direct Debit exchanges with customers through Bacs, Autogiro or SEPA. Through it you can take one off payments, create subscriptions or issue refunds.
This is a particularly good solution for people who offer services rather than products. If you work in the trade industry and just want to get paid, this beats managing complex product variations and shipping.
Alternatively, you could use GoCardless to collect deposits before a larger job. Through the dashboard it is possible to create fixed price buttons and embed them into your website.
For a working example of this, see the way that this removal company in York have set out their payment page. Depending on the size of the house move, they simply ask their customer to click the right button and boom – deposit paid.
Accept Class Booking With BookWhen
BookWhen is an online booking system for events. It’s perfect for yoga instructors, lecturers, personal trainers and anybody who works with calendar-based sessions. Not only does it handle payment online, it also manages your class calendar, informing you and the customer how many slots are available on a given date.
BookWhen can be embedded seamlessly into your website. It is sleek, unobtrusive and lets customers make a full booking without leaving the page. For a working example, see the way that Yodanga Arts have organised their yoga class calendar.
Let Customers Pay Invoices With Harvest
It’s not all about taking payments from your website. You might find it equally convenient for customers to pay you online via invoicing software. If you’re a sole trader and want to revisit the way you bookkeep, I’d recommend giving Harvest a go.
Not only does it offer tidy, organised accounts, it also lets customers accept estimates online and make payments straight from the invoice via PayPal. And that leads me to the most popular payment provider of all…
Use A PayPal Button For Secure, Easy Payment
An article like this wouldn’t be complete without PayPal. It is one of ecommerce’s founding fathers and is still going strong today. While PayPal caters for big online stores such as eBay, you can also embed buttons straight into your website that take customers to a secure payment page (example). Again, for certain clients it avoids the need to beef up your site with a “proper” online store.
Commerce Or Not, Move Towards SSL
Whether or not you’re taking payments online, you should make steps to obtain an SSL certificate on your website. Not only does having a https page protect customer data, it also adds trust to your site and helps conversions. With more and more sites moving towards a secure web, many hosting companies are offering discount or even free SSL certificates. Stay ahead of the curve (and gain a slight ranking boost) by investing in https today.
By Bruce Sigrist in: Guides