When running a business, often the aim is to keep things simple and avoid complexity. Yet many companies inadvertently walk into a tangle of operational mess. Let’s take retail as a case in point. Think of all the things you need to be successful: ecommerce software, accounting software, a payments platform, helpdesk software, and even supply chain management systems. Then you’ll need processes for returns, complaints, and internal procedures like inter-team requests and website updates. The list goes on.
It’s easy to solve problems without taking a long-term view.86% of respondents to a Harvard Business Review surveyclaimed that their business processes and decision-making had become so complex that it was hindering their ability to grow.
Like most problems, acknowledging their existence is the first step to overcoming them. There comes a point for every business, where to ensure scalable growth they need to stand back, take stock, and begin to examine each of their processes and how they can be improved. By removing complexity you can build the foundations of an agile business, capable of best serving the needs of your customers and the wider organization.
In this article we’ll zoom in on three areas payments can help overcome the barriers of complexity.
1. Improve customer service and satisfaction
Consider how simplifying your business activities can also simplify your customer’s shopping experience. Every customer touchpoint should be looked upon as an opportunity for improvement. Google talks about “micro-moments”. These are “intent-driven moments of decision-making and preference-shaping that occur throughout the entire consumer journey” and can often be influenced by improvements to your payments platform.
Think about the symptoms of complexity below, that can often lead to a poor customer experience, and how they can be remedied by a well-equipped payments platform:
2. Reduce costs and boost cashflow
Cashflow is the lifeblood of your business. If more money is flowing out than in at any given time, especially as your business looks to scale-up, you could find yourself in a difficult position. Financial complexity can be found in areas such as the incompatibility of different software systems used for reporting and methods used for reconciliation.
Returning to the example of a retailer, if you sell fifty pairs of jeans today, you don’t want to spend hours and hours over the course of days trying to check, double check, and triple check which payouts you are receiving from which card networks and when. This often has to be done line-by-line to see which have been paid out and which have not, in order to accurately reconcile your accounts. You may have to do this multiple times to match the sales to your payouts. Whereas, if you utilize features such asSales Day Payoutyou can receive one day’s worth of sales paid out in a single settlement so you can benefit from:
Simplified reconciliation: We payout a total day of sales at once, therefore reconciliation is simple. Replacing manual, lengthy processes which can gain even more complexity as you add channels, currencies, and payment methods.
Predictable cash flows: Knowing when a lump sum will hit your account helps you forecast better. We always payout with a fixed delay, bringing a welcome predictability to your cash flow.
Additionally, having all of your data in a single place eliminates the risk of errors caused by manually manipulating data from multiple systems. You can chop up your data in different and meaningful ways such as date ranges, channel, or payment method and start to analyze the performance of your business better. And if you need quick optimizations, having a single provider means you can reduce the number of suppliers you’re dependent on and stress less with 24/7 support from a dedicated team.
3. Optimize performance
The first step in optimizing performance involves looking at where your skills can have the greatest impact on your bottom line. For most, these are aspects such as sales, marketing, accounting, or strategy.
However, there are also areas where your payments platform can further assist you:
Inventory management: Endless aisles give you a complete overview of all stock held, whether in-store or in your warehouse. This enables in-store sales even when the products are not in stock, through access to the online inventory on an iPad operated by store staff that has a direct serial connection to a mobile POS payments terminal. This holistic visibility ensures you never lose a sale, your customers walk away happy, and when you sit down at the end of the month to allocate commission bonuses, it’ll be a whole lot easier.
Financial operations: With all of your payments data in one place you can reduce the operational burden on your finance staff. Monitoring and management become easier with reconciliations and dispute management done all from within your payments platform.
Knowing your customer: Detailed demographic information on your shoppers to help you know which inventory lines you should have in stock in which stores as well as support you with speedy customer support.
Staff rostering: By examining the velocity of transactions on certain days or at times during the year you can make sure you have enough staff in-store at all times to serve the needs of your customers.
The smart use of technology, and payments technology, in particular, can be a driving force in your efforts to simplify your business processes. Businesses that scale the quickest are those which have the self-awareness to acknowledge the build-up of complexity and do their utmost to tackle it. Choosing the right payments platform can give you one less thing to worry about.