rsz_money-256315_640Cash is slowly dying out as a means of paying for goods and services. Last year, it only accounted for 28% of all purchases made, and that number falls a bit lower every year. Now granted, you can’t use cash to pay for things online anyway, but it’s a good statistic to keep in your mind because it is illustrative of the power that technology has on people’s buying habits. In short, as technology advances, people’s buying habits change. Cash used to be King. Now plastic is.

Follow the Money

If a small business doesn’t take credit cards, then it’s overwhelmingly likely they haven’t embraced any other options, like online payment systems. That’s a pity, and as good as leaving money on the table, because at the end of the day, if you want to sell more, then you have to go where your customers actually are, or in this case, if you want to sell more, then you have to accept the payment systems that your customers actually use.

Yes, it is possible (just barely) to get by in business in today’s world without accepting credit cards or online payments, but why would you want to? If you do not accept the realities of the changing demographic of customer payment preferences and change with them, then you not only work against your own sales growth, but you cede an important advantage to your competitors. They don’t all have to take advantage of it, but most will, and why not? By refusing to change with the times, you’ve made yourself an easy targets. Easy targets don’t tend to last too long in today’s “always on” business environment.

Don’t restrict yourself to conducting your business in an increasingly small pool. Follow the customers and go where the growth is. You allow customer demographics to shape everything from the products you make, to your marketing approach, to what specific social media channels you advertise to them on, why wouldn’t you also allow those same forces to guide and direct your payment system options? In addition to creating synergy in your company, it also adds to your bottom line.

Economically speaking, with the number of cash transactions shrinking year by year, virtually all the growth and expansion in commerce, regardless of what industry you’re operating in, is online. If you advertise online to draw people into your business, and you’ve got a company website up and running already (and odds are that you do), then you’ve already got the basic architecture in place necessary to begin selling and getting paid online too.

Perhaps though, the best question to ask is, if you’re not currently accepting online payments of one kind or another, why not? Is it a misunderstanding about the costs involved? Do you imagine that it will be difficult to get the system up and running? Not cost effective? Or perhaps it’s more of a cultural or generational mindset? Whatever the objection, identify it and get around it. To do anything less is to do your own company a disservice.