2017’s Top 5 Online Payment Systems

Online shopping is booming, of that there is no doubt. It’s reported that 87% of UK consumers have bought at least one product online in the past 12 months [1], with just over half of all online payments made on a mobile device [2]. With this being the case it’s becoming more vital than ever that hotels, venues and other hospitality businesses which sell products or services online, are using quality payment processing systems.

The following article outlines five of the best ranked online payment processing systems available today. For more advice on which platform offers the best features for your business speak to LeadDigital, contact us today.

Stripe

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As stated on their website, Stripe is very much a payment platform designed for developers. Their robust API allows for easy integrations with minimal code writing, whilst also supporting the latest ecommerce developments, such as social selling on Twitter. Stripe can accept 135+ currencies and all major credit & debit cards.

Pricing: 1.4% + 20p per transaction for European cards, 2.9% + 20p for non-EU cards for ‘pay as you go’. Enterprise edition also available upon request.

PayPal

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As the World’s #1 online payment processing service, we couldn’t exactly miss PayPal off this list – with 197 million active customer accounts, 15 million merchants and over 4.9 billion payments being processed yearly [3]! Its popularly is partially down to how long PayPal has been established, but also how friendly the platform is for its users. They offer a feature rich service that integrates with virtually all online shopping carts, working across all devices.

Pricing: From 3.4% + 20p to 1.9% + 20p per transaction when adding to an existing checkout. Fixed monthly charges when selling through PayPal, based on sales volume.

Amazon Pay

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In 2016 Amazon reported 310 million active customers worldwide [4]. Amazon Pay enables ecommerce businesses to utilise the information held on each Amazon customer, so as to conveniently and securely, speed up payment processing online. The experience for consumers is similar to buying on Amazon, helping maintain trust in transactional security. This is also beneficial to merchants, as a method to validate buyers and prevent fraudulent transactions.

Pricing: 3.4% + 20p to 1.4% + 20p for UK payment processing based on transaction volumes. An additional charge of up-to 1.5% can apply for payments issued outside of the UK.

Authorize.Net

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Authorize.Net have been in the online payments marketplace since 1996, and with over 440,000 merchant customers today, they are often considered the most widely adopted payment platform available. Advanced features like automated recurring billing and their fraud detection suite help Authorize.Net stand out, as does their award winning customer support.

Pricing: 2.49% + 15p per transaction with a monthly fee of £19, all additional services included free of charge.

WooCommerce

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If you’re a WordPress user then you should serious consider WooCommerce – as it’s an ecommerce platform designed specifically for WordPress. They power over 28% of all online stores [5] and have created a range of features that enable tight integration with WordPress, alongside over 300 free and paid extensions! Beyond this they offer secure and trusted payment gateways, and even support businesses with marketing through coupons and reviews.

Pricing: Free model with additional WooCommerce extensions available at varying costs depending on your businesses requirements.

What About Mobile Payments?

Whilst all of the above systems provide features for mobile payment processing, there are some companies who are simply experts on the subject. A few examples of these include SquareQuickBooks GoPayment from Intuit and Google’s own Google Wallet (popular for Android users).

If you’re still not certain which payment processing platform offers the best tools for your hospitality brand, then speak with an expert at LeadDigital. We have a long history of supporting businesses in their ecommerce activities, so know the best ways to get the most from services available!

 

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References

[1] https://www.gurufocus.com/news/492058/uk-online-shopping-and-ecommerce-statistics-for-2017
[2] https://www.gurufocus.com/news/492058/uk-online-shopping-and-ecommerce-statistics-for-2017
[3] http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/paypal-statistics/
[4] https://www.statista.com/statistics/476196/number-of-active-amazon-customer-accounts-quarter/
[5] https://woocommerce.com/

Top 3 Ecommerce Platforms in 2017

With over 3 billion global internet users [1], there’s no doubt that your hotel, bar, restaurant or venue should be selling online in 2017. The best way to get started is with an ecommerce platform, a collection of purpose-built software technologies that allows merchants to build, host and manage online storefronts in order to sell their products.

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Shopping carts are the most important part of any ecommerce platform. It is the part of the software that allows customers to browse items, build lists for purchase and then “checkout” when they are ready to buy. At checkout, the software will generally calculate a total for the order, including shipping, handling and any applicable taxes.

More advanced ecommerce platforms will fit into your current supply chain making things like payment, delivery, accounting, warehousing and event planning integrate easily with your existing systems. Some platforms are even capable of being run in physical stores by offering their own point of sale systems.

This all sounds great, but with so many ecommerce platforms to choose from now, how are you supposed to know which one to go for? There’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all here, a brand new events venue trying to sell tickets online has very different ecommerce requirements to a hotel that has been taking room bookings for years.

 

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We’re here to help by telling you about the best ecommerce platforms available right now and how to choose the right one to suit you and your hospitality business. Here are LeadDigital’s top 3 ecommerce platforms in 2017:

1. Magento

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Magento is an enterprise-level, open-source ecommerce platform and was first released to the public in March 2008. The ecommerce platform is being used by around 240,000 websites [2], roughly 13% of all online storestoday [3] and includes many popular brands like Burger King, SEAT and Graze. There are currently three versions of the software available; Magento Community Edition, Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition.

Magento Community Edition is a free version of Magento, built for emerging small businesses and will work well for small stores with few products. The faster code base and page caching that Magento Enterprise Edition brings to the table is a must-have for larger stores, but this speed comes at a price.

Pros

  • Good user experience, the interface is very nice to work with.
  • Being an open-source platform means you have full control over your store and allows you to develop and extend to fit your needs.
  • There are almost 10,000 plugins/extensions available.
  • There are many free extensions available to let you sell on social media platforms.
  • Magento has a huge online community of store owners and plugin developers, always ready to give help and advice when building or extending your store.

Cons

  • Magento needs separate hosting, leaving you responsible for updates and security. The software has been known to run slowly on poorly optimised servers so you may need to spend time and money getting this configured.
  • Any customisation work would need to be done by a developer and if you’re looking to extend your store, this could end up being expensive.
  • Unless you’re comfortable working with code, getting extensions and templates working properly can be troublesome.
  • Can be very expensive for an enterprise license.

Who Should be Using Magento?

Magento is considered by many to be the enterprise-level ecommerce platform of choice, built to work with large stores and large amounts of products. It is highly customisable due to it being open-source, but requires an expert developer to get most things done. Magento is not a simple solution and can only be recommended for advanced users. If you’re a startup or smaller store, then a hosted solution like Shopify would be a better fit.

2. WooCommerce

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WooCommerce was first developed by WordPress developer WooThemes in 2011 and has since been downloaded over 20 million times [4]. Despite a flood of competitors entering the market, WooCommerce has shown amazing resilience and is a major player in the game. Stats from BuiltWith show that 24% of the top million ecommerce sites are built using WooCommerce[5]. WooCommerce was acquired by Automattic, the parent company of WordPress in May 2015 [6].

WooCommerce is a plugin, not a subscription-based solution like Shopify or Magento and is built to integrate seamlessly with WordPress. The plugin itself is free, 100% open-source and is backed by a huge online communitythat is always ready to offer help and advice.

Pros

  • It’s free! It doesn’t get much better than that.
  • Highly extendable and customisable, there are many free and paid extensions and thousands of themes available to install on your store.
  • If you have ever used WordPress then WooCommerce will feel very familiar and anybody with past experience will easily be able to figure it out.
  • WordPress and WooCommerce both have huge community support, which makes getting help and advice on your store a breeze.

Cons

  • Even though the base plugin is free, many of the extensions are not. Total costs will soon go up when you start extending your store.
  • Customisation can be difficult and you may need to hire a expert to install the plugin, custom themes or extensions which could end up being costly.
  • WooCommerce is not a hosted solution so you must buy separate hosting, leaving you responsible for the security and maintenance of your store.

Who Should be Using WooCommerce?

WooCommerce is perfect for people already running their website on the WordPress platform because it’s simple to download and install on an existing WordPress site.

For a lot of small businesses, WooCommerce comes with everything you need; the ability to sell products, calculate shipping, calculate taxes and accept PayPal payments. It even comes with a customer login area to show customers the status of their orders. However, if your store needs anything other than standard ecommerce features, you are going need an expert to work on it and you can expect the costs to rise significantly with each extension you need to install.

3. Shopify

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Founded in 2004, Shopify was originally based on software written by its founders for their online snowboard store, Snowdevil. [7] Since its humble beginnings, the company has grown to over 1,900 employees, working from 6 different offices around the world [8] and after going public in 2015, posted revenues of $205 million. [9]

Shopify is one of the biggest ecommerce platforms in the world, to date they are hosting 377,500 online stores that have sold over $29 billion worth of products. [10]

Prices start from ~£23/month for the basic package and up to ~£234/month for more advanced plans. Shopify also offer an enterprise level plan called Shopify Plus for high-volume merchants and large businesses.

Pros

  • Free 14 day trial, no risk, no credit card required.
  • 100+ professional themes to choose from, made by world-renowned designers like Happy Cog, Clearleft and Pixel Union.
  • 1,500+ apps to extend your store’s functionality.
  • 70+ international payment gateways included. Shopify makes it easy for customers to pay for items.
  • Mobile commerce ready. Your Shopify store and checkout will work on any mobile or tablet device right out of the box.
  • Use the official app to access store analytics, update your store, fulfill orders or contact customers all from your mobile device.
  • 24/7 dedicated support team available via email, live chat or telephone.

Cons

  • Your total monthly cost may end up higher than you originally thought because you will find yourself installing one of the many apps to increase your store’s functionality, but these apps come with their own monthly costs.
  • The checkout page is locked down to Shopify’s design unless you upgrade to Shopify Plus. There are good reasons for this, but if you want to control the design of your store all the way through, you’re going to be disappointed.

Who Should be Using Shopify?

Shopify is a fantastic ecommerce platform for beginners with a very simple setup process and a great dashboard area for quickly adding products and managing your store. Combine this with a huge library of beautiful themes and you can have a good looking store up and running in just few hours.

Shopify is, in our opinion, the best ecommerce platform available today for Hospitality businesses. The level of customisation offered across all areas of your ecommerce store make it extremely powerful. With all the technical aspects of running an online store taken care of, you can focus on the important bit, increasing ticket sales.

As an official Shopify partner, LeadDigital can design and build custom themes for your store. We can sit down, discuss your business goals and work with you to build a Shopify store from the ground up in order to increase your event sales.

 

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References

[1] ICT Facts and Figures 2016. International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Jun 2017.
[2] Magento Usage Statistics. BuiltWith. Apr 2017.
[3] Ecommerce technologies Web Usage Statistics. BuiltWith. Apr 2017.
[4] WooCommerce – The Best eCommerce Platform for WordPress. WooCommerce. Apr 2017.
[5] Ecommerce technologies Web Usage Statistics. BuiltWith. Apr 2017.
[6] WordPress Parent Automattic Buys WooCommerce. Recode. 19 May 2015.
[7] Shopify, a Start-Up, Starts Its Own Business Competition. The New York Times. 2 Feb 2010.
[8] 2016 Year in Review. Shopify.
[9] Shopify Expects Revenue to Surge in 2016. Fortune. 17 Feb 2016.
[10] Shopify Announces Fourth-Quarter and Full Year 2016 Financial Results. Shopify. 15 Feb 2017.

Using Shopify to Increase your Event Sales

Want to increase your event sales? Are you thinking of selling tickets online, but don’t know where to start? Whether you are running events at a hotel, bar, restaurant or venue, the internet is a great place to sell tickets and you should take advantage by making sure yours are as accessible as possible. Here are six reasons why we think Shopify is the best place to run a successful online ticket store.

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First, A Little Bit of History…

Founded in 2004, Shopify was originally based on software written by its founders for their online snowboard store, Snowdevil. [1] Since its humble beginnings, the company has grown to over 1,900 employees, working from 6 different offices around the world [2] and after going public in 2015, posted revenues of $205 million. [3]

Shopify is the biggest ecommerce platform in the world, to date they are hosting 377,500 online stores that have sold over $29 billion worth of products. [4]

1. Beautiful Online Storefronts

In the right hands, Shopify will allow you to create beautiful, custom online ticket stores. You have complete control over the look and feel of your store, from its branding to its colours, layout and content. The customer experience with your brand is very important and Shopify provides everything you need to design and build this experience.

When selling tickets online, the event itself is everything. The powerful customisation features of Shopify provides the level of control needed to showcase your events in the best possible way. The product catalog system will let you categorise your events to help your customers find exactly what they’re looking for without getting frustrated.

Shopify is mobile-friendly and has built-in mobile commerce features so that your customers can browse and buy from your store using their mobile device. Shopify will detect when a customer goes to your store using a mobile device and show a different version of the checkout process, designed and built to work on smaller screens.

As an official Shopify Partner, LeadDigital can design and build custom themes for your online ticket store. We can sit down, discuss your business goals and work with you to build a Shopify store from the ground up in order to increase your event sales.

 

Work with LeadDigital to Increase Your Event Sales

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2. Advanced Store Management

Once your storefront has been designed and built, you can add your events using the flexible inventory management system. Shopify can keep track of tickets sold and automatically stop selling your events when they have sold out.

You can add multiple variants of your tickets and these variants will allow you to customise how you sell your events. Want to offer multiple dates on your London party event? No problem. Do you have a fixed number of window seats available on your river boat cruise? That’s fine too. Each variant you create can have its own price and ticket allocation.

3. Mobile App

Shopify have built a mobile app that makes it easy to get an overview of your store when you’re on the go. All of your data is automatically synced between the app and your online store, making it available to you at anytime.

You can check your sales statistics, view and update ticket inventory, orders and customer data all from your iOS or Android device. Seeing all of your sales and visitor traffic at a glance will give you valuable insight into your business and keeps you in the loop when you’re away from your desk.

4. Marketing & SEO

An important part of increasing your event sales is letting people know your events exist in the first place! Shopify helps get the most out of your event by supporting SEO best practices and even generates special sitemap files for your products, pages and blog posts to make it easier for search engines like Google to find your content.

Google takes into account site speed when ranking pages in their search engine [5] and even provides tools like PageSpeed Insights to help you make it faster. It is no coincidence that the hosting included in your Shopify plan is lightning-fast.

If you would like to offer a special discount on your event for early-birds, or maybe offer a coupon to new members, Shopify has you covered and has a great discount codes and coupons system built-in. Combine your special offers with a solid email marketing campaign and you have a powerful selling tool on your hands.

Shopify integrates seamlessly with MailChimp, allowing you to automatically send your new customers and their purchase data to your MailChimp account. Being a Shopify Partner and a MailChimp Expert, LeadDigital fully recommend MailChimp for your hospitality business and believe that purchase data from Shopify can play an important role in an automated marketing strategy. Knowing what events your customers have been to in the past lets you know what events they might want to attend in the future.

 

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5. Web Hosting & Security

All Shopify plans come with hosting included, you get unlimited bandwidth and will never be charged based on the number of visitors or traffic coming to your store. All updates made to the core Shopify system are done automatically, meaning you will always be on the latest version and have access to the newest features.

Every bit of data that goes into your Shopify store is protected by daily backups. You can rest assured that all of your store data including business information, products, customer data, orders and inventory is safe and recoverable.

When it comes to security, Shopify is certified Level-1 PCI compliant [6], meaning all pages, content, credit card and transaction information on Shopify is protected by the same level of security that banks have to use.

6. Shopping Cart & Checkout

As soon as you launch your online ticket store, you can accept major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express. Shopify supports over 70 payment gateways from around the world including PayPal, Amazon Pay and even bitcoin, giving your customers multiple ways to pay for your events. You can also accept payments via Apple Pay, a cutting-edge technology that will give your customers an even faster checkout experience and allow them to purchase tickets in a single step.

Order confirmation emails and invoices can be sent to the customer as soon as they purchase tickets from you, providing them with a seamless experience and the instant confirmation they will be used to in today’s world. You can take this one step further by making use of a custom Shopify App that could create and send your event tickets automatically to the customer on your behalf, removing administration and increasing the efficiency of your business.

Shopify gives you the ability to recover abandoned shopping carts by providing a list of customers that dropped out of the checkout page before making a purchase. Sending a simple email to those potential customers can help you recover an otherwise lost ticket sale.

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Why Shopify?

Shopify is, in our opinion, the best ecommerce platform available today. The level of customisation offered across all areas of your ecommerce store make it extremely powerful. With all the technical aspects of running an online store taken care of, you can focus on the important bit, increasing ticket sales.

Shopify provides all the tools to offer your customers a great online shopping experience and in turn, boost your event sales, all you need to do is harness these tools and use them to your advantage.

As an official Shopify Partner, LeadDigital offer the perfect partnership to help you and your hospitality business get the most out of your online ticket store. We have built and managed many successful online stores for hospitality businesses, to help them sell more event tickets and get more room bookings. We can design, build, manage and integrate your Shopify store to suit you and your hospitality business needs.

 

Work with LeadDigital to Increase Your Event Sales

Contact Us Today

 

References

[1] Shopify, a Start-Up, Starts Its Own Business Competition. The New York Times. 2 Feb 2010.
[2] 2016 Year in Review. Shopify.
[3] Shopify Expects Revenue to Surge in 2016. Fortune. 17 Feb 2016.
[4] Shopify Announces Fourth-Quarter and Full Year 2016 Financial Results. Shopify. 15 Feb 2017.
[5] Using site speed in web search ranking. Google. 9 Apr 2010.
[6] PCI compliant shopping cart and hosting. Shopify.