I got a fortune cookie last week with the message: Feelings are not always facts. I guess the thought behind that message is what we feel does not have to be grounded in reality.
The same can be said of perception. What we perceive does not have to be grounded in reality; in fact frequently what we perceive is as far from reality as the earth to the moon. Which does not make our perception invalid.
However, in the world of online retailing perception is reality. I have had friends recommend an online business that I did not feel lived up to the hype. But they perceived them to be good and they shop them on a regular basis. My experience is different so I dont.
I bring all this up because there is a lot of research out there that indicates when people come to an e-business site for the first time and dont see credit card processing online capabilities their internal red flag goes up. They have gotten so used to paying by credit card when they are doing their shopping in the virtual mall that they are suspect of any net store that does not have the ecommerce merchant account option.
It should come to no surprise that online enterprises that accept payments online are perceived to be trustworthy from the first visit.
Now I have friends who have an online business and they have never taken credit cards. Neither have they ever taken anyone for a ride they are honest as the day is long. However, without credit card processing Im sure there are people who will have nothing to do with them.
But neither one matters because it is consumer perception that plays a major role in the success or lack thereof for many businesses. If someone perceives your business to be even a little shady youre out of luck.
The other thing that jumps out at me about this business is that it is all so unnecessary. Because of the explosion of the Internet as a shopping venue and the amount of competition among credit card processing providers adding merchant account online capabilities has never been easier.
The application takes about 15 minutes to complete and many net businesses are running their first card transactions with 24 hours of being approved. So it really makes no sense to not at least drop in an application.
And heres is something that is neither feeling nor perception. Billions of dollars are spent every year on the Internet by shoppers. Out of that in excess of 80 percent is paid for using a credit card. Now I dont have exact figures but 80 percent of billions is not an inconsiderable chunk of change in anyones book.
So if you perceive that online merchant accounts are a good idea that may be one perception grounded in reality.
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