As a wholesaler or manufacturer selling B2B, trade shows are the perfect venue for building and expanding your business - both with your existing customers as well as with new, first-time customers.
Accepting electronic payments at the show can provide you with tremendous business value in new customer acquisition: firstly, you’re eliminating the risk of losing new customer sales after the show, and secondly, you’re making it a lot easier for new customers to pay.
Let’s look at what you gain from accepting e-payments at B2B trade shows, and what you will need in order to set your business up for face-to-face electronic payments at shows.
Lock in new customers
According to the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), 92% of trade show attendees are looking for new products. This makes trade shows an excellent venue for new customer acquisition. Signing up a new customer is half the battle, securing the sale by collecting payment is the other. By accepting payment from new customers at the show you reduce the chance of these customers cancelling their orders after the show.
Make it easy to do business with you
The ‘e’ in e-payment technically stands for ‘electronic’ but business owners know that it also means ‘easy.’ The ease of processing e-payments means that your accounting or back office staff don’t need to chase customers for credit card information, collection — or worse — selling them again on what they already committed to buy at the trade show. Make sure a scenario like this doesn’t happen by ensuring your business buyers can pay quickly and easily when they first sign the dotted line on a sales order.
What you’ll need
Set up a merchant account
Shop around for best rates to set up a merchant account for face-to-face sales at trade shows. Transaction fees and terms vary, so be sure to compare and select the best e-payment provider for you. There is usually a fee to set up the account, a minimum monthly fee and charges for transactions. Credit card charges are usually a percentage of the transaction, and debit card charges are typically a flat rate.
In order to process payments, you will need a secure internet connection. Contact the trade show organizers beforehand to ensure their internet connectivity is secure and reliable. If possible, get the name and the password for the internet so you have it ready to go when you get to the trade show.
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a security standard that ensures companies who process credit card payments store, process or transmit credit card information sensitively and securely. Look for a PCI-compliant solution that integrates mobile order-taking with online payment processing.
Works on any mobile device
Ensure that your order taking app, integrated to an e-payment provider, can work on any tablet device or smartphone. This will ensure that all your reps can install and run the necessary apps no matter which device they own - tablet, smartphone, iOS, Android, or Windows. Reliable payment gateways that can be integrated to mobile order taking apps include Authorize.net, PayPal and eWay.
Your trade show repertoire must combine a few essential ingredients in order to increase sales from new customers: the right personnel to engage new customers, an attractive booth, and the ability to process e-payments in order to gain and maintain loyal, long-term customers.
The real benefits of accepting e-payments at trade shows include locking in new customers quickly and easily, higher productivity and higher new customer sales. Implementing a system takes a little bit of preparation, such as setting up a merchant account and ensuring your solution is PCI-compliant. Lastly, using a mobile app at the show to process payments will ensure ease and comfort, while showing customers and competitors that your business is technologically-savvy, customer-centric and here to stay.