By Jeff Blackman
Today’s consumers prioritize convenience above all and increasingly are turning away from cash. With more than 183 million credit card holders in the United States1, it is imperative that owners of pet salons fully assess the benefits of integrating credit card processing with their existing business software. As millennials, who are now the largest generation, stop carrying cash in their wallets, this integration will only become more important.
Among other advantages, credit card processing software can help groomers reach their fullest potential by improving the customer experience and, in turn, retention. This is particularly important because cash use only represents a majority share of purchases that are $10 and under2. Depending on the cost of your dog grooming services, consumers are more likely to pay with card because of the fear many have about carrying around relatively large sums of cash.
Not only will customers have an easier time with integrated credit card processing, but groomers will also have an easier time managing their business’ finances. These proven benefits make investing in integrated credit card processing a smart business decision.
Improved Customer Experience
Customers have a lot going on when they’re picking up their pet from their grooming appointment. Groomers know better than most that it can be challenging to corral a stubborn dog back into the car to head home. One small touch that can make a huge impact on a customer’s experience is storing cards on file.
When a pet groomer has software with integrated credit card processing, instead of having to fumble around for a card while trying to hold onto their dog, repeat customers can ask to simply charge their card on file. It may not seem like a huge timesaver, but little conveniences will keep customers coming back.
With only 11 percent of consumers preferring to pay with cash over card3, owners of pet salons will need to make sure their business processes are convenient and aligned with their customers’ needs. An all–in–one software solution should also have a customer–facing portal to allow new and returning customers to update their credit card information as needed when they are booking their appointments online. A simple alteration like this can immensely improve customer satisfaction. Plus, as consumers begin to expect credit card processing and other digital solutions, it will become necessary for pet groomers to invest in software with a customer portal if they worry about retention.
Simplified Business Management
Other benefits of integrated credit card processing include better management of business finances. Cash payments don’t leave a paper trail, which can create an organizational headache for owners of grooming businesses. With integrated credit card processing, a simple card swipe automatically verifies and records the payment and adds relevant billing and personal information into the software program.
If a groomer had a credit card system that was not integrated, they would likely be spending hours comparing reports from their booking software to reports from their credit card processor. This streamlined process prevents small businesses from making common mistakes caused by manually logging payment entries. Having up–to–date reporting enables pet salon owners to have a greater potential for analysis and a “single source of truth” for their business’ finances.
Just as customers don’t want to carry around cash, storing large sums of cash can be a security risk for owners of grooming businesses. The less cash businesses have on the premises, the less susceptible they are to theft. Switching to a credit card processing system will decrease the quantity of cash onsite, even when revenue increases, therefore leaving the business less vulnerable.
The proper all–in–one business management solution will have security protocols that protect credit card files—called tokens—from hackers who want to access card numbers. This protects the grooming business’ finances and customers’ personal information.
Keeping card numbers on file allows groomers to do more than simplify the checkout process. No–shows can be costly for service businesses, and when customers know they will be charged a fee, they are more likely to keep their appointments or reschedule in a timely manner.
Credit card processing can also be beneficial for promoting sales of recurring packages or memberships. An integrated system allows groomers to set up recurring payments for memberships. The easier this service is for grooming clients, the more likely they are to book.
As customer satisfaction and retention levels increase, pet salon owners will likely see a corresponding increase in revenue. An MIT study found that customers are willing to pay up to 100 percent more when they are putting purchases on a credit card4. Any investment in integrating credit card processing will quickly be offset by revenue growth as customers increase their spending.
Savvy pet salon owners shouldn’t lose out on an opportunity to improve customer satisfaction, increase revenue, improve security and better manage their grooming business overall. A simple change of investing in an integrated credit card processor can be critical to business growth.
Jeff Blackman serves as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer at DaySmart Software, the leading provider of business management software driving small business growth. Jeff has more than 15 years of experience in accounting and finance and previously served as Chief Financial Officer at ForeSee Results, Inc along with HelloWorld, Inc. He served on the Board of Directors for Valassis and provided strategic and financial guidance for its majority and minority owned subsidiaries. Jeff was named a finalist for Crain’s CFO of the Year Award in 2007 and in 2009 along with being the founder of Detroit’s CFO Forum, a monthly forum in which CFOs share best practices. Jeff received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Master of Business Administration Finance and Corporate Strategy from the University of Michigan. Twitter: @daysmartinc