The craft brewing industry is based on doing things in a more innovative and personal way than the multinational brewing brands. One area where they often lag behind their larger competitors is in payment technology. While the big brands allow customers purchase their product online, via a mobile swiper at events, or via technologies like Apple Pay, most craft breweries are either not accepting credit cards at all, or where they are, still exclusively via a traditional countertop terminal.
In this article we’ll cover four ways that small and mid-sized businesses, particularly craft brewing businesses can creatively and cost-effectively use one of those payment technologies in their businesses, mobile payments (a.k.a. pay via a mobile phone).
As an e-mail contact list builder
Successful craft brewing businesses are about developing and fostering relationships with customers. And one of the best ways to do that is via a growing email contact list. A well crafted email campaign can create brand loyalty, as well as increase the number of customers showing up to special events.
Using a mobile swiper when accepting payments, whether in-store or on the road, makes adding contacts to that list easy, as customers who want to receive an emailed receipt can also be asked whether they want to be added to your email list to hear about special events and discounts. Then with a simple click, it’s done.
A means of saving money
A big hurdle for craft breweries to adopting new payment technology, like most small and mid-sized businesses, is the upfront cost. Unlike the big brands, craft breweries tend to have less free cash flow and less access to traditional bank credit. But over the last five years, the price of mobile payments has fallen so far, and so fast, that they’re now cheaper than a traditional countertop terminal. Whereas a new traditional terminal will cost you $200-$300, mobile swipers range from free to $50.
So some small breweries, even those that do monthly credit card sales in excess of $10,000 per month, are opting to save money up front by foregoing a terminal altogether and just using a mobile swiper. For breweries processing under $2,500 per month in credit card sales, that might mean using a product like, Square, at 2.75 percent per swipe and $0 per month, or PayPal Here at 2.70 percent per swipe and $0 per month. While for companies doing over $2,500 per month that means using a company like CardConnect, at 1.90 percent per swipe, $10 per month, and an annual $99 charge.
As a line buster during high-traffic periods
A Duke University study into consumer behavior indicated that retail customers care more about the length of the line, rather than the number of employees working behind the counter. That is to say, customers will abandon a line if the line appears long, no matter how fast it’s moving.
Thus, as a business that sees short bursts of high-demand, craft breweries can use mobile swipers to have team members instantly create new registers throughout your space and quickly divide up the line into multiple shorter lines. That, it turns out, is a better alternative than deploying those same staff at one register in an attempt to speed up each transaction.
As a backup payment acceptance system
Traditional wired countertop terminals run via an internet or phone line, and as a result are susceptible to outages in those systems. As we’re all aware, those systems tend to go down at the most inconvenient times. Mobile swipers, by contrast operate on cell tower signals. While they are slightly slower transactions, they have very good uptime. When you’re otherwise unable to accept credit card payments, having a mobile option means that you can effectively stay open for business. It’s not ideal, but it’s a whole lot better than turning away paying customers.
This is just a small sampling of the ways in which craft brewing businesses can use mobile payments to improve their payment acceptance processes, and doesn’t even touch on the additional benefits of being able to take payments remotely, or eliminating customer invoicing and debt collection by enabling payment at the time of product delivery.
In conclusion, mobile payments are already big, they’re predicted to generate $72 billion in payments by 2017 and are growing at 35 percent per year. And when used correctly and creatively, they can be an improvement to the way your craft brewing business currently operates.