eCommerce systems can be a huge asset to electricians, by assisting with invoicing, online booking systems and even book keeping services. Setting them up can help streamline business activities through the life of a customer, from booking a job through to final payment.
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There are many apps and software programs available to help you create digital invoices direct from a job site. Depending on your size, you might be looking for an app direct from the App Store or Google Play, however, larger businesses may see the value in a fully integrated software program that connects all aspects of the job.
If you’re interested in an app based system, you can try something simple such as Electrician Pro, which enables you to create invoices and send them from a mobile device. Larger apps on smart phones and desktop computers are also available to integrate more of the job management process in one place, such as Service M8, Harvest, and Wave Mobile.
If you’re looking for a larger system, cloud bases software systems such as Fresh Books, Xero, and simPRO can connect with your current accounting software and offer a complete management system. These systems are generally more expensive, as they can contain features you don’t need, however they are an excellent way to connect the many aspects of your business, from job management, to invoicing and inventory management.
Payment Gateway Services vs. Third-Party Processors
When you’re ready to take payments online, you will need to consider a reliable and secure way to accept payments. One such method is a Payment Gateway Service.
A Payment Gateway Service (PGS) is a link between your website and your merchant account. Think of the PGS like this: imagine paying for groceries at the grocery store – you place your credit card into the EFTPOS terminal and swipe it. The terminal processes the transaction on behalf of the grocery store and transfers funds to the store. A PGS operates in the same way, but instead of using a physical EFTPOS terminal, you use a virtual one in a secure section of your website.
To use a PGS you will be required to have a merchant accounts with a bank. Most major banks now have a Payment Gateway Service that they can offer business owners, so you might like to discuss this with them to see how it could work for your business. Payment Gateway Australia has a great breakdown of individual PGS providers that can help you decide on which one is best for your business.
A third-party processor operates in a different way to a payment gateway. The benefit of these services is that you may not need a merchant account or payment gateway to use them. Third-party processors include eWay, SecurePay, PayPal and Amazon Payments. These systems are less expensive in the short term and are generally quicker to set up than a payment gateway, however they generally do not process funds daily, so it can take some time to receive payment. Third-party processors take payment on your behalf, so you do not require a secure section of your website to take payment.
Online Booking Systems
Although not directly linked to payment, online booking systems can help to make your entire customer journey easier, not just for your for the customers but also for your staff. A lot of eCommerce systems contain job management softwares that enable you to streamline the entire customer process, from booking the job through to accepting payment.
When implementing an eCommerce solution, it is worth checking with your shortlist of providers as to whether or not their software includes an online booking function. Potentially, you could save a lot of time and money using one streamlined system. Additionally, some online booking systems such as Zendesk and Ocoos can integrate with external eCommerce systems.
Tips for the Electrical Industry
Build your brand
Tell your customers in advance about the system you are using
For everyone who doesn’t like using online payments, you’re bound to find someone who does! A transparent payment policy can help show your customers that you’re committed to making their role in the payment process as simple as possible. See our eCommerce Case Study with electrical contracting business Beel Electrical for their strategy for telling customers about their on site, on completion payment policy.