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.

 

In this section:

Digital Invoicing

Payment Gateway Services vs. Third-Party Processors

Online Booking Systems

Tips for the Electrical Industry

Online Book Keeping Services

Security

 

Digital invoicing


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

eCommerce is all about trust; it’s important that you build trust with your customers before asking them to pay online. A lot of people are still cautious about using their credit card online, so you need to give them a valid reason for doing so. This is all about building trust into your brand. You can do this in a variety of ways, for example, showing customer testimonials on your website, building a brand recognition campaign on social media, and showing your customers a current privacy policy outlining how you will use their credit card data. See the ell

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.

 


Online Book Keeping Services

There is a wide range of online book keeping services available to help automate your invoicing and payment procedures. These systems can work independently from your eCommerce system, or can be integrated with it. Some of them even offer their own invoicing service. Be sure to search for a system that best suits your needs.

These software systems are generally cloud-based, enabling you to complete your book-keeping activities online on multiple devices, without the need of installing particular software systems. Systems such as MYOB, Kashoo, Xero and Intuit Quick Books all have systems designed specifically for the needs of small business.

 

Security


The Australian Guidelines for Electronic Commerce outline several steps businesses must take to ensure the safety and security of their customer’s data. The guidelines state that consumers should have access to information about your security mechanisms in a simple and clear language. This can form part of your Privacy Policy, and should be highlighted on your website. Find out more about creating a Privacy Policy in our Privacy topic.

 

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