Is e-commerce Brick and Mortar ready for merchants?
I’m coming to the conclusion, after speaking with a lot of people that have more expertise than me, that e-commerce might not be developed enough, to be cost-effective for a small to medium size brick and mortar business, carrying a large SKU inventory and accepts traditional card payments. But so far, I’ve only taken a close look at: Woo Commerce, Foxy Shop/Cart, Square and Shopify (let’s call them ECP’s for e-commerce platforms).
Even if ECP’s can handle the inventory management, the fee structure for payment processing is also an issue. Even at a flat 2.75%, a medium size operation (let’s say $million/year) is going to pay more in fees from my computations. My clients averaged effective card rate is around 3% with their MSP (they thought it was 1.69%*). But, with ECP’s per item fee and monthly plan fees, it’s a wash on the high side, except for Square which is slightly less (excluding new POS hardware and my development time).
One of the up-sides I learned from Square, is that an online order from them does not count as a card-not-present transaction, and subsequently does not trigger the additional 0.75 (3.5%) rate for the manual entry of the card information (i.e. taking an order of the phone).
As far as inventory goes, I predict FileMaker Pro will move into this void, with its 13th edition data base. Or, maybe it already has, with its developers. It has cloud iPad synchronization and cross-desktop platform OS compatibility. FileMaker also happens to be an Apple subsidiary, so integration with the iPad should be seamless. FM dates back to sometime before 1989, when I bought my first FileMaker 3.0.
This is probably TMI, but I’m going to open this up to a broader conversation. I might be back to Square one. Pun intended.
P.S. Paypal is not an option since my clients business category is not allowed by them.
* Most merchants are paying more than they think. The MSP statements are cryptic in the itemization, and the contracts are misleading in the rate structure. I divide the total processing fees by the total sales processed to get their effective rate for payment card processing.
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