By Nikky Kuykendall
Direct sales organizations often face unique payment challenges when it comes to accepting and processing customer payments. It can be difficult to find a reliable and revenue-effective way of collecting customer payments, especially when customers are spread across multiple countries.
But failing to successfully manage your payment stack could lead to consequences for your business’ bottom line. In this blog post, we’ll discuss strategies for overcoming direct sales payment challenges, ensuring you’re able to accept consumer payments quickly and securely while maximizing profitability.
Payment Challenges for Direct Sales
Unlike traditional business models, direct sales operations can be complex, making it challenging to process payments efficiently. With intricate compensation plans, diverse product offerings, and multiple sales channels, direct sales require unique payment processing solutions.
Direct sellers often deal with a high number of chargebacks, which may result from unsatisfied customers, product returns, and recurring payments. In addition to this, direct sellers are susceptible to more fraud risks due to their wide global reach and large transaction volumes.
If that weren’t enough, direct selling entities need to navigate a range of industry regulations and standards, such as Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). Managing this can be daunting due to the tedious bureaucracy involved and the increased responsibility of meeting recommended safety requirements to protect confidential customer data.
Despite these challenges, direct selling companies play a crucial role in the global economy, providing countless people with professional opportunities and products that they love. However, for your organization to operate effectively, you must be knowledgeable about payments.
Start-ups may not realize all that can and may happen due to a lack of payment solutions, but very quickly growing companies come to understand that understanding the payment ecosystem and the solutions available are valuable to preserving revenue and reducing customer and distributor friction.
Tips for Understanding Payment Processing
Payment processing is an essential part of the sales process. While direct sellers benefit tremendously from understanding the process from start to finish, it’s impossible to master such a complicated and nuanced subject in a short amount of time. So to get you started, we encourage you to focus on increasing your understanding of the following aspects of payment processing.
To make informed decisions about your business operations, it’s important to understand different payment methods available. These include credit card, debit card, ACH, alternative payment methods (PayPal, ApplePay, etc.) and others. Accepting multiple payment methods can increase the likelihood of making a sale, but each method comes with its own criteria. You’ll need to be able to weigh the pros and cons of each method and understand how to add those to your payment stack to make the right decisions for your business.
It’s also important that direct sales organizations stay aware of and comply with relevant regulations and laws related to payments. One such regulation that cannot be ignored is the PCI DSS, which provides guidelines on how to handle sensitive information related to credit and debit card payments. Make sure that the back office and front offices you work with that handle any payments piece meet the criteria for compliance as well. Additionally, the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) requires that companies follow specific procedures when dealing with billing errors and disputes.
Non-compliance with either of these regulations can lead to serious consequences, including fines and legal action. You must take these regulations seriously in order to protect the integrity and security of your business operations.
Chargebacks can be a significant problem for direct selling businesses. When a customer is dissatisfied with a product, receives a damaged product, or wants to return an item, it can lead to transaction disputes and, ultimately, chargebacks.
This is can be a costly issue. For example, you may have already paid out commissions to a distributor or affiliate and then find yourself dealing with the chargeback fees along with repaying those commissions. To minimize this possibility, it’s important to understand the causes of transaction disputes and take measures to prevent them. In addition it is important to develop a clear and customer friendly return policy that helps your distributors to navigate returns so they don’t escalate to chargebacks. This includes training for internal teams to make sure customer facing contact points understand the policy and resolution process as well.
According to a recent study, every dollar lost in a fraudulent transaction actually costs businesses $3.75. Since direct selling is an industry that is prone to fraud, this is an aspect of payment processing you really cannot afford to ignore.
With the widespread use of digital payment methods and global reach, fraudsters have more opportunities than ever to exploit payment systems. They use stolen credit card information to place fake orders or make unauthorized purchases, resulting in chargebacks and losses for businesses.
To protect yourself, you need to evaluate your current fraud prevention measures and invest in new ones as needed. Smaller companies may not have a fraud or risk team in place, so utilizing additional fraud prevention tools in your payments stack can add revenue protection as you grow. This could include implementing automated fraud detection and utilizing customer identity verification tools. Failure to do so could result in significant financial losses and damage to the company’s reputation. Companies can be taken down by successful fraud attempts, so having a prevention solution is vital.
Direct selling organizations that operate in multiple countries need to manage and support multiple currencies. From foreign exchange (FX) conversions to like-for-like settlements, increasing your understanding of international payment processing can help you optimize your operational efficiency and maximize your revenue.
As you grow your business you may want to add additional markets and countries and with a multi-currency solution you can do that without having a business entity in a foreign country, but still process the payment in the local currency without cross-border fees and increased declines if you were to try to process in US dollars.
Keep in mind that not every payment processor is set up to handle international payments. You need to have a robust infrastructure to support your multi-country operations.
Strategies for Success
Despite the many payment challenges that direct sellers face, it is very possible to be successful in this space. Incorporating the following strategies can help you achieve long-term success.
Create a Well-Structured Payment Stack
As a direct sales business owner, ensuring that your payment process is well-structured is crucial to the success of your operation. A well-designed payment stack will streamline the customer buying experience and increase their trust in your business. It will also help you to manage transactions more efficiently, reducing the risk of errors and financial losses. Your payment stack should utilize the following eight components:
- Connectivity — Expand into new markets with access to a global network of processors and gateways.
- Security — Protect your sales and customers by preventing fraud and reducing chargebacks.
- Recovery — Save lost sales and reduce decline rates.
- Adaptability — Keep your payment stack modern with access to new technologies and connections.
- Control — Avoid gateway lock-in by controlling your data and tokens.
- Optimization — Make transactions smart to increase authorization rates and minimize processing costs.
- Redundancy — Create contingency plans for declined transactions, gateway outages, and processor disputes.
- Optionality — Command your payments destiny by maintaining gateway and processor choice.
Invest in the Right Processor and Technology
For direct selling businesses, finding the right payment processor is crucial to streamline their financial processes and pave the way to growth. The ideal processor is one that has in-depth expertise in your industry and can offer personalized support to overcome the challenges you may face. A reliable and stable partner is also essential to build long-term relationships with customers and avoid any potential disruptions.
Having the right features and tools at hand will enable you to automate payments, manage commissions, and reduce administrative work. By carefully evaluating and selecting the right payment processor, you can take your direct selling business to the next level and achieve your goals.
Implement Fraud Protection
Fraud protection is of utmost importance for direct selling organizations. Fraudulent activities can cause major financial losses, harm your company’s reputation, and result in legal repercussions. Here are some effective measures you can implement to detect and prevent fraud in your payment processes:
- KYC (Know Your Customer) checks — You should perform KYC checks to verify the identity of your sales representatives and ensure that they are legitimate. This can include checks on government-issued identification documents, bank statements, and other financial records.
- Fraud detection software — Fraud detection software can be used to analyze transaction data in real-time, identify anomalies and suspicious activities, and alert your company to potential fraud. This software can use machine learning algorithms, rule-based systems, and other advanced techniques to detect and prevent fraud. This can be added to your payments stack.
- Card verification — To prevent fraud, direct selling organizations should use card verification processes like Card Verification Value (CVV) and Address Verification Service (AVS) checks to confirm payment card authenticity.
- Employee training — It is important to train employees, distributors, and affiliates on identifying and reporting possible fraud. You also need to ensure they understand your company’s fraud prevention policies and procedures. By doing so, the risk of fraud from both internal and external sources can be decreased.
- Regular monitoring — You should regularly monitor their payment processes to detect and prevent fraud. This can include reviewing transaction data, analyzing trends and patterns, and performing internal audits.
- 3D Secure (3DS) — 3DS is a security protocol designed to add an extra layer of protection to online payments. It verifies a customer’s identity with a unique passcode or biometric authentication before processing the payment. You can add this to your payment stack.
Focus on Distributor and User Experience
To ensure repeat business and increase customer satisfaction, it’s crucial to create an easy, user-friendly, and convenient payment experience. With the abundance of options available in the market, customers expect no less than seamless and hassle-free payments. It’s imperative for direct sellers to keep up with this trend and offer a payment experience that is both simple and user-friendly. By making the payment process as frictionless as possible, you can do more to earn the trust and loyalty of customers, ensuring a long-term relationship and repeat business.
In addition, distributors and affiliates are the backbone of any successful direct selling business. You want to ensure they can set their own payout schedule to help them stay motivated and enthusiastic. Investing in a quality payout provider helps your individual distributors and your entire company find sustainable success.
A well-planned payment stack, chosen with insight and care, can make the process a great deal easier. With the right understanding of payment processors, fraud protection, and an emphasis on user experience, direct sales companies can tackle their unique payment challenges head-on.
Keep in mind that forming a partnership with a processor and API provider can help you to be aware of holes you may have in your current stack, provide solutions for technology developments in payments, and help determine where you could be capturing more or lost revenue.
Fortunately, Nexio has years of expertise in designing flexible payment stacks for direct sales companies so they can focus on revenue growth without sacrificing security or performance. If you are interested in transforming your customer payments system into one that is secure, reliable and efficient — contact Nexio today!