Online payments are big business. Whether it’s ordering office furniture, paying National Insurance contributions or booking conference tickets, online payments have streamlined business processes and created a lucrative industry in the process.
So why isn’t the business centre industry switching on to online payments?
In today’s web-wise world of Wi-Fi, mobile technology and online shopping, using the Internet is like second nature. And for web-savvy businesses that rely on the internet for everything from advertising and recruitment to booking train tickets, many business centres that still collect clients’ payments by cheque are standing out for all the wrong reasons.
Of course it’s easy to ask clients to set up a direct debit through their bank. But with the growth of alternative forms of flexible office space such as coworking, shared space and hot-desking, it could prove to be an admin nightmare if your staff are left chasing up payments for coworkers and drop-in hotdeskers. Imagine if you fill your shared space with 15 different workers per day. That’s great news for your coworking community – but less so for your finance team.
And it’s not just about online payments. Just like reserving train tickets, online bookings is another opportunity that much of the industry is missing out on. Granted, clients probably won’t book 20-workstation offices over the internet just yet. But with the rise of coworking and mobile working trends, business centres can open up their space to Gen-Y businesses by introducing smart online booking and payment systems.
And thanks to advances in online payment technology, your business centre can do just that.
RJmetis, a supplier of business centre management systems and a familiar name within the flexible office space industry, has developed a new system to help business centres boost their revenue by selling space online. SpaceDadi is a handy little tool that enables centres to sell office, coworking and meeting room space online. The software receives bookings in a real-time calendar, automatically generates invoices and takes secure online payments.
The challenge facing workspace providers is managing multiple online sales channels, but with a system such as SpaceDadi, this all-in solution takes care of the end-to-end process, along with all the back office details.
Why are online bookings and payments so important?
According to the World Payments Report 2011, credit and debit cards remain the preferred non-cash payment method with a global share of more than 40% in most markets. Cheque usage is declining rapidly, which the report claims is “a clear indicator of the global shift toward electronic payments”.
This has not only seen the online payment industry grow, but has also created new opportunities for alternative forms of payment systems.
Take iZettle for instance. It’s a small card-reader that plugs into a mobile device, such as an Android smartphone or iPad, and scans a customer’s credit card for instant online purchasing. Square is another one. It was created by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey, so it’s no surprise that it’s making rapid progress in the United States.
In today’s on-demand world, we want everything yesterday – and fast systems and payment methods are becoming a must in today’s fast-paced world of business. The rise of coworking and mobile working is closely aligned with advances in mobile technology – and as technology advances, the need to shift to online bookings and payments becomes ever more apparent. Businesses that want to get ahead and maximise their revenues need to switch on to online payments and technologies, or risk losing out to their competitors.