Following on from our previous post, we want to continue to take a look at platforms that will help you with sales automation. Last time we looked at 1ShoppingCart and Infusionsoft, today we want to look at Paypal and Office Autopilot.
You may remember that last time we talked about whether you need a payment gateway or a shopping cart; Paypal is neither of those things, it is simply a means of collecting money on your site. The difference with a payment gateway is that it links through to your business bank account. Once you have a business bank account you can apply to be an approved merchant for accepting credit card payments. Once that is in place, you need the payment gateway on your site which will accept those payments and send them to your bank account. With Paypal, you are simply collecting money into your Paypal account by linking that onto your site.
The advantage of a payment gateway over Paypal comes when you are well-established online and making many sales. The payment gateway will allow you to accept credit card payments without the same extent of fees that Paypal charges per transaction. Paypal is great if you are starting out though, it is simple and a safe system. Also, to set it up is free and you do not have ongoing monthly costs. You are debited fees only when you sell products and money comes into your account.
Another great thing about Paypal is that it integrates with virtually every email platform out there that you may be using to manage lists for your website (e.g. AWeber, MailChimp etc). This means that when a transaction goes through Paypal, the details of the customer will automatically be captured by your email program so that they are added to your list. This is true automation! It saves you from having to log into Paypal, find details and manually add them to your list.
Office Autopilot is what we use in our business and we love this program! Basically, like Infusionsoft it manages emails, data and sales forms. You can link Office Autopilot to your payment gateway or to Paypal. This means that when a customer fills out a sales form on your site, they will be linked through to whatever your payment system is, but at the same time Office Autopilot will capture their details so that you are able to keep in contact with your customers. A valuable marketing tool!
We love Office Autopilot but it is certainly not a program for everyone. It is a monthly subscription with packages starting at $297 so would not be for you if you are just starting out and don’t have a large number of people on email lists. However, we love the flexibility and multiple functions that it performs and recommend it to those with more established online businesses.
Let’s take a look at payment gateways; what is out there and what kind of money are people paying to use them? Starting out with a commonly used platform; eway is certainly one of the most popular in Australia. They will actually help out by doing paperwork with your bank to set up the gateway and their fees start at $AUD345 per year. Their transaction fees are less than Paypal but of course, as you are paying a flat annual fee, this is why you should be looking at a gateway only once you are established and making enough sales to make the fees worth it.
There are many payment gateway and shopping cart options available out there. Our aim was just to look at a few and what kinds of features and fees you can expect from them. The important thing to do if you are looking at sales automation is to do some research and figure out what will be right for you.