The Simple Competitive Advantage Hidden in Payment Methods
One way to distinguish yourself in the market is to accept more (or fewer) methods of payment than your competitors do.
Costco distinguishes itself by accepting only cash, check, or debit. By doing this, they eliminate merchant fees and pass on the savings to their customers.
It’s inconvenient, but the inconvenience comes with a benefit: bigger savings.
Other businesses differentiate themselves by offering many different ways to pay. A good example might be an online business that accepts PayPal, debit card, and just about every type of credit card on planet earth.
Service Businesses Can Offer More Payment Methods
If you are in a service business (like freelance copywriting), you have the advantage of being able to offer even more payment options than an online store.
For example, you could barter your services for a product or another service. By doing this, you avoid the income taxes you would have had to pay had you accepted dollars and then used those dollars to buy the same product or service.
Michael Norton, the former president of the Zig Ziglar organization, recently experimented with bartering his own services. He writes in my local paper: “I also found out that the barter system is alive and well, and quite possibly thriving in the current economic climate.”
I have not often bartered, but I’m not opposed to it when it makes sense.
How Can You Pay Me? Let Me Count the Ways…
If you’ve considered hiring me for a copywriting project, let me list all the ways you can pay me:
- Cash (bills, coins, or both)
- Check (personal or certified)
- Wire Transfer (my favorite)
- Credit card (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX)
- PayPal (not my favorite)
- Dwolla (better than PayPal)
- Bitcoins (yep, I’ll take ’em)
- Dinars (you can even save 20%)
- Silver (rounds and bars)
- Gold (rounds and bars)
As you can see, I’m not very picky… at least not yet.
With the recent theft of depositors’ savings in Cyprus, I suspect people will continue to lose faith in banks and move their wealth out of national currencies and into things like silver, gold, and even Bitcoins.
It’s food for thought.
Ultimately, the payment methods you accept (or don’t accept) set you apart and can give you a competitive advantage. Think carefully about how this applies to your own business.
-Ryan M. Healy