How to Follow Up Non-Payments in an Online Sales Business
If you work online and are regularly collecting payment directly, in your bank account or via PayPal, it can cause a lot of difficulties when you don't receive payment within a short time frame. If you have a lot of items unpaid for, that stock is taking up space and reducing the number of items you can order in for other paying customers.
Although as a business owner you may be worried about your brand reputation, it's important to remember that not all customers are good for your business. If you spend too much time pandering to the demands of your argumentative and slow-paying customers, you'll end up losing good customers who are happy to pay immediately and not cause any hassles.
Here are some tips on handling debt collection, as well as making non-payment less of an issue.
- Set a maximum order for new customers
If you haven't dealt with them before, you may want to specify that they cannot purchase more than $25-$75 worth of items until they've had one problem-free transaction. This way, if they take a long time to pay, dispute whether a posted item arrived or demand a refund due to a problem with the product, you can cut down on your out of pocket losses.
- Specify a payment period for all orders.
Generally, 3-5 days is a good time period. If you don't receive payment, make it clear that items will go back into stock and made available to the next buyer.
- For pre-orders or backorders, ask for a non-refundable deposit before placing the order.
- Always make sure items are fully paid for either before or when you post, deliver or have the item picked up.
- If you do laybys or holds, make sure the customer is clear on how long you hold the items for and what will happen if the items are not paid for by a certain date.
- Always be clear in all communication with your customers on what your payment standards are. Include them on your website, as well as outline the information when you are confirming a customer purchase. This way, if a customer complains when their item is sold to someone else, they cannot say they were not aware of your payment system.
- If you haven't already, look into an ecommerce website which allows you to automate the sale process and requires less work to organize payments. Some ecommerce systems require a percentage of sales in return for using their platform, so make sure that you look into what value they're offering. There are many ecommerce options which allow you to pay an upfront payment without any recurring fees.
Doing business on the Internet is not always easy, but by setting up rules for payment options and enforcing them, you can save a lot of time, money and stress. As a business owner, you may find yourself in a situation in which a client or customer is refusing to pay or ignoring inquiries. If you have been in a scenario like this, you are not alone. Unfortunately, it's fairly common. Thankfully, a debt collector can help take away some of the stress involved.