Starting your own classifieds business that makes money, amongst other things, requires that you have a system of receiving payments for services your business offers to your customers.
The first thing that comes to mind is a simple credit card terminal-based system to allow the users of your website to pay for all kinds of services using credit cards. This is a seemingly easy-to-use solution; however, let us look at it from another perspective.
Ensuring proper security of customer payment details puts a huge burden on any website owner. Encryption mechanisms, certificates, security and vulnerability analysis of code, merchant account requirements, etc. are part of the cost of doing business correctly.
Also, as far as small payments (payment for adding a listing, buying more visibility or options), recurrent payments to renew listings, etc, customers do not like wasting time typing in CC details every time. Saving their time by allowing them to make payments more effectively and less frequently will bring you more business.
Therefore, you need a system that will allow multiple users to make one credit card payment for a number of services and options. A system of credits included in all Worksforweb products is one of several ways of achieving this objective.
Credits are virtual tokens which are used to redeem portions of prepaid funds and allocate those prepaid funds to pay for membership plans, packages, upgrade features for listings, and listing promotion options. Users are not paying for all services separately with cards. Instead, they make prepayments for certain amounts of money, and are using up these funds to pay for services on your website.
Let us look at the advantages of the credit system.
Obviously, users would not have to enter their credit card information every time they use paid services. This applies to both businesses and individual users alike. For any customer, making a single debit/credit card payment is much easier than doing it every time for a number of transactions.
Website owners incite users to purchase more credits by providing discounts on per credit price for larger credit packages. Say, offer 10 credits for $10, 50 credits for $30, and 100 credits for $50. If configured smartly, these bonus offers could bring a lot more from each customer than conventional pay-per-item systems.
In addition to that, website owners can attract more users by giving away credits, setting initial signup bonus for users of certain groups. Website administrators can issue as many credits as they feel like in order to stimulate customer interest without actually spending any real money.
Users can enable auto-extension of their listings. Once expired listings, listing features and membership plans can be re-activated automatically as long as the credit balance is positive. Customers will be happy to keep more money on their accounts just to ensure their listings are on constant display, and this means website owners get a lot of prepaid money now, and this obviously is great.
Using credits to pay for features is also convenient to users as they do not want to be bothered coming back to your website every time their listings expire, and either pay or re-enable those listings. It gives your customers one less thing to worry about, and this is a good business philosophy.
Free signup bonuses enough to post a basic listing are good promotion techniques for new customers. Website owners do not need to spend real money as giveaways for their customers. Instead, they generate demand from new listings for additional paid services and enhancements, and this is a win-win situation for both customers and website owners. The former improve visibility of their listings, and the latter make more money off their websites.
These advantages are just a few good marketing tools that do not cost you a dollar. However, if you think that what your website needs is a simple, straightforward “pay-as-you-go” deal, we also have something for you that will keep you happy.
Our Customization Department has developed a custom patch to be applied towards the default version of all our products, which “hides” the credit system on your website. Once this patch is applied, the system of credits is no longer visible on your website.
Your users will have to make separate payments for listing activation, and for every paid feature of your website directly through one of the available payment gateways. Auto-extension of subscription and listings (automatic renewals) will not work once the patch is applied.
The credit system hide patch is installed as a free customization onto any new Standard Edition installation (from v.6.0.0 and above) with active support. For existing customized websites, additional work may be required; therefore, this may be a paid customization.
Please be advised that once this customization is applied, you would not be able to upload certain upgrade patches and would have to ensure the upgrades do not interfere with this patch.
If you have any questions or would like to find out more, please contact our Sales Department for more information.
Author: Sergei K. Worksforweb Sales Department
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