Simplicity Defines the Small Business Online Payments Playbook

Moving a business online can be rewarding as enterprises reach broader audiences, sometimes global in scope, and expand their revenue opportunities with online payments.

But challenges persist, whether it’s a small bakery establishing a digital storefront or a high-end computer retailer offering the ultimate “build it or buy it” online shopping experience. 

An ideal customer experience that sets the stage for repeat business can be created with the right choice of payments gateway — and by harnessing data, as Alex Burgin, vice president of, and David Larsen, head of marketing and eCommerce at Xidax PCs, told Karen Webster during the latest installment of the Visa SMBTV Series.

Read more: Visa: Behind-the-Scenes Collaboration Needed to Create eCommerce ‘Magic’ for Small Businesses

High-Level Strategy and Pillars

No matter the business, several pillars support a successful online strategy, Burgin said. Any business needs a simple, clean and easily navigable website. The shopping cart should be simple, too, leading directly to a wealth of payment options.

As Burgin said, “Wherever people shop, they crave convenience. They may want to pay online, in-person or over the phone. They have preferences for what payment types they want to use,” including digital wallets. “Offering multiple payment options is one of the best ways to ensure a positive client experience.”

Xidax offers a case study here, they said, as a critical step involves understanding end users’ expectations and preferences.

“Gaming is a culture,” said Larsen, who added that when companies and sites are engaging with them, “they can recognize an imposter from a mile away. We had to come up with methodologies of making sure that we stayed in tune with what they actually wanted and needed and confirm that we have been honoring that gaming culture.”

Data — offering insight into what those customers want, what they need, and how they want to pay — offers the ways and means of converting browsers into buyers. And converting buyers into long-standing loyalists.

Along with payments choice, there needs to be a payment gateway ( among them) that can take those payment credentials as they are presented, verify the funds — while battling fraud, as small businesses remain evergreen targets for bad actors — and ultimately allow the merchant to send out goods or deliver services while collecting funds owed.

At a high level, Burgin said, “whether it’s a lemonade stand on the side of the road, or a complex PC computer company, every business needs to accept payments. And at the core, every business needs to think about what their digital presence looks like and how they interact with their clients.”

Web of Online Interactions

Larsen noted that the customer profile for his firm is different than might be seen elsewhere in eCommerce, given the fact that Xidax sells relatively expensive products — from the low end to the high end. It’s critical to engage with the consumer throughout what can be a browsing/buying and building process for the PCs that can stretch out for months.

Xidax allows users to save their configurations as they explore different gaming setups, allows them to see what stations their peers have been building, and interacts with customers (including across social media channels) to alert them of different technical combinations available, he said.

For consumers who may be reluctant to commit to closing the sale, Larsen said that SMS and other alerts include announcements, promotions and financing offers that might, in his words, “tip them over the edge towards making that purchase.”

Larsen said that his firm’s partnership with has incorporated data management and data tracking (including IP and shipping address analysis) to uncover the most promising customers, as well as battle fraud and chargebacks, which can have a significant impact on companies like Xidax that sell high-end products.

Keeping Out Fraudsters

As Larsen told Webster, “After a couple of fraud instances, we realized we could easily go out of business … for a small business such as ours, it’s hard to have the manpower to manage things like fraud prevention.”

Data management has also been a boon in developing long-lived, sticky customer relationships by building comfort and trust, he said. can manage the fraud, payments and data collection side of the business, so the gaming firm itself can focus on customer profiles.

There can be a lag time, Larsen said — stretching across two or three years — before a first-time buyer on the site is ready to make another purchase. Along the way, their income can increase, and they may be interested in an upgrade down the line.

Data Fuels Customer Service

“We’ve kept the customer service completely in-house,” said Larsen, who added that consistent engagement with Xidax staff (all of them gamers) means that the firm knows exactly what the customer needs.

Burgin said solutions, including’s Customer Information Manager, which help merchants store sensitive customer payment information data, can assist with payment card industry compliance and also ensure that when a customer returns to a site, they are recognized and verified so that the commerce experience itself is seamless.

“This creates a repeat buyer,” who ultimately becomes a brand ambassador for the company, Larsen said.

Asked by Webster what advice he would offer a small business looking to make a big splash online, Larsen said, “I would say don’t wait throughout your website development process to integrate all of your marketing and tracking — and don’t wait to find the right payment solution.”