Ecommerce tools have surged in popularity over the past nine months as businesses adjust to a changing economy and new consumer demands. Adding omnichannel retail and payment solutions makes your business more adaptable and resilient. In this series, we'll share the payment tools you need to get paid online.
Online Invoicing is a simple and secure way to help your business get paid.
Whether your business relies solely on sending invoices to get paid, or you only have to send them periodically to select clients, online invoicing is a great tool to have in your business arsenal.
A powerful online invoicing tool should be a part of your payments toolkit. Having access to online payment tools that allow your business to pivot and adapt to changing business conditions helps give you an edge over your competition while making your business more resilient. Of course, we're a bit biased, but we believe that choosing an invoicing tool with built-in payments that syncs with the rest of your merchant account is the way to go. Not only do built-in payments help you get paid faster, having all the information in one place makes it easier to reconcile your books and review your accounting and you only have to pay for one service.
All types of businesses regularly use online invoicing, including B2B companies, service providers, rental companies, contractors, lawyers, and more. Sending an invoice makes it easy to collect payment for all types of work including hours worked, the cost of goods, tools, or licenses needed to complete a project, the cost of products, deposits, lump-sum payments, or recurring expenses. You can even set up your online store to create invoices when customer orders are submitted instead of asking for payment at checkout. For example, if you are a wholesaler or if your business needs to review orders before they can be confirmed.
What Online Invoicing Can Help You Do
Email Invoices to Clients: Most online invoicing solutions include the ability to quickly email customers a copy of the invoice. If you have customer profiles setup in your account, their email address should automatically populate when creating the invoice, further streamlining your process. Sending emails is convenient for you and your customers because it makes it easy for your customer to review and then respond at their convenience. You can use the email function to send reminders when an invoice is due or a customer has missed a payment date as a gentle reminder to them to submit their payment.
Send Payment Requests: When you send a payment request, you're essentially sending an invoice to your customer through an alternative, simpler method. You can send payment requests right to their phone via SMS or text message, which some customers might consider even more convenient than receiving an emailed invoice. When your customer receives the payment request, it will include a link to view the purchase details and enter their payment information to complete the payment.
Set Up Recurring Invoicing: Some invoicing tools will include the ability to take an existing invoice and turn it into a recurring plan for your customers. If you want to offer a product or service as a monthly package paid for each month, you can make an online invoice a recurring invoice to help automate your billing. Examples of businesses that might want to use recurring invoicing include house cleaners, coffee subscription clubs, massage therapists, or estheticians. You can specify how often you bill your customer and how long the plan continues. The flexibility included with recurring invoicing makes it adaptable for many different types of business. For example, a lawn care service could offer a semi-monthly lawn care package for the months of June-September and only have to create the initial invoice in June. The recurring invoicing will bill the customer twice a month so they can focus on delivering their services, not chasing down payments.
Send Estimates and Quotes: Depending on your business, you might need to send an estimate or quote for the work to your clients before you can send an actual invoice. Your online invoicing tool should allow you to create different types of invoices to meet your business needs. Being able to easily edit existing estimates and quotes can help you maintain clear communication with your clients, so there are no surprises or unexpected expenses when the project or work is complete.
Accept Online Payments: One of the most important things online invoicing should help you do is accept payments quickly. That's why you should look for an invoicing tool that has payments built-in. When your invoicing tool has built-in payments, you can send an invoice that includes a Pay Now button so customers can submit payment right away, and you don't have to worry about getting a hold of them on the phone or chasing down your payments.
Benefits of Online Invoicing
Included with your account: Some payment processors now offer invoicing software for small businesses, so you don't need to find a secondary provider, have to reconcile payments from two different platforms, or pay extra to access the tools you need. If you choose a provider that charges for invoicing be sure to confirm whether they charge per invoice sent, if your plan has a monthly limit, or if you just need to pay for additional features that you may or may not need.
Free to send: As long as invoicing is included in your plan, it won't cost your business anything to email an invoice to a customer and as long as your payment processor offers competitive payment processing rates, that's all you'll have to pay when your customer submits their payment. Going the digital route for invoicing helps to save you money on stamps, office supplies, and of course, your time as you don't need to worry about mailing out invoices or delivering items to customers. Simply click send, and your invoice is on its way.
It's Easy for Customers to Pay: As long as your online invoicing includes built-in payments, it should be relatively easy for customers to enter their payment details. Emailed invoices will include a link to submit payment so you can quickly collect payment when invoices are due. If your customers need a gentle reminder that they have an outstanding invoice, you can send an Invoice Due Reminder to let them know. These due reminders can be sent in batches all at once, giving you an efficient, automated process for following up on overdue payments.
Track all Your Payments From One Account: When your payment processor also offers invoicing functionality, it is easier for your business to reconcile all its payments and transactions because everything is coming from one account. Having all your information in one place makes it easier to pull reports for your bookkeeper or accountant and helps ensure that you're not misplacing a payment or trying to hunt down where a payment went.
Saves You Time: Online invoicing is fast and easy. You can create, send, and accept payment all from one place. Having one centralized account for everything streamlines your business processes and makes it easier to follow-up with customers when you need to. We know that running a business is time-consuming and that your to-do list is never-ending. Using Online Invoicing can help you free up time so you can focus on other things.
Access From Anywhere: One of the most convenient aspects of choosing digital tools for your business is how you can access your information from anywhere you have access to the internet. If you're still using paper invoices, you might need to go to the office to check on the status of a payment or confirm the details. With online invoicing, you log in to your account from wherever you are to update your customer or accept payment. Whether you're relaxing on a beach or staying home due to a snowstorm, all your business information is right at your fingertips.
Insightful Reporting: A benefit to using digital tools is that they often include useful reporting metrics to help you track your sales, which products you sold, and give you insights into your customer's shopping habits. Being able to pull reports and sort by date sold, client, and status can help you identify business trends and better plan for the future.
Professionalism: Being able to send your customers a fully branded online invoice that includes payment tools helps you maintain your professionalism and gain trust from new clients. After all, what would you rather receive, a beautiful online invoice that makes it easy for you to submit payment to a new business? Or a physical invoice with no easy way to submit payment?
Who Can Use Online Invoicing?
Online Invoicing can help any business that is currently sending traditional invoices to get paid faster and streamline their processes. There are a lot of other types of businesses that might only need to send invoices periodically or who could benefit from including invoicing as one of their payment tools.
Here are just a few examples of the types of businesses that might benefit from online invoicing:
- Digital or Creative Agencies that want to send an estimate before beginning a project and an invoice when the work is complete or set up monthly retainers for clients using recurring invoicing.
- Professional Services providers who prefer to send online invoices to clients once they complete work or service for them.
- Home-Based Businesses, for everything from massage therapy, esthetics, consultants, and more who need an easy way to request payment from clients and track their incoming payments.
- Service Providers who are on the go and busy meeting clients including cleaners, plumbers, window washers, and more who need a way to request payment once the job is done, and who might be completing work without interacting directly with their customers.
- Businesses that need to collect a deposit or downpayment to begin work. Including mechanics, landscapers, and property management companies.
- Wholesalers that need to send net 30 invoices to customers for large bulk orders.
- Automotive shops that want to accept deposits before ordering parts for large jobs or send an estimate to a client of what a new job might cost them.
Of course, there are many more examples of businesses using online invoicing to get paid faster. These are just a few examples to get you thinking about how online invoicing might be able to help your business.
What Features Should Your Online Invoicing Tool Include?
If you're evaluating the different online invoicing solutions that are available, there are a few features we think you should consider when making your selection. First, select a payment provider that offers online invoicing as a built-in tool with integrated payments. With so many payment providers offering online invoicing as part of their built-in tools, it doesn't make sense to pay extra to access that functionality. Choosing an invoicing tool with integrated payments means your customers can submit payment through your invoice, and your payment processor will then deposit them into your account. Sending an invoice without integrated payments will increase the time it takes for a customer to submit payment, and you'll end up spending more of your time trying to chase down overdue payments.
Just like payments, email functionality should be built-in. While it seems small, the ability to click send and immediately deliver an invoice to your customer's inbox will save you a lot of time in the long run. Automated emails also help you avoid forgotten attachments, mix up in file downloads, and having to reference multiple accounts to confirm an invoice was sent.
Next, look for a provider that includes unlimited online invoicing with your account. There's nothing worse than getting to the end of the month and realizing you've reached your limit for invoices or need to pay extra to keep sending invoices to customers. By selecting a provider who offers unlimited invoices, you can be confident that your payment tools can continue to support you as your business grows.
You'll also want to look for an online invoicing tool that offers customization options. Being able to choose your font, upload your logo, or add a custom thank you message helps your business look professional every time you interact with your customers.
Ready to Try Online Invoicing?
If your business wants to accept credit and debit cards in-person or online, Helcim provides honest, transparent, and affordable credit card processing that stands out in the industry. Our Interchange Plus pricing is widely regarded as the most honest and affordable billing method in the industry and merchants love our five-star customer service.
Every Helcim account includes access to our full suite of built-in payment tools including online invoicing. Create and send an unlimited amount of fully customizable invoices with integrated payments so you can get paid faster.