Geraldine Wilson on winning sales at trade fairs and exhibits.

Small businesses or designers regularly taking part in trade fairs and exhibitions might find themselves limited by cash-only payments. No more, says WorldPay Zinc managing director Geraldine Wilson, as the growth of mobile card readers introduces a wider choice of payment options.

How many times have you been in situation where an enthusiastic would-be customer wanted to buy a piece of your jewellery but they were not carrying enough cash?


In this situation, if you do not accept card payments, you are left with two options – either dropping your price or missing out on a sale, both unhealthy for your balance sheet.

Independent jewellery designers and retailers can often feel that, as small businesses, they are not set up to handle card payments. But the opposite is true; there are a growing number of services specifically designed for small businesses that enable them to take card payments anywhere at any time, notably at a lower cost than many would anticipate.

By using Bluetooth technology and downloadable apps, iPads and iPhones, as well as Android phones and tablet devices, can be paired with a mobile card reader to accept payments, following a straightforward initial set up.

Apart from never having to miss out on a sale again, taking card payments can also help with managing cash flow. Here are just some of the ways mobile card readers can help a business:

You might find that some companies and shoppers will only do business with jewellers that can take card payments, so by opening up your payment options you can open yourself up to new customers and additional sales. It also makes your business appear modern and professional.

As mentioned, if you do not accept card payments, you are limiting yourself to the cash that customers have in their wallets. This makes it far more difficult to upsell your products, as our research has shown that the majority of consumers spend more when paying by card.

Many of your customers will already be used to paying by card for most of their purchases. Card purchases are perceived as safer thanks to protection provided by the Consumer Credit Act and Chargeback schemes. By offering the option of taking card payments, you are immediately providing peace of mind and improving your reputation. This can help separate your business from competitors and bring return custom.

If you are waiting for a payment from a customer, then allowing them to pay by card over the phone can be a quick and simple solution for both of you. Many of today’s shoppers are time pressed or have other things on their to-do list; this is especially true at trade shows or wedding events where visitors are often keen to continue moving through the show or meet other exhibitors.

Being aware of when payments are coming in to your business can help you stay on top of your cash flow. With systems such as WorldPay Zinc, you can print, text or email the receipt immediately and access your full payment history on your smartphone or tablet.

By not having to rely on invoicing or cheques, you can reduce the risk of debts going bad. Late payments and bounced cheques can be avoided by using a mobile card reader to ensure that you get paid up front. Most mobile card reader payments will reach a company’s account within four days.

A number of jewellery companies are already using such mobile card readers to take payments. Independent jeweller Pauline Holt, who runs jewellery company Jazzy Lily, makes the majority of her sales at dedicated art events, exhibitions and conferences. She realised that by not accepting cards, she was limiting the possible return on investment (ROI) she could expect from attending these shows. Holt has recorded a boost in income since becoming a WorldPay Zinc mobile card reader customer and has also made business savings thanks to the flexibility of the service.

“The mobile card reader from WorldPay Zinc offered me a lot more flexibility around the way I sell my products through events and fairs – it is straightforward, easy to use and the only thing you need to process a payment is the handset and your phone.” Holt says. “And as the service is pay-as-you-go, it works well with the peaks and troughs in my business operations.”

Holt adds that a number of her customers have been visibly impressed by some of the features her card reader offers, such as its text message receipts, and during fairs has had other vendors ask her to process transactions on their behalf when a customer wished to pay with a card rather than cash.

There are several reasons why smaller jewellers and businesses are turning to mobile card readers. Firstly, most of the card companies offer flexible pricing plans and pay-as-you-go options, meaning customers can change plans as their businesses evolve without any penalties. The chip and pin pads are also independently certified to ensure they are secure and meet the standards expected. The devices tend to cost about £60 and are sold by companies such as WorldPay and through retailers such as John Lewis, Curry’s and the Apple Store.

Geraldine Wilson is managing director at WorldPay Zinc, a global card payment provider with more than 20 years’ industry experience.