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Southern Percussion is maximising the value of its face-to-face business with a pay-as-you-go card payment system that does not require hefty monthly fees

A specialist retailer, selling percussion sheet music, drumsticks, mallets and instruments, has overcome a major obstacle to growth by adding payment acceptance capabilities while on the road.

Katy and Ann Elman established Southern Percussion just five years ago. Although a large amount of sales originate on the internet, a substantial amount of their revenue is generated when they are on the road at trade shows.

But, with many items costing in excess of £50, they found that many people struggled to be able to pay for what they wanted with cash, so being able to accept cards became essential. "Not accepting cards was costing our business," stated Katy Elman.

Losing out on potential sales

Before joining a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) card acceptance service from WorldPay, they only accepted cash for face-to-face payments when travelling. They felt that they lost out on sales due to only being able to accept cash at trade shows and similar events, and believed that if they accepted cards, people would spend more. 

However, they were reluctant to join a card scheme with monthly fees given the sporadic nature of their card acceptance needs.

“WorldPay is such a well known brand that we were really keen to find out more [about its PAYG service]," she said. "The fact that it requires chip & PIN authentication also helps customers to trust the keypad and customers love the electronic receipts that are delivered to their phone, as they then have immediate electronic proof of purchase or rental as well.”

The WorldPay service provides Southern Percussion with a portable PIN entry device, which is accessed through a smartphone. With this equipment, the business can accept credit and debit card payments wherever Katy and Ann are so they don't have to turn people away for not having enough cash. 

Encouraging larger purchases 

“I love to use my keypad at trade shows," Katy Elman added. "People definitely buy more from my business when they see that I accept cards.”

Having joined the Card Acceptance Service in July 2012, the business felt the affect on takings immediately.
“When our products range from pennies to several hundred pounds, many people would be put off buying items from us if they could not pay by card at trade shows," she continued. “Now that we are able to take cards, our customers often buy more than they initially intended to. Previously many of them did not have enough cash with them to buy everything that they wanted, so we used to lose out on sales.”

On their last tour of music colleges with the new card acceptance service, the business took an additional £2,000 and is now also paving the way for further expansion.

Katy Elman concluded: “We would definitely recommend this service to other small business owners. The keypad has enabled us to increase our takings by such a large amount that it is definitely something that we will continue to use. We plan to start renting out instruments and equipment soon and having this facility to take card payments from anywhere in the UK will make this much easier.”

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