Bitcoiners are notoriously picky shoppers. I’ve met with merchants who complain no one uses Bitcoin to purchase items on their website, even though the digital store of value is openly accepted in their shop.
This year, Black Friday falls on November 28 and on this date we could see another spike in Bitcoin shopping similar to last year’s event, which was partially responsible for the historic run-up in price due to a surge in people spending their bitcoins on discounted items.
But accepting bitcoins takes more work than simply flipping on your BitPay plugin and for consumers to feel safe using their coin at your shop. First, Bitcoin merchants will need to take into account a couple of important points:
Reputation is King
If you don’t treat your customers right, people will talk. Robocoin had their reputation (justly or not) ripped apart by a group of very vocal customers who felt their order had been mishandled.
One of the biggest industry shifts caused by Bitcoin is the removal of consumer protections. There are no chargebacks built into the blockchain. Once a consumer sends funds to be an address, it’s final. This is great for merchants who can be confident that they’ve been paid, but for consumers, it means that you need to do extra work validating the merchant you’re shopping at is reputable and reliable.
Merchants who want to provide a shoddy service or ineffective products should go back to credit cards.
Accepting Bitcoin means you need to accept and support the Bitcoin community
Bitcoin payments are not as simple as online credit card payments. When was the last time you heard someone call themselves a creditcarder? Understanding who Bitcoiners are, what they want, and supporting their endeavors is the best way to increase your sales.
For the most part, Bitcoiners are Libertarian-leaning and technologically adept. Products that will sell well to those two segments are what you should focus on offering to Bitcoiners. The community is also constantly changing as more and more groups and individuals become interested in Bitcoin. Keeping an eye on Bitcoin-related news will help your store stay relevant to what new Bitcoiners will want.
Additionally, the more merchants participate in the community, the more their brand is recognized by community members and the more confident consumers will feel spending their coins.
Publicly support Sean’s Outpost when they need donations, hire graphic artists to create Bitcoin posters or flyers, or even give discounts to people who elect to use bitcoins on your website. Interact with Bitcoiners wherever they hang out, on Reddit, Facebook, or at conferences. Read up on what the community is talking about and try to find ways you can help the community grow. If you support Bitcoiners, they will support you.
It takes a lot of work to be a successful Bitcoin merchant. But it is not without its reward. Once you get the community to support your business, there is a verifiable foundation for your store to see new growth. Bitcoiners are very loyal shoppers, once you’ve earned their trust.
Bitcoin itself has a reputation of being innovative, interesting, and forward thinking. Associating your store with a project like that will raise the perception of your business. Additionally, it is an international payment rail. You can accept orders from emerging economies all around the world. It might open up doors to new markets that you haven’t even thought to target.
Lastly, it’s free and fee-less. You will no longer pay the 3-5% processing fees other payment methods charge. There is a margin there that you can use to give back to the Bitcoin community or use to grow your business even bigger.
Bitcoin Black Friday is one way to give back to the Bitcoin community. Quite simply, it’s a collaboration between hundreds of Bitcoin-accepting merchants to all offer deals, specifically for consumers spending their bitcoins on Black Friday. It is the largest single day for Bitcoin merchants every year. If you offer a great deal, you’ll get some great participation, but only if Bitcoiners know your brand and trust your service.
There is a little under a month before this event begins, if you follow the suggestions given above you can definitely begin wooing more Bitcoiners before November 28 hits. As always, participation in Bitcoin Black Friday is free and you can sign up at bitcoinblackfriday.com using the ‘List a Deal’ form.
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