At the end of 2013, a group of undergraduate students from Manchester Metropolitan University, studying business, finance and marketing, got together to form Greatest.co.uk, a student start up business that sells accessories for mobile phones such as iPhones.
Days after launching the company, the aspiring student start up business team got straight down to it and booked in to attend several market events in Manchester where they would put their selling skills to the test and showcase their products to the public.
The Greatest.co.uk team were keen to offer their customers the choice of paying with cards as well as cash, as Rajendra Raja from the company explains: "To me, it is very important that we accept card payments as most professional retailers do, and we want to look as professional as we can. To get customers to buy off us they must trust us.
We wanted a handheld terminal to accept card payments and therefore potentially increase sales. Secondly, we knew every other group at university would not have thought about taking card payments, but as our products can go up to £50 we thought it would be worthwhile. We got complimented on our stall for the fact we were the only group that had a machine."
Handepay are passionate about supporting student start up business owners, with not only clear and helpful advice on credit card machines but sharing their business guidance, too. They were able to set up a merchant services package for Rajendra and his team quickly and in time for their first day of trading.
The first day of trading went well with card payments accounting for 45% of the day's total sales. Customers bought link products due to the fact they could conveniently pop them on their plastic, with the average customer spend being around £20. Greatest.co.uk were the only group of the assembled traders that day to have a credit card machine and received lots of positive feedback from customers who were surprised to see a card machine in a market stall environment.
"The credit card machine was vital for us that day or we would have lost many sales opportunities."
Other stands were selling much lower priced items and so had not thought to have the option of card payments. However, having seen the Greatest.co.uk team get on so well with their card machine, many of the companies have contacted them to find out how they can get their own card machine and reap the benefits.
Rajendra comments on the whole process:
"The set up process was fairly simple and Jo from Handepay was fantastic and really helped us set up and also gave us a lot of useful advice as it is our first experience of starting a business.
The mobile credit card machine is really easy to use and everyone got to grips with it straight away. We don't have access to a plug or power (at stands and events) and so it is great to have a mobile device.
We definitely attracted more customers by being the only company at the markets to have a card machine so everyone is super impressed by that. I will be recommending the service."
Rajendra and the rest of the Greatest.co.uk team are currently involved in the Government's Young Enterprise competition, the next stage of which is in Liverpool where North West universities will go head to head and pitch their business ideas in front of experienced business people. The winner from this will go on to London for the UK finals with successful finalists attending the European finals in Amsterdam.
David Taylor, Programme Coordinator in Business, Management and Entrepreneurship at MMU Business School, comments: "Every business, no matter how small, must look to maximise sales opportunities. What Greatest.co.uk have done is an example to other similar student start up business ventures - customers expect to be able to use cards everywhere and by offering the card payment facility, the team saw an uplift in sales."