Is it the Right Time for Bitcoin to Hit the Stores?
Many online stores and businesses have started accepting Bitcoin as payment for services and goods. Two of the most popular ones are Overstock, a home appliance e-tailer, and TigerDirect, an electronic e-tailer. All of this sounds pretty awesome, since the publicity is giving Bitcoin the boost it needs to continue growing. However, thinking about it in more detail, publicity isn’t worth anything if the pitch isn’t correct. By pitch, I mean: do online retailers and businesses really know who the Bitcoin crowd is? Which exchange will they be using? Do they even know facts about Bitcoin that would help them relate to and understand their customers? What if the customers have questions about digital currencies…will the average worker have the answers? These are some of the things that companies and businesses need to consider before accepting Bitcoin.
To begin with, one must first understand the benefits and costs of the digital currency. This will help any store representative relate to the customer better.
Some of the benefits briefly, with Bitcoin:
• It is possible to send and receive money from anywhere in the world at any time.
• There are low or no processing fees.
• Bitcoin users are in control of the transactions, and personal information is not tied to the transactions.
• The block chain, or the public ledger, ensures transparency and security of the network. Anyone from any part of the world can see this.
• Bitcoin protocol is decentralized. This means there is no central authority figure or governments who control the network.
These are the commonly known advantages of Bitcoin that appeal to its users. These are also things that set Bitcoin aside from other currencies. Understanding, for example, how the block chain and mining work will help a store representative answer questions people might have about their Bitcoin transaction before they make a payment. In order for the workers to have this knowledge they must be given some sort of training on Bitcoin before the company decides to start accepting the coins. If its own worker doesn’t understand what digital currencies are, then how would you expect them to help a customer who is having trouble with a Bitcoin transaction on the company’s online store? Teaching employees about Bitcoin may be difficult and time consuming, however, at the end of the day it’ll benefit the companies more than harming them.
Some of the disadvantages of Bitcoin:
• A transaction gets submitted to the block chain almost instantly. However, some companies like to wait for 6 confirmations made by the Bitcoin network in order for the transaction to be secure. This takes around 10 minutes to finalize. In relation to the real world, it’s like waiting on a grocery line, except you are doing it online.
• Bitcoin is a new concept. It’s practically still at its infancy. It needs more time to develop into its full potential. Users should realize that Bitcoin is not perfect and there are some flaws to the system that when fixed can provide greater stability to it.
• Bitcoin’s price is not stable. Currently, the digital currency is volatile due to the fact that there are limited amount of bitcoins and a high demand. Once Bitcoin develops more, it should balance out.
Knowing these limitations of Bitcoin can assist new customers who wish to buy with Bitcoin. If someone just found out that a company started accepting Bitcoin, they might want to learn how to make the payment. They might also wish to learn what type of exchange the company is using. In addition, they might just have general questions regarding Bitcoin that they wish to be answered. With this in mind, online stores need to make their website user friendly for Bitcoin. This means that there should be a link or video or something on the site that will assist consumers buy with Bitcoin, or just learn more about it if they are curious.
Just wanting to gain publicity is not the correct method to implement when accepting Bitcoin as payment. It is easy to start accepting Bitcoin, however, it is hard to help customers pay with Bitcoin if:
• The customer doesn’t know about it.
• The website is not Bitcoin friendly (no outgoing, or inward links on Bitcoin)
• Customer service doesn’t know a thing about Bitcoin
Perhaps the Question should be, Are the stores ready for Bitcoin? These things should be taken into consideration before a company decides to accept the digital currency as a form of payment. Bitcoin is a new concept for many people. They need to be able to find resources on the online store to assist them while they are shopping. It’ll take some time for the workers to understand Bitcoin, however, it’ll greatly increase customer satisfaction, and will probably influence more people to start buying from the website. A Bitcoin user-friendly online store is what Bitcoin needs to not only be able to help companies thrive but to also put bitcoin in the positive light it deserves.
It is the right time for Bitcoin.
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