Running an online business can be hard, but it can be harder if you live in the Caribbean like I do.
Even PayPal, one of the more popular options worldwide, does not allow bank accounts in the Caribbean to be linked for easy payouts of funds accumulated.
With so many obstacles and downsides to opening an online business in Aruba, it is no wonder that a few founders with other citizenship opted for another yet a marginally legal way of accepting online bookings and payments. For example founder that have a US citizens can set up bank accounts in the United States and use American credit card processing companies (Paypal, Venmo, Stripe) built for the USA and not the Caribbean. While these US payment provider options seem like a good idea because they are simple and fast to set up, there are some very serious implications that can land any Caribbean tour operator in a lot of trouble
Using a US bank account and online payment service to accept credit card payments as a Caribbean tour company is not recommended because you will need to declare all income received in the US with the IRS (Internal Revenue Service of the United States) for funds that you will need to send to the Caribbean to cover expenses and more. As a Caribbean business, with proper business licenses in place, employees to pay and costs, local authorities will expect any Caribbean tour operator to pay taxes. Therefore, as a US citizen taking payments in the United States for a Caribbean business, you will quickly find yourself dealing with the IRS and local tax authority in the islands at the end of the year. This will require complicated accounting and a very good accountant that understands both legal systems
- Reach More Customers
Going online means that regional businesses can reach a larger audience both locally, regionally and internationally. Small businesses in the Caribbean with e-commerce websites can advertise and target audiences who would like their products or services far beyond their country’s borders.
This is extremely beneficial as it allows small businesses to reach a larger audience, grow and expand faster and farther and potentially increase sales.
- Increase Customer Experience
Regional consumers have already adapted to purchasing goods and services online and there likely is no going back. Therefore, local businesses would do better if they go online as this trend will continue to grow across industries in the region. Consumers especially are enjoying the ease of seeing a product on social media or from a Google Search. Especially since it is a quick, simple and easy process.
Ensuring the customer experience is as easy and seamless as possible is one of the main ways to guarantee a sale. This is the same practice for online sales. Small businesses can allow their customers to see their products and buy within minutes of seeing them online. This ability is beneficial to both the business and its customers.