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Small businesses change behaviour to weather Covid-19 storm

Small businesses change behaviour to weather Covid-19 storm

More than two thirds of small and micro businesses have tried a new approach to accepting payments during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a global Visa survey.

Rethinking the checkout or point-of-sale experience has proved essential for small firms that have seen their businesses upended by the virus.

Of 250 small firms in the US, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Singapore and UAE questioned by Visa, 67% have tried something like launching an e-commerce site or changing POS technology in order to keep business going.

More than a quarter of SMBs have tried targeted advertising on social media or sold products or services online. Another 20% have adopted contactless payments and a third say they have accepted less, or stopped accepting, cash.

This has been necessary because 78% of consumers quizzed in these countries have changed the way they pay in order to reduce contact. Nearly half shop online when possible, with 46% not using cash as much.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers would switch to a new business that installed contactless payment options. For close to half, using contactless payments is among the most important safety measures for stores to follow, while a similar percentage would not shop at a place that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or a shared device.

Despite the challenges, 75% of SMBs are optimistic about the future. Additionally, 71% say they have received support from their local communities, with the most coming in the form of business referrals (33%) and favourable reviews (31%).

Suzan Kereere, global head, merchant sales and acquiring, Visa, says: "Consumers are putting Covid-19 safety measures at the top of their shopping lists and rewarding businesses that do the same.

"Historically, we see behaviour change at the point of sale as a gradual shift over time. But, Covid-19 has created an immediate need for safer, more efficient shopping experiences both on and offline and consumers are responding by rapidly migrating to digital commerce."

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