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Friday, October 23, 2020

Paysafe surveys SMB digital commerce

New research from Paysafe revealed that 39 percent of small and midsize business (SMB) owners have increased sales revenue during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lost in Transaction: How COVID has reshaped the SMB checkout, published Oct. 21, 2020, is based on a survey of U.S. and Canadian business owners across numerous card-present sectors, including retail, hospitality, healthcare and salon services, according to Afshin Yazdian, CEO of U.S. acquiring at Paysafe.

Noting the pandemic's impact on North American merchants, Yazdian emphasized the need for diverse, secure, and frictionless payment solutions. “Our research shows that having an online checkout, as well as diverse payments infrastructure, is crucial to allowing in-store SMBs to thrive amidst the pandemic and actually grow in this unprecedented environment,” he said.

Yazdian further noted that SMBs have been using technology to maximize revenue opportunities in a challenging business climate. This trend will continue, he stated, as merchants diversify payment options across online, mobile and digital app channels.

Catalysing influence

Paysafe’s survey, conducted between Sept. 9 and 18 revealed that business owners derived measurable results by giving customers more ways to transact and check out in stores, online and in mobile apps.

Paysafe researchers noted that disruption caused by COVID-19 has been a catalyst for digital commerce adoption in the following categories:

  • Online checkout: Twenty-three percent of merchants surveyed have implemented online, card-not-present checkout for the first time. Seventeen percent of respondents with no online presence have near-term plans to add online checkout capabilities.

  • Contactless payments: Forty-four percent of respondents have added contactless payment options to delivery services.

  • Curbside ordering, pickup: Thirty-five percent of merchants surveyed have added curbside ordering and pickup capabilities.

  • Mobile apps: Twenty-eight percent of respondents have deployed mobile apps.

  • SaaS-based services: Eighteen percent of merchants surveyed are launching subscription services.

  • Cash acceptance: Twenty-one percent of respondents have stopped accepting cash at physical stores. Sixty-four percent of currently cash-free businesses plan to accept cash again in the future.

In addition to accelerating digital adoption, precautionary steps taken to halt the spread of COVID-19 have forced SMBs to find alternative ways to transact with customers. “Restaurants that were not allowed to open expanded delivery, takeout and mobile ordering—small restaurants implemented reservation systems to enable customers to order without waiting in line,” Yazdian said.

Positive economic outlook

Paysafe research underscored the economic hardships facing North American SMBs. Forty-four percent of respondents saw precipitous revenue declines in recent months, with 93 percent of that group remaining far below pre-COVID-19 levels. However, 76 percent of SMBs surveyed are optimistic about the future, researchers noted.

“58 percent of businesses say COVID-19 has forced them to refocus their businesses towards online sales and 40 percent stated they are considering closing their store entirely and becoming online-only businesses,” researchers wrote. “This may be driven by the fact that most businesses (61 percent) think consumers are too concerned about COVID-19 to return to stores.”

Yazdian pointed out that many popular digital commerce solutions that were designed to drive convenience and ease of use are helping SMBs survive and thrive during the pandemic. “If there are any positive lessons to be learned, it’s that businesses and restaurants have become more open to using resources and optimizing tools and software in ways that make them more competitive,” he said. “Whether it’s lockdowns or travel restrictions, the ability to serve customers and enable them to order online is essential. We may not get back to pre-COVID conditions but there are still many ways to serve customers.”

To access the report, visit: www.paysafe.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Lost_in_Transaction_Covid_19_Business_report_FINAL.pdf end of article

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