The global pandemic has dramatically altered many elements of our lives – especially how we purchase goods and services. As a result, there has been a recent surge in innovation across the payments industry.
At the forefront of this technological reaction to Covid-19 are a string of mobile payment platforms such as Judopay; who’ve been working constantly to improve socially distanced payment methods for their customers. Here the platform’s Head of Products Jumaane Hutchinson discusses how businesses are adapting their payment methods for cautious customers, and what benefits such an approach will garner in the future.
The global pandemic has had a phenomenal impact on both lives and businesses over the last 12 months. The beginning of 2021 brought with it hopes of a return to normality with the widespread rollout of vaccines in the UK, however, businesses must prepare for the ripple effects of the pandemic, which could be long-lasting.
Social distancing was key to lowering the rates of infection during the pandemic, and as a nation, we have become accustomed to maintaining this whenever we step outside. We have also picked up new habits when it comes to making payments, with contactless becoming increasingly popular. So much so, in fact, that in 2020, nine-in-ten of all UK in-store card payments were made with contactless devices.
One of the reasons the payment method became so popular was the increase in the contactless spending limit, which was raised from £30 to £45 in April 2020. At the beginning of March this year, it was announced that this limit would be further increased in 2021 to £100, which will make even more transactions eligible for contactless payments.
Simply put, the way we operated when it comes to making purchases before the pandemic is now a thing of the past. Shoppers have become more used to contactless payments as they’ve experienced the efficiency and ease of simply tapping their card to pay.
The Impact of the Pandemic on Businesses
The pandemic hit all businesses in some way and forced them to adapt to stay afloat. However, it was small and medium businesses (SMEs) that have had, and continue to have, the biggest fight to survive. Nationwide and local lockdowns meant that many stores had to close their doors for months on end, while the recession that hit due to Covid-19 still poses a huge threat to businesses.
Such threats have created a surge in innovation across the payments sector and providers have been working to create products or features that tackle the challenges faced by businesses. One key solution is to offer quick response (QR) code payments, enabling merchants to solve consumer concerns and create quick and contactless transactions with ease.
Solutions such as these give merchants the ability to accept touch-free payments without the cost of new hardware. In particular, it supports SMEs that are keen to offer innovative solutions and a great customer experience to promote repeat sales at a time when many may not have the additional resources to launch an app or invest in new hardware.
Adapting to Change
Changing payment systems is time-consuming, expensive, and resource-draining as it requires integration, onboarding, as well as time to allow staff to learn how to operate new devices.
Payment providers looking to support SMEs should consider solutions that require zero integration time. Any solution that offers quick and easy setup will enable SMEs to get up and running as soon as possible, helping them to get back on their feet.
With the sudden boom in eComm, more consumers are familiar with the benefits of payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Play, Klarna, Pay by Bank app, and Paypal. These methods should be enabled and readily available for consumers purchasing in-store as well as online to help drive vital sales.
Protecting the Bottom Line for SMEs
While integrating a system such as this will ease the payments process and encourage repeat sales if a customer feels safer in a merchant’s store, it is also key to helping merchants lower their overall costs and support their economic recovery.
Launching or growing a sales channel can be a daunting task, but for many businesses, it’s a must if they want to survive. QR code payment solutions, if done right, can allow SMEs to benefit from no fees on hardware, maintenance, or rent. As such, it saves SMEs from a large investment, when cash flow is so uncertain.
Creating a New Normal For Merchants and Customers
Keeping customers safe in-store, offering payment methods to support this and driving footfall is now essential for many businesses survival. By looking into other payment options on the market, merchants can adapt quickly, offer a touch-free payment solution and launch multiple payment methods in-store as a means of driving more sales and fuelling prosperity.