Each week we take a look at some of the latest UK fintech news. With Black Friday on the horizon, this week we look at how UK retailers seek better payments and the Scottish SME community has grown.
Global merchants concerned about checkout outages for holiday shopping
In the countdown to Black Friday, many retail businesses are struggling to maximise revenue during the seasonal holiday boom in online shopping, according to the specialised payments platform Paysafe. Research commissioned by the company reveals that 36% of retailers regularly experience online checkout issues when they have large customer volumes, while 43% struggle to maintain their online checkout during the holidays.
Paulette Rowe, CEO of Integrated & Ecommerce Solutions at Paysafe, commented: “As merchants across sectors brace themselves for holiday shopping spikes, many are looking to their payments partners in order to maintain operations and increase their success. Looking at the ways that consumer behaviour is changing, it’s crucial for merchants with robust e-commerce activity to understand what consumers are expecting from their shopping experience and address these expectations proactively.”
Online Black Friday shoppers could plant 223 million trees with Kindred
Shoppers could earn £447 million in cash back on their online purchases this Black Friday weekend— enough to plant 223 million trees, reveals save-as-you-shop app Kindred. Some £9.42 billion is expected to be spent in Black Friday sales this weekend, with over half (£5.72 billion) of the total going on online purchases.
Consumers could earn 7.8% cashback on average for every purchase made, meaning that almost half a billion pounds of cashback is waiting to be claimed. Users could turn Black Friday into Green Friday by turning this cashback into 223 million trees — enough to cover an area the size of Greater Manchester.
Aaron Simpson, founder and executive chairman of Kindred, said: “We’re proud to be earning money for charity every time a user saves money, and we’re hoping to raise millions of pounds for good causes this Black Friday.”
UK retailers seek better payments as they brace for turbulent Christmas
Black Friday, which has come to herald the start of the UK’s festive shopping season, may not deliver its usual hype and spikes in 2021. But in the face of supply shortages and inflationary pressures, merchants may be smart to circumvent the usual fanfare.
In a bid to avoid a run on stock and to play down expectations of big sales without harming the bottom line this Black Friday, nearly half (47%) of UK merchants have invested in early marketing campaigns to engage shoppers sooner, according to a new study from global payment solutions provider Checkout.com.
The research also found that half (50%) of UK retailers have concerns about this year’s Black Friday weekend. Shipping costs, supply chain issues and inflation all play a part, with three in ten retailers (30%) fearing they won’t fulfil a spike in demand for goods and a quarter (25%) saying they will struggle to offer significant Black Friday discounts.
Moshe Winegarten, Retail Sector Lead at Checkout.com said: “The fact that 41% of UK retailers are bolstering their digital payments when the chips are down demonstrates the extent to which they recognise how much is at stake at the checkout and that payments are a strategic issue. By reducing downtime, increasing authorization rates, offering appropriate payments options, and more precisely managing fraud and chargebacks, the UK’s merchants can quietly protect billions of earnings, at a time where every transaction really counts.”
Scottish SME community has grown
The Scottish fintech-focused small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has increased by more than 40 per cent during the past 12 months with the fintech sector contributing £568 million gross value (GVA) to the Scottish economy in that period.
It is believed that the increase in demand for financial technologies is being driven by the challenges of the Covid crisis, increased consumer digital adoption which have propelled more and more of the economy and society to adapt to a digital environment, with 37 international fintech organisations now based in Scotland.
Lynne Darcey Quigley, Founder & CEO of Know-it, commented: “We have a mature fintech community and a wealth of talent available. The Scottish business ecosystem includes an established support network, however, organisations such as FinTech Scotland to help facilitate collaboration. This gives me the confidence to start to develop a business in Scotland as it is known as a fantastic environment for any fintech start-up. Yes, there are many challenges as a start-up, as there is for any business, however, I feel the welcoming attitude and support throughout the fintech community in Scotland, which is renowned worldwide, is reassuring and I am proud to be part of that”.
Bound backed by $6.5M in seed investment
Bound, the platform setting out to make currency hedging simple for SMEs, is being tipped by VCs to be one of Europe’s next major fintechs.
The company has already secured over $6.5M in seed capital from some of the founders and VCs behind Klarna, Stash, MX and Qonto to help it transform the UK’s SME forex market.
The space Bound is targeting is massively underserved. Currently, only 4%* of UK SMEs protect themselves from currency risk, compared to more than nine in 10 (94%) Fortune 500 companies.
This is because hedging, to the average SME, is confusing and complicated. Bound’s mission is to address this and show every SME trading internationally that hedging doesn’t need to be a headache.