Businesses are asking how to increase agility and profitability throughout the pandemic and beyond. DBAs, VARs, and ISOs can provide them with the solutions they need.
Planning is an essential part of a successful, sustainable business. However, it’s been difficult for small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to decide on next steps with confidence over the past year. Merchants have been primarily preoccupied with the here and now during shutdowns, quarantines, and social distancing. Now, as the pandemic risk appears to be decreasing, SMB merchants are beginning to focus their attention on the future – and payment solutions can provide some of the answers they need.
Here are four questions SMBs are asking and the answers the right payment solutions can provide.
1. How do consumers want to pay now – and how will they make payments in the future?
The COVID-19 pandemic drove a spike in ecommerce and online payments. In fact, online sales with U.S. retailers exceeded $861 billion in 2020, a 44 percent increase over 2019. Furthermore, it doesn’t look like ecommerce will lose ground in the coming years. EMarketer predicts ecommerce sales will grow from 14.4 percent of total retail sales in 2020 to 19.2 percent by 2024.
While there are no guarantees when it comes to consumer behaviors, choosing the right payments platform can help an SMB merchant cover all the bases. An omnichannel payments platform enables merchants to accept payments in-store, online, at unattended kiosks, on mobile payment devices, and more. That way, merchants can continue to do business, regardless of the changing circumstances around them.
2. How have consumer behaviors changed?
Major ecommerce companies know every move their customers make. They know how often a consumer visits their website, which product pages they view, and what they buy. SMB merchants often have limited visibility into their customers’ behaviors compared to their larger competitors.
Today’s smart payment solutions can make data that historically has been available solely to large companies, available to any small to mid-sized business owner – leveling the playing field. By associating a customer who opts to receive marketing messages with payment data, an SMB can begin to understand their customers better. Then, the merchant can use that intelligence for more accurate forecasting, smarter merchandising, and improved ROI on marketing and promotions.
Modern payment devices can also help SMB merchants understand the “new normal” customer, including where they prefer to engage with the merchant’s business, what they buy, and how to make their shopping experiences more seamless and enjoyable.
3. Can I operate more profitably?
SMB merchants whose brick-and-mortar businesses were closed for part of 2020 or 2021 are likely to be interested in ways to improve their profitability. One way is interchange optimization, which analyzes the payment processing fees merchants are paying – and provides them with ways to reduce those costs.
As a trusted advisor, you can show your prospects the fees that may be hidden in their processing statements and how the payment solutions you provide can help them avoid those added costs.
4. Is there a way to manage omnichannel processes efficiently?
Some SMB merchants, like larger businesses, offered new services in 2020. They may have begun offering buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS) solutions – and some took it a step further to provide curbside pickup. Many consumers also wanted to make returns in-store (BORIS) after online orders.
Keeping track of shopping journeys that start on one channel and end on another can be challenging — especially when the consumer made an online payment but is requesting a refund at a physical returns counter. SOTI’s From Bricks to Clicks: State of Mobility in Retail 2021 Report found that 63 percent of consumers want easier returns processes, and 61 percent say they’d shop at a store that offered it.
An omnichannel payments platform makes it easier to track payments and issue returns on any channel. It can also improve customer experiences by offering consistent payment experiences across the board – improving customer retention in the process.
Where SMB merchants go for answers.
Many of your SMB clients still don’t have a clear path forward through the pandemic and beyond. ISOs, VARs, and DBAs with solid relationships with their customers are probably fielding a lot of questions and requests for advice.
Be a trusted advisor to merchants and show them how an omnichannel payments platform can ease some of their pain points, including their need for greater flexibility, visibility, and profitability.
Do you have questions of your own? Contact North American Bancard.