Today’s consumer has more purchasing power than ever before, which remains true despite the economic impacts of the global health crisis. Although experts admit that the UK economy may take a while to fully recover, some businesses are starting to reopen and restrictions are potentially being relaxed in the hope of boosting the economy.
Learning from the past and adapting to the present
Unlike during the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, banks now are more equipped to adapt to the changing landscape and volatile markets. An article by FXCM differentiating the 2008 crisis with what we are currently experiencing, details how there is greater resiliency in our modern financial systems. We have learned from previous mistakes, with major banks in the position to better support the economy. Adjustments in terms of banking operations are also made more tangible with the rise of technology. With the country taking steps towards reviving the economy, it’s up to businesses to prepare themselves for such a return. Addressing the future of retail payment options gives businesses the opportunity to cater to a growing customer base while simultaneously keeping operations secure.
Barclaycard reported that card payments made up 51% of all payments last year; debit cards were the preferred method, with over 17 billion payments made. This development comes alongside the rise of online shopping for goods and services, which has continued to be the norm with people staying at home due to the health crisis. Indeed, the current health situation has spoken to the rise of remote banking and contactless payment as a way forward.
It’s worth noting that the rise of remote banking might extend this trend beyond payments. Online remittances are on the rise, as are cryptocurrency payments. All of this is to say that the financial landscape is quickly shifting towards the digital realm, and that retail businesses need to follow suit.
Implementing flexible payment methods
Part of the hesitance behind adopting flexible payment methods comes from retailers worrying about market uncertainty and the ROI of such tools. Getting behind the data of today’s finance trends can help make such misconceptions a bit clearer. For instance, it’s no secret that retail businesses have to adapt to an increasingly global clientele, which means their payment options have to follow suit. Modern payment options must be compatible with multiple languages and currencies in order to boost acceptance rates. It is also important that these services can integrate with various partners: think POS systems that work with major credit cards while also being supported across several mobile platforms.
This global reach has to be supported by stringent security protocols that can help retailers protect against fraud. The rise in online shopping has subsequently led to an increase in fraudulent transactions. In fact, the Economic Times cites digital fraud as the single biggest fear for consumers when it comes to making online payments. Flexibility for the sake of flexibility isn’t enough – retailers have to work with reputable payment providers who have a proven track record of keeping transactions secure from end-to-end.
Our previous article entitled ‘The Ecommerce Evolution’ underscores that this trend is set to be the way forward for retail, especially as smaller companies also make the shift towards online platforms. Establishing flexible payments goes hand-in-hand with retailers making the shift towards the digital space.
Of course, it’s important to remember that these digital payments aren’t accessible to all consumers just yet, and there are some who may still prefer to pay through cash. The key is for businesses to supplement traditional payment methods with more flexible options to help incentivise consumers.
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