Consumers and retailers agree that contact-free payment is becoming a necessary feature of the brick-and-mortar store experience.
According to the Visa Back to Business global research study of small-to-mid-sized businesses and consumers, the COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically increased consumers’ concern with touching cash and payment readers and correspondingly, increased the desire to tap to pay.
Three-quarters (74%) of surveyed small-to-mid-sized businesses around the world expect customers will continue to prefer contactless payments as much as, or more than they do currently. Two in five (40%) surveyed small-to-mid-sized businesses citied contactless payment among the top brick-and-mortar investments needed to meet customer expectations.
The survey also reveals that stores which fail to accept contactless payments could run an increased risk of losing customers as a result. More than two in five (44%) surveyed consumers say they would not shop at a store that only offers payment methods that require contact with a cashier or shared device.
In the 2020 edition of the Visa Back to Business study, just 17% of U.S. small-to-mid-sized business respondents started selling products or services online for the first time during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, 57% of U.S. small-to-mid-sized business respondents in the 2021 version of the Visa survey expect to continue to do sell products or services online in the next three months.
Yet, many small-to-mid-sized businesses surveyed said the shift to selling online has presented new challenges; with the top concerns cited as data privacy and security (33%), cost to invest in digital infrastructure (31%), and having less of a personal connection with customers (30%).
While 54% of surveyed small-to-mid-sized businesses say that the past year has been a challenge for their business, 46% have viewed it as an opportunity, up from 38% in November 2020. Among those who saw 2020 as an opportunity, their focus has been on selling new products (37%) and expanding their sales channels (34%), with 23% having started a completely new business.
The recent global Blackhawk Network Global Digital Payments study reinforces Visa’s findings that consumers desire digital payment options. Sixty-three percent of respondents were more likely to shop at a retailer if it accepts the digital payments they use, and 73% said they want to be able to pay the same way they pay online and in-store.
“With a 19-month view into the pandemic, we’ve seen that small businesses who embraced digital commerce and cross-border sales have weathered the pandemic better,” said Mary Kay Bowman, global head of buyer, seller, core and platform products, Visa. “But it’s no longer just about pivoting and surviving. We’re now seeing a hopeful surge in entrepreneurship.”
The Visa Back to Business Study: 5th Edition, was conducted by Wakefield Research between June 15-28, 2021, among 2,250 small business owners at companies with 100 employees or fewer in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, United Arab Emirates, and U.S. The consumer portion surveyed 1,000 adults ages 18 and up in the U.S., and 500 adults ages 18 and up in Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates.