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Digital Payments are a Must for SME Owners

If you’re a small to medium business owner and you don’t offer a method of digital payment to your customers, then you could be putting the future of your company at risk.  Nearly half of all consumers prefer to pay for goods and services using digital technology – online or card payments in bricks and mortar businesses.  The cash-only shops on our high streets are in increasing danger of losing customers to competitors who offer electronic methods of payment, according to a new survey carried out by Frist Data.  The survey solicited answers from more than 1,000 shoppers across the UK and discovered that almost 60% of shoppers will only visit shops which offer alternatives to cash.  Moreover, almost all of those surveyed revealed that the convenience offered by contactless payment means that it is now their preferred payment method. 

While most business owners here in the UK will have ensured that they are able to offer a range of payment methods to suit their customers’ requirements, many have still not caught up with this trend.  Small food and drink businesses, in particular street vendors and pop up shops, are most likely to deter their customers by on offering to take cash payments. 

When asked about why they prefer to pay digitally when shopping in bricks and mortar outlets, shoppers blamed lengthy and inconvenient trips to a cash point coupled with the threat of thieves.  The growing trend for spend-tracking via a smart phone is another reason that consumers are put off carrying cash.  Digital payment proved to be most popular among the Millennials, half of whom disclosed that they are ready to stop using cash altogether!

This means that it’s more important than ever for business owners to make sure that they offer a range of payment methods.  With so many shopping options available to customers nowadays, payment convenience has become a vital issue and successful companies are those who don’t make assumptions about what their customers want when it comes to payment methods.

Smaller retailers have traditionally shied away from card acceptance, being put off by the perceived costs involved.  However, when this is compared with the added work involved with cash, such as banking time, cost and handling risk of dealing with cash, the cost of card acceptance cannot truly be considered an inhibiting factor any more.

The payment process is a crucial part of the customer journey and experience so small business owners are no longer able to ignore the fact that they need to offer a range of payment methods.  Research has demonstrated that shoppers equate in-store technology with the type of convenience they find when shopping online and are more likely to buy from shops that offer their preferred method of payment.  Competition from other high street vendors and online retailers means that it’s easier than ever for potential customers to take their business elsewhere. 

Next week we’ll be taking a look at how you can make sure that your company is up to date in accepting digital payments which will benefit your business in future.