Seven in 10 small businesses adapt sales or payment tactics to pandemic, study reveals

Almost seven in 10 small businesses have launched an e-commerce website or introduced contact-free point of sale (POS) technology to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, it has been revealed.

The research forms part of the Visa Back to Business study, which aims to assess the economic impact of Covid-19 on both consumers and small businesses.

According to the paper, eight in 10 (78 per cent) consumers worldwide have changed their shopping habits in order to reduce physical contact and observe social distancing measures. This includes 48 per cent of consumers who choose not to shop at a store which does not offer contactless payment methods and 49 per cent who opt to shop online where possible.

And while some small and micro-sized businesses (SMBs) have sat back and watched, the study shows that the vast majority have taken action to address the shifting consumer landscape.

This includes 27 per cent of respondents who launched an e-commerce website where customers can browse, shop and order online, and 20 per cent who now offer contactless POS technology.

Additionally, almost three in 10 (28 per cent) have tried targeted advertising on social media for the first time, and a third (33 per cent) have accepted less or stopped accepting cash altogether.

Commenting on the paper, Suzan Kereere, global head of merchant sales and acquiring, said: “Consumers are putting COVID-19 safety measures at the top of their shopping lists and rewarding businesses that do the same.

“Historically, we see behaviour change at the point of sale as a gradual shift over time. But, COVID-19 has created an immediate need for safer, more efficient shopping experiences both on and offline and consumers are responding by rapidly migrating to digital commerce.”

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