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This research report provides analysis and insight on the current state of the U.S. payments gateway market, supported by e-commerce sales data forecast. Highlights of this research report include: How gateways have become an essential payments vendor category Market data forecast for retail and travel e-commerce Gateways that compete in the U.S. market Contrasting paths […]

How Merchants Can keep New Online Customers After COVID-19

These new target customers present a huge opportunity for online businesses to move forward. But to convert these consumers from shopping online out of short-term necessity into long-term customers that genuinely prefer to shop online, businesses will have to address the concerns these consumers have raised.

Concerns about security are critical
To better understand these issues, we asked consumers about their current attitudes to online spending. Consumers’ beliefs that their financial data was at risk and as a result, they might be victims of criminal activity when shopping online were the key takeaways from our research.

Almost half (48%) of all consumers said that they did not feel comfortable entering their financial details online to make a payment, especially when they did not have any experience buying from the business previously. And this isn’t a decreasing problem for merchants. The same percentage (48%) of consumers said that they were more concerned about being a victim of fraud now than they were this time last year.
68% of consumers said they were more likely to shop with an online retailer that already had their financial details securely stored.
Only a third (34%) of consumers said that they held more trust in online payments than in-person payments. This is preventing many from embracing online shopping and digital services in anything other than essential circumstances. So for online retailers, addressing this hurdle is paramount to sustained long-term success capturing these potential new customers.

Diversifying the checkout is key
But what can online retailers and service providers do to give consumers greater peace of mind? Firstly, consumers appear overwhelmingly in favor of stricter security protocols when sharing their financial details. Three quarters (76%) of consumers said that they would like online checkout security to be tighter than it is currently, and 59% said that they feel anxious when they are not asked to provide any security information such as a password when making an online payment.
But more importantly, consumers seem much more comfortable with the security of alternative payment methods. Three quarters (75%) of consumers said that they preferred to use a digital wallet such as Skrill or NETELLER to make a payment to an unfamiliar merchant than share their card details. And 56% said they felt more comfortable purchasing online with a prepaid card where their financial details were not shared.
So for businesses, integrating these alternative payment methods into the checkout is an ideal solution. But doing so they can move away from being reliant on consumers being comfortable making card payments and capture some of the potential new business available due to the exposure eCommerce has received during COVID-19.

eCash solutions also have the potential to drive and capture new customers online and should be strongly considered by online businesses. 40% of consumers said that they would buy products online with cash if it was easy to do so, and 36% said that they would shop online more if they could make payments with cash. This is particularly relevant for businesses marketing to younger consumers; 56% of consumers aged 16-24 said that they would buy products online with cash if it was easy to do so, and 55% said they would spend more money online if they could do so with cash.

Next steps
Understanding how to keep new online customers will be a key issue for eCommerce and eCommerce businesses as we begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It is clear that evolving the checkout to make these potential customers more comfortable with online payments has a key role to play; online businesses that embrace alternative payments and give the customer more choice as to how to pay in a way they feel most secure will reap the benefits.

Integrated payments are transforming property management

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced everyone to rethink what “normal day-to-day activity” means, and adjust accordingly, including the ways they pay. One impact on society has been an accelerated shift to online payments in many industries, including the property management space.
Property management is a unique industry, where many tenants have traditionally used paper checks, cash and money orders to pay their monthly rent. But since COVID-19 when many residents found themselves quarantined in their homes, tenants were asking for more electronic options to make their rent or HOA/COA payments. A large number of property managers therefore transitioned to accepting online rent payments in an effort to provide convenience to residents as well as limit their in-person exposure related to handling physical checks or other forms of in person payments.

This presents property management software companies with a great opportunity to add integrated payments to their platforms if they haven’t already done so yet. Integrated payments can help software platforms scale while bringing efficiency to both property managers and tenants. The shift from physical to digital payments for rent looks set to be a permanent one; while COVID-19 may have been the catalyst, it is these benefits that mean landlords and tenants are unlikely to revert back to in-person payments.

With this ever-changing landscape and the increase in online rental payments happening already, now is a great time for property management software companies to prioritize adding payments to their platform. So let’s dive into what integrated payments can do for your software, property managers and tenants.

1. Recurring billing streamlines the payment process
One of the major benefits of integrated payments is recurring billing. Tenants can easily sign up for recurring payments and it gives them the flexibility to schedule their monthly rent payments in advance. This means tenants won’t need to remember to pay it each month and the payment will be made automatically. Through a Customer Vault API integration, it securely stores sensitive payment information with tokenization, enabling recurring payments without property managers having to re-collect tenants’ payment information. Recurring billing eliminates late payments and property managers can save time by not having to track down missed payments. This helps property management businesses streamline and improve their cash flow as well.

2. Flexibility in payments
Tenants want flexibility to pay their rent how they want – whether it’s via ACH, e-cash, credit or debit card. When considering a payments partner, it’s important to think about the payment options available. According to our recent report, Lost in Transaction: The new relationship for ISVs and payments, 80% of ISVs stated that the range of payment options an integrated payments provider could offer was a very important consideration when selecting a partner. Split payments are also a key factor to take into consideration. Many tenants tend to split rent payments amongst various roommates or property managers need to split payments across multiple bank accounts

3. Secure payments
Online security is more important than ever. When considering a payments partner, they should be PCI DSS compliant, provide you with fraud management tools and take on the risk for you. This will ensure your clients and their tenants are protected and give them peace of mind that their payments are secure.
With the impact of COVID-19, integrated payments play an essential role in property management. If you haven’t already integrated payments or are looking for a new partner, now is a great time to do so.

Learn Why Merchants Are Optimistic About The Future

As small businesses struggle to survive the economic havoc caused by Covid-19, new research shows that small business owners are optimistic about the future. Some 75% of small business owners agree that if a crisis like the coronavirus pandemic were to happen again, they’d be better prepared to handle it, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

Additionally, 52% of small businesses surveyed expect to recover to pre-Covid profitability in six months or less. This optimism is encouraging to Liz Supinski, SHRM’S director of research products, who says that Covid-19 has been a “big driver of innovation.” Many small businesses, spurred by the limitations imposed by the coronavirus, have invented new products, while one in three of those surveyed say they’ve found new ways to deliver services. “For the whole world of work, this has been a large, uncontrolled experiment in changing what work looks like,” Supinski says. “It’s opened the door to a lot of ideas that have been dismissed because change is hard. And if things are good enough, then why would you change?” According to SHRM, 43% of small business owners have pivoted their business models. One of those entrepreneurs is Denise Woodard, the founder of Partake Foods, an allergy-friendly, gluten-free, vegan cookie company. Since much of her New Jersey-based company’s marketing involved live demos and local events, Woodard has had to come up with new ways of promoting her brand digitally, including partnering with minority- and women-owned brands on a “Spot Us at Target” campaign and teaming up with The Blackbird Collective on Instagram Live and Facebook Live events.

This sort of flexibility is something that Supinski expects to see from businesses of all sizes during this period of business recovery. Three fourths of small businesses are planning to change their policies in response to employees’ childcare needs, with 43% implementing or considering flexible hours or compressed schedules, and 31% offering full-time remote work. “Small businesses are in a unique position because often they’re able to be more flexible with workers than larger businesses. They don’t have the same kind of issues,” Supinski says. However, she adds that small businesses run on small margins, which makes it harder for many to offer this kind of help to employees.
Not only has the coronavirus pandemic spurred innovation, but it’s also led to an uptick in reskilling and upskilling. SHRM found that 22% of small businesses have asked employees to learn new skills to support changes in their business. “There’s certainly a lot of opportunity here for businesses and workers to explore different ways of doing business and having a career and new ways that those two things can come together and change the way the world of work works,” Supinski says. “Opportunity out of adversity.

None of this is to say that small business owners aren’t without worries—53% report feeling somewhat or very concerned about the increased risk of lawsuits and liability while reopening amid Covid-19, as the cost of defending one can be burdensome. Despite these concerns, the way in which small businesses have been able to successfully pivot has made them optimistic about the future, and the support they’ve received from their local communities has only helped. “We’re seeing a lot of people put their money where their mouth is and really work hard to support local businesses during this time,” Supinski says. “You would hope that people would continue to appreciate those local businesses going forward.”
Woodard has witnessed this increase in support from the community around her. The company first saw an uptick in sales in March, when consumers were stockpiling groceries due to the pandemic. One of few Black-owned nationally scaled businesses in the country, Partake Foods, saw another increase in sales in May, following the death of George Floyd. “Our business has really received a large outpouring of support from people wanting to support small-owned business, women-owned business, Black-owned business,” Woodard says. “I’m hopeful for the future of small business in America.”

What Percentage of Consumers Pay for Online Subscription Services?

What Percentage of Consumers Pay for Online Subscription Services?
59% of consumers have an online subscription service; 40% used to have an online subscription service.
By far the most popular are video streaming services, where 46% of consumers are subscribed.
Second most popular are music streaming services, where 23% of consumers are subscribed.
Software, news, and premium apps each have between 10-13% of consumers subscribed.
Online subscription services are universally more popular in urban geographies, perhaps because of the concentration of young people there.
Younger adults universally subscribe to more online subscription services than any other age cohort.
The contrast is sharpest between young adults who subscribe to music services (38%) vs. older adults (9%).
About Report
Mercator Advisory Group’s most recent consumer survey report, Subscription Services and Bill Pay: Card Payments Dominate, from the 2019 Technology Survey of the bi-annual North American PaymentsInsights series, examines U.S. consumers’ current use of subscription services and methods for paying their bills.
The report, which is based on an online panel survey administered to 3,006 U.S. adults in November-December 2019, presents results from questions exploring how adults in the United States use and pay for “box of the month” clubs and online subscription services. It also explores the ways consumers pay their bills and the increasing importance of digital bill payment.
Regarding subscription services in the U.S., consumers are about twice as likely to subscribe to an online subscription service as to subscribe to a “box of the month” service (59% vs 23%). Interestingly, a relatively large portion of American adults (38%) do not subscribe to either type of service.
When it comes to paying bills, the majority of consumers (6 in 10) are currently paying at least some of their bills electronically through either automatic billing or bank account withdrawal. Consumers are paying bills in equal proportion through electronic bill pay via their bank, their biller, or bill pay service.
“This report explores two very important aspects in the payments ecosystem—subscription services and bill payment. Electronic payments play a very large role in both of these areas, and it is important to understand the payments dynamics of both,” stated the author of the report, Peter Reville, director of Primary Research Services at Mercator Advisory Group, which includes the North American PaymentsInsights series.

Article Credit https://www.paymentsjournal.com/what-percentage-of-consumers-pay-for-online-subscription-services/

COVID-19 has made an identifiable impact on the way consumers are going about making payments. Some of these changes have been enforced by the physical challenges of coping with day-to-day life during the pandemic; while shops are closed and the move to contactless payments for in-store payments being the most obvious. COVID-19 might also have a psychological […]

Three months ago, we were cranking out calls, traveling to meet clients, and shaking hands with colleagues. Now, we are facing a dramatic change that we have never experienced before.  Over the past week, the Outreach company has seen a dramatic increase in customers asking for guidance on how to adapt their existing strategy to […]

How US Shoppers Continue To Support Small Businesses

Americans enjoy shopping. According to an analysis from Internet Retailer based on U.S. Commerce Department retail sales figures, total retail sales, exclusive of fuel, automobiles, and restaurants, exceeded $3.6 trillion last year, up 4.1% versus 2017.

Americans especially love to shop online. Not a huge surprise, e-commerce retail sales continued their double-digit growth in 2018, jumping 15% from just under $450 billion to over $517 billion. While e-commerce retail still only represents 14.3% of total annual retail sales, what’s more interesting is that e-commerce sales represented over half (just shy of 52%) of all retail sales growth in 2018.

Americans love Amazon.com. Internet Retailer estimates that the cumulative total volume of Amazon transactions (marketplace sellers and Amazon products) exceeded $206.8 billion last year, which equates to 40% of all U.S. online retail.

Small businesses (SBs) are also key for Amazon. According to a company press release, third-party merchandise sales, which is primarily SBs, exceeded $160 billion in sales in 2018, representing some 50% of units sold in Amazon sales. Admittedly outpacing first-party sales on both Amazon and across U.S. retailers. SBs are also key to the U.S. economy. With over 28 million small businesses in the U.S. and approximately 600,000 new ‘starts’ each year, small businesses represent over 97% of all businesses in the U.S. According to the U.S. Small Business Administration, more than 50 percent of people either own or work for a SB and SBs create about two-thirds of all new jobs annually, with retail representing just over 35% of total small business employment.

Over the past several years, there’s been a real movement to promote shopping at small businesses in the U.S. In 2010, American Express launched its Small Business Saturday® program, which was designed to get people shopping locally on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, during what is one of the biggest shopping periods of the year. 2018 marked the ninth annual Small Business Saturday, bringing in an estimated record $17.8 billion in sales from local businesses in all 50 states plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico1. Over the years, Small Business Saturday spending has now reached a reported estimate of $103 billion since the day began in 20102 — that’s $103 billion over 9 days alone.
What started as a day to celebrate small businesses, Small Business Saturday is now a nationwide movement encouraging people to Shop Small® every day. Participating in the Shop Small Movement is a great way for small businesses to reach new customers and to promote their business. And American Express not only promotes the event to create consumer awareness, but they also have a variety of free downloadable marketing materials (such as badges, social posts, blog posts, and digital banners) and free signage for brick and mortar businesses. Additionally, as an American Express accepting merchant, you could get recommended for free to Card Members who are more likely to spend at your business. In 2018, nearly 17 million people received recommendations on where to shop3. Learn more at americanexpress.com/promoteyourbusiness.
Thanks to programs like Shop Small, small businesses are back and here to stay.

This article is brought to you by American Express.

It is unsurprising to discover that stay at home orders and social distancing is having a significant impact on consumers’ confidence in eCommerce. Overall, 42% of customers are shopping online much more because they cannot or will not buy in physical stores. A third of customers (33%) say that they are shopping online for specific […]

Are Your Merchants Accepting Cashless Payment?

We are witnessing a surge across the payments industry, accelerating a transition towards cashless. The research reveals that, as more people are informed of the risks of exchanging cash and touching credit-card terminals, cashless technology will continue to storm into the mainstream of America.

The Expedited Transition To Cashless Payment

We know due to Covid-19, the use of contactless mobile payments is growing. The convenience of a pure contactless bank card combined with a rise in retailers that allow contactless payments has driven a change in consumer habits over the past years.

In all three countries recently surveyed, more than half of respondents (63% in France, 52% in Germany, and 56% in the UK) indicated that they now use contactless payment methods more regularly than before the Covid-19 crisis. And why? Due to the risk of infection and to help contain the virus. This represents a significant change inhabits, and it is easy to understand the reason. Even with retailers going to extra lengths to restrict the spread of the virus, such as limiting the number of customers allowed into their stores at any one time and more regular store cleaning, considerable risks are still present when exchanging cash or touching payment keypads.

It appears that Covid-19 will be the unlikely catalyst for advancing and driving our transition towards cashless payments faster than anyone could have predicted.

For more information on contactless devices for your merchants

Steve Feldshuh VP of Strategic Sales
(877) 423-8637

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