The surge in online shopping does not appear to be treating all digital retailers equally, with three quarters (75%) experiencing a negative impact on their business due to Covid-19 and, even in the long term, more believing the pandemic will have an adverse effect (45%) rather than a positive one (31%).
Even so, more businesses remain optimistic about opportunities as a result of Covid-fuelled changes to their business model.
So says new research from Paysafe as part of the firm’s “Lost in Transaction” series, in which 1,100 online SMEs were asked about the effects of the global virus on their operations.
Nearly a third (30%) of businesses have seen an increase in profit margin (compared to 26% who have seen a fall); even more (36%) have seen an uptick in customers (compared to 27% who have witnessed a decline), and just over a quarter (26%) believe they are better positioned to enter new geographical market (compared to 20% who say they are not).
Businesses have had little choice but to implement change, with over a third (36%) suggesting that Covid has increased their ability to innovate.
Around 84% of organisations have had to alter their operations to appeal to a broader target market, with adapting digital strategies forming a core part of this. Of the businesses that have made changes, 78% specifically diversified their payment offerings and as a direct result, 66% saw an increase in sales.
Many have recognised the importance of a seamless online checkout; some 37% of online brands have already integrated at least one new payment method into the checkout, while 55% plan to introduce at least one more in the near future.
There has also been an increase in the variety of payment methods used by consumers since the outbreak, with 37% of businesses noticing an increase in consumers using digital wallets and 20% observing customers using crypto more often. This has led to over half of businesses (57%) now viewing their payment offerings as a priority.
As with all shifts, consumers are also thinking differently about how they make payments and what they use them for. Over a quarter of businesses surveyed (32%) think consumers are using new methods to track their spending more accurately, while 27% believe consumers are re-evaluating the role technology plays in their lives.
As people are becoming more familiar with digital payments, according to businesses almost a third (29%) of consumers are valuing a more seamless experience online.
Paysafe Group chief executive of integrated and ecommerce solutions Paulette Rowe said: “The shift to online has forced retailers to take a fresh look at the checkout experience and assess whether it is user friendly as well as secure.
“Though many believe the future is less than positive, there is still hope, as we have seen that some of the simplest innovations can spark growth.
“Now that customers are more willing to use different payment methods there is an opportunity to innovate at the checkout. Creating a seamless digital experience will help ecommerce services appeal to all generations and give businesses that all-important competitive edge.”
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