Most Businesses Offering More Payment Options Saw Sales Increase During Pandemic

Most Businesses Offering More Payment Options Saw Sales Increase During Pandemic


The more payment options you provide as a business, the more likely you are to increase sales. This is the conclusion of a new study from Paysafe carried out during the pandemic. Furthermore, the study revealed businesses that increased their online presence also weathered COVID-19 best.

For small business owners who are struggling to keep their enterprise up and running, the data in this study is hopeful. But to make it work, businesses must diversify their operation. The study says 80% of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) who chose to diversify online or improve their card-present payment options during the pandemic have seen a positive impact.



PaySafe Pandemic Payment Options Survey

Addressing this very issue in the emailed press release, Afshin Yazdian, CEO of U.S. Acquiring at Paysafe, says payment technology is an invaluable resource.

Yazdian goes on to say, “… having an online checkout, as well as diverse payments infrastructure, is crucial to allowing in-store SMBs to thrive amidst the pandemic and actually grow in this unprecedented environment. Using technology to maximize opportunities for revenue has never been more pressing for these businesses as they look to navigate a challenging Q4.”

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Study Takeaways

The study was carried out between September 9 and 18, 2020 with the participation of 350 businesses in the U.S. and Canada. Some of the key takeaways are:

  • 88% made at least one change to their checkouts during the pandemic and 39% reported the volume of business increased
  • 64% of businesses attribute this increase to online sales through either a new or existing offering
  • 23% launched an online card-not-present (CNP) checkout for the first time during the pandemic
  • 17% of businesses without an online presence plan on adding an online checkout soon
  • 44% are adding the acceptance of contactless payment on delivery and 44% adding card payment on delivery
  • 35% of businesses have adopted curbside ordering and pickup

Challenges Moving Forward

Although small businesses are finding ways to keep their business running, it remains a challenge as the pandemic continues to linger.

Owners are refocusing with a larger digital presence or becoming an entirely online-only business.

Image: paysafe




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Consumer Habits Changing for Halloween 2020 – Is Your Store Adapting?

Consumer Habits Changing for Halloween 2020 – Is Your Store Adapting?


Consumer habits have changed dramatically in the past seven months. And it is not going to be any different for Halloween in 2020. This according to the study from RetailMeNot in its annual report and infographic about Halloween.

According to the study, COVID-19 will impact the plans Americans have for Halloween. A clear majority or 80% say their plans will change because of the Pandemic. And when it comes to shopping, 34% say they do not plan to shop for costumes. However, they are looking for ways to celebrate safely in their homes.



Consumer Behavior Changing for Halloween 2020

The issue of safety has always been a big concern during Halloween, but this year there is an added burden. How to keep kids and adults protected from the virus. In the study, 21% of the respondents say they will come up with creative ways for their children to celebrate.

Another 26% say they will still trick or treat while taking protective measures. This means small businesses that count on Halloween for a boost in sales will still get traffic through their door or eCommerce page. But it might be lighter than in past years.

Optimizing your website and social media channels is a great way to make up for the loss you are going to experience in your physical store.

The Economy of Halloween

Although Halloween is known for its fun, not many people are aware it is a multi-billion event in the U.S. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF) hallowing spending in 2019 was around $9 billion. And the average spend per person was $86.79.

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The NRF forecasts this year the spending will go down to $8 billion, however, the average person is going to spend more at $92.12. The NRF has been keeping track of Halloween spending since 2005, and overall, it has been going up. A dip during the financial crisis of 2007/08 is the only dramatic fluctuation.

For small businesses supplying their customers with Halloween paraphernalia, this bodes well. The overall sales might be slightly down, but each person is going to be spending more.

Take a look at the infographic from RetailMeNot below.

Image: Depositphotos.com




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More Consumers Plan to Shop on Cyber Monday Over Black Friday

More Consumers Plan to Shop on Cyber Monday Over Black Friday


A report by Allocadia, is projecting that more Americans will be opting to do more shopping online this holiday season. Amidst concerns of COVID-19, some 44% of consumers plan to buy online during the holiday shopping season compared to 33% in 2019.

Shoppers’ attention to has also shifted online, as more people plan to participate in Cyber Monday (61%) than Black Friday (52%) this year. Some 65% of shoppers plan to either spend the same amount or less from last year. Forty percent of male shoppers plan to spend more this year compared to 13% of women. Big-box stores seem to be popular this year with 48% of shoppers planning to make purchases online via a big box store. And 41% say they will make purchases in-person at those same big-box retailers.



Cyber Monday to Overtake Black Friday in 2020

Allocadia’s report also points to shifts towards more practical and essential gifts, and evolving expectations around branding and advertising campaigns. Other shifts include:

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  • Only 23% of shoppers plan to do their shopping in-store in 202o compared to 36% of last year. 
  • 33% of Americans report they will shop online for both regular items and holiday items, up by 2% from last year. 
  • More men (62%) plan to make purchases during Black Friday compared to women (42%). Similarly more men (70%) than women (54%) plan to make purchases on Cyber Monday.
  • Top places where consumers see ads for holiday deals include television (52%), Facebook (45%), YouTube (39%), and Instagram (28%). 
  • 57% of Americans plan to purchase gifts through social media from ads or marketplaces. 

Physical Stores and COVID-19

The need to avoid crowded stores, maintain social distancing, and limit potential COVID-19 exposure were cited as the primary motivations for shopping online. 

More than two-thirds or  36% of Americans say they do not feel comfortable shopping in-store right now. Among those who do not feel comfortable shopping in-store, 41% are waiting until there is a COVID-19 vaccine. Another 29% say they will feel comfortable in 2021. Factors encouraging in-store purchases include a big sale (35%) and a COVID-19 vaccine (35%). Surprisingly 79% of shoppers will consider shopping in-store if they were offered a better sale price.

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A Customer’s Shipping Experience More Important Than Ever

A Customer’s Shipping Experience More Important Than Ever


A new report from ShipStation reveals a 33% jump over the past year in online shopping. And almost two-thirds say most of their shopping is now online because of the pandemic. As more consumers shop online, their shipping experience is becoming more important than ever.

The report, titled, “Last Touch, Lasting Impact: The 2020-2021 Edition,” outlines the shopping habits of consumers and the impact of brand perception when it comes to shipping. And in 2020, the delivery experience is more influential for consumers. So much so, 84% of the respondents say it stands out most in the e-commerce customer experience.

In the release for the report, Cindy Schulz, General Manager at ShipStation, highlighted yet another telling data point about shipping. Schulz goes on to say, “… 92 percent agree that knowing their order will arrive when expected is a key factor in their online purchase decisions.” This is more than nine in 10 customers.



ShipStation Survey on Customer Shipping Expectations

Consumers are more understanding because of the pandemic (79%) when it comes to shipping, however, six in 10 say this is just for the short term. And to compensate for the slow shipping, consumers say they want free shipping.

Shipping speed and cost are still important because 37% say speed influences their purchasing decision while 39% say it is cost. And surprisingly consumers are willing to wait up to eight days to get their package with 79% adding they expect delays because of COVID-19.

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Additional findings:

  • 87% say the shipping and delivery experience directly impacts their decision to shop with the merchant again
  • 83% are less likely to re-purchase from a retailer after a negative delivery or shipping experience
  • 54% say overall return policy is a major consideration when purchasing online
  • 70% say a negative delivery or shipping experience negatively impacts their impression of the brand and not the carrier
  • 1 in 3 consumers leave bad reviews or post on social media about a poor delivery experience

Making Up for Any Inconvenience

On the other hand, consumers are willing to give retailers another chance if they try to make up for any delivery inconvenience.

Over nine in 10 or 93% are more likely to shop with a brand again if the retailer acknowledges or rectifies a poor delivery experience. Even more consumers, 96%, say fast and honest updates about a shipping issue makes them less likely to be upset. Adding they are also less likely to have a negative perception of the brand.

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Nationalized 5G is Bad for Small Business, Advocacy Group Says

Nationalized 5G is Bad for Small Business, Advocacy Group Says


The Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council) is voicing its opposition towards what it called the nationalization of 5G by the Government.

SBE Council’s opposition joins a growing coalition of organizations urging the government to prevent the Department of Defenses’ (DoD’s) takeover of the 5G network in the U.S. The Global 5G Race



Small Business Advocate Speaks Against Nationalized 5G

The SBE is arguing that the government opting to deploy and experiment with untested models for 5G would lead to the U.S. not winning the global 5G race. It opposes the ’ DoD’s plan to what it called starting to deploy 5G networks from zero. Even though there are other initiatives that are already on the path towards rolling out 5G networks. 

Rather the SBE is arguing for the private sector to take the lead in rolling out 5G across America. 

It is arguing that:

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  • DoD’s plan would cost tens of billions of taxpayer dollars and take decades to build a network from scratch 
  • Nationalizing the US’s communications system would thwart private-sector ingenuity and enterprise 
  • America’s private companies such as AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile have already invested billions of dollars towards building national 5G
  • The 4G race was won by America because the private sector was empowered to build multiple competitive 4G networks by freeing up the necessary spectrum and eliminating unnecessary regulations  
  • Allowing the federal government control over the nation’s 5G spectrum would undermine the successful collaborative approach. This approach has enabled $2 trillion of private-sector investment in network infrastructure.

The 5G Challenge for the DoD

According to a report by the Defense Innovation Board, last year the DoD faced vulnerabilities in its supply chain both at the subcomponent level to the integrated network level in the 5G environment. 

In previous decades, the DoD was able to operate on tailored systems. This fulfilled its unique security requirements as a large user relative to the rest of the commercial world. However, with 5G that privilege may no longer no exist.

North America had some 1.18 million 5G connections during the first quarter of 2020. This is set to reach 10 million 5G connections by the end of the year.

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Calls to Businesses from Google My Business Up 61% During Pandemic

Calls to Businesses from Google My Business Up 61% During Pandemic


The coronavirus pandemic has changed consumer behavior. Face-to-face transactions and in-person conversations have transformed into curbside services, online orders, and phone conversations.

According to the latest CallRail’s report, businesses witnessed a 61% increase in calls from Google My Business during the pandemic.



Calls from Google My Business Listings on the Rise

Between late February and mid-April, total call volume declined 26% as there were limited business activities, states CallRail’s report.

As businesses started to reopen, call volume climbed. There was a 35% growth in call volume between June 2019 and June 2020. And the call volume reached 27% higher than pre-pandemic levels, as found in the report.

PC: CallRail

Also, there was a 61% increase in calls from Google My Business from January 2020 to July 2020.

PC: CallRail

Madelyn Wing, director of product and customer marketing at CallRail, said, “COVID-19 upended the standard way SMB owners were used to operating and running their businesses. We analyzed over 100M phone calls to better understand how consumer preferences have changed and to help these small businesses adapt to new customer behaviors. CallRail’s phone call data showed a clear picture of how the buying process shifted as the world entered lockdowns all the way through to gradual reopening. The data indicates that customers are ready to talk, as call volume across industries climbed since mid-May, even surpassing pre-pandemic levels,”

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What’s Behind GMB Call Volume Surge?

Many businesses were completely closed, while some were partially closed during lockdowns. When businesses started to reopen in May 2020, customers were eager to reach out to businesses. And Google My Businesses is the ideal way to find whether a business is reopened or changed its opening hours. This is the main reason for the GMB call volume surge.

Key Takeaway

Businesses are reopening in all states. As a result, consumers are increasingly calling them to inquire about hours of business operations, safety procedures, and online offerings. And Google My Business is often the first point of contact.

So, being a small business owner, you should ensure that your Google My Business Page is up-to-date with all the necessary information. Doing so will help you offer a better customer experience.

Also, you should try to adopt the latest marketing trends for the COVID-19 crisis and recovery.

“Although many SMBs have taken steps to reopen safely, we’re far from being “back to normal.” Amid the uncertainty, SMBs need to clearly keep customers informed and provide quality experiences to keep them engaged, whether it’s in-person, over the phone, or online,” Madelyn added.

You can click here to know more about CallRail’s report.

Image: Depositphotos.com




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In the News: PPP Loan Forgiveness Made Simpler

In the News: PPP Loan Forgiveness Made Simpler


If the thought of jumping through regulatory hoops just to get the forgiveness on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan had you in knots, you got some relief this week.

As more small businesses across America are looking to apply for forgiveness on the loan they received earlier this year, they got some good news. The US Small Business Administration and Treasury Dept. announced a new, simpler application for PPP loan forgiveness.

The simpler application is for loans handed out for less than $50,000.

PPP loans were a big helping hand to millions of companies in the US as they struggled with pandemic-related business closure orders.

To find out more about the new PPP loan forgiveness process, check out our report on it from earlier this week: SBA and Treasury Dept. Unveil Simpler PPP Loan Forgiveness Process

And for the rest of the week in small business news, check out our weekly roundup below.



Small Business News Roundup for October 16, 2020

Here are the other headlines most important to small businesses and entrepreneurs in the US this week:

ClearSale and BigCommerce Prep Ecommerce Small Business

ClearSale and BigCommerce have come together to help small businesses address fraud as the holiday shopping season fast approaches. And this year, more than any other year, primarily driven by the pandemic, more people are going to be shopping online. This means fraudsters are also going to be just as busy.

Facebook Launches Season of Support for Small Business Holiday Shopping Rush

In a bid to help small businesses capitalize on the upcoming holiday shopping season, Facebook has launched its Season of Support initiative. With the new offering businesses conducting holiday promotions on Facebook or Instagram will receive free training, marketing support and insights.

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Fiverr Small Business Needs Index Highlights Services Most In-Demand

The semi-annual Small Business Needs Index from Fiverr just revealed the most in-demand services on its platform. And for this index eCommerce, dropshipping, and web development top the list of services small businesses are looking for. For freelancers providing these services, it means they will be in more demand.

Texting to Main Street Businesses Up 450% (INFOGRAPHIC)

It is not surprising texting to local businesses has shot up during the pandemic. What is surprising is by how much, a whopping 450% overall increase in customer calls, texts, and Facebook Messages per month. This according to a new study from Numa. This study shows one of the many ways the pandemic is affecting small businesses across the country and indeed around the world.

OpenText Making Electronic Signature Affordable for Small Business

OpenText, a leader in information management software and solutions, has extended its electronic signature offering to accommodate small businesses. Small businesses can now use OpenText Core Signature for employee and partners’ signatures. OpenText Core Signatures Collecting paper signatures can be a slow and cumbersome process.

Foldio360 Smart Dome Helps with 360 Product Photos

Foldio has announced the launch of its new offering Foldio360 Smart Dome that helps you capture 360° photos with ease. Foldio360 Smart Dome works with various devices including smartphones, DSLRs and PCs. Besides capturing photos, the Foldio360  also helps to produce animations and videos as well.

45% of Small Businesses Have Earned Half or Less of Their Pre-COVID Revenue During Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic hurt companies of all sizes. But small businesses were hit hardest. If your small business is finding it hard to stay afloat during the pandemic, you’re not alone. According to Alignable’s latest report, 45% of small businesses have stated that they have earned less than half of their Pre-COVID revenue.

34% of Small Businesses Struggling to Pay October Rent

In its latest Alignable Pulse Poll of 7, 726 small business owners, 34% of the respondents say they are struggling to pay their rent in October. This news comes as the pandemic continues to disrupt business operations across the board eight months on. The Alignable poll, which was taken in the first week of October shows the number is two percent higher than September (32%).

The 10 Most Annoying Phrases Said During Video Calls

Love them or loathe them, with the work-from-home era showing no sign of abating, conference calls are here to stay. Video calls have become increasingly prevalent throughout the pandemic, enabling teams to conduct business remotely. It’s important meeting attendees present themselves in as professional light as possible during remote meetings.

New Social Network Entre Promoted as a LinkedIn Competitor

Freelancers and entrepreneurs searching for an alternative to LinkedIn should take a look at a new social network called Entre. It’s been designed to supply everything needed to kickstart your enterprise in one spot. Small Business Trends contacted Michael Marra, the CEO/Founder at Entre, to find out how this product folds into The Future of Work.

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Fiverr Small Business Needs Index Highlights Services Most In-Demand

Fiverr Small Business Needs Index Highlights Services Most In-Demand


The semi-annual Small Business Needs Index from Fiverr just revealed the most in-demand services on its platform. And for this index eCommerce, dropshipping, and web development top the list of services small businesses are looking for.

For freelancers providing these services, it means they will be in more demand. So, as small businesses and freelancers cope with the challenges brought on by the pandemic, this type of data can help them find each other.

The Fiverr index is a collection of data gathered over a six-month period showing the demand from small businesses around the world. This includes products, platforms, and tools they rely on to support the growth of their business. And in this case, which is driven by the environment the pandemic has created, improving their digital presence is critically important.



Improving Your Digital Presence

A quick look at the results from the index shows digital-related services are up considerably over the previous six months.

  • Dropshipping; 319%
  • Shopify Promotion; 247%
  • Youtube Editing; 231%
  • Front End Web Developer; 205%
  • Product Mockup; 186%
  • Facebook Promotion; 174%
  • Social Media Design; 158%
  • App Development; 133%
  • Brand Name; 85%
  • Customer Service; 85%

In the U.S. the top three services are Trademarks – 104%; Real Estate Video – 67%; Customer Service – 53%.

For Small Businesses

For small businesses, this index provides some valuable insights into what is trending in the economy. With this data, you can start looking at what type of products, services and workforce is going to be needed.

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Based on this data you can make some informed decisions on how to address the demand that will be coming your way. The ability to identify the type of services your small business needs will also help access the skilled professionals who can help you.

For Freelancers

Freelancers can now work from virtually anywhere. And with this index in hand, they can find out the services that are in demand globally. If you happen to be an expert in one of these fields, you can better market your talent in these locations.

Take a look at the rest of the data from the index in the infographic below.

small business needs index

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Facebook Launches Season of Support for Small Business Holiday Shopping Rush

Facebook Launches Season of Support for Small Business Holiday Shopping Rush


In a bid to help small businesses capitalize on the upcoming holiday shopping season, Facebook has launched its Season of Support initiative. With the new offering businesses conducting holiday promotions on Facebook or Instagram will receive free training, marketing support and insights.

The Season of Support is a three-month-long initiative for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to help them make the most of the upcoming holiday shopping season. The support package provides businesses with resources to strengthen connections with customers as well as boost sales.



Facebook Season of Support

Facebook’s offering includes 11 weeks of education, resources, and training for small businesses. It is free of charge for businesses with a Facebook Page or Instagram business account. The Season of Support also includes:

  • A free personalized marketing plan for your business
  • Tips on boosting posts
  • Free video training
  • Promotional assistance
  • Toolkits to help drive up holiday sales

The goal is to get your online presence ready, keep your audience engaged, increase sales, and manage your online presence. And you will be able to make this possible by learning with a full collection of videos so you can gain new skills. Additionally, you can come together in virtual events with your community to share insights and connect with entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Social Media and the Holiday Shopping Season in a Pandemic

Studies indicate social media is among the most important marketing channels for businesses. In fact, it is estimated that by 2023, the number of social network users in the United States will increase to 257 million.

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This makes a compelling case for businesses to invest in social media marketing. Social media is helping customers find the products they need locally. According to Deloitte 40% of customers are using more and more social media and online messaging to get recommendations to buy products.

With the holiday season on the horizon, businesses will need to craft their holiday campaign early. And they have to do this while taking into account the pandemic. This is because more people are going to be shopping online than in previous years.

The offering by Facebook will help businesses get traction on their road to recovery from COVID-19.

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Texting to Main Street Businesses Up 450% (INFOGRAPHIC)

Texting to Main Street Businesses Up 450% (INFOGRAPHIC)


It is not surprising texting to local businesses has shot up during the pandemic. What is surprising is by how much, a whopping 450% overall increase in customer calls, texts, and Facebook Messages per month. This according to a new study from Numa.

This study shows one of the many ways the pandemic is affecting small businesses across the country and indeed around the world. The data for the study is in a new infographic by Numa titled, “COVID-19 Changes How Customers Shop at Main Street Businesses.” And it goes on to show the importance and need for having conversational commerce. This is because customers are now calling and texting before they access services from a business. And this shift is taking place because of the pandemic.



Texting to Main Street Business Up 450%

In the press release for the report, Numa Founder and CEO Tasso Roumeliotis, explains the impact of this shift. Roumeliotis goes on to say, “Even before the crisis, customers had shown a preference for texting with businesses in addition to calling, but over the last several months there has been a dramatic increase in virtual engagement and a desire to communicate across multiple channels.”

In addition to the 450% increase, here are other key takeaways from the study:

  • 393% increase in contactless, text-to-order revenue
  • 11% of all messages related to curbside pickup
  • 748% increase in curbside order check-ins
  • 120% increase in the number of customers calling and messaging
  • 43% increase in the number of customers shopping remotely

Adapting to the New Way of Doing Business

As the data shows, customers want to limit their contact with the companies they do business with. To that end, Numa recently announced a way to use landline phones to take text orders for restaurants. However, small businesses need to do much more.

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They must provide multiple forms of communication and be available 24/7. Even when your business is not open, you have to make yourself available. Whether it is a virtual call center or a software solution, you now have more options, even as a small business owner.

The key is to leave more communication options open.

Take a look at the infographic below for more on the Numa study.

NUMA_Infographic

Image: Depositphotos.com




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