The pandemic has “turbo-charged” the digital transformation of business operations and payments. “From contactless payments to authentication through veins in an individual’s fingertips, this industry has always been transformative,” says Pollinate CEO Jonathan Hughes. “But the potential for payments to be the most transformational is, in fact, moving beyond payments.” He explains why in this excerpt from The Connected Economy’s Power Source – CEO Edition.
The pandemic turbo-charged digital transformation and, for many businesses, took it from a medium-term strategy into an urgent requirement. 2020 caused a decade’s worth of change to occur in just one year. The expectations of and demand for digital-first services has leaped years ahead of previous projections, and they were already predicted to transform rapidly. In 2020, data house IDC predicted that global spending on digital transformation technologies and services would grow 10.4 percent that year to reach a total of $1.3 trillion.
Many small businesses have had to adopt new methods including payments and beyond as they’ve shifted into eCommerce models — of which payments plays a huge part. To talk of “eCommerce” feels outdated, as the boundaries between offline and online commerce are forever blurred. Relatively new behaviors, such as order at table and click-and-collect, have now become even more mainstream — in fact, 42 percent of consumers in Europe are now more likely to use click-and-collect services, and U.S. retailers’ click-and-collect revenues grew 60 percent to $59 billion in 2020. All businesses must now create seamless “connected commerce” experiences across the virtual and physical worlds.
The payments industry has always thrived on innovation, and introducing new ways for consumers to purchase goods that reduce friction without compromising security. From contactless payments to authentication through veins in an individual’s fingertips, this industry has always been transformative. But the potential for payments to be the most transformational is, in fact, moving beyond payments.
The ability to connect with customers has never been more important. The regeneration of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) in a post-pandemic world will result in a high rate of businesses shutting down, pivoting and starting up – and it’s imperative that banks can keep up with their expectations and needs to offer support as they rebuild. One of the most powerful ways for banks and SMBs to collaborate is by combining Jonathan Hughes payments and loyalty programs into a centralized app offered by a bank, which gives consumers the choice of a number of merchants’ offers through one interface to collect points as they pay. This removes friction for the customer, as they can link any bank card to the app and automatically collect points to redeem rewards or offers. It also reduces overhead for businesses by utilizing the transactional data that already exists.
Consumers are always intrigued and delighted by easier ways to purchase their goods, but the fantastic thing about digitally-led payments is the ability to fuse other offerings together with them, creating a more fulfilling experience for the consumer while benefiting the business.
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