January 5, 2022 - During the coronavirus pandemic, the world’s governments, economies, businesses and most of all – people – experienced an extraordinary amount of change in a relatively short amount of time.
People had to adjust quickly to new social norms: from masking and social distancing to frequent hand-washing and disinfecting, the pandemic impacted life in ways small and large. Consumers began taking precautionary measures, avoiding contact with everyday items like door handles, cash, fuel pumps and even payment terminals.
Businesses responded with new ways to shop
And while many businesses had to close their doors initially, essential merchants who were eligible to remain open (i.e. grocery stores) had to adopt new government guidelines designed to protect consumers. Directional arrows, spacing indicators and sneeze shields became part of the retail environment. Curb-side pickups, home delivery and shipping expanded dramatically.
Many of these changes will endure even after the pandemic fades. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at how merchants have adapted to changing consumer expectations during the coronavirus pandemic and what’s needed to succeed in this new environment.
Some commerce categories more affected than others
Around the world, periodic lockdowns have led to significant declines in the tourism, hospitality and entertainment industries. Conversely, a few sectors have seen an uptick in traffic, including grocery stores, convenience stores and drugstores. Even as the world continues to recover from these drastic declines, merchants in all sectors will have to evolve to survive and thrive.
Speed of adaptation
This crisis also emphasized how important it is for businesses to rapidly adapt and scale new operational practices. For in-store shopping and payments, providing technology solutions that can evolve rapidly while maintaining ease-of-integration are essential to enabling innovation.
Along those same lines, the ability to monitor and manage technology solutions remotely is becoming increasingly important.
Helping merchants to optimize and grow revenue, and manage costs
The COVID crisis is accelerating the need for merchants to use new technology to help address consumer concerns over their personal health safety and build integrated experiences.
Creating new shopping interactions as well as servicing and managing relationships with customers has never been more important to merchants. Keeping customers engaged while providing a shopping experience that is both compelling and safe is imperative. Tailoring the right messaging and offerings while delivering convenience and value will be essential to success.
Updated technology can help by combining in-store and online sales, delivery and pickup options, payments and loyalty, all in one solution.
Meanwhile, the pandemic pushed a significant number of businesses into challenging financial situations. Managing cashflow has become more critical than ever and tools helping businesses better manage their finances, giving them greater insight into consumer spending and consumer behavior will be in high demand.
Naturally, fraud risks are always present for consumers and businesses but, during the pandemic, it’s been on the rise. Common scams include impersonating public health authorities or other government organizations and demanding payment from the targets. In this environment, merchants and their partners need to be even more vigilant to better protect themselves from these risks.
But, with every change comes an opportunity. While the pandemic has altered life as we know it, it also provides us a chance to revolutionize how we do business. Contact us today to learn how we can help you manage the new payments landscape and give your customers the confidence to patronize your business safely and securely.
This content was developed in partnership with Ingenico Group, a leading provider of secure payment solutions.