How Has COVID-19 Affected Face-to-Face Sales?
COVID-19 has caused a major disruption of commerce. With fewer people going out, fewer people are buying things which is a very large net negative for the economy. To deal with reduced physical customer flow, many businesses have transitioned to online payments as a way to stay afloat. Digital sales are one area of the economy that is still doing well, and many experts think that the shift to digital online payments may be permanent, even after the virus has run its course.
Even if there were no pandemic, switching to online payments can be a great idea. Online payments give retailers and customers flexibility in how they buy and sell things. Things like clothing and electronics have been disrupted by the transition to digital. In fact, the only real industry that has not made the jump to digital is food. According to Nielsen, only about 4% of grocery sales in the US in 2019 were online.
As customers are asked to maintain social distancing and several non-essential businesses are still closed, online shopping has essentially become a lifeline for many Americans. As of mid-April, US businesses online year-over-year revenue is up 68% and online shopping rates have risen to average levels that are normally seen during Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Over 306 million Americans have been affected by stay-at-home orders, and businesses have had to make changes with the shift to digital shopping to stay competitive. Out of all platforms, mobile devices are the most commonly used to make online payments, with some 72% of consumers using mobile devices to shop in-store. Businesses are having their online infrastructure tested by the triple-digit orders and revenue growth going on today.
Even when the pandemic is over, digital shopping is likely to stay the norm. A recent survey from Morning Consult found that nearly 1 in 5 consumers (24%) said that they would still not feel comfortable traveling back to public spaces for at least 6 months. So even when stores are officially reopened, many people will choose to stay home and continue shopping online. Only about 16% said they would feel comfortable after 3 months.
So what is the solution for retail businesses? Simple, make the transition to online payments. Online payments can not only give customers flexibility but also a way to have a personalized shopping experience. New services have been designed to ease the friction customers experience shopping online, such as new security measures and micro-segmented personalized content.
So if businesses are going to remain competitive, they need to adopt new technologies for managing the sales side of the operation online. One of the best features of the Internet is that it has removed problems of distance from virtually every sphere of the economy. The ability to accept online payments is a feature that can greatly increase business productivity and help them adapt to a changing economy.
If you are interested in taking online payments, give us a call at (888) 924-2743 or go to our website Charge.com.