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Contactless payments – Added value or an economic recovery mechanism?

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

By Limontek

Because of government imposed lockdowns, the popularity of transactions through digital payment systems has increased steeply, heralding the emergence of QR code and NFC technologies. Given the health restrictions imposed on physical stores, retailers should take advantage of this opportunity to go digital and push for the contactless customer experience…

During the current worldwide health and economic crisis, banks have raised the buying limit on contactless transactions (France, for instance, raised it from EUR 30 to 50 on 11 May, and ABN AMRO announced on 24 March that it is raising the contactless payments to EUR 50). This policy may appear insignificant considering today’s situation; but it nevertheless marks the beginning of a new era: the widespread use of contactless payment.

While the technology was often available for credit and debit cards issued by major retail banks, smartphone-toting consumers are resorting to this new kind of transaction in ever greater numbers. Though new to some, contactless payment has been totally second nature to other consumers for some time now.

Contactless payment through a personal mobile device may be commonplace in many countries such as China and a myriad of Asian and African countries, but consumers elsewhere still favour credit card payment, cash, transfer, or cheques. However, with sanitary measures deterring the use of PIN pads, contactless transactions using NFC and QR code technologies are enjoying unprecedented popularity.

www.limonetik.com

The three main eCommerce business challenges

893 595 Stuart O'Brien

Global commerce is heating up. There’s more competition for merchants than ever before, but also more opportunity – if you can handle its challenges.

In this blog, Igal Rotem, CEO of Credorax, discusses how merchants in the global payments market can overcome the three main ecommerce business challenges of cross-border payments and increased transaction rates.

Facing the trials and tribulations

COVID-19 has exacerbated the global payments challenge. Now more than ever, there is an urgent need for universal, real-time payments across global markets – especially when it comes to cross-border transactions.

International consumers purchasing across borders increasingly expect transactions online to happen in real time, but not all merchants have in place the payments system to provide this.

So, as you make responding to customers’ eCommerce demands a priority, so too must you look out for, and, solve the following three main payment ecommerce business challenges, to succeed:

Challenge #1: Payment acceptance

First and foremost, you will want to make sure the payment cycle is completed successfully and with a valid payment method. This might seem obvious, but the fact is,

some merchant approval rates are as low as 50%!

This is because issuers and acquirers often struggle to identify when cross-border transactions are genuine, triggering all the warning signs for no good reason.

But think of that huge effort you’ve put into marketing. You’ve used a variety of means and valuable budget to bring traffic to your website, and put in an enormous amount of energy to ensure the traffic is of good quality. Yet, when the customer eventually gets to the checkout, instead of a successful transaction, they see a ‘your credit card company has not authorised the transaction’ notification.

This scenario is disastrous. Not only do you lose that transaction, but you will lose the lifetime value of the potential customer – and their connections to even more potential customers as well.

Whether it’s thousands of failed transactions or just one, completing the payment is crucial to your business’ success.

Challenge #2: Foreign exchange

Let’s imagine you are a German merchant whose sales have boomed beyond Europe over the past few months. Now, customers across the world are searching for your products, so you’ve localised your services to allow them to buy in their native currency.

Suddenly, you have customers paying in Taiwanese dollars, Japanese yen and Russian roubles – but you’re based in Europe; your operational expenses are mostly Euro linked. Therefore, you want to be paid in Euros, without losing the FX conversion and associated expenses. What to do?

This is a big challenge. Especially as many companies operate at very thin and compressed margins. If you work at around 5% EBITDA margins, for instance, the fact is that you may sometimes lose that 5% on FX alone, and without even realising that you’re losing it!

The key is to work with a payments provider that will let you settle in your local currency, and one that keeps conversion rates low.

This will enable you to offer multiple currencies for cross-border transactions, without getting stung by unfair FX charges or administrative complications.

Challenge #3: Technology

Many eCommerce providers often run promotions, campaigns and activities to broaden their exposure. When these campaigns go live, the number of transactions per second can suddenly skyrocket – because everybody loves a good deal!

So, you need to make sure that your payments provider can withstand rapid transaction volume increases, and scale to process them on the fly.

If not…

your system could crash in the middle of a campaign, costing you both advertising money and future customers.

Ready, steady, grow

“With the majority of commerce now taking place online, I cannot underestimate how important it is that you work with a provider who can scale to suit your needs so that you are prepared for any situation.”  “It’s the only way to minimise the risk of payments failing, protect your EBITDA margins, and ensure you continue functioning when operating globally.”

If you’d like to hear how Credorax can help you overcome these ecommerce business challenges, visit our website: www.credorax.com or get in touch at: grow@credorax.com.

Surviving post-pandemic retail challenges with subscription models

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By John Phillips, General Manager, EMEA at Zuora

Whilst many organisations are feeling the economic effects of the global pandemic, subscription-based businesses are proving to be resilient. In fact, a recent report found that more than half of subscription businesses have not been impacted by the pandemic, while one quarter are actually seeing subscriber acquisition rates accelerate.

So, what can the traditional retail industry, especially those in Consumer-Packaged Goods (CPG), learn from the strength shown by subscription services?

During the pandemic, in order to follow government guidelines and ‘stay at home’, many consumers took to ordering a variety of products – including groceries and home staples – online, signing up to subscription models they potentially hadn’t thought about before. But, as things return to some semblance of normality, in order to continue to drive this growth and build loyalty within their customer-base, CPG  businesses need to focus on forming direct relationships with their customers.

The strength of subscriptions in 2020 has proven that forming direct relationships with customers and focusing on adding long-term value over short-term revenue is going to be key for retails in surviving the impending recession.

COVID-19: The catalyst for shifting consumer attitudes

Subscription box retailers have enjoyed steady growth in recent years, with 27.4% of Brits signed up to subscription box services as of February 2019, according to Royal Mail Group research. At the time, the UK subscription box market was forecast to reach £1 billion in value by 2022, a 72% increase from its value in 2017. Many early entrance to the retail subscription market are reaping the rewards, including Hello Fresh, Graze and Nespresso.

While the COVID-19 pandemic affected brick and mortar sales, subscriptions enjoyed a fruitful period as millions were stuck at home. In July, new Royal Mail research showed 15% of adults had ordered a paid subscription box online since lockdown began.

Some subscription services were able to turn adversity into opportunity by listening to customers and their changing needs during the pandemic. This compassionate approach is in turn leading to increased loyalty and overall growth. A good example of this can be seen from the restaurant reservation platform Resy. During COVID-19, Resy was committed to providing 100% relief on all fees and billing until the end of June. Since then, they’ve seen customer subscriptions spike. The adaptability offered by subscription-based models is proving to be a lifeline for many retail organisations battling the current period of uncertainty.

The future of CPG is in subscriptions

According to our CPG Subscription Report, 61% of UK consumers who have a CPG subscription have one with a food and beverage organisation, followed by electronics (33%), pharma and beauty (33%) and fashion (31%). This demand is only set to increase as time goes by, with consumers who have a CPG subscription being 2x more likely to get another in the next 3 years.

COVID-19 has provided all industries with an opportunity to re-think the norm, and the same goes for retail. Shifting to a service model via subscriptions will not only help organisations to bounce back following the global pandemic, but it could boost the profitability further down the line.

In the past, CPG brands could let retailers worry about the customer experience; they only had to provide the products. Now, in a direct-to-consumer reality, brands need to forge relationships based on customer experiences they themselves have created if they want to succeed. Creating a seamless and positive experience has never been more important to ensure stability moving forward.

The three C‘s for success – convenience, customisation and customer satisfaction

In an uncertain economy, many consumers re-evaluating where they spend their hard-earned money.  This makes it more important than ever for brands to prioritise customer satisfaction to drive loyalty and reduce churn rates. So, what makes customers stay?

According to the same CPG report, customers value flexibility, convenience and customisation above all, citing saving time (51%) and ease of opting out (48%) as key factors in making a decision about subscribing to a CPG brand.

In terms of delivering this overall customer experience, flexibility is high on the agenda for those signing up to a subscription-based service.  Fear of being bound to a company or service is enough to put 42% of consumers off signing up in the first place. Therefore, companies that enable changes to their subscriptions are likely to see a positive impact on the bottom line. In fact, research from the Subscribed Institute recently discovered for companies where one in 10 subscriptions has a change after the initial sign-up, for example, this could be an upgrade, downgrade or add-on, the growth rate more than doubles to 20% YoY revenue growth.

Another key pillar for success is convenience. In order to meet consumer demands, the delivery mechanism for the subscription must be more convenient than traditional purchasing. It must take the pain out of tackling the high-street but still provide the retail experience at home for customers. There is a common thread that the most popular subscriptions will save time, deliver to the home or be something that the customer would struggle to get hold of under normal circumstances.

Customisation is the third piece of the customer satisfaction puzzle and is likely to be the defining factor which enables a subscription service to stand out from its competitors. Consumers have higher expectations for the relationship in a subscription model than they do with a single purchase and it’s important to meet these. Taking unique preferences into account is likely to enable businesses to build a better relationship with their customers, encouraging a longer commitment and lessening churn.

For CPG brands looking to fortify themselves long-term, adopting a subscription-based model is an avenue worth exploring. For those that do, focusing on adding value and improving the overall experience for customers will prove critical in building and retaining loyalty long term. If businesses are able to deliver the right blend of flexibility, convenience and customisation, subscriptions could prove to be a sustainable solution helping businesses to both survive this current time of uncertainty and thrive beyond the pandemic.

Ordo, reshaping payments with Open Banking, enabling low cost, real-time transactions across the UK

960 640 Guest Contributor

By Ordo

In March, the World Health Organisation (WHO) proposed contactless payments as a countermeasure of COVID-19. The effect is the ever-faster rise of digital payments on web platforms and mobile apps. Digital and contactless payments have seen an increase in usage by more than 50%, and experts are claiming that these new forms of payments are here to stay.

Are you ready to switch for the best alternative in the market?

With the further lockdowns becoming more widespread and threatening everyone’s Christmas, we’re offering three tangible reasons to start using Ordo today. 

1. Saving 90% or more on each transaction: it’s true.

If you’re still using card payment processors, you are likely to be paying high fees: around 2-4%. That means that every time you make a sale of £200, you could be paying around £4 – £8 in transaction fees; that’s the cost of a lunch, every time you process a payment. Why not save all these lunches for yourself and your loved ones instead?

Using Open Banking technology (ed. it helps securely and safely move, manage and make more of your money), Ordo can process your payments at a fraction of the cost (20p as a single flat fee, no matter the amount). Learn more 

2. Real-time payments: it’s like cash, but safer.

With widespread concerns about delayed or cancelled orders, businesses are experiencing a high volume of cancelled transactions. Card return and chargeback volumes are starting to see significant jumps which can become a key concern for many companies. Ordo can help your company at no extra cost – when you receive payments through Ordo, they are irrevocable, it’s just like you’ve paid cash into your bank account, nobody can take them back again. Plus, all the Ordo payments will hit your bank account in real-time, as soon as your customer has paid, 24/7, no matter what.  As cashflow becomes tighter, every single payment will count even more, and Ordo could be the partner you were looking for.

3. Reconciling: stop wasting time!

A recent survey showed businesses spend nearly 10 hours per week on payments admin. Now more than ever that is time you need to spend on driving your business. With Ordo you include a reference with your payment request that means something to you and that will always appear on your bank statement with the payment, exactly as you entered it. This reference can also link back the payment to accounts software like Quickbooks, Sage, or Xero. Also with these accounting packages you need to spend even less time doing payments admin, as Ordo will create your payment requests directly from the customer and transaction information you’ve entered into your accounts, including the invoice. Learn more

The change is here: more payments security for you and your customers.

Even if you’ve avoided the costs of card payments, are you exposing yourself and your customers to fraud by just using stand-alone bank transfers?. Common scams emerging include impersonating as relevant authorities and financial institutions to demand payments from unsuspecting consumers, and fraudsters hacking into emails and changing account numbers on invoices to their own. Where you can’t be sure of the owner of the account you’re sending money to, the result is an increase in fraud – to the tune of £451m in 2019 alone, with £114 million of that being invoice frauds.  

With Ordo you are taking positive actions now while there’s still time to avoid the embarrassment, the damaging headlines, the explaining, the compensation and the rebuilding of your business, customer base and reputation you’ll need to do if you just hope that you and your customers will be lucky.  Ordo has been designed and built with privacy and security as part of its DNA. It protects all you and your customer’s data at all times using the latest security techniques and messages go across our own secure channels to and from banks. This means that the whole communication is secure and less vulnerable to hacking and fraud.

What about your customers: are they ready to switch?

We’ve all lost things in 2020, for some it’s been deeply personal, for others it’s been equally as dramatic in other ways finding their jobs gone, the loss of childcare and teaching has meant trying to do two full time jobs at the same time along with the pressure of re-learning algebra; support networks have gone virtual and our freedom has been curtailed with the need to remember your mask if you just want to pop to the shop, or the chore of booking in advance whether you want to go for a quick drink or a swim. 

The things that we once did freely have become complicated and everyone has some kind of trouble on their mind.

Ordo makes it easy and convenient for your customers to pay you, within just a few taps from their phones, all secured by their own bank. 

Your clients can tap and pay without the need to register, find paper bills, login to portals with memorable information they instantly forgot, or look up references to ensure payments get credited against their account with you. You make it as easy as possible for them to pay you meaning you are at the top of their to-do list. Learn more

How we could help you

Ordo is the payment solution you cannot afford to be without. We are regulated by the FCA (FRN 836070). Nationwide Building Society is an investor, and along with CGI and AND.Digital partners, it will make your billing and payments easier.

Its free to trial, for smaller businesses can be used independently and with QuickBooks, Sage or Xero. For larger businesses Ordo can be integrated with any systems with our simple suite of APIs and robotic automation tools.

You can learn more, book a demo or signup here.

www.OrdoHQ.com

Getting paid during the post-virus crunch

960 640 Guest Contributor

By Ordo

Many businesses spent lockdown offering a lifeline of payment holidays while customers financially struggled. With cash tight, now is the time businesses need efficient, effective, but polite, payment processes.

The country went into lockdown and businesses were asked to provide financial healthcare for customers. Many businesses rose to the challenge, despite staff working remotely, reduced work forces due to furloughing and accommodating colleagues left with zero childcare. That generosity has come at a cost…

Generosity hits revenue

There were plenty of offers, discounts and payment deferrals, and now that generosity is showing on the bottom line; businesses need to be smarter when collecting payments.

Existing bills may remain unpaid and/or take longer. Cashflow is more important than ever.

How to ensure you get paid

As businesses knuckle down, tricky payment conversations are inevitable. Here Ordo’s top tips for getting paid:

  1. Keep customers happy: make it easy for them to pay, straight from their phone without having to look up amounts and references, give them no reason to delay paying;
  2. Get money instantly and ensure automatic reconciling – new payments regulations mean payments services can be slick and efficient, meaning businesses are paid instantly, with money landing in your bank account immediately, and automatically reconciled;
  3. Cut costs – especially the hidden ones – do you know all that you’re paying to receive payments? Companies often take a percentage of the value of every transaction, 1-4% typically, and on a £2,000 bill that’s £80 – nearly a year’s worth of Netflix you’re giving Visa, Mastercard, PayPal or Stripe on every Make sure you know what you’re being charged, work out what the percentages really cost, including any rental/subscription for card readers or minimum/standing fees, and decide whether you’re happy; and
  4. Stay safe – think holistically: physical, mental, and online. We still need to be physically (not socially) distant from those outside our household, we need to keep active and try to forget the biscuit tin, and connect with people however possible. But the fraudsters are profiteering too – hackers fish for emails attaching invoices, the account details of which they change to their own, meaning when your loyal customer pays, it’s the fraudster that benefits leaving two innocent victims – in 2019 UK fraudsters made >£114m from invoice fraud. Find a secure platform that allows for secure bill sending, giving you and your customers confidence money will end up in the right place.

The post-COVID go-to payment method

Ordo is an end to end encrypted request-for-payment service, and is making getting paid easy. It’s free to trial, and can be API integrated with any system or used independently; with instant payment and reconciliation together with fraud prevention and low costs, it’s the game changer for businesses trying to survive the impact of coronavirus.

Find out more at www.ordohq.com/enterprise or try for free at www.myordo.com.

Coronavirus requires increased speed and agility in the retail supply chain

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

A major study from the University of Warwick has provided insights into how retailers have responded to COVID-19 crisis, highlighting a need for human intervention with existing processes unable to keep up with changes in the markets.

The research, conducted by the university in partnership with Blue Yonder, concludes that, going forward, future systems will need to be more robust and responsive, to increase speed and agility in the supply chain.

The pandemic means both online and physical retailers have experienced a combination of unprecedented demand for some particular products, whilst no demand for others. Many stores have been forced to close, or adapt their operations to accommodate social distancing. Where possible, there has been a shift to online shopping, but this is not always possible and presents its own operational challenges.

The study gathered insights from 105 different retailers from Europe, Asia and the Americas who offered a glimpse into their survival and navigation of the COVID-19 crisis. The study found that:

  • The majority (61%) of retailers used inventory to buffer against the disruption of COVID-19. Supply chain processes and systems were effective, but more than half (58%) of retailers said a high degree of manual intervention was required to respond to the fluctuation in demand and supply.
  • Workforce issues were dominant issues for retailers with 59% of warehouse and 48% store operatives being affected by quarantine or illness. This often resulted in the closure of online operations and the need to recruit temporary staff.
  • Retailers were polarised in their treatment of supplier payments, with 37% delaying payments and 30% making early payments.

The survey was administered on-line by Qualtrics in late April 2020. It was targeted at senior executives in retail supply chains, in Europe, Asia and the Americas. 105 responses were received with relatively equal distribution across the regions.

Jan Godsell, Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Strategy at WMG, University of Warwick, said: “Using inventory to buffer against the disruption of COVID-19 was the most common strategy deployed by retailers. This provides the greatest certainty of supply but comes at a cost. In contrast, only just over a quarter (29%) of retailers relied on suppliers with more agile manufacturing and distribution networks, which is a potentially more resource efficient and resilient response.

“With 75 to 80% of products seeing a demand fluctuation, retailers were slightly better at responding to decreases rather than increases in demand. Whilst retailers found that their supply chain processes and systems to be effective in responding to the demand fluctuations, many were still dependent on the human touch.

“From warehouse and store operatives being affected by quarantine or illness to an over-dependence on human intervention within supply chain planning, COVID-19 has highlighted the human vulnerabilities across retail supply chains.”

Wayne Snyder, Vice President Retail Strategy, EMEA at Blue Yonder, added: “Early indications in Asia show that customers have been most supportive of those retailers they deemed to have responded best to the crisis and we’d expect that pattern to follow across Europe and the US. A critical learning for retailers is the need to invest in creating supply chains with greater flexibility, visibility and automation. Here technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning will play a key role in helping retailers navigate future disruption, whilst still meeting customers’ expectations.”

 

Coronavirus means surge in online ordering continues

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

Online food shopping has seen steady growth within the UK for a number of years, with one in five UK internet users aged 18 and over buying groceries online, according to a YouGov survey conducted in Q3 2019.

However, this has surged with the outbreak of COVID-19, and supermarkets are struggling to keep up with the demand for online orders as shoppers choose to avoid bricks and mortar retail premises.

14.2 percent of UK internet users aged 18+ polled in March admitted that they had increased their online grocery shopping, according to research by RetailX Coronavirus Consumer Confidence Tracker published by Internet Retailing, along with 6.9 per cent of those polled that said they ordered more takeout online.

The demand has created its own problems, with many users left frustrated as they’re left in ‘virtual’ queues which can be thousands of people long, while new customers are seemingly barred from using online services.

Supermarket websites and apps have also taken a hit with many crashing due to the large numbers of traffic using the platforms, with a mid-March Ipsos MORI survey of adults in the UK revealing that more than 40 per cent were buying more supermarket items than they normally would as a result of panic buying across physical and online stores.

Online shoppers forced to search for alternatives has been good news for a plethora of smaller UK firms that might not have benefitted from this new attention, along with restaurants making the change from guests dining in-house to direct-to-home delivery services of meals prepared by chefs.

With the COVID-19 outbreak only getting worse, many UK businesses are fearing the worst about the coming months. However, it’s clear that for the entrepreneurial and resourceful, business specialising with online shops and ecommerce platforms have a much better chance of survival and growth in the days ahead.

Coronavirus: Tesco limits online orders

1024 301 Stuart O'Brien

Retail giant Tesco is limiting online grocery orders to 80 items only in a bid to prevent stockpiling as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Previously, the average number of products ordered online by consumers would have been under 60 products, but that figure has risen sharply in recent weeks.

The new limit by Tesco aims to allow shoppers to continue with their weekly purchasing.

According to a statement by the company: “By introducing this new limit, we can get more orders onto each van, allowing us to release significantly more delivery slots over the coming weeks, as part of our efforts to ensure all customers can access the essentials they need.”

Tesco has also requested that members of the public not at a high risk from the virus should visit stores in lieu of online shopping, giving the store more available time slots to offer those at a high risk from COVID-19.

“We know that it’s difficult to get a delivery slot for online shopping at the moment due to high demand, and we ask those who are able to safely come to stores to do so, so that we can start to free up more slots for the more vulnerable,” said a spokesperson for the company.