How COVID-19 Affects Merchants and Digital Transformation

The worldwide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has contributed a profound change in terms of merchants and how they conduct their businesses.

Merchants have come to rely on tools provided by payment processing companies, financial institutions, as well as those in fintech in order to ease the digitalization of their businesses. Such digital transformations aim to be frictionless, as consumers have also come to expect an easy-to-understand and quick online shopping experience. 

A frictionless online experience pertains to several key elements. Amazon, for example, has been experiencing success due to its offer of fast and free shipping options. In fact, a survey conducted by Convey found that 79.8% of U.S. internet users preferred to shop on the Amazon website because of this fast and free shopping. Meanwhile, 68.9% of respondents were also shopping on Amazon because of its broad selection of items.

An easy return process accounted for 43.7%, while being able to see product reviews and recommendations reached 40.5% of those surveyed. It should also be noted that 42% of users made purchases on the website because it provided the best digital shopping experience.

Grocery store owners can also find success in the digitalization of their businesses. According to a forecast by eMarketer, the number of U.S. digital grocery buyers will reach 131 million by the end of 2020. By the end of 2021 and 2022, this will increase to 137.4 million and 141.7 million respectively.

Digitalization does not only pertain to opening online stores and allowing customers to process their payments on websites. Kroger Mid-Atlantic, for example, launched a contactless payment method for its customers on April 27, 2020. The option, called Kroger Pay, allows shoppers to make payments by scanning a QR code within their mobile device. 

This not only eliminates the physical handling of cash, but also the use of credit and debit cards. Customers can begin using this payment method by downloading the Kroger Pay application on their mobile device. 

“Our stores are open, and we’re here for our customers and communities when they need us most,” the company stated in a news release. “The health and wellbeing of our associates, our customers and our communities is our top priority.”

Target is another business that has implemented in-store and contact-free payment methods. Through the use of a contactless card or mobile device, shoppers can hold their device over a card reader screen to initiate and confirm payments. 

The official Target website notes that there are several accepted payment types, which include contactless credit and debit cards, as well as mobile phone digital wallets such as Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Samsung Pay. This is in addition to wearable items that have payment options enabled such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit Pay. 

Whether a merchant is digitizing their business through an optimized website, contactless payment methods, or a mix of both, Merchant Broker is here to help with that transition. 

As a global leader in brokering merchant accounts and the ultimate resource for payment card acceptance, Merchant Broker provides purpose-built services that jumpstart the growth of businesses worldwide. 

Whatever stage a business is at, the experts at Merchant Broker add value and save time by delivering a personalized and genuine approach. To contact a member of the team, call 1-888-668-0733 or email info@merchantbroker.com.

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