At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, many consumers switched from in-store shopping to online shopping seemingly overnight. Consumers moved safety measures to the top of their shopping lists, igniting a rapid shift to ecommerce.

Ecommerce payment processing trends in a post-COVID world

This sharp pivot to a digital-first mindset accelerated the urgency for secure, fast, and seamless ways to pay and be paid. As a result, businesses have had to adjust their models to keep up, and many are still making changes to meet consumer demands.

Moving to contactless payments

According to the Visa Back to Business Study 2021 Outlook, more than half of consumers used contactless payments in 2020, making it the biggest shift in terms of shopping habits. Other shopping habits that have drastically changed during the pandemic include shopping online whenever possible and not using cash as much. 

In addition to avoiding cash, shoppers also don’t want to touch communal pens and keypads; nearly half of consumers suggested that offering contactless payment methods (such as tapping a credit or debit card, mobile payment apps or paying with a mobile wallet) is one of the most important safety measures stores can offer. In fact, 47 percent of consumers say they will not shop at a store that doesn’t offer a contactless way to pay.  

The bottom line: when consumers can’t shop online, they at least want digital options when they shop in person.

What changes have small businesses made?

In response to changing consumer behaviors, business owners have embraced new forms of technology, steadily increasing their efforts to meet consumers where they are now: online. 

The Visa study showed 82 percent of small business owners have changed how they operate to meet these new demands.  The most popular updates include investment in security software, accepting contactless or mobile payments, and selling products online. Other businesses are allowing installments for online payments and digitizing business functions like back-end payment operations.  

Many of these updates sound daunting to small business owners, but with partners like Visa and Authorize.net, payment processing is easily manageable. 

Are these changes here to stay?

The global rise of contactless payment offerings in 2020 is showing no signs of slowing down. Nearly two-thirds of consumers say that, even post-vaccine, they would prefer to use contactless payments as much as, or even more than, they are currently.   

These findings and others reveal one certainty for businesses of all sizes in 2021 and beyond: contactless payments are here to stay.

Five ways your business can keep up

Trying to ride the new wave of digital payments can be overwhelming for small business owners, so we’ve broken it down into the top five areas to focus on:

  1. Payment security and fraud management software: Recognizing and responding to a potential fraud attack will be a decided advantage as the shift to digital sales continues to increase. 
  2.  Contactless or mobile payments: The use of contactless payments became part of a public health response in 2020, but the convenience, security and reliability of those payments will undoubtedly reinforce long-term habits in years to come.
  3. Accepting payments via mobile device: We expect a rise in Tap to Phone growth as contactless consumer usage continues to grow and businesses look for more flexibility with the physical purchasing experience.
  4.  Buy now, pay later: In the U.S., “buy now, pay later” platforms are expected to see continued growth of almost 400 percent by 2025. 
  5. Digitizing back-end payment operations: Solutions that allow issuers to offer real-time payment solutions to their customers without needing significant investment in back-end infrastructure are expected to become more popular.

Having the right tools in place and collaborating with an experienced, trusted partner like Authorize.net can help small businesses enhance customer payments, build customer confidence and improve profits. Get started today so you can be prepared for tomorrow.