While most small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) have shown great interest in innovating their technology, some have misconceptions about cost, time and infrastructure capabilities. Sixty percent of SMBs pointed to a lack of IT resources as the greatest obstacle they expect to approach when digitizing accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR) systems, according to recent research from PYMNTS. Furthermore, Main Street SMBs who have not innovated their digital processes to accept touchless payments are less confident that their 2021 revenues will surpass those from 2020 than SMBs that have implemented these processes.
In the SMBs’ Guide To Boosting Holiday Sales Report, PYMNTS examines how SMBs can use digital technology to innovate their online services, platforms and AP and AR processes to cut costs, increase revenue and appeal to a wider range of customers this holiday shopping season.
Around the SMB Payments Space
Shoppers who plan to shop in store this holiday season expect heightened health and safety precautions to keep them safe amid lingering COVID-19 concerns. One-third of United States small business owners have willingly reinstated pandemic restrictions because of the threat of the Delta variant and customer expectations, according to a recent Kabbage survey. The reinstated regulations include requiring employees and customers to wear masks and limiting the number of shoppers who enter the store. Many American consumers welcome the safety precautions, but some citizens view the rules as discriminatory. For this reason, shop owners would like state and federal officials to set a clear set of rules that all businesses must follow.
Retailers often hire extra staff and stock up on popular items to prepare for the well-known holiday shopping rush. The way shoppers make their purchases looks a little different than in years past, however, as more and more consumers choose to shop online. This year, eCommerce will see an upward growth trajectory of nearly 15% year over year to approximately $210 billion in spending for the 2021 holiday season. Total spending on holiday shopping is expected to increase by approximately 7% to $1.3 trillion during the November and December prime shopping windows.
American consumers love a good sale, and Black Friday offers the best incentives of the year. Nearly all customers agree that they would shop sales before the last weekend in November if deals and promotions were released earlier in the season. Ninety-one percent of shoppers plan to finish all their holiday shopping one week before Christmas this year, up 10 percent from 2020. Nearly 60% of customers plan to finish making purchases two weeks before Christmas, compared to 52% from the previous year.
For more on these and other stories, visit the Report’s News & Trends.
Greg Norman Collection on Optimizing Digital Channels for eCommerce and Automated Payments
Before the pandemic, retailers could get by accepting just traditional payment methods such as cash or paper checks. Since then, however, consumer behavior has evolved, and now customers demand options when checking out their purchases. Contactless options garnered the support of consumers across varying demographics, and alternative ways to pay, such as buy now, pay later (BNPL), allow customers to make purchases they may not have been able to afford if required to provide the total cost upfront. Vipul Chokshi, a financial analyst at Greg Norman Collection’s manufacturing company, Tharanco Group Inc., believes AP/AR automation is the best feature for retail, wholesale and eCommerce dealings at his business. To learn more about why digitizing payments processes can cut costs and improve the customer experience, visit the Report’s Feature Story.
Deep Dive: SMBs Optimize Online Platforms to Meet Consumer Demands This Holiday Shopping Season
SMBs make up a majority share of all businesses, with the 31.7 billion stores in the U.S. representing more than 99% of all companies nationwide. Despite the important role they play in the economy — SMBs account for 64% of all new job openings — nearly 200,000 more owners closed their stores in 2020 than the previous year. The 2021 holiday shopping season is a big moneymaker for the SMBs that are still standing, but consumer expectations look different this year. Pandemic shopping habits are carrying over into the current year, and customers want the ability to shop online or pay in store with their preferred payment method. To safely welcome consumers back for the big November and December rush, retailers should consider adopting contactless payment capabilities and digitizing AP and AR operations. To learn more about how SMBs are innovating their technology to safely welcome back customers this holiday season, visit the Report’s Deep Dive.
About the Report
The SMBs’ Guide To Boosting Holiday Sales Report, done in collaboration with American Express, offers coverage of the most recent news and trends regarding advancements in digital payments strategies for SMBs.