2021 Visa Back to Business Small Business Findings: Understanding the Road to Recovery

February 9, 2021
lady in small biz coffee shop with tablet - small biz owner

Regaining momentum after any economic downturn is challenging. In the wake of Covid-19, small businesses face a seemingly daunting gauntlet: an altered economic landscape and a new set of consumer needs and behaviors. Thankfully, plenty of potential opportunities exist for small businesses ready to capitalize on the new economic landscape they face, including the chance to shift toward digital commerce. 

Overcoming Hurdles

In the face of a transformed economic landscape, small businesses faced several hurdles. Significantly, the twin challenges of budget restraints and their customer’s decreased buying power meant small companies had to get creative. An additional challenge involved the pandemic’s unprecedented nature, as many small businesses discovered just how unprepared they were for the circumstances in which they found themselves. Ultimately, the small businesses that successfully navigated the pandemic adopted some form of digital commerce as part of their business operations.

An additional challenge involved the pandemic’s unprecedented nature, as many small businesses discovered just how unprepared they were for the circumstances in which they found themselves.

Capitalizing on the Global Shift to Digital Commerce

One significant change resulting from the pandemic involved the acceleration of the shift to permanent digital commerce. Online shopping and digital payments were increasingly popular before 2020. Still, the change in consumer behavior accelerated those trends, especially as quickly and easily purchasing goods online became crucial to containing the pandemic. 

Small businesses able to quickly adapt and implement a digital commerce strategy found themselves in the advantageous position of not just surviving the pandemic but laying the groundwork for a more prosperous future. In fact, according to the “The Visa Back to Business Study,” 43% of small businesses “are actively engaged in selling products online, up from just 27% in the previous quarter, with 87% planning to continue.” As the report concludes, “the future of commerce is digital.”

Remaining Nimble for the Online Consumer

The Visa study respondents revealed how small businesses are adapting to serve their customers best online. Many changed their business operations within the last quarter of 2020 to meet growing consumer demand. 

According to the Visa study, the most significant adaptations included: 

  • Selling products and services online (43%)
  • Accepting contactless payments (39%)
  • Targeted advertising on social media (38%) 
  • Digitizing business functions like backend payment operations (30%)
shopping cart on keyboard with boxes

More than half of consumers (56%) used contactless payment whenever possible during the latter half of 2020. Even more striking, nearly 3/4ths (74%) of consumers say they expect to continue to “prefer contactless payments once a vaccine is widely available.” 

Taking note of these consumer preferences, small businesses are developing new products and services to remain relevant, including: 

  • Finding new ways to meet their customers online 
  • Expanding their digital advertising and marketing strategies
  • Creating incentive programs that build loyalty 

After months of disappointing – and often frightening – economic forecasts, small businesses all over the country are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Many are already experiencing an uptick in revenue. As the transition to a post-COVID economy continues, more and more small businesses will begin to see improvements. 

Those companies who enhanced their online presence can expect to see even more significant gains, both in terms of quarterly revenue growth and expanded business opportunities. 

Whether it’s adding a more robust online component to your business, or making a permanent shift to digital commerce, developing an online storefront allows your company to strengthen existing customer relationships and reach new audiences.

At PayTech Trust, we offer secure merchant accounts and web-based solutions for businesses of all sizes. With our collaborative suite of services and world-class cybersecurity protocols, PayTech Trust has the experience and the expertise to help your business move safely into the world of online credit card processing.

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