The road to recovery: How smarter payments can play a part

COVID-19 has had a huge impact on businesses across the UK. As we plot a route to recovery, many businesses are re-opening and rebuilding.

There will be challenges. Furloughed staff could leave business owners short-handed when trying to manage core systems and online or remote sales. Some consumers will behave differently, with preferred payment options including cards and mobile wallets over cash.

For some firms, the road to building back sales may be slow, with the Bank of England recently predicting that the UK economy could shrink by 14% in 2021. Hard-hit sectors such as hospitality may experience a particularly lengthy path to significant sales increases.

But recovery is possible. Whether you run your business via a physical store, online or both, it could be worth looking to payments as part of your recovery plan.

Reopening your store

If you operate from a physical store, some customers will be keen to start shopping in person when it reopens. Many others, however, will be reluctant to re-enter shops – and you’ll need measures to help keep them safe and reassured.

Be mindful of hygiene-related issues around PIN entry devices (PEDs). And while you will wish to adopt – and communicate – a rigorous cleaning regime immediately, now could be a good time to consider longer-term solutions that could give you an advantage.

Contactless could see wider use in the post-lockdown market, with the limit on contactless payments having risen to £45 in response to the unfolding situation.

Encouraging online sales

If you don’t operate from physical premises, or if you’re in a position to offer online sales before your physical premises reopen, you could encourage purchases through online offers. Consumers may have an appetite for these promotions, particularly when reviewing their personal finances.

Also look at how you can increase your online presence as a whole. Promote yourself on social media or consider ways for customers to browse virtually. It could pay off now and make your online offering more effective in the future.

Crucially, when purchases happen remotely you need to have appropriate payment options in place. Worldpay, provider of FSB Payments, offers Pay by Link to make it easy to send a payment link via email. This way, customers can securely complete transactions.

Alternatively, a Virtual Terminal offers a method for accepting secure payments from customers who prefer to purchase over the phone. These systems are easy to use and set up, with only an internet connection and browser needed.

Making payments count

Smarter payment solutions could give you additional support during this difficult time, providing opportunity where it might not be obvious. Simple, secure options are available to help businesses rebuild using alternative payment methods.

You can find out more about this topic and access resources to support your business with the impacts of coronavirus on the FIS website, providers of FSB Payments.

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