Immediate Shift to Digital: new challenges and opportunities

5 mins read

Across the globe we’re settling into a new normal as COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape much of life and business as we know it, the way we we work, travel, shop and communicate. While many companies and industries are facing difficulty maintaining in-store sales, we see an immediate acceleration of digital shopping.

While businesses of all sizes have been impacted, small businesses are in a particularly tough situation. Some have been forced to close, many were struggling to find ways to quickly establish online presence. While these sellers may be small, they play a critical role in the lives of their customers, employees and partners and helping them has a broad ripple effects on their communities and economies.

Globally, Visa and our partners connect more than 61 million merchant locations. This puts us in a unique position to help businesses drive sales in this critical moment. Leveraging our network, our partners and our products we help sellers get online easier to reach more customers; we share data and insights to help businesses build their brands; and can help buyers and sellers work together through uncertainty.

While today’s challenges may be new, Visa has been solving payment pain points for buyers and sellers for over 60 years. Collectively, our business and our brand are laser-focused on leading economic recovery efforts in the weeks and months ahead, helping businesses everywhere navigate through these common challenges with requisite urgency.

Here are five truths we’re recognizing in this new normal and are using to help guide our product priorities to support sellers:

Consumers are shifting to digital-first commerce – no matter what they’re buying. Leading companies and brands are already powering cohesive omnichannel strategies that integrate mobile, online and in-store commerce seamlessly. With in-store shopping severely limited across all categories of businesses, buyers are seeking out robust digital commerce experiences like never before. As millions of new buyers experience digital commerce for things like groceries, meals and household staples, expect these newly formed habits to last.

Small businesses around the globe are seeking quick and immediate paths to recovery as many navigate the overnight move to digital commerce. Visa is uniquely positioned to help small businesses pivot and thrive as digital businesses, whether that means creating a new online presence or recognizing the changing ways consumer are spending online. Globally, our Fintech Fast Track program is helping small businesses that are innovating in the financial space get up and running fast and with dedicated Visa support.

Sellers, partners, employees and customers need and expect secure, immediate access to funds digitally. As one of the most trusted payments network in the world, Visa delivers fast and secure money movement options that address pain points today. Through Visa Direct, companies can pay employees or gig workers quickly by moving money to their Visa debit cards in real time1 – which is more critical now than ever. We are also helping our clients make it easier for people when sending and receiving money to others – whether you’re a small business owner who needs funds for business or someone who needs to send or receive money from friends or family, both domestically and around the globe.

Contactless payment experiences are a necessity – avoiding contact while buying is better for health and safety. Visa is a world leader in contactless transacting, and we’re working with our partners to ensure that our capabilities are made widely available and updated specifically to help meet today’s challenges. For the transactions that still need to be made in person, we have doubled down on our contactless efforts around the world, including raising spending limits to enable a larger number of PIN-free purchases in ~40 countries. In Georgia that number increased from 100 GEL to 160 GEL.

Businesses need the right data and insights to drive their decisions. Visa provides access to data and analytics that help our clients and partners understand the impact and effectiveness of the critical decisions they are making today. We are helping online sellers deal with an influx of activity by assessing purchase risks for them, drawing on data from billions of worldwide transactions. Putting our network to work, we’re providing consumers with a way to support local businesses with our Back to Business locator tool, which identifies businesses that have recently processed a Visa transaction and we believe may be open for business.

Amid the pandemic, consumers are switching to a digital-first mindset and expect to find, purchase and receive goods quickly, safely and securely – all from home or at a socially acceptable distance. This shift is requiring businesses of all sizes to reinvent their business models to address changing consumer needs and if you are starting a business in today’s new normal, it has never been more important to have an online presence given how consumers are shifting to digital. 

Here are few tips that will help you to get your business online:

Get organized: Organize products into logical categories. Use high quality photos, accurate descriptions, and updated prices/promotions.

Keep it simple: Avoid overloading your customers with buttons to click or pages to open. Ideally, a customer should be able to complete a purchase in 4-6 clicks.

Be consistent:
 Keep your branding (logo, colors, tone of voice) consistent. Your online store might be the only place your customers interact with your business.
Supply and distribution are key: Make sure you have a smooth supply and distribution process in place before you go live.

Test delivery: If you’re offering next-day delivery, test it before you launch, especially if working with a third-party distributor.
Embrace automation: Set up an automated email process for order confirmations, invoices and receipts, shipping notifications and feedback requests.
Stay vigilant: Check your security settings and reports regularly to stay ahead of new threats.
Schedule checkups: Set a schedule (weekly or monthly) for checking that products are up to date, prices are correct, and links are still active. Also, don’t forget to check that your security and payments subscriptions and certificates are up to date.
Analyze then tweak: Take time to pore over your site analytics and reporting. You might find that a particular page has a high bounce rate, only to discover that a button is inactive. With any website, constant tweaks and improvements are the key to success.
Spread the word: Offering customers sneak previews or advance discounts for upcoming sales are a couple of simple ways to get the word out about your online presence.

To support local small businesses that serve as the backbone of our communities Visa has launched a global initiative “Where You Shop Matters”. The initiative has been launched in Georgia with Visa Small Business Hub, a merchant platform providing tools and information on how to start, run and grow small businesses. The campaign is further empowered by Visa initiatives with banks and merchants.

Within the “Where You Shop Matters” initiative, to support local business Visa in partnership with the Bank of Georgia and Farmers’ Association supported platform to help local farmers sell more of their products online. In addition to agricultural business support, Visa in cooperation with Georgian real estate platform, is launching a new campaign to promote domestic tourism within the country. This initiative will help domestic tourism and people employed in this field to deal with existing challenges and rent their real estate with concvenience.

Continuing efforts on supporting local tourism in Georgia Visa has also partened with Bene Exclusive to promote Explore Georgia campaign.

Another important initiative was launched in partnership with Glovo – to support small and medium business in providing them with additional online sales channels and to reward Visa cardholders for making purchases from local business.

Visa is committed to helping businesses implement complete solutions that protect both consumers and sellers in an increasingly digital-first world. Our team is working around the clock and around the globe to deliver products and services that can help businesses find new paths to develop and thrive in today’s remote world.

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