Is your small business payment system ready for the Black Friday rush?

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Black Friday is one of the most anticipated shopping events of the year.

Even in 2020, in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis and with consumers concerned about jobs and personal finance, just shy of £6 billion was spent in the sales, according to a recent report by Finder.

Now, with lockdowns over, businesses reopening and the economy starting to get back on track, retail analysts are predicting consumer spend in the region of £200billion on Black Friday and over the Christmas period this year..

So with consumers back in the mood to spend their money and businesses desperate to start making up for the lost time in 2020 and the early part of this year, now is the ideal time to review how you accept payments and make sure you’re prepared for a boost in consumer spending.

How should I accept payments? 

The way you accept payments isn’t only important for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but with so many customers actively looking for a bargain to spend their money on, it’s the ideal time to make sure you’re accepting the type of payments they want to make.

Whether that’s investing in online payments, pay by link, or ensuring you have a contactless card machine to take more payments in store, you need to have the tools to match the way your customers want to pay for goods.

Plus, these are the same types of payments your customers will expect to use throughout the year, they’re just planning to make more of them during Black Friday, Cyber Monday and over Christmas.

So investing in a better payment system will benefit you year round.

But how are customers paying?

Black Friday is an on and offline affair, so you need to look at different options for taking payments in store and online as well.

Around 9.6 billion contactless payments were made in the UK, accounting for more than a quarter of all payments made across the country in 2020, according to a report published by UK Finance

The report also highlights the growth in popularity of people using digital wallets on their smartphone to make payments.

Nearly a third of the adult population was registered to use mobile payments by the end of 2020.

Being able to accept all types of payment will put you at an advantage and help you stay ahead of your competitors. 

How do I set up contactless payments?

With more and more people favoring contactless payments and digital wallets, it’s never been more important to invest in a card machine for your small business

With a contactless card machine, you’ll be able to take more payments faster, which is important when your customers are looking for a quick deal. 

There are a few different types for you to choose from: 

  • Countertop card machines

Countertop card machines provide an easy way for your customers to complete transactions at your fixed payment point. 

  • Portable card machines 

If you have more than one point of sale or need to take the payment machine to customers rather than direct them to a till, a portable card machine might be your best bet. 

  • Mobile card machines

Popular with delivery services, tradespeople and market traders, mobile card machines are ideal if you need to access your payments on the go or if you’re off to an exhibition. 

How will accepting contactless payments benefit my business?

As well as being quick and convenient, contactless card machines provide many other benefits: 

  • Payments are secure

Despite concerns about the fraud risks around card payments, they’re actually incredibly secure. 

Contactless card fraud amounted to just 2p in every £100 spent in 2020 and although cash carries no risks of fraud or identity theft, no one feels particularly safe carrying a large amount of cash.

If you lose your cash or it gets stolen, it’s gone – unlike credit or debit cards which can be easily replaced and any fraudulent charges disputed.

Most card issuers have security measures in place, like spending limits and PIN requests, so there’s no need to worry if you’re accepting a fraudulent payment.

  • Increased transaction value. 

Customers who use contactless cards naturally spend more than those who pay with cash.

In April 2020, the contactless payment limit in the UK was increased to £45 while the 97% of people who carry cash have an average of £41 on them, according to a report by Access to Cash

With no restrictions to the cash in their pockets, customers are able to make quicker, more impulsive purchases with higher cash values. 

What about online payments?

Being able to accept payments online is a crucial step in becoming more accessible to your customers.

More shoppers than ever are paying for goods online; it’s quick, easy and they don’t even have to leave the comfort of their own home, so who can blame them?

Being able to accept online is especially important for Cyber Monday.

2020 saw 66% of shoppers snatching their deals entirely online, a 10% increase from 2019, with only 6% of people doing all their shopping in-store.

Although the winter COVID lockdown was probably responsible for this increase, shoppers had already said before it was announced that they were likely to do most of their shopping online. 

There are a few different options when it comes to setting up your online payment system: 

  • Payment gateways

Payment gateways allow you to accept card payments through a secure web page on your business’ website. 

The web page receives card details and enables you to accept the payment once sufficient funds have been recognised in the cardholders account. 

  • Pay by link

Pay by link is a useful feature that allows you to generate a secure link that you can send to your customer via email, social media and messaging systems.

Once they click the link, they’re referred to a payment page where they can complete their transaction. 

This feature is a great way to provide a speedy and convenient way for your customers to make payments. 

How will accepting online payments benefit my business? 

One of the biggest and most obvious advantages of accepting online payments is how quick they are, but there are a few others that you might not have thought about. 

  • Optimised customer experience

The main reason people shop online is because it’s convenient and without this alternative, your customers would no longer be able to get the gratification that comes with online shopping.

  • More marketing opportunities and distribution channels available

If you are able to accept online payments, you can branch out your sales in the affiliate domain and have other websites showcase your products or services with full online payment options available. 

Is it really worth the investment? 

Providing your customers with multiple ways to pay isn’t just important on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, but all year round too. 

Shoppers expect to be able to pay how they want, so it’s important you provide options for everyone – through contactless, online and over the phone payment methods; it’ll benefit you in the long run.

If you can’t provide for all of your customers, they’ll be encouraged to shop elsewhere and you’ll start falling behind on sales.