The Impact of Lockdown on Digital Payments

Category: Growth



Things in the world of business have changed drastically after the imposition of lockdown on account of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has especially impacted the way people shop and make payments. Needless to say, there has been a severe impact on digital payments as well. On one hand, digital payments, such as donations have seen a massive surge, but on the other hand, digital payments that were made for online shopping have reduced dramatically. Digital payment is a relatively new and highly dynamic payment mode. In the coming days, it is expected to see even more transformation as it strives to adjust to the new reality. Here are some of the ways things have changed and how to adapt to them.

  1. Digital payments for essential goods have increased: There has been a notable increase in the digital payments and wallet payments being made for essential goods. Earlier, people used to carry out cash transactions for everyday use items, such as vegetables, groceries, and fruits etc. However, with this pandemic, the public and businesses are now reluctant to handle currency notes and coins. This trend has led to a massive increase in the quantum of digital payments being made for daily needs fulfillment. Businesses are also more willing to accept digital payments so as to minimize the need to sanitize and contact.
  2. Ecommerce transactions have declined: While digital payments for offline transactions have increased, a significant decrease in ecommerce transactions has been noted. Due to various restrictions, the volume of ecommerce has declined drastically, as the companies are not able to carry out deliveries. Consequently, digital payments in the ecommerce segment have also declined. The impact in this segment is especially palpable as ecommerce was one of the most prominent segments for digital payments. Due to restriction on the movement of goods, people are not carrying out ecommerce transactions, and therefore, payments have been hampered like never before.
  3. Digital payments for services have increased: As more and more businesses are moving towards contactless services and social distancing, a decline in cash transactions has been observed. However, people are still required to pay for essential services such as utility bills, electricity payments and taxes. Hence, the use of digital modes for fulfilling these obligations has increased. Till date, digital payments have played an important role in keeping the economy running, as people are not able to venture outside and withdraw money from ATMs or bank branches during the lockdown. In such cases, digital payments have come to their rescue and have helped them avail essential services.
  4. Travel sector is suffering from reduced demand: The ban on movement of goods and people has wreaked havoc on the transport and travel sector. This segment has almost come to a standstill, as people have either postponed or cancelled their travel plans in the wake of the pandemic. Tourism has also hit a bad patch due to the ongoing ban on air travel and domestic and international flights. As a result, the quantum of digital payments usually made for tour and travel purposes has also declined drastically. However, it is expected that once the lockdown is revoked and people are allowed to go about their normal activities, the sector may see a swift surge. Accordingly, the momentum for digital payments will also increase considerably.
  5. Overall trend: As is evident from the points discussed above, the lockdown has had different impacts on different segments. Digital payments have played an important role in keeping the economy live and running during these difficult times. Despite the restriction on movement and contact, digital payments have made it possible to pay mandatory bills. Also, some businesses have been able to conduct regular operations while observing social distancing, due to digital payments.

All in all, digital payment systems and electronic wallets have proved their worth during these testing times. These technologies have helped in maintaining order amidst the chaos by performing some very essential services. Even after the lockdown is revoked, it is expected that digital payments will continue to be popular as people all over the world will become more cautious about possible infections and the dangers of transactions that involve contact.


Accept Online-Payments-Globally

Online businesses are fast becoming the norm and the ability to accept global online payments is one of the prerequisites for this type of businessThere are multiple channels available for facilitating the online payment process. Before settling upon a particular channel, it is imperative that the business makes proper assessment of all the available options, evaluating them on different criterions. Further, there are other choices to be made such as deciding whether to set up in-house payment processing system or to opt for a third party vendor for specialized services. Following are some of the pointers in this regard: 

Rise in Online Payments: As eCommerce is becoming more and more prevalent, the volume of online payments is also rising. There is particular increase in the number of mobile payments as people are now gravitating more towards the use of internet on their phones. As per a report released by Price Waterhouse Cooper, the number of people choosing mobile shopping increased multifold between 2011 and 2017. While mobile payment is on the rise, people still use a variety of methods to make online payments. Therefore, it is important that your business offers a wide range of online payment options to the clients.  

Accept Debit and Credit Cards Online: Giving the facility of making the payment through debit or credit cards is one of the most basic services provided by an online business. For this purpose, you may have to open a dedicated merchant account. Alternatively, you may also choose to use an intermediary holding account. All these options come with their own pros and cons. Therefore, it is important that you carefully consider all the scenarios to reach at a conclusion. The most widely used credit card brands are Visa, MasterCard and American Express. However, there are several other credit card brands available as well. It is important to ensure that the clients are provided with the largest possible options for online payment. 

Go Mobile: Mobile payments are increasing at a faster rate than the overall rise in online payments. As the future belongs to mobile internet, it is imperative that your website allows for mobile payments. Mobile payments can take place in a variety of ways such as typing in a credit card number or swiping a card or dipping a chip card on a mobile device. You can offer these services through an app and the same app may allow you several other benefits such as accessing cash flow reports and dispatching invoices. As more and more people start using smartphones, mobile payments are all set to increase in their scope.  

Choose an Online Payment Gateway: In order to make it convenient for your clients to make online payments, you may simply add a payment form to your website. The form may be amended to provide the facility of storing data so that your recurring clients are not required to add information every time they place an order. This work may also be outsourced to companies which provide specialized services such as secure processing of the payments and hosting the payment form. Further, you may also customize the payment processing procedures to meet the specific requirements of your business and your clients. These services have the additional benefit of providing you the online destination which you may use for promotional purposes. 

As eCommerce widens its scope, the newer methods of making and receiving online payments are being introduced at a fast pace. To offer the best to your clients, it is important that you constantly update your online payment alternatives. Apart from ensuring that these methods are safe and secure, it is important that you pay due attention to the speed of processing as well.  


Digital Payments: Safer during Emergency and Crisis

Online shopping and digital payments have become an integral part of modern lifestyle. These payments offer a wide range of options and make life easier for customers. However, this modern invention gains even more relevance in the times of emergencies and catastrophe. Whether it is a natural disaster in the form of floods or earthquake or it is the outbreak of a fatal disease, the facility of making digital payments can make surviving crisis more manageable. Here are some of the ways digital payments may be used for crisis management.

Avoid the Spread of Infection: Online shopping is a viable option to displace regular shopping where you need to step out of the safety zone of your house and expose yourself to elements. This feature is especially useful in the case of infectious outbreaks such as the spread of a virus. In these cases, the germs are generally spread through exposure to these pathogens. However, with the help of online shopping, you can avoid unnecessary outdoor trips. On one hand, the use of online shopping will work towards limiting your exposure to foreign elements. On the other hand, the chances of you catching any such infection are also greatly reduced. If there is any outbreak or there is any other disaster, then meet all your urgent requirements by going for online shopping than stepping out.

Stock up On Your Daily Requirements: Access to online shopping and digital payment also enhances your market reach. You are no longer dependent upon your local market or store for buying stuff. Even if your local markets have run out of items including food items and other necessities, you can order essentials from online sites. Such sites may be within your country or even global , thus increasing availability of such items. With online shopping, you can also avoid complications such as hoarding as you can simply order the items as and when you want to instead of hoarding them.

No requirement to Rush to the Bank: During crisis, it is important to maintain liquidity so that you can meet expenses as and when they arise. However, during such times, it may not be convenient or even possible to visit your bank to withdraw money. In these circumstances, it is vital to have access to modes of digital payments. You can combine online shopping and digital payments to survive these catastrophic times. Even if you have to undertake offline transactions, digital payment methods such as the use of wallets may be made for paying for these dealings. The convenience of such payments can make it a lot easier for you to go through difficult times.

Donate to Good Causes: Crisis times call for cooperation and the pooling of funds. You can use online payment methods to donate to various charities helping people prevail in such times. Digital payments create novel ways to manage funds. The use of crowdfunding for sourcing money which is to be used for welfare and rescue measures is one such innovation. You can donate to charities through net banking or credit cards, thus helping other people. In other cases, you may be the recipient of such funds as these methods allow you to receive funds even from far off places.

Reduce Exposure to Currency: Online shopping and digital payments can greatly reduce the stress during crisis times. However, it is still very important to protect yourself against infections and other emergency issues. In order to curb the spread of viruses, you should practice proper hygiene by carefully washing your hands and avoid unnecessary contact with others. You should also make liberal use of cleaning agents such as hand sanitizers and cleaning wipes. These precautions should be used while handling cash as well since coins and notes may carry  germs. You can try curtailing your exposure to currency by using digital payment methods. However, in the circumstances, when you cannot avoid contact with currency, then you should try to limit your exposure by using gloves and other protective mediums. You should also use sanitizers before and after handling cash.

Digital payments are a blessing during crises.


5 Ecommerce Trends That You Need to Know in 2020

Ecommerce has come a long way since its beginning in the late last century. In the present era, most of the offline businesses have their online iterations live. With new technologies coming up and more and more people adopting the latest trends, eCommerce is not only here to stay but is bound to grow by leaps. The segment also sees frequent changes and new trends. So, here are some new concepts making waves in the eCommerce sector that you need to know to remain updated:

  • Mobile Ecommerce is on the Rise: While eCommerce in general is on the rise, mobile eCommerce has outpaced the general trend. According to a number of studies done on this topic, the growth in revenue generated through sales made from mobile devices have increased 15 percent since 2016. It is also estimated that 73 percent of the entire eCommerce transactions will be carried out on mobile devices. This trend is mainly fueled by millenials and gen Z. In order to fully exploit the opportunities thrown open by this trend, it is important to ensure that your business is mobile friendly. You can either optimize your website for mobile browsing or can develop a standalone app for this purpose. Whichever way you choose, the proliferation of mobile eCommerce will help you expand your market.
  • Social Media to the Rescue: As more and more people alter their shopping habits for eCommerce, the role of social media is becoming vital. Social media is not only important for promoting products and services of your business but is also required for engaging your clients. Through optimal use of social media, a business can create a loyal customer base and maintain rapport with them. Further, you may also engage the services of social media influencers which may help you in getting your products discovered by hitherto untapped markets. Social media channels employ different formats ranging from simple texts to videos, thereby providing your business with a wide range of choices.
  • Artificial Intelligence & Customer Care: Another big trend in eCommerce is related to the incorporation of artificial intelligence or AI. While AI is being used to manage various aspects of online businesses, it is particularly useful for addressing customer grievances and maintaining client relations. AI assistance and chatbots have revolutionized the way online businesses interact with their client base. These bots may be used for attending to customer inquiries and for handling complaints. Further, there is also ample scope of customizing these services to meet individual requirements. Clients are also becoming accustomed to interacting with these AI-enabled customer care personnel.
  • Personalization: In order to survive intense competition and prosper, online businesses are now personalizing their offerings. With this approach, the customers are made to feel more connected to the business as the products and services are modified to meet their specific demands. Personalization helps in gaining new customers while also helping in retaining the older ones. The main aim of personalization is to increase the stickiness so that the client keeps coming back to the business in future. Apart from customizing the products and services, the online businesses also seek to personalize their marketing and advertising messages to gain maximum advantage.
  • Social Concerns to the Fore: Ecommerce is recognizing its social and environmental responsibilities as well. The rise of green consumerism is the main force behind this change. Online businesses are now working towards more sustainable practices and products. Some of the main steps in this direction are to source materials from ethically proven sources and cutting down on plastic packaging, etc. Additionally, eCommerce is also working towards offering more environment-friendly products. The emphasis is on ensuring that the products use minimal chemicals which may harm the environment. These green products generally command premium pricing. However, businesses are now looking for the ways these products and services may be made accessible to and affordable for the masses.

While the above-mentioned trends are quite prominent, the other developments in this segment are also noticeable. Ecommerce is now experiencing resurgence in QR code payment and the use of augmented reality. It is important for online businesses to be aware of these trends and adapt accordingly.

The Best 5 TED Talks Every E-Commerce Entrepreneur Needs to Watch

The Best 5 TED Talks Every E-Commerce Entrepreneur Needs to Watch

TED Talks are full of insights and are especially useful for entrepreneurs. These talks tend to be informative and inspirational. TED Talks speakers tend to be experts in their areas and can help entrepreneurs in understanding various nuances of the trade. However, there are a large number of TED Talks available, making it a little difficult for people to find the right ones. So, here are our top picks which can help you in taking your venture to the next level.

  • Derek Sivers’ How to Start a Movement

This TED Talk is mainly focused upon bringing about meaningful changes and the leadership styles. The traits required for starting an impactful revolution are the same traits which are helpful in starting and then nurturing a disruptive business. An entrepreneur like a leader should be able to command influence over their peers and target market. Similarly, the techniques such as word of mouth propaganda used by the movements may also be used by budding entrepreneurs for promoting their businesses. Peer recommendation and referrals are especially useful for fledgling businesses when they do not have historical performance to back up their claims. This TED Talk is not only useful for budding entrepreneurs but also for the mature ones.

  • Simon Senek’s How Great Leaders Inspire Action

This TED Talk is concerned with leadership and delves deeply to see why certain people are more likely to inspire others. The talk gives examples of influential leaders such as Martin Luther King and Steve Jobs. The crux of this talk is that people are less influenced by the products and services you launched but more by the reasons behind launching these offerings. This connotes that as an entrepreneur you should be fully aware that there are right reasons behind getting into a particular business. Such understanding and awareness is required to be palpable in your business message when you pitch it in front of consumers and investors. With the help of this video, you can not only hone your leadership skills but may also take your business in a new direction.

  • David S. Rose’s Pitching to VCs

David S. Rose is an accomplished serial entrepreneur who now invests in other people’s businesses. He draws from his own experiences to deliver this TED Talk where he talks about the rules you need to follow while pitching your business. According to David, the most important thing to keep in mind when you are making a pitch presentation is to elaborate upon the most compelling characteristics of your offering. The talk is less than 15 minutes long and is jam packed with insightful advice. It also provides a list of things you should refrain from doing or mentioning in your pitch.

  • Gary Vaynerchuk’s Do What You Love – No Excuses

This TED Talk delivered by entrepreneur and bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk is weaved around his personal experiences and life stories. The main focus of the talk is on the importance of passion and persistence while running a venture. According to this lecture, the real ingredient essential for entrepreneurial success is to have true passion for what you do. Gary goes on to explain that many entrepreneurs are instead driven by their desire for money or passion, which ultimately leads to mediocre performance or downright failure. Gary delivers the advice in a highly engaging manner which makes this video highly watchable and easy to understand.

  • Richard St. John’s The 8 Secrets of Success

Richard St. John bases his talk on seven years of research work during which he carried out over 500 interviews. He singles out eight main features which are found common in all successful people. These traits are work, ideas, persistence, serve, support, push, practice and passion. These attributes are not just useful for entrepreneurs but for all people in general. According to Richard St. John, if these features are inculcated in people, they can become better version of themselves and may realize their true potential. The video contains a three-minute slideshow which provides sage advice in bite size portions.

TED Talks are treasure trove of actionable advice. The above listed videos can help you in various segments of your entrepreneurial journey.