SMEs Show Growth in use of eCommerce Solutions During Festive Season

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Accelerating the shift to eCommerce

Data also shows that customers are more willing to abandon shopping carts due to friction during checkout

Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, has released a report detailing how the use of e-commerce has taken an upward trajectory as the festive season approaches.

The report, drafted by Visa Consulting & Analytics (VCA) and titled Accelerating the shift to eCommerce, stated that most small businesses surveyed (60%), have taken steps to prepare for the seasonal sales activity that kicks-off with Black Friday. The preparations include changing their infrastructure and digitizing their business. [1]

Additionally, according to the survey, 81% of customers surveyed indicated they are willing to pay more for a good customer experience when they shop online. This indicates a growing willingness by customers to conduct their purchases using eCommerce.

Speaking during the launch of the report, Eva Ngigi-Sarwari, Country Leader for Visa in Kenya, said that this move presents a great opportunity for small businesses to benefit from eCommerce during the festive period. “Small and Medium-sized Businesses (SMBs) that leverage ecommerce solutions; which provide excellent online shopping experience for consumers; have the opportunity to benefit from high spend periods like Black Friday and the coming festive season compared to businesses who have not mastered the importance of holistic back-end design of the customer journey” said Ngigi.

The move to increased online shopping comes on the back most retailers driving their customers online due to different lockdown restrictions that affected in store foot traffic as indicated by Visa’s Covid-19 Impact Tracker report which was released earlier this year. As the retail sector looks to driving recovery, the approach to periods like Black Friday has also evolved and further necessitated safer, better online payment experiences.

“The impact of a bad payment experience can be devastating. When a shopper abandons an online shopping cart due to checkout friction, the data shows that 67% end up leaving for a competitor or never complete the purchase anywhere, and 59% say they are less likely to shop with that same retailer again[2],” added Ngigi.

“The VCA report highlights how the payment experience is a critical touchpoint – a part of the customer journey, which requires special attention. Each time a potential customer reaches the checkout page, they have a moment to reflect on whether the effort needed to make the payment is equal to the value they get from their purchase.  To win prospective and repeat customers, SMBs need to have a digital presence during the discovery and evaluation stages of the customer shopping journey”, concluded Ngigi.

Digital payments provide a convenient and secure way to pay for customers. For businesses, they reduce the friction arising from handling money, limit customer queuing, grow their customer base as a result of enhanced experience and eventually improve sales and profitability. As online shopping becomes the norm for consumers and businesses continue on the road to economic recovery, digital payment and in particular frictionless e-commerce experiences, will become a competitive advantage for small businesses.