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One of the major business trends emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic has been the accelerated adoption of contact-less payments, as many shifted away from traditional methods, such as cash, to digital platforms in an effort to minimise the spread the virus. Proof of this trend is the increased use of QR code payments reported by PayFast – over 400% growth between March 2020 and February 2021 – and between April and September of 2020, Standard Bank’s card division showed an 84% increase year on year in the value of online spend at supermarkets and grocery stores.

In order to remain competitive and become future-ready, South African businesses need to embrace digitalisation and get up to speed with the various new payment methods now available if they haven’t already done so. By offering potential clients a wider range of digital payment options, business owners not only eliminate risk of losing a sale, but also potentially unlock more opportunities.

Here are some steps to introduce new digital payment methods to a business and customer base:

  1. Get an idea of the available options

Various digital payment methods have made their way to the fore in recent years. Some of the most popular payment types that could be implemented by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) include:

  • Devices with biometric authentication through apps such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.
  • Mobile point of sales through apps like SnapScan and Zapper.
  • Social media payment options: Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest now enable businesses to sell directly to consumers, with digital payment transactions conducted directly on their websites.
  • Cryptocurrencies – believe it or not, business owners can enable customers to pay with currencies such Bitcoin through ecommerce site.
  1. Introduction of new payment methods

In order to ensure the best chance of success, the new payment method will need to be incorporated into the operation with the least possible amount of disruption or risk. Attention to detail is crucial here – such as making sure that the correct bank accounts are linked, the new system has been tested, staff have been trained and that business owners have a method of tracking the various payment methods.

  1. Introducing new payment methods to one’s customers

Once all the technical aspects have been finalised and the system is ready to be roll-outed, customers will need to be made aware of these new channels through the business’ communication channels. This might include reaching out proactively through company newsletters to regular customers, advertising the new payment method on the company’s website and social media, as well as taking the time to remind customers of their options when they interact with the business.

The market is evolving for almost all businesses, and customers are constantly exploring ways to receive the goods and services that they need in a manner that suits them best. Of course, this evolution includes the trend of moving away from cash and finding more convenient or efficient ways to pay. This is why business owners should be looking for ways to offer customers more choices. Potential customers appreciate companies that implement new methods such as a variety of payment options – which ultimately results in more business opportunities or sales. All in all, with the right guidance and information, it is becoming exceedingly simple to offer customers new and easy ways to pay by making use of these newest technologies.

About the Author: Ben Bierman

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Ben Bierman has been our Managing Director since 2015. He joined our company in 1990 and has risen through the ranks occupying various positions ranging from being a management accountant, Head of Information Technology and Chief Financial Officer. Ben is an avid reader, enjoys classical music and being in the outdoors including for hunting trips. He is our go-to-spokesperson for our SME Confidence Index, SME sector policy and trend matters, and business leadership articles.