Online retailers embrace e-commerce innovations to tackle pandemic slump

Online shopping trends
(Image credit: Financial Express)

A new study has found, perhaps unsurprisingly, that 75% of online businesses in the UK are suffering because of the Covid-19 crisis. The findings come after payments platform Paysafe surveyed 1100 small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) globally for its latest Lost in Transaction report.

Many SMBs fear that the negative long-term effects caused by the coronavirus pandemic will be just as problematic, with 45% reporting that it won't be good for their business. Nevertheless, the shift towards more people shopping online in order to avoid physical checkouts and contact during transactions is leading many business owners to capitalise on new opportunities.

SMBs questioned for the study had already been forced to re-evaluate their business model. Having made changes to their strategy, 30% of SMBs surveyed said they’d seen profit margins increase since the pandemic began. A further 36% stated they’d seen an increase in customer numbers. Meanwhile, a quarter reckoned they were in a better position with their online operation to take their business into new markets.

Businesses using e-commerce to boost their sales claimed that innovations in the online checkout procedure have been central to boosting their turnover. The survey found that 37% of online brands have integrated new payment methods into their checkout processes. And 55% report that they’ll be doing the same in the near future.

Digital wallets

The use of digital wallets has played a big part in the boost for online sales, with 37% stating that this option has helped improved their business fortunes.

Interestingly, some 20% have observed an increased use of cryptocurrency during transactions too. The way in which customers pay is proving to be a pivotal aspect of how e-commerce outlets can adapt and survive during the ongoing crisis. Over half of those questioned said monitoring this was now a major priority for them moving forwards.

Consumers are also becoming more particular about how they spend their money, with many now preferring to shop online, despite the prevalence of contactless payment methods in stores. They're also keeping a keener eye on their spending, with the use of expense trackers on the increase. 32% of SMBs surveyed said that they think their customers are tracking spending more accurately because of the pandemic.

Technology is also changing the consumer outlook too, with 27% of business owners stating they think their customers are re-evaluating what they think is important when they make purchases. According to SMBs who took part in the survey, 29% of consumers are placing an increased importance on being able to enjoy a seamless online shopping experience.

“The shift to online has forced retailers to take a fresh look at the checkout experience and assess whether it is user friendly as well as secure," said Paulette Rowe, CEO, Integrated and E-commerce Solutions, Paysafe Group. "Though many SMBs believe the future is less than positive, there is still hope, as we have seen that some of the simplest innovations can spark growth."

"Now that customers are more willing to use different payment methods there is an opportunity to innovate at the checkout. Creating a seamless digital experience will help e-commerce services appeal to all generations and give businesses that all-important competitive edge.”

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.