Across the globe people are settling into a new normal — an immediate acceleration of digital shopping — which has dramatically changed the way consumers live, work and buy.
It has affected how people spend, send and use money, with a tsunami-like ripple effect on many parts of the global economy.
By mid-March, online shopping in the U.S. had already surged 35% from 2019 levels, driven by store closures, limited in-store inventory and stay-at-home orders.
Impact on Small Businesses
While businesses of all sizes have been impacted, small companies are in a particularly tough situation.
Forced to find new ways to conduct business, less than half (46%) of U.S. small businesses report having any online presence at all.
Even worse, 54% of small businesses in the U.S. report they are closed or could close within the coming weeks in response to COVID-19.
While these sellers may be small, they play a critical role in the lives of their customers, employees and partners; helping them has broad ripple effects on their communities and economies.
Globally, Visa and its partners connect over 61 million merchant locations. This puts the company in a unique position to help businesses drive sales in this critical moment.
Leveraging its network, Visa partners and products can help sellers get online quickly to reach more customers; they can share data and insights to help businesses build their brands; and they can help buyers and sellers work together through uncertainty.
While today’s challenges may be new, Visa has been solving payment pain points for buyers and sellers for over 60 years.
Collectively, the company says its business and brand are laser-focused on leading economic recovery efforts in the weeks and months ahead, helping businesses everywhere navigate through these common challenges with urgency.
Here are six areas Visa has identified in this new normal and is using to help guide its product priorities to support sellers:
Consumers Are Shifting to Digital-First Commerce
Leading companies and brands are already powering cohesive omnichannel strategies that integrate mobile, online and in-store commerce seamlessly.
With in-store shopping severely limited across all categories of businesses, buyers are seeking out robust digital commerce experiences like never before.
As millions of new buyers experience digital commerce for things like groceries, meals and household staples, sellers should expect these newly formed habits to last.
Small Businesses Are Seeking Quick and Immediate Paths to Recovery
Visa says it is uniquely positioned to help small businesses pivot and thrive as digital businesses, whether that means creating a new online presence or recognizing the changing ways consumers are spending online.
To get more SMBs online faster, Visa and Shopify are partnering to provide all Visa cardholders in Australia a 3-month free subscription to the Shopify platform, helping to get them selling online quickly.
Globally, Visa’s Fintech Fast Track program is helping small businesses that are innovating in the financial space get up and running fast and with dedicated Visa support.
Sellers, Partners, Employees and Customers Need and Expect Secure, Immediate Access to Funds Digitally
As one of the largest payments network in the world, Visa delivers fast and secure money movement options that address pain points today.
Through Visa Direct, companies can pay employees or gig workers quickly by moving money to their Visa debit cards in real time (subject to regional conditions and where available) — which is more critical now than ever.
Visa is also helping clients make it easier for people when sending and receiving money to others — whether they’re a small business owner who needs funds for business or someone who needs to send or receive money from friends or family, both domestically and around the globe.
Contactless Payment Experiences Are a Necessity
Visa says it is a world leader in contactless transacting, and they’re working with partners to ensure that these capabilities are made widely available and updated specifically to help meet today’s challenges.
For the transactions that still need to be made in person, Visa has doubled down on contactless efforts around the world, including raising spending limits to enable a larger number of PIN-free purchases in 40 countries.
Businesses Need The Right Data and Insights to Drive Decisions
The company is helping online sellers deal with an influx of activity by assessing purchase risks for them, drawing on data from billions of worldwide transactions.
Putting its network to work, Visa is providing consumers with a way to support local businesses with its Back to Business locator tool, which identifies businesses that have recently processed a Visa transaction and are believed to be open for business.
Buyers and Sellers Are Seeking Transparency and Protections
As this crisis has unfolded, many plans changed quickly, events were cancelled and destinations were closed or became inaccessible. This has brought about a significant increase in disputes between buyers and sellers.
To help resolve these disputes quickly and effectively, Visa launched a COVID-19 Dispute Monitoring Program on April 1, 2020.
Through Verifi, Visa offers services that can help prevent disputes and resolve disputes before they become chargebacks.
For clients and sellers not already using Verifi, the company has is ensuring the implementation is turnkey and can happen in a matter of hours or days, depending on the service and merchant.
Visa’s Commitment to The New Future
Visa is committed to helping businesses implement complete solutions that protect both consumers and sellers in an increasingly digital-first world.
Its team is working to deliver products and services that can help businesses find new paths to survive and thrive in today’s remote world.
In the weeks ahead, Visa will be sharing about its products, partnerships and solutions that address these challenges and help businesses immediately adapt.
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