Connect with us

Business

TRANSFORMING PROCESSES WITH DIGITAL INNOVATION TO FIGHT INFLATION

Published

on

By Bradlie Houldsworth, head of product at Remarkable Commerce

 

The Federation of Self Employed and Small Business (FSB) report revealed up to 440,000 SMEs could be forced to close due to late payments. With the cost of living rising, consumers are creating tighter budgets and feeling less inclined to spend money on non-essential items.

Given the challenging economic climate, retailers need to find a new way to adapt to the changing circumstances and offer a wider range of payment options to maintain existing customers and attract new ones.

For brands that aren’t sure where to begin, what steps can they take to ensure customers’ needs are being met and the issue of late payments is being minimised?

The problem with late payments  

Due to the rising cost of living small to medium-sized (SME) businesses are predicting a loss of business. In fact, Mastercard’s Strive Business Barometer report announced 1.5 million SME retailers are worried about the consequences of the current climate.

For many large retailers, they may have the assets and financial security to manage the expectations of late payments, whereas SMEs might not have the necessary funds to combat this issue. As inflation continues to rise, businesses will start to feel the effects for the foreseeable future.

One of the main challenges created by late payments is the unforeseen drop in income, which often results in cash flow instability. Building large amounts of owed money could be detrimental when it comes to exploring new opportunities. It may hinder smaller retailers that are looking to digitally transform, invest in a new website or even just continue business-as-usual operations.

Adapting to a changing economic climate

It was recently announced inflation could reach 18.6 per cent in January next year, presenting a number of macroeconomic challenges for businesses. Gas, energy and food prices are surging due to inflation having a domino effect on consumer spending and their level of disposable income.

As consumers stretch their wallets to cover increasing costs, SME retailers may also start to see a rise in late or missed payments. In fact, a report recently published by Xero and Accenture revealed at least nine in ten small businesses are realising that late payments are limiting the growth and operations of the business.

For companies trying to be more supportive towards their customers, it could prove beneficial long term to include flexible payment options.

Digitalise processes to elevate business growth 

Even though consumers are facing an increase in the cost of goods, convenience is still a necessity. Retailers using clunky website interfaces and laborious checkout processes may find customers choosing to shop elsewhere due to the complicated system.

By merging customer information into a centralised data system, staff can quickly find their relevant data and save time answering enquiries with a built-in messaging and help desk system.

An eCommerce CRM (eCRM) platform supports retailers to combine growing eCommerce sales and build a strong customer experience. Companies can easily integrate new systems depending on their business needs, including stock management, product review capabilities and payment gateways. In the case of a late payment, businesses can quickly and efficiently establish a way to help them by using the eCRM system to easily find their details.

Buy Now, Pay Later can be a good idea for retailers

Customers are likely to vote with their wallets and choose retailers that make it easy for them to shop when searching online. Banking Circle revealed that Europe is leading the trend of using Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL), with two in five young adults now using it regularly to purchase technology items, fashion and apparel, and even groceries.

Offering an alternative solution such as BNPL can provide wriggle room for their customers when paying. Whether it’s paying their purchases within 30 days or having the option of splitting monthly payments into smaller amounts, BNPL could make meeting payment dates more manageable.

Introduction to tailored discounts for customers

Innovating legacy processes to a streamlined content management system can help to deliver a better customer experience and help businesses in periods of growth.

For example, during the current cost of living crisis, many customers may be more mindful of their spending. Barclay’s data revealed nearly one in eight of UK consumers have changed their banking or money management habits. If a retailer can easily offer tailored percentage discounts and promotions, it might be more inviting to current and new customers.

While improving business opportunities, an eCRM solution will hugely benefit the overall customer experience, with the majority of consumers finding digital interactions less stressful and more convenient.

Create steady cash flow 

Creating a steady source of income with innovative systems in place can mitigate the chances of late payments whilst improving and maintaining a positive cash flow.

This only helps to ease worries for the future of the business, but future forecasting becomes much simpler with a reliable revenue stream.

Facing debt or a backlog of late payments can be overwhelming, but with a streamlined ecommerce system in place and offering a mixture of offers and payment options these issues can become more manageable.

As the cost of living crisis continues, unfortunately, late payments are likely to become a bigger problem with people struggling to pay for everyday essentials due to rising interest rates and price hikes. With a fully integrated and flexible digital solution in place, businesses may find that cash flow worries may be simplified and have the time to focus on expanding within other areas.

Business

How FS organisations can utilise data to boost customer experience

Published

on

By

Charles Southwood, Regional VP and GM – Northern Europe and Africa at Denodo

We’ve all heard the age-old adage “the customer is always right”. It insinuates that, in any sector, the needs and desires of those buying a brand’s product or services should be paramount. However, today’s customer has new standards and it is becoming harder than ever for businesses to meet and exceed them.

This is certainly the case in the financial services (FS) sector where getting customer experience right used to be relatively simple. The human touch was traditionally delivered as a bi-product of in-store, transactional interactions. Perhaps, as a result of this, few people ever considered changing their provider and the traditional, established banks ruled the space.

However, with the dawn of online banking and the introduction of new, exciting challenger banks as well as the UK’s unique Current Account Switching Service, the balance of power between the consumer and the bank is changing. Consumers no longer feel locked in. If their needs aren’t being met, they aren’t afraid to look elsewhere and switch their allegiance to other companies. In other words, loyalty is far from guaranteed and customer acquisition is only half the battle.

Retention relies upon delivering strong, unique customer experiences that beat down the competition. In order to achieve this, FS organisations will need to be able to leverage data. Its insights could be the differentiator that enables them to stand out. The positive news is that, in our online world, there is a constant stream of data being produced. However, having access to all this data doesn’t necessarily mean that a brand knows how to effectively analyse and utilise it.

Ensuring data provides insight

The rapid growth in digital technologies and services across the sector has left many FS organisations juggling an unimaginable amount of data. This data is both complex and much of it is lacking in quality. Structured, semi-structured and unstructured, it is stored in many different places – whether that’s in data lakes, on premise or in multi-cloud environments. Before FS organisations can even think about using it to inform customer experience strategies, they need to be able to find it and understand it.

This is where modern technologies – such as data virtualization – can help. Through a single, logical view data virtualization boosts visibility and real-time availability of all data across an organisation.  Unlike traditional extract, transform and load (ETL) solutions, it does not move and copy data. Instead it leaves it in the source systems. In other words, instead of just replicating data, data virtualization reveals an integrated view to those trying to find it.

For FS organisations this provides several important benefits. For example, it helps when data sovereignty issues arise and the movement and replication of data outside certain countries is illegal. Data virtualization solutions can also assist in terms of financial reporting by fetching data in real time from underlying source systems – applying the necessary security and obfuscation whilst delivering the performance, the agility and the accuracy needed through the seamless connection of data.

FS organisations that adopt data virtualization, are likely to see an improvement in the overall performance and efficiencies of their business operations. Overheads will be reduced, as will the length of project times. Above all, data virtualization will rapidly strengthen the customer experience by supporting business leaders to think strategically and make decisions based on real-time insights. But don’t just take my word for it.

The proof is in the pudding: How Landsbankinn is delivering on the CX promise

Landsbankinn is just one of the many financial services institutions that has already successfully embraced data virtualization and its benefits. Despite being the largest financial institution in Iceland – with around 40% of the retail and 33% of the corporate banking market share – Landsbankinn used to face several issues when it came to data sharing and analytics.

Over 45 siloed data sources – including Oracle databases, data warehouses and APIs from internal and external sources – made finding and accessing the right data at the right time extremely difficult. Without real-time data to fuel informed decision making, customer experience and operational efficiency were suffering. As a result, Landsbankinn was in need of a data overhaul to streamline and integrate its infrastructure.

To bring together its complex data landscape and collect data in real-time, Landsbankinn implemented the Denodo Platform – a data integration and data management solution built on data virtualization – to build a logical data warehouse. As a result, the team can now aggregate data from multiple data sources, transform that data based on the applied business rules, and then make it available to consuming applications. Ultimately, this means that, throughout the organisation, the data can be utilised by a wealth of employees, even those who are not particularly IT savvy. It also means that the business leaders can use data insights to make well-versed decisions and provide a plethora of services to Landsbankinn customers both quickly and efficiently.

In recent years, customer retention has become the key to successfully growing a business. This cannot happen without an effective customer experience strategy. The ability to convert data into insight is priceless in an economic landscape where the line between a business thriving, surviving and failing is so thin. Those operating in financial services must harness modern technologies – like data virtualization – to stay at the top of their game and ahead of the competition.

Continue Reading

Business

The Evolution of SoftPoS in 2023

Published

on

By

By Brad Hyett, CEO of phos

Contactless payments and digital wallets have surged in popularity in recent years. Part of this stems from the digital boom that occurred during COVID-19 but it’s also thanks to the ease of use that contactless offers customers. This has helped accelerate Software Point of Sale or ‘SoftPoS’ adoption amongst SMEs and enterprise retailers, with a total of 6 million merchants taking advantage of the technology in 2022 according to Juniper Research.

SoftPoS or ‘Tap to Pay’ technology – is a software solution that allows vendors to turn their phones or mobile devices into contactless payment points. This has made life for small businesses easier, as they no longer have to fork out large sums of money for traditional Point of Sale (POS) terminals, i.e. card readers, or ‘make do’ with outdated payment software.

In light of Apple’s announcement to allow third-party SoftPoS providers to deploy their technology on iPhone last year, adoption is expected to increase further. By 2027, it’s forecast that there will be up to 34.5 million merchants by 2027 – nearly a 500% increase from today. With more payment giants like Paypal and Venmo announcing they will support contactless transactions through their iOS apps in the months ahead, what else is in store for SoftPoS in 2023?

Apple’s role in market consolidation within SoftPoS

Apple’s move to integrate the technology with iOS devices will expand SoftPoS’ usability across mobile operating systems – significantly boosting the size of the addressable market for vendors. For the first time, Apple users will be able to offer Tap-to-Pay solutions which have traditionally been limited to Android devices only.

This will ultimately bring greater awareness and adoption of SoftPoS as we see increased familiarity with Tap-to-Pay solutions among businesses and consumers alike – as they’re no longer bound by the constraints of the type of phone they use.

While the SoftPoS on iPhone rollout currently only applies to the US market, it’s fair to assume this will expand internationally at some point – aiding the normalisation of ‘Tap to Pay’ solutions en masse in the months and years ahead.

The next wave of solopreneurs

The events of the last year will also continue to have a ripple effect over the next 12 months. For example, we’ve seen the tech industry undergo mass layoffs due to a challenging economic environment and rising global inflation.

With large numbers of highly skilled talent out of work, the phenomenon of solo entrepreneurship is likely to see an uplift – as it did during the pandemic – over the next 12 months. Born in a digital-native environment, individuals from this released workforce can now set up their own businesses and run them on mobile devices, as opposed to legacy infrastructures.

This could prove another sizable opportunity for SoftPoS vendors in the coming year, as we predict to see more small businesses sprout as a result of ongoing redundancies.

The growing importance of SoftPoS orchestration

As the market rapidly develops, so too does the choice and ease of onboarding. Financial institutions and retail technology providers can now use a SoftPoS orchestrator to help them deploy Tap-to-Pay solutions quickly and easily for their merchant customers, instead of having to create their own mobile solutions. This saves them time and money – both crucial resources for any business and especially in a challenging economy.

Partnering with a SoftPoS orchestrator is a cost-effective way of providing mobile payment solutions without having to worry about waiting on new software and security updates. With an orchestrator, this is done automatically – making this a much lighter lift with no requirement for technological know-how.

As SoftPos orchestrators are acquirer agnostic, this means they can help businesses provide a SoftPos solution to their own retail customers, regardless of the existing acquirer that they’re already using.

An additional benefit here is that a wider pool of merchants are able to benefit from the technology – growing the overall size of the SoftPoS market. Orchestrators, then, have the ability to drive wider adoption of the technology globally, reaching a bigger audience of end users and advancing the mobile payments industry in emerging markets across the world.

Conclusion

The increased popularity of digital and contactless payment options has driven exponential growth in the SoftPoS market in recent years. The next 12 months will see the technology enter the mainstream, as Apple starts to allow more third-party SoftPoS providers to deploy their solutions on iPhones.

The timing coincides with several emerging opportunities for the technology, including a potential uptick in the number of solopreneurs and mobile-first businesses. This combination of factors will see more financial institutions and legacy technology players work with SoftPoS orchestrators to bring Tap-to-Pay solutions to market in 2023 if they want to stay ahead of the competition and keep up with ever evolving customer demands.

Continue Reading

Magazine

Trending

Business3 days ago

How FS organisations can utilise data to boost customer experience

Charles Southwood, Regional VP and GM – Northern Europe and Africa at Denodo We’ve all heard the age-old adage “the customer...

Business3 days ago

The Evolution of SoftPoS in 2023

By Brad Hyett, CEO of phos Contactless payments and digital wallets have surged in popularity in recent years. Part of...

Banking3 days ago

The Importance of Digital Trust in Banking and Finance

By Maeson Maherry, COO at Ascertia   With the rising adoption of eSignatures and the acceleration of digital transformation, trust...

Business4 days ago

Taking Financial Services to the Edge

Authored by Pascal Holt, Director of Marketing, Iceotope   Edge computing, cloud, and AI are changing the competitive landscape for...

Business5 days ago

Accounting Automation in the Future

Accounting automation is the process of streamlining repetitive tasks in financial processes. For example, some processes like invoicing are time-consuming...

Banking6 days ago

How banks can help customers during the cost of living crisis

 Lavanya Kaul Head of BFSI, UK & Ireland, LTI Mindtree   Surging energy and food prices are significantly driving up...

Finance6 days ago

Weathering the economic storm in 2023

Nikki Dawson, Head of EMEA Marketing at Highspot   New year, new business challenges. When it comes to creating and...

Business7 days ago

Three ways data can help financial organisations thrive in today’s economy

By Rinesh Patel, Global Head of Financial Services, Snowflake   Financial organisations are caught in the middle of an ever-evolving...

Finance1 week ago

What is the right strategy for the end of money?

By John Barber, VP & Head of Europe at Infosys Finacle More than five thousand years ago, humans replaced barter...

Business1 week ago

2023 – what will happen in the payment world?

Tommaso Jacopo Ulissi, Head of Group Strategy, Nexi Group 2022 was a year of transition for consumers, as BNPL (Buy...

Business1 week ago

2023 crypto trends that businesses need to know about

By Marcus de Maria, Founder and Chairman of Investment Mastery   As cryptocurrencies have started to enjoy wider global acceptance...

Business1 week ago

Defining Fraud in 2023

Scott Buchanan, Chief Marketing Officer at Forter Fraudsters are fluid — they constantly experiment with new tactics to find cracks in...

Business1 week ago

How accounting software may hold the key to keeping on top of credit control

By Paul Sparkes, Commercial Director of award-winning accounting software developer, iplicit.   One of the first rules everyone learns about...

Banking1 week ago

Coreless Banking: How banks can thrive in 2023

Hans Tesselaar, Executive Director of BIAN   In recent years, banks have faced immense disruption and struggled to transform with...

Technology1 week ago

Will cyberattacks be uninsurable in 2023? Three steps that financial organisations can follow now

By James Blake, Field CISO of EMEA, Cohesity   The growing number of cyber attacks and subsequent damage has led...

Business2 weeks ago

Why Financial Services Institutions must de-risk the customer journey in 2023

By Perry Gale, VP EMEA at Cyara   From rising interest rates, to the cost-of-living crisis and the ongoing recession,...

Business2 weeks ago

Why finance needs a technological leap in fraud prevention

Brett Beranek, VP & General Manager, Security and Biometrics at Nuance Communications   Banking fraud is always a punishing experience for...

Banking2 weeks ago

How Banks Should be Future-Proofing Themselves  

By John da Gama-Rose, Head of BFS, Global Growth Markets, Cognizant  Businesses across the world are facing a combination of...

Business2 weeks ago

The Promise of AI in Financial Services in 2023

By Kevin Levitt, Global Industry Business Development, Financial Services, NVIDIA   As we enter the new year, many are left...

Banking2 weeks ago

What to expect from banking and payments in 2023

Michael Mueller, CEO, Form3   The banking industry went through a number of significant challenges in 2022. The steep increase...

Trending