In 2020, the world changed unexpectedly and as a business owner, the word pivot has probably been overused in the last year. But like every other business, you probably have had to pivot to cater to where your customers are and how they are shopping. As Australia begins to return to normal, some of your customers may return to in-store purchase but many will continue to shop or view your catalogue online.

In December, NAB Market Research indicated that customers are less anxious to buy your product or service post-COVID, however, the same customers are generally more informed about your practices and more careful about who they buy from. This means many businesses have seen greater demand and greater sales as their business ethos aligns with their target customers.

That’s not the only change customers have made though. Customers have also shifted in how they pay and when they pay for goods and services. These changes were already in effect prior to 2020, but after spending 12 months at home there has been a significant increase in adopting these changes. Here are some things to look out for.

Alternative Payment Methods Are Increasing In Popularity

Alternative payment methods generally refer to payments other than cash or card. One of the most common alternative payments is a split payment between a gift card and a credit card. Many POS systems have built-in a designated function for this alternate payment method. However, we are beginning to see more trends using alternative payment methods. For example;

1. Increase in Buy Now Pay Later schemes both in-store and online

Buy now pay later intermediaries such as ZipPay allow for your customers to smooth out their expenses and pay back the credit owed over a 30 or 60 day period. Unlike account-based customers though, you get paid upfront. Industry research has shown that this shift is not just great for customers but businesses as well with up to 30% more sales and the average order value increasing by up to 70%.

2. People are preferring to use their eWallet when purchasing products or services

We noticed preCOVID there was a surge for people to tap and go with their watch, phone or other compatible device but since COVID people are opting to use their eWallet online as well as in-store. 42% of customers prefer to pay with ApplePay and GooglePay than hand over credit card details.

3. More and more people are exclusively using credit cards and digital payments

At Acumen, we have noticed this trend towards becoming a cashless society for many years in Australia. But lockdown pushed this notion even further as more and more of our clients began to opt-out of using cash to prevent the spread of COVID19. This not only forced their customers to use a digital payment but many customers found it easier to track their spending.

Predicted Permanent Changes To The Way Your Customer Is Paying

Some of these changes won’t last forever, especially with the upcoming ASIO and ACCC internal review into buy now pay later schemes. However industry experts predict some permanent changes based on current customer behaviours, the two biggest changes are:

  • Online retail trade is expected to rise to account for at least 30% of all sales by 2030, in 2020 online sales accounted for a total of 13% of all retail trade.
  • There will continue to be a need for a digital presence, either through a website or eCommerce platform, as it is expected that 63% of people will continue to research the company online before deciding to purchase.

Good Things For Local Business

The big winners out of the change in customer behaviour are local businesses, as people are more confident in spending within their region than purchasing from overseas. In fact, 36% of people spent more locally in 2020 than in the previous 5 years allowing local businesses to boom.

One of the more recent studies showed customers still confidently headed to their local hardware store for their DIY or commercial supplies as they wanted the whole customer experience, sausage sizzle included. Customers noted that their local hardware stores were generally more knowledgeable about their needs than companies on the internet and were more helpful sometimes going as far as to provide insider tips to projects.

What Does Your Payment Set Up Look Like?

At Acumen, we are here to help you drive your business by providing simple solutions to complex problems. Our systems can help you develop the perfect customer trends through insights from purchase behaviours and other custom reports. With an Acumen system, you have the ability to change payment methods and use split payment methods for every customer and we provide you with ongoing support should you come across an issue. If you are looking for a point of sales system that is also a business success tool. Choose Acumen Computer Sales.