Consumer spending up, drive sales with integrated payments
July 16, 2013

Small and medium-sized enterprises continue to turn their focus to electronic payment systems and accepting mobile credit card payments to provide consumers additional purchasing platforms. As the economy returns to pre-recession levels, customers are feeling more apt to shop online and in stores. According to a recent survey by the National Retail Federation, consumer spending increased in June and retailers across the country benefited. With customers reaching for plastic at the point of sale more often, SMEs should consider integrating their payment platforms to take advantage of the boost.

Retail spending improved in June
According to the NRF, last month saw slight improvements in consumer spending in comparison with May. NRF reported the second quarter of 2013 ended with retail sales up 0.6 percent seasonally adjusted from May and up 3 percent compared to June 2012. NRF's numbers excluded the automobile, gas and restaurant industries.

The U.S. Department of Commerce and Census Bureau released total retail and food service sales figures as well, concluding June saw a 0.4 percent increase in consumer spending from May and a 5.7 percent year-over-year hike. According to The Washington Post, while June experienced a rise in retail sales, the first quarter of 2013 saw stronger consumer spending. The newspaper reported clothes and furniture were two of the retail markets that saw more consumer purchases, with people cutting back their spending in other markets.

The Post reported June's numbers were lower than economists forecasted. However, Jack Kleinhenz, chief economist for the NRF, said customer spending will increase as the economy continues to improve.

"The consumer economy is improving but growth rates and retail sales will remain reserved for the foreseeable future," Kleinhenz said. "U.S. households have adjusted their spending to a slow-growth economy. With employment and consumer confidence improving, we expect that the second half will be better than the first."

As consumers start to frequent their favorite local businesses and retailers more often, it is important for SMEs to provide multiple payment methods to ensure customers can use their preferred purchasing option. Many consumers switched from cash to prepaid debit cards or mobile payments during the recession for increased financial protection, and SMEs should look to integrate their point-of-sale transaction platforms to ensure all consumers are able to purchase products or services.

Nexus: G-WEBCD3