Online retail sales projected to increase, electronic payment systems essential for SMBs
July 09, 2013

With more consumers using portable devices than ever before, small and medium-sized businesses that have invested in electronic payment systems can take advantage of the growing popularity of online shopping. Due to greater access to the Internet, consumers are able to go online and make a purchase. Virtual stores offer additional advantages for SMBs, from boosting out-of-state sales to providing consumers with another way to buy products. Smaller retailers should consider allowing customers to use their debit or credit card to purchase items through the merchants' website to drive sales and raise customer satisfaction. Investing in a virtual transaction option can make a difference for many SMBs. 

Study identifies increases in e-commerce 
According to a study by Frost & Sullivan, a business consulting agency, retail revenue from online sales are projected to reach $4.3 trillion by 2025 and may account for nearly 20 percent of all purchases. By integrating payment solutions and retail channels, SMBs can increase their digital presence and be part of the growing online market.

However, the study does not expect brick-and-mortar stores to disappear; retailers may move into mobile or micro stores where integrated payment solutions will be essential. The digital world may also enter into the physical retail environment, as SMBs are investing in tablets that customers can use in stores to connect with virtual shopping options. 

Archana Vidyasekar, an analyst for the visionary research group division of Frost & Sullivan, said the shift toward digital commerce may bring mobile payments to the forefront of consumer awareness and SMBs may evolve accordingly.

"Virtual stores are being introduced in transit zones such as subways or airports and as virtual posters on buses and stalls, highlighting its importance to the future of global retailing," Vidyasekar said. "As similar on-the-go shopping models rapidly become popular, traditional credit cards and paper currency will give way to more convenient, easily available mobile payment channels."

Electronic and mobile payment solutions may get a boost from increased customer connectivity, but SMBs should continue to provide multiple purchasing methods for consumers at their in-store points of sale. Consumers look for convenience and accessibility during their retail experience, and while online stores allow customers to purchase goods and services on the go and from home, the virtual atmosphere is not projected to reduce the value of brick-and-mortar stores. 

Nexus: G-WEBCD5