The results of the new Consumer Payments Trend Analysis 2019 survey are in, and they confirm what many businesses suspected. Today’s consumers want to pay their bills where they live, and in 2019 consumers live online.
Eighty-three percent of those surveyed expressed a desire to pay with digital convenience, using a mobile device or online platform. While more than 20 percent prefer using a payment app, only about five percent said they want to pay through the mail. More than half of the respondents like to pay by credit or debit card. The vast majority also want electronic invoices, and they expect robust security and protection of personal data. Advanced PCI-compliant payment systems can ensure those safeguards through technologies like encryption and cloud-backup.
A significant number of consumers also enjoy the option of automatic recurring payments. That’s an increasingly popular method for businesses to manage subscription services without having to constantly send invoices. It also facilitates faster collections without the unwanted friction of asking customers every month for payment. Companies like Netflix have used this to great advantage. But so do diverse businesses that provide everything from legal services to insurance, software, healthcare, clothing, and groceries. Attorneys, for instance, can use recurring payments to manage retainer fees and billing for long-term client projects. Set it up once and never again have to follow up and nag the client for a monthly payment.
No consumer wants to go through a tedious, time-consuming checkout process when they can pay instantly with instant confirmation. Instead of giving the customer time to talk themselves out of a purchase, buying with pay now technology is easy, frictionless, and intuitive. Thanks to the affordability of sophisticated payment software platforms, every business or merchant can now afford to have a pay now button on their website. In fact, they really can’t afford not to have one if they intend to compete in today’s fast-paced business environment.
Businesses that meet consumers where they are always have greater success engaging them. That includes selling to them and collecting faster payments from them. But many businesses are creating distance between themselves and their valued customers, because they still require offline payment. That can alienate customers and send them migrating to competitors who offer the modern solutions they have grown to rely on and expect. Engage them on their turf, and on their preferred terms, and it’s a formula for sustained success.
Online payments also offer businesses multiple other benefits beyond customer service and shorter revenue cycles. Using new payment technologies in these intelligent ways saves time and money while requiring less effort. There are fewer human errors and potential liabilities. Reconciliation and reporting can be done faster and more insightfully. Rather than getting buried in paperwork, businesses can focus more on marketing and product development. Ultimately, that means more opportunities to deliver personalized attention to the consumer, which is always a winning strategy.