The pandemic has impacted many facets of the economy, from the availability of products and goods to consumer purchasing behavior and how businesses respond to new demand. In late 2020, Datacap Systems outlined how companies in different verticals adapted to the “new normal,” which actually became a continually changing environment. We also pointed out that integrated payments are key to merchants’ ability to pivot their business models to remain agile when facing the challenges of post-COVID-19 trends.
A year later, here’s how trends are playing out throughout different verticals, as well as key insights that will help ISVs and VARs guide their clients toward a successful 2022.
Retail and Restaurant
Last year, retail and restaurant solutions quickly pivoted business operations from in-person engagements to online e-commerce transactions. Today, consumers demand all options that integrated payments can offer. While 61 percent desire to shop in-store as they did before COVID-19, 56 percent are shopping more online than ever before. Consumers are demanding contactless payments or text-to-pay and QR code solutions in-store, as 42 percent of consumers still view these types of transactions as the safest way to pay. Additionally, in the last six months, 79 percent of smartphone users have made online purchases via their mobile devices.
In restaurants, consumer-led pay-at-the-table solutions that leverage mobile devices for payments is a growing trend, and online ordering for delivery shows no sign of slowing down as sales increased 32.4 percent last year, with 2021 also on a growth trajectory. Curbside and in-store pickup will also continue to be in-demand, post-COVID-19 trends. Offering these services will not only enable merchants to meet consumer expectations but also help them avoid labor-intensive fulfillment processes during the labor shortage.
Patients have grown accustomed to using digital solutions to manage their health. For example, half of patients 56 and older preferred digital consultations to in-person doctor’s visits during the pandemic. Increasing comfort with telemedicine and integrated payments solutions is good news for healthcare providers. Leveraging card-on-file solutions, as well as integrated digital payments in a self-check-in kiosk, can help healthcare providers receive patients’ payments as quickly as possible. This allows providers to maintain smooth cash flows — and offers patients an ACH option that draws directly from a bank account and saves payment processing fees for the healthcare provider.
Adapting post-COVID has brought the latest integrated payments solutions to veterinary medicine. Veterinary practices found ways to provide curbside vehicle service, ushering pets to and from owner’s vehicles. Thanks to mobile payment devices, both staff and customers could keep a safe distance and limit contact.
As consumers experienced first-hand the convenience of contactless cards, QR codes, and mobile wallets, it will be critical for veterinary practices to continue to offer these payment options moving forward. While some offices have gone to the lengths of developing their own apps and app-enabled payments, others are integrating a revolutionary payment-processing interface that can accommodate all types of mobile payments.
This vertical was largely comprised of in-person shopping before it adapted to COVID-19 via the eCommerce shift. Now, 55 percent of consumers are using mobile devices to shop for their groceries and leveraging debit and credit cards along with Google Pay and PayPal to complete the transaction. Also, online ordering and payment and curbside pickup have become established business processes in stores from mega hypermarkets and supermarket chains to small, independent grocers.
The pandemic accelerated the shift to unattended payments in this vertical, in some cases eliminating paper tickets. Drivers insert payment cards upon entering a lot or garage, and the payments technology would “remember” the card number, charging the adequate amount upon the driver exiting.
However, parking facility managers that pivoted their businesses to unattended models are using technology to add more convenience. For example, they offer apps that can help drivers find their cards, reserve parking spots, and pay through the app as a virtual way to “feed the meter.”
A year ago, adapting to COVID-19 in the hospitality vertical meant pivoting to self-service solutions as guests preferred to keep their distance from staff and other guests. Kiosks were vital to implementing self-service for everything from check-in to issuing room keys. Additionally, the unattended payments technology helped fill the gaps in labor shortages. Moving into 2022 and beyond, hospitality will see a surge in use cases for unattended payments, including concierge shops, vending areas, and even upselling opportunities, including room upgrades, spa services, and more.
In a vertical that had been primarily driven by cash and check payments, adapting to COVID-19 meant swift adoption of integrated payments. Not only did the pandemic cause a surge of giving, but it also drove an omnichannel approach to donor retention. Philanthropists, churchgoers, and individuals advocating a cause are now expecting the convenience of making a gift via mobile wallets or contactless payments like scanning QR codes or text-to-give solutions.
Municipality Offices and Services
Last year, online payments or payments integrated with a call center or payment kiosk helped municipalities adapt to COVID-19. A year later, these advancements have helped offices see beyond the old limitations of walking up to a desk to pay via check. Integrated payment solutions allow for easy implementation of recurring payments that keep cash flowing effortlessly. Additionally, leveraging ACH for transactions keeps payment processing costs low for municipalities.
Looking forward, we expect integrated payments will play a key role in achieving the vision for smart cities that use this tech along with IoT and other cutting-edge tools to optimize city functions and drive economic growth.
Adapting to COVID-19 last year in the field service vertical meant finding practical ways to provide services and collect payments while keeping field tech safe and healthy. What began as a necessary response forever changed the landscape of field service payments solutions. Mobile adoption has increased, including using EMV chip-card readers integrated with near-field communication (NFC) technology to accept contactless payments in the field. Field service organizations are also using text-to-pay and QR code solutions to enable touchless payment transactions.
Integrated Payments Trends Are the Future
Overall, the pandemic drove payments change, but those changes aren’t temporary. Payment technology continues to advance, and people want the new options they discovered as well as the traditional ways they engaged and paid prior to the pandemic.
The best move ISVs and VARs can provide merchants – those that continue with traditional ways of operating and those that pivoted to new business models — is to integrate your solutions with a platform that enables it all.
Contact Datacap Systems to learn more.