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Thought leaders and global businesses share their thoughts in a new report on what’s shaping the world of commerce.

The pace that commerce has accelerated during the pandemic has changed the way businesses and consumers transact. With no sign of slowing, the continued reliance on digital payment technologies has been a keyfocus among businesses. Consumers have embraced new shopping and payment behaviours in a significant way and have come to depend on them.

Adopting digital payments has played a vital role for businesses of all sizes and in all industries. According to leading payments technology company, Global Payments, key trends have emerged and are explored in detail in their 2022 Commerce and Payment Trends Report. Payment experts, global businesses and issuers weighed in to provide their insights about which trends businesses should pay attention to this year.

Digital technology gains momentum in a post-pandemic world 

The results, presented as five key trends, are shaking up commerce in a positive way. For businesses, these insights are invaluable for evaluating current strategies and ensuring they are prepared to meet the needs of customers and partners.

1. Buy now, pay later means higher conversions

Businesses selling big-ticket items are accustomed to offering customers installment plans. This year, offering tailored and flexible buy now, pay later (BNPL) plans on smaller purchases is on track to be a top payment trend. Though primarily limited to in-store transactions in the past, the availability of BNPL has now expanded to online purchases.

An estimated 65% of merchants plan to adopt this payment option, according to Global Payments. Consumers have shown they are comfortable making larger purchases when they have the option of BNPL. Features like opt-in payment plans and BNPL plans can be offered at check-out to split their payments and set-up installment plans.

2. Adapting to changing customer expectations is key

Meeting a customer’s expectations these days should include the ways they prefer to pay at checkout. The pandemic amplified the need for businesses to allow customers to pay digitally, both online and in-person. As such, the acceptance of digital wallets, QR-code payments, payment links, and online invoicing have proven to meet the needs of digital-savvy consumers and businesses alike—addressing concerns for safety and expectations of convenience.

As online shopping habits continue to form, businesses should also review their ecommerce platforms, ensuring their product pages are optimized and the checkout process is frictionless.

3. Customers expect a connected buying experience

When mapping a customer’s buying journey, businesses should aim to look at the bigger picture–from beginning to end. Connecting every point of the buying process to support a strategic commerce ecosystem has been shown to deliver better outcomes. Integrating gift and loyalty programs, for example, help attract new customers, retain existing customers and drive revenue.

Brand affinity and familiarity are driving factors for many purchase decisions. That’s why digital commerce strategy should focus on adopting ways to create a superior experience for customers while also providing key metrics and analytics to help run and grow business. Often, businesses rely on many different providers to deliver what they need which can be inefficient–a better option is to choose a single-source provider that can provide a robust suite of options at the start.

4. Data security remains a priority

Handling customer data means businesses should adhere to the latest guidance and follow proper protocols for data security. It’s a topic that will drive some of the greatest challenges for businesses this year.

Cybersecurity Involves ensuring data privacy policies, procedures, and protections are met. Technology Can help protect data. For example, tokenization—where sensitive data is modified and stored with “tokens” which have no real relationship between the token and the original card number–provides an added layer of security to protect data.

It’s recommended that businesses re-evaluate their policies and procedures at least once per year and consult with a payments partner for recommendations and solutions.

5. B2B payments get digitized

Businesses transacting with other businesses are continuing to see the reciprocal role that digital commerce plays. With more of the workforce remote, businesses need to ensure payment obligations are being met with suppliers, driving the need to digitize B2B payments. It’s estimated that digital B2B payments are expected to increase from 121.5 billion in 2020 to 200 billion transactions by 2025, according to Capgemini.

The benefits of a streamlined digital B2B payments approach includes better cash flow management, greater efficiency and less money spent on paper supplies and postage to name a few.

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