How your small business can move from surviving to thriving

(BPT) - The last few years have brought incredible challenges to small and micro businesses (SMBs), plus some amazing stories of tenacity and survival. These businesses have seen enormous changes, fueled by consumer habits that are here to stay.

For many SMBs, digital payment acceptance has become increasingly intertwined with their long-term success. Visa's Back to Business study conducted in nine countries shows that 82% of SMBs surveyed plan to accept digital payment options in 2022 and 73% said a modern, digital payments infrastructure is fundamental to their growth.

Embrace the digital transformation

If your small business does not yet have an online presence and hasn't yet mastered ways to accept digitized payments online or in-store, now's the time to get on board. E-commerce has grown exponentially and it's not going anywhere. On average, 57% of U.S. consumers' shopping in the past month was done using digital payments, according to the Visa Global Back to Business Study.

Plenty of tools and tactics are available to help any size business develop and grow their e-commerce capabilities. Here are some tips to help get your business where it needs to be.

Create or improve your website

Developing an attractive, seamless and user-friendly website is not only crucial to compete in today's marketplace, but it can also be the difference maker in a business' survival. In fact, on average, 90% of small businesses surveyed with an online presence said they attributed pandemic survival to increased efforts to sell online, the study said.

If you don't have a website, start here:

  • Make sure your web address/URL is easy to say, spell and remember.
  • Select a website host and platform. The host allows your website to have connectivity to the internet, while the platform helps you design and build your website.
  • If you don't have a web designer on staff, hire a professional to design a website that's easy to navigate, and that helps consumers quickly understand your business, its services or products.

Create new ways for customers to make digital payments

To help your customers pay for goods and services using their computer or mobile device, Visa offers a variety of resources and digital tools.

'More than ever, people are engaging across multiple channels - shopping online, in-store and through mobile apps,' said Jeni Mundy, Global SVP Merchant Sales & Acquiring at Visa. 'We've seen that SMBs who have embraced digital commerce and made changes to the way they operate not only have weathered the pandemic better but are also setting themselves up to thrive in the future.'

Build customer loyalty and engagement

Social media platforms can help you attract new customers, engage with them and reward their participation and loyalty. Creating content like blogs as well as encouraging customer reviews and postings can help build a sense of community with your customer base.

You can also use technology to create a digital customer loyalty program, offering special discounts and promotions for your frequent buyers. Offering benefits like these motivates consumers to do business with you and creates positive buzz about your business.

For more information on the programs Visa has made available to small and micro businesses visit the Visa Small Business Hub and the Visa Small Business COVID-19 support site.

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