By: Jürgen Schübel, Vice President, Business Development
Today is black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the US that is considered the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Black Friday has also gained in popularity in Europe in recent years and as people start heading to the stores for their end-of-year purchases, I can’t help but wonder why 84% of transactions globally are still made in cash. Despite its popularity, cash remains one of the most inefficient and insecure payment methods. If you lose it, it’s gone. If you hoard it in your business premises or walk around with it, you run the risk of being robbed and losing it all. If you rely on it, you have to spend time collecting it to be able to pay your purchases or bills – valuable time that you could be spending at work, at home, with friends and family.
Electronic payments are gaining ground however, in particular in Europe where the share of cash is already lower than at a global level. With the advent of e- and m-commerce, for which cash is not an appropriate payment method, consumers are increasingly adopting new ways to pay on- and offline. As the boundaries between digital and physical become ever more blurred, consumers do not want to have multiple payment methods. They need one, simple way of paying that works regardless of where and how they shop.
Retailers and businesses can help their customers gain that feeling. First, by accepting those payment methods that consumers like to use today but also by providing this information at every step of the shopping journey: before, during and after the purchase.
I truly believe that making the shopping and payment process as easy as possible for customers significantly contributes to retailers’ growth from an economic as well as from a reputation perspective. Customers who pay by card usually buy higher value items. They will also perceive the retailer that accepts cards and payments through other electronic devices, such as phones, as being modern and willing to accommodate their preferred way to pay.
As a true partner to our retail stakeholders, we have developed a brochure as well as the first of a series of videos on how to manage this process in the most efficient way. Making the customer feel at ease throughout the shopping journey is a goal that we share at Mastercard. Providing the customer with that peace of mind that he or she will be able to pay in whatever way he or she prefers is a truly critical part of that process and the reason why acceptance matters so much.