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Tis’ the season – Irish small businesses risk losing out on holiday sales as shoppers move online

03/11/2020

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  • More than a quarter of small businesses in Ireland admit to being unprepared to take on holiday influx of sales
  • Despite a rise in consumers shopping online, only 12% of SMEs plan on digitising their business to meet increased demand

Dublin, November 3 2020: Research published by Visa shows that one in five (21%) Irish consumers surveyed plan to do most of their shopping online this Christmas due to COVID-19. Yet more than a quarter (28%) of Irish small and medium enterprises surveyed (SMEs) are unprepared to take on the holiday season influx of sales, and only 12% of small businesses are planning to digitise their business to meet demand.

According to the research, the Christmas trading period represents the largest sales opportunity for 33% of Irish SMEs. Online shopping is likely to represent a higher percentage of sales compared to previous years, with 40% of Irish Visa cardholders who didn’t shop online before the pandemic, now doing so.[1] This means that small businesses face losing out on valuable sales if they do not have an online offering.

Despite the increased appeal of online shopping, thousands of Irish SMEs also risk being unable to trade online successfully due to not having security technologies in place that meet the requirements of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) – part of the EU Payment Service Directive (PSD2). SCA, which will be enforced in Ireland from 31 December 2020, requires banks to check payments are being made by the correct cardholder -and not a fraudster- by asking them for two methods of identification such as a fingerprint or four-digit one-time passcode. Businesses that aren’t prepared for the regulation may find that banks will decline customer payments. By adding these features, SMEs can help make payments more secure and ensure their customers can still make online purchases quickly and easily.

As SMEs look at new ways of serving their customers, Visa remains committed to supporting them by offering the tools and resources needed to adapt.

Visa recently launched its Digital Business Kit which provides end-to-end guidance on setting up and growing a digital presence, in addition to helpful tips and guides to preparing for SCA. These resources explain SCA and what small businesses can do to make paying and being paid easier and more secure. It also contains materials to help small businesses make their customers aware of upcoming changes on their websites. SMEs should contact their payment service provider now to benefit from the upcoming improvements and continue to accept online Visa payments quickly and easily.

Commenting on the research findings, Philip Konopik, Ireland Country Manager, Visa, said, “Christmas is a key trading period for businesses in Ireland, many of whom have been impacted by COVID-19. While creating an online offering has never been easier, small businesses also need to consider the regulatory requirements they need to trade successfully online and in-store. Businesses have the power to decide how smooth the checkout experience is for their customers and ensure that legitimate payments can be approved. By offering them the tools and resources needed, we can empower them to maximise sales and rebuild for long-term recovery.”

Learn more about how Visa is supporting small businesses here.

[1] VisaNet Data June 2020 (For the period 09 Mar 20 - 30 Jun 2020 vs 01 Jan 19 – 08 Mar 20)