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For Artists and Small Businesses – how to accept mobile payment

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For Artists and Small Businesses - how to accept mobile payment

If you are an artist, then you probably spend most of your time trying to create works of art. To earn a living, you would need to sell the products you create. You may come across many customers who are not ready to pay by cash and instead would like to know if you accept mobile payment. It is not just artists, even small businesses face this situation, where customers would wish to pay through their mobile phones. Mobile phones or smartphones have become very popular today.

More than 50% mobile users use their mobile phones to access the internet. They are comfortable using their phones for various activities, including making payments. Accepting payments by checks is a risk, which is why most businesses prefer to accept payment through credit cards. Small businesses and individuals like artists may not have the equipment to accept credit card payment. Accepting mobile payment is easy and a small business can offer this facility to customers to receive instant payment.

If you are an artist, an individual offering a service, or a small business then you can consider allowing customers to pay through their mobile phones. This will make purchasing from you convenient for your customers. Accepting payments from a mobile phone is also very easy for you to implement. If you did not know how this could be done, we will explain the same in this guide.

What is mobile payment?

Mobile payment is nothing but payment done by one person to another using the mobile phone. The use of mobile phones for payment commenced in 2009. A company named Square introduced a feature where a mobile phone could be used to read credit cards. This was a good way to use a smartphone to accept payments through credit cards. Subsequently, an innovation came in the form of mobile wallets that could be used for mobile payment.

A mobile wallet is a virtual wallet. Just as you hold cash in your purse or wallet, you can hold cash in a virtual wallet that can be accessed from your mobile phone through an app. You can use this wallet app to make payments to anyone. The payment would be transferred instantly from your wallet to the other person’s wallet. You can link the mobile wallet to your bank account so that you can transfer money from the wallet to your account or vice-versa.

The first wallet was introduced by Google in 2011, they called it Google Wallet. PayPal one of the leaders in online payment introduced their mobile wallet in 2012. Apple came out with ApplePay, a mobile wallet in 2014. This was an innovative solution as it allowed for the use of NFC (Near Field Communication) technology to make payments. It also had biometric authentication to avoid potential misuse. Subsequently, in 2015 Google replaced Google Wallet with Android Pay (subsequently renamed as G Pay).

It is estimated that by 2022, payment transactions through mobile phones would reach $14 trillion. This facility is being fast accepted worldwide. It makes sense for businesses, including small businesses to start accepting payment through mobile phones. Not doing so can make things inconvenient for customers. Apple Pay is used by 250 million users worldwide. We Chat pay is used by 600 million users. If you do not accept mobile payments, you can lose out on potential business. It is time for you to get started now.

Benefits of accepting mobile payments

A small business has many advantages when they start accepting payments through mobile phones. Here are a few of them:

1) It is what customers want

Today, we live in a competitive world, where the customer is the king. A business needs to quickly adapt itself to changing trends. Customers find mobile payment convenient. People use their mobiles throughout the day. In fact, many people do much of their computing through the mobile. Youngsters use mobile phones extensively. In such a situation, making payments through mobile phones is convenient and customers are willing to do this. In fact, this is gradually becoming the first choice for making payments, rather than cash and card.

If you offer mobile payment, then you are making things convenient for customers. Customers nowadays don’t carry much cash. Governments across the world are discouraging people from using cash and motivating them to shift to cashless forms of transactions. The mobile payment facility is fast becoming a popular payment option. Very soon, it would become the preferred choice for payment and a business would have no option but to offer mobile payments. It is better that you start accepting payments through mobile right now.

2) It is convenient for you

It is not just customer convenience, payment through mobile phones is convenient for you too. If you plan to accept payments through card, then you need to sign up with a provider. You need to get a machine to read cards. You and your staff need to learn how to use this. Mobile payments, on the other hand, are very simple. There is no equipment needed (unless NFC payments need to be used). All you need is a smartphone. You can install the mobile wallet or mobile payment app. These apps are free and are simple to use. Accepting payment through mobiles is easy for you to implement.

3) You can be paid fast

When you accept a credit card payment, you don’t get the payment immediately. It takes time for the bank to process it and then transfer it to your account. You would need to monitor every transaction to ensure the money has reached your account. There is also a risk of credit card fraud, which can result in delays in getting payment. Payment through checks are even more cumbersome, you need to go to the bank and deposit it and wait for the payment to be cleared.

Mobile payments are extremely convenient as the money transfer happens instantaneously.  There is no processing or waiting time. The moment the customer makes the transaction on his mobile phone, the payment would be transferred to your wallet or account. It makes sense to start accepting mobile payments since you can get your money immediately.

4) It can help in increased sales

There could be customers who don’t buy from you or use your services because the payment methods you offer are not convenient. When you offer mobile payments, you are making things convenient for customers. You can look forward to increased sales from customers who prefer paying through mobile payment apps.

5) It is highly secure

Payment through credit card involves many risks. The customer may need to key in a password/pin to complete the transaction. The process takes time and there is a risk of the card number and pin being hacked. This can lead to a situation where a customer’s credit card can be misused. On the other hand, mobile payment involves no risk. Even if a customer loses his mobile, without the password no one can use it to make payments. When a card is used for payment, the customer needs to hand it over to the billing clerk to complete the transaction. There is a risk where devices like skimmers can be used to steal data. Payment through mobile phone involves no such problems and is highly secure. Apps even allow biometric authentication to make app usage more secure.

How does mobile payment work?

Now that you have understood the benefits of mobile payment and its simplicity, you would probably like to know how it works. It is very simple, both you and your customer need to have the same mobile app installed. Since customers use different apps, you can install all the popular apps on your mobile phone (Apple Pay, G Pay WeChat pay, etc). In fact, it is so simple that if a customer prefers a particular app, you can download it instantly, activate it in no time, and start using it.

Once you install a mobile app to accept payment, you would get a QR Code or Quick response code. You can print this code and display it in your shop/office. The QR code is just like a bar code, it is a code that can be scanned. It doesn’t need a separate scanner, it can be scanned using the mobile phone. Once the QR code is displayed, any customer can scan it to make payments.

Once the invoice amount is decided, the customer can scan the QR Code using the option provided in the mobile app. Your details would be displayed on the app. All the customer has to do is key in the amount to be paid and select the pay option. The customer would be asked to enter the password/pin to complete the transaction. In some cases, biometric authentication is required for greater security. Once the authentication through fingerprint and/or pin is done, the transaction is complete.

The payment is carried out instantly without having to wait. The money is transferred from the mobile wallet of the customer to your wallet immediately. Depending on the type of app, it can also be transferred directly from the customer’s bank account to your bank account. You would get an immediate notification that the payment has been received. When you open your app, it would show the successful transaction and the amount paid. The entire process is simple and the best thing is that a customer need not reveal his account number or card number to carry out the transaction. It can be done easily through a QR code, making the process very secure.

NFC-based mobile payment

NFC is Near Field Communication. It is a technology that can be used by a device to identify another and communicate with each other without the need for internet connectivity. For this to work, the device or mobile phone should have NFC enabled on it. Most mobile phones have NFC prebuilt into it. Statistics show that there are more than 166 million users using NFC mobile apps. Apart from mobile wallets, if you wish to offer this facility also to your customers, this is how you can do it.

To implement NFC-based mobile payment, you would need a card reader. You may work with a service provider who can help you setup the required hardware. Using this technology payment can be made by a customer without having to swipe a card or even take out the card from his wallet. The card data can be stored on the mobile app. The two NFC devices, which is the mobile phone and the card reader, must be in physical proximity (not more than 2 inches apart).

When the customer brings his mobile phone close to the reader, both devices start to communicate and establish a link. The customer can thus use an app on his mobile to exchange data. The amount to be paid is displayed on the customer’s app. He can approve the payment by entering a pin or using biometric authentication (depending on the app used). Radio frequency is used by the mobile to connect to the card reader. Only a mobile, which has NFC, can be used for this transaction. An additional security feature is that a card reader would connect only to one device at a time. This avoids the problem of making a payment for someone else’s transaction by mistake.

To implement this feature, you need to purchase a card reader along with the necessary service for processing the credit card used by the customer. There are many service providers who offer this facility. They would charge you a processing fee for the use of their service for every transaction.

Getting started

NFC is still evolving and may need time to become the acceptable standard. Payment through mobile wallets is extremely popular and easy to implement. If you are an artist or an entrepreneur running a small business then you can start using mobile wallets for accepting payments. All you need to do is install an app and let your customers know that you offer this facility.

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Reconnecting the retail brain: learning from the octopus

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Reconnecting the retail brain: learning from the octopus 1

By John Malpass, Retail Consultancy Practice Lead at Teradata

An octopus has nine brains: one for each tentacle and plus one at the centre. Each tentacle can react super-fast to local stimuli to grab opportunity, hide or defend itself and the wider body. Many of these reactions are instinctive. But the central brain is essential, monitoring and analysing information from across the organism, and taking crucial decisions that ensure survival.  It controls the whole body, makes strategic decisions, and ensures coordinated action by all the tentacles. The octopus’ seemingly miraculous speed, shape-shifting and camouflage capabilities, controlled by its central brain, are themselves a useful analogy for the future of retail.

Retailers need to adopt a similar approach leveraging enterprise-wide data and analytics not only to react fast at the edge, sensing and responding to changing customer behaviours and local market dynamics in each individual store, whilst also constantly informing strategic and future-focused decision-making.

As we’ve seen, for too many retailers brain and body have become separate, with data informing discrete projects and engagements but not used to transform entire business processes. Disconnects, friction and manual interventions in processes have all been highlighted in the current crisis, but they have been slowing things down and constraining value delivery for decades. To survive, the retailer of the future will have to become agile and able to respond to rapid and constant change. Just like the octopus, some responses will be automated; analytically enabled, managed and executed, while the central brain co-ordinates activities, thinks ahead, constantly learning and adapting to its environment.

The octopus has evolved over millions of years to develop and adapt its highly sensitive response capability. Retailers have had a few weeks to discover the benefits of a similar approach. Siloed solutions and manual processes cannot cope with the speed and scale needed to survive. As many will have experienced over the last few weeks, simply reporting what has happened can involve huge effort for little reward. Data is an asset, but it must be leveraged to deliver business advantage if it is to be valued. In later blogs I’ll demonstrate how data adds value to specific functions within retail, but for now I’ll share one example of how data can transform a process to create value on the shop floor.

In store bakeries are popular with customers, driving traffic, sales and margin and larger customer baskets. But margin can quickly disappear if too many or too few croissants are baked. One major supermarket, with over 400 in-store bakeries, found it had over 400 different ways of deciding how many items to bake during the day! To reduce waste and increase availability the retailer’s ‘central brain’ built a predictive model using data collected from across the organisation. Running the algorithm for each bakery with local, real-time data on current trading conditions automatically calculates exactly how many croissants bakers should make in each store and when to bake them.  This one algorithm has delivered over 10% in additional sales.

This is the sort of transformation that retailers must embrace – not only knowing what customers in each store want but acting on that knowledge by innovating a way to better meet their needs. Growth-orientated retailers tell us they have three strategic priorities: a hyper-personalised, frictionless  customer experience across all channels; more relevant localised and personalised Customer value propositions; and agile, cost efficient operations that respond to the demands of the modern digital economy. All demand reliable, trusted and real-time data at every point. The retailer of the future will run more than 50 million queries per day. That scale of data: every product in every store, every customer through every channel, 24/7, 365 days a year, means that automation is the only way to act at the speed needed to compete.

Automating the routine, while managing exceptions and alerts, creates time and space for more strategic analysis so retailers can switch from firefighting to scenario planning and simulation. This literal mind-shift opens the door to more strategic and forward-looking analytics and the use of big data to create new added value activities. Using data to define tomorrow’s opportunities and strategise the best next steps will build an agile business capable of responding to the demands of the modern digital market.

The global pandemic has been a harsh wake-up call for many in retail. Creaking systems, siloed and hard to reach data, and intensive manual processes have all been strained to breaking point. Those that were already set up and using enterprise-wide analytics will have fared better, but even those who have not taken the first steps should now see the urgent need to use data to transform their businesses. Luckily, evolution in retail does not need millions of years, and in the next few weeks I’ll outline how individual roles and functions can rapidly use data to change the way they do business. And you don’t need nine brains to do it.

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The rise of nomadic work: how to turn your remote team into a creative force

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The rise of nomadic work: how to turn your remote team into a creative force 2

By Paige Erickson, EMEA MD, Workfront

During the first stage of the lockdown in the spring, almost half of Brits worked remotely, causing businesses to completely rethink their working structures. Employees too have re-examined the traditional working day and now as many as 72 per cent of UK employees want to continue working from home, at least part-time. They state that working remotely helps them increase productivity and offers a better work-life balance. This sentiment from workers coupled with strong financial motivation for companies to continue to support distributed workforces, it seems unlikely we’ll ever return to the office in exactly the same form as before Covid-19.

In fact, for many, the office nine-to-five is already in the past. Instead, the pandemic has accelerated the trend of “nomadic work”, where a healthy percentage of employees can work from absolutely anywhere. This helps workers find the balance that works for them, whether that’s sometimes in the office, a couple of days from home or even working while travelling.

Covid-19 has proved that where we work isn’t as important as we thought. Instead it is how we work, and the outcome of that work, that’s critical.

A moment of shock-change for business

The pandemic has thrown companies into a moment of shock-change, as they have had to determine nearly overnight how to support a now-remote workforce. How, when and where we work changed, making maintaining productivity on the right work in this new environment incredibly difficult.

Realigning on what it means to be productive – and how to measure that productivity – is now essential for companies. The notion of a structured, on-premisis workday where activity could be observed and continually calibrated is a thing of the past. And yet, in order to navigate the current and future state to positive business outcomes, this new distributed workforce must function as an interdependent web that consistently generates not just output, but focused and strategic outcomes.

We need more than just communication tools

For some businesses the move to remote working was a new concept, and they experienced a sudden, greater dependency on technologies they had not typically used before. Zoom, Teams and Slack have become defining tools amid the pandemic, with many individuals using them both to continue business operations and socialise with colleagues they otherwise could not see physically. It was a fast and simple way to connect colleagues who were suddenly working in isolation.

When the pandemic struck, the question most leaders focused on was simply: “how do we keep everyone talking?” And while that was an important first step, the fact that the workforce could communicate didn’t necessarily mean they had the support they needed to engage fully in the right work.

Strategic work needs more than just communication, it requires constant connection between the day-to-day work (wherever it happens), and the prioritised objectives of the business.

Paige Erickson,

Paige Erickson,

Keep working towards the same outcome

Present and future work requires that companies meet employees where they are, with the right processes and technologies to support them in becoming, and staying, engaged with both each other, and on work aligned to strategic objectives.

Collaboration technologies have seen a huge surge in uptake as leaders look for ways to keep their newly nomadic workforce productive. And while most collaboration tools can help teams coordinate and complete tasks and projects, without broader connectivity to systems, teams and departments across the rest of the business their impact is limited.

Tasks and projects themselves do not exist on islands. They require budget and personnel data from financial and human capital management systems to properly allocate and manage resources. Many projects require compliance oversight from legal and regulatory departments. Work also happens in specialised applications such as Jira, ServiceNow and Adobe.

Unless collaboration tools can integrate with the data, and processes happening in those and other applications, work stays siloed, and employees and leaders have limited context and visibility into why and how work is – or is not – progressing toward the right outcomes.

Work management engages your team, wherever they are

Work management practices and platforms are fundamentally different to collaboration applications. Instead of focusing solely on connecting people and teams, they are designed to connect strategy to delivery. This shift in approach absolutely requires that nomadic workers are outfitted with the right communication and collaboration support, and then goes several steps further.

Enterprise work management platforms also integrate work and data across people, systems and departments, providing context and connection for frontline workers, and visibility and navigation for leaders. Wherever they’re working, each person has what they need to do their best work, and the assurance that their work is making an essential contribution to a larger whole.   

Harness the creative spark of your nomadic workforce

The pandemic meant businesses had to take a deep look at the way they work and operate to support their workforce from home. Now that we know nomadic working is here to stay, organisations must think beyond just the digital systems they need to get staff talking. It’s time to rethink the best way to build a truly nomadic working structure for your enterprise.

We’re in a time of workplace transition. ERP systems previously transformed how enterprises manage corporate resources and CRM solutions helped businesses find value in customer data. Now, work management platforms are set to transform how companies manage work — including nomadic workers — to become creative forces and give enterprises a competitive advantage.

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Consumers in the COVID era can learn to embrace strong customer authentication

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Consumers in the COVID era can learn to embrace strong customer authentication 3

By Ed Whitehead, Signifyd managing director, EMEA

The changes that COVID-19 has caused in rapid succession make it hard to slow down and think about just how to approach the retail and payments landscape and a world that will never be the same.

But it is important for retailers and financial institutions to take a breath, think about where consumers are headed and come up with a strategy to take your enterprises there in time to meet them when they arrive. Granted, all this is going on in the midst of great disruption in the world of online payments.

First, ecommerce sales have accelerated at an unprecedented rate. When the World Health Organisation in March declared a global pandemic and government began ordering non-essential stores closed, consumers turned to online shopping for necessities and nice-to-have items.

Ecommerce sales in Europe peaked at 70% year-over-year at the height of online buying during the pandemic, according to Signifyd Ecommerce Pulse data. With non-essential stores reopening and with consumers less inclined to stockpile, online buying has cooled, but ecommerce spending in September remained at double their year-ago figures in some key verticals, according to Signifyd Ecommerce Pulse data.

That shift was unforeseen before the pandemic hit. But another disruption was long-anticipated and human-made. By the end of the year in most of Europe, merchants and banks will be required to adhere to the payment regulation known as PSD2 and it’s requirement for Strong Customer Authentication.

And while the UK has pushed enforcement of the regulations into 2021, the earlier enforcement deadline will apply to UK merchants who want to sell into the rest of Europe.

Interestingly enough, most of the worry over SCA has focused on whether merchants were ready for the change. But financial institutions also have work to do to prepare for SCA, both to serve their consumer account holders and to process transactions from their commercial customers, such as retailers. And while conventional wisdom has dictated that financial institutions are in a better position to offer SCA than are many retailers, a recent survey by Signifyd indicates that assessment might be overly sanguine.

Survey shows financial institutions need to reach out to customers

The September survey of 1,500 UK consumers found that 41% of respondents had encountered extra steps and complications while accessing their banking accounts in the past year. More than 37% said they had been unable to complete a financial transaction in the past year due to new security factors and 46.5% said they were very or somewhat likely to give up on a transaction that requires two-factor authentication.

Not very heartening results for institutions facing a requirement that customers be authenticated by two of three factors:

  • Something the customer has (such as device ID).
  • Something the customer knows (such as a one-time password).
  • Something the customer is (such as a fingerprint or other biometric trait).

Part of the problem could be customer education and communication — or the lack of it. According to the September survey, 74.3% of consumers said they were either not entirely sure how SCA will affect them (34.3%) or that they were not at all aware of SCA and how it will change transactions (39.1%).

These worrisome findings actually point to an opportunity for financial institutions and retailers. JP Morgan notes that with ecommerce sales rising so dramatically, an increasing number of consumers are becoming familiar with two-factor authentication.

Signifyd’s own data shows a sharp increase in the number of online shoppers who had never or rarely shopped online before. The number of new customers buying from merchants on Signifyd’s Commerce Network, for instance, more than doubled in May, compared to pre-pandemic figures. (Signifyd defines a new online shopper as a customer who has not made a purchase from the more than 10,000 merchants on its global network for at least a year.)

The increase in the number of new shoppers arriving online has slowed, but it is still well above a-year-ago figures. And about half the new users trying online shopping return for multiple purchases within 30 days, indicating they are developing new digital habits.

That means banks and merchants have an opportunity to help these new consumers become accustomed to security safeguards like SCA even as they are getting used to shopping online in general. When done right, this early consumer education will ensure that these new shoppers and bank customers will be comfortable with SCA, given that it’s the way they’ve shopped and banked online since the beginning.

New online customers create new opportunities for merchants and financial institutions

Ed Whitehead

Ed Whitehead

So, online transactions are exploding. Consumers who eschewed ecommerce shopping before are becoming regular online shoppers. All good news. But what should retailers and financial institutions be doing to take advantage of the good news — and to make sure that those new online users become loyal customers.

Getting customers comfortable with transacting in the SCA era, of course, is just the beginning. Retailers and bankers want customers to be delighted with their online experience, a standard that is a few notches above “comfort.”

SCA requirements present an opportunity for retailers to fortify their fraud protection with state-of-the-art, machine-learning systems that will provide a better customer experience today and position them to accommodate future changes to payments regulations.

The trick will be to offer a friction-free customer experience while still protecting the enterprise — a feat that will require merchants and financial institutions to look at state-of-the-art technology to power their SCA systems. Consultancy CMSPI predicted that merchants could lose £108.1 billion in annual sales because of new SCA rules.

CMSPI says the new 3D-Secure version 2.0 that provides the infrastructure for SCA transactions will kill 35% of transactions because of technical problems, declined orders and delays that frustrate customers.

But that assumes retailers don’t turn to innovative solutions that improve the performance of 3D-Secure-powered payments systems. The tools are out there as technology companies have been developing solutions to streamline SCA and make the process far more efficient.

Long-term steps for building loyalty among existing and new customers alike

The pandemic and its disruption feel like they will never end. But they will. Retailers will want to be in a position to build on the relationships they’ve initiated with customers before and during the lockdowns and social distancing.

Some of that will be redoubling efforts they’ve made all along. They’ll want to build flawless online experiences. They’ll want to provide intuitive navigation and enhance the customer experience with engaging content, precise personalisation, invaluable customer support, seamless checkout and instant order confirmation.

Beyond that, it will be important that financial institutions and retailers to clearly communicate with their customers so that they know the rationale for SCA and understand that it protects all parties involved in a transaction.

Automated systems can help with many of the initiatives that lead to improved customer experience. AI-powered content management systems, personalization engines and automated inventory control can advance discovery and fulfillment performance. Fraud and automated order management systems that instantly determine the most efficient way to comply with SCA requirements can speed checkout and reduce the chance of cart abandonment.

No question, the COVID-induced upheaval can make planning for the future seem a little overwhelming at times. But retailers that find the mental space to plot the future step-by-step will find themselves in a strong position today and in the post-pandemic future that we all look forward to.

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