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Is cash still king?

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Skrill’s Chief Financial Officer, Nilesh Pandya, explains how digital payments are creating new ways to shop, bank and do business.nilesh

When we think about money we usually think about hard, old-fashioned cash. However, with the rise of new payment technologies the day is fast approaching when we’ll no longer see coins or notes as the single definition of ‘money’.

Less-cash society

Here at Skrill, we recently conducted some research for our Future of Money campaign. The study found that one in three Britons carry less than five pounds in cash at any one time. Credit and debit cards, digital wallets or even paying by mobile phone are all increasingly being used by UK consumers and are slowly replacing cash as the central means to pay for everyday items. A significant thirty two per cent of people in the UK said they will use less cash over the next 10 years and we found that – even now – consumers are using cash to pay for less than a third of their weekly purchases.

One of the barriers to diversification of payment options in the UK has been card issuer fees, but it is now often cheaper for retailers to accept debit and credit cards than cash. There are more efficient ways of making payments than by paper and coins and businesses are increasingly keen to reap the benefits.

Of the 2,000 people we polled for the Future of Money campaign, 35% said they get annoyed if a shop only accepts cash, a third use their cards to pay for everything and 51% think digital wallets and online cash transfers will increase over the next few years.

These figures show that times are changing, with cash, and even credit and debit cards, increasingly making way for online transfers, digital wallets and payments via mobile phones or apps. Consumers are finding it quicker and easier to click a button than fumble with their loose change.

However, while cash usage will inevitably decline, don’t expect it to disappear completely. Our research still showed that 47% of UK consumers are using cash daily, and 45% expected their usage to stay the same over the next ten years.

It is also worth mentioning that there are other global cultures where cash is king, such as unbanked societies in Asia or the many underbanked families in the US where a banking system obviously exists and yet many are opting out.

Digital wallet systems could be argued to have an even greater value to people in these cultures, as they allow them to upload their cash online and still access the huge benefits of shopping and trading online, which would otherwise be inaccessible.

The high street as ‘show room’

Mobile phones are not only changing the way we pay, but the way we shop. Many of us are now using a smartphone to compare prices; 23% of those in our study said they’ve done this when out and about. One in three are using the high street to window-shop, using their phones to see if they can find products cheaper elsewhere, save details for buying online at home or even to make purchases.

There is an evolving shopping ecosystem, where the high street, online and mobile co-exist to deliver an all round experience. A new generation of shopper is emerging – one who is combining their mobile device with the real life high street and the Internet to create an alternative retail checkout process.

While we increasingly hear of the ‘death of the high street’, consumers continue to leave the house for shopping inspiration, even if they then make the purchase via a smartphone or at home on the computer. This is an opportunity for high street retailers to turn browsers into buyers while in-store, to give consumers a seamless experience irrespective of how they shop, and to potentially drive down customer time at checkouts, thereby increasing floor space to sell products.

Benefits of a cashless society

Advocates of a cashless society stress the convenience of alternative methods of payments. As our lives become increasingly digitalised, the cashless society is slowly being ushered in.

Digital cash has the advantage of speed. Digital transactions take around half the amount of time compared to cash. And for businesses, these transactions have additional attractions: customers who are not restricted by the cash they happen to have in their wallet typically spend 20% more at the tills, and customers using wallets deliver valuable information to the retailer.

We’re more mobile than ever before

While credit and debit cards have been instrumental in the move towards a cashless society, even they may become obsolete as people receive, make and manage payments online and on mobile devices.

In the last few years, smartphone adoption rates have soared and, by the end of 2012, there will be more mobile phones than people in the world. A challenge for mobile payments has always been ease of use. In our research, 32% of consumers cited ‘ease’ as what they expect from a payment made via a mobile.

This is why we created our own multi-platform product that can be integrated on mobile: Skrill 1-Tap. It allows consumers to make purchases with a simple one tap of a keyboard or touchscreen, having only entered their details once.

For consumers, a Digital Wallet provides the ability to make payments conveniently and securely without revealing personal financial data, as well as send and receive money cost-effectively simply by entering an email address. For businesses it can offer access to over 100 payment options in over 200 countries and territories, immediately turning international traffic into revenues.

As more and more people adopt a digital lifestyle, electronic payment systems will become the norm. For businesses and retailers, the benefits are clear; ease, convenience and cost saving. If retailers can turn cash into digital money, they will be able to learn more about a customer base they may little understand. However those organisations offering digital payment services will need to partner to address issues such as security, infrastructure and consumer confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

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Research exposes the £68.8 billion opportunity for UK retailers

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Research exposes the £68.8 billion opportunity for UK retailers 1
  • Modelling shows increasing the proportion of online sales by 5 percentage points would have significantly boosted retailers’ revenues during the first lockdown
  • 72% of Brits want retailers who started an online service during the pandemic to continue operating it full time

New data released today by global payments platform Adyen, outlines the economic gains that could be accessed by getting more UK retailers online.

Economic modelling conducted by Cebr for Adyen indicates that if the retail sector increased the proportion of turnover stemming from online channels by 5 percentage points, £68.8 billion would have been added to the economy during the first lockdown.

While retail turnover stemming from online sales has grown significantly during 2020 – from 19% to 28%[1], there is still considerable room for growth.

Myles Dawson, UK Managing Director of Adyen comments: “The UK retail sector is facing an incredibly tough quarter, so creating the link between physical stores and online channels is more important than ever. With the festive period approaching and many shoppers unable, or uncomfortable leaving their homes, establishing and maintaining a positive online experience is a billion-pound opportunity for retailers.”

The research[2] of 2,000 UK consumers found that 31% are less likely to shop in physical stores now because of positive experiences shopping online during the pandemic. Furthermore, 72% of these consumers want retailers who started an online service during the pandemic to continue operating it in the long term.

However, making the process of shopping online as frictionless as possible will be key to unlocking the opportunity presented by online channels. 70% of Brits say that when shopping online, the ease of use is as important as the quality of the product, and 72% won’t shop with a retailer whose website or app is difficult to navigate.

Myles Dawson concludes: “Many retailers did amazing things during the pandemic in terms of adapting and creating new experiences – it’s a testimony to their agility that 57% of Brits said their expectations of the retail sector has improved during the pandemic. The challenge now is to consistently meet these expectations going forward. With local lockdowns in place, online channels will be key to serving many consumers in the short term. However, retailers need to see the shift to unified commerce as a long-term trend. The sooner they can demonstrate agility and jump on board, the longer they’ll reap the rewards.”

[1] https://www.ons.gov.uk/businessindustryandtrade/retailindustry/bulletins/retailsales/august2020

2 Research conducted by Opinium Research LLP

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Want to serve your customers better? An effective online strategy is what financial institutions need 

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Want to serve your customers better? An effective online strategy is what financial institutions need  2

By Anna Willems, Marketing Director, Mention

A strong online presence matters.

Having a strong online presence, that involves social media is now a crucial part of all business strategies. Whether they are retail brands, sports teams, libraries or even restaurants, most companies are investing more and more in developing their digital brand image and online presence – financial institutions are no exception.

When it comes to market trends and innovation, financial institutions are first on the line. After all, we — people and companies — trust them to manage our money to the best of their abilities. And even more so than any other market, we demand secure, trustworthy, fast and user-friendly services.

Reaching such high expectations is not a given. To this point, banks and other financial institutions have no other choice but to have a perfect understanding of their market, their audience, and their needs. What they need to get there is a fail-proof online strategy.

Gaining a deep understanding of your market

One of the best things about using social media to learn about your audience is that people give unsolicited opinions. They speak their mind and share their thoughts candidly.

This is the key to help any business to learn about themselves. They get to analyze their audience’s challenges and aspirations without having to ask them directly or serve them time-consuming surveys and polls.

UK-based Asto, a company that is part of the Santander Group, is committed to helping small businesses have access to financial and non-financial tools. Asto was looking for something that could help them discover what their target audience was talking about and find opportunities to add to the conversation. Mention enabled Asto to keep on top of reviews and customer comments, which has helped us provide a better service for our customers.

Which platform suits your offering the best?

There’s no point choosing to create campaigns on TikTok if your customers don’t use it – you need to think about who they are and work back from there.

You do this by automating the process using a social listening tool. A social listening tool will help you to view your market as a whole and identify where the key conversations are happening — and, therefore, where you should be. What’s more, you will never miss any relevant mention of your institutions, products, services, or competitors.

Handling a crisis

Financial institutions need to watch carefully for negative press – social media is the first place people will go to if they feel they’re not getting the service they need. In theory, rogue employees or unhappy clients can post anything they like online to try and hurt your brand. And if their messages gain traction, you’ve gone from one person saying bad things, to thousands.

That’s why listening needs to be part of any crisis management plan. Now, sometimes, there are crises you cannot prevent. And those usually hit pretty hard.

Power of influencers

For an influencer marketing campaign to work for your financial institution, partnering with nano content creators may well be the best way to go. They’re ability to play a part in how they shape your brand story can make a huge difference when it comes to engagement and reason to believe in your service.

Many financial institutions are already leveraging influencer marketing. It’s an efficient strategy to: Build trust and gain credibility, reach out to new audiences and share engaging stories.

The online review conundrum

94% of consumers check online reviews before they decide to buy something or subscribe to a service. They need what we call social proof. It says that the more people say they use your service, the more it will look like a good service. In short, you need to show how happy people are using your service. But not all online reviews are positive.

Having said that, we find that financial institutions shouldn’t ignore negative reviews. Instead, embrace them as an opportunity to rebuild trust in your brand. Less delicately put, take the bull by the horns and turn them to your advantage. Always respond to relevant complaints (and as fast as possible). Take responsibility for what happened. Be helpful.

And ignore trolls.

Learn from the competition

Over the last two decades, a marketer’s daily life has greatly evolved. Most importantly, we now can measure everything we do, including the consequences of our actions on our business. Having said that, you can’t evaluate how well you’re doing without comparing against

others.

Truth is that 77% of businesses rely on listening to keep an eye on their competitors. What this means is that 4 in 5 of your direct competitors are likely watching each and every single step you take. And you should do the same.

Setting the trend

From staying up to date with the latest industry trends and innovations, to keeping an eye on the competitors’ newest services, to being the first to know of potential brand crises – tracking relevant online conversations lets marketing and communication professionals working for financial institutions to stay one step ahead in an industry that is leading change and innovation.

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Why the Boom is Long Overdue (and Here to Stay)

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Why the Boom is Long Overdue (and Here to Stay) 3

By Roger James Hamilton, CEO, Genius Group

Virtually every aspect of our lives has been taken over by tech, so why is it that our schools, that are educating the business leaders of tomorrow, are still operating in much the same format as they did 100 years ago?

The global pandemic put digital learning in the spotlight and an Edtech boom has ensued, with companies like Coursera, Quizlet and Udemy seeing unicorn style growth. And the market is not slowing down. The education technology (Edtech) boom will continue.

Resilience and Growth

Unicorns are defined by rapid growth. Traditionally, these companies are not overly concerned with early profitability, long-term sustainability or value creation as much as with putting their competitors out of business.

But something different is going on in the Edtech market. The unicorn has lost its appeal. When learning platform Quizlet achieved unicorn status this year, CEO Matthew Glotzbach was keen to play down the moniker reserved for start-ups valued at $1 billion or more, preferring to liken his company to a camel.

Unlike unicorns, camels are real, hardworking beasts. Respected for their adaptability to various climates, resilience, and abilities to survive for long periods without sustenance. These are all traits much better suited to weather the economic storms created by the pandemic.

Despite their considerable abilities to adapt to challenging conditions, the climate is looking particularly sunny for camels within the Edtech market. In fact, all creatures great and small have the potential to capitalise on unprecedented growth in this sector.

The nature of education makes it a traditionally slow-moving area, which renders it unattractive to some investors. Yet, the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent surge in remote learning this year triggered a flurry of uptake in e-learning platforms.

We’ve seen the adoption rate for new technologies be accelerated by events like this before. For example, the SARS crisis of 2003 contributed to the boom in China’s ecommerce industry, as quarantines lead consumers to shop online. Of course, this market trend did not slow down once quarantine restrictions were lifted. Ever since, global online sales have risen exponentially. The same is set to happen in the Edtech market.

Providing a Solution

As with ecommerce in 2003, the demand for Edtech in 2020 was already there. It has been there for years. For the past decade at least, there has been a notable need in recruitment for qualified talent in data science, coding and digital. Edtech can bridge the skills gap, not only within formal education but also for adult learners upskilling and reskilling for today’s digital world.

Similarly, the financial crash of 2008 had the effect of fast-tracking the rise of the gig economy, requiring millions more to learn entrepreneurial skills. The idea of a job for life is now a distant memory. The Edtech sector can deliver the tools to equip students of all ages with the skills necessary for creating their own opportunities, as well as exchanging knowledge and collaborating in a digital economy.

Rising unemployment, as well as competition for jobs and government furlough schemes has seen interest in digital learning courses for adults also soar during the past few months. Figures show that the corporate e-learning market is set to increase by as much as $3.09 billion between 2020 and 2024.

Roger James Hamilton

Roger James Hamilton

The Edtech boom kickstarted by the pandemic is just the beginning in a paradigm shift in how we view education and work.

Over the next 10 years, with the rise of artificial intelligence, automated technology, and augmented reality, traditional, manual and customer service based roles will diminish and there will be less need for a large workforce when computers and machines can do the role equally well.

The need for a truly 21st century education system that reflects the needs of the job market is long overdue. Edtech companies are offering solutions to many of these issues that have troubled the economy for the past decade or more.

A Different Animal

Enter the zebra (back to our animal analogies). These types of Edtech businesses will be the ones to watch within the sector. With zebra companies, there’s a sense of community and collaboration, rather than competition. They understand that there’s room for more than one superstar in a market. Zebras are herd animals after all. The zebra believes that competition is healthy for everyone involved—something to watch and use for motivation and growth. It closely observes consumer trends and continually strives to solve new and developing problems for those consumers.

For zebra companies, profit margin is vital because it is necessary for steady growth and sustainability. Revenues hover between $5M and $50M, it serves customers within a specific niche, requires annual growth capital of $100K to $1M, and generally has more than four streams of revenue.

Zebras are both black with white stripes and white with black stripes – they have a fluidity in their approach and are camouflaged at the same time. This creates a double bottom line: Zebras want to conduct real business, by solving a pressing problem in a sustainable way, whilst reacting to contemporary challenges. This too could be said of the Edtech industry as a whole.

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