Procurement · 19 May 2017

Why “invisible” new payment technology could be worth £1.6bn to small retailers

new payment technology
Over a quarter of younger consumers believed invisible transactions would be the most popular payment method in five years time

One in four small UK retailers has lost a sale by failing to offer new payment technology to shoppers, according to new research from Barclaycard.

The study, of over 2,000 UK consumers and 253 small business owners, confirmed the growing retail power of so-called “next generation” payment methods.

Using digital assistant devices, such as Amazon’s Alexa, shoppers are able to complete “conversational” transactions, while “one-click” ordering has been offered for several years by major ecommerce outlets by saving card and shipping details into the website.

Almost half of millennial shoppers, between 18 to 34-years old, preferred to make purchases using such methods when buying online.

Some three in ten younger consumers said they had even abandoned a sale after their preferred method wasn’t offered, while a majority believed in-store cash transactions would become redundant in the coming years.

The findings revealed a gap in the expectations of consumers and the plans of small business owners with regards to new payment technology.

Just 28 per cent of small retail owners intended to upgrade their systems in the next six months, while a fifth did not think it necessary to accept so-called “invisible” payments.

According to Barclaycard, smaller retailers could be forfeiting up to £1.6bn in lost sales every year by failing to respond to consumer demand.

Commenting on the expectation to see new payment technology as part of the shopping experience, Greg Liset, head of small business at Barclaycard, said the figures confirmed small business owners were losing sales and falling behind larger competitors.

However, the signs suggested the small business community was ready to adapt. Of the retailers who lost a sale, one in ten planned to invest in an upgrade.

“While it’s encouraging that many smaller retailers are becoming aware of the importance of these emerging methods, they need to turn this ambition into action to steal a march on the competition and keep up with consumers both now and in the future,” Liset said in a statement.

“Making these changes needn’t be complicated or time consuming – with support from their payment provider, SMEs can ensure they have the right solutions for their business while satisfying the ever-growing group of tech-savvy, digitally-minded shoppers.”

Find out how these three cashless payment methods could help grow your business

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest from Business Advice.



Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.