Most start-ups in the tech space are already focused on the concept of friction and how to reduce it, and of course, the same counts for the payment experience, as part of the complete user journey. Image: Pexels
Most start-ups in the tech space are already focused on the concept of friction and how to reduce it, and of course, the same counts for the payment experience, as part of the complete user journey. Image: Pexels

How to survive as a tech start-up/business in the current climate

Time of article published Sep 15, 2020

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By Mark Elliott, Division President, Southern Africa, Mastercard

In the current business landscape, start-ups must think about what has fundamentally changed. For example, we know that the pandemic has influenced and changed consumer behaviour. During South Africa’s initial lockdown, 75 percent of South African respondents said they’re using contactless in Mastercard’s consumer sentiment study.

Most start-ups in the tech space are already focused on the concept of friction and how to reduce it, and of course, the same counts for the payment experience, as part of the complete user journey. Understanding the reason behind behaviours, affects our thoughts on how checkout works.

Our relationship with digital is driven by multiple factors, including increased competition, higher customer expectations and deeper financial pressures. I’ll explore this further when I speak at the SA Innovation Summit, but in the interim, I want to highlight the importance of leveraging ecommerce for survival, and in particular, mobile checkout.

When we think about digital commerce, it’s not just the web browser anymore, it has expanded across most of the channels that are available to us today – people want to be able to scan a QR code and access information from mobile devices, without the need to interact with a point of sale (POS) device to type in our pin.

The contribution from mobile to ecommerce globally is said to be as high as 40 percent. And that shows the importance of mobile payment technology. We know that 54 percent of South African internet access comes from mobile handsets. So, where we can have a hygienic, touchless checkout, we should prioritise that.

COVID-19 has really highlighted for many South African entrepreneurs how crucial ecommerce is – at whichever point of scaling you are. At Mastercard we recognize how crucial small businesses are and acknowledge their contribution to the economy and have adopted a vital and stabilizing role in enabling commerce by setting small businesses up with an online presence to safely accept digital payments. We are committed to leveraging our network, insights, technology, and partnerships to help, inform and enable small businesses to sustain themselves through times of crisis.

Mastercard’s Simplify Commerce powers various solutions which enable electronic trading for start-ups. In South Africa, we have partnered with Standard Bank who market this product to SME’s branded as SimplyBlu. SimlpyBlu is a simple and secure platform that makes it easier for businesses to accept electronic payments. Through the platform, SME’s can create their own web store without any technical skills and sell products on e-commerce and social media channels.

Now is the time to embrace the next age of digital commerce – the possibilities are endless.

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