The pandemic has inspired or forced many to become small business owners. More than 4 million business applications were filed in the first eight months of 2021. The new entrepreneurs are entering a new world where issues such as supply chain, staffing, and contactless payments have become commonplace.
Small businesses that can adapt quickly to market changes will reap the rewards. Nearly 70 percent of consumers say they support small businesses more now than before the pandemic.
Here is a summary of the biggest challenges that merchants will face in 2021 and what we learned from them.
Takeout is here
Takeout was a lifeline for many restaurants during tough times. Takeout has become a vital revenue stream for business owners who have adapted their business models to accommodate the desire of customers to continue ordering takeout. Nearly 80% of people said they would continue to order takeout at the same rate even after the pandemic.
Clover Online ordering (COLO) allows restaurants to accept and process orders wherever guests find them: through searches, apps, or menu pages.
Dae-Kun Kim, Fray’s Donut House, St. Petersburg, Florida, says that customers would only order certain items when using the website to place orders online. Clover’s online ordering allows people to see the entire product line and select what they desire.
Small businesses adapt quickly to COVID-19 concerns and its variants by offering simple, safe, and mobile payment methods.
As more restaurants have moved to outdoor dining to meet social distance requirements, the ability to process orders quickly and accept payments has improved customer satisfaction. Clover Flex is small and has powerful WiFi/LTE connectivity, so customers can pay on their tables or curbside.
“We bring payment right to the guests. They don’t have to get up,” Jeremy Poon, Sushi Lab of New York City, says. They can cash out at their table, which reduces foot traffic.
Supply and Demand
Businesses have been hit hard by supply chain problems, particularly those that rely on fresh products and restaurant supplies. Over 40% of small businesses say they have to deal with delays in domestic suppliers. This can be as simple as needing more forks and cups or as complex as ingredients for their products.
Restaurant owners also need to have a flexible menu. COLO’s menu images feature allows restaurateurs to showcase all the tasty meals they offer and respond quickly to supply chain issues. They can pull or add items depending on availability.
Gladys Harrison, Big Mama’s Kitchen and Catering, Omaha, Nebraska, says: “Clover gives us the tools and flexibility to be able to keep up with everything that is happening.”
It is estimated that there were 10+ million jobs available in the US. It is even more difficult for small businesses that may need more resources to pay competitive wages.
Owners are using innovative approaches to hire talent. Owners who can show their passion, make their employees feel valued, and connect their business with their community will stand out in the crowded job market.
Offering prospective employees the chance to use new technology or learn something new daily can attract top talent looking to advance their careers and knowledge.
Pay your way
In a typical week, at least one-third of adults under 50 do not make any purchases in cash. To avoid germs, customers are increasingly reluctant to pay with cash. Businesses that want to increase their customer base must accept multiple payment methods.
According to recent studies, retailers’ use of no-touch payment methods has increased by 69%. Customers are also willing to use new technologies to avoid unnecessary contact. Online orders can be made more accessible with mobile payment options. The rise of QR codes has made it possible for dine-in clients to pay at the table quickly.
In the last year, mobile payments have also exploded. Business owners need to ensure they can process checks, credit cards, debit cards, and other payment methods quickly and efficiently for those customers who want to avoid using their phones to pay. Clover’s POS system allows business owners to accept payments online, in-store, and on the go.