The return of in-person experiences in public spaces is great news. Spending is trending way up – diners are eager to make reservations anywhere they can get squeezed in, and shoppers are lining up outside stores to get their hands on the latest arrivals.
In the first week of openings alone, Ontario saw a 33 per cent increase in spend volumes (based on a week-over-week comparison), with an impressive 43 per cent increase in retail and 48 per cent increase for restaurants1. Quebec also saw an upward trend in spending in all categories, notably gyms and restaurants2.
This is a great time for many, as businesses of all sizes and sectors are ramping up and ready to kick things into high gear. But owners beware: this wave of extra revenue brings with it some drawbacks too, like the return of dine-and-dashers, shoplifters, and other fraudsters looking to take advantage.
But with the right reopening strategy, tools, and protocols in place, you can get back to growing your business while protecting customers and providing them an enjoyable (and safe) experience.
Keep all business channels open
Canadians are thrilled to be returning to in-person interactions once again, but digital extensions are here to stay, so it's crucial that you don’t neglect your online presence. Check that your website is user-friendly and easy to navigate, as consumers will continue to turn online for updated contact information, COVID policies, operating hours, reservations, menus, promotions, and much more. Consider adding features that offer flexibility and convenience, like online reservation capabilities, and scheduling curbside pickup. This will help you manage appointments and tables with ease, and capture important contact information in the event you have to report a confirmed case.
Embrace the art of layering (fraud tools)
While it’s imperative not to lose sight of the importance of an online presence, don’t forget to protect your digital channels. Your best defense against online fraud is to layer in fraud prevention from the get-go. With the right safeguards in place, you can help minimize risk and maximize your potential for growth. When it comes to revenue loss, look for solutions that offer a range of tools to shield you from fraudsters. In the long (and short) run, you’ll be glad you did.
Keep an eye out for suspicious spenders
Certain practices put your business at an increased risk for fraud, higher fees and/or delays in settlement, which can result in lost money. Be diligent with your terminals, and remember they’re vulnerable to fraud and tampering, too. Observe transactions, and make sure customers are making payments using tap or chip and PIN. Unless they’re paying with a gift card, they shouldn’t need to swipe, so be wary if they do. It’s also important to note that accepting credit card payments over the phone can be risky: your business is not protected in the event of a chargeback.
Be proactive and anticipate needs
Invest in solutions that will help you adapt quickly to your clients’ changing needs. Be proactive with the right tech and tools to make it easy and convenient for customers to pay however they want, and wherever they want.
A gift card program offers tons of flexibility for shoppers, and is an added source of revenue for you. The addition of long-range smart devices mean you can accept tap payments in-store, on the patio, or at curbside to ensure safe interactions with all your customers.
If you’re a restaurant owner, an online reservation tool will allow you to keep track of head counts and diners, helping to minimize the risk of people leaving without paying. Re-assess your floor plan to ensure you’re following social distancing guidelines and so your staff can manage tables effectively while still providing a great experience.
Re-evaluate your health and safety plan
Remember, your customers and staff are your top priority. Accommodate them properly with the right PPE equipment so they feel safe and comfortable, and they’ll do their part in supporting you. Have hand sanitizer readily available in high traffic areas, and throughout the space wherever possible. For restaurants, it’s important to make sure areas of frequent contact are routinely cleaned and sanitized, so assign servers to dedicated sections for optimal service.
Most importantly, provide accessible and low-touch options, like contactless payment solutions and QR code menus. For the majority of businesses these options have become the new norm, and customers have gotten used to the ease and convenience of it all, so they’ll expect them to remain from here on.
With the reopening of spaces and the economy as a whole, (and customers wanting to support local), it’s important to be pre-emptive with your expectations and be ready to support demand. Because no matter the time of year, there is always something on the horizon – a personal milestone, a holiday, or just because –Canadians are always looking to celebrate and spend. Give shoppers what they need with the tools and solutions that’ll keep you (and them) safe. From low-contact and contactless payment options to informative, user-friendly and easy-to-navigate websites with built-in fraud protection, businesses should have the technology and processes in place to provide good in-store and in-restaurant consumer experiences.
1 Ontario Reopening Phase I data is based on the transaction volumes for the weekend of June 11-13, 2021 as compared to the week prior of June 4-6, 2021. Moneris spending reports measure spending in Canada across a range of categories by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data. The figures and percentages cited are derived from aggregated transaction volumes being processed by Moneris in the applicable categories.
2 Quebec Reopening data is based on the transaction volumes for the week of June 7-13, 2021 as compared to the week prior of May 31-June 6, 2021. Moneris spending reports measure spending in Canada across a range of categories by analyzing credit and debit card transaction data. The figures and percentages cited are derived from aggregated transaction volumes being processed by Moneris in the applicable categories.