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Editor’s Note: Today’s article is from Sydney Wess with Clutch who gives us 3 reasons supply chain companies should be adopting digital payment options.

Amid the global COVID-19 crisis, more and more consumers are seeking out methods of contactless, cashless payment. This isn’t surprising, especially given the recent suggestion from the World Health Organization (WHO) to use digital payment options as a way of protecting individuals from spreading the virus while making essential purchases. Because of recommendations from authoritative sources, the use of online and cashless methods of payment have significantly increased, possibly becoming the ‘new normal’ in the United States.

Now, it’s time for companies to follow suit to accommodate the changing preferences of their consumers. Especially within organizations’ supply chains composed of omnichannel networks with a multitude of links and touchpoints, digital payment options are essential to keeping up with consumers. Additionally, cashless methods of payment are modernized and streamlined, providing users with a wide variety of benefits. This article will highlight 3 advantages of adopting a digital payment option as a supply chain company.

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Increasing Operational Efficiency

Whether you’re a retail, procurement, transportation, or warehousing company, a fundamental aim of your business is to achieve and maintain operational efficiency. While there are numerous strategies for establishing efficiency within your organization, few of those opportunities will make your business more compatible with external companies. Given the complexity and volume of key players in a successful supply chain, compatibility is highly coveted in the field. After all, it has the potential to make many people’s jobs easier and more efficient.

Digital payment methods, specifically blockchain solutions, have the potential to unite the many links of the supply chain while contributing to its liquidity through automation. Digital payments and currencies have the potential to connect a traditionally disjointed transactional system, offering large supply chains the efficiency they need. This increased efficiency promises increased outputs and fosters a great seamless distribution process that can boost revenue for businesses. By adopting digital payment options, you’re making your part of the supply chain more accessible to outside consumers and companies. All stakeholders will benefit from integrating payments to strengthen the efficiency of the industry. 

Accommodating Customers

Customers are drawn to digital payment options for their simplicity and streamlined nature. The convenience that your customers experience with digital payments should motivate you to provide a similar experience. Additionally, there are negative consequences to ignoring this growing trend. Wirecard and André Kellerberg of Olympus Europa indicate that about 40% of consumers don’t follow through on a purchase if they aren’t met with preferred payment options. “This is why meeting customers’ buying and payment preferences is key for a successful online shop,” says Kellerberg.

While Wirecard here references e-commerce transactions that occur online, consumer behaviors and preferences don’t necessarily change once they log off their computers. It remains true that customers will be less likely to do business with you if you don’t offer their preferred methods of payment. Given the increased use of digital payment options, it’s advisable to examine your current offerings and attempt to fill the gaps with supplementary options. Principal Attorney of Jancosek Law, APC finds that digital payments can serve as an alternative and accommodate certain customers. “We do accept these alternative payment options,” she says. “The benefit of using these services is that they make it an easy and seamless process for customers to pay our bills.”

The coronavirus may have catalyzed a major change in the digital payment industry, pushing consumers and businesses toward adoption on accelerated timelines. Adopt a digital payment system that works best for your company in order to live up to the expectations of your customers. That will help you retain their business and earn new customers. 

Showcasing Transparency

An additional benefit to adopting at least one method of digital payment is that it increases your financial transparency for internal and external stakeholders. Many supply chain leaders agree that tracking finances and documentation via paper can hinder an otherwise healthy operation. Pinc asserts that paper invoices and checks increase the likelihood of loss or human error. This makes sense, as digital payments boast an inherently more streamlined process, doing away with several touchpoints required by a more manual transaction and billing system. Digital receipts of payment also allow for greater transparency and accountability from an organization. With online records of past transactions, payments can be traced with ease.

This transparency boost has internal and external effects. Internally, your team will be more equipped and confident when handling invoices and financial information. Additionally, this will free up more of their time to add value to other aspects of your business. For external stakeholders and customers, your increased transparency will signal your high competence as a business partner. This will likely increase your professional reputation in the field, potentially earning you additional customers. Traceability and transparency are hugely important in running an effective supply chain company. By integrating digital payment methods into your current operations, you can make strides toward increasing your capacity in each area.

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Digital Payment Options are the New Normal

While the COVID-19 pandemic will eventually end and employees will return to work, it’s not likely that those who adopt digital payment options during this time will change their minds. Because of its streamlined convenience and efficiency, customers have been won over by cashless and contactless payments. As a link within the supply chain, your business should strongly consider following the lead of your customers. They’ll appreciate your accommodating spirit and commitment to increasing your operational efficiency. The added transparency you’ll offer with the help of digital payment methods will only make your services more attractive.