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Omani retailers count on digital payments to drive growth: Survey

5 Mar 2024 Over 1,100 firms violated cashless payment regulation in 2023 By OUR CORRESPONDENT

Muscat – Visa, a world leader in digital payments, has unveiled the results of an independent study titled ‘Value of Acceptance’, which explores merchants’ attitudes towards digital payments and the impact of digital commerce on small businesses and retailers in Oman.

According to the study, 65% of Oman-based retailer merchants claimed increased revenue and higher customer footfall from accepting digital payments.

The survey gathered insights from two groups of Oman-based merchants – those who have accepted digital payments for 1-4 years, and retailers who exclusively deal in cash transactions. The top five store types represented in the survey sample include quick service restaurants, mobile shops, cafes, beauty salons/barber shops, and fashion/shoe stores with sizes including nano (two or less employees), micro (3-10 employees) and small (11-49 employees) businesses.

According to the study, digital payments and cash together account for over 95% of payments accepted among surveyed digital payment-accepting small businesses, with an equal proportion coming from both payment methods.

Business growth driver

The findings from Visa’s study show digital payment acceptance is an important driver in the growth of small businesses, with 54% of digital payment-accepting merchants claiming acceptance of payment through card and mobile wallets is an essential investment that significantly contributes to their business growth. Around 78% of digital payments-accepting merchants would even recommend digital payments to cash-only merchants.

While cash is associated with convenience, wide acceptance and easy refunds, more than 20% of cash-only merchants have lost a transaction because the customer was not carrying cash. Beyond acceptance, managing cash also presents accounting challenges according to almost one-third (28%) of cash-only merchants (as well as 38% of merchants that accept digital payments).

As a result, 41% of cash-only merchants surveyed may or will invest soon in digital payment technology so they can begin to offer consumers a better payment experience. Around 40% of these merchants expect increased footfall and revenue after they start accepting digital payments.

In a press statement, Manish Gautam, Visa’s Country Manager for Oman, said, “As Oman forges ahead with its digital commerce agenda, our ‘Value of Acceptance’ study underscores the transformative power of digital payments for Oman’s retail sector. There remains significant opportunity in Oman for digital commerce and we will continue to work with our local partners to support the government’s cashless agenda for the benefit of small businesses and the wider economy.”

Gautam added, “Beyond the benefits of security, speed, and convenience, digital payments also provide invaluable data insights. With more consumers turning to digital payments, merchants can use data to tailor client communication with relevant offers, implement loyalty programmes, and enhance the overall customer experience. This is vital information that can increase business profitability and efficiency.”

Merchant expectations

According to Visa study, merchants that already accept digital payments expect a range of value-added services from their digital payments provider to enhance their payment infrastructure and offerings for customers. The most frequently cited include: (i) more secure (74%), convenient (66%), and efficient (66%) B2B payments; and (ii) access to data for identifying and targeting customer groups (66%).

Additionally, multi-currency processing (30%), mobile payment acceptance (like Visa’s Tap to Phone) (27%), and fraud detection and prevention (17%) were revealed as areas where payment providers can further add value to local businesses.

Visa commissioned 4SiGHT Research & Analytics to explore the impact of digital payments on small retailers in Oman and gauge of their level of openness to digital payment options among those currently accepting cash-only payments.

4SiGHT interviewed 250 nano, micro, and small retailers in December 2023 out of which 41% accepted cash payments only and 59% accepted cash and digital payments. The retailers surveyed were based in Muscat and Nizwa. The face-to-face interviews took approximately 15 minutes and included a mix of nationalities and genders, representative of Oman.

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