One in five (21%) Irish consumers surveyed plan to do most of their shopping online this Christmas due to COVID-19, according to research published by Visa.
Despite this, more than a quarter (28%) of Irish small and medium enterprises surveyed (SMEs) are unprepared to take on the holiday season influx of sales, and only 12% of small businesses are planning to digitise their business to meet demand.
According to the research, the Christmas trading period represents the largest sales opportunity for 33% of Irish SMEs. Online shopping is likely to represent a higher percentage of sales compared to previous years, with 40% of Irish Visa cardholders who didn’t shop online before the pandemic, now doing so.
Despite the increased appeal of online shopping, Visa say thousands of Irish SMEs also risk being unable to trade online successfully due to not having security technologies in place that meet the requirements of Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) – part of the EU Payment Service Directive (PSD2).
SCA, which will be enforced in Ireland from 31 December 2020, requires banks to check payments are being made by the correct cardholder -and not a fraudster- by asking them for two methods of identification such as a fingerprint or four-digit one-time passcode. Businesses that aren’t prepared for the regulation may find that banks will decline customer payments.
By adding these features, Visa says SMEs can help make payments more secure and ensure their customers can still make online purchases quickly and easily.
Commenting on the research findings, Ireland Country Manager at Visa, Philip Konopik said, "Christmas is a key trading period for businesses in Ireland, many of whom have been impacted by COVID-19. While creating an online offering has never been easier, small businesses also need to consider the regulatory requirements they need to trade successfully online and in-store."
He added, "Businesses have the power to decide how smooth the checkout experience is for their customers and ensure that legitimate payments can be approved. By offering them the tools and resources needed, we can empower them to maximise sales and rebuild for long-term recovery."