In short, he said, SMBs, with little alternative, have responded to the pandemic by reinventing themselves as digital portals in order to generate revenue through alternative means. “Having access to our financial services and banking products really helped enable a lot of that,” Grushkowsky said.
Open for Business
One of the specific problems USEND solved for its customers during the pandemic was enabling a seller in Brazil, for example, to set up a new bank account in the U.S. so it could start doing business there. Grushkowsky said the key was not just to make it fast and simple, but also to enable liquidity.
“By listening to them, we helped them transform this turmoil of not being able to accept customers face-to-face into an opportunity, by accepting them online instead,” he explained. “Giving them the ability to move and earn funds in multiple countries has really enabled Brazilian corporations to grow tremendously. And it’s the same for our U.S. SMBs.”
Rather than quit, these Main Street stalwarts have gone back to the drawing board and emerged stronger on the other side, Ran Grushkowsky, chief operating officer and chief technology officer of money transfer service provider USEND, told PYMNTS.
USEND listened to its customers – mostly SMBs in Brazil and the U.S. – and provided them with whatever they needed in terms of financial services to facilitate their quick digital shift.
“We don’t hold funds, because the liquidity of funds is very important for small businesses,” he explained. “If you start freezing their accounts, that makes it very challenging. So giving them instant access to capital is something that we received very good feedback for.”
Sticky Digital Trends
More recently, there has been a growing realization among SMBs that many of the new trends kick-started by the pandemic are here to stay. Digital is not a temporary fix, but rather a new way of doing business that will live side-by-side with traditional in-store retail. “People don’t want to go back so easily, even though the world is opening up to some degree,” Grushkowksy said. “People are very bullish on digital – they understand the scale of it and the ease of operation. And they’re doubling down.”
For instance, USEND has seen a lot of customers come to it with more feature requests, Grushkowksy explained. Instead of focusing on physical reopenings, many SMBs are looking to expand and grow the digital side of their business with requests for lending and access to lines of credit. “I don’t think people are going to say no to [physical] revenue, but they’re a lot more bullish on the future, which is digital and hybrid,” he said. “COVID-19 has pushed SMBs to reinvent themselves toward a more digital future, and it’s our goal to support them.”
—————————— NEW PYMNTS DATA: TODAY’S SELF-SERVICE SHOPPING JOURNEY – SEPTEMBER 2021
About: Eighty percent of consumers are interested in using nontraditional checkout options like self-service, yet only 35 percent were able to use them for their most recent purchases. Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey, a PYMNTS and Toshiba collaboration, analyzes over 2,500 responses to learn how merchants can address availability and perception issues to meet demand for self-service kiosks.