As the COVID-19 situation continues to impact all businesses and lives worldwide, we are here to support you as best as possible.
James Tiltman, VP of Vertical Growth for Digital Content and Gaming, offers his opinion on what’s happening in the industry. We know that the situation is ever evolving so we will offer more content and thoughts as time goes on.
Q1. As a result of the pandemic, people are increasingly at home and using different forms of online entertainment. How are these industries catering to these new audiences?
As travel restrictions, social distancing and confinement to our homes remains in place across the globe, we are all finding different ways to adapt and cope with life as we know it. I'm sure I'm no different than anyone else and so I draw on both personal experience and the trends that Worldpay is seeing within our merchant and partner community.
I'm sure we can all relate to increasing our screen time in an effort to keep ourselves and our children entertained at home. This can range from using more video and TV streaming services like Netflix, Hulu or Disney+, to playing more video games or simply using video conferencing to stay in touch with our friends and families. Worldpay are seeing brands who operate in these areas experience increased payment volumes indicating that more and more consumers are signing up for new services to entertain ourselves. One research company, Strategy Analytics, is stating that Covid-19 will increase subscriptions of Video on Demand services, such as Netflix, by 5% and that’s over and above the growth already forecast in this vertical for the year.
Online video gaming is another area where Worldpay are seeing increased activity. In fact, 18 Video Gaming companies including the likes of the live-streaming platform, Twitch and games developer and publisher Activision Blizzard, have started a global campaign #PlayApartTogether. This campaign, now backed by the World Health Organisation, launched in an effort to promote online multi-player game play as a means to maintain social distancing whilst benefiting mental health by connecting people and encouraging communicating.
Q2. We know that streaming content, media and entertainment companies are seeing a surge in subscriptions, however, what about other online services? Are there any trends or impacts that we have observed?
There are a whole host of services that are growing and adapting to the world as it is now. Following the forced closure of many schools and universities, online education is experiencing strong growth to continue education for the rest of the semester. Others are choosing to learn something new as a way to spend their time.
Social media and app usage is spiking as people increasingly try to connect to their friends and families. Online telephone and video conferencing platforms are all supporting a global work from home workforce. This is enabling many businesses to stay open but does come with its own challenges surrounding infrastructure, support services and capacities. Some companies are helping their B2B clients with flexible payment plans or free software tools for certain periods or for health and key workers. It seems that everyone is trying to pivot to best help and address the needs of businesses right now.
Q3. What could be the long-term impacts of this once the lockdowns and restrictions are lifted? Do we think that there will be a shift in how people consume content?
We are seeing accelerated digital adoption across many verticals but only time will tell us whether this change in consumer behaviour is temporary. Many brands may find they need to pivot faster than they originally planned in order to stay relevant.
Much of the growth being experienced is in the subscription space. A business model that offers its subscribers personalisation, value for money and convenience. The convenience factor may be prompting consumers to sign up for new services such as, recipe boxes, pet food boxes, video streaming or video gaming subscriptions, that they may not have previously considered. What brands need to consider, outside of their general ability to manage the increased demand is how to ensure a high rate of customer retention when life starts to return to normal for most of us.
A Worldpay whitepaper published early last year, “Subscriptions; Always On”, focuses on what brands should be doing in order to increase retention rates. Brands should be considering and implementing a payment retry strategy for initially declined payments and the use of products like Account Updater to ensure payment details are current when attempting renewal payments. Both things that if used appropriately can dramatically enhance the subscribers experience by ensuring a seamless payment journey, minimising the opportunity for payments to be declined and subscriptions to fail. If brands can connect emotionally with their customers, ensure a perceived high value for money and ensure they have maximised their payment acceptance, they then stand to do well.
Q4. This pandemic highlights the importance of having a payments partner who understands the payments ecosystem across regions and verticals. How can Worldpay from FIS help operators in navigating these challenging times?
We know that this is a challenging time for every industry, and every company is working hard to find their way through this pandemic. The entire Worldpay From FIS is here to help and work with companies to find the best way to proceed both in the short term and the future. Please do reach out to your Account Manager or wider Worldpay From FIS team to discuss what’s happening in your company and how we can support.
We have received reports of businesses being contacted by callers claiming to be representatives of a merchant services provider. These callers are telling merchants that their current provider is shutting down due to the COVID-19 situation. They proceed to tell the merchant they need to switch processors to continue accepting electronic payments.
If your business is targeted, please know that this is part of a scam and not legitimate. Worldpay will continue to be your trusted partner and support your payment processing needs.