Why it matters:
- 89% of financial firms surveyed by PwC Global agreed that the growth of e-commerce would continue to increase.
- At the same time, online payment fraud will result in merchant losses of more than $343 billion from 2023 to 2027, according to Jupiter Commerce.
- As a result, Mastercard is offering a range of solutions to help SMBs navigate an increasingly digital business environment: These include creating online storefronts; accepting digital payments; enhancing their cybersecurity functions; and more.
has ramped up the suite of services that it provides for small businesses, including new tools that help these companies obtain financing, accept payments, protect against cybercriminals, and more.
That push comes as small businesses seek to adapt to an increasingly digital business environment, said Ginger Siegel, North America Small Business Lead at Mastercard International.
“I think one of the biggest challenges small businesses face is they do not have resources,” she said.
For example, many small business owners wear multiple hats and lack dedicated personnel in key areas, such as finance, marketing, and technology, Siegel explained.
“Small businesses struggle because they are doing it all,” she said.
The challenge has been exacerbated by the tight labor market, which has made it even more difficult for many small businesses to hire the staff they need. Despite being stretched thin, companies must still evolve their businesses to meet the demands of their customers, which include the ability to interact digitally and make digital payments, for example.
A recent PwC Global survey found that 89% of banking, financial technology, and payments organizations surveyed agreed that the ongoing growth of e-commerce would continue to increase, requiring significant investment in online payment solutions.
At the same time, the increase in e-commerce since the pandemic has also opened up opportunities for cybercriminals. A report from Juniper Commerce predicts that online payment fraud will result in merchant losses of more than $343 billion from 2023 to 2027.
Mastercard is seeking to address these issues with a host of services geared toward small businesses, many of which are included in its Mastercard Digital Doors program. The program, which launched as an online business resource center during the pandemic, includes resources designed to help small businesses create online storefronts, accept digital payments, enhance their cybersecurity, and otherwise conduct business in an increasingly digital environment.
[Read: Visa, Verizon, and IBM on How Small Businesses Can Protect Customer Data]
More (free) marketing resources — including an AI-powered graphic design tool that also helps SMBs write promotional copy
Digital Doors has recently expanded to include more resources to help small business owners promote their operations as well, with a new Marketing Hub platform that helps link small businesses with service providers selected to help them meet their needs.
For example, Ad Designer, sponsored by Mastercard, is a free, easy-to-use online graphic design tool that helps small businesses build digital marketing content such as social posts, banner advertisements, and more. It also includes a text generator powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that helps users create marketing copy.
The new marketing tools seek to help small businesses overcome one of their biggest challenges: finding new customers. According to Mastercard research, 47% of businesses describe themselves as in “growth mode,” and yet acquiring new customers is the second-biggest pain point/difficulty for small and medium-sized businesses.
Other services in the Digital Door Marketing Hub include 20% off certain Hootsuite services geared to boost social media marketing, and discounts on other services that help businesses in their marketing and promotional efforts.
In addition, the Digital Doors program has also established a partnership with FedEx
to provide online businesses with more tools to enable them to ship their products more efficiently. The program includes 40% off select FedEx Express shipping services and 20% off select FedEx Ground shipping services.
“FedEx came to us and said, ‘Look, we want to help you because we believe in what you’re doing,’” said Siegel. “We are getting a lot of attention from other organizations that want to be on Digital Doors.”
[Read: How Top Marketers Are Capitalizing on the $360 Billion U.S. Mobile Commerce Market]
Helping SMBs thwart cyber fraud, expedite access to capital, and access business mentoring
Another key service provided by Mastercard Digital Doors is its partnership with the Global Cyber Alliance. The Global Cyber Alliance’s Cybersecurity Toolkit for Small Business offers scanning tools to identify and assess weaknesses in website security and data encryption, which can help small businesses protect themselves from online fraud and harmful website traffic.
Access to capital is another key need of small businesses, Siegel said. Borrowing has become much more costly and difficult in an environment of rising interest rates, but the challenges businesses face in accessing capital extend beyond their ability to borrow at favorable rates.
“Small businesses need help getting their own money in faster,” she said.
Many businesses wait weeks for customers to pay for their services, for example, even though the technology exists for customers to pay on the spot. By helping small businesses accept digital payments, Mastercard is not only aligning small businesses’ capabilities with their customers’ preferences, but also helping small businesses gain access to their capital more quickly, Siegel explained.
Mastercard also supports small businesses through the ecosystem of financial services companies that it works with, including banks.
“Mastercard is what we call a ‘B2B2B company,’ which means that our job is to put the wind at the back of our customers so they can serve small businesses,” said Siegel.
For example, Mastercard has been working with lenders to ensure they have the information they need to make better decisions when lending to small businesses. Mastercard also supports several organizations that provide services to otherwise underserved small business communities, such as the Fearless Fund, which provides grants to businesses led by women of color.
Mastercard also has education and mentorship programs for small businesses, including a partnership with Hello Alice, a platform that seeks to help entrepreneurs navigate financial and other challenges.
“We are very, very invested in the small business community and in helping them not only to survive, but thrive,” said Siegel. “We bring partners, assets, tools, and curriculum to the table to help do that, and because of who we are … we are able to get great partners that want to work with us.”
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