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A growing number of businesses are recognizing that they must embrace innovation if they want to retain and attract customers in the digital age, but a broad range of consumer services businesses are lagging behind other merchant segments, according to a survey for the new edition of the PYMNTS Retail Innovation Readiness Index, a collaboration of PYMNTS and AEVI. 

How innovative is the consumer services segment?   

Surveying 700 businesses for this fourth installment of the index, which analysed different market segments, the report finds that in consumer services—including contractors, arts and entertainment, automotive garages, travel and tourism, and small-scale amusement facilities—small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are less prepared to embrace innovation.   

But the survey also reveals that many of these small medium business merchants recognize the value in innovative solutions like smart point-of-sale (POS) systems, with 44.8 percent of surveyed firms view indicating they view innovation as essential to their survival. 

Smart POS and app to make a difference

Smart POS solutions can transform the traditional merchant countertop into a dynamic Point of Interaction (POI) that can integrate purchases with consumer-pleasing features such as coupons, promo codes and QR scans, and online features like enabling customers to book appointments and services, order products and track deliveries. These all-in-one solutions can also improve business operations with apps to improve customer loyalty, manage inventory, know when promotions are likely to be most successful, and identify top performers in their workforce. 

Ready to switch, opportunity to seize

Merchant payment solutions providers need to up their game in helping these companies make the digital leap, as large numbers of these merchants indicate they are willing to switch to new providers—from half of garages with revenue over $5 million to 89.3% of leisure businesses at that revenue level.

The key factors that would cause merchants to switch service providers are affordability, availability of a fully integrated solution, ease of use, and trust in the service. Ability to accept a wider range of payment options is the top desired consumer-facing feature that these merchants want in smart POS systems, followed by digital receipts and customer satisfaction or reviews. 

The top business apps that interest merchants in the consumer services companies include inventory management, payroll management, order-taking, and marketing tools. The priorities for those business apps varies widely based on the size of those businesses. 

What can you expect from the report?

The report provides valuable insights for anyone interested in understanding merchants’ motivations, challenges and needs when selecting their payment solutions. Merchant payment solution providers and others interested in deriving more insights from the survey can download the full Retail Innovation Index report at by clicking on the image below.  

This report is part of a series of four. The first three reports focusing on the retail market, on the health and beauty market and on food and accommodation are also available to view by clicking on the links.


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