The retail sector and the payments industry are witnessing huge transformations due to changing consumer habits driven by new technologies and the proliferation of mobile devices. Marketing Week revealed that while just a couple of years ago the average customer had only two touch-points with the business while making a purchase, today’s customer can use as many as six touch-points. Aspect Software recently reported that businesses that adopt an omni channel strategy witness a 91% higher year-on-year retention rate as compared to businesses that don’t. The Aberdeen Group said that companies that focus strongly on Omni channel customer engagement retain on average 89% of their customers, as compared to 33% of the companies that don’t. It seems clear that today, retailers have to unify their online and physical presence to reap the benefits of a wider market and the new opportunities that come with it. As consumers shift between retail stores, mobile apps, and websites, retailers have to find that common denominator that will help them connect with the consumer– and that denominator may well be digital payments.
Retailers adopting an omnichannel retail model have to complement it with an omnichannel payment model. Having multiple payment systems in an omnichannel ecosystem will translate into operational issues in managing disparate systems and a high cost of payment processing as each provider charges differently. Just as critical is the lack of a common and consolidated customer view and reporting, and untracked customer data and customer journeys. Omnichannel payments are all about providingthe flexibility that improves customer experience and satisfaction. As physical and online retailing begin to converge, retailers are looking at innovative ways to make payments more seamless across these diverse platforms.
Today retailerscan adopt multiple payment methods such as bank transfers, digital wallets, cards, scan and pay etc. With so many payment methods retailers are faced with the burden of managing multiple contracts and relationships and the consequent effortof managing the reports and financial transactions. By leveraging omnichannel payments retailers can:
Enable greater efficiency
Omnichannel payments can be a great enabler of efficiencies. With these payment solutions, retailers can accept payments across modes and channels, simplify processes, reduce human errors and resource wastage,while with reducing the volume of financial investments needed to manage payment acceptance. As consumersbecome more “impatient”, retailers have to look for avenues to shorten the checkout queue by allowing customers pay using a mobile device in-store. Omnichannel payments give the consumers the benefit of using their preferred payment mode independent of the purchasing channel and hence enable better shopping experiences.
Better business intelligence
It’s been said that data is the new oil. With an omnichannel payment strategy in place, retailers can gain access to important customer data that helps in driving better insights. An omni channel payment platform consolidates consumer data from disparate channels. This can uncover a treasure trove of information about customer behaviour, buying patterns, payment preferences. This information can be leveraged to drive sales, offer personalized options, and discounts. This improves the shopping experience and consequently customer loyalty and retention.
Driving fluid customer journeys
Today’s customer wants a fluid and continuous shopping experience. A customer might walk into a store and ask for a dress of a colour or style different from what is available in-store. The retailer with an omnichannel approach will be able to fulfill this demand by providing the customer with a tablet-assisted sales terminal that not only gives access to the entire inventory but also allows the customer to make the payment for the same on the spot. With fluid customer journeys, retailers must adopt the omnichannel payment approach to allow their customers make purchases the way they want to without imposing any restrictions on them.
CEO of Phi Commerce, Jose Thattil says “Providing a unified payments experience to customers has become a critical enabler of an improved retail experience. Integrating payments on a single platform assists customers in complete experiences and end-to-end payment journeys. This then translates into an integrated service that is secure, reliable, convenient and efficient and helps the whole segment become more connected”.