Merchants have a lot on their minds these days. Not only are they concerned with making the sale ahead of their competitor but they’re also vying for that coveted customer loyalty and repeat business.
In addition, they want to be digitally advanced, have a snazzy website and create social media posts that are so popular they go viral in an instant.
As great as these met goals could be, an easy way to attract a customer is to simply focus on their experience — namely, their payment experience.
From a payments perspective, there’s the ever-present need for enhancing security measures to protect customer data. Add to that the complexity that consumers want to make purchases using different payment methods, through different channels at different times. Some may even want to initiate a transaction through one channel, and finish it up through a different channel. These are all areas where omnichannel solutions can offer huge benefits to the merchant in their payments capabilities.
However, software vendors and merchants may not know a whole lot about omnichannel payments or why this can be a game changer for the merchant. Yet, once they know about it, they ask why omnichannel payments wasn’t implemented earlier.
An omnichannel payment platform offers customers a unified shopping experience across whichever channel they decide to make a purchase, whether via point-of-sale in-store, online, mobile or even telephone. On the back-end, through omnichannel payments, all business transaction channels are consolidated into one platform for the merchant, thus ensuring a seamless transaction for the customer.
There are five of the top reasons why omnichannel payment platforms can be so important to the merchant.
Deeper customer engagement. Merchants are trying anything they can to keep customers engaged and coming back. When processing payments through an omnichannel platform, customer information can be saved in profiles so merchants can keep that data easily accessible. This allows for more meaningful interactions with customers. It’s all about capturing the recurring customer and if their experience is quick and easy, there is a greater chance that they’ll be back to spend more.
Increased sales. Omnichannel payments allow for an increase in merchant sales, whether it’s through impulse buys or repeat business. Seeing credit card information automatically fill in front of you online can increase the ease of purchasing. The customer just needs to simply click the purchase button to make the sale instead of getting out of their chair to get their credit card to fill out their credit card information. Same goes for mobile. Automatic fill of a credit card information increases sales because it’s so convenient. With a click of a button, customers can shop on their lunch break or several times throughout the day if that business is using omnichannel payments (not to mention the transaction is safe and secure).
Transactions processed anytime, across any channel. Processing transactions anytime across the customer’s preferred channel method is of great importance for businesses because it allows for the convenience of running the credit card whenever the merchant desires. Perhaps a customer is paying in-store for an item to be shipped to them but the shipping cost is going to take a day to find out. Merchants can process the item cost first with the customer in the store and then they can process the shipping costs when the information is available later in the day. Then, merchants can go on to their transaction management portal, look up the customer and charge the customer for the shipping separately.
Merchant flexibility beyond POS. Omnichannel payments can take those traditional payment functions that historically have been limited to that point of sale and add the function across an online portal or mobile app. This allows for flexibility and a convenient experience. Even if it’s Friday night, and the merchant is on his way home. He could get notice from a customer that a refund needs to be processed. It’s no problem because the merchant can pull his mobile phone out of his pocket, void the transaction and a refund can be made instantly without having to be in the store.
Data security. Of course, it’s a must for payments to be secured, especially as the rate of data breaches increases. Data security through tokenization in an omnichannel platform can help ensure that the customer data both in transit and being stored for future purchases is kept safe across all channels for an easy and worry-free shopping experience. A token across all channels can provide a singular view for customers to use their payment information across any channel they wish.
For business and software providers that come to understand the importance of omnichannel payments, implementation is soon to follow. When inquiring about adding omnichannel payment acceptance to your offering, merchants should make sure they do the research in finding a solution that meets the needs of the business, their customers and security requirements.